Theory of Religion
Zone Books, 1989 - 126 páginas
Theory of Religion brings to philosophy what Georges Bataille's earlier book The Accursed Share brought to anthropology and history, namely, an analysis based on notions of excess and expenditure. No other work of Bataille's, and perhaps no other work anywhere since Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, has managed to draw so incisively the links between man's religious and economic activities.
"Religion," according to Bataille, "is the search for a lost intimacy." In a brilliant and tightly reasoned argument, he proceeds to develop a "general economy" of man's relation to this intimacy: from the seamless immanence of animality to the shattered world of objects and the partial, ritual recovery of the intimate order through the violence of the sacrifice. Bataille then reflects on the archaic festival, in which he sees not only the glorious affirmation of life through destructive consumption but also the seeds of another, more ominous order -- war.
Bataille then traces the rise of the modern military order, in which production ceases to be oriented toward the destruction of a surplus and violence is no longer deployed inwardly but is turned to the outside. In these twin developments one can see the origins of modern capitalism.
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The flatness to which a dualism without transcendence is limited opens up the
mind to the sovereignty of evil which is the unleashing of violence . The
sovereignty of good that is implied by the awakening and realized by the sleep of
dualism is ...
Under the sovereignty of morality , all the operations that claim to ensure the
return of the intimate order are those that the real world requires : the extensive
prohibitions that are given as the precondition for the return are aimed primarily
... of poetry , is that of universal humanity . Sovereignty designates the movement
of free and internally wrenching violence that animates the whole , dissolves into
tears , into ecstasy and into 110 RELIGION WITHIN THE LIMITS OF REASON.