You are on page 1of 63

Theory of Religion

Georges Bataille

bY Ro b e r t Hu r leY
T r a n sla te d


reveoledto itscll b.v
Desireis r''hot trctnsformt IJcin11J,
( t - lr 9 t l9 Ur zo n c, ln c' into on "object" revectledto d
itselt'in (true) know'leclge,
"tubjcct" dit't'erentt'rom the objcct ttnd "opposecl"to it.
6 r l R r o a ( l\\' a v Su itc 8 3 8
N c s Ytr r k, NY t o o t I It is in oncl b.r'- or betterstill, as - "his" Desirethat mtrn
i.sJormerlan(l is ret'cdled- to himself and to othert - dt
A l l r i g h ts r cse r te r l
an I, as the I that is csscntiall.vdifferent t'rom, antl racli-
b c r cp r o tlu cccl ' sttl rcd i n r'
N o p ar t o t th is b o o k m a v
il' r a n v lirrm or trv to, the non-|.'lltc (hunton) I is the I of a
r c t r i t :r ' a l svstcn l, o r tr a n sn litte ltl
m cch a ni cal ' photo-
. ' ' t r . "",r ., in clu d in g e le ctr o n ic' Desireor oJ Desire.
c r r y r 'in g , n licr o f iIm in g ' r t- co r d in g ' o r o thtru i sc
The verv hcing oJ mon, thc selJ-conscious
ct) l) \in g l) t r n tittt' tl lr r .Stt ti ons, t't7
1 . t , . 1 ,t lilr lh ' ll
C"p r r ig llt I \(( |t D \ the
t'orc, in'rpliesand presupposesDesire. Consequentl.v,
J r l ( l r,' x,,1 r lr , tl' \' ' tr r ' tttr l(
* ith o u t l ri ttt'n
r c v i e u tr s lo r th c p u b lic llr e ss ) humttn reolit.r.cdnbelormed and mdintdineclonlv within
p c r t t' tissio n{ io n ' r th c f' u b lish e an animal hJe. Ilut, if animal Desire
a biological re(1lit.t',
a s lfilo r ic de l a R tl i tl i ort
O r i g ir r a llv p u b lish ccl in F r a r ice lt is not the
conditionof se\-consciousne.ts,
is the neces.sctn'
O r 9 7j b v F .d itio n s Ga llir la r cl'
suJt'icientcondition. By itself, this Desireconstitutesonlv
o l i\m cr ica
P r i n tctl in th e L ln ite r l Sta te r s thc SentimentoJ sell.

l ) i s tr ib tr tctl b r ' f h c N' ll f Pr e

ss' man in a pos-
In contrastto the knowledllethat kecp.s
L o n tlo n' Lngl antl
C a m b r id q c, N' la ssa ch u sctts' ' r n tl him ancl move.shim to
sivc c1uietude,Desirecli.s-quiets
oction. Ilorn ol Desire,oction tcnds to satist'v'it, antl can
i c'rti on l )'rta
[ - i b r a n o f Co n g r css Ca t' r lo u in g - in - Pr ' rbl or ot \east
rlo so onl' b.v'thc "negation," lhe cle.struction,
R . r ta illc, Gco r g cs' r 8 9 7 - r 9 6 2 ' the tronst'ormotion,o;f the desiredobject: to .sotist'r'
' l- h co n o f r clig io r t'
ger, t'or cxomple, the Jood must be cle.rtroved or, in (1n)'
' li- .r n sla tio no { : T lr lo r ic d c la r clig i on'
cose,tronsJormcd.Thus,oll oction is "negdtin[1."
1 3 ib lio g r a Ph r 'P'
- litle ' - Alcxanclr c Kojdve
r . I{ e lisio n . I'
I r l 48 .lr ]7 ll 198() 2oo''l
fl 8-utt5cl t lntrocluctionto the Recttlingot' IIegel
l s l lN o - 9 :1 22 9 9 - o lt- ir( a lk' p a p cr )
I s l lN o - 9 4 2 l9 t) - o 9 - 4( p b k' : ' r lk' p ' r p cr )

ll'here'l'his BookIs Situated e

Introtluction 11


I Anintalitv rt

Il I Iu m o n i tv a n d th c D cvcl o p n cn t o f th e

ProJane Workl 2r

III Sacrit'ica,the Fcstival,ond the Principles

of thc Sacrec!World 43


I The tN[ilitar)' Order 65

II Dualism crnt! ,l'lorolit,v 69

lll M cd i a ti o n rs

IV The RiscoJ lndustr.v 8r

To Wh o m ... ro7

General Tablettnd ReJerences L 1'7

Where This Book Is Situated

fbuntlationof'one'sthought is the thought of anotlrcr;
thought is likc a l>rickccmcntc<linto a uall. It is a simu-
lacrum of thought il, in his kroking batk on hirnst'Il',thc
bcing u'hri tl.rinksscr-sa fl-ccbrick anrl nr>ttht' prict' tlris
of lrecrlonrcostshinr: hc <loc'sn'tst'r'tlrt' lastc
ground anrl tlrt' hcapsof <letritusto uhich a setrsitivt'r'an-
itv consignshinr u ith his brick.
'fht' u.ork clf thr: mason, u'ho asscmtrlcs,is tlrc uork

that matters.Thus the adjoiningbricks, in a book, should

not be lt:ssvisiblc than thc nov brick, uhich is thc book.
What is offered the readcr, in f-act,cannot trt'an clt'mcnt,
lrr-rtmust bc the cnsenrblein u'hich it is inserterl:it is tht'
rrholc human asserrblage
and etlifice,rvhich must be, not
just a pilc of scral>s,but r.rthcr a srlf-consciousncss.
In a st'nst'thc unlimitccl asscmblagcis tlrc inrpossible.
It takt-scc)uragcanclstutrbornncssnot to go slack.llli'rr'-
thing invitcs on(' to <lropthc substanccfirr tht' sha<lou,to
) R Y 'J F R F L I C J I O N

inipcrsonll mrlvcmcrrt of
tilrsakc thc opcn antl is
Of tt"t"t thc isolatctlopinion
for thc isolatedopinion' Introduction
of rcvealing rvhat thc asscmblagc
also the shortest mcans
Btrt it has this dct'p mean-
c.scntiallvis - thc inrpossiblc.
ot'thc t'rct'
ing onlv i[ it is t.totc:onscious or at
rlt'fincs an apcx tlf pclssillilitr''
I'his Srou'crlt'ssll('ss
impossibilitvopcns tlonsciot'tsness
l.^.,, .rtlo.,''rt'sstt[ thc
li'r it to think' In this gatht'rin{
to all that is possiblt- rvhich
at tht bountlarv of that
shcrc vitllcucc is rifc' This "theon' of rerligion" outlines lvhat a finished rv<rrk
u'ho ref'lcctsrvithin cohcsion
cscaPcsc'ohcsion,he rvoulcf be: I have triccl to exprLrssa mobilethought, with-
anYr(x)m fcrrhinl'
that thcre is no lrll.tgt'r out secking its dcfinitive state.
A philosophvis a coherentsum or it is nothing, but it
the inclivi<lual,
exprcss('s not in<lissolublc
mankind. lt must
thcrefbre rcmain opcn to the der,clopmentsthat r.r'illfbl-
lorv, in human thought . . . rvhere those u.ho think, insofar
(that u'hich thcv are not) are
as thev rejcct tht'ir othe'rness
alrearlvlost in thc universaloblir.ion.A philosopht'is nc-r,er
a hclr-rse;
it is a constructionsitc. But its incompletionis not
that of scienc'c.Scit'nceclrarvsup a nrultitu<lco1'finishccl
parts and onlf its lr'holc prt'sentscmptv spacL-s,
our striving for cohersivcncss,
thc incomplcticln is not
rcstrictedto the lacunaco{ thought; at evcrv point, at each
point, thcre is the impossibilitvof thc final statc.
'l'his condition of impossibilitv is not thc cxcuse for


all rcal philosophi Th.'

I Irt' mt'.t .f thought to r('stri(,tt:(l<ftrntains, .rssr,ientistscl., r.tct
undcniabledclicicncies;it limits all PnrtosoPnv'
'fhc philosopherhimsclf cclultl.rssirnil;rte tht' .t k'<l* lt'tlgt,.lil tht' essen-
to u'ait'
scientistis hc u'ho agrces '.t'
tial incomplctionof thor-rghtthis arl<lsan int,r.itablcdc
\\'aits, but he cannot tlo so lergitirnatclv'I'hilosophv focto
Ncl in.rrnpk'tiri.. Nlore.r'cr,rig<lrrlt'ma.clsa clt'arrt.t,rgniti,rr
rcspontls from thc start to an irrcs<llvablccxigcncv'
,rl tIi t rt t r r nr lit ion. .
one can "bc" inclt'pendcntlyof a rcsponscto the questitln
-fhus thc philosoplter'srcspottscis nt'Lt-ssrr- Tht'sc prinriplcs art' lar renrovcrllrorn a nal. of phil-
that it raiscts.
if it osophizing that is currt'ntlt' r-t'i.t,iling if ncit thc <.1(.(\,p_
ilv given helbrc thc t'laborationof a philosophv 'rnd
tht' tanc' cat lcastt hc r . ur io. sit r . of
t hc pulr lic.Fr
.ir*g". in tht el.rboratitln,somctimcs trvclt oning to . cn if t lr o. ar c
to them' strrtngl_vopposr-dto thc motlcrn insistcnct,that .rttathcs
rcsults obtaincd, ft cannotiusilfrablvbe subordinated
of to tlrc indirirlual an<lthe inrlir.idual'sisr>lation.
I'hilosophv'srcsPonsecannot bc an cflect pltilosophical
not bc anv philosophr of the inrlir,itlualanrl thc cxcn.ise
labors, and lrhilc it mal not lre arbitrart', this .rsstturcs,
indivi<lualposi- of thought c'annotha,r'eanv other outcornc than thc ncga-
gircn fiom tl'rc start, a contcmPt for the
all tion of individual pcrspcc.tir,es.A basic problenr is linkccl
tion and an extrcnlc rnobilitv clf thought' opi'n to
to thc vcrr. itlea of philosophr':hon, to get otrt of tl.rc
previous or sub-seguent movclncllts; ancl, linketl to the
thc hunran situation. l{ou' to shift frorn a rt,flecticlr-r
.".porl.,' lrom thc start, or rathcr, consubstarltiallvith suborrli_
of t}rought' natccl to ncccssan.acticln,c.ondcmncclto useltrl rlistinc_
antl incornplctent-ss
..'rp,rttr,,,thc tlissatis{bction
uhilc carrvitlg one's tion, to sclf-consciousllcss
a\ coltsrioLlsnt-ss
of thr, being
So it is .1nact <lf cot.tsciotlsness,
t.totto u'ithout ('sscn(L-- but cronsr.ious?
t'luci<lationto thc limit o[ irnmediatepossibilitics'
Thc inevitableincomplction rlocsr-rotin anv rvav dclar.
seck a rlefinitirc statc that r.r,illncrer bc granted. I)oubt-
thc rt-sponsc,r,r'l'richis a mor.cmcnt - u.crc it in a st,nsc
lcss it is necctssarY to bring one's thinking, n'hich moves
fbr- thc lac'k of a responsr'.On thc contrarv, it gives it thc
rrithin clomainsalreadv crplort-cl,up to thc lcvcl of
truth of thc impossiblc,the truth of a sc.rcam.The basic
n.rulatccl knou'lcdgc.And in anv cascthc responst'itsclf is
par.rrlox of this "thcorv of rcligion," n.hich posits thc
in .fact mcaninglessunlcss it is that of an intellcctuallv
concli- intlil'irlualas a "thing," anrl a negationof intimacr,,brings
.l.r'"ltrp",l irrdiridtral.But if thc scconclof thcsc
the a poucrlessnessto light, no cloubt, btrt tlie rrv of this
tions must bc satisficdbclbrehand,no onc tan mcct
movc- poucrlt'ssncssis a prclurlc to thc clccpt,",rc,...
lirst crc'cpt apllrorimatclY: r-rnlcsstlnc lirnitt'tl thc

[) tl
PR nr ON U

T he Bas i c D ata
CH, qpr t n I

Anim alit y

Imman ence of t he Eat er and t he Eat en

I considt'ranimalitv frclm a narro\\' r'it'upoint that sci'ms
questionablc to mt:, but its value u,ill become clear in the
coursLrof thc cxposition. From this vieu,point,animalitv
is immc<liacv <lr immanence.
Thr: immanenccof thc animallvith respcctt<lits milieu
is given in a prccisesituaticln,thc importanceof lr.hich is
firnrlamcntal.I u'ill not spcakof it continualh, br.rtu,ill not
be ablc to losc sight of it; the r,crv conclusionof mv statc-
mcnts r,villrerturnto this startingpoint: thesituationis4rlcn
What is given u'hcn onc animal eats anclther is alu,avs
tLrc creatLtreof the one that eats. It is in this sensc
that I spcak of immancncr'.
I <lo not mean a.p11ow
creaturcperccir,etlas such, but
thcre is ncltransct'nrlcncer
lrctu ecn thc catcr and the eatcnl
there is a rlifft'rencc,of coursc, but this animal that cats



in an afflrmation clf that u.aters he is only a higher u'ave ovcrturning thc other,
thc othcr callnot confront it
u,eakcr oncs.
dif fcrcncc.
not cat one anothcr' ' ' ' That onc animal cats anothcr scarcelyalters a funda-
Animals of a givcn speciesdcl
if thc goshau'k cating mcntal situation: everv animal is in rhe world like v,aterin
I'crhaps, but thiJ tloes not matter
it crlearlvfrom itsclf in the v,ater.1'he animal situation tlocs contain a componcnt of
tht hcn tlocs not clistinguish
an object from ourselves' tht'human situation;if nced be, the animalcan bc rcgarded
s311s\\dY that u'e distinguish
of thc obiect as such' as a subjcctlor which the rcst of the lr'orkl is an obiect,btrt
Thc distinction requires a positing
differencc if the obicct it is no,er given the possibilitvof rt:ganling itsclf in this
'l'hcrc cloesnot extst anv rJjscernib/e
that anothcr animal eats lr,av.Elcmentsof this situation can be graspcdbv human
has not been posited' Thc animal
the. animal that is intclligcncc,btrt the animal canncltreolrzethem.
is rrot yct given as an obiect' Betr'r'een
is no rclation of subor-
eate,t an,l lh" o,l" that eats, therc
Dependence and Independence
djna ti o t.l l i k e th a tc .o n rre c ti n g a nobj cct' athi ng,tOman,
For thc animal' noth- of the Anim a|
rvho rcluses to be vicu'ed u' u thlt'g'
insofar as \\'L-arc hunlan It is true that the animal, likc thc plant, has no autonotny
ing is givcn through time' It is
its duration is perccp- in relation to thc rest of the r,r,orld.An atom of nitrogen,
that thc obiect exists in time rvhcre
another exists this side of of gold, or a rnolecule of water cxist r,vithoutneeding anv-
tible. llut the animal caten b1'
anclthis is only a dis- thing from r.vhatsurrounds thcm; they remain in a state
cluraticln;it ts cotlsumr:d,clestroved'
nothing is posited beyoncl clf perfi:ct immancnce: there is nevcr a necessitv, ancl
appearanccrn a rvorlcl rvhere
more generallv nothing evcr matters in thc inrmancnt
the present.
that introduces thc relation of one atom to another or to others. l'he imma-
Th.r. lI; Ilothing in animal life
hc commands' nothing ncnce of a liling organismin the lr'orld is verv diffcrcnt:
relation .,f the n-'a't-"rto the onc
on ont: side and depen- an organism secks elemt-nts ar'ound it (or outside it)
that might cstablish atttonom)'
thcv cat one another' rvhich are immancnt to it and rvith rvhich it must cstab-
,1.n.. .il the othcr' Animals' since
there is never anvthing lish (rclativclv stabilize)
of immancnce.Alreadv
are of ul-requal strcngth' but
diffcrcnce' Thc it is no longer like water in watcr. Or if it is, this is onlv
betrveen thcrn excepi that qttantitative
in thc movemext o[ thc providecl it managesto nourisAitself. If it docs not, it suf-
lion is not thc king o[ tht' bcasts:

l8 I9

f'ersancl tlies: the flow (thc immatrcntt) from tlutsirlc tcr consciousncsstaking the plat.e of mv consci<lusness, il
w'hich is organic life, onlv
insirlc, flom insitlt-to ot-ttsiclc, rline has rli.saltpcarccl.
This is a sinrplc trtrth, but animal
las t sttn < l t' rt t' rt.ti ttto tl (l i l i ()n s ' lifr', half\rav clistant fiom our consr.iousness,
An organism, morcover, is separatcil from processcs u-ith a morc disconcertingcnigma. In picturing the uni_
that arc similar to it; cach organism is clt-tachcd from vcrsc u'ithout man, a trnir,ersein lvhich onlv the animal's
other organisms: in this sense organic lif'c, at the samt: gazen.oukl bc optncrl to thing:, thc animal being neithcr
timc that it acccntuatcsthe relationu'ith thc u'orld, rvith- a thing nor a man, \\,c can onlv call up a l,ision in u.hich
<lravn'slronr thc n<lrld, isolates tl'rc plant or thc animal \\'c scc nothinq,sint't' tlre objcc.tol this Visionis a nrort._
u'hich can thcoreticallr bc rt2arded as autonomousrvorltls' mcnt that glides from things that have no meaning br.
so long as the fi.rndami'ntalrelation of nutrition is lcft themselves to thc rvorld full of mcanin-qimplietl bv man
as id c . giving cach thing his ou,n. fhis is lr.hv u,e cannot clcscribc
such an objcct in a precise rrar. ()r rather, the corrcct
The Poetic FallacY of AnimalitY rvav to speako[ it (,anoverilt,onlvb<.poetic, in that poctr\.
Nothing, as a mattcr of lact, is mrlrc closerlto us than this describe.srrothing that dot'"snot .slipto*,ard thc unknou._
animal life from u'hich rvc arc dcscentlcd.Nothing is ablc.Just as we can speakfictir.clvof the past as if it w,crc
mort- forcign to our rvav of thinking than the' earth in the a present, rve spcak finally of prehistoric animals, as u,cll
midillc of thc silcnt uI-riverseand having neither the as plants, rocks, and txrdies of ll,ater, as r/' thcv n.ere
mcaningthat man givcsthings,nor the meaninglessness of thi ng:, lr t r t t o dcst r ihe a hnr lst apt , t icr l t o t h( . s( , ( ( ) n( li-
things as soon as \\'c trY to imagine thcm u'ithclut a ('ol1- tions is only nonsense,or a poctic lcap. 'l'here u,as no
sciousnessthat rcllects them. In rcalitr', \\'e can ncvcr lanrl.scape in a world uhcrc the'c1,t'5that c4>encrl clirl not
imaginc things rvithout consciottsncsscxccPt arbitrarilv, apprehend u'hat the_vlookccl at, u,here indeetl, in our
rlur cotlsciotts-
since rtr artr)imaqineimplv consciousness, terms, the cycs did not see. And if', nou,, in mv mincl's
ness,aclhcringindeliblv to tht:ir Prcscnce.Wc cau dor-rbt- crrnfusion,stupidlvcontemplatingthat absenceof'vision, I
lcss tt-ll ourselvcs that this aclhcsionis fragile, in that n't: begin to sal': "-l-here\.\asno r,ision,therc uas nclthing-
nill ceaseto be there,<tnc tlav t-'t'cnlor gcxxl' But thc nothing but an en.rptvintoxication limitcd br.tcrror, su[_
appcararrccof a thing is never ctlnccivablct'xtt'pt itt a f-cri ng,anr l r lcat h, nhich gar t . it a kint l , , f t hickncss. . . ',

20 2l

vaquc to things. Somcthingternrlcr,se(.rct,anclpainful clrau.sout

I arn onlv abusinga poctic capacitl',substitutinga
thc the intin'racvrvhich keepsvigil in us, extcnclingits glim-
lulguration lor the nothing of ignorance' I knon':
mer into that animal darkness.In the c.nd,all that I can
.ur-,,lut dispensc r'r'ith a fulguration of r'vorclsthat
-ii,l its maintain is that such a, uhich plungesme into thc
nrakt's a fascinatirrghalo for it: that is its richness'
is onlv a night ancl dazzlcs, brings me cl<iseto the mclnrent
glorv, and a sign of sovereigntY.Ilut this Poctrv
uht-n - I n,ill no longcr rloubt this - thc distinct c.larity
,uuv bv u'hich a mall gocs from a uorld full of mt'aning to
u'hich of c'onsciousness
u.ill mo\.(' me thrthcst a.,',finallv, from
the tlnal clislocation of meanings' of all mt'aning'
th.rt unknorr'.1lllc
truth u'hic.l'r,trom mvst'lf to thc u.orkl,
soon proves to be unavoidable' There is olllY olrtr difler-
appcars to me onlv tcl slip ar,r'ar'.
ence l.,ettueel'rthe absur<litl' of things t-nvisagedu'ithout
man's gaze and that of things among which tht' animal
The Animal Is in the Wortd
or"r.rr,, it is that the tbrmt-r absurditv immcdiatcly
like Water in Water
, ug- Q.rt,to rts th t' a l )Pa r(' l )trt' tl ttcti ont' f the exa(l s(i -
I r'r'ill speak of that unknor,vablelater. For the moment, I
.',i*r,*h"reas the lattcr hantls us over to the stickl'
need to set apart frorn the da.tAcol poctry that rvhich,
tenrptation of poetrv, for, not bcing simplv a tlring, thc
from thc standpointof cxpcricncc,appcarsdistinctlv and
animal is not close<lan<l inscrutable to us' Thc animal
opcns before mc a depth that attracts mer and is familiar
It is I am able to sav tlrat the anintalworlcl is that of intnra-
to mc. In a sensc,I kr.rou-this depth: it is rnv orvn'
ne'nccand immercliacv,for that u'orkl, u,hich is closcrl to
also that rvhich is farthest removed lrom me, that rvhich
u.s,is .soto the extent that uc cannot <lisccrnin it an abilitv
descrves the name depth, w'hich mcans prcciserlv rfiar
to transccnditself.Srrcha truth is negative,antl rr t. rr ill n,lt
nlricl is ttnlathomablero me. But this too is poetrY' ' ' '
(if I cat it - bc able to establishit absolutelv.Wr: can at leastimagine,
lnsof'aras I can oLsoseethe animal as a thing
an cmbrvo of th.rt ability in anim.rls,but u.e cannot <
in mv clun uar-, lrhich is nclt that of ancltheraniulal - or
it clearly enough. Whilc a studr.of thosc cmbrrt-rnicapti-
if I cnslareit or treat it as an obit'ct of science),its abstrrd-
turlrs can be donc, such a studl' rvill not vielclanv
itv is just as dircct (if ont' prefcrs, iust as ncar) as that of l)erspec-
tives that invalirlater
our r,ic'u'of in'rmanentanimalitv,u'hich
stonesor air, but it is not always,antl nevcr cntirch'' re-
u'ill remain unavoidablclor is orrlyu,itlrin thc limits of
rlucible to that kind of infcrior reality rvhich $c attrihute


bet*t-tn itsclf ancl thc u,orld. Attractir.c or distrcssing

thc human that the transccntlcnccclf things in relation phcr.ronrcnaarisc lx-fbrc it; othcr phcnomena do not cclr-
consciousncss (or of consciousncssir.rrclation to things) is
respondeither to indiriduals of the samespecies,to foo<I,
manifestt'rl.Intlecd transct'ntlcnccis ntlthing if it i: rr,t r>rto anvthingattractirt. or re
is t<i ltcllcnt, so that rvhat appears
embrvonic,if it is not constitutedas solidsare, ul'rich has no llt-aning, or is a siqn of somcthing clse. Nothing
sav,immutablv, under t'crtait.tgiven contlitirlns'In rt'alitt ' brcaksa cor.rtilruitr-inuhich fi'ar itself rloesnclt announcc.
r,.' n." incapalllcof basingtiurst'lveson lrnstahlt'ttragula- anvthing that nright bc distinguishcdbcfore being cleacl.
ti<lnsanrl\\'c must con{lnetlttrsc'lvt's ttl regardinganimalitr'
Fi rcn the f ight ing bct ucen r ir als is anot hcr convulsion
tronr the otttsirJe,in the light of an absent't'tlf transt't'n- u hcrc insubst.rntialsharlou.scnrcrqc fr-orr the inevitablc
. n a ro i tl a b l r'i,n rl ttr c \t' s ,th c ani mali s i n thc rrorl < l
r lt ' nc t' U r('sponsr-s
to stimuli. If thc anim.rlthat has brought clow.n
lik c u a tc r i n u a tc r. its rir.rl tlocslrot .lpprehendthc otht-r'sdeathasdoesa man
Thc animal has diversebcharirlrsaccorclingto diverse beharing tritrrtrpl.rantlr', this is bc-r.ause its riral hatl not
situatious.Tht'st'bchar'iclrsarc thc startingpoints ftrr prl*- bnrkcn a contiltuitv that thc rival'srlt-athdoestrot recstab-
sible rlistinctions,but distingtrishingivould clemantlthe l i sh. ' l -his cont inuit v r r . ls not callcd int o qucst ion, but
transccndenceof the objcct havirrglrecomc <listinct.Thc r.rthcr tl.rcirlcntitr of dcsircsof tu o heingss(,tolte ag.rinst
rlirt-rsitYof .rnimarlbehaviclrsdot's trot cstablishan\' tht'other in mortal combat.-fhc apathr.thatthc gazcof the
'fhe ani-
sciousclistir.rctionamonq tlre clir.crscsitttations.
animal cxprcssesaftcr thc combat is the sign of an exis-
mals lr.'hich clo not eat a f-ello* crcature of tl'rc sanre tencetha t is essent iallr . on a lcvcl nit h t hc uor ld in uhich
speciesstill do ttclthave thc.rbilitY tcl recogtrizeit as strch' i t moveslike nat cr in uat cr .
so that a nc$, situation, in $'hich the trclnnalllch.rviclris
not triggcrt-cl,mav suflicc to removc an cltrstacle$'ithclttt
thcre being an a\\'arcn('ssclf its h.rvirlg llt-cn rt'' Wc
cannot sav conccrning a $cllf $hich c'rts itl()thL-r \\()lf
that it r,iolatesthc la$. dccrt-cing that or<lirlarilYrr',1r.'s,1o
not eat oneanother.It cloesnot Yiolatethis la$'; it h'rssim-
ph' fbunclitself in circumstancesrvhcre thc l'rrv rro l'rngcr
applics.In spite clf this, thcrc is, frrr tlre uolf, a cotrtinttitl'


Culr,rln ll

Humanity and the Development

of the Profane World

I-or thc momcnt, I rr ill not trv to gir.e thc fbregoing a

firmcr support. What I har,esaiclimplics an excursionof
the intcllcct outsidt' the domain of the cliscontinuousu.hit.l.r
i s at l tit s pr ivilcgccldom ain. I uish t o passr r it hout
firrther clc.lavto that solid milicu on lr'hich.r,r'cthink rrc
can rclt'.

The Positing of the Object: The Tool

Thc positingof thc otrject,rvhich is not givcn in anirnalitv,
is in thc human ust-of tools; that is, if the tools as middle
terms are adaptcd to thc intendecl rcsult - if thcir uscrs
perflcct them. Insofar as tools arc der,elopcd rvith thcir
end in vicw, consciousnessposits them as objects, as
interruptions in thc indistinct continuitv. The clcrelopccl
tool is thc nascentfbrm o[ thc non-|.
J'hc tool brings extcriority into a rvorlcl u,here the:



subject has a part in thc elcmcnts it distinguisl'res, truc cnrl, n'hich r,r'ouklscn,t' no purposc. What a ,,truc
it has a part in the u'orld and rcmains "likc r'r'ater in encl" rcintrocluc.esis the continuous bcing, lost in the
watcr." Therelcment in u'hich the subjt'cthas .r part - thc lvorltl likc uatcr is lost in uatcr-:or clsc,if it u.erea bt,ing
urrrkl, an animal, a plant - is not subordinatc<l to it (likc- as rlistinc'tas a tool, its meaning w.cluklhavc to bc sought
nisr', thc sutrjec'tcanncttlle subortlinated,in an immt-tli'rtt' on thc plane of utilitv, of thc tcxrl;it u.or-rltlno longcr be,
scnsc,to thc elemcnt r'rith u'hich it sharcs).But thc tool a " truc cn<l. "O nlv a uor ld in ulr ich t ] r c bcingsan, in<lis_
is subortlinatedto thc man u'h<lusesit, u'ho can mt"lif\ criminatclv lost is snpcrfluous, scrvcs no purposc, has
it as he plcasc-s,in vit'u of a llartitr.rlarr.-tttlt. nothing to clo, and means nothing: it onlv has a value in
'fhe tool has no valuc in itself-likc thc subit'tt, or the itself, not u'ith a somethingelsc,this othcr thing
u'orkl, or the elcme'ntsthat are tlf tht' samc traturc as tht' fbr still another anrl so on.
subjcc't rlr thc u'<trld - Lrut onh in relation trl an antici- Tl-rcobject, on tl'rc contrar\,, has a mr:arringthat breaks
pated result. Thc time spent in making it directlv estab- the undiff-crentiatcdcontinuitv, that stan<lsoppost,cltcr
lishes its utility, its subordination to the one u'ho uses it i mmanen ct 'or t o t l'r c1lolr . of all t hat is * uhich it t r ans_
u,ith an enil in vicrv, and its subordination to this cnd; at cencls.It is strictlv alien to the subject, to the self still
thc' samc time it establishcsthe clear distinction betu'een immcrsetl in immanenc.e.It is thc subjcct'spropcrtv, thc
thc end and thc mcans ancl it flocs so in the very ternns sul'rjcct'sthing, btrt is nrxrethclessimperviousto thc subiect.
that its apPcarancehas tlerflncd.Unfortunatelv thc end is perf-cct- c.omplcte,clear and distinct - knon.l-
thus given in terms of the means, in terms of utilitl'' This cdge that thc subjt'cthasof the object is entirelv extcrnal;
is one of the most remarkablc and most lateful aberra- it rcsults fiom manulhcturc;* I knou, uhat the obiect I
tions of language.Thc pr'rrposcof a tool's usc ahvaYshas
thc same meaning as the tool's usc: a utility is assignedt<l xAs ont'(an secr I havc
placcd thr tool antl the manulacturt,rl otrjt,r.t

it in turn and so on. The stick digs the ground in ordcr on thc samc planc, the rcason being that the tool is first of all a n.ranu_

to ernsurethe grou'th of a plant; thc plant is cultivatcd in l acture<lobjt,tt anrl , t.onv ers c h,a manul ac turc rlobj ec t i s i n a tr.rtai r.r

order to be caten; it is catcn in order to maintain the life scnsc a tool . Thc onh.means of frec i ng thc manul htturerl obj ec t l rom

of thc one u'ho cultivates it. ' . . Thc absurdity of an cnd- the servilitv of thc tool is art, unrlerstoorl as a trut, cn<I. llut art itself

less cleferral only iustifies thc equivalent absur<litv of a rkrt'sn.t as a ett i t emhel l i s hc sfi om bei ng us t' tl frrr
^rl t' prc rt' nt

28 29


havc made is; I can makc anothcr onc likc it, but I w'ould appeared(as if thcy \\,erc comparable to thc digging stick,

not be able to make another being like me in the r'r'avthat or thc chippcd stone) clemcntsthat u.erc anclnonetheless

a rvatchmaker makcs a u'atch (or that a man in the "age remained continuous rvith thc w,orld, such as animals,

of the rein<lccr" madc a bladc of sharp stone), and as a plants, other men, and finallv, thc subject determining

matter of fact I don't knorv w'hat thc being is that I am, itsclf.'fhis means in clthcr uorrls that r.r'cclo not knou.

nor do I knorv r,r'hatthc I'r'orld is and I u'ould not bc ablc ourselr.esdistincdv ancl clearly until the clay u,c scc our-

to producc another one by anY means. selvcs from the outsicle as anothcr. Moreoverr, this rvill
'fhis t-xtcrnal knou'ledge is perrhapssupcrficial' but it clcpendon our first having rlistinguishccl
thc other on the
plane u.hcre manufactured things have appearcrl to us
alone rs capableof rctlucing man's clistancefrom the tlb-
jccts that it dctermint's.It makcsof thcse'objects, although rlistinctly.
is ncart'st antl most This bringing of clcments of the same naturc as thc
thev remain r'lost-dto us, that lvhich
strbject,or the subject itsclfl onto thc planc of objects is
to us.
aluavs prt'carious,unccrtain, and uncvcnlv rcalizerl.But

The Positing of Immanent Elentents this rel.rtire prccariousncss

mattcrs lcss than thc dec.isivc

in the Sphere of Objects possibilitvo[ a r.ier.r'point

from u'hich the imnranentcle-

The positing of thc objcct knou'n clearlY ancl distinctlv mcnts are pe'rceivccllrclm the ontside .rs objt'cts. ht the

from without gcnerallv defines a sphcre of objects, a cncl, w'e pcrceive each appcarance- subjcct (,

u'orld, a planeron vi'hich it is possible to situatc clcarlv animal, mincl, u'orld - from u'ithin an<lfirrr-nuithotrt .rt

and clistinctl], at lcast so it appcars,that rvhich in theory the same timc, bclth as cclntinuity, \,\,ithrespc(.rro our-

cannot be knou'n in the samc rvay. Thus, having deter- selvers,

ancl as ob;ect.*

minccl stablerand simple things rvhich it is pt-rssiblcto Language clcfines, from one plane to the other, the

makc, mcn situatcd on the same plane u'herc the things category of subject-object, of the subject considcred
objectir,elv,clcarly and clistinctly knou,'n from the outsidt-

this or that: a houst-,a table, or a garment are no ltss uscful than a ham-
*Oursel re suhat
: ex i s tc nti alphi l os ophv < al l s ,aftc r H egel ,./i r rrs ef
Dtcr. Ferv indccd art, the objects that har,ethe r,irtue of serving tro lunc-
thc ofrj ect i s t t' rmerl , i n tht,s amt,rotabul arl , tn i ts c l l .
t i u n in tltt , t. l. ,,f u st ftr l ,r ttivilr ' .

l0 ll
insolar as this is possiblc.But ar-robjcctivitv of dris nature, as a u' hok'llr t it r cm ainsscpar at ( 'asit r r as in t ht 'm int l
clcar as to the scparatepositing of onc element, rcm.ritts of thc ont 'uho nr ar lcit : at t hr m ( r r ( 'lt t t l. r atsuit shim , a
confuscd: that elemcnt kceps all tl'rcattributcs of a subicct nran can rt'gard this objcct, an arro\\'sa\', as his fcllou
anclan objcct at thc sametinrc. Thc transccndctrceof'thc lrt'ing, u ithout taking au al tl'rc oltcrativc ltou cr anrl
tool and thc crcative facultv connectcd r'r'ith its usc are transc'cntlcnc'cof tht' arro\\. Ont' r'ou]rl t'\'('n sav that an
confr.rscdlv attributt-tl to dre ar.rimal, tl-rc plant, tlrc objcct thus transposc'tlis not rlitiert'nt, in tht' irlagirration
meteor; thcv are also attributcd to thc t-ntire u'orld.* of thc onc uho c'onceilcsit , f i'onruhat he him sclfis: t his
arro\\, i rr his eves, is r apablt ' of act ing, t hinking, anr l
The Positing of Things as Subjects spcakinglikc hirl.
'Ihis first confirsionbeing cstablisht'd,a planc of'subjcc'ts-

objects being delincd, the tool itself can be placcd on it if The Supreme Being
ncetl lrc. 'l'he objcct that the tool is can itsclf bc regarclcd If rrc norv picture mtn cor.rcciving
thc uorkl ir.rthc light
as a subject-obicct.It then reccivcsthe attributcs of thc of an cxistcnce that is continuous (in relation to thcir
subjcct anrl takes its place rlc:xt to those aninrals,thosc intimac'r',tht'ir rlccp subjcitivitr'), uc must alsclpcrceirc
plants, those mctc<)rs,or those mcn that the objcct's the nccd for them to .rttributc to it thc r,irtucso1'a thirrq
transcendcnce,asc'ribedto them, u'ithdrar.r'sfrorr thc con- "t'apableol'at'ting, thinking, ancl s1>caking"
(just as m(.n
tinuum. It bccclmcscontinuousu'ith respectto thc rlorlcl rlo). In this rcduction to a rfiinq, thc uorld is gircn both
thc fornr of isolat t 'cl
in<lir idualit var r r lcr eat ivcpr lucr . But
xThis last mr.rddlcis probablv the most turious one. If I trv to graslr this pcrsonallv rlistinct po\\'cr has at thc samc tirnc thc
uh a t n r \ th o u g lr t is d csig n a tin ga t th c Iroment rrht'n i t takestl i e,trrrl <l Jil'lnc charactt'r oi a pt'rsonal,indistinct, and inrntanclrt
as its o b je ct, o n ce th t- a b su r d itvo fth e *orl tl as a seP arateobj t'tt, as a existcnce.
rfirnc analogous to thc manul,rtttrreti-rnanufattttring tool, has l>t't'n In a scnsc, thc r.r'orl<lis still, in a lundamcntal uar',
fb llcr l, th is u o r l< l r t' m a in s in m e a s that ronti nui tr from i nsi tl t'to out- imr.nancnccrvithor-rta clcar limit (an inrlistinct flolv of
sitlt' , iio n r o tttsitlt' ttt in sitle ,u h ith I harc l i tral l r ]tr,l ttt tl i stol tt': I tatl - bt'ing into bc'inq- <lncthinks of tht'r-rnst.rl,lc
n o t in la ct a scr ih cto su b je ctivitvth c li mi t o{ rnvscl for of httman sel rts; satcr i n u at er ) . S<it hc p<isit ing,in t ht ' uor lt l, o[ 'a "su-
t r r it it ir r Jr ) \ \\a \
I c.r r r r r o lir prcmc l rcing, " t list inr t anr l linr it ct l likt 'a t hing, is f lr st ol'

)l ti

Thcrt' is tloutrtless,in tht' invcn-

all an impovcrishrncr-rt. The S acr ed

tior"rof a supreme bt'ing, a clctt'rmirrationto rlc{ltri' a valile All pcoples har c cloubtlessc'onceived this suprcme bcing.

that is grcater than anv othcr. But tl'ristlt'sirt ttr itttrt'ast' but tht' opcration secmsto have failed cvcryu'hcre.1'hc
rtsults in a diminution. The objt-ctivcpcrsonalitvof thc suprcmc being apparentlvrlid not have rn\. prestrgccom-

sul)rcme bcing situates it in thc 'uvorlrlnext to other per- parablcto that rvhich the God of thc Jeu,s,and later that
sonal bcings of the samc lratllrc, subjectsantl objt'cts at of the Christians,r.r'asto obtain. As if thc opr-rationhacl
thc samt'time, like it, but fronr u'hich it is clearlvclistitrct. takc'rrplacc at a timc u'hen thr scnsc of continuitt' uas
Mcn, animals, plants, hcavcnlv bodies, mt:tcors.. . . If too strong, as if the ar.rirnal
or divine continuitr. of
thrsc arc' at thc sarnt' titlc things and intimatc bcings, beings r,r'ith thc lr.orld harl at first sccmcd limitcd,
thrv can bc cnvisaqcrlnextto a suprem(-bcing ol this tvpc, irnpor.erishedbv a lirst clumsy attempt at a rccluctionto
u'hich, likc thc others, is in thc rvorl<I,is cliscontinuous an objcctir.c indiviclualitv. 'fheri: is everv indication that
likc tht' othcrs. The^reis no ultimatc equalitr' Irt'tn'cen the first mcn wcre closcr than \\'e are to thc animal s.orld;
thcm. Bv clefinition,the supreme being has the highest thcv distinguishedthc animal from thernsrlvcs1>crhaps,
rank. Btrt all are of the sarnekind, in r'vhichimman.'n...' but not uithout a fceling of rloubt mixed r,r'ithterror and
and pcrsonalitvare rlingled; all can l>c,/ilinean<lcncloucd longing. The senset>fcontinuitl that u,c must attribute to
u'ith an opcrative po\\'(:r; all can spcak thc language of animalsno longer irnprcsscditself on the mind une.cprir,o-
thcv basicallvlinc up on
man. Thus, in spitc of cr.'ervthing, callv (the positing of distinc'tobjccts u'as in fat't its nt'g;r-
a planc of cqualitv. tion). But it had c.lerivcda ne\\' significancefrom the
I am obligcd to ernphasizcthis aspcctof trnintcntional (ontrast it (brrncd to thi' u'orltl of things. This continuitt',

impovcrishmcnt and limitation: nolr'atlavs('hristians rkr u'hich fbr the animal could r.rot bc. distinguisheri frorn
not ht'sitateto rcc'ognizcin tlrc various"suprt'mt:btings" anvthing clse,w,hichuas in it ancllbr it thc onlv possible
of uhicl-r "primitivt's" hare kept somc mclnorv, a first mode of being, olferecl man all the lascination of the
clf the God thcv be'licr.ein, but this nascent
consciousness sacred u'clrlcl, as against the por.crtv of the pr<lfanc tool
\\'as not a blossomingfbrth; on thc corr-
consciousness (of the discontinuousobiect).
-l'l'rc sense of thc' sacrcclobr iotrslv is not that of thc
trarv, it u'as a kinrl of u't-akcningof an animal sctrsc'u'ith-
ollt coml)cnsatiotr. animal krst in the n"ristsof cclntinuity w'herc nothing is

34 t5


(listinct. In thc first plac'e,uhile it is truc thal the confu- tions, thc hierarchv of spirits tcnds to bc basctl on a
sion has not tcast'd in thc' utirld tlf tnists, thc lattt'r tltr lirnrlar.cntalclistinc''tr'r.cnspirits trrat <repc'ti cln a
opposc an opaque aggregatcto a clear uorld. This aggrc- bodv, likc thosc of mt-n, ancl tht, autonomous spirits of
gatc appearsdistincdv at thc boundan of that u'hich is the supremc being,of animals,of dead pccplt,,.rnd so olr,
t'xtcrnallr', lrom that
clear: it is at least <listinguishabler, u,hich tcnd to ftrrnr a honr<igeneousrvorkl, a mvthical
rvhich is clcar. Morcor-cr,thc animal acccptetlthe imma- .,r.orld,u'ithin u'hich thc hierarchical
cliffe,rcncesarc usu_
nence that submergctl it u ithor.rt appar('tlt Protest, allv slight. Thc suprcme bcing, thc sovcrtign rlcitr, the
rr,hcrcasman fccls a kind of impott'nt hrlrror in the scrrse god of heavcn, is generallr. onlv a morc po\\,crful gorl of
of drt' sacrctl. This horror is ambiguotrs.Utrdoubtc<llr'' thc' samc naturc as thc clthcrs.
uhat is sacrcd attracts an<l posscsscsan incomparatlle Thc gotls are sinrplvmvtltical spirits,u.ithor-rtanv sub_
valut',but at thc sarnctimt' it aPPcarsr crtiginotrslvdangt'r- stratum of rcalitv. 'l-he spirit that is not sulror<linatcdto
ous firr th.rt clcar anrl prolanc n orltl u hcrc r.nankindsittr- thc realitl,of a mortal bodl is a gocl,is purclv drrjnc(sa_
. r t t ' ri ts p ri r i l t' g ttl tl t,m a i n . credl. Insofhr as hc is himself a spirit, nran is dilinc
(sacred),but he is not su1trt.,r,"l,,,,, sirr.,..hc is rcal.
T he Sp i ri ts a n d th e Go d s
Thc cqualitr anclinec;ualitvof thcse variouscxistenccs,all The Positing of the World
of Things
oppclscclto the rhingsthat pure objccts are, n'soh,'esintcl and of the Bodv as a Thing
a hierarchv of .ipirit.i.Mcn ancl thc suprcnre bcing, trr.rt With thc positing of a thing, ar-robjcc.t,a tool, an im1>lc_
also, in a lirst reprcscntation,animals,plants,lllctcor.\. . . lnent, or of a <lomain of objcc.ts(u.hcrc thc r,arious
arc spirits. A scale is built into this conccption: thc cocqualsof thc subject itst'lf assumean objcr.tir.evaluc),
a ptlrc spirit; similarlv, the
supr(-mebcing is in a st-t'tst' tht'u'orkl in uhich rrlcn movr- abor-rtis still. in a lirnrla_
spirit of a dc'adman docs not depi:nclon a clear matcrial mental \\'av,a contir-ruitvfrorn thc subject'spoint of r,icrr,.
rcalitv like that of a living one; finallv, the connecticinof But thc unreal u,orltl of sorcrcign spirits or gorls estab_
t he a n i ma l o r p l i rn t s p i ri t (o r th e l i kt' ) ui th.rn i ndi ri cl tral lish<.srcalitr', r,vhichit is not, as its r.ontrarr. 'l'he rcalitr.
animal or plant is vcrv vagu(':such spirits are rnvthical- of a prol .r nc uor ll, , r l a u, r r lt l of t hing, . n, l l, o. li, . r ,ir
inrlepcndcnt of the givcn rt'alitics. LIr.rclerthcse condi- establishetloppositc a lrolv arr<lmt.thir.alu.orkl.

1 t)

Within the limits of continuitv, er,crvthingis spiritual; The Eaten Animal, the Corpse,

tht'rt' is no opposition o[ the minrl an<lthe boclv.]lut thc and the Thing

positing of a norld of mvthical spirits anrl the suprcme The definition of thc animal as a thing ltas bccomc a basic

raluc it reccivt'sarc naturallv linkcd to thc tlcfinition of hurnangir cn. 'l'hr : anint all'r asl<lstit s st at t t sas t nan'sf el-

thc mortal bodv as lrcing opposcd to thc mintl. l'ht' dif- lou c'rcaturc,an<lman, pt'r<'ciringthe anirnalitvirr hin'r-

fc'rt'nccbctu.ern thc mind ancl thc borlr. is b\, no means sclf, rcgardsit as a detect.Thcrc is uncloubtctllva measurc

thc sameas that bct*ecn continr.ritv(imnrancnce) and thc of falsitv in thc fit't of rt'gartlingthc animal as a thing. An

objcct. ln thc first immanence,no differcnce is possiblc arrimal exists fbr itself ancl in ortk'r to lrc a thinq it must
bt'fbrt' thc positing of tbc manufhcturc'dtool. Likorise, br rlcarl or (lorncsticatcd. tlrt' catcn animal can bc

n'ith thc positing of the suhject on the planc ol obiccts (of posite'das an obicct onlv provided it is catcn clcatl.Inclcc<l
thc' subject-objrct),thc mind is r.rotvet distinct fnrm thc it is f'ullva thing onlr in a ro.rstcd,grillctl, or boilcrl fbrm.

botlr'. C)nlv starting lrom thc mlthical represcntationof Morcovcr, thc prc'parationof mcat is not primaril)' c<ln-

autonomousspirits doestl-reborlv fin<litsclf on thc sirlcof r-rcctt'rlu.'ith a gastronomical ltursuit: bt'lbre that it has tcr

things, insofhr as it is not pr(.sentin sovt-reignspirits.-l'hr. rlo uith thc lact tltat nr.ruclot'sttot t'.rtanvthing beforehc

rcal u'orld rcmainsas a residuumof thc birth <.rfthc divinc l'rasmarlc an objcc't of it. At ltrast in cirtlinan tirt'um-

rvorld: rcal animals and plants separatctl f rclm thcir stanct-s,matl is atr animal tlrat <lot'stl<lthtrred fdrr itl tllJt

spiritual truth skrlr'lvrcjoin the cmptr. objcctivitr.of tools; nhi ch h t 'eat s. But t o kill t hc anit 'nalan<lalt cr it as ot t t '

thc mortal bodv is grarlu.rllvassimilatcdto thc nrassof plcascsis trot tltrelv to chartgeirtto a thing tlrat uhich
things. Insofaras it is spirit, thc human realitl' is holr', but tloubtlessu'as not a thing from tlrt-start; it is to tlefinc the

it is profinc insofaras it is rcal. Animals,plants,tools, an<l aninral as a thinq bciirrehantl.Cotlcerning that u'hit'h I

otht'r controllablc things firrrn a rcal rvorkl u'ith the kl l l , uhi ch I cut up, uhich I cook, lim plicit lv alf ir r n t hat

borlicsthat control them, a uorlil subjcc'tto anrl tralcrse<l rfiar has ncvt'r bt'en anvthing ltut a thing. Tcl titt u1l,took.

lrr' <livinr'fortcs. brrt fallen. an<lt'.rt a nlan is on tht' c()ntrarvatrominalllc'.It dciesno

harm to anvonc;in fhct it is clftcn unrcastlnablt'notto do
son.rcthinguith nran. Yct thc studr rlf attatomt t'cast'dt<r
onlv a shrtrt tirlc ago. Antl clcspit.'al)l)(ar-
bc scan<lalotts


\flLl T lrE PH()f.\fJE W ORI D

materialistsarc still so religiousthat
The Worker and the TooI
in thcir eversit is alu'at'sa crimc to make a ntan into a
Generallvspcaking,thc uorlrl of things is pcrc.civcrlas a
t hing - a ro a s t, a s l e \\.... In a l t\' (' A sc,tht' htrntan atti -
fillcn rrorkl. It t'ntails tht, alit-nati<lnof tht, ont, u.hcr
tr-rclctorlard thc lro<lr is fbrmirlablv compler. Insolar as
crcatc<lit.'l'his is thc basi<princ.iplc:to sr-rborrlinatc
is r-rot
he is spirit, it is man's misfortunc to have the bcldvof an
onlv to alte.rdrc subordinateilclcmcnt but to bt. altcrcrl
animal and thus to bc like a thing, but it is thc glorv of
onesclf. The tool c'hangesnaturc an<l nran at the same
tht' hutnan bodv to be thc substratumof a spirit. Anrl tht'
timc: it subjugatcsnatLrr('torran, uho rnakcsantl uscsit,
spirit is so closelv linkcd to the bodv as a thing that thc
but it tics man to subjugatcd nature. Naturc becomt,s
botlv ncr,cr ccascsto bc hauntc<|,is ner,era thing ('xccpt
man's prclpertr.but it ccascsto bc imnrancntt<l hinr lt is
v ir t u a l l r' ,s o m u c h s o th a t i l rl t' a th rccl uctsi t to thc con-
hi s on c'ont lit iont hat it is r . lost 'rtlo hir . n.I f hc placcst he
r lit io n o f a th i n g , th c s p i ri t i s n rc l rt' prcstntthan cvcr: tht'
uorl i l i n lr is poucr , t his is t <l t hc cxt t . nt t lr at ht , f br gct s
bodv that has betraverl it reveals it more clearlv than
that hc is himsclf the r.r,orlcl:
hc rlenicstht' u'orltl but it is
u'hcn it sen'e<lit. Irr a st.nscthc ('orpscis thc most com-
himst'lf that hc dcnics. Ercrvthing in rlcrlart,s
ple'tc allinnation of the spirit. What dcath's dL.finitilc'
that I havc conrpclle<lthat uhich is ccltralto m(,no longer
impcltenccand abscnccrcvcals is the r,erv csst'nccof thc
to exist firr its rtun purposebut ratht'r fbr a purp<lscthat
spirit, just as thc sr.rcamof thc onc that is killed is the
is alicn to it. Thc purpos('of a plou' is alien to thc rcalitv
suprcmc aflirmation clf lifc. Convcrsclv, man's corpse
tlrat constitutts it; anrl rrith grcater rcason, the slrnt. is
rcvt'als thc c'omplctc reilucticln of thc animal boclr',an<l
true of a grain of u,hc.rtclr a calf. If I .rtc t[rt' u.heator the
thcrclbrc ther living animal, to thinghoorl. In thqrrv thc
cal f i n an anim al uar ', t ht 'r . uoukl also bc r lir cr t t t l f r <lm
bodr, is a strictlv subordinatcclcmcnt, u,hich is of ncl ccln-
thcir oun purposr-,btrt thev lrould be surklcnh.rlcstrovcrl
s('qu('nc('fbr itst'lf - a trtilitv of thc samt-naturt' Ascanvas,
as n' ht' atan<l. r scalf . At no t im r : uoult l t lr c uheat an<lt hc
inrn, or lurnber.
calf bc thc rhinqsthat thtr art' front tht. start. The grain
of 'nvl'rcat
is a unit clf a-qri.ulturalproduction; thc c.rlu is a
hcaclof livcstock,and tht onc u'ho cultir,atcsthc u hcat is
a larmcr; thc ont' n ho raiscsthc stccr is a stock raist'r.
Nou', during thc tirnc rvlrcn ht'is cultirating, thc tirmcr's

10 +l

CHAr''rr-u I I I
pu1x)se is not his orvn PurPosc' antl during thc tirnc
uhcn hc is tcntling the stock, tht: purpost' of thc stock
Sacrifice, the Festival, and the
raist'r is not his o\\'n PurPosc.Thc agricultural proclutt
ancl the'livestock arc things, ancl the thrmt'r rlr thc stock
Principles of the Sacred World
raist'r,<luringtht- tinlt' thev arc uorking, arc alsclthirlgs'
All this is forcign to the immancnt immcnsitv, uhcrt'
thcre arc neithcr separationsnor limits. In the clcgret'that
he is the immancnt it'nmcnsitv,that hc is bcing, that he is
o/ thc norlcl, man is a stratrgerfbr himst'li. Thc farmcr is
not a man: hc is tht' plou' of the onc u.ho t-atsthc breacl'
The N e ed That I s M et
At the limit, thc act of thc eatcr himst-llis alrcatlvagricul-
by Sacrifice and Its Principle
tural labor, to uhich hc furnishcstht' cncrgv.
Thc flrst fruits of the harvcst or a he.rclof livestock arc
sacritlccdin <lr<lerto rcmove the plant and the animal,to-
gctl-ri'r r,r,ith thc lhrmer and thc stock raiser, from thc
r'vorld of things.
The principle of sacrifice is dcstruction, but though it
sometimesgoes so fhr as to destroy completely (as in a
holocaust),thc dcstruction that sacrillce is intcnded to
bring about is not annihilation.Thr- thing - onlv thc thing
- is u'hat sacrillcenreansto destrol' in thc victim. Sac-
rilic'e dcstror-san objcct's real tics of sr-rbrtrdination;
<lraus thc victim out <lf the world <l['utilitv and restclres
it to that of unintelligiblccaprice.Wht'n thc ofli'rerl ani-
mal entcrs tht'cirr'le in uhich thc prit'st u,ill immolatr-it,
it passesfrom the u'orlcl of things u'hich are closcclto


lnan an(l arc nothinq to hirn, u'hich hc knous lrom thc that urrrlcl of things on u.hich clistinc'trealin is founded.
outsi<le- to the uorld that is immancnt to it, inrimrite, It could not derstrovthc animalas a thing u'ithout denving
knoun as the r'r'if'eis knor'r'n in scxual consunrption (con- the animal's objcctive realit,v.This is rvhat gives thc lr,orld
This assLrmes
sumotioncharnelle\. that it has ccasctlto bc of sacrifice an appcarancc of puerilc gratuitousness.But
separatedfrclm its oun intimacv, as it is in the subclnli- onc cannot .rt the sametimc destro_l'
tlrc valuesthat fbund
n.rtion of labor. Thc s.rcriflct'r'sprior separation tl' rcality an<laccePt thcir limits. The rcturn to immanent
rrrlrlcl of things is n('(('ssarlfilr thc rcturn to intlnrocl,of intimacr implies a becloudcd consc'ir>usncss:
immanence betuccn man anrl the r,rorltl. bctrrccn thc ncss is tierl to thc positing of objects as such, graspccl
subjcctanclthe object.The sacriflc'crnct-dsthc sacrifict'in clirectlv, apart from a vaguc pcrception. bevclnd thc
orler to scparatchimsclf lrom thc u'orltl of things anrl alrvavsunrcal imagesof a thinking bascclon participation.
thc victim could not bt' separatcd from it in turn if the
sacrificerllas not alrea<lvscparatcdin arlvance.The sac'-l The Ordinarv Association
riflcer <lec'larcs:"/nfinrotelr',I belong to the sorcrt'iqn of Death and Sacrifice
uclrld clf the go<lsand t.nvths,to the uorlcl o[ r'iolcr.rtanrl
of sacrific'ct'r'engocs so far
The pucrilt' unt'onscir>'ss
uncalculatcdgcncrositr',iust as my u if'c bckrr-rgs to mv
that killinq al)])carsas a \\'a\'of rcrlrcssingthc rvr,rngdontl
rlt-sircs.I u'ithdrau vr>u,rictim, from tht' uorlrl in uhich
to thc aninral, miscrablv rccluct'clto thc c'onclitionof a
\:'ou \\'crL' and could onlr. be rccluc'cclto thc contlition of
thing. As a matter of flact,killing in tlrc litcral st:nsris not
a thing, having a mcaning that uas fbreign to vour inti-
ncccssary.lJut the greatcst ncgation <lf'the real ordcr is
mate natllrc. I call roLr back to the rntlmocro[ thc rlivinc
the onc most favorablcto thc appcaranceof thc mvthical
rvorld, of the profounrl irnmanenccof all that is."
ordcr. Morcovt'r, sacrificial killing rcsolrcs thc painliLl
antinomv <lf life and dcath [rl' mcans <lf a reversal.In fact
T he U n re a l i tv o f th e D i v i n e W orl d
death is nothing in immanc:nce,but becauseit is nothing,
Of coursc this is a mcrnolrigucand thc victim can ncithe-r a being is ncver trulv scparateclfronr it. llecauscclc-athhas
understand nor replv. Sacrifice essentiallvturns its back no meaning, bccause-
tht're is no diffr:rcncc bertrvecnit and
on rcal rclations.If it took them into account,it rvoul<lgo Iifc, and tht're is no fear of it or dcfcnsc against it, it
against its or,r,nnatur(', rvhich is prccisclv thc oppositc of invaclcsevcrlthing rvithout giving rise to any rcsistancc.

+4 .t :)
l)uration ceascsto haveranl. r,aluc, or it is there only in mcasurclcssviolcncc is a danger to thc stabilitt'of things,
ordcr to produce thc morbid <lt:lcctationof anguish.On an afflnnation that is fulh,rocalccl onlv in death.Thc real
thc contrarv, thc objective anrl in a scnsc transccndcnt orrkrr must annul - nt'trtralizt'- that intimatc lilc an<l
(relativeto thc subjcct)positingof thc u'orld of things has rcplacc it u'ith thc thing drat thc- inclir.iclualis in thc
cluration as its floundation:no thinq in fact has a separat(] societvof labor. lJut it canncltprcr,cntlife's ditappcarancc
existcncer,has a mcaning, r-rnlcssa subsequenttime is in dcath from rocaling thc inli.sihle brillianct:of life that
is ncrt a thing. 'I'he po\ver of rleath significs that this real
positecl,in vicw. of lr.hich it is constitutcd as an objcct.
'l'hc objcct is <lcfinctl rvorlcl can onlv har,c a neutral image.of lifc, that lif'c's
as an clpcrativcpou,erronly if its
rluration is implicidl' untlcrstoo<I.If it is destroverias foorl intimacv docs not rt'r't'al its dazzling consr.rmptionuntil
or fucl is, thc eatcr or thc manulbctured object prcservcs the moment it gives out. No onc knt' r'r,asthcrc lvhern
its value in cluration;it has a lasting purpose likc coal or it',r'as;it uas or,crlookt-din thvclrof real things:dcath r,r'as
breacl. Futurt' time constitutcs this real rvclrlclto such a onc rcal tl-ring among others. llut rleath sucklenlv sh<lrvs
tlegreethat death no longcr has a placc in it. But it is for that thc rcal sociertvwas lving. l'ht'n it is not thc loss of
this ver1.reason that dcath mcans cventhing to it. The thc thing, of the usefulmr:mber,that is taken into consid-
(thc contradiction) of the r.vorlclof things is that
r,ve-akncss eration. What the real socit'tv has lost is not a member
it imparts an unrcal characterrto clcathcvernthough man's but rather its truth. That intimate llf-e,u'hich hacllost thc
membership in this w.orltl is ticcl to the positing of thc abilitv to full.vrcach mc, xhich I rcgarclcclprimarilv as a
bodv as a thing insofar as it is mortal. thing, is firllv rcstorc-d to mv scr-rsibilitvthrough its
As a mattcr of fact, that is a sr-rpcrficialr ieu . What has atrscncc.l)cath rcvcals lif'c in its plcnituclcand dissolr,cs
no placc in thc n,orkl of things, n.hat is unreal in thc real thc rt'al order. I lenccfirrth it rnatt('rs verv littlc that this
lr'orld is not cxactlv rlcath. I)eath actuallr.discloscsthc rcal order is the ncr'<llbr the rluration of that u.'hichn<r
imposturc of rcalitv, not onlr. in thrt thc alrrcnccof tlura- longer cxists. When an clcmcnt cs('apcsits tlcmanrls,

tion givcs the lie to it, but abovc all be'causc u'hat rcmainsis not an cntitv that sr-rf}i'rs
rlcath is tht,
grcat affirmcr, thc u'ondcr-struck cn of lifc. Thc real at on(c that cntitr', the rcal onlcr, hascomplctclv dissipatcd.
'fhcrt'is no morc
order does not so rnuch rcjcct thc ncgationof lifc that is qucstion of it and uhat clcathbrings in
death as it rejccts thc aflinnation of intimate lifi., r,vhcise tt'arsis thc trst'lcss of the intimatc ortler.

46 41
SA.]R IFI.Jf TFF fF ST IVAI Itst .,Act]EI) W .rRLf)

It is a naivc opinion that links dcath closclvto sorrou.. not to kill but to rt'linquishand to givc. Killin.qis onlv thc
'l'hertcars of the lir ing, n,hich respond
to its r.oming,arc cxhibition of a rleep me;rning.What is important is t<t
themsclvesfhr from lraring a mcalringoppositcto jov. Far pass from a lasting orclt'r, in rvhich all r.onsumptionof
fronr bcing sorroulirl, thc tcars arc the cxprcssionof .r rcsources is subordinatcrl to tht' nt'etl fbr cluraticln,to the
kccn au,arcncssof sharedliie graspcdin its intimacv. It is violt'nccof an uncontlitionalcclnsumption;rvhat is impor-
truc tlrat this auart.ncss is nt'r'r'r keener than at thc tant is to lcavt' a u'clrltl of real things, rvhose rt-alitv
momcnt r'r'hcnab.senr:e
rcplaccsprcst'nce,as in derives from a long tcnn opcration anrl nevcr rcsirk-sin
rleath or mere sr.paration.Anrl in this casc, thc con- thc momcnt - a norlrl that crcatcs an<lprcscrrcs (that
solation(in the strong scnscthc u'orcl has in thc "conso- crcatcs for thc'fltof a lastingrealitvy.Sacrifict'is thc
lations" of the mvstics) is in a sensebitterlv tie<l to thc antithesisof procluction, u,hich is accomplishcclrvith a
fact that it cannot last, but it is precisclvthc vicr,vto the fluturc; it is cclnsuntpticlnthat is conccrnerl
anc'coI duraticln,antl of the neutral bcha','iorsassclciatt:d onlv u'ith thc moment. 'Ihis is thc scnsein u'hich it is gift
u,ith it, that uncovers a ground of things that is <lazzlinglv anclrclinquishmcnt,but u,hat is givcn ('annotbe an objcct
bright tin other rrords, it is clear tlrat the nccd lirr dtrra- of presen'ation for the rect'ivcr: the gilt of an o{fcring
ticln conccalslifi: fi'onr us, an<lthat, onlv in thcon', the makcs it pass prcciseh' into thc n orld of ahrupt
impossibilitvof duration lreresus). In othcr casesthe tears cclnsumption.
rcspond insteadto unexpectecltriumph, to goo<lfortunc l-his is the mc-aningof "sacriflcing to the rleity,"
that m.rkcs us enrlt, but aluat's madly, lar bcrond tht- uhose sacrcdcsscnceis comparableto a firc. To sacril-ice
c on( (' rn fo r I ftrtrrrcti me . is to give as onLrgives cclalto thc furnace. lJut tht' lurnacer
orclinarilvhas an undcniableutilitv, to u'hich the coal is
The Consummation of Sacrifice strborclinaterl,rvhereasin sacrifice tht' ollcring is rt'sc'uecl
Thc pou'cr that death generall_vhas illuminatesthe mc.rn- frour all utilit\'.
ing of sacrifice, rvhich functions like death in that it This is so clcarly the precisemt-aningof sacrificc,that
rt'stores a lost r,aluc through a relinquishmcnt of that onc sacriflcesn.fioris usefirl;one does not sacrifice luxuri-
value. But death is not necessarilvlinkcd to it, ancl the ous ob.jcc'ts.Therc could bc no sacrillcc if thc offi'ring
most solcmn sacrificemav not bc bloodv. 'l'cl sacrificcis u'ere dt-stro1'cdbefirrehancl.Nolr, depriving thc labor o1'

,+8 ,1 C)


manuf;(turc of its uscfi.rlnessat tht' outsct, luxun. lras

stilI a nergativedt'flnition, lrom uhich the csscntial is
that labor; it has clissipatedit in vain-
glon; in the vcrv monrcnt, it has lost it for goocl.To sac.- 'fhese
statcmcntshave thc vagut'clualitvof inacccssi-
r illc c a l u x u n ' o b j c tt u r> trl <llrc to sacri fl ccthc samc o[r-
ble rlistances,but on the othcr hand artictrlatccl<lefinitions
jt ' c t tu i c t' .
strbstitutcthc trcc lbr the forest, thc clistinctarticr,rl.rtion
llut ncither coul<l one sacrificc that w'hich \\'as not
lbr that u'hich is articulatcd.
flrst u,ithrlrau'nfr<lm immancnce,that which, ncvcr har'-
I u'ill resrlrt to articr,rlationncvcrtheless.
ing l>elongccl
tcl immancnce,uoulcl not har.cbct-nseconrl-
l'aracloxicallv,intimacv is r,iolcncc,and it is destnrc-
arilv subjugatt'tl,rlomcsticatccl,anrl rt'rluc.crlto bt'ing a
tion, l>ccauscit is not compatiblcu'ith thc positing of thr-
thing. Sacrificcis rtrarleof objt'cts that c.oukl havt lteen
scparateindividtral.II one descrilrcsthe indiviclualin the
spirits, suc'has animalsor plant sutrstanccs, but that harc
opt'ration of sacrifice,hc is tlefincd bv anguish.Br.rtif sac-
trecorncthings an<lthat neeclto bt'restorcd to the imma-
rifice is distressing,the: rerasonis that the indiviclual takcs
trcncc x.hencc thcl. colnc, to the vaguc spherc of lost
part in it. Thc indiriclualiclentifiesuith the victim in thc
strrklcnnrovomcnt that restclrcsit to inruranence(to inti-
nrac\'),but the assirnilationthat is linkerl to the rt'turn to
The Individual, Anguish, and Sacrifice
immanernccis noncthclessbascdou thc lact that the ric-
Intimacv cannot be c-xprcsscddiscursir.cly. -l'hc
tim is the thing, just as the sacriflceris the intlividual.
T'he su'elling to the bursting point, the malicc that
st'parateindivirlual is of tht' sam('nature as thc thing, or
brt'aks out rvith clenthccl teeth anrl \\'ccps; thc sinking
rathr:r thc anxiousnessto remain pcrsonalh' ali"c that
fi'.'ling that ckx'sn't knou uhcrc it r'orn('sfiom or nhat
t'stablishcsthe pt'rson'sinclivirlu.rlitvis linkc<lto tht' inte-
it's alrout; thc ft'ar that singsits hca<loff in thc clark;thc
gration of cxistencc into thc u'cirl<lof things. To put it
n'hitt'-cr.t'd pallor, thc su.cct satlncss,thc ragc and thc
rliffcrcndy, rvork and the fi:ar of dving are intcr<lepern-
r om il i n q . . . a r(' s () I)l a n \ (' \a s i o n s .
rlt'nt; thc fbrn.rt-rinrplics the thing antl vicc vt'rsa.In fat't
What is intimatc, in thc, hat has thc
it is not cvcn nc(cssan'to lvork in or<lt'r to be thc tAlncl
passionof an abscnccof in<liridualitr-,thc inrpcrccptiblc
of [c'ar:man is an inc]ividualto the cxt('nt that his il)pre-
sonoritv of a rivcr, tht' cmptr' lirnpiditv of thc skl': this is
ht'nsion ties him to thc results of labor. But man is not.


O A IA ,AaRELl WC)nLtr

as onc might think, a thing bccaust,hc is afraicl.Hc u.or,rlrl anrl contagiousmovemcnt of a purelv glorious consump-
havc no anguishif he-rlcre not the intlir,iclual(thc,thing), tion. Thc sacrcclis cxactlv c'omparableto thc flame that
.rnd it is .ssentiallv the fac.tof lx-ing an irrriiri,l'al clcstro-vs
thc u'ood bv corrsumingit. lt is that oppositc of
fucls his anguish.It is in .rclcr to thc rlenranrls a thing u'hir:h an r,rnlirnitcdfire is; it sprcads, it racliatcs
thc tl-ring,it is insofar as rht,uorkl nf ihi,-,gs;
has positerl hr-at an<l liglrt, it sucldt'nlv inflanrcs an<l blinds in tun'r.
his duration as tl.rt'basic r.ondition of his uorth, Sacrificeburns likc thc sun that slo* lv dies of the prodigi-
that hr.
learnsanguish.I{e is alraitl of death as soon as hc ous radiation rvhosi'brilliancc our ('vcs cannot bcar, but
thr. ststr:m of projec,tsthat is the order of things. it is nevt-r isolatcrland, in a uorkl <lf in<lir,iduals,
it calls
clisturbsthc ordt'r ol things anrl thr: orclerof thinq. for thc gencral ncgation of indir,iclualsas such.
us. lV1anis afrairl of thc intimatc ordcr that is not The clivinc lr,orlrl is contagiousand its contagion is
cilable rvith thc ordcr of thirrgs.C)thenvisethcre clangcrous.In thcon', n lrat is startcd in tlre operation o[
bc no sacrifice,and thcre rroirkl bc no mankincl sacrificc is likc tht- action of lightning: in therirv thcrc is
The i'timat. order u.lulcl re'car itserfin the clestruc- ncl limit to tht'contlagraticlrr.It far'orshuman lifc an<lnot
tion and the sac.rcdangrrishof the intlividual. anirnalitr; tht' rr:sistanccto immant'r.tccis u'hat rcgulatcs
rnan is not squarclyu.ithin that ordcr, but onlv its resurgcncc',so yroignantin tcars an<lso strong in thc
o[ it through a thing that is thrtatcne<lin its nature (in turavorrableplcastrrcof anguish.But if rnan strrrt-n<lt'rcrl
thc projectsthat constitutc it), intimacr.,in thc unrcsenccllyto immanencc,hc u'or-rldlall shrlrt of human-
o1' thc incliviclual,is holr,, sacrc.1,antl suflusc-rl itv; l-rcw'oulclachievcit onlv to losr it an<levc'ntuallvlif'e
auguish. rroulclreturn to tht' unconsciousintitrracvof anirnals.Thc
constant problem poscd bv the impossibilitv of bcing
T he F e s ti v a l human rvitl'routbeing a thing ar-rrl
o[ csc'aping
tht' linrits of
l-lre sacrcd i.sthat prcxligiousefk,n.esct,rrccof life- things uithout returning tcl animal slrrmbt'rrcccilcs thr
tlrat, for
thc sakerof cluration,the order of things holclsin limitcrl solutionof the fcstival.
and that this hokling c.hang..s into a hrl..akingloose,th;rt Thc initial movenrt'nt of tht' fcstiral is givt'n in
is, into violencc'. It constarrtly tlrreatcn.sto clcrnentarvhumanitv, but it reacht'sthc plcnitutle of an
brcak the
dik c s ,to c o n l ro n t p ro < l u c ti v t.a tti ri t_r
rri th the preci pi tatc cf-fusiononlv if tht' anguishc<lconccntration of sacrificc

tIE sncuaD WiIFLL)

sets it loosc. Thc fcstival assernblesmcn rvhom the con_

cnscmblt'that is at stakc in thc rituals. Fclr tht' sak''''rf a
sumptio' the c.orrtagio,.s
,f-fcri'g (co'r'runi'n) ,pens
'f rcol ctttnrnutritr',of a st-,cialfat't that is gircn as a tlrirrg-
up to a c.onflagration,but one that is limitecl by a counter_
of a commclnopcration in vit'u of a futtrrc timt' - thc fcs-
r.ailing prudence: thcre is an aspirati.n for destruction
tiral is limiterl: it is itsclf intt'gratt'clas a link in thc ton-
that brcaks,ut in tl.rcft.stiral,l-,r,tth.." is a conse^,.atrr.c
. 'hat 's,scxt lal
catctrat ionclf us, 'luluor ks. As <lr unkcr it r css,
prudcncethat regulatr:sand linrits it. On thc one hand, all
orgv, that n.hich it tcnclsto bc, it tlrouns clcnthing irr
thc possibilitiersof consumption arc brought togt-ther:
immancncc in a scnsc;it thcn cvcn exc'ct'<ls th. limits of
dancc anclPoctrv, ntusicand tht. <lillercntarts contribute
thc hvb r i<lnor l<l of spir it s,but it s r it t t al t lr or cm t 'r r t sslill
to making the fbstival thc place and thc time of a
spec_ into the r','orltl of immanence <tnlvthrough thc rllctliatior.r
tacular letting loose.But consciclusness, au,akein ung.,i.h,
of spi rit s.To t hc spir it s bt >r nt 'bv t hc f cst ival,t o uhom
is rlisposcrl,in a revcr.salcommanderlbv arr inabilitrlto
g,, thc sacr if lct 'isof f cr ct l, . ln<lt o r r lt oscir r t it lr acvt hc vit t im s
al'ng r.r,iththc letting l'ose, r.,.,.-, to thc
neerd arc rt-storecl,an clpcrativcl)()w('ris attributctl in the same
that the orclerof things has- bcing f-cttcrecl by nature an<l u'av it is attribtrtcd to things' In thc t'nd thc festivalitself
s t ' lf - p a r' .rl rz e- d to rt,t.c i rea n i rn p . .l rrsl i orrr
l hc orrtsi rl c. is vicrrc<las att <llteration.-rlt<l its t'fli'ctivcrrt'ss is trot clttcs-
J'hus the letting kxrsr,of the f'estiralis llnalh.,
if not fert_ tioncd. The possibilitv of prodr'rcing,of fecunclatingthc
tcrcd, thcn at least conflnt:d to therlimits
of a realitv of fickls and thc herclsis gircn to ritcs u'host'least scnile
*hich it is thc nt'gatir'.'r-he fi'sti'al is
t,leratt-cl to thr
'lt ctlt-
opcrativc ftrrtns are aimccl,through a cotrcessiot.t,
extent that it r('s('rr(.s thc ncc.cssiticsof
thc prclfanc ting thc losscsliom the drea<lfr-rlviolcncc of thc clivint'
rr c,rlrl.
u'orl<1.In anv cast',1t<tsitivt'lvin f'ccuntlation'nt'g;ttirelr in
pr<lpitiation,tlrt'col'ttmttnit\ tlrst al)Pcarsin the fi'stiral as
Limitation, the Iltilitarian Interpretation of
a thing, a dcfinite indiviclualizationand a shar.'<lproicct
the Festival, and the positing of the Group 'l'hc festivalis not a trtle rctllrn
'l'hc rvith a vit'n to tlttration.
fi.stiral is thc firsionof hunran life. For thJ thing
an<l ltut rathc'ratr arnital>lerccont'ili.rtion,filll
t<l iurrnant't.tce
tlrc indi', it is thc cruciblc *,hcrc rlistincti.ns nrt-lt
in of anguish,bctucen the irlcompatillltrnecessitics'
thc intcnsr heat of ir-rtimatclifc. BLrt its intimac.vis
tlis_ Of coursethe communitv in the festivalis not positcd
solverl in thc rt'al antl in<liriclLralizi,rlpositing
of tlrc
sirnph as at.rclbici:t,bttt more gt'nerallvas a spirit (as a

s4 55


looking firr rrhat it has itscl{'lost, antl ulrat it mttst
but its positing has the r,alut-of a lirnit to
()f ctltrrscu'hat it has lost is
,',g.i,,., it <lraus ncar to it.
the irnmanenccol' tht' fcstiral anri, firr this reason, thc
not <llttsitlt' it; cons(lollsllcss turlls A\\av fiom
thing aspcctis acccntuatcrl.If thc fi'stivalis not vet, r>rncr
obscurt' intintacv of conscitlttsncss itsclf' Rcligion, uh<lsc
longcr, un<lcr vl'ar',tht' c<lmmunity link to thc festivalis
cssenccis tht- searchfbr ltlst intinlacv,cotn('stlrlull trl
given in o;leratir,efilrms, u'hose c'hicfcnds arc the procl-
ctlirrt ol clt'ar tonsci<)Ltsllcss lvhich natlts to lrt a ctrm-
trcts of labor, thc crops, anclthc' hcrds. Therc is no clc'ar
ulctt' st'11-tot"tstiouslrt'ss;but this c{-fort is firtilc' sinct'
of'wh.rt tht'fcstir,alactuall)'is(of w.hatit is at
.',,nr.i,,urn,'.s<lfitrtirnatv is llossiblt'onll at a lcvel u'ht'rc
the momt'nt of its lt'tting loosc; and thc fc'stiral is not
(onscionsnt'ssis nrl lonqt'r in ()l)t'r'lti()n$h<lst'otttcomt'
situatcrl <listinctlvin tonst'iousnr'sstxr'r..ptas it is intr'-
implies <lurati<tn,that is, at thc lcvel u here claritr"
grate<linto the rluration o[ thc conrmunitr'.This is n'hat lotlgt r
u'hich is thc cfli't t clf thc ollcration, is n"
thc fi'stival (irrcendiarv sacrific't-and the outbreak of flre)
is consciouslr'(subordinatcrltcl that rluratior.rof thc com- gl \ (' n.

nron thing, nhich prt'r'cnts it lrom cnduring), but this

War: The Illusions of the Ilnleashing of
shous the fi:stival'spcculiar impossibilityanrl man's limit,
Violence to the Outside
tit'<l as he is t<l clt'ar consciousncss.
So it is not huntan- of thc festival
A soc'ictv'sindivirlualitv,uhich the lusion
itr' - insoLrr as clr,ar constioLrsrrt'ss
rightlv opp<lscsit t<r rvorks - of
'l-hr. ,lirr,rl,'.r, is tleflnctl flrst of all in tcrrns of rcal
anirnalitt' restorctltcl immancncc. r'irtuc of thc' fcs- into tht
agrarian prtic|-rt'tiol.r- that integrate sacrificc
tiral is not intcgrate<linto its naturt: and convcrscl_r.
thc thr"rshas the
..l ,rl,l ,,f things. tlut thc trnitv of a groLlP
lctting krose of thc l'estir.alhas bct'n possiblc onlt' bccaust'
abilitv to clireclttlestructiveviolcncc to thc
of this pont-rlcssncssof ccllrsciousn('ssto takt' it lbr uhat matter of [act, erxternalviolcncc is antithetical to
it is. 'fhe basic problenr o[ rcligion is given in tlris fatal
sac'rifice or the fcstival, whosc violencc u'clrks
of sacrificc.Man is the lreing that has
lr,ithin. Only rtiigion cltsurcs a consttmptictn that tlestrovs
lost, and cvt'n rcjectt'<I,that *'hich hc obscurelv is, a
thc very sttltstanccclf tl.roservhom it movcs' Armcd
vaguc intirnac_r'. could not have bec'omt:
tlestrovsothcrs or thc u.ealthof <lthcrs'lt can ht' t'xt'rtccl
clcar in tht'coursc rif tirnc lf it had not turnr<l aual, lrom
incliviciuallr',uithin a grouP' but thc constitutcrl
its an kn'arrl ( ont('rits. l;ut <:lcarc'onsciousnt'ssis itsclf

'F ] L

c an l)ri l tg i t t< l b e a r o n th t. o u ts i < l t,

ani l i t i s thcn that i t
bc gin sto rl t' r.t' l < li1tst i .o n s c q u t,n c .t,s. From the Unfettered Violence of Wars to

In deadh. battlcs, in massacrt.sanrl the F ettering of Man-as-Contmodity

pillagcs,it has a
rneaningakin to that of fi,stivals,in that This lalse anrl sr,rperficialcharactcr has sc'rionsconsc-
thc cnc, not
trcatctl as a thing. llut is not limitc<l quenccs. War is not limitccl to fbrrns o[ uncalculated
to thcse t.xulo_
sir.c forces an<i,w.ithin thcsc verr. limits, havoc. Although ht- rcmains <limlr,auare of a calling that
it is not a slou
action as sacrific.t' rules out the sclf-scckingbehavior of work, the rvarrior
is, corducte.cll'ith a a return
lost intimacv. It is a rljsonlc_.rlv recluceshis fbllorvmen to scrvitude.IIe thus subordinaters
cruption rvhosc cxternal
dircction robs the uarrior of thc. intimacv violcncerto thc most complete rerluction of mankind to
hc An<l
if it is t^rc that r'arfarc tr.'rJs in it. n.,r,., thc ordcr of things. l)oubtless thc uarrior is not tht'
\\.a\ to clissoh.c
thc indir,i<lualthrough .r nt,llativcuagt,ring initiator of the reduction. Thc opcratior.rthat makcs ther
of thc l.ah-rc of
his ou'n life, it cannot hclp l,ut enhance-his slavc a thing prcsupposcclthc prior institutiotr of u'ork.
valuc in thc
( our s c o f' ti m e b -v ma k i n g Btrt the lrcc r,r'orker rras a thing vc>hrnt.rrilvand fclr a
tl rc s u n.i vi ng i nrl i vi tl ualthc
bencfician'of the-rvagcr. givcn time'. C)nlv the slavr',u.hom thc nrilitan' or-dcrhas

War dett'rrninc-sthe clcr.ekrpmcntcif maclc a comnroclitr', <lrarls oi,rt thc cornplctc colrsc-
the inrliviclual
bev on tlth c i n < l i v i d u a l -a s _ th i ni ng th c quences of the rerluction. 1[ncleecl,it is nectssan' tcl
gl ori ousi nrl i vi cl ual _
itv of tht: u..rrrior. Thc glorious indlritlual spccifvthat n ithout slavcrvthe rvorlclof things u.<rr-rkl
through a lirst nc.gationof inrlir.idualitv, Thus the cru<lcunronsr'ioLrs-
havc achicvt-clits plcnitucler.)
thc divine orr:lcr
into the c.atc.gorv ncss of thc uarrior mainlv r,r'orksin favor of a prcclomi-
of tht, intlirirlual l,riich e_rprcsscs the
ortler of things in a basicu,ar.).IJc has nance of the rcal orcle'r.'l hc sacrcd llrcstigc hc arrogate.s
thc contra<licton,
n,ill to make the ncgation oi,ltrration to himst'lf is the falsepretenseof .r uorld brought don'n
durable. fnu, t,i,
strength is in to thc ncight of utilitr.. Thc narrior's nobilitv is likc a
ltart a strcngth to lic. War rcprcscntsa boltl
arJvance,but it is thc t.mrlcst kind of ailvance prostitute's smile, the truth of uhich is st'll'-intcrcst.
: onc ncctls
as muc'h nalvct6 - or stupi<lit_r. _ as strcngth to bc
fi'rcnt t. that tr hic.h()'(. ()\,.,rralu.., .,r,1 Human Sacrifice
i,, takt, ltri<lt,in 'l'ht' sacriflcesof slar.esillustrate tht'
har ing tl c c mc rl< l n t,s t,loff' ri o r.a l u t,. principle accorcling
t<r rvhich uhat rlcstincrl fbr sacrificc.Sacrilice


surr('ndcrs thc slave, rvhclsc scrr.itudc ac.centuatesthc of sacrilice,is not satisfiecl

intcrnal violencc,the t-sserncc
dcgrarlationof the-human or<ltr, to thc baleful intimacv
bv it. Intensc consulnption requires victims at thel top
of unfcttcred violencc. rvho arc not onlv the uscful lr'calth of a pcoplc, but this
In gcneral,human sacriflceis the acutc stagcof a clis_
peoplc itself; or at lcast, clcmcnts that signifv it and that
pute setting the movcmcnt of a measurclessviolcnce uill be dcstined lbr sacrifice,this time not orving to an
againstthc real ordt'r and duration. It is the most radical alit-nation from the sacrerlu'orlcl - a flall- but, quitc thc
contcstation of the primac.vof utilitv. It is at the same (ontrar\, orl'ing to an cx(cptional prclximitv, sr-rchas the
timc the highest de.greeof an unleashing of intcrnal vio_ sovc'rcignor thc children (u'host'ki[ling finallv realizcsthc
lence. The society in u-hich this sa..riflcerages mainlv
perfbrrnanccclf a sacrificetu'ice clvcr).
afllrrns the rejection of a disequilibrium nf th" trr,, ,,lu- One could not go further in the dcsireto consumcthe
lences. He u.ho unlcasheshis lorccs of destruction on
ther life substancc.Indecd, one coukl nclt go morc recklcssly
outside cannot be sparingof his resourccs.If he reduccs
than this. Such an intensc movemcnt of consumption rc-
the enc.mvto slar,cry,he must, in a spcctacularfhshion,
sponds to a movcment of malaisc bv crcating a greater
make a glorious use of this nc\\. sourcc of rvcalth. IJc
must malaise.It is not thc apogce ol a rcligious svstem, but
partlv <lcstro.l'thesc_-
things that sen,e him, for there is rathcr the moment rvhcn it condemns itself: r'vhcnthe old
nothing uscful around him that can fail to satisfv,first
of fbrms har"elost part of their virtuc, it can maintain itself
all, the mythical order's rlemanrlfbr consumption.Thus
a onlv thnrr,rghcxcesscs,through inn<lvationsthat are too
continual surpassing tor,r.ard dcstruction clenies, at
thc oncrous. Numt-rous signsinclicatethat thcse cnx'l dcmands
same time that it affinlrs, thc indir,irh,ralstatus of
thc ucrer not t'asih'tolcratcd.Trickerv rerplaccdthc king u"ith
a slave on uhom a tcmPorarv rovaltv r'vasconfi'rred. Thtr
But this dcmancllor consumption is broLrghtto bear
primacv of consttmptioncould not rcsist that of militarv
on the slar.e insofar as the lattcr is Ai.spropcrtv antl llis
thing. It shoulclnot be confusedu,ith thc movcmcnts
l'iolencethat har,er
the outsidc, the encmv, as their obiect.
ln t lr i s r(.s p c (t th r.s a tri fi rt, ,rf ,r s l.rrc i * l ar l rom h.,i nt
purer.In a senseit is an cxtcnsionof militarv combat, and

60 6l
P. nl T w c t

R el i gi on W i thi n the

Li m i ts of R eas on

F ro m tl-rc Militarv Orrler

to Inrl ustrial

C tt .t t''t t, tt I

The M ilit ar l'O r cler

From a Balance of Resour ces ar r d

E xpendi t ur es t o t he Accum ulat ion of
Forces with a View to Their Growth
Human sac'rific'etcstifies at thc same tinrc tcl an cxct'ssof'
neal th an r l t o a ven'painf ul uav of spcnclingit . I t gcner -
allv led to the'con<lemnationof thc rather stablenen sys-
tcms u'hosegrou'th u'as slight anclin u'hich the cxpcndi-
turc \\'as (olllrcnsuratc rrith tht' rt'sottrce's.
Tht'nrilitan'ordcr pr.rtan cnclto thc malaiscsthat cor-
rcsponrlcd tcl an orgv of cclnsumption.It clrganizcrla
rational use of fbrces firr thc constant incrcaseof pou'cr.
mcthorlicalspirit of c'onqucstis c'ontrarvto thc spirit
of sacrillcc an<lthc nrilitan' kings rcjt'ctetl sacritlcefrom
the beginning. The princ'iple of militarv orclt-r is the
mcthorlical divcrsion of violcncc to tl.rc outsirle. lf vio-
lcncc ragt'suithin, it opl>oscsthat violcr.rc'r-
to thc extt-nt
it can. Antl it suborclinates
thc clivrrsionto a rcal t'ntl. It

<locsscl irr a gencral uar'. Thus the nrilitarr orrlcr is con- things lit into the order that bclongsto thcrl; it is itsclf
trarv to the lorrns clf spectac'ularr.iolcncc that corresponcl thc ordcr of things.rnd it is a univcrsalthing. At this lercl,
more to an r,rnbrirllcdcxplosion of fun. than to the the thing that cannot have a sovcreigncharactcr cannot
rational cak'ulationof elfcctircness.It no lorrger rimr at havc a subordinatr:clraractcrcitlrer, sincc irt theorv it is
tht' greatestcxpcn(litur('of firrt't's,as an art.haic.
s<lcialsvs- an opcration der.clopeclto thc limit of its possibilities.At
tcm clirl in u'arfart an<l f-cstirals. Thc cxprn.litr.rr-..,rf tht- limit, it is no longcr a thing, in that it bears rvithin it,
firrct'scolrtinucs,but it is subjcc.tcrl
to a prirrciplcof maxi- beyond its intangiblc qualitit's,an opening to all that is
nrum viclcl:if the fbrcesarc spcnt, it is u'ith a r, thc possible.But in itself this opening is a is onlv the
accluisitionclf grcatcr f<rrces.Archaic. societv conflnecl thing at the momcnt rvhen it is undone, rcvealing thc
itsclf in uarlarc to tlre rounding trp of slavcs.In ket'ping impossibilitv of infinite subordination. But it consttmes
uith its principlcs,it coultl cor.npcnsate
for thcse acquisi- itself in a sovercignu'av.For ('sscntiallvit is alual's a thing,
tions bv mcans of ritual slaughters.Thc militarv orcler ancl thc movcmcnt clf consumJrtionmust (omc to it li'om
organizcsthc viekl of *'ars into slavcs,that of slavcsinto tht' outsicle.
lalmr. It nrakcsc'onquesta mctho<1ical cipcration,for thc
grou'th of an cmpire. Law an d M or alit y
Tht: ermpirc,bcing tht- universal thing (rvhose universalitv
Positing of an Empire as rcveals the void ). insofar as its t-ssenc'cis a divcrsicltrof
the Universal Thing violcncc to thc otrtsitle,neccssarilvdevt'lclpsthe larv that
'l'he empirc submits
from thc start to thc primacv of thc ensures the stabilitv of the order of things. In fact, larv
real orrlc'r. It posits itst-lf e-ssentiallv
as a thing. It ,ub,rr- gives thc attacks against it thc sancti<tnof an external
<linatcsitst'lf to cntls that it afllrms: it is the aclministra- r.ioletrctr.
tion of rcason.llut it could nevcr allorv anothcr cmpire to Lar,r'clefincs obligatorv rclations of each thing (or of
cxist at its fronticr as an cqual. liverv prcscnc'earounrl it eachinrlividual-as-thing)rvith othcrs anrlgtrarantces them
is or<lerc<lrclative to it in a projer,t of c.onquest.In this bv the sanctionof public firrt c. But hcre lau' is onlr' .rtlotrb-
rval' it losrs tht simplc indivirlualizecl
characterof ther[im- let of thc moralitl' that guarantcestht' s.rmc rt'lations llv
itt-cl comntunitl.. It is not a thinq in the senscin n.hich thc sanrtion of an itrtt'rnalviolcnte of thc irltlividual.


Larv and moralitv also have their placc in the empire Cu, qp r l: R I I
in that thcv rlefine a universalncccssity of tht: rclation of
each thing r,r'ith thc othcrs. But tl-rc po\\'cr of moralitv Dualism and M or alit y
rermainsforcign to the svstem basedon extcrnal violcncc.
Moralitv only touches this s1'stcmat thc border r.vhere
lar'r'is integratcd. And thc connection of the one and thc
other is thc middle terrn bv r.vhich oner gocs from the
empirc to thc outsicJc,from the outside to the cmpirc.

The Positing of Dualism and the

Shifting of the Borders of the
Sacred and the Profane
In a u'orlcltlominatc<lbv thc militarl'order, moving trllvar<l
univcrsalempirc from the start, consciousncss is <listinctlv
rlcterrnincd in thc mcasttrertlrcflectittn clf thc uorld tlf
things. And this aLltonomoustltttornination of cont.iotts-
ncss brings about, in duolism,a pr<lfbuntl altcration in tht'
of thc uorld.
Originallv,u'ithin the divine rvorl<I,thc bencficcntand
pure elcments opposcclthe malefic antl impure clcments,
and both tvpes appearcclcquallv distant from the prolane'
But if onc considcrsa dominant mo\'('mcnt of rcflt'crtivt'
th<iught,thc divinc appcarslinkeclto pttritr', thc profhnc
to impurity. In this u'av a shift is eff-cctedstarting lrom
the premisc that divine immant-nce is tlangcrous, that
n'hat is sacred is malcflc first of all, and clcstrovsthrough

6lJ 69

('ontagionth.rt uhich it t:ttmesclost' to, that thc bcncfl- tusc'lcss

cclnsumpticlr.lJut it lrccclrncspossiblconlt' *hcn

bt'ttvt'cnthc profanc rv<lrldarld

arc rrretliatclrs sclvcreigntr',in thc <lirinc norltl, shilts lrorn thc dark
ccnt s1>irits
<lcitl'to thc *'hitc, from the nralcficrlt'itr to thc' protcctor
thc unleashingof rlirint' lbrtes - ancl sct'tn lcss sacretlin
comparisonuitlr tl'rc tlark tlt-itics. of the real orclcr.In fbct it presul)l)oscs
thc sanctionof thc
'l'his earlr shift scts tl'rc stagt' fbr a clt'cisivt'changc. clivir.rc<lrtlt'r. In granting thc opcrative pclu'r'r of the

Rcflectir,cthought <lefincsmoral rulc's;it prt-stribes uni- dir.ineover tht- real,mar-rhad in practic'csuborclinaterl

ancl soci-
r,ersallvobligator-vrclations betu'ccrt indivich,rals clivir.rcto thc rcal. I Ie slou'h' rccluccdits r.iolcnccto thc

ctv or bctr'r,eenintlividuals thcmselvt-s.Theserobligaton' sanctionof thc real orclcr tl.ratmrtralitv constitutcs,pro-

relations arc t'sst'ntiallvthose that cnsurc the <lr<lcrtlf ridcd that thc rcal orclcr confonns, prt-r'isclvin moralitl',

rhings.Thcv somctitnc-stakt' up prohibitions that u'cre to the univcrsalclrder of rt-ason.ln rt'alitr', rcason is thc

establisht'd bl' tht' itrtintatc ordcr (sr.ri:has d're onc ftrr- univcrsalfirrm of thc thing (i<lt'nticalto itsclf) anrl of thc

hidding murclcr). Btrt rtroralitv chooscsfrom amrlng the opcration (of action). Rcason ancl mclralitv unite<l,both

rules of the intim.rtt'or<lcr. lt st-tsasi<lc,or at lcast <locs resulting from thc r,.-alor<ler'snecessiticsof prescnltiorr

llot slll)port, thosc ltrohibiti<lnstltat cannot bc grantecl antl opcrat i<) n,agr ( '( 'nit h t he <livincf ir nt t ion t hat t 'xt 'r -

runir,,that clearlvdt'pcnd cln a capricicltlslit>crtr' c iscsa bcncvolcntsovt'rt'igntl or t'r tltlt onlcr. TItt'r' rati<l-
nal i zcand m or alizcr lir init r ',in t ht ' r 't 'n'nr or cm t 'ntu'hcr c
of thc mvthir'.rlortlcr. Antl t'rcn if it gcts part of tht' lans
fnrr.n rcligitln, it grtluncls thcm, like thc- otht'rs, rnoralitv anrl rcasonan' rlir inizt'rl.
it <lecrt-t-s
Moralitv lavs
it links tht'nr t<ithc ortler of rhing.s. ln this u'av thcrc app('ar thc clt'rnc'ntso1'thc u'orkl
in reason;
vicu' tl'rat is commonlv callc<ltlualisnr anrl that rliffcrs
tl<lun rult's th;rt tilllo* ttnivcrsallvfrom tht'nature of the
fl-om thc lirst rt'ltrcst'ntation,also bast'rlon a biytartition,
prclfane uorld, that cnsr.trethc <luratior"r',r'ithout u'hich
bv r irtut' o1'ashiliing of briundariesanrl an ovcrtrrrningof
thcre can be no opcratirln. It is thcrelforcopposedto the
scalc of r,alucsof thc intimatc ordcr, n'hich placeil the
highcst valuc on that 'nvhosemt'aning is gircn in the In thc tirst rcprt'scntaticln,the irnnrancnt sacrcrl is

moment. It con<lentnsthc cxtrcme lilnns tlf the <lstcnta- prcclicatcdon the animal intimaur of rnan ar.rcl
thc u'orltl,

of ncalth (thus l-rumansacrificc,or cvcn n'hereasdre prolanc u'orlcl is prcdicatcdon tht' transcen-
tious <lcstrttcrtion
b l o o tl s a c ri fl c c ... ). [t trl n d c m ns, i n a gencral l vav, al l rl enccof t hc objcct ,uhich hasr r <lint inr ir cvt cl r r 'lr iclrm an-

1(l 1l

kincl is immanent. In the manipulation of objccts and, The Negation of the Immanence
generallv, in rclatiotrs u'ith objects, or nith subiccts of the Divine and lt s Posit ing in t he
rcgar<lcrlas objects, thcrt' appcar, in lirrrns that arc Transce ndence of Reason
implicit but linkc<lto thc profane u'orlcl,the principlesof Thc moment of changc is givcn in a passage:thc intclli-
reasoll and moralitr'. giblt' sphcrt' is rt'r'ealed in a transport, in a su<lclcn
'fhe sacrcd is itsclf dividccl: thc dark and malcfic
movcment o[ transc'trrdcncc, u,ht're tangiblc mattt'r is
sacrt'd is opposc<lto thc rvhitc ancl bt'neficcnt sacre(land surpasscd.Thc intcllcct rtr thc (.onccpt,situate<lriutside
the deitiesthat partakc of the onc or the otht'r are ncithcr tirnc, is rleltincdas a sor,crc-ignclr<lcr,to uhic.h the lrorlcl
rational nor rnoral. of things is strborrlinatccl,jrrst as it subordinatcdthc gods
B v c o n tra s t,i n th c tl tra l i sct rol uti < l nthe di vi nt' bectl mcs of mvthologv. In this nav the intelligiblc uorld has thc
rational and moral and relcgatt'sthc malcfic sacrcclto the rpl x' aran(( ' . r f t h. ' . lir inc.
s p h e rt' o f th c p ro l a n c .' l ' h eu o rl d ol ' thc spi ri t (l rari ngf' cu' Ilut its transtor<lcnccis of a <lif{crentnatrlr('f1'ornthc
connections lr'ith tht' first u'orkl of spirits - u'herc thc dis- int'onclusivctransccnclcnccof thc divine of archaic reli-
to thc inrlistinctionrlf
tinct lbrms of the objcct u'crc joine<1 gion. The <livineu'as initiallr graspcdin tcnls of intirnacr.
thc intimatc or<ler) is the intclligiblc urrrltl of thc iilc-a, (of violcncc,of thc scream,of bt'ing in cruption, blirrrlanrl
u,host' unitv cannot be brokcn dor'vn. lht- tlivisirln into unintclligiblc, of thc clark and malcfic sacrcd);if it uas
bt'ncficentan<lmalt'tic is lbuncl againin tht'norld of'mat- transcendent,this nas in a ltror,isionalu,ar',for m.rn nho
tcr, u'ht'rc thc tangiblc fcrrnr is somctimcs altprt'hcnsiblt: ac'tc<lin the real order but uas rituallt rcstorcd to thc
(in its idcntit_yn.ith itsclf an<lnith its intclligiblcfrrnn, and irrtimatc onler. This secclndarytransccn<icnc,c
\\,as pro-
in its opcrativepou'c'r),and <ltht'rtinrcsis not, but rcmait'ts lixrndlv cliffcrcnt from that ol thc intclligiblt. rrorlrl,
tunstablc, anil not r omplctclv intclligible,is onlv
<langcrous, ulrich rt'm.rins./orercrsc'par.rtcrlfr-ornthc uorkl of thc'
chance,r'iolt:nce,att<lthre'atenstct <lestrovthc stablc ancl scnses.Tl.rctransccndcncccif a morr ratlicalrlualisnris thc
opcrativefirrms. fr <ir l <lnt 'u<lr lclt o t ht 'ot ht r . M or c cxac. t lr ,it is
l )assagc
t[rc'lcaring of this u orkl, tht' lcaring of tht' u.orld,
- lirr, opposite thc sclrsuousuorl<1,thc intt'lligibk' uorkl



is not so much a <lifli'rcntu'orki as it is outsidc thc u'orkl. outcomc of thc opcration. But u.hilc thc inclividualthat
But man of the dualistic conccption is oppositt- t<r he is cannrt lea'e this *'or[cl rlr corllcct hirnsclf*ith that
archaic man in that thcrc is no longer an.y intimacl' n,hich goes be1'ondhis or.r,nlimits, hc glimpsesin the sucl_
bctucernhinr and this *'orlcl. This uorlcl is in fact inrma- den au.akeningthat rvhich cannot be graspcdbut u,hic:h
nort to him but this is insofar as hr. is no longcr charac- slips awav precisclv as a d61dyu. For him this d6jd vu is
tt'rizerl br, intimacv, insofar as hc is tlefinctl bv drings, and uttcrlr, different from that rvhich he sees,u,l.richis alu,avs
is himsclf a thir.rg,bcing a distinctlv separateinrliviclual. separatedfrom him - anclfbr thc samc rcason from itsclt.
Of coursc archaic man did not continuallv participatc in It is that rvhich is intclligibleto him, u.hich au.akcnsthe
thc contagious r,iolcncc clf intimacv, btrt if he u as recollectionin him, but u.hich is immediatelvlost in thr-
removed from it, thc rituals alu'avs kcpt the to in'asion of scns.rv data, rvhich reestablishseparatiorr.r.r
bring him bac'kto it at the propcr timc. At thc lt-r'elof the all sirles.This separatebcing is precisclva th;ng in that it
clualisticconcr:ption,no vestigcof thc ancicnt t-estivals can is separatedfrom itself-:rr is thc thing anclthc sc1;aration,
prcvent reflcctirc man, uhom rcflectionconstitutr-s,fron.r but .ref is cln thc (.ontrarv an intimacv that is n()t .\r,p.r_
being, at the momcnt of liis ftrlfillment, man of lost inti- ratcrl frorr anvthing (cxcept that rvhich .scparatc.s it.sclf.
mac'r'.l)oubtlcss intimacv is not foreign to hirn; it could from this intimaq., thu.sir, and u,ith it thc rrholc rrorl<l
not bc said that hc knou's nothing of it, sincc hc has a of' .separatethings).
rccollcction of it. But this rccollection.sentl.s
him outsidc
a u-orkl in u,'hich thcre is nothing that rt'spor-rrlsto thc The Rational Exclusion
of the Tangible
longing hc has &rr it. Irr this norlcl t'r.crrtl'rings,on u hicl.r World and the Violence of Transcendence
he brings his reflec'ticlntcl bcar, arc pr<lfloundh scparatctl A great virtuc in the paracloxof a transcentlenct<lf inti_
from hinr, and tht' beings thcmselvcsarc n'raintainedirr macv resultsfr<lm thc crlrnplctcncgation of tl.regilen in_
thcir incomrnunicablcin<lividualitr'.This is ',r'hyfor hirn rlnroo' that transccnrienceis. Fclr thc gircn rntrmar,
tlocs not at all hale thc valuc-ofa scpara- nt' rt' r'anvt hinglr r r t a ( ont r ar \ ' , , f int im a. . , lr r . raust .t r r bt ,
tion but rathcr of a rcturn. No doubt it is inacrcessible, gircn is ncccssarilvto bc gircn in the u-ar:that a thing is.
lrcing transccndcncc:in its operation it cstablishesthe It is alrt'adv to be a thing u'host, intintacv is nr.r.r,ssarill.
inrpossibilitv,for tl.reoperator, of bcing immanent to thc scparatcd l}om it. The intimac.\,escapesit.clf in thr

14 ?c
R F L I 'J I O N WI T H l N TIlF L {M l TS OI RI

'l'hc u'eakncssof sacrific'e'

u'as that it e'r'entuallvlost its
movemt-r)tin nhich it is gilt'n. In lact it is in learing thc
virtue and finallv establishcdan onlt'r of sac'rt'dtliinri.s,
u'ori<lt-,f'thingsthat tht' Lrst intimacv is rcgainctl.Btrt in
realitv the u'orld of things is not the norld bv itsclf ancl as st'rrile as that of rcal objects. fh.. dcep afflnnation of

purc transcenrlence touard a pure intclligibilitv (rvhich is sacrifict:, thc affinnation of a dangcrous so','e'reigntvof

als o ,q l i n rp s c d .l l la t o Irc e ,i u th e auakuri ng, a l l ttrc ttrri l t- violt'ncc, at least tenrlctl to maintain an anguish that

tclligibilitv) is, u'ithin the sctrsuotts n'orld, a tlcstruc'tionat brought a longing fcrr intirnac! to an arvakencdstatc, on

once too crtmplctc antl impoter-rt. a lcvel tcl u,hich violcncc alone has thc filrcc tcl raisc us.

Doubdcss the clestructionof thc thing in thc' archait' But if it is true tl.ratan cxc't-ptionalviolcnce is rcleascclin

u'orld hacl an oppositc virtuc and impotence. It did not transct'ndcnccat the momcnt of its m<lr,cmcnt,if it is truc

tlestrov the thing univcrsallv b-v a single operation; it that it is thc vcrv arvakeningof possibilitv - prccisclr,
(lcstrove(lthe thing takcn irl isolation,hv thc ncqationthat is becauscso complete a vir>lcncccannot lrt- maintaincrllirr
tiolence,that rs inrpersclnallt'in the n'or,ld.Nou', in its nega- long - thc positingof the'<lualistic
au,akcninghasthc mcaning
tion the movcm('nt of transct'nclc'nc'e is no lcss o1l1l<lscdto of an introductior.rto the sotnnolcnccthat folkrus it.
r,iolcnccthan it is to the thing that violent'ctlestrols. J'hc dualism of transccnclenceis succeedt'dbv the

precctling analysisclc'arlv sho'nvsthc timiditv of that bolcl slcc'pvpositing (uhich is alreadvgir,enin thc initial shifts
aclvancc.It undotrbtedh'has thc samc intention as archai.' and u.hich onlv sleephclps onc to tolerate)of the lr'orlcl's

sacriticc,nhich is, lbllouing an incltrt'tatrlcdcstinr, at the division betrvc'cntu'o principles, both includc'rl in this

sametime to lift and to Prescrvethe orclerof things.tlut if rvorld, of u.hich one is at thc same timc that of goo<land
of its rt'al
it lifts that order, it is by raisingit to thc negatior.r the mind, and the other that of evil ancl matter. Henct'
<l[ reasoll arlrl moralitv givcs
cff.:cts: the trattsct'nclent'c thcre is gir,cn,u'ithout opposition, an empirc of thc rcal
sovercigntv,againstviolencc (the contagioushavoc clf an ordcr that is a sovereigntl'of scn.itudc. A u,orlcl is tleflnccl
unleashing),to the sanctionof thc ordcr of things' Like ther in which free violcncc has onlv a ncgatile plac'c.

opcration clf sacritic'c,it cloesnot c'ondctntr,in themsclvcs,

the lirnitcd unlt'ashingsol de.facto violcncc, u'hich havc
rights in thc rvorld next to tl'reorder of things,bLrtdcllnes
thctr as cril as s<lotias the\'ltlact-that onlcr in tlangcr.

76 l1
C ttAI,tt,n lll

M cd i a ti o n

The Gener al Weakness of M or al Divinit v

and the Strength of Evil
Prt-cisch' bccausc a',r'akcningis thc meaning of rlualism,
the inevitablt' slet'o that fbllrl*'s it rcir.rtroducesevil as a
major force. The llatness tcl u' a dualism n'itl'ror,rt
transccnrlcncc is limiterl opens up the mir.rd to tl.rc
sovcrcigrrtvof cvil nhich is thc unleashingof violcnct'.
The sor,ercigntr'of gooclthat is inrplicil bv thc au'akening
anrl rcalize<ll,v the sleepof dualism is also a rcduction to
thc orclcr of things that leavesno opening exct'pt tou'ard
a retllrn to violcncc. Dull-mindcrl <lualismrcturns tcl tht'
positior.rprior to thc au'akcning: thi' malefic u.orld takcs
on a value much the sam('as tl-rt'oncit haclin thc arcl'raicr
position. It is lessimportant than it uas in tht'sovcrcigntv
of a purc violcnce,u'hich tlid not har.ea sens('clf evil, but
the firrct's of cvil no'cr lost thcir divinc valuc cxcept
uithin the limits of a doclopcrl rcflcc'tion, an<l thcir

apparcnth'infc'ri<lrstatuscannot prcvcnt rlrdinarr'human- he excludcsviolcncc, anrl hc is divinc, open to intimacr',
itv from cclntinuing tcl livc urrrlcr tl.rcir po\\'('r. Scvt'ral onll' insofar as hc in lact prcscn,cs thc old violencc r.r'ithin
forms arc possiblc:a cult of cxt'crationof a violcnccconsirl- him, rvhich he does not havc the rigor to excluclc,and tcr
t'rcd to bc irrt'rluciblt'can capture thc intcrt'st of a blind this cxtcr-rtht' is not the gocl of rcason,u,hich is thc truth
an<lthc intcrcst is opcnlv tleclarctl if thc
consc'iousness; of gooclncss.In thcorv this involves a u.eakcningof the
execrationimplies a completeopcning to cvil, u ith a vicu' moral divine in favor of ervil.
to a subscquentpurification;or t'r'il,t'r'ilas such,c'anrcvcal
t<l tht- confuscdcclnsci<lusness
that it is uorth m< it The Mediation of Evil and
than gootl. [Jut thc cliff'crc-ntfrlr-ns of tht' rlualistic attituclc the Impotence of the Avenging God
nocr of'flr anvthing but a slippervpossibilitvto thc mind A first mediation of o'il has alu.avs been possible.I1,
(ll'hich must alu'avs ans\\'cr at thc samc tinte tcl ttvo ir- before mv cvcs, the real forc'csof cr,il kill mr' lricnd, the
reconcilablc clcmands: lift anrl preserve thc orrlcr of violcncc introclucesintimacr, in its most active fclrn. In
t hin g s ). thc statc of opennessin r.r'hichI find mvself due to a vio-
A richer possibilitv,providing adequatedisplaccmcnts lcnce undergone, in thc mournful rer,elation of clcath, I
u'ithin its limits, is givcn in mediation. am in accord lr'ith thc divinit-vof goodncssthat condemns
The major r,vcaknerss
of dualism is that it offt'rs no a cruc'l act. In thc divine disorcler of crimc, I call for the
legitimatc place fcrr violencc cxccpt in the moment of violcncc that lvill restore therdcstrovccl<lrder.llut in rcal-
purc transcenclt-ncc,
of rational exclusionof thc scnsuous ity it is not violencc but crimc that has opencd clivinc
r'r'orld.But thc' clivinitv of the good cannot bc maintainctl intimacv to mc. And, insofar as the vcngcancedoes not
at that clegreeof pr,rrity;indeed, it lalls back into thc sen- bccomc an extension of thc irrational r,iolence of thc
suousu,'orld.It is the object, on thc part of thc belit'ver, crime, it rvill cluicklv closc that r,vhichcrime oPcnccl.For
of a scarchfor intimate communication,but this thirst lbr onlv r,engeancethat is c'ommandedbv passionand a taste
intimacv r'r.ill nevcr bc cluenched.The good is an cxclu- for untrammcled violenceis dil'inc. Thc rcstorati<lnof the
sion of violcncc and therc can be no brcakingof the onler lau'ful order is essentiallvsubordinatc'dto profane realitl'.
of scparatcthings, no intimacy, rvithclut r.iolencc;thc gocl Thus a first possibilitv of mcdiation manifests thc cxccp-
of gcxrdness
is limitcd bv right to the r,iolcnc'cnith u'hich tkrnally slipperv naturc of a god of goodncss:hc is dir,iner

80 8l
in cxcluclingvicllencelx violcncc (anclhc is lcss so than gootl has clcflncdas such is cxtt'rnal to thc moral divinitr'.
thc cxcluderl violcncc, uhicl'r is thc neccssarvmc(liation Thc onc u,ho r-rndr-rgocs
thc violcnce o[ cvil can also bc
of his divinit,v),but he is divint' onlv insofaras l-rcopposes callc<lthc mc<liator,but this is insofarashc subjcc.ts
rcasonantl tl'rcgoocl;anclif he is a pur(' rationalmoralitv, to annihilation,insolhr as he rcnounceshimst'll.'l'hc or<li-
hc ou'cs his rcmaining rlir.initv to a name, ancl to a pro- narr'-r'ic'tim of evil, rvho invokcd the gclrl of vcngcancc,
pensitv to enrlurc or.r tl.rc part of that u'hich is not coukl not rcccive this namc since hc hacl inl'oluntarilv
dcstrovcd from tht' outsidc. unrlcrgont' tl'rc violenc'cof mcrliation. Br-rtthc divinitr'
intcntionallr, in,r'okcs crimc; mcdiation is the ioint
The Sacrifice of the Divinitv accomplishmcntof violenccanclof thc being that it rcnds.
In thc sccond lorm of mcdiation thc violencc comcs to In realitv the sacrific'cof'the moral rlirinitv is never
thc divinitv from thc outsiclc.It is the divinitv itsclf that the unf-athomablernr-'stervthat onc usr.rallvimagines.What
undcrgocs it. As in thc positing ol a god of r,t'ngeancc, is sacrillcetl is niat serrc-i,and as soon as sovcrcigntv
crimt'is nccessarvfirr the rcturn of tht intimatc orrler. If is reduced to serving thc ordcr of things, it can be
tht're u'as onh' man, of tl'rcorder of things,and the moral re'storeclto thc divine.ordcr onlv through its destruction,
tlivinitv, tht're coulrl not be anv tlccp communication as a thing. 'l'his assumesthe positing of thc clivinc in a
bctn'ccn them. Man includi:din thc ordcr of things w'ould bcing capablc of being really (phvsicallv) cloneran'av r,r'ith.
not be ablc both to lift ancl to preserve that ordcr. The 'fhe violence thus lifts an<lprescn'csthc ordcr of things,
r,iolcnccof o'il must intcn'cne firr thc orrlcr to be liltctl irrcspcctil'c of a vengcanccthat mav or ma1.not bc pur-
through a clcstruction,but thc ollered victim is itself the sucd. In dcath thc divinitv accepts the sovereigntrr,rth of
<livinitr'. an unleashingthat overturns thc orclcr of things, but it
1'hc principlc of mcdiation is givt n in thc sacriflct' tleflccts the r,iolcncc onto itsclf ancl thus no krngcr scn'e's
u'ht're thc offcring is <lestrovcclso as to opcn a path fbr that ordcr: it ceasesto be er.rslar.ed
to it as things thcm-
thc rcturn of the intimatc order. But in the me<liationof selvesare.
sacriflccthc sac'rifict'r'sact is not, in theon, oltytciscd
to In this n'av it clcvatcstht- sovcrcigngo<ltl,sovt'reign
thc rlirini' ordt'r, tl.rt'natur(' o1'uhich it t'xtcnrls inrme- rcason,abovc thc consen'ativean<loperatir,eprinciplesof
diatclv. Hou'cvcr, thc crimc that a uorkl of thc sovcrcign the u'orld of things. C)r rather it makt's these'intclligiblc

lJ2 8l

fbnns that lrhich thc rnovcrncnt of transcendcnccmade

cncluringthat is govemed bv the operation. At thc same
them: an intclligible l-rcr,onrlof bcing, v.hereit .srruare.r timc it is posited as thc result of opc-rationsanalogousto
lntlmoc,t. thosc of the rcal ordcr ancl pursued in that order.
llut the sacrifice of the clivinitv is muc_-h
more i.lost,h. In actual fict the intimate ordcr is subordinatcrlto the
ticd to the .qeneralcxclusion clf the given r,i,,lencesthan rcal x'orld onlv in a supcrficial rval'. Unclcr tht. sorcr-
uas transccnclence,u'hosc nroventent of vicllence
cigntv ol moralitv, all the operationsthat claim to cnsurc
gir,cn indepcn<lcntlyof eril (in rcason'sbeing tclrn auar thc return of thc intirnatt: order arc thosc that the rcal
from the scnsuollsrrorlcl;. -lhc r,cn. r'iolorcc w'ithout lr'hich
u'orlJ reqr-rirt-s:the extcnsive prohibitions that arc giren
tlre tlivinity could not have torn itsclf arvav from the
as the precondition frtr thc return are aime-dprimarilv at
oriler of things rs rcjectt'rl as bcing somethingthat ntust
'fhc prcsen'ingthc disordcr of the u orld of things. In the end,
ccasc. clirinitr' rt'mains rlir,int-onh through that nhich
the rnan of salvationclid morc to bring thc principlcs of
it t ondcn-rns.
the orclcr of things into the intimatc order than to sub-
ordinate that productive ordcr to thi. tlcstructilc con-
The Div'ine Deliv,ered sumptions clf thc intirnate-ordcr.
Over to the Operation
So this r,vorld of mcdiation and of rvorks of salvation
Thc paradox of a nrediation that shoulclnot har.ebecn
is lcd trom the start to erxceedits limits. Not onl_varc thc
dot's not rcst mcrelv on an intcrnal contrarlic.tion.In a
that moralit_vcon<lcmnssct frct. cln all siclcs,but
gcne'ralrva1.,it controls thc contrarlictioninr.olvt:din thcr a tacit debate is initiated betrvcenthc w'orksof salr,ation,
lilting anrl maintcnancr ol tht' real orde.r.'fhrough medi-
n'hich scr,r.ethe real ordcr, and those uorks that escape
ation thc rcal orclcr is subordinated to thc scarch lbr Lrst
it, that strict mrlralitv contests,ancl that derJicatcthcir
intimac'v,l:lut the profoLrnd.scparationbctw'crn intimar.r
uselul rcsor-trc'es
to thc sumptuarv dcstruc'tionsof arurhi-
anrl things is succ.ceclc-d
lrv a oi r..,rnftrsions. tt'cturc, liturgv, an<lcontemplativeicllcnerss.
Intintacv - s.rlvation- is rcgartlt:d as a tl-ringcharactcrizc<l
b.r,indir,idtralitvand cluration(of thc ciperation).I)uration
is giren to it as a firun<lationoriginatingin tht'r.cinct-rnfclr

u4 lJ5
CH, qpl'r , n I V

The Rise of I ndust r y

The Positing of a Conplete Lack of

R el ati on s Bet wet n Divine I nt im acv and
the R eal O r der
-l'hc u'orld <lf mcrliation is csscr.rtiallv
thc r.r'rlrlrlof n'orks.
onc's s.rlvationin thc samc \\'av that onc
One ac'l"ricves
spinsuool; that is, {rneacts,not accordingto thc intinratc
ortlcr, fronr violcnt impulscs and putting calculations
to thc principlcsof thc uorld of pro-
dr.rction, rvith a vicrv to a futurc rt'sult, u'hich mattcrs
mr>rcthan thc satislactionof desircin the monrent.To bt'
exact, nonprodr.rctivcu'orks clo rese'rvca margin of s.-ttis-
faction in this u'orltl. It is mcritrlrious to irrtroclucca
rellcction o[ the divine splt'ndors (that is, of intirlacv)
here bclou.. Nolr', besiclcsthc merit that is attributcrl tcr
it, this act has its valuc in thc momt'nt. Btrt sccing that
cach possibilitymust bc subordinatedto thc busincssof
salvrtion, the contrarliction betu'ccn thc mcritorious act

and thc divine splcn<lorsis t'r't'nn-rorcpainful than in thc tion, tht' transcr-nrlcncc<lf rt'as<lnmorncntarilv rcscrucrl
nroral uork, justificrl bv rt'asor.r. thought l}om thc prison of thc scnsuousu,orl<l;anrl thc
Th t' t' ffc c t o f rv o rk si s c v t' n tu al l vto rci l uc' t' rl i ri ni tr' - mt'diation that rlclircrs the <livine l}om thc rt'a[ ordcr

an< lth e rl e s i rr-l b r rl i v i n i tr' - o n (c a gai nt< ithi nghoorl .-l ' hc i ntro< l utest hc poucr lt 'ssncss
of uor ks onlr . bccauscof t ht '
basicoppositionbt'tu ccn thc'<lirint-and thc thinq, l>t'tnccn absurdi tr of aban<loning
t ht 'her e- bclou. I n anv cast -onc
rlivir.ri'intimac\.an(lthc u<lrlrl of thc oltt'ration,t'nrt'rqr'sin cannot p<-rsit
dirint' intimacv unlcssit is in thc ll.rrticrular,
the nt'gationof the valtrcof rvorks- in thc aflirmatiorrof a u'ithout dclav, as thc possibilitr.of an immancnct' of thc
complctc abst''t' of rclations lrt'tut'r'n rlivinc qrarc an<l <lir,irre
onclol man.Ilut the positinqof dil ine immarrrnct'in
'l'hc thc ncgationol thc valucclf rvorkscon'r1tlt'tcs
thc scparation
m c ri ts . n c g a ti o n o f th c ra l u c of rrorks - aftt' r thc
rational cxclusicinof tht: scnsuousu.'orll an<lthc immola- of the bcvonclan<lthe here-lrclou':hcncefirrth thc ht'rc-
t ion ri f th c rl i v i n i tr'- i s th c th i rd u av i n u hi ch tht' di r i nc i s bclou' is re<lucccl
to thinghririrl,ar-rcl
thc rlivineorclcrcannot
urt'nclic<'orn tht' or<lt'rof things. I-lutthis a<ln"rir- be brought into it - as it rvasin tht: nronumentsancl thc
ablt' rclirsalmakcs one think of the fcroln'ho lumpc<lintcr religiousfcstivitics.
thc rivrr to g('t out of the rain. No rlciubtthc rt'jcction of It is the most lreccssarl rcnuneiation in one scnsc:

u'orks is thc krgical criticisnr of tl.r' cornpromist's<if thc insof-aras man ties himself entirclv to the rcal onler, inso-
uorltl of'mt'rliation,but it is not a c'omplctecriticism.Thc far as hc limits himsclf to planning operations.Ilut it is

th a t rc s t' n c s thc rcturn of krst i nti -

pr in ri p l c o f' s a l v a ti o r.r not a qut-stion of shor'r'ingthc por'r'crlessness
of the man
macv lirr thc firtLrrt'and tbr thc u'<lrl<lbcvonil this onc of ',r'orks; it is a question of tearing lrrdn awa\' lrom the
misst'sthc csscnceof thc rcturn, u.hich is nclt onlr that it ordcr of lr,orks. And prcciselv the' opposite is accom-
, . anb t' s u b o n l i n a tc rlto th a t n h i c h i t i s not, but that i t can plishcrl bv thc ncgation of thcir valur, u'hich surrcntlers
onlv bc givcn in tltc momcnt - anrl in thc immant,nct'of and cclnfinesnlan to them, changing thcir meaning. Tht'

thc hcrc-bclo\\'.. . . T'o uphol<la salvation<lcfcrrerlto thc ncgation of their valuc replacesthc lr'orld of norks sub-
nc x t u rl rl d a n rl to rt' p tr< l i a tc
u o rks i s tr>fi rrgt' tthat i nti - ordinated to the intimate ordt'r rvith a u'orld in rvhich

onlv lirr rnc - if thc tuo t('rms arc

rna(\' can lrc ri'g..rincrl thcir sovereigntvis consummated,a u'orlcl of nclrks har,-

present- not intinracv u'ithotrt'.What tlclcsrt'storcrl ing no other purposc than its ou,n dcvclopmcnt. Con-

int im a c r n rc a ni n i ts c l f i f i t c s i ' a p csmc?' l ' hrouqhrccol l cc' - scquenth',production alone is accessiblcand u'orthv of

88 89
lllN THE L M tTS OF l - IEAS( JN

intercst h.rc-br'lo*'; the principlt' of

rlt,- rlas rccluircrl fbr the rational org.rrrizaticinof ln cnrpirc, .r.s
s t ^ rc ti o n i s g i rt' n rn l ' i n th t' b c ' o.rj , anrl i t cann.t l ra' c
con('crnsthe use <lf'thc rcsourc.csprclrluc.ctl, in thc lirst
anv valuc firr tht' hcrt'-bt.lou,.
phascthc orrler of things maintaincrlambiguousrclations
u'ith the archaicsocietv;production
General View, of the
Re l a ti o n s o f P ro d u c ti o n to
C)nce the Iimit of grorrth u,as rca<,hetl,mc<liation
Nonproductive Destruction
brriught in rclations that u,crc just a.sambiguous but mort,
What this ncgation of tht, tlivinc r.aluc of
u.orks nrakcs conrplcx. Thcorcticallv, the usc <lf prorluction sub-
possi[rlcis thc rcign of autonontousthings _ in
a u.rlrrl, ordinatcd to moralitr,, but moralitv ancl thc rlivine lvorld
thc l'orld of i'<|"rstrv.Irr art,,t\,,tht.rctirallv,
thc u,ere profbundlv intcrclcpcnclcnt.The dir.ine-u,orlcl rlren,
rr orlrl of thinqs rr-.r.s giverras an cncl lbr intintatc vicllt_nce,
its strcngth fiorn a riolent r.rc'gationrvhich it conrlcmnccl,
but i t c o u l rl b c th a t e n rl o n l r.o n onc conrl i ti on:
that thi s antl rt' spitc of its itlentificationn.itl.rthc
bc considerc,l.,,r...cign, th,rt it lrt. thc rcal c'rl.
l rcal basi.sof moralitv, hencc u ith thc orrler of things.
ht ' ttrtt,,' rrrl ,r'
l l ro rl trtl i ' n * a r onl ' an .l nxi ' rrs r(.s(,r-\J- Unrlt'r thcst- c'onrlitionstht' clvcrt r.<lntracliction
tiorr; in realitr,, protluction of the
,,n, rul.or,l,,uotcJ
t,t nonproducti.e arc'haicu'orlil r,r,assucceederlbv thc apparcnt agrecment
betu'r'cna nominal primacv of thc rlil'ine.,cclnsumingpro-
l'r thr: nrilitarr. ordt'r, thr- arailablc r(.sorrr(.(,s
of the cluction, and, strict[r' ovcrl.rppingit, in thcorv not
u'orld of things u.crc allor.att,d,in principle,to tht, l)re- st'nting anl rlil}t'rt'ucc ficirn it, this no k'ss nonrinal pri-
of an cn-rpirc.projcc.tingbevonclthc c.loscrl..r,rnrrirnitics
macr':tlrc nroral orrlt'r, ticrl to 1'hc anrbiguitv
tou'arcl thc unir,crsal. ltrorlur.tir>n.
of archaicsocictv continut'rl,but uhcrcas in archaicsoc.i-
llut militarv activitv onl\ airns to givc-thc order
of ctv the <lt'strtrc
tion of resotrrct's\\.as supposetlto fivor
t lr in g s .c rrl r rr. .r rrrri t.r.s
r l ll i ,rm a n,l , al tr.,.
pnrrluction <lu'ingprccisclr,to its unlrrorh-rc:tive
.Solong as tlrc linrits of thc enrpir(,rvcr(,rrot
rt,achcrl, tlivinc naturc), the nrctliation,claiming salva-
protluction had militan' forcc as its prinrarr. cnrl,
arrrl tion as its unpr<l<luctivt'
r'nrl,1tr<lpose<lto achit'vt'that cntl
u'hcn thesc linrits n'crc, rcac.hctl,militarv forr.c through prodLrctivc'operations. In this ambigLrouspt.r-
pushcclinto thc backgr,rlrn..l.
Mort,rlrrr, ..r.:r.1rtfirr u,hat
dc.stntt'tionkepta sovcrei,qnshare,hut


t ol- t he pr oducti ve op er at i on g ener alh' domi not ed It soon bccamcapparcntthat bv bccomingman of thc
!r'r,::,::': r',', autonomous thing, man nas ber'oming more estrangerl
Consecluently,mcrclv bv disputing thc value of the from himsclf than o'cr bcfbrc. This cornpletescissionsur-
ope-rationinsof-aras its e.fferct\\rassupposed t<t be cxerted rcnrlereclhis lifi' to a lnor.cmt'ntthat hc no longercontrollecl,
in thc divine ordcr, one arrived at the rcign of the a movcment lvh<lsc cons(.quenccseventualh. frightencd
autonomous procluctivc opt'ration. Acts c.casedto har,c a him. Logicallr,'this
mor.emcntengagcsa largc shareof pro-
subordinatc value u'ith regard to recliscovt-rcd intimacl. duction in the installationof nov t'quipmcnt. It has t'limi-
(to salvation,or to the bringing of divinc splcndor into
nated thc possibilitvof an intcnscconsumption(commen-
this u'orld). Thus thc way \\'as clear for thc inrlefinitt: suratc u,ith thc volumc of production) of thc exccss
development of clperative forces. Thc complcte scission rcsourccsprorltrccd:in fact, thc protluc.tscan bc delir.crerl
bctw'een thc intimate ordcr anrl thc onlcr of things had onlv if, in ordcr to obtain the ncccssarvcurrencv,thc con-
the effcct ol .frecing productionfrom its archair. purpos(' sumers agrcc in practicc to c.ollaboratein the cornmon
(from the nonproductive destruction of its suryrlus) and
projcct of devclopingtht: mcansof prorluction.This proj-
from the moral rulcs of'mediation. The exccssprocluction cct is nhat matters anrl thcrt- is nothing prcfcrableto it.
could bc der.oted to the gnx,vth of the productivc cquip- 'l'herc
is ccrtainlv nothing bcttcr that one can do. If onc
ment, to capitalist(or postcapitalist;accumulation. docs somcthing,obr,iouslvthis must be a participationin
tht- projcct, unlcss onc struggles to rnakc the latter mort'
The World of Complete Reduction, rational (morc effcc'tir.efrom thc stanclpoint of der,.clop-
or , th e R e i g n o f T h i n g s ment) bv rcr.olutionarvmcans. But no onc clisputcsthe
Thc millcnial qucst for lost intimac'r. r,r,asabancloned bv
principlc of this sovercigntl'of sen,iturle.
productive mankind, an'are of the futilitt of the operatir.e IndeecJ,nothing can ber opposcd to it that might
u.ays, but unable to continue searching for that lr.hich dcstroy it. For nonc of thc former sovereign entitics is
could not bc sought merelv bv the means it had. able to step fcrrrvarclancl sclvercignlysav: "You r,r.illserve
Man bcgan to sav: "Lct us construct a lr.orld u.hosc m

procluctir.e forces grclu' morc ancl more. Wc shall meet The majority of mankinclhas gir.en its conscnt to the
mclre ancl more of our matcrial nccds." industrialentcrprise,and u.'hatpresumLrsto go on existing

92 9l
alongsidcit givt-sthe imprcssion of a clcthroncclsovercigrr. closclr tic<l to thc autonorrv of things. Anrl it is itself
It is clear that thc majoritv of mankincl i.sright'.compared nothing br,rtthc autonomv of thc consciousncss
of things.
to thc industrial rise, thc rcst is insignificant.I)oubtlcss Although consciousncssturncd au'ay from thc intimate
this majoritv has let itsclf be reducedto the orderof things. order, r.vhich, as far as knorvledge goes, is thc orclcr of
But this generalized reduction, this perfcct firlf'illment of mvthologv, it could not bc a clcar consciousncssof
the thing, is the ncccssarycondition lbr the c:onsciousantl objects so long as it u'as deltendenton mvthical detern.ri-
fully do.elopeclposingo[thc problem of man's reduction nations. In thc first cclnception,n'hcrc the tclol cstab-
to thinghood. Onlv in a u,orld r,r,herethe thing has hshcd thc transcentlenccof thc object, it uas onlv in thc
reducccl crven'thing, r,r.hercu hat r.r.'as
oncc opposed to it confuse<lform of thc spirit that consciousness
rcvcalsthe povcrtv of equivocalpositions- and incvitablc object. So it vvasnot a c'lcarconsciousncss
of therobject
shifts - can intimac'yaffirm itself *'ithout anv morc com- pt-rccir,cdin a scparate(transcenrlent)u.ay: thc distinct
promiscs than thc thing. Only thc gigantic rlcvclopmcr.rt cclnsciousness
of the object lvas still nclt free clf thc st'nti-
ol thc means of procluction is capalrlcof fullv rcvcaling ment of self. When attention u,as focused on sacrifice,
thc meaning of procluction, u,hich is tl're nclnproductivc was at least separatcdfrom rcflcction on
consumption of u.ealth- thc fulllllment of scf-consciou.rness thc profanc thing, on thc intimacv of sacrificc, but it u,as
iIr the lrec outbursts of thc intimate orrlcr. Br"rtthe momcnt thcn cntirclr:'consumcdbv anguish,obscssccl
bv thc fccl-
u'hcn cclnsciousncss,
rcllectingback on itself,rcrcals itself ing of thc sacrccl.Thus the clear consci<)usncss
of objccts
to itsclf anrl sccs pr<xluctiondcstint'clto be consumt'd is \vas gi\,en onlv to the extt'nt that mclst of tht' attenticln
preciselvu'hcn the u'orlcl of prclductionno krnger knous u,as drarvn au.av from thcm. l'he imprlrtance of clperative
n'hat to do u'ith its proclucts. forms and the development of manulacturing techniques
in the movemcntstl'ratucrc aimcclat an impcrial (r,rr"rivcr-
T he C l e a r C o n s c i o u s n e s s o f sal) organizationbrought back a part of the attention tcr
Things, or, Science the u.orld of things. It rvas lr,hcn attcntion u,as clircctcrl
Thc conclitior-rfor achier,ingclear sclf-cclnsciousness
is sci- mainl", to things that gcncral lrccdom and tht' t ontradic:-
cnce, uhich is the attainment of a clear consciousness of tion of jucJgmcntsbccamc possiblc. Human thought
t hc rc a l o rrl c -r(i .c ., o f th t' u ' o rl tl of obj tcts). S ci cncci s escapedthe rigid rleterminationsof thc mvthical orcler


and got rkllr'n to the u'ork of scicr.rcr',u'hcrt' objccts are intimacy, but thc goocl u,ill that rcccivcs thcm is aln ar,s
clcarlv and distinctlv knoun. Prccisc claritr. u'as thus rnixcd rvith disappointment. FIolr. meek these voices
brought into consciousncss
and it organizcdthc rational sccm. l'lorv defcnsclesstheir cquivocations leave us, laccd
modes of consciousness.
llut as thc instrurncnt of knonl- u,ith thc clcar cxpression of rcalitv. Authoritv and
cdge developcd,pcoplc tricd to trscit to examincthc inti- authenticitv arc entirclv on the side of things, of produc-
matc ordcr. In this u.av clear consciousnt-sslvas gir,e'na tion and consciousncss
of the thing produced.All thc rcst
hvbritl contcnt. 'l'ht' intimatc order, fundamentallvunreal, is vanitv and confirsion.
aclaptcdits arbitran mvthical rcprcscntations to the logi- This uncqual situation linallv posr.s the problem in
cal forms of thc consciousncss
of thus intro- clerartenns. 'l'he intimate ordcr is not reached if it is not
duce<lir.rtotht' u'hole domain of krrclrrlcrlgcthc sovcreign erlcr.aterd
to thc authenticitv and authoritv of the real
ilccisionsthat do not expressd'rt:intimatc ordcr itself but u,orld and rcal hr.rmanitv.'l'his implics, as a matter of fact,
thc compromist'sthat cnablc it to rcmain intimate rrhilc thc rcplacement of compromises bv a bringing of its con-
submitting to thc principlt'sof the real onler. It uas onh' te'nts to light in the clomain of clear and autonomous
uith thc complete scissionof thc intimate an<lthc rcal, consciousncss
that sciencchas organizt-d.It implies SHI-F-
and in the u'orlcl of thc autonomous thing, that scicnce CONSCIOUSNESStaking up the lamp that sciencchas
sloulv cscapcd from the hvbrirl fbrmr.rlationsof con- maclc to illuminatc objects an<l dirccting it tou,ard
sciousness.But in its complctt' succcssit c'onsummatt's intimacy.
man's cstrangcmentlrclm himsclf anclrcalizt's,in the cast'
of thc scicntist,thc re<luctionof all lifc to thc real onler. Self-consciousn ess
Thus knou'lt-dgc and activitv, <lcr,clopingconcurrentlv Thc authcnticitvof a usc of scienccadaptedto a knou'lerlgc
uithclut subordinatingthcmsclvcsto one anotl'rcr,finallr. of tht.intimatt'orrlcr immecliatclvrulcs out thc possibilitv
cstablish a real, consummat(' u'orkl anil humanitv, fbr of giving a lcarnt.rlfclnn to thc autonomousdcclarationsof
rvhich the intimatc ordcr is rt'presentedonlr, through mcn or intimacv. In thc rclationship bt-tuecn otrjcctive
prolongcd stammcrings. Thesc stammcrir.rgsstill have an knoulcdge anrl intimacr-'thcrc is doubdessa primarv <lif'-
uncommon filrcc bccauscthcv still havc tht. r'irtuc of gen- tcrcnce: thc objcct can aluavs cxpcct thc light that uill
crallv opposingthc rt'alitv principlc uith drc principlc of illuminatc it u hcrt'asintimac'r'scckingthc light cannot ('x-

e6 91

IX'(t it to bc prcljcc'tt'<l corrt'ctlr. tl thc rt'.storationof'tht';it implics the h,r'pothesisfbrrnulatc,<l

< l rtl c ri s to b c a c h i c v t' tli n tht' s1tht' rt' ttfcl carcol .t-
ir r t ir . n a tc for all: "Lrtimacv is thc limit of crlc.rrconsciousncss;
sciousncss,r hich alonc has thc filrct' tcl rcscue intimacv consciousncss
cannot clcarlr,and distinctlv knorv anvthing
it still cannot bt' achit'rc<lthr<ltrgha
from t'quir'ocatiotrs, concerning intimacl', cx(,ept fbr thc mocliflcationsof
suspt'rrsion Arttl insclfhras thc u'ill t<i
of intimatt-existc'trc't'. things that are linkccl to it." (We rlon't ftnon.anr.thing
clcar consci<)usn(-ss is involvcd, intimac'vuill appcarto llc corrccrninganguishexccpt insof-aras it is implie.din thc
immt'tliatelr gir cn in the sphcrcof tlistinct knou lctlge. fait of' the inrpo-ssi61c
rlifllcultr, of making rlistint't knon'lctlgc atrd th.' intimatc cscal)csthc clilcmmaof tlre sirlultaneousrequirt,nrcntof
orclcr coinc'iclcis clueto their contrar\.modcs of cxistence immediacv an<lof the opcration.The immcdiatc negation
in tinre. l)ir ine lif-eis imnrc<liatc,nlrt'rcasknorvlerlgt'is art clivcrts thc opcration touard things anrl touarcl thc tlcl-
antl rr aitirtg.Ansrvt'ring
opcratirinthat rt'cluircssttspt'trsiotr main of rluration.
to tl'rt' tt'mporal immctliai'v of thc rlivinc lifc, tht'rt u'as The u.eaknessof traclitional understandingsof thc
th<lught.Antl intimatt'
rnvth and the lirrms of t:quir'<lcal intirnate order resiclesin the lact that thev har.e alrvavs
crpt'ricnct' can tloulrtlcssabanrlonmlsticism, but t'r'crt' i nl ol verl i t in t ht ' opt 'r at ion;t hcr . lr . r r e, , it h. . rat t r ilr r r t . . t l
time it takesplacc it must bc a complctc ans\\r'r to a total thc opcrativerqr,ralitvto it, or thcy have sought to attain
quc s tro n . it bv u'ar,o[ tlre operation.Man placing his essencein the
This lxing truc, llo onc corrcctlr attslvc'rthe opcration obviouslr cannot bring it abor-rtthat thcrc is not
rcquirement given in thc f<rrms of obicctive knou'lt'clge some link u'ithin him bctuetn thc opcration and inti_
except bv positing a non-knou'lcclgc.Irrespcctii'eof tht' macr,'.It uould be neccssarvcither for intimacv clr filr the
thct that tlre aflinnation o[a firtrtlamt'rrtal operation to be elinrinated.But, being reduced to tliing-
rnav l>cjustificd on othcr grounrls,thc clcar consclotlsnerss hood bv thc opcration, all that hercan do is to unclertake
of uhat is at stake irnmt'cliatclvtics dil'ine lilc t.-,a r('({){- thc contrar,v'
operation,a reductionof' the reduction.
nition of its olrscurcnatttrc, clf thc rright that it opcns t() In othcr uords, thc ucaknr-ssof thc variou.srcligious
discursivcknou leclgt'.l'his immediatccttittc'itlcnt't'<lfclcar positions is in having unclcrgonethe dcbasementof thc
and thc unf-etteringof thc intinrateorilcr is
consc'iousttt'ss onler of things u.ithout har.ingtried to modifv it. With-
not iust manilt'stc<lin thc ncgationof tratlitiotral1>rcsup- out t'xccption. thc rcligionsof mcdiation lcft it as it n,as,

98 99
tll:lF (fF ll!DUST lty
N THE lMll!:j OF RE

The General Destruction of Things

crountcring it onlv \\'ith thc limits of moralitv. Likc thc
T'r bigi' r'r'ith,*c l'rareclcar consc.iousncss
an'haic religions,thev expressh'proposetlto mairltain it, i' its elab.-
ratcd fbrrn. []urtht'r, the of prrclut.tici., the ,^lcr
ncvcr litiing it unlt'sstho' had first cnsurcrl its stabilitv. hr 'orld
of things, has rcachctl thc point of cler.clopmcntu.hcrc it
d're encl,thc' rcalitv princillle triumllhed o't'erintitnac:r"
is not rcallv does nclt knou r'r'hatto tlr uith it. pr,,,lucts. -fht. first
What is rt'quircd bv sclf-consciousncss
'l-heintimate ortler colrditi'n makt:sdestructior p'ssible; the secondmakesit
thc dcstructic-,nof thc ordt'r of things.
ncccssar\'.Ilut this cannot bc donc in the cmpvrean,that
cannot truh' destr<tvthc ordc-r of things (just as drt' orcler
is, in unrealitv, to w'hich thc religior-rs
approach usuallv
of things has never comllletelv dcstroved the intimatc
leads.The moment of decisionrlemands,on thc contrarv,
ortlcr). But this rcal uorlcl having rcachcd tht apcx of its
a considcrationclf tlre poorcst and least intim.rtt.aspe(,ts
rlclclopmcnt catt bc dcstrovcd,in thc sctrsctlurt it tall bc
catl- of thc problenr. Wt' must dcsc.enrlnolr. to the lor.r.estler el
to intimacv. Strictlv spcaking,cctnsciousncss
of the lr.orld of man's reducticin to thinghoorl.
nclt makc intimacv reclucible to it, but it can reclaim its
I can shut mvsclf up in mr. r..,n., .r-,-,1
look there for
or'r'n operaticlns, rccallitulating thcm in rcI'erse,so that
the clear an<l clistinct r.neaningrif thc objects that sur-
tht'r' ultirnatclr canct-l erttt anrl cotrscitlusnt'ssitsL'lf is
round mc.
strictlv reducerlto intimact. Of ctlurscthis crlttnteroPcra-
Here is mr table, mv,mv bcd. J'hr:v are ht,re as
tion is not in anr'\\'a\'oPPose(ltcl thc movcmt'ttt of ton-
a result of labor. hr ordcr to makc thcm and install thcm
rcducctl to that uhith it csscntiallris - t<l that
in mv room it u'as necessarvto forcgo the itrtercst of thc
u'hich, lrom thc start, cach onc of tts alrvavsktleu it uas'
rlnlv in one st'nsc.It momcnt. As a matter of'f.ict I ml.sclf had to u.ork to par.
lJut this u,ill be clcar consciotlsncss
for thr.m. tha t is, ir r t hcor r , I h. r . l r . , t om pcnsat t , t o. t h"
u'ill rcgain intimao'onlv it.tclarkness.In so <loing,it uill
labor of the r.r'orkers n.ho madc thcm or transportcd
havc rt-achc.ltht' highesttlegrcc of tlistinct tlaritr'' br-rtit
thcm, r'rith a picirc of labor just as uscful as thcirs. Thcse
u ill so fulh' realizcthc possibilitvof man, or rtf being,that
pro<luctsof labor allou. me to u.nrk and I rvill bc ablc to
it u'ill rcclisrovcrthc night of thc anin'ralintimatc u'ith thc
pav lor thc u'ork of thc butcher, the baker, and thc,
n,rrlrl - into u'hichit will enter.
farnt'r *ho *'ill (-'srlrc m' sur'i'al a'rl the ccirtinuaticln
clf'mv vrork.

r0 0 l0r
Nou I plac'era largc glass of alcohol on rnv tablc
I har.cbere'nuseful. I havc lrought a tablc, a glass,etc. supcrlluous univcrsc u.hcre it is clissolr.ecl, the mass ol
But this tablc is IX)t a mcans o[ labor: it helps mc ttr cflbrts is nothing n('\t to thc lutilitr o[ a singlc mornenr.
-l'he frcc
clrink alcohol. vet submissir.t,momt.nt, furtivcl.v inr.olrc<lin
In st'ttingmv drinking glasson thc tablc, to thilt cxtent minutc opcraticlnsbv the fear of letting onesclf rjmc is
I havedestrqr, t1,, pl',\e,or at le'astI liave <lcstrovcclthc uhat Ju.stif icst ht pcjr r r at ir er aluc , , f t lr . , r onl iut ile.
l;rlrorth,rt rr as ne. ,l.., l l t r m.rkc it . This introduccs,as a basis for cleor.scfconsciou.sncss,
Of coursc I have llrst conrple'tclvdcstroved the labor of consideration of the .[rjects tl.rat arc cliss'lr.erclanr]
the u-itrtgrorvcr,u hcrtils ml' absorptionhas onh' dcstr<llecl dcstr'rcd i'thc intir-natcmonlert. rt is a return t<l thc
a nrinutt' amortntof thc carpcnter'slahor' At lt'astthis ta[>lt- situaticlnof the animal that eats another animal; it is a
in this room, hcavv u ith the chainsclf l.rbor' for a time harl negatior.rof'thc differcncebetuecn thc object and nrvsclf
no otltrr pLlrposcthan mv brcakingloosc' or thc general destruc:tionof <lbjcctsas suclr in th. fi..l,l
I anr nou going to rccall thc use I have madc of the of consciousnt'ss.
Insofaras I clestrovit in thc-Iieltl of mr.
moncv carned at mv rvork tablc. (l (' Jr (()ns( iousnes\t.his t ablc t . east , t: , f or m , li. t in. lt
If I havc lr'astcd part of that l.nonev,u'asted part of thc and opaqur- ,screcnbctr.r'ecrrthe r,rorld and mt. Ilut this
timer the rest cnablcd mc to livc, the dcstruction of thc table cor-rlclnot bc clcstrovcdin thc fleld of mv c.onsc.rous_
tablc is alreatlvmorc atlvanced.Ilad I just oncc scizerd
thc nessif I did not gir.c my rlcstructiotrits;..,rl,r"qu.-nr.tsin
moment bv the hair, all tht'preceding tirnc',roultl alrea<lv tlre rcal rirrler. Tl'rc real rcducti.r.r of thc redu.ti.. of thc,
bc in the po\\'cr of that tnoment seized. And all the rcal <>rderbrings a fr-rndamentalrevcrsal into the cc.o_
srrpplies,all the jobs that allou'edme to do so rvoulclsud- nomic order. lf u,e.are to prescn,ethc mor,cmentof thc
dcnlv bc dcstroved;likc a river, thev u'oulti drain cnd- econ()*Jr' *c nee<lt. deterrnine thr. pciint at *hich tht'
lc'sslr.into the oct-anof that bricf instant. cxcessproduction r.rill flou likc a rir ff to rheour.sjt?e.
It is
In this u'orld thcre is Iro immense untlcrtaking that a mattcr of cn<llcsslvconsum ing- or ilcst r or ing - t he
,l rj t' tts th.rt a r t - l'his
has anv other cnd than a dcfirtitive'loss in the futilc Pr r , lu. cr l. t 'r lukl just . r s*<'ll [ r c'r r ''. ,
nrom('nt. Jtrst as thc urrrld of things is nothing in thc * ithc^rt thc lcast con-scio,.snes.r. But it is i'rsofbr as clcar
c.ns.ious'ess prcr.ailsthat thc .bjects actualh,dr-str.vecl


uill not clestrov humanitv itself. Thc destruction of thc

subject as an indiviclual is in fact impliccl in thc tlestruc'-
tion of the objerctas such' but n'ar is not the inevitablc
form of the destruction:at anYratc, it is not thc ctlnscious
is to bc, in thc gcneral
form (that is, if sclf-consciousness



Thc positing of a rcligious attituclc that q ould rcsult fron.r

clcar consciousn('ss,and r'r'oultlexcluclc,if not thc ecstatic
fbrm of religion, then at least its mvstical fbrm, differs
radicallv from the attcmpts at fusion that excrcisemintls
anxious to remedy the u'cakness of currct'rt rcligious
Thost' in thc religious rvorkl u'ho arc alar-rneclabout
thc lack of harmonv, lr,ho look f<rr the link betuet'n thc
rliffi:rcnt disciplincs, r'r'ho are tletermined to dcnv that
u'hich opposcstht- sannvasito the Roman prelate,or thc
Sufi to the Kicrkcgaardian pastor, complete tht: emascu-
lation - on both siclcs- of that rrhich alrcaclvoriginates
in a conrprotniscof tl.rcintinratc ortlcr uith the orclcr ttf
things. The spirit larthest rcmolt'd lrom thc virilitv
is thc spirit
necessaryfor joining violenceand consciottsnc.s-s
of "svlrthesis."l'he endcavorto sun) up that u'hith scpa-


ratc rcligior-lspossibilitieshar,c revealcd, and to makc

nholc, rlissolvcsinto ttars, into ecstasv
their shared contcnt the principle of a human lifc raiserl and intcl bursts of
laughtcr, and rc'r,ealsthe impossiblc
to universality, sccms unassailabledcspite its insipicl in lat,ghter,ccstasv,
or tcars. But the impclssiblethus
rcsults, but for anvonc to v'homhuman life is on cxperience rer.ealc,l i, n.,t an
ecluivo<'alposition; it is thc s<llcrcignsclf_consc.iousncss
to be carriedas.laraspossible,theruniyersolsum is necessarily
that, preciseh', no lclngi'r turns au,av
that of thc rcligious scnsibilitv in time. Svnthesisis most from itself.

clearlr, rvhat rcvcals the nced to firmlv link this u'orld to

that rvhich the rcligious sensibilitvis in its univcrsalsum
in time. This clear revclationof a declineof the rvholc lir.-
ing rcligious lr'orld (salient in thesc synthetic forms tliat
abandonthe narrorvnessof a trarlition) not givcn so
long as thc archaic manifestations of religious feeling
appeared to us indcpendently of their meaning, like
hieroglvphs that could be clcciphered only in a formal
r.vay;but if that mcaning is norv given, if, in particular, the
bchavior of sacrifice, thc least clear but the most dir,inc
and thc most common, ceascsto be closcd to us, thc
u.holc of human cxperience is rcstored to r"rs.Ancl if rve
raisc ourseh.'espersonallv to the highcst degrercof clear
it is no longer the scn'ile thing in us, but
rathcr the sovereignrvhosc presencc in the world, from
hcad to fcrot, from animality to sciencc and from thc
archaic tool to thc non-senscof poetrv, is that of unir,er-
sal humanitv. Sovt-reignty dcsignates the mor.emcnt of
frcc and internallv lr.rernchingviolcncc that animates the

' l ' () ttl r (A R R l ti l ) A \
fO WFI()M Ll l -l : IS A N l -.X I' l i R Il i N (l


I have not meant t<l t'xprt'ssmv thought but to

help vou clarifr- rvhat )*ou vourself think. . . '

You are not anv more tliffcrcnt lrom me than

vour right leg is from vour left, but u'hat joins us
i s TH tr S I Ll -l l 'Ol i R IA S ()N - W Itl C tl I' R ()l )tl (' F.SN { ()N SfLI{ S .

Gener al T abl e

an d Ref er en c es
I fecl obligcclto prerscnta table* that makesit possibleto
visualizethe successivepossibiliticsas a singlc do'clop-
ment. This figure emphasizesthe dialectical charactt'r of
the rlevelopment rvhose phasesgo from opposition to
opposition and from stagnationto movement. But abovc
all it offcrs thc aclvantagcof bcing clcar.
Unfortunatelv this claritv has its draw'backs.
It tcnds to dcprivc mv exposition of a virtr"rcthat it
mtrst claim.
As far as possible,I have tried to present the foregoing
logical movement in thc forrn it rvoulcl havc in thc final
statc of consciousncss,that is, clt'tachcdfrom an elabclra-
ti on of i ts hist or ical or et hnogr aphic f or m s. For t his
rcason,I have excluded discussionof thosc lorrns as *cll
as rcfcrenccs pcrtaining to thcm.

*'['ht'etli tor of B atai l l c ' sc ompl ete tr' ork s nott,s that thi s tabl t' uas

not fi runrl am ong th< ' author' s papers .Itrans . notc ]

<lid not lrarc to rlakc anr, substantialthalrges.(iircn thc
I uas all thc less inclincclto link thcse develoPnlellts
gcnrral coht - sion,a just if ied cont r ar lict ir t n is not t hc
to an analvstsof thc particular rcalities as tht:v are dis-
attatk that thc c<;ntradictoreasilyimagint:s;it is a help. (l
t inc t lv s c p a ra t(' fro m th c l a tte r: b v defi ni ti on thtsc
arn happv to citt' as an ('xanllllethe f rien<llvinten cnticlns
realitics corresponcl in a callrititlus, imllerf'cct rvav to the
of Mircca Eliod.-' it u,as onc of thcm in particular that
necessitvthcl' cxpress.In the last instancethis ncccssitv
crrablcdrnc to situatc the "supreme lrcing" in the urrrlcl
m av har e o p e ra tc c l u n rc s c n ' c d l v u ' i t hotrt t-r' er hari ng
of spirits.) Whilc it is truc that a cohesionmust n(,ce.ssAr-
bccn inevitablc at a prccisc moment. Forms that I have
ilr,'distanccitself from the capriciousclataof thc historical
presentcd as being inti:gral u'ith one anothcr maY havt'
w'orlcl,there is not one of theseclatathat <lncshotil<lnot
devcloped at timcs one after the othcr. Morcover, I havt'
trv to n:<lucc to the r,r.hcllcand onlv insofar as thc u'hole
had to articulatc the stagesof a mon'cment as il there
has bccn polishedbv thesc rcrluctionscan it casilvreveal
\\'ere a discontinuitv, rvhcrcas continuity is thc rulc and
to others the contorts of tht:ir clw.nthought.
transitional forrns havc a t:onsiderableplacc in historv'
I u'ould likc. to hclp mv t-cllou'beings gct uscd to thc
Ilvbrid forms, rcsulting from contacts in time of rcrv
idca of aD open movement rtf reflection. This moveme'nt
dilferent cir,'ilizations,also introduce conlusion' Finallv, it
at .r particular has nothing to conceal,nothing to fcar. It is tnre that ther
is clcar that conditions rcgularly 1>resent
resultsof thought are strangelvtied to testsof rivalry. No
stagc may rtaPPear ancl bcconre operatilc at stlme sub-
one can entirelv separateu'hat hc thinks lrorn the real
scqut-nt stage.
authoritv thc cxpressionolr this thought nill h.rrc. And
O f c o u rs c th i s a p p a re rl t ta s tta l n cssdoes not at al l
authoritv is acquircd in thc courseof gamesrrhose trarli-
pr ec lude p o s s i b l c , c l r ra th e r, n c c c s sarY ,di scussi ons.I
ti < l nal , somc r vhat ar bit r ar l, m les oblige t he one- nhcr
repeat that this piece of rvork is lar from completion' And
cxpresseshimsclf to give his thought tht' idea o[a flau'lcss
in fact the completeclnork, if it is possiblc,should rcsult
It is a common crror of persllcc- and dcfi ni ti vc oper at ion. J'his is an cnt ir cly excusable
{iom such cliscussions.
comcclv,but it isolatesthought in bird-likc clisplarsthat
tive to think that trv contesting a particular point onc
ncl longer havc anvthing to clclu'ith a rcal proccss,ne(.es-
contests thc soliditv of thc outlined lr'holc. J'his u'holc is
sarih' painful anrl opcn, aln'ays secking hclp and ncvcr
itself the rcsult of mv o\\'n ct.rntestationsancl not onc of
them failcd to enrich it, although, past a ccrtain point, I

il8 I l9

This iustification of thc mcthod follou'ccl dot's t.tot nor all those of the cconomy of salr.ation.In thc first placc
prevtrnt mc from sccing its rcal disa<lvantagcs,lr'hich it n'as nclt amenablcto the autonomousdcr.elopmcntof
concern intelligibility. Hven if rcpresentationsdo not take clear consciousnesscir of philosophy (yct, through the
on their full meaning until thev dctach themsclvcs from ic:onoclasmthat it opposed to thc }Jyzantinchicratism, it
therrcalities to u'hich they rcfcr (u,ithout being positivcl-v n'ent furthcr than the crlassicr rnilitarrr ordcr in rcducirrq
grounded in any of thcm in particular), they rvill not be thc forms of ar t t o r cason) . Second,it <lispense<J r vit t
fullv unclerstandablcif thev do not ir-rgt-ncral shed light mecl i ati on and upheld a t r anscendenccof t hc divine
on thc historical forms. This schema, uhich needed to lr'orld, rvhich conformed to the military tvpc of a violencc
svstcmaticallvavoid prccise refercnces,u'as nonethe-lerss dircctccl to the outsidc. But lr,hat is true of carlv Islam is
to be folloned bl' an elucidationof history u'ith thc help not at all trr.reof latc Islam. Once thel4oslemempi,re rcachecl
of its figures. its limits of growth, Islam bccamc a perfcct cconomv of
I r.villconfine mvsclf, howcvcr, to tlnc cxample choscn salvation.It mcrelv had forms of mcdiation that u.erelcss
u ith the intcntion of shorving ir.ra general rvav the frcc- pronouncccl ancl morc pathetic than Christianity. But like
dom that is nccessaryto this modc o[ intcrprctation. christianitv it ga',e.rise to a c.stlv spirituallilc. Mvsticism
Therreshoulcl be some point in stating herc that Islam and monasticism devclopcrl; the arts remainccl in princi-
cannot gcnerally bc regardcclas a form corresponding tcr ple u.'ithin the limits of iconoclasmbut escaperd rational
a s inglc o n e o f th c d e l i n i ti o n s g i v e n . From the outsct simplification in every rl.av. Olr,ing to the rclatively small
Islam u'as a military orcler, limiting, even more strictlv part plavcd by internal violcnce, Islam rvas cven the most
than others, those activitics ll'hoscrPurPoselvas not force stable of thc economicsof salvation,the,one that
and militarv conquest.But it pre'scntsthese pcculiarities: bcst ensurcd the stabilitv of a societv.
it rvcnt, surldenlyand discontinuouslv,lrom a spendthrifi 'fhis kind of application
of a method aims to shou,,on
archaiccivilizationto a n'rilitarvonc; but it clid not realizc the one hand, thc distance that separatcsfrom rcality thc
all t he po s s i b i l i ti e so f th c l a tte r, fo r o t the sameti me i t figuresof a schema,and on thc otherrhan<I,the possibilitv
expcricncerd,in an abridged fonn as it u'crc, the devclop- of rcciucing reality afler the_.event.
mcnt of an cconomv of salvation.Hencerirt its first phasc 'fhc refercnccs
that follolr, are subjcct to thc same
it dicl not have'all thc charactcristicsof thc militarv or<ler rcservation.But likc thcst'applications,thev shoukl hclp

120 l2l


to situatca constructionthat is rather ocltllvcliscorlnccted Eulrt, l)unrnelr\{. 7he Elementor,t'

Lormsol the Religious
from its foun<lations.Whilt' n.raintainingthc tletac'hcrl Frct' l )ress , 1965. hnr ile Dur khcim sccm s t o r ne t o bc

charactcrof n'rv statcmcnts,it secnls1>ttssilllt', or should I unjustlv rlisparagednona<lavs.I take m1'distancefrom his
in a gt:neral
but not uithout retaining its essentiallessons.
,l , qfter the etent, to conn('ct them
say, nccessar
\vav to somc of their origins. I clo this in thc lbrm of
refcrt:nccsto n'ritings rvhoseauthors in somc tlav movt'cl Alt,xRNuRt' Ko1tvl. lntroductionto the Reading9J Hegel,

tou'arrl thc prccisetonceptionsolthis "thcclrv," <lr rth<lsc C'ornell Llnivcrsitv Prtss, 1980. This rvork is an cxplica-

r.ontents ol-fcr reft'rt'nc:cpttints that gr-ridcdmv stcPs' tion of Flegel'sPhenomenologt

of the Spirir.The ideasthat

I rvill give thcm in ratrdom scquenc'e'firllorl ing thc I havc tlerelopcd herc.are substantiallvpresent in it. Thc

alph.rbeticalordcr of the authors' nalnes. cclrrcspondcncesbetr,r'centhe Hegelian analvsisand this

"thcory of religion" n'ould still nced to lrc specifierl.The

Groncts I)utl,t(,ztr..llitra-Varttna,Zone Books, l9tl8. The diffcrcnces betrvcen the tu,cl rcprescntationsappcar to mc

interprctations of Indo-EuroPeanmythologv that are Pur- to be easill' recluciblc. Thc main cliffercnce conccrns the

sued in thc a<lmirablcu'orks of GeorgesDum6zil, espe- conccpti on t hat m akes t hc dcst r uct ion of t he subjcct

i ially tlrost' lcrurrd in this voltrrl're- aftcr Ouranos-Voruna the conrlition - neccssarilvunrealizable- clf its adcqua-

( 19I I ) .rr.rilF/amine - Brahntone ( 193l) - ('orrtsPond to thc tion to thc objcct. I)otrbtlessthis implies lrom thr- start a

c ons t r uc ti o n s th a t I h a v e c l e v e l o p e d:tht- consci ousl v stateof mind radicall,vopposedto Hegelian"satisfhction,"

Hegelian th e s e s ,a n ti th c -s e sa, n d s v n t hescsof (i eorgcs lrut hen: the contraries cclincicle(thev onlv c'<lincicle,
I)um6zil set forth the oppositionof pure violencrc(on the the <lppositionin rvhich thcv coincidc cannot this time be

dark antl nralcfic sicleof the divinc norltl - \'artlna antl ovcrcomc bv anv svnthesis:there is an irlentitl' of' the:

thc Gandhana, Ror.nulusand thc Lupcrci) to tht' divint' particular bcing and the univcrsal,and thc unilersal is not
ordcr that ac:cortlsu'ith prof'aneactilitv (Mitra and thc trulv giren exccpt in the mediation of particularitv, but

Brahmans,Nttma, [)ius Fidius and thc Flamincs),and its the resolution of the indivirlual into the non-inclividu.rl

rcsolution in the erternal and efficaciousviolence of a cloesnot o\.crcorne pain [or painful jov] exc'cpt in dr.ath,

human anrl rational militarv <lrdcr. or in thc state of atararia * ccltrparableto thc <lcath<lf
conrDlctt'satislartionllrcnte thr mainttttanlt' of the rcso-

122 l2l

lution at the lervclprior to ecstasy,u'hic'his not a rt'solu-

basisof anl undcrstanrlingol' (,(.on()m\.as bcing tierl
). Il a v i n g h a d to c i tc th t- u rirk of A l cxantl re
t ion. . .
li of rlt'str.r'ti.' of tht' cxc't'ss'l' trc:tir,e
Koji'vc herc, I must emphasizt'one point: uhrtevcr oltin- 1>r'rl

ion onc may have of thc c'orrectncss

of his intcrytrctation
Stlt'st- PF.lRt,r,l},Nt..
Le dualisntcdons l'11ist()rede la
of Hc gc l (a n rl I b e l i e v c th c p o s s i b l e c' ri ti ci srnson thi s
philttutphtcet tlesrcli,qion.r, p6trc_
G.rllirnarrl,1946. Sirnor.rc
priint shriukl be assignt'rlonlv a limitt'd valucl, this /nrro-
nrt'nt' u host'moral position is that of the ancielrtgnostics,
duc t ion, re l a ti rc l v a c c e s s i b l c ,i s n o t onl y tht: pri mary
l)rcscuts thr- qrrestirn of tht' lrist'r' d..-rlis' *'itlr a
instrttmcnt ol self-consciousnes.s;
it is thc only uav to vicu' 'l'
r.r.rarkablc clarit' in this littlc [ro,rk. Startirg li.m
t hc r ar iou sa s p e c tso l h u m a n l i f' t - th e p ol i ti i al as1> ccts hr-r
< l ata,I ha' c. '. hr ". l t he t r ar r sit io,lr <; r 'ar ch. r ii, - , lualir 'r
particular - <liffcrenth'frrim the nav a chikl viovs tht' t,
tht' tlualisr.ro1'spiritz'rrattcr,or rathcr,'f tr.rrs.c'rlcr.rcc
actions of arlults.No one today can claim tcl be t:rh.rc.atcd
u or-kl,tht' onh rlualisr.nrrrnsirk-rerllrv tl,rt,atrthor.
its contcnts.(l u,oukl also like
withor.rthaving assirnilatr-d
tcl unclerscorcthe fhct that Alerandrc Kcljive's intulrc-
BrnN,lHnlno l)F S.{HA(;[rN . (]enerol Hi.strtr.tol thc I'hinosof'
taticln clot'snot dcliatt' in anv n'at. fr<lnrMarxism; sinri-
N crr .\pui n,Llnir er sit r . of LI t ah pr ess, 1974- 1982. . f his
l.rrh', it is easv to see that thc present "tht-cln," is alu.ays
spa.i sh nro . k's i'r 'est igat i. r r co'dit i"s il- rJlr r . xic.
bascdon ec'onomicanah'sis.) 'f
pri or to th c ( ionqucst , especially,his inclt r ir v int o t he
human sacrificcscclebratcdin grcat numhers in the tem_
SyLi',llNI-it' doctrinedu sacrilice
pl es of Mexiccl, n'as c. onr lur , t eilusing Azt t , c inf br m ant s
Lerour, 189U.Thc interpretationof sacriflccis the fbun-
nho had bcen n. it ncsst s.I t is t hr m ir t r t , liablr and t he
daticlnof "-se{-66n.iaiou.snc-n."
[.dri's u'clrk is ont- <lf
m'st clctailecl<lclcument*'er ha'e c'ncerning the tcrriblc
thc cssentialcontp()nentsof that interprctation.
aspcctsof sacrificc.Wc must nccessarilyrejcct the rep_
o[ man or clf religion that leare.tht,ir t,xtremt,
MAtt(tt't.M.litss. Sacrilice:
1rs\'orure an<lFLtnctiL'tn,
Llniver- fcrnnsun<lcrthe cloak of an allcgedmonstrousncss.
sitv of Chicago Prcss, 1969. l-haGili, Norton, 1967.-l'ht'
an imagerthat shines through thcm mcasuresup to thc
flrst of thesc uorks is thc atrthclritatirt'trt'atnrent <lf tht'
intimate ntovcmcnts that r.onscrousness turns au.av lrom
data on ancicrrts.r<rrilkc.'l hc st'<,ondfilnus the
htrt that it mtrst ultimatell' rcturn to.

t) J


R. H. T',qwNr.vReligionond the Riseo-f Capitalism,Llar_

court, Brace,& L'o., 1926.This book'.sanalvscs,baserlon
a u, eal th o f i n fo rma ti o n , s h o u th c i mpcl rtanccof the
clclil>eraterlisjunc.tio, of tlrc sat-rr.,l.rnclp*l[a.e *,orlcls
that u.asat thc origin of capitalism.Pnrtcstantismintr<l-
tluccrl the possibilitv rif tlris disjurrctionbv rlcnting tlie I
rcligious value of u orks: the u orkl of the opcrative fbrms
of ct'onomic .rctivitl thus rct.t,ivc<l
- but in the trrurse of
time - an autonomv that cnabled the rapid increaseof

M.qx Wl,Hr-R.The ProtestontEthicand the Spiritof- Capitol_

ism, Macmillan, 197'7.Max Wcber's lamous studv linked,
for thc first timc in a',
thc ven,po.ssibilitl.of
accumulatirin (of the use of w,ealth for devcloping thc
forccs of produc.tiorr)to the po.sitingof a dirirrc u.orkl
that had no conceir.ableconncction u,ith thc here-bclou.,
n'here thc operatirt- form ('calc.ulation,
callv scparatestherglorious consumption of rvcalth from
the divine ordcr. Morc than Tarvno., Max Wcbcr <lncllcd
on the decisivc changc introduccd bv thc Rcfbnr-ration,
u,hich made accumulation basir.allr.possiblc lrr. clcnvirrg
the r'alue of n'orks and by cclndcmning nonprocluctivc


Related Interests