By Georges Bataille
Such a lot Anglo-American readers be aware of Bataille as a novelist. The Accursed proportion presents a good creation to Bataille the thinker. right here he makes use of his designated financial idea because the foundation for an incisive inquiry into the very nature of civilization. not like traditional financial versions according to notions of shortage, Bataille's concept develops the concept that of extra: a civilization, he argues, finds its order so much sincerely within the remedy of its surplus power. the result's a super mixture of ethics, aesthetics, and cultural anthropology that demanding situations either mainstream economics and ethnology.
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It is curious to recognize an Arab influence in our chivalrous "religion," so different from the institution of 90 ISLA 91 The Unarmed Society: Lamaism The Peaceful Societies In a sense, Islam differs from ordinary societies of military enter prise by an exaggeration of traits. One sees tendencies in it, car ried to extremes, that are less pronounced in the imperial ventures of classical antiquity or China. True, one does not find the birth of a morality in connection with Islam: It adopted a morality that pre-existed it.
This very honorable dip lomatic agent appears to have felt a genuine concern not only for the interests of his own country but for those of Tibet, whose language he knew. Even the government of India, not very anx ious to get involved, seems to have called on his services with a certain amount of hesitation. Charles Bell thought that the Brit ish should help the Tibetans to maintain their independence, to throw off the Chinese yoke for good. The British finally did adopt this policy, which was intended to make Tibet a zone of influ ence, but in a cautious way.
3. The acquisition of rank. Doubtless potlatch is not reducible to the desire to lose, but what it brings to the giver is not the inevitable increase of return gifts; it is the rank which it confers on the one who has the last word. Prestige, glory and rank should not be confused with power. Or if prestige is power, this is insofar as power itself escapes the considerations of force or right to which it is ordinarily reduced. It must be said, further, that the identity of the power and the ability to lose is fundamental.