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15) Capitalism as Religion | Wate Benji | Translated by Chad Kautrer (Fragment 74]! One can behold in capitalism a religion, that sto say capitalism esentaly serves to satay the same worries, anguish, and disquiet formerly answered by so-called religion. The proof of capitalism’ religious structure as not only religiously conditioned construction, as Weber thought, but as an essentially religious phenomenon—stil today misleads one toa boundless, universal po. Jemic, We cannot draw close the net in which we stand. A commanding view will however, later become possible Three characteristics ofthe religious structure of capitalism are, however, recognizable at present. Fist, capitalism is a pure religious cult, perhaps the ‘most extreme there ever was. Within it everything only has meaning in direct relation tothe cult it knows no special dogma, no theology. rom this stand Point, utilitarianism gains it religious coloring. This concretization ofthe eat connects with a second characteristic of capitalism: the permanent duration of the cult. Capitalism isthe celebration ofthe cult sams reve et sans merci? lene ‘there is no “weekday.” no day that would not be a holiday inthe awl sense of exhibiting all sacred pomp—the extreme exertion of worship. Thied, thie i « cult that engenders blame. Capitalism is presumably the ist ease ofa blaring, tather than a repenting cult. Herein stands ths religious system in the fll of tremendous movement. An enormous fecling of guilt not itself knowing how to repent, grasps atthe cult, notin order to repent for this guilt, ut to matke ie universal, to hammer it into consciousness and finaly and above allo inclade God himself in this gul, in order to finally interest him in repentance, This 259 [repentance] is thus not tobe expected in the cult itself, nor in the reformation ofthis celigion—which must hold on to something certain within it—nor yet in the denial of it In the essence of this religious movement that is capitalism Ties—bearing until the end, until the finally complete infusion of blame into God-the attainment ofa world of despair still only hoped for. Therein lies the historical enormity of capitalism: religion isno longer the reform of being, but rather its obliteration. From this expansion of despair in the religious state of the world, healing is expected. God!’ transcendence has fallen, but he is not dead He's drawn into the fate of man. This passage of planetary man’ [Planeten ‘Mensch] through the house of despair is, in the absolute loneliness of his path, the ethos Nietesche describes. This man isthe Ubermensc, the first who know- ingly begins to realize the capitalist religion. The fourth characteristic [of the religious structure of capitalism] is that its God must become concealed and ‘ay only be spoken of in the zenith of his culpability. The cult becomes cele- brated before an immature deity, [while] every image, every idea of it injures the secret ofits maturity. Freudean theory also belongs to the priestly rule of this cult It is thoroughly capitalistic in thought. The repressed, the sinful imagination is, at bottom, still an illuminating analogy to capital—to which the hell ofthe unconscious pays interest ‘This type of capitalist, religious thinking magnificently reconciles itself in ‘Nietasche's philosophy. The thought of the Ubermensch loses the apocalyptic “Jeap” not by changing its ways, atonement, purification, or} penitence, butin theapparently continuous, but inthe end, rupturing, discontinuousintensifca- tion, That is why intensification and evolution are incompatible in the sense of “non fact saltum.”® The Obérmenschis the one who without changing, arrived, ‘who streaked through the heavens—historieal man, ‘Nietzsche prejudged [preached] that {in] this breaking open of the heavens through increased humanization (Menschhaftigket), the religious (also for Nietzsche) blame is and remains. And similarly [with} Marx: the non-inverting, [nicht umkehrende| capitalism becomes socialism with interest and compound interest, which [are the] functions of blame (note the demonic ambiguity of this concept) Capitalism is a purely cultic religion, without dogma, Capitalism itself de eloped parastically on Christianity in the West-not in Calvinism alone, but also, as must be shown, in the remaining orthodax Christian movements—in such a Way that, inthe end, its history is essentially the history of it parasites, ‘of capitalism, Compare the holy iconography {Heiligenbildera] of various re- ligions on the one hand with the banknotes of various countries on the other: ‘The sprit that speaks from the ornamentation of banknotes. ‘Capitalism and law [Recht], Pagan character of law. Sorel Réflexions sur la violence p. 2622 Overcoming of capitali | und Metaphysic S44® ne mel nger Polk | Fuchs: Struktur der kapitalistischen Gesellschaft 0.4. (?]” Methodologically [it] would be [productive] to first examine what associa- - Pluto as God of the rich. io a Ges [aufldsenden), is, to us, at the same time a liberating and killing — Notes 1 “Capitalism as Religion” isa twansation of Fragment 74, ented “Kepitalsms als Rel gion rom Volume Va Benjamin's Gesamte Sten ted FemmannSchweppeahsser (Guramp), 100-03 Inthe ots of hat asa G60, Sth the eo ave ced th tet amin fence ns manent th ns thal wo ee re hte. Ths te povided wih gt emeaatn nthe {lowing ora ong with raping te Engh non raed ‘words the et ae added merely to ais the eae in completing sentences. All footnotes are those of the translator. ne ‘ut hs most kei the re of typo oreo in he raaipon a Benin Pan Sip The phrase should probly wad “hane eve et sane meee whch ound I he Sih principle ofthe Medlev! desogue of chivalry, catalogued bythe inftal 19th century French leary historian Leon Gate The sich rnp eet othe mete night's method of ging the nie and isin concert with Benji’ decripion of Caplin devopment ad George Soe tretent of Crisis and capa i Ip Raflexoas suri violence, which Bnjoin ner ees Inti manuscript Set Laon Gautier, Chili, The Bey Lie ofthe Medieval Knight Sew take Coma Puen, 1985) wou Ie to thank Deva Pager and Pa Humphrey for ther sstacein tring ths connection. Benjani i of"non cit suns truncated venon ofthe evlatonary adage, Nara ton at salt or Nature makes bo laps which ured prominently im Lebns [Nouveaux ens sur Pntendemeot burma 1704 (ansted ts New Ess on Hamman Underundng (Cambridge: Cambie Univesity Press 1996), Chas Darts On the Origin of Species (London: Jon Mistry 859, an Aled Matha Piper of Boo ‘ome (London: Macmilan 1920). erjamin noting he sbi of he German word Schl which can meaner blame, itor debt Stores Sor, Réesons srl vila, th ein (ari Mare Rive et Cie 191) Trained os Reflection on Viaence New York: Pete Sih 1981. Eich Ungs, Pol ad Metal. Bie Theorie: Vruche 2a phtsophischer Poi (Bet: Vrag Dai 12 Bruno Archibald Fuchs, Der Geist der bargerich-kaptalischen Gesellschaft. Hine Untersuchung ber sine Grandlage and Vrascetzungen Belin Machen 1914), Mox Weber, Geum Austr sur Rlonsoilogie? Ba. (binge Mohr 1920) rot Thoiseh, Die Sorleren der crstchen Krcen und Gruppen Gesamte Scien, Bd. (Tobingen:Sienti Aaten 1912. Tanlated a The Sct Teaching of the sta Churches (Ne Yorke The acln Company 1931. Gustav Lander, Aru sum Sova Bele Vere be sl Cassie 1920. In Teutonic ad OU Engl aw eri (or Merged the vale et fora aman fe nd 4s pi the silo do the dead ‘Adam Mille wolf Redea uber de Becedsamkeit und deren Verfall in Deutschland (ches ret Masten Veriag 1810) 16 Theologico-Political Fragment Walter Benjamin ‘Translated by Edmund Jephcott Only the Messiah himself consurnmates all history, in the sense that he alone redeems, completes, creates its elation tothe Messianic. For this reason nothing historical can relate itself on its own account to anything Messianic. Therefore the Kingdom of God i not the relos of the historical dynamic, it cannot be set asagoal From the standpoint of history itis not the goa, but the end, Therefore {he order ofthe profane cannot be built upon the idea ofthe Divine Kingdom, and therefore theocracy has no politcal, bt only a religious meaning Te here repudiated with utmost vehemence the political significance of theocracy ts the cardinal merit of Bloch’ Sprit of Utopia The order of the profane should be erected on the idea of happiness. The ‘elation ofthis order to the Messianic ison ofthe essential teachings of the Philosophy history: tis the precondition ofa mystical conecpton ofhistory,