Journal of Religious Ethics 40 (3):545 - 555 (2012)

This Comment argues that Stephen Bush's critique of Georges Bataille's meditative practice fails to recognize how the disruption of the self, and the challenge to goal-oriented activity that comprise the heart of that practice, serve as an ethical limit that protects against sadistic and violent engagement with the world. The ethical disposition fostered by Bataille's practice is a dissolution of the self. In this reply to Kent Brintnall's response to my essay on Georges Bataille and the ethics of ecstasy, I explore two primary questions: whether instrumentalization is inherently violent and non-instrumentalization is inherently non-violent, and whether there is a way to intervene in the world that avoids both "apathetic disengagement" and domination. I endorse the view that instrumentalization can be good as well as bad, and I suggest that it is possible to strive to intervene in the world without striving to master it. I make reference to Sarah Coakley as a Christian theologian who advances particular practices that aim for non-dominating intervention in theworld
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