But this static contrast of the sacred and the secular as mutually exclusive opposites is misleading, because it is undialectical. The secular is the negation of the sacred, and both Freud's and Hegel's negation affirms its own opposite. The psychological realities here are best grasped in terms of theology, and were already grasped by Luther. Modern secularism, and its companion Protestantism, do not usher in an era in which human consciousness is liberated from inhuman powers, or the natural world is liberated from supernatural manifestations; the essence of the Protestant (or capitalist) era is that the power over this world has passed from God to God's negation, God's ape, the Devil. And already Luther had seen in money the essence of the secular, and therefore of the demonic. The money complex is the demonic, and the demonic is God's ape; the money complex is therefore the heir to and substitute for the religions complex, an attempt to find God in things.
The ultimate category of economics is power; but power is not an economic category. Marx fills up the emergent gap in his theory with the concept of force (violence) i.e., by conceiving power as a material reality. We have argued elsewhere that this is a crucial mistake; power is in essence a psychological category. And to pursue the tracks of power, we will have to enter the domain of the sacred, and map it: all power is essentially sacred power.
What the psychoanalytical paradox is asserting is that "things" which are possessed and accumulated, the property and the universal condensed precipitate of property, money, are in their essential nature excremental. Psychoanalysis must take a position not only as to the origin of the money complex but also as to its ultimate validity. Vulgar psychoanalytical exegesis limits itself to the argument that the category of property originates in infantile manipulation of the excremental product. But the real point is that property remains excremental, and is known to be excremental in our secret heart, the unconscious. Jokes and folklore and poetic metaphor, the wisdom of folly, tell the secret truth. The wisdom of folly is the wisdom of childhood. What the child knows consciously, and the adult unconsciously, is that we are nothing but body. However much the repressed and sublimating adult may consciously deny it, the fact remains that life is of the body and only life creates values; all values are bodily values. Hence the assimilation of money with excrement does not render money valueless; on the contrary, it is the path whereby extraneous things acquire significance for the human body, and hence value. If money were not excrement, it would be valueless.
The commitment to mathematize the world, intrinsic to modern science, is a commitment to sublimation. Mathematics is coeval with city life, because in the city culture is organized by the principle of sublimation. Plato was right: God geometrizes, and mathematics is the crucial discipline in converting human love to a suprasensual life. Bertrand Russell is right: Mathematics has "a beauty cold and austere," "without any appeal to our weaker nature," and gives "the sense of being more than man." 210 The psychoanalytical paradox of the anal character of mathematical thinking merely specifies what part of the life of the body is affirmed by negationby denial, as Russell says, of "our weaker nature"in order to construct the nonbodily life.