© Luis Palácios, 2012
“Now we can begin to understand why ceremonial and liturgy are so essential to power. It is a question of holding them and registering them in a separate sphere of the central inactivity of human life. Power places solidly at its centre, in the form of celebration and glory, what appears to its eyes to be the unviewableinactivity of man and of God. Human life is idle and aimless, but it is precisely this lack of action and aim which makes possible the incomparable busyness of the human race. Man has devoted himself to production and labour because he is in essence deprived of work, because he is above all a sabbatical animal. And the machinery of government functions because it has captured within its empty heart the inactivity of the human essence. This inactivity is the political substance of the West, the glorious nourishment of all power. This is why feasting and idleness resurface continually in the dreams and political utopias of the West, and equally continually come to grief there. They are the enigmatic relics which the economic‑theological machine abandons on the shoreline of civilization; mankind returns to them wonderingly, but always uselessly and nostalgically. Nostalgically because they seem to contain something that clings jealously to the human essence; uselessly because in reality they are nothing more than the ashes of the immaterial, glorious fuel burnt by the motor of the machine during its inexorable, relentless rotation.”
Art, Inactivity, Politics, in G. AGAMBEN, Politics, Criticism of Contemporary Issues. Serralves International Conferences 2007 (edição de Rui MOTA CARDOSO), Fundação Serralves, Lisboa 2008, pp. 39-49 e 131-141.