The essay examines two interrelated questions with respect to the work and career of Philip Rieff: (1) why does the career have the anomalous shape that it does, and (2) does this situation have anything to do with the claim throughout Rieff's work, but especially in his last work, that the sacred in human society always entails interdicts, that is, imperative sacrifices of satisfactions in the name of what somehow counts more for the society?

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