Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Sacred and the Profane by Micrea Eliade or 57, this transl by Willard r. trask 59

The Sacred and the Profane by Micrea Eliade or 57, this transl by Willard r. trask 59

8-says otto’s the sacred 17 got “extraordinary interest” b/c it “was certainly due to the author’s new and original pt. of view”—instead of ideas, otto studied exprcs
-otto show that “living God” was not for philosophers, only for believers—not an idea, it was a power (9), “manifested in the divine wrath”—gives feeling of terror (mysterium tremmendum), “majesty”
9-otto calls all these exprcs as numinous (latin, numen=god) divine power—it is “wholly other” not even cosmic (10)—man feels “his profound nothingness”
10-“lang naively expresses the tremendum [and other such exprcs]…by terms borrowed from the world fo nature or from man’s secular mental life”
-says hes a little diff, present the “sacred in all it’s complexity, and not only in so far as it is irrational”, “the sacred…is the opposite of the profane”

11-hierophany—it “the act of manifestation of the sacred” (cf eliade 58 patterns… for etymology of word); says all rels, even primitive, have them
-says “The mod Occidental” doesn’t like to accept that the sacred can b, for others, “manifested in stones or trees”’ and then thot (12) object becomes both sacred and profane

12-“The man of the archaic societies lends to live as much as possible in the sacred or in close proximity to consecrated objects…b/c, for primitieves as for the man of all premod societies, the sacred is equivalent to a power, and, in the last analysis, to reality. The sacred is saturated w/ being”
13-dichotomy “often expressed as an opposition btwn real and unreal or peudoreal…Thus, it is easy to understand that relus man deeply desres…to participate in reality…”
-it’s a feeling that is not exprecd by all, esp by these men w/out rel b/c of desacralization—whih he says emerged in a particular historical situation, but he won’t discuss it

14-Plans to show the relus and nonrelus man have diff meaning for the “city or house, nature, or work”’ for nonrelus, physiological acts r just that, for relus, they have more many
-these r also the “2 modes of being in the world” (sacred and profane)
15-he says to prove this, he will give examples from other cultures (eg of their sacred space) B/c “Nothing can take the place of the example, the concrete fact” [this is problematic]
*16-tho admits that in doing this, “there is always the reist of falling back into the errors of the 19th ce and, particularly, of believeing w/ Tylor or Frazer that the reaction of the human mind to natural phenoma is uniform” and admits “that man’s reaction to nature r often conditioned by his culture and hence, finally, by history” but he says he’s showing commonalities and says its “valid if our object is to describe the poetic phenon [which hes comparing it to] as such, if we propose to show the essential diffc btwn poetic lang and the utilitarian lang of everyday life” [this is problematic b/c it doesn’t justify it at all—and just says its valid in “literary history”]

17-says hes not going to dwell on variations of relus exprc, he says one can c similarity btwn nomads and sedentary—they live in a sacralized world an mod societies don’t
*”…and we shall immediately b aware of all that separates him from them”—this is his justification
18-and will not pt. out the “historico-cultural contexts”
22-says for relus ppl, man must b created from a center, and that is the sacred space, pt. of orientation (23), no homogenous

23-a profane/desacralized life is never pure/completely desacralized, so no true orientation is possible, its all relative, homogenous
24-tho even nonrelus man has special placesw of his “private universe”—(birth, first love, etc)

26-sacred spaces have theophanies—(27)”places of passage btwn heaven and earth” (both ways)—tho sometimes this (not a hierophany) is necessary, just a sacred sign
28-says reuls man’s desire to live in sacred “is in fact equivalentto his desire to take up his abode in objective reality”
29-and ritual doesn’t make sacred space, “it reproduces the work of the gods”
-says “tradl societies” made the whole cosmic world sacred, (32) and their rituals recreate the sacred universe being formed, says that’s even what conquestadors were doing when planted cross [problematic b/c they could have been doing it for diff reasons, maybe poll]
32-says “nomadic Australians whose ecoy is still at the stage of gathering and small-game hunting”
35-pts out several various examples of this, of spaces that show axis mundi [maybe, but relying on evory theory, he expands it too far, not for every “rel”]
42-“From all that has been said, it follows that the true world is always in the middle, the Center…”
48-says dragon is chaos to this [limited view of dragon as only evil]

50-in comparing diffc btwn relus and nonrelus ideas of dwelling—cites Le Courbusier saying “the house is ‘a machine to live in’”—utility; but says it’s not all his province to write about the history of desacralization of dwellings, and admits (51) that “certain tradl images, certain vestiges of the behavior of archaic man still persist, in the condition of ‘survivals,’ even in the most highly industrialized societies. But for the moment our concern is to describe, in its pure state, relus behavior…”
51-“The process [sacralization] is an integral part of the gigantic transformation of the world undertaken by the industrial societies, a transformation made possible by the desacralization of the cosmos accomplished by scientific thot and above all by the sensational discoveries of physics and chemistry”
52-“whatever the structure of a tradl society—be it a society of hunters, herdsmen, or cultivators, or already at the stage of urban civilization…”
53-“…in all tradl cultures, the habitation possesses a sacred aspect by the simple fact that it reflects the world” [may be true]
-says india is a “a highly evolved culture”

55-there r 2 kinds of cosmology—1)a god destroys chaos and 2)a giant is slain (purusha in india, ymir in germny, p’an-ku in china) and his body parts become diff parts of the world’s things
-these r reacted in diff kind of ritual

62-“At least the most important mythological constructions and ritual scenarios…r based on the exprc of sacred space. For in the course of history, relus man has given differeing valorizations to the same fundamental experc”, says not to dwell on diffcs but unity (63) [its problem is when its used to predict or to say smthing other than man responded to nature similarly]; (65) these things reflect mens’ “relus nostalgia”—“ the desire to live in a pure holy cosmos, as it was in the beginning…”
68-sacred time: “a primordial mythical time made present”
-“Every relus festival, any liturgical time, reps the reactualization of a sacred event that took place in a mythical past, ‘in the beginning’”
69-it does not “pass”, no duration, indefinite, (70) “circular, reversible and recoverable”—it distinguishes time from nonrelus man’s time
71-admits nonrelus man has some “heterogeneity” of time (eg celebrations, music, etc), “But in comparison w/ relus man…The latter exprecs intervals of time that r ‘sacred,’ that have no part in the temporal duration that precedes and follows them, that have a wholly diff structure and *origin…inaccessible to a nonrelus man”
75-proof—“the term world [in No Amer Indian langs]…is also used in the sense of year”
80-rels annually reinact the time creation myth in ritual and by participating in this, man was also born anew—“illud tempus” where world first came into existence
88-“It can b said of sacred time that it is always the same”
90-tho this does not mean “primitive man” refuse progress (“hence a refusal of creative freedom”), he accepts it but sees its divine origin
93-relus man assumes responsibility for recreating time in ritual, “But it is a diff kind of responsibility from those that, to us moderns, appear to b the only genuine and valid responsibilities. It is a responsibility on the cosmic plane in contradistinction to the moral, social, or historical responsibilities that r alone regarded as valid in mod civilizations”—relus looks infantile-like
95-says “myth becomes apodictic truth”, ontology (96) and since nonrelus man doesn’t have this his actions lose meaning (only keep subjective meaning); (99) says relus men follow myths, (100) that he is only truly a man when he is imitating gods in his life

105-for relus, all life has meaning

107-the eternal sense of tiem become lost “in certain more highly evolbed societies, [in which] the intellectual elites progressively detach themselves from patterns of tradl rel” and becomes terrifying [circular time]…repeating itself to infinity” (in hindu, grks), (110) tho Judaism is innovative saying it will have an end b/c (111) of god’s “personal interventions in history”
111-“Xnty goes even further in valorizing historical time. Since God was incarnated, that is, since he took on a historically conditioned human existence, history acquires the possibility of being sanctified”, the events of X took place in history, not at the origin of time (tho it is seen as a rebirth later),; (112) Hegel applies it to “universal history in its totality…Thus the whole of history becomes a theopany; everything that has happened in history had to happen as it did, b/c the universal spirit so willed it”—opens up philosophy
116-“For relus man, nature is never only ‘nat’; it is always fraught w/ relus value”, (118) “that nature always expresses smthing which transcends it”
118-“Transcendence [for any man] is revealed by simple awareness of infinite height [of the sky]”
121-looking to understand “the relus history of humanity as a while”

*126-in the evo of rel, man first worshipped cosmos, then, being more concerned w/ day to day living (agriculture, fertility) stopped giving that god as much attn and focused on lower gods, only going to highest in emergencies
135-“primitive” ideas of water: flood—catalclysm; water is a slayer, and rich in germs and creativity; birth—(135) inherited from old rels to Judaism
144-“Woman, then, is mystically held to b one w/ the earth, child bearing is seen as a variant, on the human scale, of telluric fertility”, (145-6) that’s why marriage is often seen as a “cosmic hierogamy”—man (heaven), woman earth—(hindu 146, grk)
147-ritual orgies for fecundity rts, sometime for the new year

151-“Exprc of a radically desacralized nature is a recent discovery; moreover, it is an experc accessible only to a minority in omd societies, esp to scientists. For others, nature still exhibits a charm, a mystery, a majesty in which it is possible to decipher traces of ancient relus values” and nonrelus man can completely resist “the charms of nature”—(152) the feeling of relus exprc
162-4 a w. intellectual, when it comes to rels of “Greece, India, China” etc—“To know some (163) part of their sacred lits, to become familiar w/ some oriental or classical mythologies and theologies does not the suffice for a comprehension of the mental universe of homo religiousus…to gain a braoder relus perspective, it is more useful to become familiar w/ the folk culture of Eurpn ppls; in their beliefs and customs, their attitude toward life and death, many archaic relus stus r still recognizable. Studying the rural societies of Eurp provides some (164) basis for understanding the relus world of neolithic cultures. In many cases the customs and beliefs of Eurpn peasants rep a more archaic state of culture than that document in the mythology of classic Greece” [cites l. Schmidt 52] Even tho they have been xn for long time they have kept “pre-xn relus heritage, which was of immemorial antiquity”—from “prehistoric times”

169-The diff “homologies” (relus allegories, eg intestines r a labyrinth) in diff cultures, so must remember “that relus man lives in an open world and that, in addition, hist existence is open tot eh world. This means that relus man is accessible to an infinite series of exprcs that could b termed cosmic”
173-and by comparing himself to nature, “man cosmicizes himself”, (174) and he can even give something he made, human or cosmic metaphor---done “consciously” (173)
*175-but says “Obviously all these exprcs r inaccessible to nonrelus man”

199-uses buddhims, rebirth to nirvana likended to cosmos

*201-says discussion of rel is a “vast subject” concerning historians of rels, ethnologists, socs, poll and soc historians, psychs, and philosophers” to know the situ assumed by relus man, to understand his universe, is , in sum, to advance our gen knowledge of man”
202-“Whenever the historical contxt in which he is placed, homo religiousalways believes that there is an absolute reality, the sacred , which transcends this world but manifests itself in this world, thereby sanctifying it and making it real” and believes all man has sacred origin

-says “nonrelus man refuses transcendence, (203) accepts the realitivty of ‘reality,’ and may even come to doubt the meaning of existence”
-says great cultures have all had nonrelus ppl; even possible in archaic societies—but in omd w. he has “dvlpd fully”—“he accepts no model for humanity outside the human condistion…only [man] makes himself and the world. The sacred is the prime obstacle to his freedom. He will become himself only when he is totally demyticized…until he has killed the last god”
204-Tho they “still behave relusly, even tho they r not aware of the fact” (in superstitions and rituals (205) or, novels—like myths), (206) “mythical structure of communisms of its eschatological content”, (207) secular mvmnts, war intitiations
209-“…the majority of men ‘w/out re’ still hold to pseudo rels and degenerated mythologies”, says these r fed by the “unconscious”, bu/c nonrelus man is descendend from relus
*210-“b/c “even the most elementary rel is, above all, an ontology. In other words, in so far as the unconscious is the result of countless existential exprcs, it cannot but resemble the various relus universes”
*211-“The unconscious activity of mod man caselessly present him w/ innumerable symbols, and ea of them has a particular message to transmit, a particular mission to accomplish, in order to ensure or to re-est. the equilibrium of the psyche. AS we have seen, the symbol not only makes the world ‘open’ but also helps relus man to attain the universal. For it is thru symbols that man finds his way out of his particular situ and ‘opens himself’ to the gen and the universal. Symbols awaken indv exprc and transmute it into a spiritual act, into metaphysical comprehension of the world…(212) [for premodern man] by understanding the symbol, he succeeds in living the universal. It is the relus visitor of the world, and the concomintant ideology, that enable him to make this indv exprc bear fruit, to ‘open’ it to the universal…[these images] still quite frequently [appear] in the imaginary universes of mod nonrelus man; it is a cipher of his deeper life…But as long as the symbol of the tree does not awaken his total consciousness and ‘open’ it to the universe, it cannot b said to have completely fulfilled its funct [psychic equilibrium]…it has not yet raised him to spirituality—that is, it has not succeeded in revealing one of the structures of the real to him”
216-“science of rel”—looks at “common elements of the diff rels and seeking to deduce the laws fo their evo, and esply to discover and define the origin and first form of rel”, starts w/ 19th ce
-says m. muller gave it both names: “science of” and “comparative study of” in chips 1867, tho term was used earlier, “but not in the strict sense by muller” which is how we use it now

219-interest in rel goes back to 5th ce bc Greece; travel accounts and polemics agains trad rel; Herodotus had several good descriptions; (220) and even had hypotheses about their origins and relations to grk myths
220-parmenides (6th ce bc)a nd Empedocles (5th ce)thot gods were “personifications of nat forces”, plato (429-347) talked on rels, arist (384-322) first theory of relus degeneration of humanity, Theophrastus (372-287) succeeded arist as head fo the lyceum “may be considered the first grk historian of rels”
-after the conquests of alex the great (356-323), grks learned about others; (221) epicurus (341-270) said gods exist but they have nothing to do w/ man—he was “esply popular in the latin world “ in the first ce bc, due largely to Lucretius (c98-c53)
221-but “stoics…deeply influencd the whol of late antiquity by dvlping the method of allegorical interp…Arccording to the stoics, myths reveal either philosophic views on the basic nature of things or ethical doctrines…and all rels express the same fundamental truth”’ (222) it “gained wide acceptance, and it was frequently employed later”
222-idea that gods were deified kinds or heroes goes boack to herodotus’ time (484-425) but euhemerus (c330-260) made it pop, later historian Polybius (c200-c124) and geographer Strabo (c60-ad 25) worked for historical elements in myths
-romans Cicero (106-43) and varro (116-27?) wrote a lot describing rels; (223) seneca (2-66) had a stoic thesis, Julius ceasar (104-44bc) and tacitus (55-120) gave info on gauls and germans

224-xns criticized other rels,a dn pagans responded, often using allegorical method
225-“Intresrest in foreign rels was awakedned in the w. during the mid ages by the threatening presence of islam”, 1141 peter the venerable had Koran translated by Robert de retines, and schools to study Arabic est. 1250
-muslims, al-biruni (973-1048), ibn hazm (994-1064) looked at other rels; averros (ibn-rushd, 1126-1198) used allegorical method, influenced W. (226), like arist
226-jews: saadia (892-942), Maimonides (1135-1204) looked at others, tho not syncrestic
-1244 innocent IV sent monks to learn about Mongols; 1274 venetian marco polo worte on orientls, Buddha

227-rennaissance had fashion for neo-platonic allegorical interp: marsilio ficino (1433-1499), hermes trismegistus; 1520 jean boem wrote frist gen history of rels
228-j. f. lafitau 1724 first compared rels of new world to those of antiquity; then so did Charles de brosses, 1757 rejected idea that rel degenerated, said, like hume, some men were superior, the lowers only had “fetishism”

229-w/ more info on indo-eurpn origins, muller (1823-1900) helped study enter “into its own”, “found genesis of myths in nat phena”, (230) and ppl simply changed word name to mean divinity (nomen to numen)
230-w. mannhardt (1831-1880) made muller lose popularity, said “lower mythologies” were diff than “nat” ones, repeated by frazer in the golden bough; e b tylor 1871 primitive culture said animism—everyone believed everything has a soul; then 1900 r. r. marett and k. t. preuss and others said their was a pre-animism experc of an impersonal force (mana), a. lang (1844-1912) said foundation was idea of supreme beings
231-w. Schmidt (1868-1954) said there was fund monotheism; durk (1858-1917) said rel came from totemism (like mac Lennan 1869) tho grazer showed its not universal
*-said “sociological hypothese had no lasting influence on hsitorico-relus studies”
232-phenomology by van der leeuw (1890-1950?)

-says now “historians of rels r divided btwn 2 divergent but complementary orientations”: one for “the characterisc structures of relus phena” (“seek to understand the essence of rel”), other on “historical contxt” (“communicate its history”)

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