Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Eliade: The Regeneration of Time

In Chapter Two of Cosmos and History, The Regeneration of Time, Mircea Eliade attempts to apply his insights to the very common symbols revolving around periodicity in archaic man's life. That is to say, he applies his insights to what he sees as archaic man's desire to "abolish history" by renewing time and creation at the New Year and other events that are assimilated to his cosmogony.

Eliade begins by noting that in all cultures of which we have knowledge archaic man demonstrates 1) a conception of an end and a beginning of a temporal period, based on his observation of cosmic rhythms, and 2) a need for periodic regeneration. This concept of "cyclical regeneration," according to Eliade, "poses the problem of the abolition of 'history.'" It is at this point, I believe, that Eliade goes too far: this conception of an abolition of history reads modern ideology back into the thought of archaic man.