Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Myth of the Eternal Return, 2-48

Hello All,

As I warned you at the beginning of the quarter, Eliade's text will be the most difficult of our three texts to read: his tone (vocabulary and syntax) is the most formal and academic of our authors, and he refers to many obscure (to us) figures from religions and mythologies that span the globe (and history).

Because of this, the most effective strategy (for us in this class) for reading this work is to focus on the core concepts and the relationships between those concepts. Don't get caught up in trying to decipher and research each and every name he references; instead, read with a highlighter or pencil, and annotate (underline or mark) the sentences or passages that you think are most important in terms of the overall ideas.

For example, one key concept Eliade defines and illustrates is that of the Center (and Symbolism of the Center). The Center is a physical place that represents the core/essence/heart of an idea or system. For example, for Christians, a Center would be Jerusalem; for Muslims, a Center would be Mecca. However, these centers can also be secular. For example we could discuss a library as representing a Center of knowledge (we would thus look for the "best" library as the most representative of this center) or Hollywood as the Center of entertainment.

This blog post will have two components:

1. Find a quote from pages 2-48 of The Myth of the Eternal Return that you find interesting/important/thought-provoking.

2. Describe one Center that is important to you and your world.