I am aware that it is odd that I would write a book review where most of the time, I usually write articles on metaphysics and reality. However technically speaking, the book I am reviewing is under metaphysics by its very nature. There is a reason why I chose this particular book. You see in my occult studies, I decided to know more about understanding the mystery of sacred reality and the sacred sciences. Among some of these books, there was a particular I intend to get my hands on. About a year ago a friend of mine I met by sheer circumstance recommended the writings of Mircea Eliade in my metaphysical and spiritual journey.
Now for those who aren't familiar with Mircea Eliade I will briefly explain. Eliade was a Romanian author who specialized in Religious topics, Philosophy and history. You can learn more about Eliade's life here. Particularly he was a trained religious historian. And he has analyzed that modern man's nature as inherently religious even if he was not aware of it. Early in his life he has expressed his support for the Iron Guard and was also a contemporary of one of the most controversial figures in the 20th Century, Julius Evola. Later on his life he became a professor and taught at the University of Chicago till his death in 1986.
Eliade wrote numerous publications such as, Myth and Reality, a History of Religious Ideas Volumes 1, 2 and 3, The Myth of the Eternal Return, and of course The Sacred and Profane The nature of religion. The latter which i will discuss here.
Now in The Sacred and Profane Eliade goes in depth with the differentiations between "sacred time and space" and "profane time and space" as he distinguishes the difference between traditional religious man and modern non-religious man. The introduction is already layered with depth and well executed as it is a brief summary of all the topics he will discuss later in his book. His knowledge and extensive analysis as well as his spiritual and philosophical perspective gives a good insight into man's religious nature. As you say Modern man is not entirely secular. He still carries some semblance of religious ideas whether he is aware of it or not.
"For modern conciousness, a physiological act-eating, sex and so on-is in sum only an organic phenomenon, however much it may still be encumbered by tabus 'taboos' (imposing, for example particular rules for "eating properly" or forbidding some sexual behavior disapproved by social morality). But for the primitive, such an act is never simply physiological; it is or can become , a sacrament, that is, a communion with the sacred (14)."
He also goes in depth with exactly why creation stories exist because they exist outside material space and time. These stories do not happen in historical chronological time rather they happen in sacred time and space outside our realm of reality. It is only a modern phenomenon in where the idea of creation existing in material historical time. But the ancients never really saw it that way. Primordial Time exists in cycles and it is eternal. While Profane space and time is finite, and subject to change. Physical time and space also operates in cycles but not in the same way as Sacred time and Space. A very good example highlighting this is from the Divine Pymander (Corpus Hermeticum Book ):
42. All that is incorporeal, is void of Lying.
43. Everything that is made is corruptible.
44. Nothing good upon Earth; nothing evil in Heaven.
45. God is good; Man is evil.
46. Good is voluntary, or of its own accord.
47. Evil is involuntary, or against its will.
48. The gods choose good things, as good things.
49. Time is a Divine thing.
50. Law is humane.
51. Malice is the nourishment of the World.
52. Time is the corruption of Man.
53. Whatsoever is in Heaven is unalterable.
54. All upon Earth is alterable.
55. Nothing in Heaven is servanted; nothing upon Earth free.
56. Nothing unknown in Heaven; nothing known upon Earth.
59. That which is immortal is not mortal; that which is mortal is not immortal.
60. That which is sown is not always begotten; but that which is begotten always is sown.
61. Of a dissolveable body, there are two times; one for sowing to generation, one from generation to death.
62. Of an everlasting Body, the time is only from the Generation.
63. Dissolveable Bodies are increased and diminished.
64. Dissolveable matter is altered into contraries; to wit, Corruption and Generation, but Eternal matter into itself, and its like.
65. The Generation of Man is corruption; the Corruption of Man is the beginning of Generation.
66. That which offsprings or begetteth another, is itself an offspring or begotten by another.
" (Book 1).
This probably could elaborate on Mircea Eliade's perspective. There is more details in his book and I recommend reading it for yourselves.
Here are more quotes from The Sacred and The Profane:
"The experience of sacred space makes possible the "founding of the world",: where the sacred manifests itself in space, the real unveils itself the world comes into existence (63)."
"For religious mantime too, like space, is neither homogenous nor continuous. On the one hand there are intervals of a sacred time, the time of festivals (by far the greater part of which are periodical); on the other there is profane time, ordinary temporal duration, in which acts without religious meaning have their setting. Between these two kinds of time there is ofcourse, solution to continuity; by means of rites religious man can pass without danger from ordinary temporal duration of sacred time (68)".
"Simple contemplation of the celestial vault already provokes a religious experience. The sky shows itself to be infinite, transparent. It is pre-eminently the "wholly other" than the than the title represented by manand his environment (118)".
"Man desires to dwell at the center, where there is the possibility of communicating with the gods. His dwelling is a microcosm; and so too is his body (172)."
These are just examples of what the contents of the book are. So I recommend it that you read it for yourselves. You can purchase the book on amazon. Overall it is a good read and it really gets the autism brain thinking.
"As Above so Below. As Below So Above."