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Unformatted text preview: Sacred, Space and Making the Vorld Sacred, H O M O G E N E I T Y O F S P A C E A N D H I E R O P E A N Y For r"ligious man, Bpace is not homogeneous; he experiences interruptions, breaks in it; some parts of space are qualitatively different from others. "Draw not nigh hither," says the Lord to Moses; "put ofi thy shoes from ofi thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Exodus, 3, S). There is, then, a sacred space, and hence a strong, significant space; there are other spaces that are not sacred and 80 are without struc- ture or consistency, amorphous. Nor is this all. For re- ligious man, this spatial [email protected] expres- gion in the "rp"rffi- opposition between space that is ssslgd-the only real and reol-Iy existing space- and all other 8psce, the formless expanse surrounding it. It must be eaid at once that the religious experience of the nonhomogeneity of space is a primordial experience, 20 Faou: 6li"-ar_, }i.Iac"€o.t 'Tge Pno tre r,l- MTPcEA EumD€ homologizable to a founding of the world. It is not a mat- ter of theoretical speculation, but of a primary religiouc experience tlrat precedes all reflection on the world. For it is the break eflected in space that allows the world to be constituted, because it reveals the lixed point, the central axis for all future orientation. When the sacred manilests itself in any hierophany, there is not only a break in the homogeneity o[ space; there is also revela- tion of an absolute reality, opposed to the nonreality of the vast surrounding expanse. The manifestation of the sacred ontologically founds the world. In the homo. geneous and inlinite expanse, in which no poirrt bf refer- ence is possible and hence no orienlation ean be estab- Iished, the hierophany reveals an a[.'"olute fixed point, a center. 2L e) 7c Beecc, 1159 fl,qQcoU rar 22 Tlu Sured and the Prolonz So it is clear to what a degree the discovery--that is, the revelation-of a sacred spaee possesses existential value for religious man; for nothing can begin, nothing can be done, without a previous orienlglien-and any orientation implies acquiring a fixed point. lt is for this reason that religious man has alwaya sought to fix his abode nt the "center of the world." If the uorld is to be Iiaed, in, it must be f ounded-dnd no world ean come to birth in the chaos of the homogeneity and relativity of profane space. The discovery or projection of a fixed point-the center-is equivalent to the creation of the world; and we shall soon give nome examples that will unmistakably show the cosmogonic value of the ritual orientation and construction of grtcred 8pace. For profane experience, ori the contrary, spaee ie homogeneous and neutral; no break qualitatively differ- entiates the various parts of its mBS3. Geometrical space can be cut and delimited in any dir.ection; but no quali- tative diflerentiation and, hence, no ')rientation are given by virtue of its inherent structure. SIe need only remem....
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This note was uploaded on 02/15/2012 for the course RELS 2001 taught by Professor Daley during the Spring '11 term at Georgia State University, Atlanta.
- Spring '11