Quote of the Week: Mircea Eliade, “The Portugal Journal”


Mircea Eliade (1907 – 1986)

My lack of interest for sociology, Marxism, and so forth is owing to the statement often made that these disciplines give you the illusion of having global explanations of history, while in fact they take account of nothing but the human mob. I have no doubt that thousands of inert and ruthless persons behave exclusively on the basis of economics, but by the same token one can say that they behave biologically or physically, as objects subject to the laws of gravity. The elect man – and any man can become elect when he is infused with spirit – moves on another plane. Actually, I learn nothing about the real man by learning economic laws that make him become proletarian or criticise his social institutions. I learn essential things about the real man by following the reaction of the individual vis-à-vis the spirit; man vis-à-vis death, vis-à-vis love: there is an object for research! The elect man, be he Goethe or an ordinary mortal in a sublime moment, has loved ones. Of course, man is interrogated in a society and is subject to historical laws. But man likewise is composed of organs and is biological; he is composed of molecules and is physical.

▪ Mircea Eliade, The Portugal Journal (SUNY Press, 2010) extract from the entry for 17 May 1942, on page 22.

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