The Rediscovery of Place
It is a sad fact that Martin Heidegger and Mircea Eliade, two thinkers who have revitalized the study of place in the twentieth century, both patronized regimes now remembered only for their brutality. Heidegger’s involvement with the National Socialist movement in Germany is well known, and Eliade’s support for the Romanian Iron Guard is gradually getting more attention.1 The most unsettling aspect of their involvement with these regimes, for our purposes, is that it may possibly explain their interest in the concept of place. Especially in essays written and courses taught during the National Socialist period in Germany, Heidegger emphasizes place as grounding the world of a historical people. Eliade speaks repeatedly of the degradation of modern industrial society where, “properly speaking, there is no longer any world.”2 Industrial society produces houses and people without distinctiveness in a space which is likewise homogeneous and undistinguished. Did Eliade look to Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, the head of the Iron Guard, as someone who could forcefully reimpress a center on a world become homogeneous?
KeywordsGeometrical Object Natural Place Sacred Place Greek Term Silent Word
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