The Loss of Place
When Heidegger writes of the sacred place during the National Socialist period in Germany, he evinces a nostalgia for an all-encompassing world of myths, a nostalgia seemingly also felt by the Hellenic Neoplatonists when they try to provide a philosophical groundwork for the Hellenic rites, even as those rites are being slowly extinguished by the Christians. But also during the National Socialist regime, and more especially after its demise, Heidegger writes of a sacred place that does not make the gods present through a world of myth, but allows them to remain absent even as they are gathered into the place. In the gathering of the divinities into the place, human beings “await the divinities… and do not mistake the signs of their absence.”1 Heidegger’s conception of the sacred here resembles that of the ancient Greeks much less than it does the conception of certain late medieval mystics and above all Meister Eckhart (ca 1260–1327). In Eckhart, we find a God whose truest expression is absence, who lives without reason, and who imparts these characteristics also to creation in its ultimate ground.
KeywordsHuman Nature Heavenly Body Sacred Place Aesthetic Perception Absolute Nature
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