Wednesday, May 26

26 May

I'm making an effort to finish the article for L'Art du XXe siecle. I feel that I won't succeed in saying even the essential. I have to send it off in a few days, and every time I write under pressure, I write poorly.

I would have liked to analyze especially the religious significance of the "destruction of worlds" (traditional artistic worlds). To be compared to the ritual scenarios ("primitive" and paleo-Oriental) of periodic destruction and re-creation of the cosmos. The religious necessity for the abolition of old, tired, inauthentic forms ("illusory," "idolatrous"). All this corresponds in a certain sense to the death of God proclaimed by Nietzsche. But there is more: the passion for matter resembles the pre-Mosaic cosmic religiosity. The modern artist who can no longer believe in the Judeo-Christian tradition ("God is dead") is returning, without noticing it, to "paganism," to cosmic hierophanies: substance as such incarnates and manifests the sacred.

-- Mircea Eliade Journal 1964