The Myth of the Eternal Return

Mircea Eliade

(My note: This passage of the book is translated by me from the original Czech version, so there might be some mistakes. The page may not match the original either).

Dread of history, page 102

“We can also say that Christianity is the “religion” of modern and historical man, a man who has revealed both personal freedom and uninterrupted time (instead of cyclical time). It is also interesting that existence has been much more strongly promoted by modern man, who understands history as such, as history and not as repetition, than by a man of archaic traditional cultures, armed against the horrors of history only with myths, rites and habits mentioned in this book. if the idea of ​​God and the resulting religious experience had existed since ancient times, they could eventually be replaced by other religious “forms” (totemism, ancestor worship, the Great Goddess of Fertility, etc.) that more readily meet the religious needs of “primitive” society. When the horror of history appeared on the horizon of archetypes and repetition, it could be endured. From the “invention” of faith in the Judeo-Christian sense (ie, “God can do everything”), a person detached from the horizon of archetypes and repetition can defend himself against this horror only by the thought of God. And only on the assumption of the existence of God We gain freedom on the one hand (which gives him autonomy in the Universe governed by laws, or in other words, the “inauguration” of a new and unique way of being in the World) and, on the other hand, the certainty that historical tragedies have a transhistorical significance, even though this significance is not apparent to mankind in its present state. Every other situation of modern man ultimately leads to despair. The despair that is not evoked by his own human existentiality, but by his presence in the historical world, in which almost all of humanity lives at the mercy of constant fear (even if he is not always aware of it).”