Colegiul National "Moise Nicoara" Arad

Escaping the Profane or the Need for Sacred

                                                                                                     Ruxandra Ioana Neamu

                                                                                                                       XII th F grade


Without noticing it, humankind is increasingly immersing itself in what some of us call profane, but every day, the need for sacred is more and more discernible.

People are trying to escape from the profane and to cling onto things that have, unfortunately, lost their sanctitude. Humans live pseudo-sacredly, eagerly waiting for the holidays, the key to an emancipative door that frees them from the profane. But the need for sacred is even greater in the moments when it used to exist, to manifest. A prosaic example is that of Christmas (even this name is profane, since the holiday actually represents The Nativity) which turns into frugal days, when the store shelves “howl” at the customer, announcing that the time of the year when Santa Claus is coming to town has arrived. In essence, Christmas is much more than that. Everybody awaits a revelation of the sacred, but it’s the profane itself that keeps the sacred from being seen.

The profane is the lack of actualisation of the sacred, just as darkness is the lack of life, or as death is the lack of being alive. Pay attention, I said the lack of being alive, not the lack of existing. I state this because transdisciplinarity has made me ask myself questions which I myself answer. What I’ve found is that death is not the lack of existence, death is just another form of existence, one that we can not discover if we remain bound to the form of existence called „life”.

Consequently, what we have to understand is that sacred and profane are not two separated worlds; they are, as Mircea Eliade used to say, „two ways of existing in this world”. They can be considered the two sides of the Mobius Strip. Even if they seem identical, they are different and can not be separated. Like in a Mobius Strip, they endlessly entwine  and meet in one spot. Try as you might, you can not separate such a Strip, it’s impossible. It’s simply amazing: however you try to split it, you are left helpless. It gives you the impression that it’s surreal. Yet, it exists. When I first watched the Mobius Strip, I was bewildered. I thought that from the way it’s twisted, if you start from somewhere, you return „upside down”. Just to be sure, I made a strip myself, following the instructions on the Internet, and I imagined myself walking on it. My idea was only half right: you get to the backside of the strip „upside down”, but when you return to the starting point, you’re back on your feet. Of course, this drill was an imaginary one, because I’ve never come across such a large-scaled Strip.

 Then, I asked myself an apparently weird question: in reality, where does man stand on the Strip, when he’s alive? My previous statement, saying that mankind is bound to the profane, still stands? Aren’t we on the edge of the two? Can’t we head towards the sacred, unnoticeably crossing the border? Can this mean an unravelling of the sacred? There are a lot of questions but only one certainty: the sacred and the profane are two sides of a sheet and one sheet only. Can anyone imagine a sheet with only one side? The answer is easy: no. As well, the world does not exist only in sacred or only in profane. The problem is that we can only see one side of this sheet called “world”, we mostly see the profane.

From the first moment human stepped into this world, the sacred was there. We can not deny the fact that there are people who had the unique, revealing experience of the sacred, for short amounts of time, which ended up forgotten, either because of the daily life, or the mistrust, or just because people were not aware of the importance of the happening. The sacred is like a radio frequency. In order to tune in, you must have a special antenna. „An antenna” that everyone has, but not anyone can use. However, when you manage to tune in, something changes, and for a short period of time you feel like you have parted with the profane and stepped into the sacred. These experiences mark people’s lives, completely changing some of them.

I am going to end with a thought from the writer I quoted earlier, Mircea Eliade. He stated that „ Man is aware of the sacred because it manifests, presents itself as something completely divergent from the profane”. (