Vasile Băncilă. An ethnic-spiritualist metaphysics banned by the totalitarian regime
by Ion Dur (Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania; Baia Mare Northern University Centre, Romania)
With this investigation, the critic and essayist Ion Dur provides academic researchers with a critical study of the writings of the Romanian philosopher Vasile Băncilă, a subtle and surprising thinker who did not give up his own philosophical ‘creed,’ even though after the establishment of the communist regime in Romania (1947) he was almost completely forgotten.
An authentic metaphysician, V. Băncilă, as the philosopher Dur portrays him, devoted himself systematically to the study of philosophy from his youth. His philosophical reflections not only analysed the key concepts of important philosophers but also shaped his own spiritualist philosophical system.
The philosopher Ion Dur delves into the philosophical space of Vasile Băncilă, identifies his “dominant ideas”, and critically evaluates them. Coincidence and/or destiny, this monography is written by one of the most respected researchers into interwar Romanian philosophy, who has also demonstrated in his other writings about E. Cioran, C. Noica, Nae Ionescu and H. Stamatu that his ability to engage in the hermeneutics of these authors, masterfully combining philosophy, literature, and history. For an open-minded reader or a serious researcher, the experience of reading such a work is unforgettable because it provides a deeply enriching experience.
Philosophy PhD. Gabriel Hasmaţuchi
”Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu, Romania
This book is a rediscovery and examination of the thinking of Vasile Băncilă, a philosopher forbidden by the totalitarian regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu. The philosopher Lucian Blaga saw Băncilă as a threat to the spirit of the highest Romanian culture. It is estimated that Băncilă’s work extends to 32 volumes, 17 of which have been published so far. With such a significant opus, Vasile Băncilă is, indisputably, a key figure in contemporary Romanian culture, particularly in the sphere of philosophy.
The book has eleven chapters and is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the hermeneutics of the author’s youthful works. His reflections on the purpose of philosophy for life are important, about the role of this discipline in the education of adolescents and students, the relationship between irony and education, his thoughts of one of the greatest Romanian poets, Mihai Eminescu, and the philosophy of Descartes and of Schopenhauer. In the second part, the book looks at Băncilă’s aim of structuring a possible system of philosophy; more precisely, an ethnic-spiritualist metaphysics which, when it was elaborated, contradicted the official ideology of the totalitarian regime. Finally, the book covers the philosopher’s work, analysing step-by-step the relation between the part and the whole (pars pro toto), as well as between existence and metaphysics, and the philosopher’s conclusions about Romanian existence.
An atypical philosophical diary – starting frames –
Metaphysics is waiting at the poste-restante Avatars of a biography
Part I. Writings from youth
Chapter 1 To philosophize in order to live
1.1 “A huge number of worksheets”
1.2 A philosophical framework
1.3 The perception of metaphysical reality
1.4 Philosophy is abstract religion
Chapter 2 Ethnic philosophy
2.1 What is the nation?
2.2 Profile of Romanian Philosophy
Chapter 3 Philosophy and high school
3.1 Notes for an ephebology
3.2 Childhood or the small homeland
3.3 Adolescence – personality cheetah
Chapter 4 Irony and its paideutic role
4.1 Towards a pedagogy of irony
4.2 Irony and laughter
4.3 Pragmatism of irony
4.4 Laughter, irony and education
4.5 The limits of irony and pedagogical comfort
Chapter 5 Eminescu: romantic and pragmatic optimistic
5.1 Starting frames
5.2 I am a romantic, therefore I exist!
5.3 A pragmatic journalist
5.4 Differently, about pessimism
Chapter 6 Religious reflections
6.1 Loneliness and faith
6.2 Oriental religiosity
6.3 Socialisation of religion
6.4 Orthodoxy and Catholicism
Chapter 7 Back to René Descartes!
7.1 A philosopher at the crossroads
7.2 Living in Descartes' philosophy
7.3 Cogito ergo sum – a sophism
7.4 The function of Descartes – a kind of Luther
Chapter 8 Ethics, sociology and politics in Schopenhauer
8.1 A terrific up date
8.2 A German philosopher read in French
8.3 Five ethics
8.4 Between politics and sociology
8.5 Splitting with some division
8.6 What is pessimism?
Part II. An essay in spiritualist metaphysics
Chapter 9 Pars pro toto
9.1 Part and whole
9.2 Philosophy – Second Genesis
9.3 The mythical power of philosophy
9.4 A philosophical perspective
9.5 Portrait of the philosopher
9.6 Power of the Absolute
9.7 A system of Philosophy or Transcendent Grace
9.8 Philosophy and progress
9.9 The polytropy value of philosophy
Chapter 10 Existence, reality and metaphysics
10.1 A spiritualist metaphysics
10.2 Metaphysics of reality
10.3 Existence as being
Chapter 11 Romanian existence
11.1 Transylvania – differential ethnic psychology
11.2 The stylistic mark of other provinces
11.3 Transcendental and Empirical Romanianism
11.4 Destiny, individualism and cosmic focus
11.5 Romanian Mission
11.6 The unity of “a collective martyrdom”
Ion Dur has written over twenty books of philosophical essays and monographs (Cioran, Constantin Noica, Vasile Băncilă, Horia Stamatu, Nae Ionescu) and collaborated in the translation of two works by Hannah Arendt: The Origins of Totalitarianism (with Mircea Ivănescu; Humanitas Publishing House, 1994) and Crises of the Republic (with D.-I. Cenușer; Humanitas Publishing House, 1999).
He has published essays, chronicles, studies and articles on philosophy, literature, aesthetics, literary criticism, and media criticism in various Romanian and international cultural publications. He has collaborated with the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Services and appeared on public and private television channels. He has also been an active participant in and organiser of national and international symposiums. Dur is currently a Scientific Advisor in the Faculty of Letters at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, University Centre North of Baia Mare. He is also a Professor at the “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu and Dean of the Faculty of Journalism at the same institution. He is a member of the Writers’ Union of Romania, and the recipient of seven prizes awarded by its Sibiu subsidiary. He obtained the “Mircea Florian” award for Philosophy from the Romanian Academy.
metaphysics and totalitarian regime; spirituality metaphysics; ethnic philosophy; pragmatism of irony; religious reflections; Romanian existence