Regie Amamio (PhD) is a faculty member of the Department of English at Mindanao State University, General Santos City, Philippines. She obtained a PhD in Literary Studies from Silliman University, Dumaguete City, Philippines. Her research work focuses on literary and cultural studies, including literary folkloristics, postcolonial studies, gender studies, and indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge. She has presented at conferences and published papers on these topics. E-mail: rui101519@yahoo.com


On “That Other Time”: Man, Nature, and Existential Mysteries in Asian Stories of the Past

Abstract: Stories of the past, regarded as a mirror to community’s cultural values and uniqueness, are also rich narratives that offer logical explanations about the existence of things and order in nature. These stories offer a window that connects humans to the past, allowing them to explore aspects of their behavior and connection to nature, to understand their part and deal with the forces that come with it. The earliest narratives from China, Korea, Philippines, and Japan depicted, not only the beauty of their culture, but their early attempts to quell human curiosity about existential mysteries through narratives that reveal the human part in the cosmos. Employing Mircea Eliade’s concept of “that Other Time or illud tempus,” this paper explores and discusses the idea of time and space of the past world in the sacred time manifested in the earliest narratives from these countries. Sacred time is the time of origins that makes the mystical and historical times possible. One can view the world of otherness as a manifestation of the presence of gods, their direct presence to the human, as a “hierophany.” The question of the role of humans in the cosmos is indeed linked to their connection/ relationship with nature. Ancient peoples and their stories, as depicted in these early narratives, regard nature entities as enemies (feared and loathed), allies (thanked and repaid with the same goodness), or deities (adored and revered).
Keywords: illud tempus, humans and nature, existential mysteries, Mircea Eliade, Asian folk narratives