Harrington notes the difference between the modern experience
(not merely “concept”) of the cosmos as lumps of matter
tumbling pointlessly in the void, and the medieval experience
(again, it was never just a concept) of the cosmos as a living whole
in which not even the tiniest corner was without life, intelligence, and spirit.
She then goes on to point out that the medieval way of seeing the world
is much more accessible to us than many people like to think,
and ends by suggesting that the flight from purely pragmatic social engineering
to the moral crusades of left and right
and the increasing influence of religious ideas in public life
may herald the reenchantment of everyday life.
People in the Renaissance experienced the universe as a grand harmony.
To regular readers of this blog, this will not be any kind of surprise.
Since the beginning of this year, starting with a review of the implications of Jason Josephson-Storm’s insightful book The Myth of Disenchantment,
a series of posts here has talked about what the word “enchantment” means,
why so many fashionable thinkers have insisted that it belongs solely to the discarded and devalued past,
and why I think it will be among the most essential concepts
for making sense of the future immediately ahead of us.
The news stories mentioned above, and the broader unraveling of industrial society in which they each play a role, might best be seen as stages in the dissolution of one state of consciousness and the birth pangs of another.