The enchantment of modern life (2001, Princeton University Press) 5 stars

It is a commonplace that the modern world cannot be experienced as enchanted--that the very …

I spotlight sites of enchantment in order to intensify the experience of them and thus perhaps to erode the belief that an undesigned universe calls above all for a cold-eyed instrumentalism. Such ontological cynicism, it seems to me, is one of the streams that feed political cynicism--liberals who see disenchantment as clearing the way for reason and tolerance come to be cynical about a political sphere that refuses to realize its historical potential, and communitarians who decry disenchantment as the dawn of homesickness come to doubt the ability of politics to induce the kind of spiritual and cultural transformation required to restore the world as a home. But what if the contemporary world is not disenchanted?

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