• Jamal
    9.2k
    Industrial culture ... is unquestionably the most debased form of life that ever was. ...

    It is curious that submission to powerful, awe-inspiring and even terrible individuals, to tyrants and generals, is felt far less acutely than submission to such generic bores as our captains of industry: in the employer, workers usually see nothing but a sly dog who feeds on the misery of others, whose name, stature, character and reputation are a matter of perfect indifference to him.
    — Nietzsche, The Gay Science

    Nietzsche then speculates that this lack of nobility or larger-than-life greatness in employers leads workers to question the right of those employers to exploit and dominate them. As he puts it: "And then you have socialism."

    Nietzsche was no ally of the socialists but he shared their critical attitude to the property-owning middle class, the bourgeoisie, and I think he identified something significant. Another word that would work in place of "debased" is "disenchanted". Although the concept of disenchantment in studies of modernity is often applied more to the rise of science and the decline of religion—to secularization—I think it can be used to describe the rationalization and desacralization of power.

    Alongside the erosion of religion’s dominance in the field of knowledge was the fading of the magical aura of governance and privilege, as positions of political and economic power were increasingly taken by the middle class—mere politicians, businessmen, and administrators, where before there were kings, nobles, and their servants.

    Power was increasingly legitimized rather than merely assumed or taken on the basis of an ancient unexamined right to rule, the legitimacy of which had ceased to be tenable. In industry, it was legitimized by the laws of property and employment. In politics, by the consent of a constituency. In the organization of society as a whole, by administrative expertise guided by utilitarianism and the common good. But this made power contestable, thus the magic spell of government and economic privilege was broken.

    Incidentally, this is a very schematic and probably Eurocentric simplification of history, but I hope it’s not too misleading.

    Skipping over a couple of hundred years of disenchantment, it occurs to me to ask: are people today enchanted by magic spells? Off the top of my head, and not all equally relevant to power, here are some candidates:

    • Conspiracy theories
    • Demagoguery, nationalism, the alt-right
    • Science (as scientism)
    • New Age spirituality: "I'm spiritual but not religious"
    • Progress/Decline/Catastrophe
    • Consumerism

    Are these the replacements for the old enchantments of religion and the divine right of kings? It might seem odd to see spirituality and scientism together in that list, so maybe some of them are more characteristic of disenchantment? But maybe they're both. Max Weber, to whom we owe the concept of disenchantment in sociology, had the dialectical idea of re-enchantment via disenchantment, identifiable in a society marked by "incommensurable value-fragmentation into a plurality of alternative metanarratives" (SEP) in the vacuum left by the disenchantment of the Enlightenment.

    The fact that these narratives are incommensurable somewhat goes against the thought that because there are so many of them competing, they cannot be incontestable. With the fragmentation of values, ostensibly competing narratives do not compete rationally, judged by the same standards and according to the same logic. They are a matter of personal taste, and nobody can argue you out of what you like.

    But more importantly than all that, and more relevant to the subject of power, doesn't the economy now seem to be a system of magical forces, incontestable in politics?

    Its theology, philosophy, and cosmology have been otherwise known as “economics”. Its sacramentals consist of fetishized commodities and technologies… Its moral and liturgical codes are contained in management theory and business journalism. Its clerisy is a corporate intelligentsia… Its iconography consists of advertising, public relations, marketing, and product design. Its beatific vision of eschatological destiny is that global imperium of capital, a heavenly city of business with incessantly expanding production, trade, and consumption. And its gospel has been that of “Mammonism”, the attribution of ontological power to money. — Eugene McCarraher, The Enchantments of Mammon

    Crucially though—and here we return to Nietzsche—despite the power of this enchantment, the view of the politician or the business leader as "nothing but a sly dog who feeds on the misery of others" has not gone away. The two seem to be compatible. Thus a disrespect for power does not lead, as in the days of the socialist movement, to an actual challenge to that power, or even a notion that it could be challenged. Isn't this what we saw in fascism, and more recently in the Trump presidency: the desire instead to see the replacement of "generic bores" with "powerful, awe-inspiring and even terrible individuals"?

    Well that was longer than I’d intended.

    Note
    I've conflated the distinct concepts of enchantment and ideology in this post. I'm thinking that if the differences come down to power and religion (for enchantment) vs. economic exploitation (for ideology), they can be combined together without confusion.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Skipping over a couple of hundred years of disenchantment, it occurs to me to ask: are people today enchanted by magic spells? Off the top of my head, and not all equally relevant to power, here are some candidates:

    Conspiracy theories
    Demagoguery, nationalism, the alt-right
    Science (as scientism)
    New Age spirituality: "I'm spiritual but not religious"
    Progress/Decline/Catastrophe
    Consumerism
    Jamal

    Yes. Magic, like Marketing, is in the business or creating desirable images in the mind of observers. The power of mis-direction does not force, but merely leads the sheep willingly to the fold. That's only a bad thing when mutton is on the menu. :smile:
  • invicta
    595
    It’s possible to envision a world where corporationism replaces if not mitigates the role of government to that of mere legislative enforcers to the most basic of human rights. I can see that happening already in corporate America…for what is lobbying but the influence of the rich and powerful to preserve their place.

    The consumerist nature of our current society driven by inherent competition between individuals and corporations thus forces the individual consciously or unconsciously to accumulate more money so that they can compete with the joneses and not just fulfil their basic and unmet needs.

    This sometimes vulgar display of material wealth not only enslaves the employee but also the employer.

    But hasn’t that always been the American Dream?


    And now here’s green day for some light hearted entertainment. @Jamal

  • BC
    13.2k
    A rich topic!

    "incommensurable value-fragmentation into a plurality of alternative metanarratives"Jamal

    That phrase alone is going to require a fair amount of unpacking.

    are people today enchanted by magic spells?Jamal

    From a secular POV (which everyone, of course, doesn't share) we never were enchanted by magic spells so we can't be disenchanted now. There never was any such thing as 'magic' if by 'magic' we mean 'effective control over the material world'.

    * Conspiracy theories
    * Demagoguery, nationalism, the alt-right
    * Science (as scientism)
    * New Age spirituality: "I'm spiritual but not religious"
    * Progress/Decline/Catastrophe
    * Consumerism

    Your list is infused with incommensurable value-fragmentation and plurality of alternative metanarratives, so to speak.

    Conspiracy theory–a shared narrative which unites an 'out group' around a supposed falsehood–is entirely separate from science. I'm not sure what anyone means by 'scientism'. Demagoguery*** is in disfavor, and isn't equivalent to nationalism and populism, which are currently in ill repute in some circles. New Age spirituality is one of my pet peeves, so no quarrel there. "Progress / Decline / Catastrophe" Consumerism ..... All four terms have meaning, of course, but what did you mean?

    such generic bores as our captains of industry — Nietzsche, The Gay Science

    Great phrase, like Mark Zuckerberg for instance.

    Max Weber described modernity as a world ‘robbed of gods’. ‘The fate of our times’, he wrote, ‘is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the “disenchantment of the world” ’. This, he suggested, ‘means that one can, in principle, master all things by calculation … One need no longer have recourse to magical means in order to master or implore the spirits, as did the savage, for whom such mysterious powers existed. Technical means and calculations perform that service.’

    However...

    if a process of disenchantment was under way during the twentieth century, it was hugely uneven. As Wolfgang Behringer has recently observed, it is probable that a majority of the world's population today believes in witchcraft, which would mean, in absolute terms, that there are vastly more believers than there were in 1600. Oxford Academic



    ***demagoguery "political activity or practices that seek support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument." How disfavored I suppose depends on the desires and prejudices of 'ordinary people'.
  • unenlightened
    8.8k
    When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything. — G.K. Chesterton

    ...the more I learned about Yoruba religion the more I realised that that was just another interpretation of the world, another encapsulation of man's conceiving of himself and his position in the universe; and that all these religions are just metaphors for the strategy of man coping with the vast unknown.
    [...]
    ...the corpus of Ifa is constantly reinforced and augmented, even from the history of other religions with whom Ifa comes into contact. You have Ifa verses which deal with Islam, you have Ifa verses that deal with Christianity. Yoruba religion attunes itself and accommodates the unknown very easily; unlike Islam, because they know: they did not see this in the Koran - therefore it does not exist.
    [...]
    The Roman Catholics until today they do not cope with the experience and the reality of abortion! They just shut the wall firmly against it.
    — Wole Soyinka
    Wole Soyinka in Conversation with Ulli Beier on Yoruba Religion. 1992

    Well I think one can find the same kind of rigidity on these boards very easily. There is no science of morality, or subjectivity, or aesthetics or value, therefore these things do not exist. And no doubt there will be those here who will disdain to learn anything of, let alone from, the 'primitive' religions of Africa.
  • unenlightened
    8.8k
    Under the influence of scientific assumptions, not only the psyche but the individual man and, indeed, all individual events whatsoever suffer a levelling down and a process of blurring that distorts the picture of reality into a conceptual average. We ought not to underestimate the psychological effect of the statistical world-picture: it thrusts aside the individual in favour of anonymous units that pile up into mass formations…As a social unit he has lost his individuality and become a mere abstract number in the bureau of statistics. He can only play the role of an interchangeable unit of infinitesimal importance. — Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self
    https://academyofideas.com/2017/06/carl-jung-spiritual-problem-modern-individual/

    "We ought not to underestimate the psychological effect..." the dreadful locution of self-exaggeration:–
    'we'. Even Jung could not bear the helpless inadequacy of the modern individual.

    If you scratch around in Jung, you will come across hints that the zeitgeist can manifest the archetypes in proportion to the totality of their denial. Think here of the rise of fascism, or the civil rights/hippy revolution of the sixties. Understand these archetypes as Orisha, Greek god, or meme according to your religion. Try to allow a little accommodation to the next wave of irrationality that will no doubt pour over us.
  • Vera Mont
    3.2k
    are people today enchanted by magic spells?Jamal

    No. Taken in, possibly, but not enchanted. And the taking-in is both conditional (Will this potion put me one up on my rival?) and temporary (a new fad will replace it; a new idol will replace him). We now have the attention-span of flies: we're all for something as long as it smells good.
    Thanks to the CEO's (whom most Americans revere and value - I don't think it's the same in Europe) and their armies of ad-men, we want everything for a very short time and hate everything for only slightly longer. The magic of divine right, class privilege and noblesse oblige was longevity, stability, the security of permanence. I think we miss that. While turnstile novelty keeps the adrenaline pumping, it leaves us very anxious.

    That's off-the-top and I'm aware that this enormous topic requires a good deal more thought, but I'll take a drive-by at the questions.



    Are these the replacements for the old enchantments of religion and the divine right of kings? I
    * Conspiracy theories
    * Demagoguery, nationalism, the alt-right
    * Science (as scientism)
    * New Age spirituality: "I'm spiritual but not religious"
    * Progress/Decline/Catastrophe
    * Consumerism
    Jamal

    No, we always had those, and scapegoats to go with them.
    No, we always had those as well. How do you get to be a god's chosen people, except though a belief in your tribe's specialness? (I don't think alt-right belongs there; the flag-carrier can as easily shout "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" as "Germany, Germany, Above All" or "For King and Country")
    Yes, absolutely. Quantum Entropy has a lot of candle-power.
    No, that's more personal; flakes don't do lock-step.
    That's just a description of how we as a species operate.
    That's a compensation for the loss of something - maybe enchantment, conviction, fulfillment, recognition, self-esteem - like gluttony and alcoholism.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    1.3k


    Base and noble in Nietzsche's conception, and in that of old (Greek) religions (where he got the idea), correspond roughly to ruled randomly by animal instinct vs someone who has overcome that "basic" animal nature and managed to order those instincts into some more.

    So why would workers find it more difficult to submit to captains of industry? Because they don't see a real difference in them, they are just as base as the workers and so there is no perceived natural difference in rank between them that maybe could justify their "rule".

    Maybe you could say some of the current ideas are substitutes for the religions of old in that they employ some of the same methods. In Nietzsche conception though the problem is rather with the valuations they promote, not necessarily with the method. Capitalism seeks to merely fulfill desires in the most efficient manner, it strives for contentment, happiness for the largest number. Mere utility therefor is its main value. Religions of old, and Nietzsche, saw those as something to be overcome... the aim should be over-man.
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    Yes. Magic, like Marketing, is in the business or creating desirable images in the mind of observers. The power of mis-direction does not force, but merely leads the sheep willingly to the fold. That's only a bad thing when mutton is on the menuGnomon

    Nicely put.

    This sometimes vulgar display of material wealth not only enslaves the employee but also the employerinvicta

    Yes, I see what you mean. It’s not only the actual relationship between the two which is enslaving, but the display—the bewitching images of desired-for wealth. As you say, the American Dream, which probably could have made my list.

    Your list is infused with incommensurable value-fragmentation and plurality of alternative metanarrativesBC

    People are always telling me that.

    Conspiracy theory–a shared narrative which unites an 'out group' around a supposed falsehood–is entirely separate from science. I'm not sure what anyone means by 'scientism'. Demagoguery*** is in disfavor, and isn't equivalent to nationalism and populism, which are currently in ill repute in some circles. New Age spirituality is one of my pet peeves, so no quarrel there. "Progress / Decline / Catastrophe" Consumerism ..... All four terms have meaning, of course, but what did you mean?BC

    Weber talks about the fragmentation of values following society’s secularization, resulting in a “polytheism”, an array of smaller enchantments. The idea is that we now have numerous gods and demons, but they look different, and some of them are secular. The conspiracy theorist doesn’t arrive at the idea that the moon landings didn’t happen via a process of rational enquiry, but because they are looking for meaning; and once they have found it, it is incontestable—they will not be dissuaded (at least for a while).

    It’s odd that you say demagoguery and populism are disfavoured, when they have so recently made a resurgence. It’s not only Trump (and…do think he and his style of politics have just gone away now?)

    This is from 2019 and I think it identifies a real phenomenon:

    The rise of new political movements is transforming the political systems of many advanced democracies. Three changes in particular are taking place.

    1. The dimensions of political conflict have changed. The traditional economic and redistributive conflict between left and right is waning. In its place, a new conflict between nationalist and socially conservative versus cosmopolitan and socially progressive positions has emerged. These changing dimensions of political conflict are apparent from voting outcomes and the positioning of political parties (Inglehart and Norris 2019), from changes in the composition of party supporters (Piketty 2018), and from survey data (Gennaioli and Tabellini 2019).

    2. Support for traditional social democratic parties has shrunk, and new parties have emerged and have rapidly gained consensus, positioning themselves on the new dimension of political conflict.

    3. Many of these new parties, so-called populists, campaign on anti-establishment and anti-elite platforms, and claim to represent the ‘true interests’ of the people at large (depicting the latter as a homogeneous group).
    The Rise of Populism

    I didn't mean to suggest that populism was equivalent to nationalism, but they seemed to belong together, and do sometimes go together in the real world.

    Progress / Decline / Catastrophe: these are narratives that frame the way we perceive and describe the world. On the one hand there is the view that everything is getting worse (you seem to be under the power of this spell sometimes yourself), and on the other hand (Pinker) there is the view that capitalism and science are super and will lead us onwards and upwards unless we lose our nerve. I suggested them as candidate magic spells because of the way they work as articles of faith, or as real forces rather than mere ideas.

    Consumerism: this is quite commonly identified as an ideology, meaning a system of false beliefs that obscures reality (and in the OP I’m conflating ideology with magic and enchantment). Consumerism is the belief that buying stuff will make you happy or help you to forge a meaningful identity or raise your status. I think it’s also connected with commodity fetishism, fetishism being a concept from the anthropology of magic.

    As for scientism:

    Well I think one can find the same kind of rigidity on these boards very easily. There is no science of morality, or subjectivity, or aesthetics or value, therefore these things do not exist.unenlightened

    No. Taken in, possibly, but not enchanted. And the taking-in is both conditional (Will this potion put me one up on my rival?) and temporary (a new fad will replace it; a new idol will replace him). We now have the attention-span of flies: we're all for something as long as it smells good.

    Thanks to the CEO's (whom most Americans revere and value - I don't think it's the same in Europe) and their armies of ad-men, we want everything for a very short time and hate everything for only slightly longer. The magic of divine right, class privilege and noblesse oblige was longevity, stability, the security of permanence. I think we miss that. While turnstile novelty keeps the adrenaline pumping, it leaves us very anxious.
    Vera Mont

    I don't really disagree, but I think it's probably compatible with what I was saying. I'm not denying there's a huge difference between, on the one hand, the magic of divine right and a world infused with God, etc., and on the other hand the magical pull of a new pair of Nikes. And yet it doesn't seem too mistaken to describe them both as magical in the way that Weber seemed to be suggesting, as being like the difference between theism and polytheism.

    That's off-the-top and I'm aware that this enormous topic requires a good deal more thought, but I'll take a drive-by at the questions.Vera Mont

    Off-the-top answers are welcome. The OP was rather off-the-top itself.

    No, we always had those, and scapegoats to go with them.
    No, we always had those as well. How do you get to be a god's chosen people, except though a belief in your tribe's specialness? (I don't think alt-right belongs there; the flag-carrier can as easily shout "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" as "Germany, Germany, Above All" or "For King and Country")
    Yes, absolutely. Quantum Entropy has a lot of candle-power.
    No, that's more personal; flakes don't do lock-step.
    That's just a description of how we as a species operate.
    That's a compensation for the loss of something - maybe enchantment, conviction, fulfillment, recognition, self-esteem - like gluttony and alcoholism.
    Vera Mont

    Again, while I don't disagree with your characterizations, I do think they might be compatible with my position. Having said that, I'm not really wedded to my suggestion, that these are all magic spells equivalent to Enchantment with a capital E.

    Good point about "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity". This has been a French motto since the Revolution but it didn't stop them suppressing slave revolts and colonizing all over the place.

    Regarding consumerism, first, just because it's a compensation doesn't mean it can't be viewed as some kind of magic; and second, I think it's much more than a compensation--it seems it can be more like a default belief or behaviour, no longer confined to the rich or available to people merely when things go wrong. It's more like we begin in consumerism and when that doesn't satisfy us, that's when we turn to alcohol. (That was merely half serious, but the serious half is very serious)

    So why would workers find it more difficult to submit to captains of industry? Because they don't see a real difference in them, they are just as base as the workers and so there is no perceived natural difference in rank between them that maybe could justify their "rule".ChatteringMonkey

    Yes, exactly.

    Maybe you could say some of the current ideas are substitutes for the religions of old in that they employ some of the same methods. In Nietzsche conception though the problem is rather with the valuations they promote, not necessarily with the method. Capitalism seeks to merely fulfill desires in the most efficient manner, it strives for contentment, happiness for the largest number. Mere utility therefor is its main value. Religions of old, and Nietzsche, saw those as something to be overcome... the aim should be over-man.ChatteringMonkey

    Yes, thanks. I wasn't really exploring Nietzsche's angle on it, merely reacting to one of his insights about the perception of those in power as ordinary, in which I saw a parallel with Weber's concept of disenchantment.
  • schopenhauer1
    10k

    The new enchantment is the tedium of the knowledge class and the New Age sentiments that have developed in response to the minitia mongering. Technology is tedium all the way down, but gets reified as utility. One is praised for its hard nosed mining for more minutia. The other is used as a cudgel to techno-minutia’s endless nihilistic permutations of mind numbing detail and so becomes useless generalities on life.
  • BC
    13.2k
    I guess I don't find "magic" and "enchantment" very helpful concepts. Some people do, of course.

    an interesting aside: Ursula LeGuin's phantasy worlds remain 'magical' all the way to the last page. The practitioners of powerful magic spells remain. Tolkien, on the other hand brought magic to an end in Middle Earth. The practitioners of magic were either destroyed (Sauron) or their powers were exhausted–Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, et al). Men without magic would rule the 4th Age.

    It's been a long time since I read Harvey Cox's Secular City which is about Christianity in a secularizing/secularized world. I've wrestled with thais issue since the late 1960s. Perhaps that's why I'm leery about magic and enchantment.

    In one way we do have magic a plenty -- it is the performed prestidigitation of advertising and public relations--much (most?) of it is trickery and falsity. The magician's skill isn't in harnessing occult power, of course; it is in misdirecting our gaze and attention so that we miss the critical step. In retail mall architecture, the "Gruen Transfer" is intentional disorientation of the mall customer. (Might be a dated concept; are people still dazzled when they walk into a retail mall? I kind of doubt it. But still, successful retail is highly distracting -- the better for you to buy something you didn't really want or need.

    Advertising is predicated on deficiencies -- ours -- that products offer to emend. You can have the sexier smile, the sex-getting sexy figure, the status-giving car, the love-inducing diamond, etc. If it doesn't work, well... there are other products to sell you. Advertising is not magic -- it's just ordinary lying and deceit, most of the time.

  • Jamal
    9.2k
    From a secular POV (which everyone, of course, doesn't share) we never were enchanted by magic spells so we can't be disenchanted now. There never was any such thing as 'magic' if by 'magic' we mean 'effective control over the material world'.BC

    Magic is "a way of thinking that looks to invisible forces to influence events, effect change in material conditions, or present the illusion of change" (Source)

    I'd add something like a mode of behaviour to "a way of thinking". It's real, as real as religion, although like religion, it might not always work, or work in the way people think.

    I admit I’ve used the concept loosely. Maybe I’ll write a post delving into it.
  • schopenhauer1
    10k

    I think people try to make the dichotomy between science and religion when really, it’s tedium of the endless minutia involved in technology and the fantasy of the spiritual sentiment that the consumers of products borne out of endless minutia look to to escape or to avoid the minutia that they do not have the capacity, means, or inclination to monger (but use the products of said mongering). Talk to an engineer and minutia is god. They are its miners and mongerers. The saviors.

    And yes mongering minutia for technology is different than other types of minutia historical facts on the Thirty Years War, abstract philosophies from 14th century Japan, gardening, whatever, because the mongering of tedium in technology is the mode of our very way of surviving in the world now so its usefulness, and its tedium are uniquely and paradoxically part of “modernity”

    See my post above:
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/788937
  • invicta
    595
    Weber talks about the fragmentation of values following society’s secularization, resulting in a “polytheism”, an array of smaller enchantments. The idea is that we now have numerous gods and demons, but they look different, and some of them are secular. The conspiracy theorist doesn’t arrive at the idea that the moon landings didn’t happen via a process of rational enquiry, but because they are looking for meaning; and once they have found it, it is incontestable—they will not be dissuaded (at least for a while).Jamal

    For me it’s evident that it all boils down to happiness and being content with our lot.

    It’s funny I googled some meditation ideas and was channeled towards a paywall for certain articles on meditation.

    Spirituality our new saviour is now up for sale for £15.99 a month or a one off payment of £666

    You see whereas in the past traditional Christian teachings were freely to everyone seeking answer’s capitalism has created the cunning entrepreneur who will exploit the human condition at any cost.

    Feeling miserable? Here’s my book…buy it and it will go away…screw the book says the cosmetic surgeon what you need is a brand new smile …and whilst we’re at it how about a face lift and you will get 20% off on a boob job.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    Spirituality our new saviour is now up for sale for £15.99 a month or a one off payment of £666invicta

    There have been many multi-million dollar lawsuits over yoga terminology and acoutrements in the USA, with corporations copyrighting Sanskrit terms and then suing others who tried to use them.

    But then, as Rumi said, 'there would be no fool's gold if there were no gold'.
  • invicta
    595
    Please remember @Jamal that jealousy and envy are a capitalists dream.

    As for wishful thinking magical thinking it’s part of being a child, an adult child. Santa of course ain’t real but the guy Xenu from Scientology is, he knows if you good or bad.

    And if you bad that’s no good become a member now pay the cult leader and you get to go heaven (or the other planet)when the really BAD aliens arrive ! I’m talking about the ones with probes!!!
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    Skipping over a couple of hundred years of disenchantment, it occurs to me to ask: are people today enchanted by magic spells?Jamal

    You know, 'disenchantment' has it's own Wikipedia entry.

    In social science, disenchantment (German: Entzauberung) is the cultural rationalization and devaluation of religion apparent in modern society. The term was borrowed from Friedrich Schiller by Max Weber to describe the character of a modernized, bureaucratic, secularized Western society. In Western society, according to Weber, scientific understanding is more highly valued than belief, and processes are oriented toward rational goals, as opposed to traditional society, in which "the world remains a great enchanted garden".Wikipedia, Disenchantment

    The article goes onto mention the Frankfurt School, which we've discussed recently.

    There's a bogus, but profound, Einstein quote, 'either everything is a miracle, or nothing is'. I think there has to be an element of that feeling in life, otherwise, as Neitszche also glumly predicted, nihilism engulfs everything.
  • invicta
    595
    There's a bogus, but profound, Einstein quote, 'either everything is a miracle, or nothing is'Wayfarer

    That’s not bogus at all. To me he’s expressing the dichotomy between the believer and non-believer.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    I only meant 'bogus' in that it's not a bona fide quote. Einstein has many great philosophical quotes, and I'd have like that to be one of them, but it's not. But as I said, I fully accept the sentiment!
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    There's a bogus, but profound, Einstein quote, 'either everything is a miracle, or nothing is'. I think there has to be an element of that feeling in life, otherwise, as Neitszche also glumly predicted, nihilism engulfs everything.Wayfarer

    Yes, in fact I’ve vaguely hinted at the need for re-enchantment, so I’m not saying it’s all bad. Just that, well, the bad stuff is bad. Otherwise, I’m groping towards (though not so far in this particular discussion) the idea of the sacred as a positive thing. Since I personally think I have a feeling for the sacred while being non-religious and mostly non-mystical, I think we can get to some secular version of the sacred.
  • invicta
    595


    Ah, I need to start questioning some of the quotes attributed to Rihanna, I think I saw a legitimate Gandhi quote attributed to Justin Beiber the other day on social media. And no it wasn’t satire either
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    I think we can get to some secular version of the sacred.Jamal

    Did you ever encounter Habermas' dialogues with Cardinal Ratzinger? I've never read the books but I've read a few articles about them - see Does Reason Know what it is Missing?, NY Times.

    What secular reason is missing is self-awareness. It is “unenlightened about itself” in the sense that it has within itself no mechanism for questioning the products and conclusions of its formal, procedural entailments and experiments. “Postmetaphysical thinking,” Habermas contends, “cannot cope on its own with the defeatism concerning reason which we encounter today both in the postmodern radicalization of the ‘dialectic of the Enlightenment’ and in the naturalism founded on a naïve faith in science.”
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    Highly relevant and interesting, thanks. No I don’t think I was aware of these dialogues.

    So far I haven’t read Habermas, I admit partly because superficially his work seems a bit boring compared to that of the original Frankfurt lineup.
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    You know, 'disenchantment' has it's own Wikipedia entryWayfarer

    Of course, but it’s not great. The SEP article on Weber is better, particularly on re-enchantment, which is of relevance to the OP.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    I studied Protestant Work Ethic as an undergrad, it was unbelievably dense but it opened up the field of sociology of religion - Durkheim, Peter Berger and others. It looks at the social role of religion rather than through the prism of belief itself.

    (There's a current academic who has criticized the 'disenchantment' thesis - Jason Josephen-Storm - a review here - review also mentions the Frankfurt School.)

    I've just read your OP properly, I had skipped over it before (hadn't noticed the link to Weber). The thought that springs to my mind is the G K Chesterton quote, 'When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.' I see a lot of that in today's world. Take for example the proliferation of science fiction about multiverses, multiple realities and the like - Inception, Matrix, Tenet. Many of them express, to me, a gnawing doubt about the nature of reality which is being projected through popular media. And everywhere a powerful longing for identity, but refracted now through the infinite mirrored hallways of social media. There's a deep sense that nobody knows what is real anymore. Not even scientists, with their mad dreams of multiple universes. Makes it easy to believe in anything. Life is like a movie, but unfortunately with real blood.
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    There's a current academic who has criticized the 'disenchantment' thesis - Jason Josephen-Storm - a review here - review also mentions the Frankfurt SchoolWayfarer

    Yep, I've been looking into his work and I've read a few articles, but not the book (yet). As for the Institute for Social Research, as you may know I've been working through their work, and my OP is clearly informed by that--they made great use of the concept of disenchantment, and I'm attempting to use something along the lines of their approach to the critique of ideology. That might come out more explicitly in the discussion, but as they're focused on reason more generally, I'm not sure exactly how it fits. The "culture industry" is relevant though, for sure.

    G K Chesterton quote, 'When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.'Wayfarer

    Also quoted by @unenlightened above.

    There's a deep sense that nobody knows what is real anymore. Not even scientists, with their mad dreams of multiple universes or dimensions. Makes it easy to believe in anything. Life is like a movie, but unfortunately with real blood.Wayfarer

    I think you're right.
  • invicta
    595
    Conspiracy theories are also very interesting and appeals to our critical thinking aspect of our brain whilst not fully utilising facts. It’s simple mistrust of authority.

    There could be an ulterior motive somewhere and that it doesn’t all appear as it is. I just can’t figure it out says the conspiracy theorist…
  • unenlightened
    8.8k
    Surely the most dangerous and potent enchantment is the one that induces the belief in the person that they are not enchanted and are immune from enchantment and the enchantment does not exist? Such blind and absolute faith in oneself makes one open to every horror See for example Stalin. Or here look for "I'm not affected by ads"

    The thought that springs to my mind is the G K Chesterton quote, 'When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.Wayfarer
    I fear I may have enchanted you. My profound apologies.
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    Surely the most dangerous and potent enchantment is the one that induces the belief in the person that they are not enchanted and are immune from enchantment and the enchantment does not exist?unenlightened

    You talking about me‽

    "I'm not affected by ads"unenlightened

    I once said this to a friend of mine, who is a marketing manager but is actually very intelligent and interesting. He roared with laughter and spoke for an hour to prove I was talking bollocks. Quite convincing.

    Such blind and absolute faith in oneself makes one open to every horrorunenlightened

    The enchantment I mentioned as being the most important one today was the economy, which was just my secret code for capitalism (I dishonestly avoided making the post look too Marxist). This one works in the way you describe I think. I still have to sort out the differences between magic, enchantment, and ideology. Magic is a knowing use of objects and rituals, whereas enchantment is to be under a magic spell, often unknowingly, and it's the latter that fits with the concept of ideology. Anyway yeah, I agree.
  • unenlightened
    8.8k
    A uniform is an enchantment. One puts on the accoutrements of a nurse, or the police, or a soldier, or a bank robber, and one becomes that identity; one behaves and is treated in a different way, as if one had special powers. One has united ones' being with the Orisha of Nursing, and one really has healing and comforting hands, and one speaks with the comforting authority of the healer.

    You talking about me‽Jamal

    If the pointed hat with the big D on it fits :monkey: ... I am actually in battle with the huge army that serves under the banner of "The Enlightenment", as anyone who pays attention to my posts will be aware.
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    A uniform is an enchantment. One puts on the accoutrements of a nurse, or the police, or a soldier, or a bank robber, and one becomes that identity; one behaves and is treated in a different way, as if one had special powers. One has united ones' being with the Orisha of Nursing, and one really has healing and comforting hands, and one speaks with the comforting authority of the healer.unenlightened

    Thank you for enriching my stew of ideas.

    I am actually in battle with the huge army that serves under the banner of "The Enlightenment", as anyone who pays attention to my posts will be aware.unenlightened

    I'm still on the fence on that one. Or rather, I'm for and against.
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