I’ve been reading Charles Taylor’s famous magnum opus, A Secular Age. It’s a monumental achievement that I’ve been chewing over slowly for approaching a year now, though its sheer scope and breadth makes summarising (or critiquing) the argument a challenge. Taylor wants to tell a story about why, five hundred years ago, not believing in… Continue reading Stories and the meaning crisis
We think of time in a very distinctive way, which many of our forebears did not. We think it’s linear, we think it’s homogenous—progressing in ordered sections we call days or years or hours—and we think it’s largely ‘empty,’ a container that is indifferent to what we fill it with. I’ve been reading Charles Taylor’s… Continue reading Time and the Table
One of the features of Charles Taylor’s argument in his great (in every sense!) work A Secular Age is that we are a people who are disenchanted. We no longer readily believe in magic, or that hobs sour the milk. We find supernatural claims extraordinary, and all of us—even believers—find that our ‘social imaginary’ means… Continue reading The Myth of Disenchantment
The snow melted today, and the world is drab. We’ve had four days of it. We awoke to a crisp blanket laid over our garden, and then it kept going. We did the thing that you do when it snows: we stopped and stared. Every time you glance out of the window or walk into… Continue reading Ode to Snow
I’ve recently finished Tara Isabella Burton’s superb book Strange Rites. The book’s central argument is that descriptions of our age as secular are overstated, and there are three great quasi-religious movements on the rise. More on those movements another time; on her way to them Burton explores a range of subcultures that behave in religious… Continue reading Re-enchanted?
Our world is made of atoms, of spinning particles of energy careering around one another in a fabulously chaotic and surprisingly ordered way. Or so the story goes. I don’t mean to suggest that I doubt the scientists whose work informs our understanding of physics and matter; I have no reason to do so. What… Continue reading We are made of stories