I once again find myself easily singing along with David Brooks in today’s column in which he extols folks like C.S. Lewis and John Ruskin. In the face of the de-humanization of industrialization and its dis-enchantment of the world, they rejected chronological snobbery and looked back to the medieval imagination for hints of an antidote. As globalization and political cynicism continue to disenchant the world even further, Brooks remarks:
Writers like C. S. Lewis and John Ruskin seized on medieval culture as an antidote to industrialism — to mass manufacturing, secularization and urbanization. Without turning into an Arthurian cultist, it’s nice to look up from the latest YouTube campaign moment and imagine a sky populated with creatures, symbols and tales.
In fact, I make a similar case in my introduction to a new book, After Modernity? Secularity, Globalization, and the Re-enchantment of the World–though I draw on Tolkien’s re-enchantment of the world that borders on a sort of paganism (which any robust theology of creation will flirt with). As Zizek once commented, only a Christian like Tolkien could have created such a wonderfully pagan world.