Disenchantment and Integrative Postmodernism

Keiron Le Grice
From Archai Issue 3, 2011

Disenchantment is a term employed by Max Weber to describe the world view of modern secular society in which, as he puts it, “no mysterious incalculable forces come into play”—a world view in which recourse to mysticism, supernatural powers, gods and goddesses, spirits, and magical explanations is considered both unnecessary and invalid.1 This disenchanted vision, which gained ascendancy in Western civilization after the Enlightenment and especially during the nineteenth century, was created, Weber observes, by processes of “rationalization” according to which life was to be explained in terms of observable and measurable natural forces. Scientific knowledge increasingly replaced religious belief such that the world, no longer related to a spiritual principle of any kind, was stripped of intrinsic meaning; it was no longer seen as sacred.

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