Saturday, September 17, 2011

Enchantment of the World

I woke up at 2 a.m and wondered what I should do for today's lecture. I teach two compulsory courses, and will probably do this for the next ten years while at JNU. Today was my Sociology of Religion course, and the reading I found was a book published in 1995, called The Inhuman Condition, and the author is Keith Tester. He is a follower of Hannah Arendt's work "The Human Condition" and one of the things he is concerned with is the Weberian problematic of the Disenchantment of the World.
Those of us who read Weber for a living, know that alongside the clarity of the position on subjectivity and objectivity in social science is the real preoccupation with modernism, that is rationality, bureaucracy and alienation. A lot of the work by Zygmunt Bauman and others is to test this hypothesis in terms of what they call postmodern conditions of Fluid Societies. Obsolescence, waste, fear and the turnabout provided by the reading of fiction, where this becomes a staple for those who feel that fantasy provides an answer. Young people are avid readers and the genre of fantasy becomes preparation for the momentum required to think of the next move. The landscapes of the future are so close that they see the genre of a propelled imagination sufficient to handle the possibility that tomorrow they will be called upon to make the long march or to waft upwards into the skies in new machines with extended orbits.

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