Tim Morton: Chants and the World

6 Aug

From Timothy Morton. The Ecological Thought. Harvard UP 2010, p. 104:

What’s wrong with the “re-enchantment of the world”? There’s nothing wrong with enchantment. It’s the prefix “re-“ that the source of the problem. This prefix assumes that the world was once enchanted, that we have done something to disenchant it, and that we can, and should, get back to where we once belonged. We simply can’t unthink modernity. If there is any enchantment, it lies in the future. The ecological “enchants the world,” if enchantment means exploring the profound and wonderful openness and intimacy of the mesh. What can we make of the new constellation? What art, literature, music, science, and philosophy are suitable to it? Art can contain utopian energy. As Percey Shelley put it, art is a kind of shadow from the future that looms into our present world.

The fact is, enchantment is as more about us than it is about the world. It is WE who are or are not enchanted by the world. But what good does our enchantment do the world?

Not much.

What need does the world have of our enchantment?

Not much.

If there’s disenchantment, that too has more to do with us than the world. If we want to we can get over it. If we can’t, well, no sense it looking to the world. Its got its own problems. It could care less about our disenchantment.

The world, like Old Man River, just keeps rollin’ along. And we can learn to chant anytime we so wish.

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