A surprising and enlightening investigation of how modern society is making nature sacred once again
For more than two centuries, Western cultures, as they became ever more industrialized, increasingly regarded the natural world as little more than a collection of useful raw resources. The folklore of powerful forest spirits and mountain demons was displaced by the practicalities of logging and strip-mining; the traditional rituals of hunting ceremonies gave way to the indiscriminate butchering of animals for meat markets. In the famous lament of Max Weber, our surroundings became "disenchanted," with nature’s magic swept away by secularization and rationalization.
But now, as acclaimed sociologist James William Gibson reveals in this insightful study, the culture of enchantment is making an astonishing comeback. From Greenpeace eco-warriors to evangelical Christians preaching "creation care" and geneticists who speak of human-animal kinship, Gibson finds a remarkably broad yearning for a spiritual reconnection to nature. As we grapple with increasingly dire environmental disasters, he points to this cultural shift as the last utopian dream—the final hope for protecting the world that all of us must live in.