"Enchantment is both the capacity of the world to charm us and the spell that comes upon us when we open ourselves to the magic in everyday experiences. An enchanted world is alive and rich in personality. It reveals itself to us in its beauty and poetic presence. Both the realm of nature and the world of manufactured things have their magic that can stun us and ultimately make life feel worth living.
"Especially in the past century, we have taken such pride in our scientific and technological achievements that we have come to imagine our entire lives as mechanical. We prize our rationality and quantifying methods, believing that they offer unmatched reliability. We have even introduced them into our arts and our psychological studies and therapies.
"But we pay a price for this kind of progress. We have lost much that quickens the heart and nurtures the imagination. Our arts are marginalized as never before. Education has been reduced to information gathering and training. Medicine neglects the soul and spirit, and focuses exclusively on the purely physical dimensions of the person, using only mechanical and chemical means of healing. Politics appears obsessed with power and money instead of genuine needs of communities. All of these aspects of modern life wound the soul and therefore decrease our humanity.
"It's tempting to respond to these serious problems with remedies that remain within the paradigm of modern culture instead of imagining an altogether different way of life. A philosophy of enchantment turns current values upside down and asks that we step outside the boundaries of contemporary wisdom. Instead of rushing into the future, we might profoundly appreciate the past, and instead of treating nature as an inert, inanimate substance, a resource for making the merely physical world, we might grant it its soul and personality. We become enchanted when we open our senses and our imaginations to the song and speech of the world.
"To live in an enchanting world we also have to assume a receptive posture rather than an exclusively active one. We can become skilled at allowing the world in, taking its secrets to heart and finding power outside of ourselves. This is the chief teaching of the magus, that neglected visionary who has explored the secret potentialities of nature and human ingenuity in every period of history and in every culture. When, emptied of the hubris of modernism, we enjoy the role of being a conduit for the powers that lie outside us, the world floods us with its wisdom and support.
"In an enchanted state, we speak with a voice far deeper than that of the scheming ego and the work we do is the product of many hands those of the figures of one's own soul and of nature, depicted enchantingly in religion and art as angels, little people, daimons, and spirits."
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