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Fragment 182, word count: 335.

tags: romanticism, science, spirituality, embodiment, history, privilege, enchantment, Christendom, magic, 

With the explosion of mathematical science as an effective and prestigious ideology radiating from the Republic of Letters in seventeenth and eighteenth century Europe, there emerged among culture-pods with long-established privilege and dominance, both religion based and military/ property based, a sharp sense of loss and nostalgia for the thrilling fear and wonder of pre-modern Christendom: a culture gripped in the drama of intervention by gods, angels, demons, witches, and sorcerers, all cashing out as supernatural justifications for established privilege and dominance. Romanticism was one expression of that sense of loss and nostalgia, an heroic effort to re-enchant the modernizing world by conflating deity and nature. It was an effort to rescue the concept of nature from scientific mechanization, insisting that nature is a single living divinity with foresight, memory, discretionary will, aesthetic judgments, and powers far beyond those commonly perceived, power to overcome its own normal regularity.

Those efforts at re-enchantment, reviving the fear and thrill of Christendom, were futile and misdirected. Even in the absence of magic, deities, demons, or personified nature, the fact of any living subjectivity always enchants existence as a whole. The fact that spirituality is structured as a distinct body among other animate individuals with whom each fashions an apparently ordinary life does not erase its wonder and transcendence. Embodiment is the foundational structuring principle of spirituality. Sensation, so perception, is structured in the shape of the body. Deliberate personal interventions into a given exterior surroundings, making objective markings, are movements of a person’s body. The capabilities of body movements and their range of forces impose a shape on personal intentions to mark the objective world. Still, any subjectivity is a gaze from inside unique dreams at the spring of a personal self-injection into exterior surroundings. Enchantment radiates in that gaze itself, from the interiority at the source of every outward reach. Spirituality, the desperate living will, the knowing, questioning, learning, and creating will, is the enchantment, the mystery and wonder of existence.


Fragment 121, January 12, 2018, Welcome to Metaphysics (word count: 1,312).

Fragment 124, February 19, 2018, The World that Doesn’t Matter (word count: 750).

Fragment 145, April 4, 2019, Desperately Seeking Reality: Scenes From History (word count: 2,189).

Copyright © 2021 Sandy MacDonald.