Commonplace Book #144

We do have a language for the human magnificence we witness in the wake of devastation; we do have a language that expresses our longings both for a sense of the world’s magnitude and for fleshly access to transcendence. Our best hope for an imaginative and political antithesis to capitalist enchantment resides in the lineage of Romantic, sacramental radicalism. It understands calamity, injustice, and degradation as predicaments of human divinity, hardships can reveal our suppressed or perverted but nonetheless godlike nature. It views that material universe as a cosmic theater of divine  vitality, charged with the grandeur of God. Beginning with the squatters on St. George’s Hill, the pedigree of Romantic modernity maintained that we already live in paradise, and that our blindness to the heaven all around us is the source of our descent into the hell of property, rank, and dominion. The capacity to apprehend paradise had several names–“imagination,” “wonder,” “passionate vision,” “sacramental consciousness”–but it has always been a way of seeing, a perception of some truth  and goodness and beauty intrinsic to the material world, a view that embraces without nullfiying the knowledge obtainable through the sciences.

Eugene McCarraher, The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity, 674-675.