Wonder in Modern Life
Enchantment is a profound human potential. When we experience wonder, awe, or amazement, it is enchantment. Enchantment can reveal profound truths, lead to deeper values, and become central to a life well lived.
This unique book explores how enchantment plays out in a wide range of contexts—in love, art, religion, and learning;, in food and drink; and, perhaps most significant, in our relationship with the natural world and others.
Patrick Curry argues that modernist attempts to undermine or dismiss enchantment as a delusion not only misguide, but are also dangerous, possibly leading to disengagement from our world, which could have disastrous consequences for our potential future on Earth.
“I found the book thought-provoking while at the same time relishing its clarity and accessibility—it can be so hard to talk about this subject without delving in to all kinds of abstract or arcane language—and in the end, uplifting, for I felt it opened a way in for people who might be suspicious of the philosophical and religious sides of this experience.” —Professor John Burnside, St. Andrews University
“Patrick Curry suggests that the opposite of enchantment is not disenchantment but glamour. Like Jung when he stated that the opposite of love is not hatred but power, Curry shows how glamor is a fabricated, false, fake version of enchantment. His demonstration is extremely convincing. Reading him, one feels like opening one’s eyes wider.” —Ginette Paris, author of The Wisdom of the Psyche
“Curry’s Enchantment is simply an enchanting book, built on the wonder of our relationship with existence. It is lyrically written for all who have been enchanted, and draws on his own experiences. It encourages each of us to consider the wonder and love we are gifted—and can return.” —Haydn Washington, author of A Sense of Wonder towards Nature
“As Patrick Curry argues eloquently in his thoughtful examination of the human condition in these challenging modern times, ‘enchantment is an experience of wonder.’ This is no mere academic exercise, although he is surprisingly erudite in his choice of texts, writers and cultural icons to illustrate his thoughts on this vital feature of being fully human. Nor is this a fluffy ‘New Age’ extended essay on how much better this world would be if we were all nice to each other. Much of the material is philosophical or poetic in nature, drawn from inspirational writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Max Weber, and W.H. Auden. Although mainly positive in tone, Curry does not hold back from stating things as they are. He is passionately scathing in denunciation of elements in the present world that seek to enslave the human race as little more than robots.” —Magonia Review
“What could be more confounding than trying to understand ‘enchantment,’ an uncanny power that by its very nature frustrates all comprehension? Yet in this small volume Patrick Curry accomplishes much. If we join him as he tracks several of the numberless styles of enchantment, if we pay heed to his insights and sometimes argue with him, we’ll find ourselves slowly becoming more layered within ourselves, wiser, and maybe even wonder-struck.” —David Abram, author of The Spell of the Sensuous
“Understanding begins—and ends—in wonder. This book articulates simply, and in a personal and unpretentious manner, an urgently needed defense of wonder as indispensable to a true perception and just appreciation of the world. We neglect its message at our peril.” —Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and his Emissary
“An impressive erudition and literary sensibility animate the pages of this thoughtful book. With a light poetic touch Curry traces the many ways in which enchantment lies at the core of human experience, even in a world that does its best to disabuse and disillusion us. Detaching it from ideology, Curry sees enchantment as an irrepressible mode of our being present to things, and vice versa. The enchanted moments cannot be sustained yet they lay their claim on us time and time again by virtue of the fact that we are alive and capable of wonder.” —Robert Pogue Harrison, author of Forests: The Shadow of Civilization
“After reading any of [Patrick Curry’s] pieces life seems more worth living, and for that I am especially grateful.” —Zygmunt Bauman, author of Liquid Modernity
C O N T E N T S:
2. The Dynamics of Enchantment
6. Food and Drink
11. Enchantment as a Way of Life
A Bibliographical Note