Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe
On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
DE BEER, Fanie. The reenchantment of a disenchanted world. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2014, vol.54, n.2, pp. 205-216. ISSN 2224-7912.
We live in challenging but also threatening times. The world is becoming a strange place for humans to live in and to feel at home in. Catastrophic consequences or developments are continuously predicted. Special efforts are required to make the world into a better place, into a comfortable and safe dwelling. For this reason it is justified to reflect on what we call world, how the term is used, the meaning of the term, its validity and scope. The deep-seated nature of world needs to be carefully investigated as well as the assumptions that rule this term. It is quite a sensible question to ask: "in what worlds are we living", especially when world and its relation to meaning and the creation of meaning is at issue, since they are intimately connected. It is quite a comprehensive term including humans and the things they encounter as well as the experiences they are subjected to and the dreams they cherish - the fate of the future of humankind and the quality of things. The disturbance of world, its disenchantment therefore, implies in a very direct sense the disturbance of meaning, even the loss or absence of meaning, and eventually the disturbance of life itself. Intimately related to the question regarding the world is the question of its disenchantment. The disenchantment of the world is self-evident from various perspectives with a series of issues contributing to this. Certain identifiable factors are responsible for this - inevitably unavoidable it seems - that create immense challenges: global warming, exploitation of resources, overpopulation, and even non-physical issues like the degradation of spirituality, etc. may play significant roles in the disenchantment. The disenchantment is in a special but also very sad sense to a great extent a human creation. Humans are the great exploiters and destroyers - of themselves, their environment and the earth. But especially the extent to which these developments lead to the loss of meaning and eventually nihilism as the absolute absence of meaning by which the world becomes unliveable makes the disenchantment a tragic and sad event. Matters may be worse: many cultural and social criticisms suggest even the disappearance of the human race as the final catastrophic fate and outcome of disenchantment. The major question is whether the re-enchantment, as the response to the disenchantment, is a valid, achievable and necessary option which includes the creation and invention of a liveable world in which meaning would be fulfilled. On what should emphasis be put and would it really imply the character of a battle for humans to achieve world creation and meaning fulfilment and in the last analysis world enchantment. A battle indeed, especially in view of the fact that the disenchantment is forcefully introduced by those in powerful positions. That requires a battle. Although it may be hoped for and worked towards, the re-enchantment is not a self-evident matter. Too much self-interest is at stake. Re-enchantment would certainly require sacrifices which not many humans are willing to commit themselves to. Are humans really in a capable position of recreating and reinventing the world with a view to its recreation into a dwelling? Perhaps the abilities that contribute to the disenchantment, when transformed in the true sense of transformation into creative and inventive capabilities, may be more than able to bring about the recreation of the world. The implication would certainly be that they must be able to restrain the disenchanting forces and also to overturn these forces into positive energy. The non-negotiable condition, however, of reenchantment will be the respiritualisation of humans and human communities. This would enable humans to recreate the world into a liveable world through compositional thinking by putting and linking together what belongs together in a harmonious way, namely humans and things.
Keywords : Disenchantment; re-enchantment; multiple connective intellection; ecosophy; compositional thinking; world invention.