What is Enchantment, and What Follows?

This is an excerpt from one of the presentations featured in the Pari Center’s event The Enchanted Universe, in Pari from August 29 to September 5, 2022.

with Patrick Curry

We shall consider the experience of enchantment closely in two ways. One is through some personal accounts of deep wonder. The other is by exploring its chief characteristics, dynamics and conditions. These include relationality, participation, wildness, metaphor and paradox, and ‘concrete magic’ (Max Weber). Although enchantment is a universal human experience it is also a highly distinctive one, so it is important as well to recognise what it is not. That leads us to consider the nature of disenchantment, especially deliberate disenchantment as part of the project of modernity. We shall also think through some challenging implications of taking enchantment seriously for being ‘in the moment’, for Oneness, for contesting materialism, and for progressive programmes of change. Finally, we shall enquire into the possibility of a way of life oriented to wonder.

Patrick Curry lives in London, England. He holds a Ph.D. from University College London and has lectured at the universities of Kent and Bath Spa. He edits an online journal, The Ecological Citizen (http://ecologicalcitizen.net). His most recent books include Enchantment: Wonder in Modern Life (2019), Ecological Ethics: An Introduction, rev. edn (2017) and Deep Roots in a Time of Frost: Essays on Tolkien (2014). He is a Companion of Ruskin’s educational charity, the Guild of St George. More information and work is available on his website: www.patrickcurry.co.uk