Technology, Magic, and Subduing Reality

This feels a bit over my head, but I’m trying to get my head (up and) around it. As I understand it, we can see a bit of this when we listen to politicians offering solutions to problems (techniques) and see how the Enlightenment has shaped our (mis)understanding of how God made the world –and how God made people. –Sam

From Peter Kreeft (with Lewis quoted within)

If the Enlightenment helped the modern world discard notions of original sin and moral absolutes, it also uprooted the foundations of truth and goodness. Unlike the Medieval era, all we have left are vague political and psychological notions of what works efficiently. Technology has replaced religion as our civilization’s summum bonum. Naturalism has replaced supernaturalism. Subjectivism has defined a new age of moral relativity.

The Abolition of Man contains the most important and enlightening single statement about our civilization that I have ever read:

There is something which unites magic and applied science while separating both from the ‘wisdom’ of earlier ages: for the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue; for magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men [and] the solution is a technique.

Aristotle listed technique, technical knowledge, know-how, third on the hierarchy of values after contemplation of truth and practical knowledge or knowledge for acting. Modernity simply turns this ancient hierarchy upside down.

See entire article here from Christian History Magazine.

HT: Tony Reinke


  1. Hey S.D.-

    Love this post – and am so enjoying perusing your blog. I’ve meant to stop by here for forever and a day and thank you for the comment on my blog and take the time to look around yours. This is a grand place. I hope to see you at Hutchmoot this year!

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