Monday, January 01, 2007

The Paradox of Modernity

"Why is it that a world dedicated to the pursuit of leisure and of machines that save labour is chiefly marked by its levels of rush, frenetic busyness and stress? . . . The paradox of modernity . . . is that however successful the understanding of time and space, the modern is less at home in the actual time and space of daily living than peoples less touched by [modern] changes. . . . Whatever the integration of space and time in science, in modern life there is at once cultural stagnation and febrile change, a restless movement from place to place, experience to experience, revealing little evidence of a serene dwelling in the body and on the good earth."

-- Colin Gunton, The One, the Three and the Many: God, Creation and the Culture of Modernity (Cambridge University Press, 1993). (Cited in the January 1, 2007 Addenda from Mars Hill Audio. Addenda is an email newsletter to which one can subscribe for free.)


The Mars Hill Audio quote made me think of this poem from Wordsworth:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

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