The extraordinary David Brooks

Friday, January 23, 2015

Along with many others, I think David Brooks should be declared a national–if not international–treasure. Among many other things he consistently defends the role of religion (and he usually means Judaeo-Christian) in human and civil life. He has read and pondered Augustine’s Confessions at some length. His understanding of what religion does is closely linked to his love of the beleaguered humanities. In today’s column, “The Devotion Leap,” he examines and analyses the phenomenon of online dating and its inability to manage who will fall in love with whom. He closes with these words:

When you look at all the people looking for love and vocation today, you realize we live in a culture and an online world that encourages a very different mind-set; in a technical culture in which humanism, religion and the humanities, which are the great instructors of enchantment, are not automatically central to life.
I have to guess some cultures are more fertile for enchantment — that some activities, like novel-reading or music-making, cultivate a skill for it, and that building a capacity for enchantment is, these days, a countercultural act and a practical and fervent need.
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