The older I get, the more sense history makes. All the pieces of humanity’s exceedingly checkered past fall more into place, resulting in both more compassion for what we have come through and alarm for what continues to befall us. More than 500 years after the Renaissance posited that humanity could become a shining beacon of perfectly realized rational values, we lurch from one crisis, one massacre, one civil war, one bellicose despot to the next. One part or other of our world is always threatening to go up in flames even as many of us preoccupy ourselves with whose dessert will make the grade on the next installment of some epic cooking show that plays like the Last Judgement, set to music.
These thoughts occur as I work my way through two books that have piled atop each other on my reading table this week: Charles Taylor’s sweeping account of the secular-religious tracks running on their often paral...Read More