Demons of the Modern World
This fascinating discussion of modern demonology focuses on our ability to differentiate the physical world, with its mechanical laws, from the inherently less predictable psychological realm of thoughts and beliefs. McGrath points out that this ability was a hard-won historical development, and today must be learned in childhood through education. Because of this historical background and our rich fantasy life in childhood, each of us unconsciously suspects, or fears, that supernatural forces may break through the borders of our everyday commonsense order at any time. Indeed, at times of personal stress or societal crisis, the modern boundaries between fantasy and reality begin to slip, and then a magical world of demons and other phantasms can come flooding back into our disenchanted reality.
Through this innovative thesis McGrath goes a long way toward explaining both our fascination with fantasy entertainment, such as horror stories and films, and bizarre crazes such as witch-hunts, Satanism scares, and even claims of alien abduction. Despite our demystified culture the lure of childhood's magic kingdom with its monstrous shadow realm remains strong.
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McGrath, a doctoral candidate in political philosophy at Oxford University, argues that modern culture differentiates between the physical world of mechanical laws and the symbolic universe of our ... Read full review