“Modernity has not turned out altogether well. To the pioneers of Enlightenment, it appeared that false certainties and artificial hierarchies were the chief obstacles to general happiness. To many the suspicion has by now occurred that there are no true certainties and no natural hierarchies, yet also that individual and social well-being require some certainties, some hierarchies. The rapid increase in mobility and choice, in sheer volume of stimuli that followed the erosion of traditional ways of life and thought has taxed, and occasionally overwhelmed, nearly every modern man or woman. This no longer seems, even to the most optimistic partisans of modernity, merely a phenomenon of transition. It may be that just as in any generation there are broad limits to physical and intellectual development, so also there are psychological limits, which likewise alter slowly. ‘Human nature,’ in short, though in an empirical rather than a metaphysical sense; not eternal and immutable, but with enough continuity – inertia, to be precise – to generate illusions of essence and a need for roots.” – George Scialabba, “Demos and Sophia: Not a Love Story”

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