The modern world has delivered great progress, but a fierce price. That, in a nutshell, is the story of disenchantment. It’s neither truthful nor helpful.
The notion that things “happen for a reason” is a powerful idea. It is also a dangerous one. The concept of “agency” is so central to our understanding of ourselves and our world that we apply it even where there is no agency to be found.
I can tell a sauropod from a theropod and I know the difference between dark matter and dark energy, but I’m no paleontologist or physicist. Not by a long stretch. But I do so love listening to such specialists talk about what they do. Because I’m not one of them.
A human life is punctuated by events of special significance, which are often surrounded by rituals. The rules of the marketplace are redefined in the reality distortion zone that surrounds these events.
It’s a useful concept that deserves to be in everyone’s mental toolbox. If both sides of a debate adhere to it, that levels the playing field for a true exchange of ideas, instead of a battle of opinions.
You can learn things from reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being that you would never glean from any scientific tractate. And you can see things through the Hubble telescope that no amount of poetry could ever disclose.