Why are we so into science fiction and fantasy? Nineteenth-century German sociologist Max Weber had a useful theory about this: The answer may be that we in the West are disenchanted. The world in which we live feels explainable, predictable, and boring. Weber posited that because of modern science, a rise in secularism, an impersonal market economy, and government administered through bureaucracies rather than bonds of loyalty, Western societies perceive the world as knowably rational and systematic, leading to a widespread loss of a sense of wonder and magic. Because reality is composed of processes that can be identified with a powerful-enough microscope or calculated with a fast-enough computer, so Weber’s notion of disenchantment goes, there is no place for mystery.
By Christine Folch for The Atlantic