Toward the Great Instauration: Religion and Culture in a Post-Industrial Age
EVERY SOCIETY seeks to establish a set of meanings through which people can relate themselves to the world. These meanings specify a set of purposes or, like myth and ritual, explain the character of shared experiences, or deal with the transformations of nature through human powers of magic or techne. These meanings are embodied in religion, in culture, and in work. The loss of meanings in these areas creates a set of incomprehensions which people cannot stand and which prompt, urgently, their search for new meanings, lest all that remain be a sense of nihilism or the void. This essay, in the light of the previous chapters on the incoherence of culture, explores the relation of culture to work and to religion, and the possible direction of new meanings.1
Much of the character of men and the pattern of their social relations is shaped by the kind of work they do. If we take work as a____________________
In the opening section of this chapter, I have repeated some formulations from my book The Coming of Post-Industrial Society to establish the framework of the discussion of religion and culture.