C. S. Lewis makes the observation in The Abolition of Man (1947) that occultism and humanism appeared in Western history at about the same time, during the Renaissance. They were two sides of the same revival of paganism. Thus, he argued, occultism and humanistic rationalism are not enemies in principle but rather cooperating philosophies that are united against Christianity and Christian civilization. This is the theme of his great masterpiece, the novel That Hideous Strength.
From 1964 onward, a new Renaissance took place–a recapitulation of the Renaissance’s revival of occultism, mysticism, and the quest for power. To this witches brew was added revolutionism. It hit the academic world in September of 1964, when the student riots began at the University of California at Berkeley. That revolution shook the foundations of the older liberalism. It launched a series of “scientific revolutions” or “paradigm shifts” in every social science.
The new humanism and the new occultism of the late 1960’s produced a new world view, which has in recent years begun to be called the New Age movement or New Age humanism. Such phenomena as “holistic healing,” Eastern mysticism, monistic philosophy (the world is one: pantheism), magic, astrology, and outright satanism began to multiply. It started as a campus phenomenon, and in many ways, this new Renaissance ended there, in the spring of 1970.
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