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The unnameable present

Modernity is puzzling and unnamable precisely because the death of God, the loss of belief in a distant, invisible order behind the visible, physical world has led to the sacralization of things that we only slowly, if ever, recognize as misguided constructions of the sacred. Once we belatedly recognize the power we have bestowed upon these things—the folk, the nation, the super race, truly existing socialism, the market, the end of history, the digital dispensation, the Singularity—and once the often disastrous consequences of our idolatry have become clear, we proceed, after a brief chastening, to forget or even suppress what we have learned, in a pattern of learning and forgetting that repeats itself again and again in our amnesiac age.