One of my favorite songs, “Lights and cars” by Enter The Haggis, that, in my view, deserves to be much more popular than it is, has the following words in it:
I slide my finger through the dust, that colonized this place that I once loved
From the inside I could see the stars, that I left behind for city lights and cars
In a way, the whole recent history of humanity since electric lighting arrived has been one of leaving stars for city lights. And early on, this exodus from nature has captured the attention of, first, the Romantic philosophers and artists and then the modern-day environmentalists.
But unlike people craving the world that is gone, I am not going to bemoan modernity. Instead, I would like to draw attention to the big picture that the craving for the past illustrates. As I argued elsewhere, major modern ideologies, including leftism and nostalgic conservatism (of which environmentalism is a weird mixture), are at bottom political instances of three fundamental human intellectual responses to the imperfect world described by Branislaw Malinowski: magic, religion and science.