The second problem is that naturalism, being a false picture of things, is inevitably destructive of nature, both cosmic and human. I mean not only that the age of technology has, as we all know, given us the power to ruin the world about us with magnificent profligacy. I mean also that it makes it all but impossible for human beings to inhabit the natural world as participants in its gratuity, greatness, and enchantment. And this is rather tragic, because all of civilization—quite literally all of it—springs up in the space between mortals and the mystery of the divine within and beyond the things of earth.
But to find that space—that clearing in the forest—we must first consent to be servants, not simply masters. The works of our hands have to be the way in which we respond to the summons of the ever deeper mystery within things, born out of a primordial human capacity for wonder that never presumes to know more than it can know, and that never tries to determine in advance what may or may not reveal itself. And any deafness to this summons, or any arrogant forgetfulness of this mystery, is the deepest, most barbarous irrationality of all.