Entering the Age of Enlightenment

What do Opera Winfrey, Eli Stone and Elizabeth Gilbert all have in common? They are bringing spirituality into the mainstream. Oprah’s new venture with Discovery Communications is an indication that advertsers believe there is enough there, there in what has long been considered ethereal woo-woo for the fringes.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s non-fiction blockbuster, “Eat, Pray, Love” is another barometer of mainstream interest in following a 35 year old woman as she seeks her spiritual identity across three continents. And this week, ABC launches “Eli Stone” which is about a corporate lawyer who discovers the redemptive powers of faith. Very RenGen.

What happens right before a renaissance is that the society resets its moral compass. It creates new values to guide people toward behaviors that contribute to social progress. It reorganizes its relationship with God. Consider that the European renaissance saw the rise of Protestantism led by Martin Luther. If this process of reconsidering our spiritual selves gets thwarted or delayed, our civilization could fall into a dark age. To witness rising interest in entertainment content about faith and spirituality is yet another indication that we have reason to be optimistic. Very healthy signal of large-scale change.

After fifty years of progress at any price, where greed is good, it is refreshing to see people are now adopting a more enlightened, altruistic point ot view. Our ideas about faith and the spiritual realm help shape our culture, always have. No longer a fringe phenomenon, cultural consumers are flocking toward this content. This is what it looks like right before a renaissance!
photo courtesy of M. Omair/flickr