Seen & Heard V: Getting disenchanted with disenchantment

Our cultural narrative says there is no supernatural or transcendent realm. The CPX team wants to break that spell.

Seen & Heard is back – and this time, the team have disenchantment in their sights, or the belief that there is no more supernatural or transcendent realm to life, that science is the only verifiable path to truth, and that all things religious are debunked, once and for all. 

But is this true? The books and films we’ve been reading and watching might disagree.  

Natasha highlights beloved Australian author Helen Garner’s encounter with an angel and our flirtation with the supernatural through occasions like Halloween, before taking us through the supernatural stylings of the latest Poirot film A Haunting in Venice, based (extremely loosely) on Agatha Christie’s 1969 novel Hallowe’en Party.  

Simon has been reading the biography of tennis icon and former World No. 1 Andre Agassi who, it turns out, hated tennis and wrestled with fame, but discovered that helping people is the “only perfection there is”.  

A world that has cast off religion and the transcendent also leaves behind any account of the good life that goes along with those claims. Yet Agassi discovered that being the best tennis player in the world didn’t fulfil him. Only serving others did, which resonates with the Christian claim that the good life is a life lived for others.  

And Justine raves about Susannah Clarke’s novel Piranesi and its vivid portrayal of what the disenchanted view of the world lacks: wonder, deep communion with the world, joy, and hope. Plus, Justine makes a bold claim:  Susannah Clarke is the 21st-century successor to C.S. Lewis. 



Helen Garner describing her angelic encounter at the 2018 Sydney Writers’ Festival (from 30 mins) 

Sean Kelly’s column mentioning Hilary Mantel’s possibly demonic encounter 

Trailer for A Haunting in Venice 

Natasha’s article on Halloween, published in the Sydney Morning Herald 

Andre Agassi’s Open: An Autobiography 

The Guardian’s interview with Susannah Clarke 

Piranesi by Susannah Clarke 

Wikipedia entry on the real-life Piranesi, the 18th-century architect and artist