[excerpts] Peter Berger's The Sacred Canopy

[excerpts] Peter Berger's The Sacred Canopy

As a sophomore, I encountered this book in a class called the Sociology of Culture taught by Christina Mora. It has been seared into my mind ever since.


"The anthropological presupposition…for the nomos…is a human craving for meaning that appears to have the force of instinctwe are congenitally compelled to impose a meaningful order upon reality." (22t) (We= 'social enterprise')


"Man must make a world for himself…Its fundamental purpose is to provide the firm structures for human life that are lacking biologically…including a towering edifice of symbols."


"The fundamental dialectic process of society consists of three moments, or steps. They are externalization, objectivation (or habitualization) and internalization.”

Externalization is the ongoing outpouring of human being into the world, both in the physical and the mental activity of men. Objectification is the attainment by the products of this activity of a reality that confronts its original producers as a facticity external to themselves and other than themselves... Internalization is the reabsorption into consciousness of the objectivated world in such a way that the structures of this world come to determine the subjective structures of consciousness itself.” (15)


"…the socially constructed world is, above all an ordering of experience. A meaningful order or nomos is imposed upon the discrete experiences and meanings of individuals…the nomos…is a shield against terror, the danger of meaninglessness…being submerged in a world of disorder, senselessness and madness…in the face of the potent and alien forces of chaos…which must be kept at bay at all cost…death." (19t and 22, 23b)