I have to admit to chuckling when reading your first sentence, for as a fan of Steven Pinker, I must admit his books are not exactly pleasant (or easy) reading! And I was not so much defending humanism as giving my instinctual definition of the word (and probably some readers') and making the distinction between a humanist in regard to within the human sphere as opposed to outside and our current human domination of the planet. Also, to clarify, I did not intend for arrogance to be read entirely as the cause of our separation from nature as much as it is the result. Certainly, it is much more complex than that, as you indicate. However, at this point our arrogance expressed through the cult of the ego and greed has widened that gap considerably.
So, this 300-year lost weekend would start around when? My first thought when reading your comment went to the early years of Christianity (although I think you mean more recent) and its control over books/knowledge (primarily classical Greece). This made me think of Stephen Greenblatt’s book The Swerve, which suggests the re-discovery of Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things in a German monastery in 1417 might have played a part in sparking the Renaissance. Whereas it is likely to be more complex than that, after reading On the Nature of Things, which lays out the philosophy of Epicurus (341–270 BC), I couldn’t help but be taken a bit with the notion. I also couldn’t help but wonder where we would be if the church had not had such a stranglehold on knowledge. On the Nature of Things struck me as quite refreshing and opposite in many ways to my own Christian upbringing. I wonder had it, and others, not been suppressed could this mechanistic worldview have been avoided? Or did it contribute? Have you read the Greenblatt book and if so, I would love to hear your take? I am curious also about these other worldviews that were present along with the mechanistic one and will get the Carolyn Merchant book you mention. Also, you write: “The supposedly entirely “Autonomous Individual” of Enlightenment thought is actually the human-in-relationship.” By human-in-relationship do you mean a relationship with the natural world? I see you have written another post regarding Humanism which I look forward to reading next.