Being human is a precarious state in Western secular cosmology. As the last chapter showed, disenchantment-the very process through which the category of humanity is carved out of seemingly inert matter-can also undermine this category. However, disenchantment is not a one-way process, and human beings are not entirely helpless in the face of it. In fact, anxiety about disenchantment provokes a powerful and opposite response in the Western secular mind: the desire to re-enchant. What is often presented as an inexorable, linear process towards total disenchantment is, in fact, a dialectic of disenchantment-re-enchantment produced through human efforts. We can see this impulse at work in the efforts of intervenors who attempt to reverse the effects of dehumanization, to restore meaning to ‘bad deaths’, or simply to assert the ascendency of ‘humanity’ in the face of disaster. In order to do so, intervenors must reclaim lives they perceive to be disenchanted, enfolding them within recognized schemas of meaning. However, this produces a paradox: the attempt to re-enchant human beings contributes to their dehumanization. Why is this the case? The effort to re-enchant humanity through intervention relies on dominant

source of meaning-making within Western secular cosmology: instrumental rationality. This form of meaning-making is a distinctive feature of Western secularity, and one of its most influential contributions. It is an overarching framework of meaning, which claims to be capable of encompassing the entire universe, and to which all other beliefs and rationalities are subordinated. However, ironically, it is also the driving force behind disenchantment (or at least the belief in disenchantment). This means that the most powerful tool available to intervenors for restoring meaning is also a force for its destruction. By measuring, explaining, predicting, targeting, symbolizing, counting and otherwise rationalizing ‘bad deaths’ or ‘dehumanized’ beings, intervenors contribute to their instrumentalization-and to their disenchantment. To illustrate this dynamic, I briefly explore how the dialectic of disenchantmentre-enchantment shapes international security, and in particular the norm of human security. Human security attempts to reclaim the meaningfulness of human lives by investing them with the attributes of high life: individuality, bodily integrity, self-realization and human flourishing. However, it does so

precisely by instrumentalizing them to rational processes of liberal sovereignty, which critics identify as ‘biopolitical’. Next, I analyse statistical, verbal, visual, cartographical and symbolic

materials produced by eighteen organizations of different sizes and levels of influence who seek to shape intervention by interpreting the effects of violence.1 Although they tend to be paid less attention than the formal statements of intervenors (e.g. UN Security Council Resolutions or statements from foreign ministries), these ‘grey materials’2 are relied upon by intervenors, policy-makers, activists and academics as sources of ‘what really happens’ in situations of violence. In this chapter, I probe the ways in which these materials attempt to make meaning out of violence to enfold ‘bad deaths’ or ‘dehumanized’ beings within Western secular frameworks of meaning. However, at the same time, they construct specific groups of people as disenchanted and, quite often, dehumanized objects-as materials out of which meaning can be made. The dynamics of disenchantment-re-enchantment, therefore, are complex and often lead to ironic consequences. Understanding this dialectic is crucial to unlocking the cosmological beliefs that drive intervention and produce some of its most ambiguous consequences.