This book is written in the conviction that the vitality of any society depends on the continued affirmation of mythical symbolisms created by the collective imagination for the ordering of experience, and that a pure rationalism can result only in social disintegration.
Karen Armstrong, in her Short History of Myth, picks up the same sort of point, when she differentiates between mythos and logos, and says that mythos is the way to the sacred. What she suggests, I suppose, is that a surfeit of logos leads to a kind of spiritual constipation, the end result of which will be Parkes' 'social disintegration'.
An interesting theory, except it is unprovable, because it is resting on a false premise. There is no such thing as pure rationalism. We are beginning to see a worrying backlash at the moment against rationalist thought, as though the Enlightenment were some sort of impediment to progress because it de-emphasised the supernatural. In so doing, it is becoming customary to speak of rationalism, or science, or empirical study, in a pejorative sense. We are so beholden to the holy fact, they say, that we have lost all sense of ourselves and our souls. This is the excuse they use or ushering that old sky-god back in through the back door.
But this is not so. A state of pure rationality has never existed anywhere. I believe in science as a way of ordering our society, but there is still a place for beauty, for art, for culture, which is where the mythos now resides. God is a work of art.