After generations of scientism, positivism, materialism... of denial of the existence and possibility of anything not appearing in the public, bureaucratic and official realm... After this we are now in a situation when almost everything good is private, subjective, denied and denigrated.
There is much good in the world, but it is invisible, imperceptible; there are stirrings, insights, aspirations but they are undetected and immeasurable.
Institutions are all subverted and often inverted so that they mean the opposite of what they claim: the expansion of research funding means the end of science; the increase in university graduates and PhDs equals the death of education and scholarship; economic growth means debt and inflation...
The strange result is that in an age when information is a thousand, a million times more abundant and available than it was in 1990 - nobody reallyealy knows anything about anything in most areas of life. Certainly we know far less than in 1990 (because the ability to copy and paste does not equate with knowing!).
In understanding the spiritual life of the nation we may be confident that when the main churches have been infiltrated and subverted, we cannot detect or measure that spirituality by statistics of membership, attendance etc.
On the one hand, this means that we are blundering in the dark; on the other hand our spiritual lives are apparently protected from, relatively insulated and safe from, the extreme corruption of the public world.
I would not wish to exaggerate this; but it does seem clear that Men may hold good close to their hearts for a very long time; strong hope and dreams held by large numbers yet utterly undetectable by the normal instruments.
This secret world can best be seen by the anomalies of behaviour and by the long term loves. An example is that Tolkien's has been the favourite novel in many polls, and is a book frequently reread. It seems obvious, but is an indirect inference, that this book nourishes secret dreams at odds with the officially sanctioned 'reality' - and there are many analogous examples on a smaller scales.
Such things are probably detectable and measurable by some kind of intuitive insight, the reality of which is generally denied, not available just for the asking, and poorly understood. But that is all we have to go on, and each of us should be keeping these subtle 'senses' open and attuned as best he may.