new age (2)

NOTE: "In denial" is a code word for "in fear" (terror)... let's face it... then, we begin being part of the "solution" (if there is such a thing; we start the restorations, we start the path of fearlessness)... 

Andrew Harvey a long-haul serious spiritual teacher, along with others like Marianne Williamson, are really starting to take their critical shots big time at so much of the commodified bull shift and narcissism in the "spirituality" that cricles around human potential, pop cult spirituality, and new ageism... I am totally in agreement with their assessment as I have watched this bull shit for 30 years and not been impressed with how they manage fear (by trying to transcend it)--and, get themselves so wrapped up in their own spiritual enlightenment they miss the very disasters under their feet. "Terrifying" says Harvey, now that's what we have to admit to 'turn' (if possible) this all into a much better future outcome than the one this is fast going down now. Welcome to the Fearlessness Movement--a time for true Sacred Warriors. 

AND, for those who want to learn more about the "Deep Adaptation" movement, and facing our collective death and suffering on massive scale with the "inevitable" real collapsing of environment and social systems in the very near future (less than 10 years)... go to a great conversation by David Thorson (of Emerge podcast) with guest Dr. Jem Bendell on "The Meaning of Joy of Inevitable Social Collapse"

BTW, since writing this blog, a bunch more people (e.g., David Suzuki) etc. are coming out with the "collapse" narrative re: the precarious future facing humanity and the earth, to the point where various organizations I see are starting to collect resources to try to help people cope with the dramatic changes and potential suffering and death inevitable--e.g., "Library of Collapse" is one: 

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What is the Library of Collapse?

This Library was established with three distinct purposes.
The first is to be a repository and distribution point of key information that would be useful for surviving and thriving before, during and after societal collapse. To achieve this goal we intend to make our entire site downloadable. Individual knowledge-base PDFs will also be provided on a per-entry basis.
Our second goal is to aggregate important news happening around the world today pertaining to collapse. We will not interpret the news, nor will be selective in our narrative or editorialise. We are here to merely report the facts and allow our readers to form their own opinions.
Our third and final goal, is to be a place of support. Collapse is a scary notion for many, and can drive people towards depression. Our goal is to provide comfort, guidance and perhaps even some hope. We believe that individuals can still change the world.

What topics does the library cover?

The Library of Collapse will cover topics that will prove helpful before, during and after collapse.
We will have resources on preparing your home for natural disasters or intrusion. Writers are already working on a series of sustainable living guides, including micro-farming, alternative energy for your home and much more. Our library also covers important life skills that could make all the difference in a world on the brink of collapse.
We hope that you will find this growing library indispensable as we head into uncertain times.


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The Shadow Side of "New Age" Thought


I first became aware of something like "New Age" thought (some call philosophy or spirituality) in my early 30s. I was more influenced by the Human Potential Movement and its positive optimistic view of human beings and our potential. I then got into Anthroposophy texts (e.g., Rudolf Steiner) and esoteric thought in my late 30s. Without going into all that detail, I became more interested in "mystic" dimensions of reality.

All those forms of knowledge were fine but the more I saw the holistic health movement take-off in the 1980s-90s and to this day, and the use of esoteric "New Age" thought about this sense we are going through a major transformation of consciousness, etc... the more skeptical I became. I was studying Ken Wilber's work parallel at this time of these explorations into alternative forms of reality and philosophies of life. All a long story.

This blog I merely want to point out the shadow (if not pathological, if not violent) side of "New Age" thought, from the perspective of its theories about reality, about human subjectivity, about knowledge, knowing and understanding (i.e., epistemologies), and its politics, etc. There is nothing "value-neutral" nor innocent, I have found out the hard way, about how people of all stripes use and abuse "New Age" thought.

Here is one example I saw today in a book someone gave Barabara. It is a book on someone healing themselves (apparently) of their cancer diagnosis, which if you turn to the chapters in the Table of Contents, there is a chapter called "Diagnosis of Fear"--indeed, many have written about the problem of fear in relation to both getting cancer and in treating it effectively (if the latter, is actually even possible in some cases). So, there are a lot of books on cancer, and a lot of holistic, 'new agey' books too. Let's look at the quote by the author of Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing by Anita Moorjani (2012). Carlsbad, CA: Hay House.

I merely want to keep this blog short, and will give you the essence of my critique of what is typical of New Age thought (holisitc health as popularized and spiritualized, and of which Hay House publishers pumps a tonne of these kinds of books on the market and has for some 20 years or so, often based around Louise Hays' kind of thinking and attitudes). Moorjani (2012) wrote in the front pages her Dedication (and her faith statement):

I believe that the greatest truths of the universe don't lie outside, in the study of the stars and the planets. They lie deep within us, in the magnificence of our heart, mind, and soul. Until we understand what is within, we can't understand what is without."

This statement of faith, belief, and epistemological claim (teaching) is very common and very troubling to me from many perspectives (i.e., an integral perspective for one). It wants to more or less diss the external (more Objective) world of information (that "lie outside") and replace it with a privileged inner (more Subjective) experiential world of information to guide our lives. The author falls into the swinging pendulum trap of trying to correct the abuse of Objectivism (e.g., hard empirical science) as the privileged source of information for guidance toward the opposite of what is now abuse of Subjectivism ("lie deep within us"). This subjectivism is individualism in another disguise, and it is what Wilber in his Integral Theory diagnosis of the problems today, a form of Upper Left quadrantism (all value is put on inner psychological and spiritual truths and ways of knowing). It's 1/4 of reality that Moorjani is privileging in her Subjectivism excess. Why not simply give the "outer" and "inner" worlds their equal due as important in providing us guidance and a relationship with reality in the entire Kosmos (to use Wilber's term)? This is actually quite a violent epistemic move on Moorjani's part and one made way too often, way to uncritically, by the Human Potential Movement/New Age (e.g., holistic spiritual health discourses) today.

If you want more on my critique on this epistemic violence, you can share your views on the FM blog. I am more interested in an epistemic fearlessness as guidance than this fear-based quadrantism of Moorjani's. Her way, which is a discourse common beyond just her that she has adopted, is very inadequate to solving the "wicked problems" of the 21st century, and we have to get over thinking that excess Subjectivism is going to correct excess Objectivism--that's simply 'bad' advice, and worse, it is violent to the Kosmos (and that means, to you and I as well).

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