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> Rise and Fall of the New Age, Matthew Webb


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Posted: Jul 13 2005, 09:18 PM
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Rise and Fall of the New Age


In the late seventies and early eighties, there began a movement in the United States which came to call itself “The New Age”. This was originally a social and spiritual movement, whose intention was to go well beyond the limitations of traditional religious ritual, and the false values of consumerism and materialism, thereby creating what was literally supposed to be, “a New Age for Mankind“. Under the influence of writers/visionaries like Ram Dass, Carlos Castaneda, Lynne Andrews, Baghwan Shree Rajneesh, Robert Monroe, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Jane Roberts, Deepak Chopra, Mary Summer Rain, Dan Millman, Pramahansa Yogananda, Richard Bach and a host of others, this movement started as a far-flung collection of social engineers whose collective intent was the fundamental change of where the human race was headed. In its beginning stages during these two decades, much progressive work was done for the greater enlightenment of many thousands of people, as the public was finally exposed to areas as diverse as ancient Vedic knowledge, unified field physics, meditation, yoga, holistic medicine, the needed questioning of social norms, as well as the psychedelic and spiritual expansion of consciousness.

But then something happened to the new age such as any student of religious history knows all too well. What was originally a vision for the betterment of humanity has increasingly become a rigid and mindless doctrine. It is now far less a lived philosophy of life, and far more like the religious shenanigans of fundamentalist Christianity. By the time the mid nineties arrived, the new age was anything but “new”…it had acquired all the earmarks of shallow thinking, false values, hypocrisy and unfounded assumptions, that any religion has today.

It should be carefully noted that many people have come to adopt and follow New Age ideas, without necessarily calling themselves, “New Age” [Look within to see if you haven’t been infected by these to some extent.] This article is addressed to such people and the religious community in general therefore, under the broad category of, “delusional belief systems”.

What had started out as a legitimate attempt to accomplish hearty social and spiritual revolution, is now watered down to a paper-thin broth, by unscrupulous authors, lecturers, the mentally distressed and emotionally needy, to the point of the ridiculous. New Age has lost credibility even amongst many of its’ own followers. Instead of expanding consciousness and rejecting society, now we have 12-strand DNA activation, Atlantean “power” crystals, “chakra activation” trinkets, ionized water bracelets, playing hide and go-seek with your “inner child”, and a galactic federation of friendly ET’s whose whole mission in the life is to save humanity from itself, through a fleet of waiting, invisible ships near the moon. Then there is the “channeling” of entities by thousands of people claiming to gain great insights from them, whose “enlightened” message goes no further in scope than the average fourth grader’s rendition of how a long bearded, white robed, late middle aged caucasion daddy, on a pearly throne in the heavens, loves us dearly. If this is all these entities have to offer, then they should just keep their energy-vortex mouths shut.

We’ve got people being “attuned” to various cosmic frequencies, but for a limited time only, and at $500 a pop. “Astrologers” will “pull up your chart” through cleverly ambiguous computer software programs, in order to give “advice” as to what tomorrow will bring, for 60 dollars an hour. “Numerologists” can tell you for $45 an hour what the alphabetical numbers represented by the letters of your name imply, and just how you can live your life through such, “sacred sciences”. If that doesn’t appeal then they’ll add up the same “numbers” another way to obtain a completely different “truth”, so that “the customer” walks away happy. Lectures and book sales abound through a variety of people who set themselves up as spiritual teachers, but who aren’t about to give away the “good news” of enlightenment for free. Very,. very rarely will you see such “spiritual visionaries” giving away information, as everything they write or say of supposed cosmic import, is “owned” exclusively by them through trademark and copyright. Truth is their personal property after all, and trespassers aren’t allowed.

The New Age has become yet another way to make money and gouge an unwary public, rather than as a social or spiritual revolution. This is not to say that ALL such self-proclaimed gurus don’t have something worthwhile to say, and who deserve to be paid for their worthy advice or writings. But the vast majority out there who call themselves “New Age”, are just flim-flam artists selling ethereal snake oil, to a public hungry for something beyond the boredom of television. Many don’t even admit to themselves that they are charlatans, and actually believe their own misguided words.

To make such considerable sums without really giving anything in return, (except irresponsible messages that confuse and cloud the truth) these “teachers” cater in every way possible to existing social norms, including selfishness and greed to accomplish their financial aspirations, all the while misleading millions. Never mind the awful state and dire need of the world, (because the physical, “is all just an illusion anyway”)…these “leaders” have bank accounts to fill and media stunts to pull after all. Weekend seminars and retreats abound for the modest sum of several thousand dollars, from which the hypnotized participants return to their usual lives, swearing up and down how “profound” their experiences were, without ever making meaningful daily change It is then that the spiritual knowledge gained, if any, is used to simply be more effective in making money or fitting in with a corporate, militarized world. But this isn’t the end of the nonsense.

Now everybody “channels” Archangel Michael or some other renown fictionary Christian or Star Trek leftover, whose messages always start out with an obligatory, “Dearly Beloveds” or some such ritual greeting. Messages from the “Ascended Masters” and “Spiritual Hierarchy” are usually filled with a lot of sappy, impressive-sounding adjectives but which mean very little. Like any politician‘s speech, these “messages to humanity” seem sweepingly profound on first reading, but upon later consideration are shown to lack concrete meaning, and whose content is anything but truthful or useful. We hear reassuring talk about the “great transition” or “critical mass” to come, but never mind exactly how we’re going pull it off, or achieve lasting planetary changes. Never mind that REAL spiritual transition requires serious, dedicated life focus. Never mind the very real obstacles along the way, or the address of real world problems that clearly are only getting worse, not better. Such messages rarely contain the stated need for practical, comprehensive responsibility on the part of each individual, as the truthful prerequisite for world change.

Rarely do we hear through New Age sources comprehensive knowledge of consciousness, or about practical, universal applications of truth, or of the need to reject current social norms in favor of sanity. Fancy terms are thrown around as though everyone knows what they mean, but in the end absolutely nothing is concretely defined or understood. Now we have angels giving advice about, “how to achieve your financial goals” through, “prosperity consciousness” and that, “everybody has their own truth” which makes everything, “OK” Furthermore, we hear that wars and the suffering of millions is, “all by Divine plan“ and, “everybody is entitled to their own reality”, (including, I might add, people like George Bush whose “reality” is to bomb people to bits). No need to be concerned about where the world is heading now, no need to do anything differently, just indulge yourselves selfishly under the thin veneer of false spirituality, and call that, “the prosperity you deserve”, and, “creating your own reality”. No need to find out what reality really IS ALREADY, just make up whatever you like as you go along. Through modern New Age you can “feel good” about whatever you feel like doing, even if it is helping to destroy the planet. Thus the popularity of these ideas….they require nothing from their adherents, least of all a change of lifestyle.

Taking a moment to quote Ed Pablaus regarding the modern New Age message:

“There's a sappiness about them. They feel sticky and gluey. Their overall tone is often mawkish, cloying, and soppy. The energy behind them is designed to make those who lap them up feel good about them-selves, to make one feel fluffy, fuzzy, comfy and OK about, and within the self. Although there may be seeds of truth scattered within these messages, those seeds are most often disguised by gross sentimentalities that are targeted at our pride and meant to appeal to our sense of identity, that selfish perspective we hold from the point of view of our separate little ego-selves.”

Well said. Such messages are also clearly meant to divert attention away from any personal or social responsibility which humanity has, for it’s own destructive modern condition. They have been coined by various unscrupulous authors of New Age, Enquirer Magazine-quality tabloid, in order to sell books and change bank accounts, not change the world.

To quote Ed Pablaus once again;

“So many are sucked in by the subtle and not so subtle sort of ego strokings conveyed
through these messages. And few are aware that these messages serve to dupe their
readers into following a way of being that leads to a very compromised and distorted
version of the True Spiritual Path. Those who are taken in by them are being scammed.
They are being lured into a sort of sham spirituality, and being led down a path that is strewn with glamour and insidious deception…..a path that is skewed by a myopic
focus on, by and for the personal ego self. Unfortunately, for those who continue to be
deluded by these sorts of gloppy, gooey missives that are tailor made to appeal to
the selfish graspings of those millions in the New Age scene, and who are continuing to
seek for the self, the path they are treading will not lead them to Liberation at the end of this cycle.”

If anything, the New Age is leading itself to the same dead end that Fundamentalist Christianity has, by denying that there is such a thing as Universal Truth other than what certain books claim, or a mind and body that owes its healthy function to that Truth. I say this because of the fanatical, religious beliefs with which the New Age has become synonymous. These have every resemblance to a mixture of Al-Anon or Narc-Anon twelve step precepts, and that of fundamentalist, blind belief through faith. Among these absurd beliefs, the most prominent I’ll attempt to encapsulate as follows;

Religious New Age Precepts

1) That there is no universal Truth, only “my truth and your truth”. Such nonsense is the fundamental and most hysterical basis for this belief system. If there is no truth then there can be no such thing as knowledge or science, since reality is whatever any one person prefers or imagines. Therefore there is no need for books or the study of any subject, since there are no subjects…the universe is utter chaos and there are no constants known as “natural and spiritual laws”. Such thinking is the taking of the “creating your own reality” line to an extreme so absurd, that it is completely ridiculous. Thus, there is no such thing as a lie, nor does nature function according to any given pattern or norm. Accordingly, there’s no need for mental clarity or understanding either, since there is basically nothing in existence that needs to be understood. Given these ideas, people are utterly lost in delusional concepts about reality, feeling completely justified to believe whatever they want, any time they want, according to emotional need. The statement, “my truth and your truth” directly contradicts what truth is…non-personal, universal and constant. It reflects severe intellectual and spiritual poverty. The Christian Fundamentalist equivalent of this saying is “the God of my understanding” and “having a personal relationship with God”, regardless of how one may live, believe or act.

2) That spiritual people don’t “judge” other people or ideas. Of course, item 2 fits in nicely with item one above. The parallel here with Christianity, is the admonition of “just have faith”. Never mind thinking for yourself, or logically, factually observing the world and drawing truthful conclusions from those observations. “Just believe” and that will make it so, and we needn’t judge what others “believe” since, “they are entitled to their own beliefs”. So what happens when two people in the same room “believe” that the other is not there, or who hold diametrically opposing views of the world? Nothing happens except perhaps a little animosity….there is no matter-antimatter explosion, or the bending of space time that sucks the entire planet into a black hole. On the contrary, regardless of what each person believes, there is only the Truth, not individual truths. The idea that we shouldn’t judge others is an excuse not to exercise a clarity of mind and an intelligent life focus. It is a concealment designed to protect the believers’ irrational beliefs from the onslaughts of Reality at large.

The New Age does not take into account that there is such a thing as “good judgement” and “bad judgement”. Good judgement means clearly, objectively evaluating the facts at hand, and arriving at a logical, practical conclusion. Bad judgement means misunderstanding reality as it is, thereby coming to false conclusions that only destroy or injure the believer in the end. The person who has clarity and who stands for truth, MUST exercise good judgement of other people, situations and world events, in fact, on the basis of clear evidence and objectivity. This is part of what being a social revolutionary and spiritual minister is all about. Those “teachers” who practice otherwise by advising others in a fashion that caters to their egos rather than reality, are not doing any service to their clients. Through realism and logic, individual problems and the mass-errors of society can both be competently addressed. Nature and the process of evolution most certainly will “judge” us and our inadequate modes of thinking, through the sentence of extinction, unless we start by judging ourselves in a rational, logical way first. Only through such honesty can we hope to survive the next millennium.

3) That any criticism of the world, society or individual people, which comes to the conclusion that something is gravely wrong with how things are, is being “negative”. Item 3 fits in nicely with item 2 above, as an extension of the “no judgement” anti-philosophy. And this is exactly where the New Age mindset has squandered its most precious resource, which originally was truth above all else, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable or if it goes against established social assumptions. New Agers have become notorious for their lack of critical reasoning and logical thinking. They’ll believe literally anything no matter how absurd, if a noted author is the one speaking, or if such lies are crafted in sentimental, everyday terms which resemble soap opera novels. In fact, the more fantastic and absurd the notion, the more popular it immediately becomes, with the case in point being such fantasies as the ET “Galactic Federation” waiting to save us in our hour of need In short, the New Age lacks sound judgement, and this is why it lacks credibility and is just as misleading to millions of people as is established religions. Like the “no judgement” precept, the “you’re being negative” concept, (no matter how obviously deserved the criticisms of the world, persons or ideas may be) is another way to escape the responsibility of one’s own life, as a shelter for the ego. The Christian equivalent here is “judge not, lest ye be judged”.

This concept also dovetails neatly into item one above, which is, “there is no truth other than my truth and your truth”. Conveniently then, if one were to point out, (as I have frequently done) that the norms of consumerism and militarism are about to destroy the human species and most life on Earth, the New Age view is that this is being “negative”. To these people there is predictably no such thing as probability or realism, only fantasy, and the idea that whatever you imagine is what will come about. Although as centers of consciousness we clearly effect the events which occur around us, the point that is missed here is that other people are effecting those events too, and often through very destructive ideas. Also missed is that our effects are governed by natural laws according to very specific parameters, not to mention the lifestyles of the rich and famously wasteful. The War with Iraq is case in point… to criticize war plans is supposedly “just adding negativity to the war” and so on. There are such things as the natural laws of karma, inertia and dissonance, which are not to be lightly brushed away simply because we don’t like to think about them.

This “being negative” sentiment is a form of mass denial which lacks good judgement. Therefore, it is every bit as guilty of perpetuating war and planetary hardship, as are government rationalizations about the need for unprovoked battle. The New Age community desperately needs to pull it’s ostrich-head out of the warm-fuzzy, sentimental sands and realize that it is not “negative” to call a spade a spade. Doing this is properly known as “honesty”. But since there is nothing honest about the mainstream New Age community, this fact bothers no one. It is no sooner “negative” to criticize war or other social injustices than it is for a gardener to pull weeds from vegetables, protestors to walk down a street or a firefighter to spray water on a blaze. Just because we may focus on something does not mean that thing is enhanced…the very opposite may indeed be true, depending upon the intent being used to do so. Try ignoring that burning fire, and see where it gets you.

4) That the physical world is just an illusion, and is therefore not worthy of our spiritual focus. This very callous and anti-spiritual sentiment is yet another excuse for not taking personal and social responsibility. Like the Christian mindset, the New Age community would have us believe that the universe is divided up into conveniently separate categories whose labels are known as “political” “social” and “spiritual”, and which have completely distinct, separate meanings. Thus when we speak of the atrocities of war, government corruption or social inequality, the New Age would have us hide these under the “political” and “social” labels with the claim that they have nothing to do with spiritual practice. Since war and other social ills are “political”, that supposedly means that “good and wholesome” people needn’t waste their valuable energies speaking or acting on such things. Focusing on social ills only, “adds to these problems and makes them worse” according to orthodox New Agers. According to them, “all we need is love and light”, and of course, a huge dose of shallowness, since these terms are never clearly defined or acted upon. It is no loving act to make a habit of telling lies or turning a blind eye to worldly suffering.

Of course, even a very small child can clearly see that you have to focus on what is wrong, before you can effect any remedy to make it right. For instance, if you’re hungry and needing nutrition that means you need to eat, not meditate the feeling away. If you have a splinter in your foot, you don’t say, “well, that’s just not my reality, so I choose to focus on higher things” thereby letting infection set in. The same is even more true of the world situation, and the New Age paradigm is wholly unprepared to adequately address it. There is nothing illusory about the pain or love felt while in physical form, nor is life an empty dream devoid of any purpose other than what we assign it. There is also nothing illusory about the destructive nature of government corruption, environmental pollution or a stress-filled, unnatural lifestyle. What IS illusory is modern humanity’s idea of what life is all about. Society imagines that life is about greed, ego and the making of as much money as possible. The REALITY is that life is about evolution and spiritual progress. The New Age has confused the fact that society’s ideas are an illusion, with the nature of reality itself. Through this bad judgement they’ve concluded that there is no reality, and that the world of atoms and molecules is just a shadow play for their personal amusement.

When a tree falls in the forest it doesn’t matter who is around to hear it…it still makes a sound. That sound we hear in the distance is our own looming extinction, and such admonitions as, “life is an illusion” is the very height of the absurd, the arrogant and the destructively naïve. There is in truth NO division between social and political concerns and that of spiritual practice. The REAL spiritual practitioner knows this and takes responsibility for the truth in ALL areas of life. In essence, EVERYTHING which happens in this world and in our lives has spiritual bearing, and must be treated as such through practical, every-day measures.

5) That “Everything is by Divine Plan“, is a New Age saying that can be used no matter what the daily outcome for humanity, a nation or a person may be. How easy it is to simply imagine that God is pulling all the strings of every shoe lace tied and every bomb dropped. Again, what we have here is a convenient excuse not to take responsibility, or to learn/apply anything truly profound, since no matter what happens, “God planned it that way”. It’s not a very creative God who makes robots of flesh, and who are incapable of independent thought or action, other than through Divine scripting. On the contrary, our purpose here is to learn, grow and evolve. THIS is the Divine Plan, not the dropping of bombs, consumer spending indicators or martial law. Humanity needs to learn this lesson thoroughly; that you can’t make things up as you go along, or outdo natural/spiritual laws through unnatural means, all for the sake of profit, and expect to live happily. In fact, we’ll be lucky if we continue to live at all, under these auspices.

If the New Age movement is to spiritually redeem itself, then it must get honest about truth and life in short order. It must quit making up excuses for not taking needed responsibility, and for the destructive actions it embraces by catering to the norms of greed and shallowness in modern society. For there to really be a “New Age” for humanity, there’s going to have to be a profound shift of consciousness in the world’s population, but not just in the mind. It’s going to have to be acted out on this very real physical world, in order for the highest potentials of humanity to flower and bloom..

Matthew Webb visionquest@eoni.com
The World Mind Society Library http://www.eoni.com/~visionquest

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Posted: Jul 16 2005, 11:18 PM
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The truth must always be free!!!




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