“New Age” spirituality — why it sucks.

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anon (not verified)
“New Age” spirituality — why it sucks.

Are there any good anarchist critiques of the New Age hippie tendency? If so, could you link them here? If not, then lets make one. I just can’t stand these motherfuckers!

Their toxic over-the-top positivity, their passive aggressiveness, their “Law of Attraction” ideology that blames the victim, their plastic shamanism, their ties to pacifism and the crudest of conspiracy theories, their overall submission to the state. I hate how you can’t ever disagree or have a heated argument in which their worldview is challenged substantially without violating the “good vibes only” policy. It’s like a goddamn cult.

I feel like an Eric Cartman talking about these dirty, worthless vermin. At least old school hippies used to actually ‘drop out’ and experiment with different ways of life. These fuckers tho are almost all tied up with IT and 100% plugged into the system. They can blow their ‘Good Vibes’ out their ass!

I need better idea-weapons to spar with the new agers in my life; particularly a friend of mine who’s just recently fallen into their clutches...

anon (not verified)
i'd think any decent

i'd think any decent anarchist critique of those jokers would start from the fact that there is little-to-no critical thinking behind their perspective. it is magical thinking, and i think even most of them know that. they want so badly to believe not only in magic, but that magic is inherently "good" (or that they can steer it thusly).

i would question the honesty and integrity of anyone who has a "good vibes only" mentality.

and everything about them shouts "moralism".

i have to ask: why do you get so riled up over people you want nothing to do with?

anon (not verified)
“I have to ask: why do you

“I have to ask: why do you get so riled up over people you want nothing to do with?”

A fair question. But haven’t you ever had a friend go through a bad time, become emotionally vulnerable, and then fall into the grip of a cult? New Age rly do be like that tho.

anon (not verified)
Actually yes. Back when Y2K

Actually yes. Back when Y2K was approaching, a good friend, who happened to be a computer programmer and should have known what the REAL risks were, got swept up in the hysteria and was stocking up on essentials and looking for land in Idaho. He also got his first gun. Did I mention that he is legally blind?

He was like a younger brother to me, and I asked him if he believed the fear-mongering despite everything we both knew about computer systems and the years of work that governments and corporations had been doing to avoid the worst possible scenarios. In retrospect, he sounded just like a MAGAt who simply refuses to acknowledge the validity of simple, fact-based evidence.

Brainwashing? Perhaps. Some people are obviously more susceptible to contextual groupthink than others.

anon (not verified)
This is not a critique of

This is not a critique of "new age spirituality" per se but a segment of a book review and it does illuminate the difficulty of the secular world's approach to "spirituality":

" If you believe him, and he does state the case frequently enough that it is hard to say that he doesn’t believe himself, then the answer to our questions about what to do can be found from the earth directly. Literally. What does a stream desire? Sit next to it and listen to it. It will find a way to tell you. Have a problem with coyote eating your chickens? Talk to them about it. Many radical and liberal commentators sneer at Jensen’s perceived spiritual arguments. They call the lack of objective verifiability “mysticism.” They dismiss the similarity of Jensen’s arguments to native arguments as saying more about his attraction toward natives than the reasonableness of his arguments.

And they have a point. Jensen is a west coast environmental writer, not a redneck pissed off about the destruction of the only thing he knows, nor a traditionalist living in reservation squalor. When Jensen writes about his first-hand experiences (and successes) talking to the earth, it reads like other New Age authors speaking about the same subjects. But guilt by association should work both ways.

If we want to blame Jensen on the one hand for seeming like a well educated cosmopolitan liberal who is in touch with the earth, we have to accept that he is also echoing people with unquestionable links to life-ways that did converse with Wakantanka and that did not separate themselves from the food they ate, the ground they walked on, etc. Spiritual beliefs are a consistently difficult thing to present to a secular audience that has understandably negative reactions to the Abrahamic religions. This difficulty is apparent even in Jensen’s writing, which takes a utilitarian perspective on the topic. He says “if you want to know what the earth wants, you listen to it,” not “you should practice a lifeway that entails these rituals, includes these social roles, and practices these rites.”

How does the secular world express strong feelings of affinity and disgust, anger and despair? It appears that expression of feelings is delegated to politicians, to the media, or perhaps to a blog. Jensen is trying to make a break from this kind of mediation through his writing. Perhaps the question merits asking whether writing itself is a secular kind of detachment, but the effort is clearly there. Talking to a stream about what it desires is a very different political practice than saying that one should have an unmediated personal connection to the natural world without any particular advice about how one would have it. In a world of utter atomization and isolation, what arguments can we really have with someone’s expression of a connection that they truly have? The secular world doesn’t have a response to this human need and for all of its derision against traditional, spiritual, and even religious practices, fails entirely at satisfying the needs of anyone who doesn’t believe in the secular program. "

from https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/aragorn-what-do-streams-want

lumpentroll (not verified)
haha that's not what I blamed

haha that's not what I blamed jensen for. people can talk to streams if they want and gatekeeping on that is bound to be even weirder and more cringe than writing about how you talk to the smoked salmon every time you have a snack.

I blamed jensen for making hand wavy allusions to a shadowy ultrabadass earth first underground that he had no meaningful connection too and/or didn't really exist except in a few tiny isolated pockets. A sort of "stolen valor" type problem. He sold books with it and talked tall about militancy and bombings. "Write what you know" as they say, not what you think you know about what other people did who aren't goofy sweater wearing whiny dorks.

anon (not verified)
jensen is a profit-seeking

jensen is a profit-seeking charlatan, who does happen to have a decent critique of modern human civilization. he is an opportunist soaking up his minimal celebrity and using it to try to spearhead his own "movement". at least that all was the case when i last paid attention to him (quite some years ago).

New Age Spirituality means numurous things

There's the poppy stuff you speak of but there's also stuff like Ram Das and other good stuff. There will have to be something like a new Aeon to give the Stirnerite Nietzschean discourses more of a biome to operate in. They will probably follow a dark/contraction age or-just short of that-an age of stagnation. Occultism can also said to be part of new age world views and there's definitely good stuff there as far as anarchy goes. The modern and soon to be cybernetic thing isn't something to look forward to as an alternative.

anon (not verified)
a lot of these type of "Law of Attraction" thinkers

are speaking from an age where there's more alienation than ever, people tend to default to this idea that if your having any sort of a problem then it must be easy to fix.

I would like to comment on new age as i've hated it for a while, but from my standpoint there's just tons of gushy positive thinking, in the end what happens is you end up not wanting to talk about things that bother you. It's basically just a totally ignorant form of gaslighting, so it's not even really gaslighting just it's not something that's planned.

anon (not verified)
the "law of attraction" was

the "law of attraction" was boiled down into a video a couple decades ago, called "the secret". having watched most if it myself, i can say that it is a "new age" approach to gaining material/financial wealth. and it tied that wealth directly to spiritual happiness.

anon (not verified)
I find that people who don't

I find that people who don't ever want to talk about things that bother/challenge them, or face up to difficult inner turmoil or experience negative feelings -- tend to exhibit a lot of narc and sociopathic behavior.

"good vibes only"? More like: "I am so limited in my emotional capacity that I just can't ever allow myself to experience negative emotions, because negative emotions are unpleasant, and I'm a super special LOA snowflake and therefore deserve to only ever feel good things all of the time."

anon (not verified)
Negative emotions is a

Negative emotions is a *common* term for it. I also thought "uncomfortable" (as another term for it.).
What would the term be for "a feeling that evokes a sense of vulnerability, dependent upon the exact person?" This isn't rhetorical. I'm honestly asking.

About me: I'm a smarty-pants too. Yay! We made it. :-) Woooo

anon (not verified)
The thing that bothers me about ppl

In general is when they use strength to cover vulnerabilities to other humans. The law of attraction is one method ppl use to this, though its very common and people will often default to more impulsive and satisfying reactions to things.

anon (not verified)
I'm just appalled by some of

I'm just appalled by some of the new age logic. I guess trust your gut while remaining critical of both your own and other people's motivations.

anon (not verified)

It's a variable scene, there's degrees of cultishness, degrees of phoniness, degrees of irrationality to it. The problem is, where do you start, is herbal tea New Age for instance?

The extreme conflict-aversion (and quasi-authoritarianism/intolerance to suppress conflict) is super annoying. I *think* that's a trait of the perverse/disavowal personality-type. Basically it's fear of annihilation or abandonment, carried over onto every little disagreement.

The feel-good stuff is fucking annoying too. But, remember this is also all over pop-psych at the moment (mindfulness, CBT "challenging negative thoughts", etc). The New Age version seems to be connected to beliefs that thoughts create reality, and an attempt to recreate a different reality by imagining it otherwise.

anon (not verified)
idk, didn't bob black or

idk, didn't bob black or green anarchy magazine probably write about this in the 90s? wasn't there an article on here about how like, yoga is evil or something???? anarchist critiques are not hard to find, they are mostly what anarchists produce, and they are mostly like shooting fish in a barrel. yes, western civilization in all its various parts is fucked up. we know!

what kind of sparring are you doing? it sounds like you are trying to antagonize people who are "toxically positive", maybe to upset them in order to rupture what you consider to be their facade. ok... i get the impulse but like...y tho? maybe take a page from the book of actual positivity and at least ask yourself, why you want to do that, or whether there are more productive things to do than look for ideas, rhetoric, and symbolic negation that apply to a position you apparently already strongly hold, altho you need help explaining it to the people you want to explain it to. slapping people in the ego and gloating when it works is also basically fish in a barrel. are you going to convince fake hippies to be pissed off anarchists like you? why not just be real ?

i think a more interesting question is how the liberatory possibilities of our human, social, political life - that get encapsulated at times in concepts like "anarchism, communism" etc - could appeal more to the spiritual imagination, the metaphysical side of our nature, and all the things that not only historically but presently for most humans are driven or regulated by some form of religion: community, values, etc, that in the west have largely been ripped loose from their moorings by capitalist modernity and subject to capture by such apparatuses as "new age", "wellness", fundamentalism, fascist mysticism, etc

Babylon (not verified)
Twin Flames

It's not from an Anarchist perspective, but it does a decent job of dissecting a piece of new age nonsense.


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