This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


← Conspiracies taking over where religion left off

QuestioningKat's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by QuestioningKat

One of the aspects of new age thinking is that of 'hidden knowledge', for example such stuff as 'The Secret'.

There's a clever marketing psychology behind all this, and its how some make millions from all the new age material.

I understand this point. You are correct that there is a marketing technique going on here. Conspiracy? Not convinced yet. Actually, I am quite familiar with the actual (not watered down New Age view of) the "Law of Attraction" and it is actually hard work and nearly impossible to achieve completely. If I went into the details of what this concept actually entails, even a skeptic wouldn't want to do all the work required. Essentially your entire life - relationships, mindset, education, personal psychology, health, well-being, ability to be proactive and take action, your ability to appropriately respond to a situation, etc. etc. needs to be in tip top shape. The actual view is about taking total responsibility for yourself. But then there is a catch; they throw in woo stating that what you put out into the world is drawn to you. Well, yeah after all that work, something is bound to happen.

The actual big secret is that you are One with God (some actually use the statement that "I am God.") but you simply have forgotten who you really are. So this God who is supposedly helping you is really yourself in alignment with Divine principles that govern the Universe. AKA - your doing what is within the realm of possibilities and what is socially acceptable, so cause and effect come into play. When something does happens, then you thank your lucky stars that you did your spiritual work. (aka -did the effort and found the right people to help out.) It all goes back to that "ghost in the machine" idea except it is called Consciousness.

The "Law of Attraction" is actually a New Thought belief adopted by the New Agers. They packaged the video as the "secret" that successful people have known throughout the ages as an attempt to attract people to "the special elixir." People seem to be drawn to quick fixes, diet pills, and shortcuts. "How did you lose so much weight? What's your secret." They are drawn to the quick,lazy approaches that offer the "five steps to XX" or "keys to better XX."

Throughout all such examples, the aspect of the phenomena being 'hidden' from sceptics is undoubtedly conspiratorial.

Actually they view themselves as being at a spiritually higher level than others. They think they have knowledge that you do not. All religions do this, this is why you need to FIND God or have God revealed to you. Eventually you will "get it." Obviously, it isn't your time and they will try to be non-judgmental and patient with you because you are a newbie and that is the spiritually evolved thing to do.

I actually personally exposed a conspiracy myth myself ...What astonished me was the sheer number of people who refused to believe this even when shown the evidence.

This happens all the time and is not unique to New Age. I recently watched a video about a product that caused a very large group of people to protest the manufacturer because it supposedly said something "inappropriate." The entire group claimed that it said something in particular, but when I listened several times to the sound (before I even read what the group considered offensive,) It clearly said what the manufacturer stated. The manufacturer provided a written statement, yet they heard it incorrectly. It's like the time Dan Dennett or maybe Sam Harris played a garbled recording, then told people what to hear and you could actually hear "sweet Satan..." People tend to fill in the gaps.

Perhaps conspiracy is a bit of a jump for me. I still don't see it as a conspiracy, but then again I bet I have a different definition of New Age.

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 03:10:15 UTC | #949712