New Age

At the tender age of 19, I first got interested in what became known as “New Age” subjects.  Over the following decade or two, I ran through the gamut of religion, metaphysics, divinatory, cosmological, healing,  meditation, and even traveled to Egypt to find the Atlantean Hall of Records at the wise old age of 22.  Obviously, if we  had found those, you would have known my name long before now.

With now over 40 years of New Age experience behind me (I never felt like I left it), I do feel quite qualified to comment – for or against – anything that comes down the pike in New Age subjects.  Having been through the mill, as it were, I have come out as quite a tough customer, and not easily taken in.  And leave no doubt about it: There are many people being taken in.  I would certainly say that I myself could be seen as one who was taken in.  I will say – as counsel in defense of my younger self – that I don’t recall ever leaving my critical faculties at the door.  I entered with eyes open and accepted only what I could not immediately discount – and that was only accepted tentatively.

If that sounds like I am a skeptic, it does no such thing; I am merely one not easily won over.  But I can be convinced.

The New Age, as I have come to see it, is another window of inquiry.  It is very poorly defined, very poorly vetted, and very poorly populated with false gurus, especially of the self-help kind.  Yet there are seemingly valid – to my mind – areas of inquiry.

Those will come out here, over time, for discussion.  I make no pretense about this being a source of vetting.

There is no peer review in New Age areas of inquiry.  That is a shame.  There need to be.  If this blog can be of some use toward that, I would be very, very pleased.  There is some value in some areas.  It is necessary for us to determine those and to build on them and widen the panoply, if possible.  At present one must state for the record that none of them are vetted in the slightest.

That needs to change.

2 responses to “New Age

  1. My background and view is very very similar to yours.

    I’ve always been interested in the New Age areas of inquiry while trying to maintain a certain distance and skepticism from them. There is way too much poorly vetted stuff that taints the subject and makes them almost impossible to discuss in any sort of rational manner.

    People usually fall into one of two camps. They believe almost all of it even when the beliefs are self-contradictory or they reject all of it.

  2. James –

    Yes, the poorly vetted stuff makes anyone inquiring into New Age look like some gullible granny from Florida. There is an awful lot of what I term “sloppy thinking” going on, even in ones that aren’t totally gullible.

    I have genuine reasons for accepting some of it as areas of inquiry. Just because I am open-minded about it doesn’t make me gullible. I consider “open-minded” somewhere partway between closed-minded and gullible. Yes, like Houdini at first and Conan Doyle and Oliver Lodge of 100 years ago, it is possible to be open-minded without having one’s brains give up the ghost.

    Rupert Sheldrake is inquiring into some of these things, and the Positivism and reductionism in science has people calling him a parapsychologist instead of a scientist. This a long-standing member of The Royal Society. He’s got gonads for even trying it. His approach would be a good thing for science to include. he points out the 10 fallacies of science, and makes enemies in doing so, but the questions are nukes that will some day go off. The Positivists are stifling the hell out of science.

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