New Age in Old Bottles

The consciousness movement in the late Eighties is somewhat comparable to material science in the 15th Century. There, elementals, tides of humors and ether gave way gradually to the periodic table, circulation of the blood, relativistic spacetime as models. Phlogiston bowed to atomic/molecular motion. By then, the Bowl of the Gods had surrendered to astronomical tabulation of galaxies.

The socalled New Age, which has been underground since the 18th century at least, has evolved a whirlpool of beliefs peopled with odd channels, higher selves, Masters and seers, Fathers and Mothers, psychics, mediums, counselors, healers, touchers, rebirthers, Reichians, Dianeticists, counselors and gurus without number.

These are the faces of a universal impulse to wean consciousness away from dependency on material visions. If you can imagine it, someone, somewhere, probably believes it and is making a living teaching it.

The authors of these wonderful creations of beautiful insight and great wisdom appear to be earning livings, great or small, in explaining the world to those who believe they cannot perceive it directly. Crystals abound, books burgeon, and an up-welling torrent of jargons spills across the land.

These fervent explanations are usually accompanied by personal testimony of raised awareness, greater inner peace, love, new grasps of truth, washes of New Energy, in evidence of the truthfulness of Truth. The Dianeticists find engrams, the Reichians find cosmic energy, the Eckanakarites find astral planes to walk on, spiritualists hear the voices of the Ascended, disciples feel their chakras and sense power vortices in remote locations on the planet, and testify to the remarkable and wonderful they have discovered thereby. In short all these teachings, disciplines, practices, seminars, worships and guidings have brought about -- mirabile dictu! experience!.

At least, to some. Every cult and circle of initiates has its little resistive corners, the ones who get in by mistake or who have genuine aspirations but some how fall short of experiencing the big E.

The core truth of all these truths seems to be that belief can be manipulated, and that belief brings about experience. It is kind of funny to hear someone say, "I have to believe it. I experienced it." And testimonial experiential data is used as an appeal for persuasion. But the simplicity of it all is that belief brings about experience. In the manipulations of con men or gurus, the first target is always belief, not experience. When belief is manipulated   whether by advertising, psychic bombardment, persuasion, love and hugs, or strong arm and terror tactics as often used by the Feds -- then we can experience the reality being pointed out. The simple truth is humans don't experience what they don't believe. This can be quibbled with, because a belief in a house will bring about an experience of rooms, but the specifics are peculiar to the individual's belief structures. In fact if his belief structure includes some kind of exclusive and absolute 'truth' (for example the Word of Ron, Scientific Method, or The A.M.A. are the source of Truth) then he will not experience the discovery that his beliefs precipitate his experience. He'll experience the known datum , for example, that only scientific method can and does establish the nature of experience. By believing that it isn't his beliefs, but something else that brings about his experiences, he places a neat detour on the link between belief and experience. But detour not withstanding he is still experiencing exactly what he believes.

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