The last century had been a century that in most countries of the world, democracy has been established. There were also plenty of movements for the freedom of speech, feminism and the examples of facist governments like Stalin’s and Hitler’s are treated as nightmares for the history of humanity by the majority of people. There was also the industrial revolution which definitely increased the standards of living and the levels of education in the western world. All of these and too many other examples that aren’t the purpose of the article clearly prove that the socities were tending towards a paradigm of openness. They were clearly talking about equality in any level. People theoritically were getting away of slavery and were becoming more free to behave and express opinions easily according to their individuality.
The 21st century started with a huge increase in digital technology. Now most people have a smartphone and they surf the internet where they find any source of information they could possibly imagine. People can now more than ever come close to the “children” of science at any moment. This together with the educational level and the openness have increased the theoritical respect on science and critical thinking. At the same time they have decreased the number of the fanatic followers of the old school religions. Atheists aren’t cosnidered as evil as in the past. Even the greatest scientists and many other brilliant minds of our times have declared their atheism. Many people nowadays don’t find cool at all to take instructions from fat people with strange clothes, luxurious accessories and long beards that behave like the kings in the Game of Thrones TV series. Many parents now wouldn’t ask their children to kiss the hand of the obese man with the beard like what my grandmother was putting me through. As I said, at first reading you could claim that we are more open-minded and educated. Are we really?
I don’t like labels. Not that I don’t make cognitive mistakes but I am trying to see beyond them. Critical thinking means looking at any issue or any idea thoroughly and understanding it. Using a label to describe everything about it is a typical mistake in the thinking of a human. For example when a political party claims that is liberal in order to believe them you have to look at their steps closely and find out if their actions can be characterized as what liberal means. If you characterize yourselves as open you need to look at your actions and see if they can indeed be characterized as open. Think well. Do you try to self debunk? Are you experimenting in order to let reality speak instead of your human subjectivity? Do you put logic and method to find out about the truth? Do you get angry with new ideas that don’t suit you but without disproving them first?
The New Trend
So today that the old school religions are losing customers not all of the lost ones describe themselves as atheists, right? Apart from the ones that don’t bother with worldview issues, there has appeared a new very effective trend. This trend has made a combination of buddhist religions and quantum mechanics. The buddhist religions offer them the wisdom of the old times together with an attitude of positivity. The quantum mechanics offer two things. First of all the authority. Secondly the fact that is the most complicated scientific field makes it easy for them to talk in authorative manner without anyone understanding a single thing, not even themselves. But how can I be sure that not even the teachers understand what they say? I can know that because not even the greatest quantum physicists talk so easily about that same issues. Some call it New Age movement but of course it has plenty of streams like all the trends. It started sometime in the second half of the 20th century by saying yes to spirituality and no to religiousness. You can easily recognize the people that like this product. All of them talk a lot about “energy” and they are or are in the process of becoming “spiritual”.
One random example I saw on facebook yesterday is the following article: 10 Common Habits of Spiritually Conscious People
From the very first look at it I started wondering about the following:
-Who are these “spiritually conscious people”? What specific characteristics should I have as a person in order to be called spiritual? The article doesn’t seem to give any reply and you won’t find a commonly accepted definition in the whole internet. Unless it means that in order to achieve the title of spiritual you have to follow these habits. So, if I follow these habits I can be spiritual too? If I talk about positive things all the time and not eat meat then yes, I have achieved to be called spiritual which I suppose is very important for my life.
It’s clearly an invocation to a respected but ironically very vague term. If you don’t want to be a rational acrobat you understand that you have to talk with logic. When you have logic, as Aristotle said, in every serious discourse any important term should be subjected to scrutiny and definition. In the article, the invocation to the respected term is used in order to convince without logical arguments whereas the vagueness is used so that everyone can have the chance to easily call themselves “spiritual.”
-They also use all typical altruistic characteristics which brings nothing new to the table. It mentions that spiritual people are grateful, positive and cooperative. Do you know any person that claims that is against all these? Apart from the fact that any respected monotheistic religion mentions them there is something more important to this. If you can be called spiritual then you are immediately identified with all these beautiful things. And as I said is not difficult to be spiritual as its vagueness allows any coherence in our thinking. If you believe you are spiritual then noone can ever convince you about the opposite as there isn’t any basis. You can feel that ok, you are also cooperative, positive and grateful person.
-But the best characteristic of all is the ownership of gemstones and crystals. Go to ebay.com and type amethyst. Checkout through paypal. In 2-3 days your journey to spirituality will have already began.
Basic Ideas Preached by the New Trend
So let’s have a look at some general characteristics I have noticed that define the new trend:
– You can feel secure that there is a protection from something higher than you. Most possibly, it is the universe but for lower issues can be elves, angels or other entities depending on the stream you have followed. But let me reconsider this. In all the religions aren’t the gods, holy spirits and other entities who are protecting us from the bad? I am trying but is impossible for me to find any significant difference between the two.
-You are treated as an individual by the universe. The universe among billions of people and unnumerable number of other organisms ever lived recognizes your individuality and your exceptional goodness and spirit. So it will give you much more than other people. Not because universe is unequal, instead because you just deserve it for your spirituality and this is fair. I would personally feel ashamed to behave so arrogantly by claiming that a being with such intelligence and power cares specifically about me.
–You can have everything you want at any given time. If you have got any idea that good things will not come to you unless you try, you are running the risk of losing it all. Because you aren’t loyal to what the higher entity already has to offer to you. Just make a wish, sit and wait. In the meantime you can light a candle on its honour. The universe sometimes doesn’t like people that think they don’t deserve from it everything they want at any moment. Like when you call the waiter. Isn’t this very underestimating for a so huge an entity? However, don’t tell me that christians, muslims or other pilgrims don’t have similar expectations from their gods? Like the following:
Ask and thou shalt receive… Matthew 7:7
– You don’t have to try hard. Because you are a good person and the higher entity will bring only good things in your life anyway. Be calm, stand still. If being productive is pressurizing you then leave it. Be out of your comfort zone only by accident but then return back quickly. It’s not necessary to do it on purpose. A good higher being-protector would never want you to feel suppressed. Just wait and maintain your belief. Good things are arriving sooner than you can imagine. The universe is abundant. Do you know the Manna? It is mentioned twice in the Bible and once in Qurʾān. It’s one of the most characteristic gifts that has came by the hands of gods. It appears that it wasn’t only them sending gifts.
–Everything is going to be perfect and you should always be positive and happy. This is the one and only method to achieve happiness. While of course we should try to be optimistic, positive and prime ourselves with positive stimuli, I’m afraid this once again is not enough. It seems that this brings frustration to many. It provides with a very good grounding to only listen to things they like. When the disussion approaches a negative yet factual event then they rationalize that the trend teaches that it’s ok to ignore it. Because you want to stay away from negative emotions.
–Same way as the religions they don’t promote critical thinking and learning. This happens by definition. The fact that they have already recognized a higher being that controls their lives closes millions of perspectives from the very first moment. Evolution is something like a myth for little children or evil and natural laws can only be explained in their specific books that give all the information they need. There isn’t any scientific definition that explains the forces of nature under a perspective of the control of something or someone. So scientific facts are typically ignored. The latter are also ignored because the new trends have already their agenda which explains all that is needed to know. Can a muslim find answers in any other book that contradicts the Quran even with facts?
–Vagueness. The new trend is never specific about explanations. And not only it is abstract but is against any specificity. They may claim that these things can only be experienced and can’t be described. When there are further clarifications asked there are hardly any replies. On the contrary it is commonly thought that abstract is enough and further analysis is unacceptable and should be avoided. But this is how the religions fought the followers with random expressions of curiosity. They were declared as anarchists because the religion leaders and the pilgrims considered their dogmas as enough already to provide with all answers. Of course, as I mentioned before, vagueness makes everything easy. It’s pretty adaptive. Noone can say that you aren’t this vague term because there isn’t any understanding about what this term defines.
–Follow specific daily habbits and many times have a type of prayer. In this new trend I am describing exist numerous routines. Others follow rituals to control their energies, others to thank the spirits, others to ask for something from the higher entities and others that I don’t even wanna imagine what they do to invoke their spirituality. While not all of them (such as some vizualization techniques) are considered us ineffective by science the majority of these are overestimated for their efficiency or have been proven as totally ineffective. At the same time all the old school religions have specific procedures that can be put in 4 categories. God is in the daily rituals the religions were saying. This was a way for the priests to gain the commitment and focus of the pilgrims. The categories are cleansing of the body, food preparation, entering and leaving significant religious places and numerology(numbers). The good thing is that in the new trend the routines aren’t so strickt. Remember I told you about the new century, people don’t like anymore gods that send fires when they misbehave.
One problem that has appeared also in religions when talking about rituals is the dangerous obsession on them. The fact that most of them are practically ineffective means that they don’t provide with any results. So they who believe in their effectiveness think that they have to do them more in order to achieve results. When the results are still not coming then they think that they don’t follow enough and try to do it even more. This way they have entered a negative spiral loop that has many times in the past lead to OCD (Obssessive Compulsive Disorder).
–They are like fairytales that the parents tell to their little children in order to fall sleep. They don’t contain information but only stories so a tired or a not so much educated mind can easily be hooked. They don’t contain difficult situations in order to keep the reader calm and the baby can close its eyes easily. They have always happy ending. In any single fairytale there is never something negative happening in the end. Any difficulties will eventually be resolved most of the times by whom else, the higher entity or its lackies.
I don’t need to mention that too much reading of these farytales sometimes causes people to believe that whatever difficulty they are experiencing in their lives in the end all will be good. I’m afraid this isn’t how life works. Do you remember the Christ talking to people through parabolas? Haven’t you seen the bible full of stories with the victory of the good in the end? So I could only find rational to use the stories of the new trend when you face difficulties to fall asleep or you had a stressful day. If you grab a book of the new trend I’m sure your sleep will arrive very very soon.
And now the time has come for the key fact that made the new trend adaptive and thus succesful. This is the only major difference with the old school religions I have recognised. As I mentioned, people have more self-respect now and they don’t accept blackmailing. So the universe never sends you to hell. In old school religions the punishments for not believing were more severe. But if you don’t believe in the universe you just may not take what you want. But It also may give it to you in order to fill you with qualms for not believing in the first place. At the same time the new religion comes from an open and self-development perspective: “The religious people were close minded. We that believe in the amazing universe have open minds and we search every day for the truth in ourselves in order to develop.” (to be continued)
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