An Essential Lesson for the New Age Spiritual Movement | An Essential Lesson on the Origin of Your Beliefs and Desires | The Delicacy of Art and Language
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So…let’s enter the labyrinth.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” — Aristotle
“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” — Aristotle
Okay now let me post the real quote, even though I like the misquote better, “Poetry demands a man with a special gift for it, or else one with a touch of madness in him.”
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” — Aristotle
Dear New Age,
“In a large-scale tragedy, like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, etc. We see that the law of attraction responds to people being at the wrong place at the wrong time because their dominant thoughts were on the same frequency of such events.” — Rhonda Byrne’s, The Secret
Yeah, you read that quote right. It’s terrible. And The Secret is a bible for many in the new age spiritual movement, but allow me to explain the many problems with the line of thinking in the quote above, as this line of thinking is a product of not decoding our own Western mindset when exploring Eastern spiritual traditions.
Welcome to the New Age movement, where ‘you create your own reality.’
‘Your own reality.’
So I ask, where did your idea of a self come from? Not you, no — definitely not you alone. This is from the arrogance of our Western capitalistic society that makes “self” reign supreme. We make reason and free will reign supreme! Your failures are your own failures. Stop complaining we are told.
We have a religion of me, me, me instead of we, we, we.
We have allowed ourselves to put all faith in our own individual subjective experience, where we give ourselves false hope that we can make this an objective reality for all. So, we deny the intersubjective experience we are all collectively part of.
No, now it’s personal Godhood we pursue, but oh not for the unity and connection with humans, no, where is the “I” in that? Blasphemy. Our new religion is of every God for themselves.
Oh no, not my problem, “I am a free individual.”
Thus, we use that pretty language by telling ourselves that we are simply standing up for OUR rights, yet we only care about those rights when they pertain to who? The oh so important I.
The I with personal Godhood and all the selfishness that comes with it.
It’s wrong and selfish…and it’s time to wake up.
This idea of the “I” in personal Godhood can be a poisonous idea that allows the individual to run from their own piece of collective responsibility.
You cannot escape our intersubjective reality.
You cannot escape the fact that we are all connected.
We can no longer afford to think and behave as if we exist in a bubble, only on the individualized level; for this is an age of change.
This is an age where we must focus our energy on what WE can do together rather than what we can do independently.
This post is not criticizing all spirituality, just a common trend.
It’s also not criticizing all ideas around manifestation, just a common trend.
The trend of picking and choosing spiritual traditions, often from eastern religions and philosophy, and bending them into a Western capitalist paradigm. So, we have allowed ourselves to put all faith in our own subjective experience, instead of embracing the inter-subjective experience we are all part of as humans.
When we suppress and avoid inherited socioeconomic conditions role in empowerment, or to use the New Age’s preferred phrase, “to manifest,” we lose our connection to the perception of our interconnection to the whole. Your experience is part of my experience and your experience can affect my experience. If you want personal responsibility, be willing to take on all that it entails.
The Role of Social, Economic, and Symbolic Structures in Your Beliefs and Desires
“When we are shown scenes of starving children in Africa, with a call for us to do something to help them, the underlying ideological message is something like: “Don’t think, don’t politicize, forget about the true causes of their poverty, just act, contribute money, so that you will not have to think!””—Slavoj Zizek
“Language is not made to be believed but to be obeyed, and to compel obedience newspapers, news, proceed by redundancy, in that they tell us what we ‘must’ think, retain, expect, etc. language is neither informational nor communications. It is not the communication of information but something quite different: the transmission of order-words, either from one statement to another or within each statement, insofar as each statement accomplishes an act and the act is accomplished in the statement.”—Gilles Deleuze
“Happiness was never important. The problem is that we don’t know what we really want. What makes us happy is not to get what we want. But to dream about it. Happiness is for opportunists. So I think that the only life of deep satisfaction is a life of eternal struggle, especially struggle with oneself. If you want to remain happy, just remain stupid. Authentic masters are never happy; happiness is a category of slaves.”—Slavoj Zizek
Society desires for you to become an ideologue, as your thinking becomes simplistic and thus—easy to control.
We all are forced to become subjects of the society we are born into — this is the symbolic order. We are submitted to language, law, social norms, etc. I’ve heard many communists, libertarians, and anarchists speak of the state as inherently oppressive as they rely on violence and coercion for their rule. But our societal order goes much deeper than the external structures we find ourselves in!
We follow the rules of the symbolic order without any threats!
We do not obey societal orders from fear of violence; we obey because the symbolic order we follow is not fully conscious within us. Oh, you want to understand your desire? Ha, you must begin by understanding your desire is never purely your own! The symbolic order is what we pull from to create our self-identity and many of us enjoy proclaiming our love of freedom without acknowledging the symbolic order they create their belief from.
We are subjects to the economic structures!
By our very participation in the market of buying and selling, we find our identity is created by the symbolic order. As Karl Marx discussed in his many writings, the influence and the pressure of economic exchange by society builds the identity you act from and looks to keep you submitted to the order. All the while, these orders want to lead you into your own perception of self-identity, an identity that you can come to believe, and from that belief, we convince ourselves of our own originality from the order.
‘Consume, consume, consume, and you shall be redeemed.’
The order convinces us, and when the order convinces us of this redemption, we begin the process of embracing the order as the natural process of being. Who would dare question the natural order of things?
“Fight global poverty.”
“Save the globe.”
“Combat the warming of the planet.”
Ah, and with this special package, you can give to all of these causes by simply buying X product. You see, the order makes it simple for us, all we must do is continue consuming and eventually our conscience will be absolved from the guilt. Anything to protect the order!
Anything to prevent us from being more self-conscious of the symbolic order that inevitably influences our desires. And in this case, anything to keep us consuming, to keep our conscience guilt-free, and avoid the acknowledgment of the negative ramifications that our social, economic, and symbolic structures have on the rest of the world.