Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: June 30, 2009 04:51AM

As an aside... I too have (or rather, had) a German grandmother. I used to hear "ach du liebe" quite a bit!

Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: atlanticman50 ()
Date: July 01, 2009 05:05AM

For the most part my dealings with "New Age" healing groups or religions are that they are a bit over the top between what they claim and what's proven. But aside from maybe losing a little money and feeling chagrined I think they're pretty harmless. Provided they are considerate of other forms of medicine, primarily modern western medical modalities. But sometimes can be complimentary to medical treatment at times, like a placebo effect. And I always keep my mind open to different ideas so long as they don't attempt to control.

Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: July 01, 2009 09:18AM

Wondering why you're here, "atlanticman50". From this and another post I just read by newly joined you, you fit the definition of troll.

Please feel free to prove me wrong.

Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: notanantiGnostic ()
Date: July 01, 2009 10:02AM

I don't think atlanticman50 has managed to address all the issues involved in the new age movement.I it would be helpful to consider the topic at hand which is language and how the misuse of language can effect people. Words are very powerful.

Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: quackdave ()
Date: July 02, 2009 04:32AM

I agree; staying on topic is very important to the effectiveness of the communication on these threads. Sadly, I am sometimes an offender in this area.


Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: GEB ()
Date: July 04, 2009 09:08AM

I have reached an angry at the new age movement attitude too. Now I just make fun of them.

Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: notanantiGnostic ()
Date: July 04, 2009 09:43AM

Personally I don't know of a clear definition for the the New Age movement, accept for the sometimes applicable idea that there is a New Age coming but I like to think of them as over simplifying and perhaps perverting genuine spirituality and science. Two examples are the Gaia theory and the work of Carl Jung. When the new age movement uses these ideas they really don't know what they are talking about for the most part.

Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: Carlos B ()
Date: July 05, 2009 11:53PM

I define the New age as a form of pop-spirituality. Theories are cherry picked from more complex sources. They've taken synchronicity and the collective unconscious from Jung and ignored all the rest. I'm not a fan of Jung's - far too many theoretical and practical connections with Nazism - but at least he was an intellectual. The idea of the collective unconscious (in Jung) is not especially mystical. It's not out there somewhere to be connected with. In Jung's view it's hard-wired into the brain so the memories are passed (in our terms today) genetically like any other physical characteristic. The theory is probably not true any more than it's true that there are such things as biological races.

Synchronicity is an interesting idea used in the usual simplistic way by the New Age. Jung did try to measure it statistically I'm not sure with how much success. His idea was that in the sense that there are cause and effect relationships evident in the universe it's also possible that events are connected by 'meaning.' So, one example he uses, if a flock of blackbirds lands on the roof of a house where a person is about to die it's not that it was drawn there by the man's energy etc. - the flock is there because its symbolic meaning is connected to the actual event taking place. I don't know any way this can be tested but I think it's an interesting imaginative idea. The problem with the New Age is they take something like this and turn it into a banal system whereby everything you need will somehow drop from the skies into your hands providing you are 'tuned in' correctly (as exemplified in the world's worst novel - The Celestine Prophecies).

Two very simple reality checks for credibility of spiritual/healing ideas - how money is being made, how long has the therapist/guru spent training and studying.

On the first criteria I noticed how Conversations with God was in hardback edition only for about two years. I mean if I thought I'd had a direct one on one conversation with God containing info of massive importance for humanity I'd put it out as a PDF document on the internet free of charge.

On the second criteria - you can become a master of NLP with a few weekends training. It takes about two years full time work to become a competent computer programmer. A human being is a bit more complex than a computer so go figure.

Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: sparrow ()
Date: July 06, 2009 09:34AM

Hi Judy,

My first degree was in Psychology and I had the privilege of studying with one of the top "sceptics" here in the UK.

Studying "Pseudoscience" gave me an appreciation of how easy it is for the "fantasy prone" to attribute various happenings to supernatural causes when in fact most are easily explainable in terms of mainstream science.

However I have also had an enduring interest in various forms of spiritual practice and various forms of alternative and complementary medicine. I have studied several forms of psychotherapy to practitioner level and also NLP, Hypnosis and various systems of healing (Reiki, Tui Na, Shiatsu etc)

In my experience its like this:

If you go to a new age fair / show, you will get certain categories of people:

Firstly you will get the outright con artist. These are people who offer services (often healing or fortune telling) or products (bizarre bits of twisted plastic to protect your home from "Geopathic Stress" etc) These people know they have no ability or training or that their products are fraudulent. These are the "snake oil" sales people who are exploitng the credulous and vulnerable for their own financial gain and often the power trip that goes with it.

Secondly you get the self deluded. These people are often very nice and well meaning and they genuinely believe they are psychic or natural healers etc. However they have no ability or genuine training and are deluding themselves as much as their credulous, vulnerable, fantasy prone customers.

Thirdly you get people who have some ability but it's very weak or unpredicatable. The problem here is that the person cannot control their gift and this puts on a lot of pressure for them to fake it when it's not working. I have seen this with healers and so called psychics. Unfortunately their occasional successes lends credability to the BS they spout the rest of the time.

Fourthly you get the genuinely gifted person who really has something. This person is the real deal who can heal powerfully, has psychic ability etc. These people probably have some genetic "gift" however it's rare to see any real ability without a hell of a lot of training as well (Usually decades of practice)

The problem is that you rarely find the fourth category of person at a new age event (or through mainstream advertising) Its usually word of mouth and you need a sound BS detector to filter out the first three categories of individual to make sure you get the real deal.

It's the same with books and information.

Unfortunately you seem to have come across the mass market, shallow, feel good, end of the spectrum.

The basic idea that "reality" is a dream that we are dreaming and if we alter our consciousness we can change reality including our physical bodies is not new. In fact it occurs within many religions, notably the esoteric ends of Taoism and Tibetan Buddhism.

What you don't get in "The Secret" etc is the fact that to actually change your belief systems and habitual thought patterns to that degree is damn difficult. To change it to the degree of having an effect on causality you would need to have reached the level of being quite an accomplished spiritual adept. The actual message is not to blame the person for attracting XYZ but to try to empower them to change it. Still damn difficult. But I believe possible.

I have noticed in many years of working as a therapist that peoples beliefs often act like pendulums. For example you can start believing in the new age totally uncritically, then you get dissappointed and overnight swing to the other end of the spectrum and become a totally reductionist sceptic.

Bear in mind that the "total reductionist sceptic" is in a sense just as much a victim of a cult as the most uncritical new ager. The sceptic has their own blinkered doctrine, refuses to accept evidence that challenges their own personal paradigm, manipulates evidence to fit ther own belief system and argues away anything else with generic whitewash bleating about "Placebo's" (which they tend not to understand) and misquoting scientific studies out of context. Thus their belief becomes "non falsifiable" and amusingly therfore does not meet their own standards of scientific proof. This may seem a bit harsh but I remember well having a discussion with the aforementioned professor about the fact that for a parapsychological study they were requiring a higher statistical confidence limit than for a normal psychological study (also higher than that used to approve drugs for use, FDA etc) thus leading to what is known in the trade as a "familywise type II error " (failing to find something that is there) The reason for that was blithely stated that "extraordinary claims need extraordinary levels of proof" a straighforward double standard if you ask me!

However I digress. I think there is a middle ground. Develop a sound BS detector and learn to pan for the gold in the murky new age waters. There are useful things out there, including positive thinking (dont get in to the self blame game) perhaps rather than going for the mass market "california nutter" end of the spectrum, with critical thinking fully engaged try a bit of reading around the more serious end of the alternative health world.

I would suggest Lynne McTaggart's books "The field" and "The Intention Experiment" and Ernest L. Rossi "The psychobiology of mind body healing" also Candace Pert's book "Molecules of emotion" is well worth a read too.

There are in fact a number of genuine scientists from various disciplines who do seriously research this stuff and have the studies and empirical data to back it up.

If you are interested then check out


I believe some parapsychological stuff is well beyond the reach of sciences ability to measure at the moment and so becomes a leap of faith that will either be supported or disproved in the future. But theres a lot of initial research that looks very promising.

Its interesting to note that a few years ago Traditional Chinese Medicine was regarded as superstitious nonsense and now even the most sceptic Doctor has to admit the number of studies now done which support its efficacy are unquestionable.

When I started studying hypnosis many years ago the sceptics still viewed it as people "faking it" and "pretending to be hypnotised" now over the last two years we have sound evidence from MRI imaging on several studies that show without question that hypnosis is an altered state that is charecterised by very discernable brain function.

I wish you well in your quest for healing. I would reccomend TCM and Chi Kung as a good place to start

Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: Carlos B ()
Date: July 06, 2009 05:37PM

The healing/spirituality industry in the west reminds me greatly of the cottage industry of 'specialists' and 'consultants' that surrounds the movie industry. These people target wannabe screen writers with the claim that they can tell them how to write the perfect, saleable script that will get them that big break in Hollywood. In the US there are innumerable (expensive) events where these consultants give talks, sell their books and CDs and (expensive) courses. And there are people who become addicted to these events because they're addicted to the belief that someone, somewhere will be the real deal. The truth is that all (and I mean all) of these consultants know that almost nobody ever breaks into Hollywood from the outside and in the extremely unlikely event of a major studio taking your script it will almost certainly be handed to an in-house screenwriter who will redevelop it out of all recognition. But these consultants don't tell the truth because the truth won't earn them a living.

I am not a reductionist sceptic, far from it. I do have spiritual beliefs and have spent many years looking at healers and psychics. Most of them lie or exaggerate or dissemble because their income depends on their work. I've talked with reincarnated Buddhist monks and high street tarot card readers and all of these people espouse a fixed ideology of greater or lesser sophistication. It's these ideologies that are the basic trap for the uninitiated because once you get wrapped up in one it's very difficult to get out of it.

If someone, anyone, tells you they know how life, the universe and everything works put your hand on your wallet. The truth is that neither the Dalai Lama nor Mystic Meg have even the vaguest idea of how life works and what it's all about. As far as spirituality goes you can only feel your own way forwards (or maybe backwards).

So to someone like Judy I'd say by all means look around but keep your eyes and your mind open and look at the search as a form of self education and growth - but don't expect to find the great healer who can cure you or the guru who can guide you because these people aren't there.

If they do exist how come we don't know about them?

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