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I don't know if this is a good thing or bad thing,
but have any of you here also noticed as well that the whole "New-Agey", "spiritual", "self-help", motivational websites/blogs/books & seminars/speakers & 'careers' nowadays seems very flourishing than compared like a decade ago?

But unfortunately, especially with the past year "2012" (and/or December 21st 2012) that NOTHING happened, and yet, I still see today soo many of these so-called/proclaimed "gurus/spiritual masters/Ascended masters" etc etc still making so many excuses (as far as I can see/analyze), and the WORST thing perhaps is that there are still so many people today that BUY it.

all often "in the name of LOVE, or even TRUTH" blah blah...

seriously, since then, I've started to become so cynical (and perhaps become much more skeptical and critical also) of everything about all these "spirituality" categories, and I would even boldly argue that if examined critically, perhaps 90% of them are what I would termed as "spiritual B.S (bullshits)" that are used for either:

- dirty 'worldly' (oh irony!) goals such as getting rich quick/more money, gaining popularity (blogs/websites/books/speakers/seminars)
- just a mere fantasy & wishful-thinking theory or human's made-up vivid imaginations, but it's still not REAL!

The most important question though, is WHY do you think that even the so-called "modern, & scientific" 21st century people today still BUY it?....even there's MANY of them!!

Seriously, is this perhaps just another proof of Karl Marx's statement that "religion is opium for the masses/people" , to fill that HOPE in many people's hearts today (because Most people simply can't stand the uncertainty, and feeling insignificant), especially in these hard times (economically, etc) ?

and that most people, just for the sake of "feel-good" , "woo-woo" theory/stories, just rather dismiss or seems to very lack of CRITICAL-thinking, and even just thinking at all??... is humanity doomed then??

Or,..perhaps some of those "spiritual BS" are really REAL and provable/testable?
What/where are the solid proof then?

Seriously, this is one of the things that really irritates & annoys me too nowadays.
 

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MOTM Dec 2012
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This guy is quite popular nowadays. They remind me of Hollywood actors for some reason. I wouldn't say humanity is doomed because of these guys. I guess they're providing some kind of social service if you will, so it's not all bad, which also isn't to say there are hucksters out there. I suppose if you've never been exposed to religion, you'd find this kind of stuff fascinating.

 

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I'm personally very confused by highly intelligent people (scientific-minded, in particular) who are spiritual/religious. It just doesn't add up to me. That always comes out wrong when I say it, because I don't mean to say that it only makes sense for stupid people to be religious, or anything like that.. Although I do agree with what you said, that religion is "opium for the masses."

My boyfriend, for example, had a Computer Science professor who he considered highly intelligent from a logical/scientific perspective. Just from my personal experience, most people like that tend to be agnostic, or at least liberal in their beliefs. This guy was an atheist, at the time. A few semesters after my boyfriend took his class, the guy moved across the world and converted to Islam. /shrug

It surprises me that there are people who, otherwise, think rationally/scientifically, that make an exception for spiritual affairs. I'm not here to judge them for it. I speculate; Often, I tend to think they move toward religion because there is something painful in their life that they can't deal with on their own, or they don't want to feel alone for whatever reason, so they turn to an idea that tells them they never have to be alone. I don't necessarily think it is a lack of critical thinking, so much as a need to feel secure, a need to belong somewhere.. Something like that.

Maybe I just haven't had the right experiences, and I acknowledge that. But it has never made any sense to me why someone would go from non-religious, to religious. The opposite happens all the time. I'm not sure what causes "modern" and "scientific" people to start buying into theories that have no solid proof to stand on. I've never been in their shoes, though, so all I can really say is that I don't understand.
 

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MOTM Dec 2011
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I make a huge distinction between this, religion, and real spirituality. The 3 can coincide, but they don't always, and often the new agey stuff is neither religious nor truly spiritual. To me religion is organized spirituality, and it can be a real spirituality vs the woo-woo, feel-good, empty philosophies meant to play on people's emotions & earn the leaders some money. That is what I think you're describing, and I think these flourish in times of confusion, such as the 60s social revolutions & now during this economic crises.
 

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I can be open about my spirituality because I don't consider myself opiated.

There is a hunger for things that are spiritual in a subconscious way, much like there is a hunger for food. Now, we can ridicule at people who eat mud in very poor countries, but we can't deny that they have a hunger that needs to be filled. I think this is the same with spirituality.

I confess that I have a deep hunger for spirituality. Of course, this is just one of many things that we hunger for in our subconscious - there's also fame, money, self glory, pity, wealth, ease of life, good things to happen to us, etc. But I feel like a lot of religions mix all these things up together and bundle them in a package. God as an all inclusive package will do all this and more for you!

Mixing up spiritual hunger with the other psychological hungers is a trap because 1) spirituality can't be filled by the other things, and 2) the other things taint spirituality.

You getting rich doesn't mean your spiritual hunger is filled. Neither is having a 'nicer life' or a more convenient life filling up your spiritual hunger. This is just not the case in my experience.

If you throw in these things you also lose consistency in the message and taint it. God will make you rich! Well, what if you aren't rich even after believing in God? I can find many such people. God will give you good things! What if you are given a lot of suffering? Then God is not real? This is what is happening with a lot of religions today - they throw in other things that God will give you and thus taint spirituality.

So, the message of spirituality needs to be that God will fill your spiritual hunger. I think this is the true hunger of all mankind, a hunger that is deeper than all of the other hungers out there. Once you are filled in this kind of way, you are content, no matter what happens; if you are empty in this kind of way, you are not content no matter what you have.

This is why some verses in the bible really resonate with me:

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall by no means hunger, and he who believes into Me shall by no means ever thirst.

John 7:37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

Many great men have said many great things to bring you closer to contentment, but no man has ever claimed to be the bread that satisfies man's hunger and quenches man's thirst. It is very striking.

Also,

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life;

I view 'the way', 'the truth', and 'the life' as three sides of the same coin, all referring to this contentment that we are seeking for, possibly from the angle of differing personality types :p.

This is the message in biblical Christianity - not the Christianity that is spoken by many today - God fills your spiritual hunger. God fills you. When you believe, God comes into you and fills you with Himself. This is really the message of the bible, and this is my experience.

I look at a lot of new age spirituality and think it is like mud. I am very familiar with how hungry people are, but sad that they don't have anything better.
 

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I can be open about my spirituality because I don't consider myself opiated.

There is a hunger for things that are spiritual in a subconscious way, much like there is a hunger for food. Now, we can ridicule at people who eat mud in very poor countries, but we can't deny that they have a hunger that needs to be filled. I think this is the same with spirituality.

I confess that I have a deep hunger for spirituality. Of course, this is just one of many things that we hunger for in our subconscious - there's also fame, money, self glory, pity, wealth, ease of life, good things to happen to us, etc. But I feel like a lot of religions mix all these things up together and bundle them in a package. God as an all inclusive package will do all this and more for you!

Mixing up spiritual hunger with the other psychological hungers is a trap because 1) spirituality can't be filled by the other things, and 2) the other things taint spirituality.

You getting rich doesn't mean your spiritual hunger is filled. Neither is having a 'nicer life' or a more convenient life filling up your spiritual hunger. This is just not the case in my experience.

If you throw in these things you also lose consistency in the message and taint it. God will make you rich! Well, what if you aren't rich even after believing in God? I can find many such people. God will give you good things! What if you are given a lot of suffering? Then God is not real? This is what is happening with a lot of religions today - they throw in other things that God will give you and thus taint spirituality.

So, the message of spirituality needs to be that God will fill your spiritual hunger. I think this is the true hunger of all mankind, a hunger that is deeper than all of the other hungers out there. Once you are filled in this kind of way, you are content, no matter what happens; if you are empty in this kind of way, you are not content no matter what you have.

This is why some verses in the bible really resonate with me:

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall by no means hunger, and he who believes into Me shall by no means ever thirst.

John 7:37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

Many great men have said many great things to bring you closer to contentment, but no man has ever claimed to be the bread that satisfies man's hunger and quenches man's thirst. It is very striking.

Also,

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life;

I view 'the way', 'the truth', and 'the life' as three sides of the same coin, all referring to this contentment that we are seeking for, possibly from the angle of differing personality types :p.

This is the message in biblical Christianity - not the Christianity that is spoken by many today - God fills your spiritual hunger. God fills you. When you believe, God comes into you and fills you with Himself. This is really the message of the bible, and this is my experience.

I look at a lot of new age spirituality and think it is like mud. I am very familiar with how hungry people are, but sad that they don't have anything better.


I agree for the most part. If you are spiritually seeking it usually is best to subscribe to the basic tenets of the world religions, working from there once a solid realization is made in distinguishing what is universal among the various faiths and what is complete dog doo doo in cheap concept.

Out of all 'higher' pursuits, I suppose, it always felt to me that religion/faith/spirituality were always the most saturated with charlatans. Pop-science/psychology I am sure are filled with their quacks, and really, all of these persons who are detrimental to said fields growth do more harm than good, potentially becoming dangerous if fanatical enough. Spirituality really gets screwed in this way, as you don't find people killing others over psychological/scientific theories and hypothesis.
 

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I realise that there are many approaches to 'spirituality' and some I find respectable. But most of the new age, self-help stuff just makes me wanna puke. Take "The Secret" for example, it has sold 19 million copies. It tells the great Secret that Einstein and DaVinci were all aware of. That if you really imagine and believe that you will get that jewel necklace then "the law of attraction" will give it to you. WTF.

But bullshit like "The Secret" is still just a part of a much larger, mainstream idealist ideology of "positive thinking" that we encounter everywere in society and that is keeping from collectively and practically change what is wrong in the world. It's not the society that is wrong, it's out attitude that is!

 

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You guys are generalizing badly when it comes to spirituality. There is a stark difference between the new age cults, and the spirituality that has well founded metaphysics in the east. The spirituality you find in the east is several thousand years old, and is a great thing, but it's easy to misunderstand and make an ego-trip of - but please don't assume all spirituality is about this. Ignore self-help shit, and try reading the Upanishads, Tao the ching, some Alan Watts, or j. Krishnamurti.
 

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I suppose many are are disillusioned that nothing spectacular has transpired with the
2012 predictions.

From my understanding, it's supposed to be a long, slow process over time and not
to expect much just yet.

I know what you mean though about becoming skeptical but there are some positives;
I think we just need to prove it for ourselves and have that 'inner knowing'. That sounds
very vague, but I'm not sure how else to put it.
 

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I'm personally very confused by highly intelligent people (scientific-minded, in particular) who are spiritual/religious. It just doesn't add up to me. That always comes out wrong when I say it, because I don't mean to say that it only makes sense for stupid people to be religious, or anything like that.. Although I do agree with what you said, that religion is "opium for the masses."

My boyfriend, for example, had a Computer Science professor who he considered highly intelligent from a logical/scientific perspective. Just from my personal experience, most people like that tend to be agnostic, or at least liberal in their beliefs. This guy was an atheist, at the time. A few semesters after my boyfriend took his class, the guy moved across the world and converted to Islam. /shrug

It surprises me that there are people who, otherwise, think rationally/scientifically, that make an exception for spiritual affairs. I'm not here to judge them for it. I speculate; Often, I tend to think they move toward religion because there is something painful in their life that they can't deal with on their own, or they don't want to feel alone for whatever reason, so they turn to an idea that tells them they never have to be alone. I don't necessarily think it is a lack of critical thinking, so much as a need to feel secure, a need to belong somewhere.. Something like that.

Maybe I just haven't had the right experiences, and I acknowledge that. But it has never made any sense to me why someone would go from non-religious, to religious. The opposite happens all the time. I'm not sure what causes "modern" and "scientific" people to start buying into theories that have no solid proof to stand on. I've never been in their shoes, though, so all I can really say is that I don't understand.
Hey Spirited, :)

I am one of those that went from non-religious to religious and I think I can shed some light on these matters. For a period of my life I hated religion and now I consider myself a true believer.

One thing I do want to say is to not buy into the stereotypes of the religious and the non-religious. Christians I know tend to be a mix of liberals, content, individualistic, independent and intelligent. I'd like to think that I fit into that category as well. Sure there are a few nuts out there but that applies to the non-religious as well. There is this current idea that "Atheist = smart." This idea bugged me when I was an Atheist because it draws a lot of the "copy and paste" followers that I originally despised in the religious. "Copy and paste" as in they seemingly just bought what they read and basically paste these one liners expressions without any real insight or exploration. Anyways.... enough INFP side thought/rant. Good thing I caught myself lol.

So why religion? People become religious for a variety of reasons, and you hit the nail with many of your speculations, but for me it was personal experiences that convinced me. Simply put, I had a religious experience that changed my life. Trust me, I initially fought it like no other. Like CS Lewis, I was a "reluctant convert" and didn't like what believing God could mean for me or who I am. Speaking of, if you really want to explore this issue I think 'Mere Christianity' by CS Lewis explains it best.

Universally, if people were truly honest with themselves, it would come down to personal preference really. To claim otherwise is a betrayal of an honest rational mind since one cannot prove nor even disprove religion. If I wanted to be appear true to the public, I would be an agnostic. But if I am true to myself, I am a passionate Christian. I would be lying if I told you that I did not believe in Him. Besides, what is truth if you cannot even be true to yourself?
 
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*cough* *cough* I really shouldn't be saying too much -- but I find that this has less to do with religion and spirituality than how 'self-assured' a snake oil peddler sounds as part of his 'performance'. It's easy: all you have to do is pretend to know what you're talking about; memorise as many 'buzzwords' and 'quotes' as you can from pop psychology and other 'reputable' life coaches; trot out a few strained analogies and metaphors -- and NEVER admit to anything you say as 'opinion'. Why? Even if it's an opinion, saying so makes you sound and look a lot less confident than the naive 'peons' you're trying to 'convince'. Who wants to 'follow' a 'leader' who doesn't have faith in his own beliefs?
 

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I find spiritual information from organisations such as the International Association for
Near Death Experiences (NDE's) a far more reliable source and backed up with some
scientific research.

www.iands.org
 

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I realise that there are many approaches to 'spirituality' and some I find respectable. But most of the new age, self-help stuff just makes me wanna puke. Take "The Secret" for example, it has sold 19 million copies. It tells the great Secret that Einstein and DaVinci were all aware of. That if you really imagine and believe that you will get that jewel necklace then "the law of attraction" will give it to you. WTF.

But bullshit like "The Secret" is still just a part of a much larger, mainstream idealist ideology of "positive thinking" that we encounter everywere in society and that is keeping from collectively and practically change what is wrong in the world. It's not the society that is wrong, it's out attitude that is!

Amen!
 
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Seriously, is this perhaps just another proof of Karl Marx's statement that "religion is opium for the masses/people" , to fill that HOPE in many people's hearts today (because Most people simply can't stand the uncertainty, and feeling insignificant), especially in these hard times (economically, etc) ?
You said it yourself. Because some people will grapple onto any hope in these uncertain times. With a society so strayed from organic roots, the fact that people get into this stuff is also a kind of sign that we are trying to sustain our roots, to stay in touch with our inner nature. When we stray, there's always a backlash, a struggle to restore our natural balance. Although many new age books tend to condense eastern ethos into a bitesize chunk of information. And of course in the eastern world, the approach is more fuller and encompassing of eastern people's whole lives, they dedicate themselves to their beliefs in a more organic way and thats because they have the right environment to support and encourage these beliefs. But thats not to say in the western world, it doesn't exist, many westerners most certainly are appealed by the change of attitude in eastern culture in comparison. Its good in a way because it collaborates more organicness and purity into westernization.
 

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Which person is truly wise if no one really knows anything? We are all guessing as to what it all means.

How someone fills that guess, is up to each individual. We, and in this case, you, might perceive that the ways of others are wrong. But who is to say that their ways are not sane? All are trying to fill up that which is existence, and it remains that everyone should have the decision how they do so.

If you do, indeed, perceive, clearly, that the ways of others are wrong, let them find out for themselves. Meanwhile, focus on what you think is right. Maybe later you will find out that what you think is right, now, was not so. It is a journey for everyone and I think it of importance to not let you stray from the path that is your journey.

Maybe no one knows anything, but I believe that there are some that know nothing.
 

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The hype over December 21st has little (I would even go so far as to argue nothing) to do with true spirituality. Many religions have strayed so far from the grains of truth they were built around that they too have little to do with true spirituality. New age ideas are, for the most part, half-baked pseudoscientific theories aimed at the egoic self. This doesn't mean that spirituality itself is a load of crap. All it means is that there are a lot of people out there who don't really know what they're doing.

If any of you are interested in spirituality, I highly recommend Alan Watts' lectures and/or books. His work focuses on framing the ancient teachings of the East for a Western mind.
 

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There's an inherent problem when one tries to classify something solely through empiricism. It's one of the reasons science constantly undermines it's own theories with new discoveries.

If one educates themselves on a broad basis of theology, religion etc, they will not fail to recognize the trends that underlie most (all?) of those that have withstood the test of time.

It's difficult to apply logical experimentation to an inherently introverted art. We hook people up to electrodes and monitor brainwaves, but doing so only demonstrates how dependent we are on external analysis, and how juvenile we are at utilizing inner observation and mastery, which is what most "spiritual bs" is about.
 

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I don't know if this is a good thing or bad thing,
but have any of you here also noticed as well that the whole "New-Agey", "spiritual", "self-help", motivational websites/blogs/books & seminars/speakers & 'careers' nowadays seems very flourishing than compared like a decade ago?
They're replacing a lot of the ground given up by religion. It's not so much about an opiate, I don't think, as that people, often desperately, want to find something greater than themselves, to feel 'in the know', to be connected. It's not a mistake to do that, but they go about it wrong. Largely because we don't teach critical thinking, virtually at all, as children are growing up.

all often "in the name of LOVE, or even TRUTH" blah blah...
Don't be so quick to scoff. They're serious, just misguided. I wrote this just after my middle brother's recent wedding, it sums up my thoughts on that matter:

"Three things are necessary for beauty; wholeness, harmony, and radiance."
"We are divided for the sake of union. "
And, of course: "Talking about love is like dancing about architecture."

Recently, I've been musing on the interrelations between love, Truth, beauty, and faith. Properly understood, (I think), they are not so much separate entities, but facets of the same light. Love itself must be harmonious, whole, and most of all, radiant. And beauty ain't beauty if it doesn't radiate, integrate symphonically, and flow seamlessly. Beauty without grace is gaudy, beauty without Truth is illusion. And Truth?Truth isn't just radiant, it's blazingly, unstoppably brilliant, even through closed eyes. Sometimes blindingly so. Truth, even quantum Truth, is the image of perfectly-membered harmonious resonance. And as the man said: Truth is beauty and beauty, Truth.

In a very real sense, love is a recognition of that which is best in ourselves, mirrored back to us, and augmented by understanding. It's a feedback cycle, a Strange Loop; it's Universe perceiving itself. Shared, it's as close to a real religious experience, real communion, as most ever get. It's what obviates the errors and failings and confusions of life, giving us a space between the spaces; timeless instants where ego is both strengthened and ephemeral, where it becomes malleable, protean, and transcendent. We are redeemed and enriched to the degree we can abandon ourselves to our loves.

It is Truth, then, which serves as the gateway to the passions which drive us; love of health, security, wealth, knowledge, progress, companionship ... All are based on a fundamental dynamic, an inborn human drive towards something greater, even if that is 'only' the person you intend to become. Our most noble drives, our sacred manias, our species-wide ascent towards apotheosis... they all spring from the fountainhead of pure, unadulterated Truth as we subconsciously, desperately, try to return to the source. Even if only for an instant.

And faith, ah, faith. Belief is brain-death, certainty is stagnation. But about that which we cannot obtain perfect knowledge, we must perforce rely on faith... if we are to leaves the shores of doubt and swim ithe sea of possibility. This threat of drowning is the root of the terror that time brings with it, the uncertainty that change brings, the gamble we take each time life offers us the eternal choice between "no, stop" and "yes, further, more." Faith, guided by love and Truth, bathed in beauty... that type of faith is not a weakness, although it stands as a potentially crippling vulnerability. Faith in the future, in ourselves, in our friends... it serves as the glue which binds love and time together. Faith, anchored to elegant Truth in all its beauty and grace, carried out through love, is in all ways perfect.

There is no division, ultimately; while there is love, and love... in health, in strength, in silent stillness and marvelous motion, it all must flow likes rivers into the sea. Love, free of doubt and fear, supremely unconcerned with ratios and reified ratiocination, is unbound and unblemished. Love: shameless, un-selfconscious, and untroubled by justification, is the bridge between Kether and Malkuth, through Yesod and Tifareth. And most importantly, passing through Da'ath.

Or as the Kabbalists could tell you, Love is Unity.

Dorset, Vermont
November 16, 2012
The most important question though, is WHY do you think that even the so-called "modern, & scientific" 21st century people today still BUY it?....even there's MANY of them!!
Because, "science does not remove the terror of the Gods."
But, for the record, I think it's more than possible to find something that, at least to me, feels like spirituality, while not opting for Woo. This is my version.

But yes, it should be annoying. And yes, we should deal with it as a society. And we will in time. If anything, it's fairly refreshing. It reveals that our old institutions, our old religions, they're crumbling. And people are desperately searching for meaning. There are ways to find it, our culture just hasn't done a good job of showing them. (Once I get my Ph.D's it'll be a bit easier for me to popularize it, but right now I simply don't have the clout, I'm afraid).
 
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