Today I want to explore a phenomenon I've been watching, simply because I personally find it interesting, and because it may be something important for all of us to pay attention to as we continue to make our way through what is an unprecedented time in human history.
With all the uncertainty, instability, chaos and genuine fear in our world today, we’re going to be witnessing (as we have already) a LOT of the New Age/love and light/libertarian/non-political/unity consciousness crowd being drawn into fundamental religion and conservative political leanings.
There is, and will continue to be a big shift towards more fundamentalist doctrines that will be weaved in with New Age ideas - presented as something new, evolved and different from your straight up religious experience, as well as a large migration towards ideas that on their surface sound libertarian or intellectual, that have a scent of wanting to see a society that is functioning well where everyone is thriving - that are actually rooted in conservative ideologies about how that well functioning society SHOULD be functioning.
This can seem confusing - weren’t these people ‘past’ religion? Weren’t they socialist and leftist leaning? How can they be going towards fundamentalism and old school ways of right and wrong?
The reality is, these fundamentalist ways of life are providing something the New Age/socialism communities never could - stability, rules, a defined path and a God who has specific instructions for us. They are providing a unified community that doesn’t exist in the New Age/socialism crowd and they are an antidote to the inevitable chaos that comes with anything that is forward leaning. These older ideas have time tested ways that, in the face of all the uncertainty we’re in right now, make them SO much more attractive than the experimental, figure it out as we go, loosy goosy ‘do whatever feels right for you’ path of forward momentum. It’s an antidote to the mess that comes with attempts at progress - moving towards something we’ve never seen before.
All of a sudden, in the wake of many of us actually experiencing true scarcity, true unrest, true problems of not enough and a real sense that society as we know it is falling apart for the first time, our New Age ideas no longer hold up. We’re starting to see where these ideas are rooted in fantasy - the idea that we’re totally self responsible and don’t need anyone or anything else to help us. The ideas that we can ‘manifest’ anything we want and that we are ‘manifesting’ everything we’re experiencing. The idea that there isn’t ‘right and wrong’ only vague high vibes and low vibes. The idea that we can ‘heal anything’ with natural methods. All of these things are being exposed as ineffectual in areas where we needed them to be effective - because we all of a sudden have an actual NEED or we’re seeing the needs in others that can’t be touched by these ideologies.
We’re starting to see the false promises and the fact that so much of what we were taught in those spiritual circles just isn’t true. Doesn’t work. When push comes to shove, it doesn’t do the trick. Some if it works. Some of it feels good, and we will keep that - but a LOT of it doesn’t and didn’t.
We’re also in a state where we’re actually being put up against people who disagree with us, who have different ways of life than we do - and where that used to be a ‘live and let live’ thing because our ways of life just didn’t intersect - we’re now being actively affected. Now the idea of letting others do their thing isn’t so easy, so comfortable. It’s not something we just deal with on the meditation cushion. Now it’s affecting policy and our actual way of life - or so it seems at least.
Fundamental religions provide the promise of a God who loves us AND a God who gives SPECIFIC rules for how to live. New Age philosophy is often incredibly vague, doesn’t give us a rule book so we have to figure things out for ourselves to a large degree, and again, just doesn’t work. Religion on the other hand gives us a very definitive way of being AND it says that if we do right by the book, we will be rewarded. It gives SUCH huge relief from the cognitive dissonance of living on this planet with so many choices and so little direction. With all the chaos, flux and shifting, we’re finally being held in something SAFE. Religion gives us a feeling of being seen, loved and supported that New Age doesn’t. We feel we can devote ourselves to something specific and in that we will be loved in return. Blessed. Taken care of.
The conservative points of view also have a whole new flavor of making sense. They are talking about WHY and HOW society is falling apart - we’ve lost our traditional values. We’ve lost touch with what MATTERS. We’re allowing ourselves to be too soft. We’re not taking enough responsibility for ourselves in the right ways and we’re allowing those who want handouts, who aren’t contributing to society, who are seemingly policing our freedom to hold onto our traditional ways of life, who want to destabilize what WAS working by changing everything to rule the roost - and look where THAT got us. Look at all this chaos. Look at this mess. Look at the fall. It’s clear, how we were doing things before was BETTER. Everyone was doing better. We need to go back to that. It just makes good logical sense.
Both religion and conservative values are being sold with much softer edges these days. You can still practice yoga, wear your beads, reject the OLD old stuff, say namaste and wear short shorts and be christian and love Jesus. You can still believe in healthcare for those who are willing to work for it and be pro organic farming and be conservative. They aren’t shouting from the rooftops that they are anti LGBTQ2S+, anti-immagration, anti-socialism. They aren’t shouting from the rooftops that you still have to follow very specific ways of life lest you be doomed to hell. Those are now the silent parts. The parts we don’t say. They aren’t specifically saying who the bad guys are.
We can see that a lot of the polarity doctrines being taught right now are really just modernized traditional gender roles. A lot of the libertarian/intellectual/New Age ideas around personal responsibility and all of us being in control of our own destiny are really just conservative talking points with some sparkle and shine. A lot of New Age spirituality includes softer, romanticized religious teachings. These things all serves as gentle doorways into their more extreme fundamental ideologies - as the world gets tougher and scarier, the more we reach closer to the less soft, more boundaried roots.
Those who are coming into these ways of life for the first time are being given a very gentle entry. They aren’t seeing all the guilt, all the shame, all the heaviness and all the structure that deeply inhibits freedom that come along with all of these ways of being.
It’s subtler now.
If people are RETURNING to these lifestyles, often they are doing so again with great relief. The exodus that happened in their youth, when life was still fresh and new, when the ideas of these doctrines sounded so old, painful and inhibitory, has been drowned out by the fear that comes with time and experience. Have been drowned out by the hardening that can happen as we see what actual life is like. Have been washed away by the fact that again, the New Age/Socialism paradigms didn’t actually provide the security, explanations and freedoms it promised. There was just more chaos, less rules and less explanation for why everything hurts. Less remedy. Less true community united over a common goal. They didn’t specifically support THEIR way of being and comfort the way these older structures have ended up doing.
Now, I’m not at ALL saying the fundamental religions or the New Age spins on these things aren’t good or helpful.
I’m in no way judging anyone for finding resonance with these ideologies, for finding their connection to God through them, or for finding purpose and meaning in these teachings.
I’m not judging conservative politics as all bad and wrong, or that all those who lean more conservative are anti-LGBTQS+, anti-immagration, anti-socialism or anything else that may be associated with conservative views.
I’m not saying anyone is right or wrong.
Nor am I saying everything in the New Age is wrong, or that socialism is all mess and no structure.
I’m just making an observation of this shift, and providing one possible explanation for it.
The New Age world doesn’t provide the SECURITY we find in these other doctrines. There’s too much room for wiggling and there isn’t enough structure. Socialist policy requires SO much shift in thinking and our way of life, and I think it’s actually really uncomfortable for a lot of us when push comes to shove. It’s hard to change and there will be much mess in transition.
I also think that there ARE things of value in these older ways of looking at things. I don’t think it’s ALL wrong and I think some of the transition towards/back towards these ways of being are coming from seeing just that. That there was wisdom and truth in these ways of life that DO apply to where we’re trying to go.
There’s no black and white here.
These are just a few reasons why I think we are seeing this trend, and will continue to see it moving forward.
Just something interesting to observe. In times of crisis, we’re very apt to move towards that which we know, that which provides rules and that which promises security if we just do the right things.