Why are a lot of left-winger into new-age religions?

116 posts / 0 new
Last post
500_Apples
Why are a lot of left-winger into new-age religions?

This is something which I've been wondering about for a while.

Is it because people on the left have the same frequency of spirituality, but Christianity is deemed right-wing?

A poll I can't find right now, had a breakdown of US voting patterns and religious beliefs. People who voted republican were more likely to believe in God, whereas democrat were more likely to buy astrology, tea leaves, and that sort of nonsense.

A roommate of mine told me she went out a few nights ago with some of her friends, yada yada yada, they discussed astrology, about half of them believed in it. Why? I couldn't believe people who get into graduate school could believe in such tripe even if it's the humanities. Half the table? Come on!

Admittedly, I should not be using different language for christianity and wiccanism for example. But they are differemt. People are taught Christianity from a young age, whereas with Wiccanism you have people decide to seek it out, they don't have the irrationality in their life and so they go looking for it. That's infinitely worse.

Unionist

Are you describing a U.S. or Canadian phenomenon? I know leftists who are still religious, but once they abandon their birth religion, they generally throw the whole nonsense overboard. Also, Canadians reporting "no religion" increased by 39% from the 1991 to the 2001 census. We're the fastest growing faith, and we thrive in both prosperity and adversity.

We firmly believe that there is life before death.

 

Slumberjack

I threw most of it overboard.  I figured 6 out of the big 10 were worthwhile points to consider as the basis upon which to conduct oneself.

martin dufresne

Oh Slumberjack, you're such a Capricorn!

Slumberjack

Close....sagittarius.  Or so they say.

oldgoat

Personally, I walked away from the whole business.  In fact my letter of resignation is somewhere on this board.

 

Having said that, I know a lot of people that I think you're describing, Apples.  My own opinion is that some sort of religion still fills a need for certain people who are thus psychologically disposed, and that has little to do with left or right.  The traditional religions however have largely been used as the tools of patriarchy and oppression, so lefties have to look elsewhere.

 

There are some expressions of this that have bothered me a bit.  An example of this would be what's referred to as 'sweet medicine', which involves a bunch of white people totally appropriating First Nations terminology and imagery and building their own organized spiritual framework around it.  I also think there's some out and out fraud involved here, but I would see the main objection as being cultural appropriation, and I think it's disrespectful.  I know a few people involved in this, and while they're sincere as hell, it's just something on which we've agreed to disagree.  None of my business anyway

 

On the more positive side of course, this does involve adopting some values which I would see as objectively pro social, but it still makes me a bit uncomfortable.

 

Others I know (I know a lot of 'new agers) have gotten more into a spiritual system leaning more toward ancient European - Celtic roots.  As white people, at least they're looking back along their own path for wisdom.

Fidel

I am a lefty and happen to be spiritual. I dont believe in a terrible and vengeful god as per the fundamentalists of my ilk. I think it's arrogant to believe that genesis and evolution have occurred only on this planet and this small viscinty in the vastness of space and time. The period that it's taken for man to evolve is a tiny slice of time compared to the life span of this universe. And I think science and religion have converged somewhat when pioneers of the new science since Dirac, Schroedinger, Bohr, Einstein etc and today's theoretical physicists continue to speak of a non-material reality to the universe that at times approaches the language of mysticism. We are, I believe, all connected to the cosmos in ways we dont understand or comprehend at this stage of human development. The universe is not only more than we can know, it is perhaps stranger than we can know with our currently evolved physiological senses.

Maysie Maysie's picture

My theory about who is more likely to be "into" alternative, that is, non-mainstream, non-Western and non-Christian religions by "choice" is not about left- or right wing-edness but by those who had religious upbringing as children. Of course, many people raised in religious contexts become atheists, but many who are into the non-mainstream religions internalized the belief that there is some tangible (yet intangible) power over and above themselves, and can therefore switch fairly easily to other forms of hierarchal religions (at one point every woman I knew who was into "wicca" and "paganism" for example, identified as a former/recovering Catholic). Every "new age" store I've gone into has been filled to the brim with earnest white folks appropriating away with their visa cards.

I also think we can't separate this phenomenon, which again I've observed only in privileged, white and middle class folks, from the liberal cultural appropriationism in which we live. In other words, folks who feel they can "pick and choose" a religion that matches what they view as their radical political position, are merely replicating the dominant realities of entitlement to appropriation in a capitalist context. Please excuse my text, I've been at an academic conference for a day and a half. It's soaked in somehow.

And I just had to clip this, 500. Your biases are showing: Tongue out

Quote:
 I couldn't believe people who get into graduate school could believe in such tripe even if it's the humanities.  

Do you really want to go there? Tongue out

Cueball Cueball's picture

I have never noticed a real connection. In fact, "new aginess" seems to cross political spectrums. I think the impression is that indulging in philosophical "alternatives" are "progressive" because they are exploring "alternatives". I have known a large number of people who were "new agey" who also were firm supporters of neo-liberal economics and libertarian political philosophies.

I'd like to know what data the assertion of the thread title and the OP is based on. 

Tommy_Paine

 

I think the problem lies in the fact that even if we were raised in non religious households, the idea that religion has a monopoly on spirituality has people cut loose from established religions trying to express their spirituality in more recently invented/discovered or fringe religions.   

I'm not sure why, but even before I read Carl Sagan, I knew that spirituality could be found in reality based pursuits.  In fact, the pursuit of knowing something is profoundly more spiritual than believing something.

I am not sure that our right wing friends are less given to "new age" religions.  What we see in right wing religions is "new age" compared to how religion was practiced a generation or two ago.  There is little fundamental about Fundamentalism.

Seems no matter what our political orientations, the post Depression generations have been cut loose from the way religion has been practiced for centuries before.

I've often wondered why, and thought maybe the Great Depression had a lot to do with it, or WWII.  But, I don't think those events provide a satisfactory explanation.  I think the deciding factor is communications, begining with radio, then T.V., and now this internet thingy I've heard tell about.

More or less homogenous religious cultures just don't stand up under competition of ideas.

 

 

500_Apples

Maysie wrote:

My theory about who is more likely to be "into" alternative, that is, non-mainstream, non-Western and non-Christian religions by "choice" is not about left- or right wing-edness but by those who had religious upbringing as children. Of course, many people raised in religious contexts become atheists, but many who are into the non-mainstream religions internalized the belief that there is some tangible (yet intangible) power over and above themselves, and can therefore switch fairly easily to other forms of hierarchal religions (at one point every woman I knew who was into "wicca" and "paganism" for example, identified as a former/recovering Catholic). Every "new age" store I've gone into has been filled to the brim with earnest white folks appropriating away with their visa cards.

I also think we can't separate this phenomenon, which again I've observed only in privileged, white and middle class folks, from the liberal cultural appropriationism in which we live. In other words, folks who feel they can "pick and choose" a religion that matches what they view as their radical political position, are merely replicating the dominant realities of entitlement to appropriation in a capitalist context. Please excuse my text, I've been at an academic conference for a day and a half. It's soaked in somehow.

And I just had to clip this, 500. Your biases are showing: Tongue out

Quote:
 I couldn't believe people who get into graduate school could believe in such tripe even if it's the humanities.  

Do you really want to go there? Tongue out

Maysie, a few people on the forum know I'm in astronomy, so I chose to qualify the other group as being outside that (otherwise it sounds ridiculous for the obvious reasons), hence the reference to the humanities, in this case English lit and I think specifically queer theory but I'm not sure. Honestly I was surprised (dismayed) that graduate students in lit could buy into that stuff.

People in the physical sciences also subscribe to nonsensical ideas sometimes but they're not the same nonsensical ideas. No offense meant.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Nope.

Religion has always played a roll defining the underlying moral framework upon which ideology is based. When the ideological constructs changed in the 20th century, moral concepts had to be reinstitutionalized in new forms. 

The idea for example that "enlightenment" was a liberation of ideas is a pretension peculiar to the ideological framework of western imperialism. The rejection of traditional western religions, such as Catholcism, is peculiar to the roll that the church played in asserting the hegemony of feudal social organizations in Europe. This "liberation" was hardly a universal event, with a world wide impact, except in as much as the European imperialists were able to assert the hegemony of their moral and ideological ontology world wide through force of arms.

martin dufresne

String theory vs. queer theory...? I just butt out.

Kaspar Hauser

From Terry Eagelton's Reason, Faith and Revolution:

"One place where so-called spiritual values, driven from the face of a brutally pragmatic capitalism, have taken refuge is New Ageism, which is just the sort of caricature of the spiritual one would expect a materialistic civilization to produce. Rather as those with hearts of stone tend to weep at schmaltzy music, so those who would not recognize a genuine spiritual value if it fell into their laps tend to see the spiritual as spooky, ethereal, and esoteric. This, incidentally, is what Marx had in mind when he wrote of religion as 'the heart of a heartless world, the soul of soulless conditions.' He meant that conventional religion is the only kind of heart that a heartless world can imagine, rather as embarrassingly broad humor is the only kind of comedy the humorless can appreciate. The religion Marx attacks betrays just the kind of sentimental, disembodied understanding of the spiritual that one would expect from hard-headed materialists.

 

"Romanticism, as Marx himself pointed out, is among other things the flip side of utilitarianism. Those who are in every other way worldly, cynical, and hard-boiled (Hollywood superstars and the like) reveal a truly bottomless gullibility when it comes to spirituality. Nobody is more otherworldly than the worldly, nobody more soft-centered than the hard-nosed.  Spiritual matters must naturally be as remote from their lawyers, minders, agents, and hairstylists as one could imagine, in order to provide some fantasy alternative to them. This is why people who are in every other respect urbane and streetwise believe that affairs on earth are being controlled from an alien spaceship behind a cloud. They would probably not believe this if they had $38 in the bank. Money is a great breeder of unreality. The idea that spirituality is about visiting the sick and fighting injustice would no doubt strike these Kabbalists, necromancers, and chiropractors of the psyche as intolerably prosaic. Even their minders and hairstylists can do that."

500_Apples

Cueball wrote:

Nope.

Religion has always played a roll defining the underlying moral framework upon which ideology is based. When the ideological constructs changed in the 20th century, moral concepts had to be reinstitutionalized in new forms. 

I looked for it but couldn't find it. It's hard to search on google due to the obvious contamination. There are of course the popular examples like The Secret, Oprah, or Madonna converting to some neo-Judaism, hollywood's general interest in scientology,

Ok - I found it!
http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=359
Mind you only has astrology and reincarnation, but that's a good enough sample.

Cueball Cueball's picture

And these people are "left"?

500_Apples

Cueball wrote:

And these people are "left"?


I use the terms left and right in politics as I would in geometry, not as absolutes, but as relative descriptors.

The left half is to the left of the right half.

Unionist

Some people look for truth, some start with truth. I like to count myself among the former. I find no particular solace in answers. The quest's the thing.

Cueball Cueball's picture

500_Apples wrote:
Cueball wrote:

And these people are "left"?

I use the terms left and right in politics as I would in geometry, not as absolutes, but as relative descriptors. The left half is to the left of the right half.

So, in other words you actually don't have a definition of "left" as a political philosophy.

500_Apples

Cueball wrote:

500_Apples wrote:
Cueball wrote:

And these people are "left"?

I use the terms left and right in politics as I would in geometry, not as absolutes, but as relative descriptors. The left half is to the left of the right half.

So, in other words you actually don't have a definition of "left" as a political philosophy.

It's not a political philosophy.

martin dufresne

This should bear without saying but there is also the fact that ethics have long been appropriated by religions as their claim to "keep politics honest" or "offer an alternative" to it. So any effort to challenge power on ethical bases brings us in contact - and often collaboration - with people who approach reforming social ills from a religious set of principles.

Sussing out where we part, where a religious view ultimately fails a politically progressive one, would be an interesting exercise. Absolute values vs. human majority rule or consensus, perhaps?

(P.S.: I feel a bit embarrassed writing something this simplistic, as I am sure that a lot of Great Minds must have explored this nexus in detail. Reading suggestions, anyone?)

Cueball Cueball's picture

So you are talking about nothing? No philsophy? No principles? Nothing? There is no objective standard upon which you could judge wether or not someone is left or right? How do you determine what is left or right then? It's just some kind of value judgement based on personal aesthetic?

500_Apples

Cueball wrote:

So you are talking about nothing? No philsophy? No principles? Nothing? There is no objective standard upon which you could judge wether or not someone is left or right? How do you determine what is left or right then? It's just some kind of sentiment?

No, not a sentiment, I ask everyone to take an "objective measurement" like the political compass the minute I meet them, so that I know how to classify them.

Of course it's a sentiment, like most ways we describe people. Our subconcious draws correlations, and then classifies.

Oprah endorsed Obama, not McCain. Madonna attends AIDS benefits and is into art, as for the democrats identified in the Harris poll, those are the people not voting republican. They may not be progressive, feminist, socialist, et cetera but they are definitely on the left-half.

Cueball Cueball's picture

In other words your entire political world view is just a miasma of impressions, personal testimony of "identification", and sentiments, and you have identified no conceptual principles of philosophies that distinguishes one group or another. What is it that they do say or think, that puts them on the "left-half". Left half of what? How do you distinguish that they are on "the left" of anything?

Because they attend art openings, and give to charity, or attend charity events, and don't vote Republican?

Your whole question is tautological therefore, since have essentially said, people who are into new age religion are on "the left", and are now asking "why so many people on the left are into new age religion"?

500_Apples

Cueball wrote:

In other words your entire political world view is just a miasma of impressions, personal testimony of "identification", and sentiments, and you have identified no conceptual principles of philosophies that distinguishes one group or another. What is it that they do say or think, that puts them on the "left-half". Left half of what? How do you distinguish that they are on "the left" of anything?

Because they attend art openings, and give to charity, or attend charity events, and don't vote Republican?

Your whole question is tautological therefore, since have essentially said, people who are into new age religion are on "the left", and are now asking "why so many people on the left are into new age religion"?

lol.

So what's your "objective definition" of left? Agrees with cueball? That's what it usually comes down to when people "define" ideologies the way mathematicians define operators. Sociological concepts such as "left" or "pornography" or "normal" are not often best served by the approach you seek.

Notice how you're the only person who got confused by this point. Let go of the minutia and focus on the main point.

Maybe you're into new age stuff and you're offended. Hard to tell.

Fidel

I think many of the "old age" religionists tend to be politically conservative and sometimes even those who sometimes identify as "pragmatic" centrists. A University of California study of political figures from history suggests that conservatives tend to have higher tolerances for vast inqualities in society.

And they attend church more often or more regularly. Some say it's due to having guilty consciences for their inability to reconcile cutthroat business practices with religious beliefs. One-time protege of William F Buckley's and former conservative, Michael Lind said that political conservatism in his country was born of the deep south a time when Democrats represented the hard right. In his book Up from Conservatism, Lind says conservatism in the south was based on religious revivalism and racism.

MLK Jr said that blacks were probably safer in the deep south at the time of the civil rights movement. Not all smiling white Liberals in the North accepted the idea of equality among all people in the beginning, and I dare say some them are still around. I've had the misfortune to have met some of them in my life time.

500_Apples

Cueball wrote:

No. I don't think I am the only one "who got confused" on this point. I think I am the only one who is bothering to comment on your apparent total lack of even a cursory knowledge of political science, political philosophy or the traditions and founding principles of political movements.

You still have found no way to answer the question. By what standard to you judge wether someone is left or right, within any given political  context?

Since you are the beacon of wisdom, what are the rigorous, comprehensive and failsafe objective definitions for sociological terms such as "left", "pornography" and n"normal"?

Cueball Cueball's picture

500_Apples wrote:
Cueball wrote:

In other words your entire political world view is just a miasma of impressions, personal testimony of "identification", and sentiments, and you have identified no conceptual principles of philosophies that distinguishes one group or another. What is it that they do say or think, that puts them on the "left-half". Left half of what? How do you distinguish that they are on "the left" of anything?

Because they attend art openings, and give to charity, or attend charity events, and don't vote Republican?

Your whole question is tautological therefore, since have essentially said, people who are into new age religion are on "the left", and are now asking "why so many people on the left are into new age religion"?

lol. So what's your "objective definition" of left? Agrees with cueball? That's what it usually comes down to when people "define" ideologies the way mathematicians define operators. Sociological concepts such as "left" or "pornography" or "normal" are not often best served by the approach you seek. Notice how you're the only person who got confused by this point. Let go of the minutia and focus on the main point. Maybe you're into new age stuff and you're offended. Hard to tell.

No. I don't think I am the only one "who got confused" on this point. I think I am the only one who is bothering to comment on your apparent total lack of even a cursory knowledge of political science, political philosophy or the traditions and founding principles of political movements.

You still have found no way to answer the question. By what standard to you judge wether someone is left or right, within any given political  context?

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Lets try this: was Ernst Rohm to "left" or "right" of Adolph Hitler, and on what basis do you make your judgement?

500_Apples

Cueball wrote:

Lets try this: was Ernst Rohm to "left" or "right" of Adolph Hitler, and on what basis do you make your judgement?

Not sure, and not pertinent at all since 1930s Germany is a different society than contemporary north america.

Anyhow I see what you're doing, any answer I give you can just argue the other one, which is why you've neglected to give your "objective definition", you know there is none, but you plan on arguing either way. Really lame.

Cueball Cueball's picture

What is this some kind of "everything is relative" hippy thing? I thought you were not a fan of "cultural relativism". Certainly there should be some basis upon which you can come to some kind of objective conclusion, at least within the context of contemporary political theory?

If everything is "relative" in this manner, your opening question is simply absurd, since one can never have an objective postulate, apriori or otherwise upon which to judge wether there really are more "left" people into, new age religion. Its just a floating assertion, without a possible proof.

500_Apples

Cueball wrote:

What is this some kind of "everything is relative" hippy thing? I thought you were not a fan of "cultural relativism". Certainly there should be some basis upon which you can come to some kind of objective conclusion, at least within the context of contemporary political theory?

If everything is "relative" in this manner, your opening question is simply absurd, since one can never have an objective postulate, apriori or otherwise upon which to judge wether there really are more "left" people into, new age religion. Its just a floating assertion, without a possible proof.

And you keep failing from delivering your objective definition.

Aside from that you set up strawman such as "everything is relative". No, sorry cueball, I did not say this nor imply this. Do I believe everything is relative as you falsely accuse me of believing? No. I only believe that many things are relative.

Do you believe relativism is a hippy thing? What's your objective definition of being a hippy? At least within the context of contemporary cultural theory?

Your argument is dependent on false accusations, ergo, you have lost.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I could not possibly lose an arguement in a discussion, where the discussion question is raised by someone who has no basic defintition for one of the primary qualifiers upon which the question is based. There is no question, therefore there is no answer.

Its not up to the questioned to define the question. I asked you very simply "what is left?" and you apparently have no idea.

500_Apples

Cueball wrote:

I could not possibly lose an arguement in a discussion, where the discussion question is raised by someone who has no basic defintition for one of the primary qualifiers upon which the question is based. There is no question, therefore there is no answer.

Its not up to the questioned to define the question. I asked you very simply "what is left?" and you apparently have no idea.

You lose once more.

Cueball Cueball's picture

You seem to be really interested in winning or losing. If winning is predicated on raising questions where you can not even offer up a definition of the primary qualifiying abstract concepts, then all you are doing is winning by raising trick questions. If that satisfies the requirements of your ego, so be it. Who am I to judge the means through which you get your kicks.

Seriously, is it really true that young scientists are being produced in universities in this country without even rudimentary knowledge of fundaments of basic political philosophy?

500_Apples

Cueball wrote:

You seem to be really interested in winning or losing. If winning is predicated on raising questions where you can not even offer up a definition of the primary qualifiying abstract concepts, then all you are doing is winning by raising trick questions. If that satisfies the requirements of your ego, so be it. Who am I to judge the means through which you get your kicks.

Seriously, is it really true that young scientists are being produced in universities in this country without even the rudimentary fundaments of basic political philosophy?

A lot of interesting answers from oldgoat, fidel, maysie, tommy michael for example; and one objection from you.

Nobody shares your objection, and you can't even explain/justify your objection, so I can dismiss it.

Will you respond with another strawman such as "everything is relative?"

Stargazer

Apples, I'm not sure why the distinction between believing in a god who no ones sees, no one hears and the "silly stuff" you referred to above. A belief in a white man floating in the sky is just as "irrational" as tea leaves and the other stuff you call nonsense.

How is believeing in God any more scientific than a holding Wiccan beliefs? Or being a Pagan?

And seriously Apples, the humanities gave us amazing thinkers and did as much for society as science did. Dismissing these people who don't hold Christian or other BS religions as somehow less intelligent is seriously insulting, as is your statement as to how they could possibly have graduate degrees.

Bloody hell Apples, I have an MA and I believe all animals have spirits. I graduated with honours. Does that make me an idiot? Does that make some science geek who believes in God smarter? Is it easier for you to see how a God fearing idiot could actually get into grad school as opposed to an apparent imbecile with an MA in the "humanities"?

I know you may not actually have meant to hurl such insults about but hell, thems fighting words.

 

Science geek + Christianity = smart.

Humanities graduate + Pagan = dumb.

Makes no sense to me Apples. I'm not trying to be mean or anything but perhaps you could have shown a little less distain for the humanities and us  non-believers who chose to not hold any beliefs in the majour world relgions. Really, have you listened to the stuff you're supposed to beleive in at the various churches and places of worship? Utter hogwash.

 

 

Fidel

Because winning and losing is why Darwin put us here in the first place. But what did Darwin say about evolution of man once the chickenhawks takeover the world like they have now? There's no more red menace to compete with, and neoliberal capitalism represents the sum total of our achievements since laissez-faire collapsed in the 1930's. What does Darwinian competition promise for the future of this rock? Will mankind transform the earth into a farm for coackroaches in space in a hundred years' time, or will we advance to higher purposes?

martin dufresne

"Nobody shares your objection, and you can't even explain/justify your objection, so I can dismiss it...."

 

500 apples, since you appear to be predicating your answers on some silly head count, let me volunteer that I agree with Cueball. Your initial assertion was tautological since you classify New Age adepts as "left".

As for art, there are quite a number of artists - whole movements indeed, think of the Italian Futurists - who have identified with the right or have always sided with aristocracy, so your seat-of-the-pants assessment is erroneous. And no one has to provide you with a definition you could cherry-pick to point out your mistake. 

Before you turn around and grill me too, I think the left includes the people fighting privilege and advocating for substantive equality and social justice. Many religious people do this. Even more don't. (But that's just my opinion.)

 

500_Apples

Stargazer wrote:

Apples, I'm not sure why the distinction between believing in a god who no ones sees, no one hears and is just as "irrational" as tea leaves and the other stuff you call nonsense.

How is believeing in God any more scientific than a holding Wiccan beliefs? Or being a Pagan?

And seriously Apples, the humanities gave us amazing thinkers and did as much for society as science did. Dismissing these people who don't hold Christian or other BS religions as somehow less intelligent is seriously insulting, as is your statement as to how they could possibly have graduate degrees.

Bloody hell Apples, I have an MA and I believe all animals have spirits. I graduated with honours. Does that make me an idiot? Does that make some science geek who believes in God smarter? Is it easier for you to see how a God fearing idiot could actually get into grad school as opposed to an apparent imbecile with an MA in the "humanities"?

I know you may not actually have meant to hurl such insults about but hell, thems fighting words.

 

Science geek + Christianity = smart.

Humanities graduate + Pagan = dumb.

Makes no sense to me Apples.

 

 

What does it mean that animals have spirits? I think they have minds sort of like ours, feel pain and pleasure, longing, depression, joy, hunger, etc.

Maysie asked a similar question that I responded to.

I don't think paganism is more irrational than christianity, per se. The difference between the two, *usually* around here, is that people are born into christianity, they're raised that way, so it's their default world view. The bourgeois trends for things like Feng-Shui, chinese medicine, wicca; the presence of horoscopes in a lot of magazines and newspapers is not something people are born into. They don't start off believing it, they choose to believe it without a predisposition.

I understand the former being raised Jewish, I'm not sure at exactly which point I let go of some of the beliefs, but I can see why other people would just stay put. I might have in different situations. I can't see why someone in my shoes might have converted to Taoism for example, that's totally foreign to me. No understanding.

It seems obvious it would take more to reject a worldview one was raised in than to neglect to choose such a worldview if one is not raised in it.

I'm not sure, but I suspect your situation doesn't exactly apply, I think you're part native, and so some of the beliefs you mention might be your "default" beliefs.

I'm not sure where I brought up "Christian science geeks". I've known a few, some just "believe" and I privately wonder. There are various levels of belief. Had an argument a while back with someone majoring in science education, he had done the full physics major plus education, thats like 5 years. He believed in young earth creationism. Sometimes he'd ask me to edit the grammar on his articles. I was terrified that he was going to teach high school science, we stopped arguing about it at some point. And no, I don't understand how he could believe what he believed.

N.R.KISSED

I agree with Cueball it is essential to define what is meant by "left" and if one were to do so one would find that the belief systems are quite incompatible with New Age. Oprah and Madonna are certainly not people one would associate with having a developed critique of the dominant social and economic system, their beliefs are quite in tune with American concepts of individualistic Capitalism. New age beliefs broadly defined also represent a commodification of the spiritual as Maysie pointed out in which the privileged can purchase and appropriate a variety of often incompatible beliefs in order to rationalize a consumeristic lifestyle. New age beliefs rarely reflect teh communitarian spirit that is found in most spiritual traditions, on the contrary the irony of new age beliefs is that they are centred around egoistic gratification and self absorbtion. New age beliefs also tend to focus almost exclusively on light weight fluffy feel good remedies whereas having a level of awareness concerning the political realities of capitalism is naturally going to lead one to have to reflect and acknowledge on the dark realities that exist in the world the realities of oppression, pain and suffering. Realities that are not going to disappear just because you say some affirmations or desire to manifest wealth and happiness in your life.

Stargazer

I get what you are saying Apples. Thanks for clearing that up. The "default position" is spot on and in that regard you're right.

Have no idea how I would have handled the scientist who believed in creationism. Odd that one as I tend to think of most science people as being of no religion.

 

500_Apples

martin dufresne wrote:

"Nobody shares your objection, and you can't even explain/justify your objection, so I can dismiss it...."

 

500 apples, since you appear to be predicating your answers on some silly head count, let me volunteer that I agree with Cueball. Your initial assertion was tautological since you classify New Age adepts as "left".

As for art, there are quite a number of artists - whole movements indeed, think of the Italian Futurists - who have identified with the right or have always sided with aristocracy, so your seat-of-the-pants assessment is erroneous. And no one has to provide you with a definition you could cherry-pick to point out your mistake. 

Before you turn around and grill me too, I think the left includes the people fighting privilege and advocating for substantive equality and social justice. Many religious people do this. Even more don't. (But that's just my opinion.)

 

Good post.

I think ideologies such as environmentalism, feminism, multiculturalism, libertarianism, communism etc have very specific and objective meanings, which are even more specific when you add the adjectives that often get added, e.g. propertarian libertarianism. Which ideologies get more attention at any given time and place depends on the local conditions and struggles. Maybe in 100 years people won't even know what environmentalism means, because it will have won the day 90 years previous, and just be incorporated into general thinking and assumed without explanation :-)

I like your definition and I think it's pretty decent for the present and the local. Within the USA, I'd say the right fights for the interests of the current aristocracy and the left fights for the middle classes, in Canada that's shifted down the income ladder a little. There are exceptions to this of course as politics is about coalitions, and sometimes two partners have little in common. They both incorporate some of the above ideologies, adapted of course. Sometimes specific policy positions might end up on an arbitrary side of that divide, again due to coalitions. For example the rich have no obvious (to me) reasons to oppose gay marriage, but their political block does as a concession to the base.

For the sake of this thread, I'm merely asking why the probability of being into new age related stuff increases among people who vote on the left of the available voting choices.

My definition was not tautological, I did have the Harris poll as an independent measurement.

Slumberjack

Unionist wrote:
  Also, Canadians reporting "no religion" increased by 39% from the 1991 to the 2001 census. We're the fastest growing faith, and we thrive in both prosperity and adversity. 

"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.  By Charles Mackay

Fidel

Stargazer wrote:

Have no idea how I would have handled the scientist who believed in creationism. Odd that one as I tend to think of most science people as being of no religion.

John Eccles, James Jeans and other important scientists were not atheists. There is no requirement that scientists adhere to an  orthodoxy of atheism.

500_Apples

Fidel wrote:

Stargazer wrote:

Have no idea how I would have handled the scientist who believed in creationism. Odd that one as I tend to think of most science people as being of no religion.

John Eccles, James Jeans and other important scientists were not atheists. There is no requirement that scientists adhere to an  orthodoxy of atheism.

You are dichotomizing between young earth creationism and the "orthodoxy of atheism".

Fidel

I'm saying it's possible for scientists to hold certain personal opinions and beliefs and still be objective when doing science. Eccles is an example.  

Tommy_Paine

Ah, a fellow Mackay fan.  I've been so (choke) lonely. (sob)

I came to a more reasoned based way of thinking, and by that I mean a reliance on scepticism and basic scientific method because, flying speghetti monster help me, I'm just shy of being a dullard and need all the help in thinking I can get. 

Catching up, I see Cueball's point.  I'm not sure, even casting a broad net (NPI) for lefties that I'd find Oprah or Madonna in the mesh.  On the other hand, I sympathise with half a thousand Apples that we can get bogged down in deffinitions here. 

"I don't think paganism is more irrational than christianity, per se. The difference between the two, *usually* around here, is that people are born into christianity, they're raised that way, so it's their default world view. The bourgeois trends for things like Feng-Shui, chinese medicine, wicca; the presence of horoscopes in a lot of magazines and newspapers is not something people are born into. They don't start off believing it, they choose to believe it without a predisposition."

Plowing through Cueball's terse "nope" I will continue my hypothesis by fleshing it out some more.  Exposure to different religious ideas via mass communication made it increasingly impossible for people to say, for example, that Presbyterians were "right" and Catholics "wrong"... and maybe, just maybe, all of them were wrong.

However, people are spiritual. I think it's a necessary survival mechanism.  Like you, twice 250 Apples, I may not believe as Stargazer does, that animals have "spirits" anymore than humans have.  (assuming I understand the word spirit the same way Stargazer does.)  On the other hand, I behave as if they do.  If for no other reason that it gives me comfort.  And, it's not cultural appropriation.  I don't doubt that it's a common approach to nature for all cultures at one time or another.  If you're out in the woods it's a necessary step in your attempt to grok your surroundings.  If I can steal a term from a right wing science fiction writter who spent most of his right wing life not only open to new ideas, but made a good living extrapolating them.

I digress.  Being freed from established religions did not make a spiritual connection to the scientific method, or the pursuit of knowing over believing into the default position. Like I said, spirituality is still seen as the perview of religion.  Any religion.  So, people gravitate to what appears to you and I as realms of magical thinking, like astrology, or Madonna's celebrity version of Kabalah, or the very funny "secret", or invent from whole cloth "Druid" rituals and dance around a non Druid artifact like Stonehenge.

Because no one ever told them that understanding something has a spiritual element.

 

 

 

 

Policywonk

Fidel wrote:

Because winning and losing is why Darwin put us here in the first place. But what did Darwin say about evolution of man once the chickenhawks takeover the world like they have now? There's no more red menace to compete with, and neoliberal capitalism represents the sum total of our achievements since laissez-faire collapsed in the 1930's. What does Darwinian competition promise for the future of this rock? Will mankind transform the earth into a farm for coackroaches in space in a hundred years' time, or will we advance to higher purposes?

Kind of off topic but survival of the fittest can mean best able to fit in i.e. cooperation not competition.

Fidel

Policywonk wrote:

Kind of off topic but survival of the fittest can mean best able to fit in i.e. cooperation not competition.

But certain gods of capitalism, ie. from John Locke forward, have attempted to justify their exclusive private property laws (and relying on the heavy hand of the state to enforce them) by association with natural laws. And in modern times, some billionaire capitalists have attempted to justify their vast concentrations of wealth by suggesting they serve a higher purpose for society as a whole, and news agencies make a big to-do of their occasional philanthropy. 

Cueball Cueball's picture

500_Apples wrote:
Cueball wrote:

A lot of interesting answers from oldgoat, fidel, maysie, tommy michael for example; and one objection from you. Nobody shares your objection, and you can't even explain/justify your objection, so I can dismiss it.

What's this? Truth and logic defined as a popularity contest? You are some kind of astronomer are you not? Where would Galileo (and you I might add) be if his arguement had stood or fallen upon the knife of popular opinion.

So much for pure "science" based on reason and logic. Heh.

I did explain my objection. You have predicated your question upon a postulate you refuse to define. It can't get any simpler than that. I asked for a definition for the sake of setting an objective standard, and you would not, or could not provide one, It's one thing for young scientist are taught nothing of political science, but you really have to wonder when those students start constructing formulas where "infinity" is treated as a hard numeric value.

500_Apples wrote:
My definition was not tautological, I did have the Harris poll as an independent measurement.

Based on the assetion that the "Democratic" Party USA is left. As far as I know they were the party that was opposed the emancipation of the slaves, started US involvement in the Vietnam War and succesfully pressed its allies at NATO to attack a soveriegn nation in 1999. By what standard do you assert that the Democratic Party USA is left of the Republican Party USA?

Basically, I just don't think you understand your own question.

How is one to come to a decent analysis of the proposed sympathy of lefist for the "object" new age "religions" (religions which I presume have a philosophical value) when you refuse to assign a philosophical value to the "object" left. If you compare the weights of two objects, one must first have a standard upon which that weight is set.

Pages

Topic locked