Monday, 1 October 2007

Insidious New Age nonsense

Whatever the alignment of certain planets and the confluence of my energies over the weekend, I experienced an event of astonishing serendipity. Having spent a considerable part of Friday ranting about the charlatanism and imbecility of New Age beliefs, having been provoked by a quick inspection of a shop named “Solstice”, I switched on BBC 2 on Saturday night to witness Steven Fry venting his spleen on exactly the same subject during an old repeat of Room 101.

For the duration of Fry’s monologue I managed to restrain myself to fervent nods of the head, before erupting in a torrent of agreement as he concluded his remarks. “Inappropriate ransacking” of cultures surmises Fry’s objections, as well as the melding of all these disparate, cannibalised facets into something so amorphous and woolly that it could be fleeced and knitted into a cardigan.

The shop I had need to enter epitomised everything the comedian objected to. Buddhas from the subcontinent, dream catchers from North America, “energy” crystals from …… pass, Feng Shui from China etc etc. All no doubt perfectly in context within their own particular culture, but none immune from pilfering by opportunistic old hippies for vending amongst their foul smelling incense and tie dye drapes. Then of course we have the rehabilitation of various aspects of ancient paganism.

For all my secularism and distaste for religion, it grievously offends me when a vague, incoherent hotch-potch is advanced as an alternative belief system. What elevates this from irritating to insidious is the amount of people hawking such nonsense for money.

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