How Do You Talk To a New Age Believer?

As far as I know, no one I’m close to believes in New Age bullshit. Hoagy Wilson seems to be surrounded by that nonsense, though, and he’s written an ebook explaining how to deal with it. It’s called How to Talk to Your New Age Relative.

An excerpt is below:

One area of substantial challenge, and our final source for sample dialogues, is when the New Age relative creates a family financial crisis due to their New Age beliefs. This is almost always a direct result of a New Age relative’s conviction that the abundant universe is specifically interested in his or her well-being. Many New Age relatives are almost congenitally credulous, and easily deceived by charlatans. Online scams, pyramid schemes, “friends and family” sales strategies, magical invocations — there is little that escapes the New Age relative’s ambit. If it makes them feel special, and promises abundance, then they’re interested. As a result, they are often being taken advantage of, and sometimes want their family members to help with new ventures. In short, if it sounds too good to be true, it may be just the thing for your New Age relative.

Below is an example of a conversation between Donna and her new age cousin Winona. Tom is Winona’s college-age son.

Winona (New Age cousin). Donna! How have you been?

Donna. I’ve been well — thanks for asking. What have you been up to?

Winona. I have just come across this amazing opportunity. A psychic named Gunther Maeterlich has discovered healing stones in northern Iceland. They are only a hundred dollars each. If you buy five, they are only $399!

Donna. Tom told me about this. Haven’t you already spent a few thousand dollars on seminars and materials?

Winona. You have to invest to enter the third sales tier. I’m almost there — all I need is to sell eight more stones.

Donna. How many have you sold so far?

Winona. Two.

Donna. Really? Who bought them?

Winona. I bought them myself!

Donna. Wouldn’t that money be better spent helping Tom at school?

Winona. I’m not spending money — I’m investing. The potential profit in this is amazing. If you’re smart you’ll get in on the ground floor.

Donna. I’m concerned that you’ll lose money. Remember a few years ago when you bought dozens of spirit animators? Remember that chakra ointment, and how you lost thousands of dollars and were left with the inventory? Remember when you went to that convention in Chicago, and spent all that money training to be a psychic so that you could predict the stock market?

Winona. Most businesses and entrepreneurs fail the first few times out. The thing about these stones is that they work!

Donna. Well, I can’t buy any from you, and I don’t think anyone else should.

Winona. You are so negative.

Donna. I’m just looking out for you and Tom. Imagine, soon he’ll be done college and will have a good job. That’s the right investment.

Winona. Well, I just want to see how it goes.

Donna. Ok, but remember — the best investment is in Tom, and getting a good job. Education and work is always the best route to riches, in my opinion.

Winona. It certainly helps.

Donna. Have you seen any good movies lately?

The example provided above shows the unique challenge of talking to a New Age relative who has made a financial commitment to a scam. Because some money has already been spent, it is harder for the New Age relative to “unbelieve” in the get-rich-quick scheme. This is why financial hucksters work so hard to get financial buy-in early on, even if it is for relatively small amounts. Once the gullible New Age investor is in, it is more difficult to get out. Even more problematic is the New Age relative’s belief that the scam artist is cleverer than the average person, and that the promised pay-off is only a natural by-product of an absurdly abundant universe. In these instances there are two crucial approaches and they are, admittedly, a struggle.

Have any of you been involved in conversations like this? How do you handle it? Let us know in the comments, and one random reader will win a copy of Hoagy’s book! All you have to do to enter is leave the word “psychic” at the end of your comment.

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