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.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Sascha Lührs

    Give him R.A. Salvatores “Legend of Drizzt” to read. He will become pessimistic and distrusting.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adrian-Chester/682538320 Adrian Chester

      Drizzt FTW! 

    • oli kenton

      And for the more OCD readers, count how many times someone is stoic. R.A. sure does love that word.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    My wife and I are in Maine and we just visited one of her friends who owns a yoga studio with a variety of woo-related products on sale. It was a very short visit and the conversation never ventured into the inane.

  • spiders

    It’s about what Winona is able to believe about herself.  She doesn’t want to say “I’m a gullible fool,” but she could probably be convinced to say “I like to see the best in people.” 

    Tell her that everyone makes mistakes and everyone is gullible sometimes.  You can start by saying that some scam artists are so absolutely brilliant at deception that anyone could be taken in, and that there’s no shame in being a person who trusts other people.    

    The goal is to give that person a chance to cut their losses and not lose face while doing it.  They’re never going to openly admit that their “investment” was a bad idea, but if that person feels that they’ll retain support from their friends and family, that person will feel like they have an out that isn’t too embarrassing. 

  • Anonymous

    I just call them idiots and move on.

  • nom de plum

    Financial scams are the worst because most people have no idea how finances work beyond the household level. Hell, I studied tax law and nearly fell for a scam until I ran the math on the numbers I was handed.

    Psychic

  • Drew M.

    I have a friend who’s spent a bunch of money on those stupid “become a millionaire” seminar scams, despite my advice. After about 10k, she finally figured it out.

    Sometimes you just have to let them learn for themselves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    When I worked in a bank there was a old man who came in every few months because his daughter had told him to go cancel a cheque. Someone would scam him, he’d send them a check, and (hopefully) his daughter would hear about it in time!

  • Merle Jones

    I’ve got a friend who believes everything her naturopath tells her. So far, he has cured her of stomach parasites (several times) using various methods such as big pills, an energy drink and some kind of sound therapy. No, not ultrasound.

    I have another friend who plasters please & thank you notes to the Universe on Facebook daily.

    A relative who is angel crazy.

    Another friend who has developed and attempting to sell homeopathic products. Friend number 1 (above) uses them and swears they work because her son feels better after having used one.

  • Aphrodita M

    He’s got that completely wrong. My dad is not in fact female and he’s also not called Winona.

  • Devysciple

    I was once invited to a party where one of the host’s acquaintances was a strong believer in this New Age crap. That evening I felt strangely reminded of Tim Minchin’s Storm, at least partially.
    At some point she started to explain how, in her universe at least, sicknesses came into being. She concluded her little diatribe against conventional medicine with the ‘wisdom’ that every ailment was basically just a challenge to improve yourself.
    A few days earlier, a close family member had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. So I mustered up what strenght I had to not punch her in the face.
    That was (fortunately) my only encounter with New Age idiots.

  • http://cornelioid.wordpress.com/ Cory Brunson

    I experienced two very different instances of this recently.

    1. My new housemate is fond of homeopathy, i found out after using it as an example of gullibility. We went back and forth over what evidence should be expected, whether the placebo effect should be considered a benefit of the drug, whether homeopathy includes herbal tea (?), and a few other things i wasn’t expecting. It was productive, though my worst move may have been to jump online for evidence of certain claims rather than to first reason out with her just how extreme the claim was to begin with (thus why it might be important to check sources).

    2. I posted an angry response to this story on Facebook, about Abraham Cherrix’s 5-year insistence upon the Hoxsey method instead of demonstrated treatments for Hodgkin’s disease. I called Cherrix a moron for refusing proven treatments in favor of unproven treatments after he’d had the opportunity to meet experts and learn what was known, and especially after his fake treatments failed. Some friends of mine lashed out at me for invalidating his worldview (which i was) and denying him the right to die with dignity (which i think i wasn’t, since Cherrix wasn’t interested in dying but in living). However i laid out my argument, these friends would return, for all i can tell, to the attitudes that (a) all worldviews are inherently deserving of respect and (b) medicines may work for some people that don’t for others. When i press them on this they tend to either just get quiet or keep pushing for me to acknowledge some incompleteness in my position. (There certainly is, but it seems to me to be magnified in theirs.)

    Floyd County seems to be a bastion of New Age superstition. Several parents likely caused an outbreak of whooping cough early this year by refusing to vaccinate their kids, and a close friend of mine from Floyd refuses to use any birth control except adherence to lunar cycles (in agreement with several of her friends).

    psychic

  • Rich Wilson

    I used to have fun mocking new age crap with a co-worker.  We’d try to one-up each other with crazy stuff we’d find on the net.  We left it with him being the winner with “Healing crystals tuned to the frequency of dolphin song”.

    Thing is, he’s a Mormon.

    A few weeks ago I was getting help from a Lowe’s employee and noticed his “Powerbalance” bracelet.  I had a hard time holding in my snark.

    • http://twitter.com/m_ethaniel Mistletoe Ethaniel

      OMFSM I’ve been seeing those friggin’ bracelets all the time on people.  I work at a convenience store and see probably an equal number of those bracelets and Christian paraphernalia.

  • Lindsay Smith

    Everyone I work with in into psychics, angels, homeopathy and “Energy” with a capital E.
    My sister is into homeopathy, reiki, and whatever other gobbledygook her “amazing” naturopath is selling. 
    She also jumps with both feet into schemes like Melaleuca, Rich Dad Poor Dad seminars, PSI seminars, etc.

    I can’t believe we came from the same place and see these things so very differently.

    I’m Canadian.  Can I say “psychic?”

    • Anonymous

      I believe the correct Canadian pronunciation is  “psychic, eh.”

  • Mr Z

    The new age relative in my life is my wife. I’ve had to deal with this regularly for a decade. I’ve let her spend small amounts in order to introduce her to the scam. She *wants* to believe that there is a grand scheme and that she can find a magical key to a successful and beautiful life. Really, that’s all she wants. The prospect that I understand as a militant type atheist is just not what she *wants* life to be; that being that there is no magic, no purpose, no grand plan. We are simply here and there is no joy or goal to life other than what we personally assign to it for ourselves. She has all the answers she needs, but just can’t bring herself to admit there is an 800 lb gorilla on the sofa across the room. She knows most if not all are scams and has me study them before investing time or money, but still *wants* to be able to find the magic key to success. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you eventually find that the key isn’t magic, and it is about being happy with what you have and in building more of it with hard work and effort. Sure, that sounds simple enough especially when you already know that organize religions are complete bullshit and you’ve been around new age protagonists long enough to know that they really don’t have any answers other than happy shiny bullshit that sounds good the first time you hear it. We’ve most of us had a bout of depression or two and in those moments it’s hard to see what reason there is to not off yourself. For someone with medical conditions that cause depression all their lives it is VERY difficult to be happy with the answer that there are no gods, no magic, no secret key to success. Such thinking fuels the pains of depression without something to lean on. I try to be a crutch or safe place, but it’s hard when the person you love is wracked with depression at times and the one thing that brings a bit of hope is this scam scum bullshit that new age fuckwits sell. I sometimes want to reach down the phone line and shove the happy shiny scam up their happy shiny asses. They are torturing my wife… for fun and profit. I hate them. I don’t know that I can define what it means to love someone but I know what it is like to watch the person I love live in pain and see it prolonged and exacerbated by happy shiny bullshit snake oil sales people.

    There is no fountain of youth,  no inner circle of spirit guides, no magic secret keys. If it sounds too good to be true it’s a scam. Kryon is complete bullshit. There are no angels, no special indigo children spirits, no purpose to being born blind or autistic. We’re here. It’s an accident. We are, in this respect, no different than any other ape or even worms: Eat, shit, fuck, sleep, die. Teach our offspring to do the same.

    The only real beauty to being a human is the wondrous results of our species interaction with the universe. We stepped on the moon, sent robots to Mars. We continue to look at parts of the universe which are billions of years old, we’ve mapped the known universe, found  something that goes faster than the speed of light, build intelligent systems from sand. We’ve done so many wonderful things… and … so many horrible things. We are so very capable of stupendously amazing things, yet we waste time believing in bullshit schemes. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Sagan, Pinker, and so very many more people offer us a glimpse at the wonder we are actually actors of. The school teacher who taught George Washington math will never be remembered with the same gusto as their pupil, yet they were an important part of the tapestry that is the wonder of the known universe. Even the sister of that teacher played an important role, no matter how anonymously. They were important; they mattered. No matter how hard it is I’m trying to explain to my love that she is important in the most important activity the known universe has ever seen. She doesn’t yet have a  starring role and may never. Yet her role is absolutely important to the outcome. Simply by existing she has the burden to play that part, to participate, to revel in the wondrous nature of existence period, never mind any grand plans.

    To anyone that can identify with any of this. Treat yourself this week. Stop and pick or buy a single ornamental or fragrant flower. Spend several hours with that small plant and write down all the things you know about which aid you in appreciating that simple thing. Anything from how it’s pollinated to the cells in your nose that detect the odor and the neurons in your head that fire to tell you what oder it is. If you work at it, you can write for days… even look up and learn a few more things on wikipedia. In doing so you will see the value of the wondrous nature of existing as a human. Knowledge and experience. The only joy ride we are supposed to get… and it’s free. No gods or magic needed.

    I struggle daily to help my wife understand these things. I struggle to help her share in my wonderment of our race and the universe. We are all special just as we are. It’s just difficult to see sometimes when your name isn’t in the credits… yet.

    psychic

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      I wish I could give you a long, comforting, validating hug. What a loving, intelligent, and wise husband and person you are.

      • Mr Z

        I wish I could be happy to hear that, and to be certain it is validating. There is a saying about putting your own fingers in your boot straps… Hug accepted.

        In my view, a hero is not a person who acts heroic. Heroism is only found in hindsight. At the moment of heroism, it’s merely about survival. A person or persons doing just the right thing at just the right time not because they thought it would be heroic but because they thought it was what they needed to do to survive, or help others survive. I don’t view myself as special, rather I see myself as just doing what is required to survive. Surely my wife will tell you that I have bad days too. I try to be better than I was last week, but life is a struggle like that. I know there is no reward for being an atheist or even for surviving other than what I allow myself to enjoy. No club benefits or frequent discussion points/discounts. There is just tomorrow and the opportunities it brings. What’s behind door #3 is often enough not something pleasurable, but you have to get up and open a door every day.

        The only reward I know of is knowing that I did my best, or at least knowing that now I know another mistake to not make in the future. I used to think that I want people to remember me as a good man. Now, I think it is enough that I think of me as a good man. Thank you.

    • Anonymous

      That was beautiful, Mr. Z! I hope your wife appreciate you.

      psychic

  • Anonymous

    This post hits too close to home. I’m located in the SF Bay Area (Berkeley, to be specific) which is ground-zero for every kind of hippie woo, New Age hooey, pseudoscience and alt-med BS imaginable. 

    I’m currently watching my grandparents’ otherwise stable health fall into alarming decline as they insist on seeing a New Age “alternative health practitioner” who’s turned out to be a MLM product-peddler. They’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this man over the last three years, all because of his “deep compassion” and “healing energy”, to the point of crippling debt. 

    They won’t see a medical doctor, not even on the side–and they’re deep into the “manifest your own health and wealth” stuff that’s practically indistinguishable from Christian ‘prosperity’ gospel and faith-healing, just without the fire and brimstone. 

    The situation has torn my family apart–since I was the one who discovered (thank you, internets) that this quack had a history of lawsuits, jail time and MLM involvement, they won’t speak to me anymore. And the issue has split the extended family right down the middle, since half the kids want to intervene and the others want to respect their parents misguided wishes. 

    Personally, I find the New Age milieu even more dangerous than outright religiosity or unthinking faith–because New Age stuff can hide in plain sight, with a lot of ‘sciencey’ smoke and mirrors to lend it an air of legitimacy. 

    Also, since New Age beliefs aren’t as concrete or well-defined, it’s harder to help people become aware of the the subtleties of irrationality — and there’s always that question of “What’s the harm? Let people believe what they want, all personal truths are equal!” 

    At least with religion, there’s a solid historical record of evidence and doctrines you can point to and say, “THAT’S what’s the harm.”

    With New Age stuff, it’s all so slippery and nebulous that it’s almost impossible to point out the problems without it coming off as a personal attack. 

    Guh. Big feelings about this one, obviously. Pardon my rant.

    • Lindsay Smith

      That’s really awful, and it’s just how I see my sister ending up.

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      Follow Mr. Z’s advice and treat yourself. Shrug off what you can and take care of your own needs. You’re right, New Age stuff is more slippery than the well-worn woo of ancient religions. I’m only now beginning to appreciate how much pain is caused by this commercialized and slick-packaged superstition. 

      • Anonymous

        Thanks, Richard. I try to go easy on myself, but it can be hard watching a family member wilfully careening towards a brick wall. 

        Particularly since it involves my grandparents’ health — my family feels like we’re watching them fast-forward their own deaths through the pursuit of quackery. And since I’m the one who ‘blasphemed’ against their chosen alt-med savior, I’m being shunned and missing out on what little time I have left with them.

        Speaking as an atheist who doesn’t believe in any kind of reincarnation or afterlife, this squandering of the most precious finite resource we’ve got (time) is the ultimate boot to the stomach.

        What’s worse is that in addition to their New Age beliefs, THEY still believe in a Christian afterlife. So they figure we’ll meet again in heaven and all will be hunky-dory because we won’t even be able to remember all those silly upsetting ‘facts’ from our old lives on Earth. There’s no interest in mending bridges or resolving conflict here and now.

        So, New Age stuff brings up such an  irrational mix of grief and rage for me that I almost see red. I’m surprised by how venomous I can get about it.

        I try to console myself by cussing vehemently at the TV whenever an Oprah re-run comes on. Sometimes that helps, a little.

        So does connecting with groups of rational thinkers and skeptics like this one. Thanks for reading.

        (What does the ‘psychic’ endnote mean?)

  • The Vicar

    If they’re really into “New Age” stuff, you can ask them about the music. It’s probably less annoying to hear them babble about Narada Records and Neoclassicism than to hear about their beliefs.

    No books for me, please: psycho. :)

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I have a relative who is exactly like Winona. One guru after another, one spiritual divination system after another, one method of “channeling energy” after another, one book revealing the esoteric wisdom and prophesies of a now extinct civilization after another.  To this person, the latest one is the penultimate solution for all ails and woes, the answer to all questions, the reassurance for all insecurities. Whatever was the last one is forgotten as if it was never considered.

    I really think that believing in magical things, magical methods, and magical people is an addiction. I think it releases endorphins or whatever brain chemicals are secreted with gambling addictions, shopping addictions, sexual addictions, several sorts of obsessive-compulsive behaviors. There’s a thrill in it, and a euphoria. Trying to talk someone out of one of these is extremely difficult. I used to do that for a living, and despite the fact that I was quite good at it, I still failed most of the time.

  • http://twitter.com/m_ethaniel Mistletoe Ethaniel

    I used to be one of those hopeful, gullible fools that wanted so desperately to believe that there was Some Big Secret out there (as well as wanting desperately to believe that I’m no fool).

    Clinging to the crap fed me by New-Age practitioners ultimately cost me my uterus and ovaries.  I had severe endometriosis but was scared off from seeing “those Allopathic doctors” and told any number of woo-woo things instead: my pain was a manifestation of issues with my mother (what young adult woman *doesn’t* have issues with her mother?) that the birth control pills were causing it (when in fact it was staving it off…), that my second chakra was in need of cleansing, and so on, and so on.  By the time I finally said, damn it, time to see a doctor, I was Stage 4 and so far advanced that I had to have a hysterectomy to save my damaged bladder and colon.

    So when people ask me “What harm can it do?” I have a very real answer.

    I would love a copy of this book.  I’d like to do whatever I can to keep people from losing as much as I’ve lost at the hands of charlatans and phonies.  Thus, PSYCHIC.

    • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

      That’s a horrifying story. I don’t know what to say. I’m so sorry. 

  • Anonymous

    I don’t talk to them.  I just back away slowly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514592951 Dan Augusta

    I’ve gotten into several discussions with my aunt about “how do we know anything” and “science is just one way of looking at the world”, etc. etc. She’s a nurse by trade; I honestly wouldn’t have expected such attitudes to come from someone who works in healthcare.

    Psychic.

  • Beth

    The new-agey person in my life has decided to avoid the subject with me because she knows I won’t budge. She has a chronic condition,  is seeking some hidden cure and finding only subjective effects there just as one would expect. (That is, she says she’s doing better but uses just as much medication and her bad days were just as frequent.) Funny thing is, the only quack treatment I pressed as ineffective was one she didn’t use. She stopped talking to me about the stuff after I got very concerned about her seeing a chiropractor. The man was doing adjustments that could kill her (the most dangerous of them) and I wanted to be sure she knew that risk was present. Those concerns she dismissed. I also tried to communicate that I thought the chiro was being unethical business-wise because he initially said she’d only need a dozen sessions max… until he found her insurance paid him well. Then he said she needed to come at least every week or two indefinitely. I would have found the idea of changing opinion about what’s needed medically just as unethical by a conventional medical professional. I mean, if an MD did her that way, I’d encourage her to find a different doctor; my problems with that had little to nothing to do with me disagreeing on the practitioner’s “treatments” themselves .
    As far as I understand, she’s still trying some new cure every couple months or so, being absolutely sure the latest thing will work each time (something I find incomprehensible). Best I don’t know because I find it maddening and I have absolutely no influence. I have a chronic illness, too — and one with more significant consequences. I guess I’m lucky she’s never tried to push this stuff on me. Maybe she still believes the medical truth that my condition is incurable (hers tends to improve and even disappear with age); maybe she just knows I’d go ballistic if she ever lectured me on what I should do to cure myself. I don’t even know how far she’s gone, but that’s probably good since I can’t do anything about it anyway.

  • Anonymous

    A relative of ours is also full time into Reiki and the spiritual business. She spent quite a lot of rupees attending classes and subsequently boasting about it to the rest of the family. She is now taking a PhD in Accupressure Therapy from a sham “university” in South India. Problem is that she’s very elder to me and so I can’t break ranks to intercede. And my parents are like “It’s her money, why not let her spend it as she wishes?” Her husband is sick and he may need the money for medical treatments. Sadly I’m in a position where I can’t intervene directly because of societal factors, nor can my parents say anything because of their lack of interest/non-intervention stance.

    I live in India , but my uncle is a U.S citizen who would be glad to receive the prize on my behalf. So since the problem of International Shipping is solved, I’ll go ahead and be PSYCHIC. 

    • Anonymous

      I’m confused.  You’re dogging someone’s belief system while in a system that won’t allow you to be open and objective?  That’s weird, isn’t it?

  • Winter Wombat

    I ended up sharing an apartment with someone who was a big believe in a lot of new age stuff. She was mostly focused on things like homeopathic medicine, and personal magical powers gained from barely understood eastern mysticism. I was open with her about my general skepticism, but I didn’t challenge any of the specific new age ideas she tried to sell me on. I just smiled, nodded, and tried to move the conversation away from the weirdness.

    I thought I was doing a good job being polite, but after two months she decided we weren’t “Connecting on a spiritual level,” so she kicked me to the curb. That kind of flakiness has mostly defined my interaction with heavily new-age people. They can be friendly, kind, generally good people, but I find I can’t trust them not to make big decisions based on ridiculous reasons.

  • Michael

    I note that this seems only to refer to new agers who spend their money on things. Kinda like some Christians spend their life savings publicising the apocalypse.

    I remember one new-age friend being stopped by a gypsy offering to sell him some magical items and he replied that he’d rather make his own from scratch and walked on by.

  • Mark

    That’s NOT a new age religion.  Its a multi level marketing scheme.  Bernie Madoff would be PROUD!  But, Hey….  the Catholics and the TV evangelists have been bilking the public for years so what’s new?

  • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

    All these things people are mentioning: Reiki, crystals, etc, they’re all familiar to me. At one time, I fully believed in all this stuff, though thankfully I never spent much money on trinkets, mostly on books. Funny thing, though. As I look back on that time, I realize that 9.5/10 people at meetings were women. There is a line in the old “Malleus Maleficarum” that reads, “when a woman thinks alone, she thinks evil”. LOL! Maybe those two ancient freaks had something there.  You know, between the flying demons and the Devil-friending witches. :)

  • BornA

    I made the mistake once (when I was really young, away from home, and didn’t know anything about scientology as it wasn’t as prominent as it is now) of buying a Hubbard book… sigh… Ever since then I have received many letters, and pamphlets and cards in the snailmail trying to get me to join things, and buy things… as well as emails. I’ve sent them back, called the number asking to be removed, emailed back asking to be removed… and they still come.  My dad was worried at one point that I was a scientologist because of the volume of material coming in the mail (I am very lucky to have a rational thinking father). I have moved now, but it scares me that this organization is so agressive in trying to recruit people. I know it is the same for many other groups… I fear for all of the kind hearted elderly people out there that are being taken advantage of.  It makes me sick!

  • Miss C

    My aunt is like this… I just feel bad for my cousin, who just started college. Luckily my own parents are AMAZING and are helping fund his education, so at least he doesn’t have to worry about not having enough money to get through school.

    psychic

  • Guest

    I grew up in a new-age household, and many of these things are so familiar. The credulity, fiscal irresponsibility (thank goodness no MLM schemes). It’s heartbreaking. Worst of all, as I was fancied one of those “special” children, my rejection of the worldview is rip in her worldview and it’s very hard for her to let me go my own way.

  • THEMAYAN

    I once attended a new age convention. I went at the innovation of a friend. I saw everything from believers in Crystals,Ralians,astro projection,fortune tellers, trance-dental meditation, séances and dozens of other metaphysical beliefs, and to my surprise, almost everyone I asked (and I asked a lot of people) were atheist. Many atheist also believe whole heartedly in the SETI project along with alien abduction, little green men, grays, reptilians or what ever name given. This is why I always get a kick out of atheist who dogmatically and arbitrarily reject the Bible because of its metaphysical nature or the no physical evidence argument.  

  • THEMAYAN

    Sorry for typos. I should have checked first.

  • Steve

    Here is the profile of a 52 year old woman who I recently ended befriending for about four months.  She currently lives in the San Francisco bay area, having moved there almost a year ago from the Midwest.  She’s a New Ager and the entire time we were spending time together, it was a bewildering experience for me.  Her enormous problems consumed my thought and jeopardized my well-being.  When we parted, I was relieved.  She cut off all communication with me since she can’t take an opposing point of view on any level about any subject.  For the reasons that I will explain shortly, she is completely self-absorbed.  There’s a high likelihood that mental illness has steered her to the New Age.  Here is her profile:1) Cuts herself (self-injures). She’s been cutting herself since she was a teenager. The trigger for the cutting is unknown, but last month it was because she was criticized in her review at work by her boss. She said that she’s normally fine after about 30-40 cuts. This time, she sliced her ankle four or five times. Two years ago, it was her arms. She said that she feels horrible about her life and gets depressed, while questioning her self-worth. She hides this practice from her family, and expected me to find a way to consider it normal behavior.2) She’s a New Ager, believes in reincarnation, predetermination, and channeling. She thinks her brother can channel and talk to higher “spirits”, and relies on the common sense advice he gives her once he takes on a different persona. Hypothetically, her brother’s name is Bill, and this higher persona he takes on while supposedly in touch with the higher spirits is an English gentleman by the name of “William” – more formal name, and her brother even tries to take on a more British accent. As William, he gives her common sense advice based on insights that Bill has gained as her brother. She switched states on a whim because William said to do so, broke off an engagement because William said the guy was a temporary person in her life, and relies on William to tell her what events and people mean in her life. I feel she’s delusional and being duped by her own brother, but she can’t see it. As a New Ager, she strives to surround herself only with people who are nonjudgmental (because she can’t handle the thought of being abnormal or wrong). She believes that chance meetings with people have a deeper meaning. She’s horrible at explaining what she believes and never makes sense. Her memory is very poor also. She contradicts things she’s said from only a few days ago. One moment she likes a guy and wants him to meet her family. The next moment, she’s complaining that he’s constraining her and taking her away from her “spiritual path.”  She’s gulliable and easily taken advantage of by anyone who makes her feel good, constantly striving to live “in the moment” without the slightest clue that she’s being set up or duped.3) She consulted some spiritual “guru” when she was younger and he told her that she would die in her 68th year. She believes this and conducts her life accordingly. She’s presently under pressure, believing that she only has 16 more years to live.4) In her early 20s, she was thinking of commit suicide. Suicide and mental illness run in her family. Her grandmother was mentally ill and committed suicide. Her daughter attempted it two years ago. 5) Instead of committing suicide, she enrolled in Werner Erhard’s EST training program. It gave her the confidence to continue on and now she relies on it even though it has meant nothing but disaster for her personal relationships with men. She has severe control issues, interpreting any behavior or thought by the man she’s dating as being an attempt to persuade her or control her. She cannot stand to be disagreed with or opposed by any thought or opinion. If you criticize her, she isolates herself from you and society, and listens to Werner tapes to be told what to do. She’s immature about concepts like love, commitment, relationship, and seems to be at a pre-teenage stage in this area. She has been divorced twice (from the same guy) and has never had a lasting fulfiling relationship with any man beyond surface, detached friendship.6) She was likely sexually abused, maybe as a child. She was raped or nearly raped by an older man when she was in her 20s before contemplating suicide. Her sexual history has therefore been pretty bad. Her father wasn’t loving. She is detached emotionally. Can’t feel love or give it. Her sexual experiences (she said) have been one-night stands, always with the guy leaving never to return after the deed is done. She fears sex because of her past, and the thought of intimacy and emotional involvement are distracting to her. She can only get intimate in the dark.  The thought of having sex with the man present nearly sends her into a coma, literally paralized with fear.7) Her thought processes and rationale for why she does many things is often times irrational and unpredictable. She hates malls because the energy from crowds bothers her, but is a member of a Singles Club so she can be more social. She believes in predetermination yet Werner emphasizes that people can influence their futures by what they do in the present. Her New Age beliefs are supposed to make her open to all people, yet she adamantly opposes and shuts off anyone who is critical in any way. She’s frequently duped by guys who pretend to be “spiritual.” One such guy she sought to cure her problems with intimacy. She thought this could be done in a few days. He put rocks on her naked body before dry humping her and leaving.8) So desperate for an “out of body experience”, she once nearly OD’ed in her apartment while alone by taking LSD. This was two years ago. She said she nearly died from the experience and kept it from her family.9) She seeks “enlightenment”, so consults with another spiritual “guru” every Sunday morning. This guru told her that in order for her to achieve this state, she would have to remove attachments in her life. So she decided that she wasn’t attached to her family, including her suicidal daughter and her mother who is sick with cancer, then moved to another state. This also meant that she can’t get attached to men, her job, her location, her “possessions.” She’s easily seems like one of the most detached, unloving, uncaring people I’ve seen. No compassion whatsoever, and always so unhappy.10) Frequently talks about New Age as a way to “heal.” Yet, it appears as though her spiritual beliefs cannot solve her psychological problems. She can’t see this and is unable to see, understand, or appreciate another’s point of view. Avoidance and denial while maintaining the delusion is her M.O.
    11) Bases decisions on numerology, astrology.  She will leave a man if he exhibits traits from some astrological sign that she doesn’t like. 
    She’s a very poor verbal communicator and probably still prone to attempting suicide. The cutting continues since she is unhappy with her life.  The New Age people who she embraces seem to perpetuate the delusion, since they know nothing about the private mental problems that cause her to be devoted to them.  Absolutely insane, this woman who is devoted to New Age.

    • Ray

      I pity her.

  • Jason

    New age beliefs are composed of general goodness, good energy, and reaching a greater level of spiritual consciousness. The only thing a person has to invest is time to gain knowledge and understanding … a life of unity without judgment. Such skepticisms only achieve the opposite. Let peaceful individuals live their  journey. For me, it is pure, unbiased joy. Good luck in your path to enlightenment.

  • New Ager

    Yet I’m a New Ager, but I don’t do that, I don’t do any of it. Maybe some people might buy into some scams, but newsflash there scams in every religion or idea. Even Atheism. So just because one might be gullible doesn’t mean all are or does that person represent the religion or idea. I’m not going out buying herbs, crystals or playing the Ouija board to see if I can contact my dead relatives. If anything I’m finding out research and try to find the evidence in what I believe in a scientific way not with the BS called pseudoscience. So if I want to make debate I can at least have scientific evidence backing it up. So maybe you should think that all New Ager’s are like that, cause in honest I know a few who are started there foundations or have gone to seminars of Richard Dawkins. So, maybe you would like take notes. Just a thought?


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X