Monday, January 11, 2010

Post Modern Spirituality & The Infotainment Virus: A Short Rant

The virus of infotainment has spread to the post modern spiritual world. Most of what passes for spirituality is just another form of entertainment. People flock to it out of boredom and out of a generalized angst that “there has to be more than this” or a belief that they are discovering their higher purpose or life’s mission. But, in the end it is just anesthesia to numb the pain.

Mention this to most spiritual folks and they will become immediately defensive and offended. They don’t see the connection between their consumption and the products being sold to them in bright packages labeled “metaphysics,” “New Thought,” “New Age” and “psychic.” Pick up your community alternative magazine or newspaper. You will quickly discover that the scant content between the covers is little more than filler to take up space that an advertiser has not bought.

Visit the next psychic fair that comes to your neighborhood. It’s literally a flea market of “spiritual” or “metaphysical” vendors selling you everything from Kirlian photography, tarot reading, palmistry and other pseudo sciences. Crystals, Amulets and biofeedback machines that read and realign your chakras and other devices are among the many products you will find at these places. Make no mistake these are all products and services even though they are wrapped up in a so-called spiritual package

I suspect that some of the items or services for sale are nothing more than the conjurations of some charlatan’s imagination. Some may sincerely believe in what they do, but still others take advantage of the credulous nature of the spiritual speaker desiring to tap into the market of post modern spirituality. There are millions of dollars for people to be made bilking people out of their hard earned money. However, I don’t feel sorry for most of these fools. They deserve to lose their money if they abdicate rational thought.

Spirituality is just another casualty of rampant consumerism. Enlightenment, happiness and serenity can be purchased – sometimes at surprisingly arrogant prices. Perhaps, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad and Zoroaster had it all wrong. Repackaged versions of their ideas and teachings fetch pretty nice prices among those who look for truth outside themselves (even though they believe they are taking an inner journey).

There are many who are fleeing one of the many oppressive and repressive forms of Christianity. But, they replace one set of absurd beliefs with another that is equally, if not more, fanciful and preposterous than what they left behind. Others make hybrid religions out of their native faiths by picking and choosing from the plethora of spiritualities available to them. They behave like a morbidly obese man at a buffet who piles up his plate with fried foods leaving the fruits and vegetables for other more healthy individuals.

The post modern seeker confuses credulity for being open minded. Many incorrectly assume that an atheist can not have a deep and rich inner life. They falsely believe that the fantasies they take for reality are necessary to psychological and emotional growth.

The seeker fails to see through their own self deception. They accuse the skeptical of not having an open mind. But, an open minded person with any integrity will allow for the possibility of new ideas provided that they can be asserted with some empirical evidence. In the absence of such evidence they must remain skeptical. Saying that something is “beyond science” or “to be taken on faith” is not acceptable.

In the absence of information the open minded person says, “I don’t know.” The open minded person does not need to be entertained to feel better. This life is enough and what they do while they are here is more important then what may occur in some future, untenable afterlife that they have no proof of. The open minded person is free of the mental virus that plagues so many spiritual seekers. They don’t mistake the phenomenon for the thing itself.

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