Conspirituality

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Conspirituality is a neologism portmanteau describing the overlap of conspiracy theories with spirituality, typically of New Age varieties.[1][2] Contemporary conspirituality became common in the 1990s.[3]

Characterization[edit]

The Zeitgeist Movement, an activist group, has been called a part of the conspirituality movement.

The term was coined for the 2011 study "The Emergence of Conspirituality" by sociologists Charlotte Ward and David Voas published in the Journal of Contemporary Religion. They characterized the movement as follows:

"It offers a broad politico-spiritual philosophy based on two core convictions, the first traditional to conspiracy theory, the second rooted in the New Age: 1) a secret group covertly controls, or is trying to control, the political and social order, and 2) humanity is undergoing a 'paradigm shift' in consciousness. Proponents believe that the best strategy for dealing with the threat of a totalitarian 'new world order' is to act in accordance with an awakened 'new paradigm' worldview."[4]

A 2020 opinion piece in ABC Australia said that, as with other extremist movements, the conspirituality narrative portrayed its followers as more enlightened than mainstream society and prone to persecution due to their awareness of the "real truth".[5] Ward and Voas considered the combination of optimistic, holistic New Age culture and pessimistic, conservative conspiracy culture to be paradoxical.[3] Conspirituality includes the "dark occulture" of conspiracy culture.[6] The uniting philosophy of conspirituality movements is a belief that society is under the covert control by a group of elites, and that it can be emancipated from that control by a "paradigm shift in consciousness that harnesses cosmic forces".[5] The appeal of conspirituality is the narcissistic idea of being the one to unravel the true explanations for all that is wrong in the world.[7]

Alex McKeen, writing in The Toronto Star, says:

Conspiritualists share a conviction that enlightenment exists in a dimension that is separate and above politics, science and everything as banal as “three dimensional” human concerns (a common spirituality trope is reaching five-dimensional consciousness). Once you experience it — and it’s a subjective, private experience — you can’t relate anymore in “3D.”[8]

Asbjørn Dyrendal counters that combining conspiracy theory with New Age spirituality is not new, and that Western esotericism is inherently suspicious. Both conspiracy culture and esotericism emphasize secrecy and the revelation of higher knowledge. He identifies Marta Steinsvik, Alf Larsen, Bertram Dybwad Brochmann, and neo-paganism as early examples of the promotion of alternate spirituality and conspiracy theory.[3] Jules Evans, an honorary research fellow at the Center for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary University of London, identifies an overlap between alternative spirituality and far-right populism among traditionalists.[7]

Ward and Voas said that sometimes those with New Age beliefs are more prone to thinking like conspiracy theorists.[1][4] The study describes The Zeitgeist Movement, an activist group, as being a part of the conspirituality movement.[4] Conspirituality has been linked to the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon and COVID-19 conspiracy theories,[1][2] as well as the Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute (MISA)[9] and the New Age religious movement Love Has Won.[8] Online yoga and wellness communities have seen members posting conspiracies about Covid-19, masks, and QAnon-related child exploitation claims.[10][11] 9/11 conspiracy theories spread through new age communities such as "lightworkers" and "indigo children".[8] Anthropologist of religion Dr. Adam Klin-Oron says that in Israel, "we are seeing people who used to talk about ‘love’ and ‘light’ standing shoulder to shoulder with those who believe there is a ring of pedophiles that drink the blood of babies".[12]

In Norway, the online magazine Nyhetsspeilet [no] (The News Mirror) has been described[who?] as the "flagship of conspirituality". Its goal for "triple awakening" focuses on consciousness and spirituality, extraterrestrial visitors, and New World Order conspiracy theories.[3] The Conspirituality podcast updates listeners on the intersection between the "wellness" industry and conspiracy theories, referring to it as "disaster spirituality".[13]

People described as members of the movement[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Love, Shayla (2020-12-16). "'Conspirituality' Explains Why the Wellness World Fell for QAnon". Vice News. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  2. ^ a b Halafoff, Anna; Weng, Enqi (2020-10-13). "COVID-19 and "(con)spirituality"". ABC News. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  3. ^ a b c d e Dyrendal, Asbjørn (2015). "Norwegian 'Conspirituality' A Brief Sketch". In James Lewis (ed.). Handbook of Nordic new religions. Boston: Brill. pp. 268–290. ISBN 978-90-04-29244-4. OCLC 910964138.
  4. ^ a b c Ward, Charlotte; Voas, David (2011-01-01). "The Emergence of Conspirituality". Journal of Contemporary Religion. 26 (1): 103–121. doi:10.1080/13537903.2011.539846. S2CID 143742975.
  5. ^ a b c "The pandemic has provided fertile conditions for conspiracy theories and "conspirituality" in Australia". ABC Australia. October 13, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Lewis, J.R.; Tollefsen, I.B. (2016). The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements: Volume II. Oxford Handbooks. Oxford University Press. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-19-061152-1. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Meltzer, Marisa (March 29, 2021). "QAnon's Unexpected Roots in New Age Spirituality". The Washington Post Magazine. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c McKeen, Alex (February 27, 2021). "The rise of 'conspirituality'". The Toronto Star. ProQuest 2493855989.
  9. ^ Thejls, Sara Møldrup (2015). "MISA and Natha". In James Lewis (ed.). Handbook of Nordic new religions. Boston: Brill. pp. 62–76. ISBN 978-90-04-29244-4. OCLC 910964138.
  10. ^ Roose, Kevin (September 15, 2020). "Yoga Teachers Take On QAnon". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  11. ^ "Why are women more hesitant to get the Covid-19 vaccine?". The Irish Times. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  12. ^ Benjakob, Omer (April 21, 2021). "Iranian Accounts, Russian Tactics and Q". Haaretz. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  13. ^ Phillips, Charlie (April 16, 2021). "Podcasts of the week". The Guardian. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  14. ^ Bernard, Nathan; O'Brien, Andy (2020-11-09). "Dr. No". Mainer. Archived from the original on 2020-11-09. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  15. ^ Jerry, Jonathan (2020-11-19). "The Clown Prince of Wellness". Office for Science and Society. Retrieved 2021-01-18.