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Author Topic: The term 'New Age' and criticism  (Read 16811 times)
catja6
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« Reply #9: January 24, 2009, 01:45:56 pm »



The context I've always understood it in is that "New Age" involves an appropriation, by Westerners, of non-Western stuff.  As Marilyn says, it started in the Victorian era, with the expansion of the Empire to places like India; India was the "OMG so MYSTICAL" antidote to rationalist, mechanized Victorian culture.  A useful shorthand is that Neo-Pagans looked to the pasts of Western cultures, while New Age sorts looked abroad, to the East (Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) and far West (First Nations people).  A good chunk of New Age concepts come from strains of Hinduism and Buddhism.  Some of it is harmless -- the Western craze for yoga, for example, begun with New Agers.  But some of it is not so harmless. 

New Age stuff tends to have far more potential to be actively offensive and downright racist, because it involves ripping stuff out of context from *still-living* cultures and people, people who are minorities in the West.  If you misrepresent, say, the beliefs of the Vikings or ancient Greeks, it's annoying and you'll piss off people who know something about history, but it isn't contributing to the real world problems of living people the way "plastic shamans" and the like do.   
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