Friday, September 02, 2005

What?! How Much Do You want for that?


Do you have to be stupid to be into New Age interests? Do you have to be a shallow, unfocused, aimless individual who has to pay people to point you in the right direction?

I ask this question because having recently expanded the area of news gathering for my web site, UFO Review (http://www.uforeview.net), I have had to go on to several New Age sites looking for news stories. And the number of people offering courses for this and that, which all amount to fundamental personal development of one sort or another, all couched in airy fairy terms, is staggering.

We complain in Ufology about Snake Oil Salesmen. I love that term because it is quintessentially American but despite 3,000 miles of water, the meaning is still very clear. We moan about charlatans and other creeps but it seems to me that the only area within Ufology where there appears to be some anxiety to relieve large numbers of folk of their easily earned cash is in the area of remote viewing, where courses are biggish business. It's true some might complain about conference prices or the hard sell that goes on at many of them, but, and this is a matter of opinion, I think we get off fairly lightly.

But New Age commerce is very different. Here people are sold a life style and even the trading name "has to be right". Anything with a hint of native American is in while calling yourself Michael Jones might not produce a livable wage. It's all so cynical and so obvious and rather off putting and yet you've got to assume that if there wasn't a market, these people wouldn't proliferate as they do.

So, am I begging for their removal? Do I despise them? No. They're entitled to try to make a living and no one's holding a gun to the heads of their customers. Are they taking advantage of fragile personalities? Possibly, but, as with mediums, if folk get comfort from such things, who are we to judge? So what exactly am I whining about?

The cynicism of it all. Why? Branding and marketing goes on everywhere so why should the New Age arena be any different? Ah, got it now. New Agism is about errrr, it's about em, purity? Honesty. Kindness. Thoughtfulness. Consideration. Taking care of honest to goodness things like this planet. All these concepts are of the highest moral standing and status and should not be soiled by being tarred with money. Money is dirty and disgusting because.............well because it is. It brings out the worst in people.

Gee, I'm real glad I got all that sorted out. I was struggling for a minute there.

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