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Exploring Life
and the Human Condition

What is the New Age Movement?
Emerging from the counterculture of the 1960s, the New Age movement has quickly integrated into mainstream culture, incorporating elements such as energy healing, crystals, and plant-based medicine. However, defining the New Age movement is challenging due to its lack of core beliefs, with the common premise being that life extends beyond physical matter. Unlike traditional religions, which have foundational figures and codified teachings, the New Age movement is characterised by a diverse array of practices without a formalised structure. This autonomy allows each individual to determine their own beliefs and practices, resulting in a movement that rejects institutionalised authority. The New Age movement can be seen as an attempt to develop a religion free from the constraints and failures of organised religions, reflecting a desire to explore divinity without the perceived failings of authority.
Mistaking External Actions for Internal States of Being
Careful reflection may illuminate the inherent challenge of understanding the true reality of others, highlighting the limitations of relying solely on observable behaviours to infer internal states. Drawing upon René Descartes' philosophical distinction between mind and body works underscores the impossibility of directly observing the thoughts and emotions of others. In religious contexts, where external practices may not necessarily indicate deep spiritual connection, this suggests that mysticism offers a path beyond behavioural aspects of religion.
What Medusa Shows Us About Our Fears
Mythology, spanning cultures and centuries, remains deeply ingrained in human society, offering insights into the human condition across time. Joseph Campbell posits that myths guide individuals through life's trials, suggesting their enduring relevance. Sigmund Freud proposes that mythology mirrors psychological processes, transforming metaphysics into metapsychology. Examining the Greek myth of Perseus and Medusa through a psychological lens reveals it as an internal journey of confronting personal demons. Just as Perseus avoids direct confrontation with Medusa, individuals must face inner turmoil with introspection and courage. Freud's notion of dreamwork parallels Perseus's indirect encounter with Medusa, suggesting that symbols and metaphors illuminate subconscious aspects. Yet, acknowledging and overcoming personal demons require more than intellectual understanding; it demands experiential confrontation. Mythological tales, such as the Jewish legend of Pardes, caution against ignorance of inner challenges. Embracing the journey, akin to Perseus's quest, allows individuals to craft their mythology, but heedlessness risks profound harm. Thus, mythology underscores the importance of wisdom and humility in confronting one's fears.
What Is Religion?
The term 'religion' finds its roots in 'religate,' meaning to bind together, depicting it as a framework explaining the connection between humanity and divinity. This connection relies on the existence of a soul, the essential, immaterial part that endures beyond the body's death. Without a transcendent foundation, religion loses its deeper meaning, reduced to one of many considerations in earthly life. The idea of a greater order, beyond human comprehension, parallels how science envisions a pre-universe existence without space, time, or matter. Religion, then, is seen not as a destination but a pathway to a greater truth, bridging the gap between humans and the transcendent. Arguments against religion often challenge its fundamental premise, positing a purely materialistic explanation for existence. While some critique religion based on its followers' actions, the essence of the truth it seeks to convey remains distinct from its flawed human representations.
Albert Einstein on Science and Religion
Albert Einstein's writings reveal a nuanced perspective on religion, distinguishing between various stages of religious thinking. For Einstein, religion goes beyond an acknowledgement of human limitations; it is a devotion to something greater than the self. He views great moral teachers as artistic geniuses in the art of living, suggesting that religiosity is not just a stated belief but an inseparable part of how one perceives and lives life. Religion, according to Einstein, is meant to be lived and demonstrated rather than merely professed as an idea.
Oedipus, the Godfather, and Fate
The stories of Oedipus and Michael Corleone from 'The Godfather' contain parallels in the protagonist's attempts to avoid a prophesied or envisioned fate, only to inadvertently fulfil it. However, their denials lead them to become enmeshed in the very outcomes they sought to avoid, suggesting a deep psychical conflict and a tendency for the denied aspects of oneself to shape one's life. As such, we can see such stories as demonstrating the importance of confronting and acknowledging undesirable aspects of oneself to prevent them from influencing our life in unexpected ways.

Rethinking Karma
The common understanding of karma is as a concept tied to the consequences of one's actions, where good deeds lead to positive outcomes and vice versa. Drawing from Hinduism and Buddhism, a deeper reading reveals that the word's meaning lies in the belief of reincarnation and the cycle of rebirth driven by unresolved karma. Contrary to the simplistic notion of good actions attracting favourable circumstances, karma can be seen as a reflection of a of deep misunderstanding about the nature of reality. In this context, good karma is defined as actions that release one from the illusion of individuality, while bad karma reinforces a sense of separation. The example of winning the lottery is used to illustrate how an apparent stroke of good fortune may, in fact, be detrimental in perpetuating individualism. Ultimately, this leads to a nuanced reflection on the nature of desires and their alignment with what is genuinely beneficial.

What happens when one of the most penetrating minds of the twentieth century seeks to uncover what causes illnesses not of the physical body, but of the human psyche itself? While Sigmund Freud considered himself a pioneer, shedding light on aspects of the human mind hitherto hidden, he nevertheless saw himself as a follower of science, basing his conclusions on observation and reasoning. Yet for many centuries it was not through the insights of science which human beings sought to understand themselves, but through the teachings of religion. In particular, the story of Adam and Eve holds prominence in Western thinking. Yet the avowed atheist Freud had not found anything new, he merely rediscovered through science what religion knew all along.

The unexamined life is not worth living.
Socrates, Greek Philosopher.