Monday, February 23, 2009

New Age Rhetoric

Have faith. Trust in the process. Go with the flow.

I have heard these phrases quite often in the last few months, and each time I hear them I cringe inwardly. I don't understand how one can accept any of the three as a standard by which to live one's life. To me, when brought to their ultimate conclusion, all three presuppose mindless submission and result in the deferral of personal responsibity.

Have faith.

Submit to God. It is God's will. Do not question or rationalize. I think this is a dangerous ideology to live by, and in embracing such an ideology, not only is one doing oneself a disservice, but one is learning nothing from the teachings of the Bible. One example where mindless submission is averted in the Bible can be found in the book of Exodus. Moses ascended the mountain to have a conversation with God and codify His laws. He returns to the people, and finds that everyone is engaging in unacceptable behaviour, worshipping idols and whatnot. Now, Moses was angry, but his anger was nothing compared to the wrath of God. I mean, dude was pissed. He told Moses he was going to send floods and pestilence and destroy the people, saving only Moses and his kin. Moses objected to this. He questioned God's plan, rationalized the situation, and voiced an objection. What was the result? The Bible says: "And God changed His mind." (Anecdote taken from Jon).

Trust in the process.

What process? What does this even mean? It seems to me to be nothing more than rhetoric used to justify inaction. I could be wrong, and if I am misinterpreting this, please let me know.

Go with the flow.

Conform. Don't fight against the social tide. Don't question. Don't object. This is one of the worst phrases I have ever heard, and really, it terrifies me that so many people have chosen it as a type of mantra. Even if the flow is not a social flow, even if the "flow" is the flow of energy inside an individual, it is still a frightening ideology. One should be particularly cautious of one's own drives; questioning the Self is the only thing that can lead one onto the Noble Eightfold Path.

If, then, I have rejected these ideas, with what do I replace them? Surely, if one has uprooted an ideology, something must take its place; afterall, re-creation is indeed the most important aspect of destruction. Well, then, if replace it I must, the only doctrines I can think of are: reason, rationality, and justified objection.