"To know that a person is in some sense 'religious' is not as important as to know the role religion plays in the economy of his life." (Allport, 1967)
Reflections that fit on the individual level
The view of psychological problems and the help you can get shows great variation in the material. Many have sought help themselves at some point, even in ordinary psychotherapy, and speak positively about this. The notion that psychology would need to be supplemented with a spiritual perspective, which takes into account, among other things, things such as telepathic influences of various kinds and past lives, is shared by the majority of respondents.
How is it a smorgasbord?
Personally, I see new age/newness as a homogeneous phenomenon (Granqvist, Hammer). Objections can be raised against this. The very impression the phenomenon makes, with all its different practices and colorful expressions bewilders. It is necessary to arrange the different pieces in some kind of hiearki (Granqvist), then it turns out that there is a core that many, if not all, share. Holism, individualism, eternal life via reincarnation, development towards perfection via karma, etc.
But new age/newness is, of course, an interest that different individuals devote different amounts of time to, and where the interest becomes other exclusively to different degrees, and in different ways, and with different degrees of commitment. In this sense, it is a "smorgasbord", you might say.
That you believe what you want, study and understand the world and yourself through Alice Bailey and her channeled "Tibetan", Djwal Khul, or something else, that is not really what is important (as in the Alport quote), that is what "role it all plays in the individual's internal economy". And how can it be determined? And are there any such individual differences "behind" the on the surface consistent interview responses and the doctrine that all encompass.
Is there a variable that hides behind the similar notions?
Ambivalence? Symbolization skills? Ability to feel guilty? Paradoxical ability? White thinking? Type of defense? Adolescent thinking?
If justified and seems to fit in: Present a model based on the capacity to endure, be able to digest, even welcome and/or be close by contradictory or complex information, contradictory impulses, observations of oneself?
Thought behind the "individual section"
So far, the study has tried to capture and describe the imagination of followers of new age/newness as a group and tried to say something about the atmosphere and peculiarities, which distinguish it from other kinds of spirituality. The ambition of the following section is to try to say something at the individual level about the material. However, this is done with a very light hand.
In this part of the discussion, we will try to see if it is possible to find any "markers" in the result that may indicate that behind seemingly similar perceptions there is still some kind of variation that is relevant to consider. An attempt to see the result from a different perspective, "across the way". Is there such a thing in the material that suggests that similar perceptions can be expressed at different levels of maturity?
If the respondents differ in any other respect, other than reincarnation/karma/perfection?
In the material there are both similarities and differences represented. We have described this at the group level. A lot is common, as was expected. But the impression of the interviews is that there is some other variable in the material that makes the fears or criticisms that can be directed against the new age/ newness, its "pressure" against "regression" – and to which the supporters are assumed to be exposed to a greater extent than, for example, religious in general – be experienced or handled differently by different followers.
Is it possible to find a marker in how followers present their outlook on life and reason based on the questions in the interview, which can make this difference visible? One hypothesis is followers may differ in capacity for "tolerance of ambitguity".
Being involved in new age/newness and having this as an explanatory model and source of inspiration makes it potentially more difficult to live an adult life, to reconcile over time with the conditions of life. "Tolerance of ambiguity" is the variable that accounts for outcomes in adult adaptive ability, when the degree of engagement and conviction in the worldview is the same for two people. (Technically)
The following is a hypothesis: When the degree of engagement or "staining" of the worldview is the same in two individuals, then the degree of ambivalence or "paradoxical capacity" is what determines whether and to what extent the individual can live a good life.
OV=degree of "staining" or commitment to imagination (low-common superstition, compared to, for example, high-my respondents)
OV=degree of coherence of the doctrine itself (e.g., being able to explain why "all is very good", solves theodicé problem in an intellectually convincing way: low-Christianity, medium-"gnosticism", high MK)
OV=degree of maturity on the P-axis
BV=level of 'paradoxical' capacity along the S axis
BV=degree of suffering (but the one with natural borderline spirituality does not suffer?)
At Fowler's? OV=
What does it mean that behind similar beliefs there can be another variable? That the performances are so widespread among people in general (ref). That thoughts of reincarnation and karma are so common in other cultures that it's hard to claim it as dys-functional.
You need to pay attention to things like "normalization." Does a new age/new belief mean a greater strain or delusion than conventional Christianity? Both can be argued. However, it is probably not possible to argue that certain beliefs, such as reincarnation, automatically cause problems. Half the world's population embraces this notion to some degree.
Freud believed that religion had a way of escaping from the demands of adulthood. Similarities with the child's experience were introduced as arguments: To submit to a parent figure who is powerful to much, the magical thinking, etc. (ref). In the discussion above, the world of newness has been compared based on authors such as Werbart, Faber, Elkind and others, and some features have been pointed out that have similarities with children's and young people's world of thought.
Here we will see if the respondents differ in any other respect than in terms of the conviction of reincarnation/karma/perfection?
In addition, we may need to put the existential conditions within "quotation marks". That is to say, even if one imagines an afterlife and then at least on a superficial level is on a collision course with the condition of human mortality, such a conception can still occur at different levels of maturity. With the perception of our "mortality", as an example: Similar perceptions can here hide different levels of maturity, as well as different perceptions on the issue (e.g. Christian, atheistic, or new age/new age) can be expressions of similar maturity!
Materialistic-atheistic-scientific beliefs are not autmatically more mature. Although there may be a correlation at the group level.
What is meant by the maturity of personality based on psychoanalytic theory? What are its characteristics? (Werbart)
(Symbolization skills? Paradoxical capacity (Akthar)? Degree of 1/v thinking? Adolescent thinking and thinking? Type of defense? )
In short, the hypothesis is that the individual can read any books she wants (e.g., Alice Bailey and her channeled "Tibetan," Djwal Khul) and want to describe her beliefs and the future and state of the world almost anyway (at the surface level). That is not really what is important. But as in the Alport quote, it is what "role it all plays in the individual's internal economy" that matters.