- Interviews 2009-2010
- I. Background and relationships
- Ii. Ideological residency and practice
- Iii. Destiny and life laws
- Iv. God or a larger, orderly body
- v. Health, ill health and care
- we. Faith and knowledge
- Vii. Visions and goals of the future
- Summary i-vii
"I'm not a believer, you can't say. But what am I?"
What the interviewees say about how they view science and the church. What the interviewees say about knowledge and belief. What the interviewees say about alternative paths to knowledge or certainty.
Science and academia
The older scientific paradigm is atheistic and materialistic. This is limited and needs to be expanded, rather than replaced, with the perspectives that the new spirituality represents.
Am I the result of brain activities as science claims? For me, it's… I cannot accept that explanation. There is no basis for that explanation. There are no activities in the brain that create the self. I see it the other way around, as if the self… Through the self, it is expressed… The self expresses itself through the activities of the brain.
Being a scientist does not have to be contrary to having a spiritual interest. And conversely, atheism is, in fact, a dogma. Isaac Newton, for example, was open to the occult and deeply religious, while he was a scientist. In his day, the individual risked being burned at the stake if he did not believe in God, whereas today it is the other way around, metaphorically speaking, a respondent points out.
One of the interviewees says that Western philosophy has little to offer and that it even resists the search for the answers to the really important questions: "Western philosophy it always wants to pull down. They don't want to know the big questions. Prove that they are meaningless or uninteresting, or misconceptions or something like that. This has been done since the Enlightenment." At the same time, the new spirituality would also have something to gain from a meeting and cooperation:
Many in the New Age perhaps for some good reason reject the academic world as a rather dead institution. They are doing their extremely advanced but lifeless teachings that say nothing about life, and have nothing to give man in any deeper sense, but just keep up with their hard-nosed theories. But I still think that's the way we have to go. I don't want a saber. Someone like this who says that no, we shouldn't engage in critical thinking, just fly out. Without it, it has to enter… That's where, in fact, I still believe that academia is God's tool to clear thoughts of garbage. And it will take time. But it has to get in there. And it has to get out of there. It's hard for me to accept those who want to reject the academic. We must dare to put it to trial, and be prepared for it.
Respondents' interest in physics, astronomy, etc.
Most respondents also get into aspects of the conventional natural sciences that interest them, such as physics and astronomy. Steven Hawkins is mentioned with appreciation, as is Albert Einstein. Einstein said he was a believer:
I just finished reading Stephen Hawkins this summer. He has written one or two popular science books where he talks about the universe, and about black holes, and the stars and everything, in a very exciting way. And what goes again where it goes again even in this spiritual reasoning, somehow. Einstein believed in God and the Creator and so on. Yes, it's very interesting actually. A lot of what people have denied… Or a lot, now it sounds like I know and know everything, but… There's a possibility, I think, that… Or at least there will be evidence of, or investigated, in some way.
References to the greatness of space often appear in the interviewees' description of their spiritual interest and the understanding this has given them:
If you start thinking about our smallness, it's so breathtaking if you think about the universe and how pitiful… If the universe is 7.5 billion years old, and we live for 75 years, so it's like nothing, it's just so laughable, it's not even a drop in the ocean.
One of the interviewees recently saw a picture of the Crabb Nebula on the internet. Reminders of the size of the universe make things like spiritual levels of evolution and forms of existence feel less unlikely:
I rolled out that picture and looked at it. That's only a fraction of the universe. Which is so incredibly large and complex… So I thought, what the hell is all this for something. Here we are, thinking and… It must be much more than we can imagine at all. Then there must also be levels of development that are both lower than ours and higher than where.
This connection between the broad perspective of the new spirituality and astronomy can also be staggering in a painful way:
It depends on how seriously you take your worldview. Reincarnation and Karma. If you really want to take it seriously, it turns the cosmos upside down. And that's a pretty heavy part, to work with mentally. What kind of world do I live in, including galaxies and stars?
Many words and concepts that appear in the interview responses have a rational or scientific connotation: laws, principles (as in "the slaying principle"), working hypothesis, frequencies, geometry, scales, systems, energies, light, perspective, atoms, hindsight, logic, synchronicity, talent cores, fractals, holograms, dimensions, chemistry ("chemistry of thoughts"), resonances, such as the chemistry of the mind. That we see loved ones life after life works as with "radio transmitters and receivers". One respondent says, speaking of a phenomenon that science so far neglects, that "one must never despise empiricism". Talents and qualities bring ourselves into the new life. Such things can be seen as our own "spiritual DNA": "It's something you take with you. So it's… What to call it… a kind of psychic DNA, or spiritual DNA, howver you want to call it." Past-life memories that are perceived to explain problems in this life can also be "metaphors". The answers and explanations that come with the new spirituality can be used as a working hypothesis:
There are too many things that just can't be ignored, I think. You can take it as a working hypothesis, if you now work according to scientific research methods, you can have it as a working hypothesis. This can explain a lot of what otherwise cannot be explained.
However, such a spiritual working hypothesis can be difficult to abandon when deviant data become known, one of the respondents admits: "Any deviation from the first working hypothesis one takes on board is very difficult to manage."
Religion and the Church
Religion is also an outdated paradigm. Christianity has had a mission to fulfill, at a time when people had no ability to absorb more advanced answers to the big questions. However, new discoveries, such as in quantum physics, have made old explanations insufficient and the questions are pushing for other answers. The Church and its representatives find it difficult to answer certain rescues people come up with or to explain certain phenomena. They like to argue that God's ways are inexhaustible, which is not correct from a new perspective.
All in all, the criticism is against the Church's teaching that this doctrine is simplistic. Christianity is too narrow and narrow. To begin to take an interest in the new worldview can be likened to "coming out of the box". Throughout history, religion has been the basis of many wars, dictatorships and other kinds of systems that oppressed people, which shows that religion is also a potentially very dangerous phenomenon.
An initially pure impulse may have been distorted over the years:
When such a spiritual impulse comes when it eventually becomes a world religion, it is a person who presents his doctrine to disciples or followers in a fairly pure way… And then eventually it becomes in history, so to speak, it becomes a little watered down.
The church's rituals are described as outdated: "In general, I find this formalized, all these rituals. It feels very mossy and old-fashioned to me." "For me, the church has been very marked by guilt and… That boring sin, very much like that." Priests may be too preoccupied with what they want to say and insensitive to how visitors to the Church perceive it: "Skip this with sin and forgiveness and garbage, and so actually talk about life and love, and where to go and what to think about."
One of the respondents describes how her image of Jesus has changed:
Yes, I've never had a relationship with Jesus, because I've thought he… No it was too painful, and too much sin and guilt, somehow, associated with it… But then… And then I felt so strongly that he was actually there nearby, he WAS there with me, somehow. And then I just felt so liberated by it.
One of the respondents describes herself as very religious, but says she has never felt at home in church. She grew up in a Christian family and, growing up, was very involved in church activities. But eventually she got tired of the intrigues and, for example, the resistance that existed against female priests. She described this as "insanely petty." The Church of Sweden's narrow view of homosexuality prompted another of the interviewees to request an exit from there. This approach was perceived as such a major error of thought that the interviewee no longer wanted to be a part of this or contribute his tax money. The fact that the Church of Sweden has now reassessed the view of homosexuality and allows same-sex marriage sees the same respondent as a development in the right direction.
Several of the respondents highlight things they appreciate about the church, such as music and stillness. The church room itself is described as an oasis, beautiful and peaceful. In a church, you can also experience community. The Church as an institution still has an important role to play in society. An example of this is how it can bring people together after a major accident or disaster. The Church is a great forum, an institution that people need, after all. However, priests need to update themselves and gain an understanding of the new perspectives. There are also good priests, who, for example, begin to question the doctrine of sin. The church can function as an oasis, for example when there has been a disaster:
If there's an accident, a disaster, you go to church. Somehow it gives the people security, somehow, and it's quiet, and it's nice, and it's beautiful, and peaceful. And I think we need that oasis somewhere. But of course, there shouldn't be a priest who stands and grinds like.
The church has also changed over time. It has had to give up its absolute claim that the Bible should be the word of God. This is to "be part of the intellectual game." To live in a country as secular as Sweden is seen as a positive thing.
The Bible has been distorted throughout history. Above all, it is the Catholic Church that is responsible for this. The Church has edited what is to be included in Jesus' teaching. The reason for this has been that they wanted to safeguard their own power, to reserve the right to issue indulgences, etc. Another motive has been to maintain a patriarchal order.There are other gospels, even one written by a woman, who have been suppressed. An important, alternative gospel is the Gospel of Thomas, which was found back in the 1940s, but then hidden away by the Catholic Church for forty years. What is so inconvenient about this particular gospel is that it says nothing about sin. In the Gospel of Thomas, the focus is instead on love. Sin is something that the men of the Church have found to keep the people at bay:
It's really true that there are other gospels that tell us other things. Thomas, there is, and then there's some woman, too, who's written in other ways. But the Catholic Church has wanted to keep this patriarchal as well as the view, where the women were invisible and yes full of sin /laughter/.
And it wasn't until the 80's that this was published, so for forty years the Church kept these hidden, because they didn't want it to come out [I: Why not then] No it overturns the power of the Church [I: How] Yes… The Bible is written many times by the Church. Yes… There is no sin… for instance. The church lives pretty well on it. Now is the time for the church to move on. The churches are empty. Why are they? Because they have nothing to give.
One respondent believes that what is in the Bible may have been corrected or adapted right from the start: "Yes, and it has had its function. What would Jesus have done for the people of that time? They did not have our concepts as we have today like that, so religion has been corrected to those who have embraced it."
But the Bible is or may even have been a source of inspiration for respondents. Many of them say that they have read it for some time, especially the New Testament. One of the respondents was influenced during his confirmation, primarily by the Gospels. However, he already felt that these were treated superficially in the teaching. The Bible feels dead, says another interviewee, it does not speak to her at all.
Jesus, et al.
The portal figures of the major world leagues, Buddha, Moses, and jesus in particular, are spoken of in many places and with respect: "Yes, someone understage what this is all about." At the same time, Jesus was an ordinary person, in parallel with performing miracles, one of the respondents points out. This is presented convincingly in a book by the author Marianne Fredriksson:
Marianne Fredriksson has written an exciting book about Mary Magdalene. It's worth reading. Jesus was an ordinary man. He had a family and he was… He did all this amazing, too, but… So the Church, and yes the Catholic Church above all, has chosen what should be in the Bible, and decent to it after its, yes…
The image of Jesus has several facets:
He doesn't judge anyone. He cares, even if they are miserable and thieves and bandits, so he doesn't judge, but actually engages with everyone. Then he bangs his fist on the table. What was that… The multitudes in the temple, or what was it… Wasn't it the case that… A trading place, or something like that. Then he was. So that he reacts and acts as well, when people don't do what they should do.
The interviewees show a great interest in theological issues. Christianity is often attacked with arguments of reason, such as the interpretation of Christ's death on the cross, or the notion of sin or guilt. There are many expressions from the Bible in the interview answers: To treat others the way you want to be treated; The law of sowing and harvesting; To turn the other cheek; It is in him that we move and are to, and: Whoever has him shall receive, and he who has not shall also get rid of what he does not have. Speaking of the personal relationship of God, an interviewee refers to "this Augustine thing", and in an argument about esoterics and exoterics, it is mentioned that Paul should have made a distinction between "giving milk and giving meat".
One of the respondents highlights the Christian expression "Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom", in which he believes there is a lot. He stresses, however, that this is an odd view for someone who has an interest in newness: "Yes, this fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, I lie low on that when I am in new-age circles. That's what the New Age wants. First of all, it belongs to the old, the old age."
A new paradigm
This spirituality that the interviewees embrace represents a new paradigm for how reality can be understood. This paradigm will eventually have greater and greater influence and eventually relieve the prevailing religious, scientific and, for example, psychological paradigms. The new worldview offers explanations of things that the older paradigms are uncomprehending about, need to resort to more far-fetched hypotheses to explain, or on which they claim there is not even an explanation. The newness has great explanatory potential: "You see everything in a big process and you see a pretty clear map of how it works." However, not many people are yet ready to embrace this new paradigm.
The transition to the new paradigm will take place on the day when science discovers and recognizes the existence of "higher laws of matter", that is, the spiritual aspect of existence, this which makes telepathy, etc., possible. Two hundred years ago, microorganisms were seen as "metaphysics", today this has become "mainstream". Normal science is about to make a similar discovery again. Science is not entirely wrong, it is more about what context its findings and observations are put into. Here the new spirituality can be helpful, a step along the way, to be able to see things in a new light. One of the respondents likens the new spirituality to a crutch, for the time being:
If materialism is not true, what is it like the rest, then it is there beyond… I don't think we need to abandon any of the scientific… Facts… But only the context in which we put them, we need to expand. And then the question is just like, well, okay, what's the bigger context, and that's like the QUESTION. And these answers that you can find in the new age, they are good because they help us… Well maybe it could be like this, well maybe I can stick to this for a while like, waiting for something better, or like… They give us some support along the way, a crutch.
How the conventional psychology views an individual's development is in principle true. However, this needs to include past lives to understand the full background. Newness is also not contrary to the conventional theory of evolution. This is also true in principle. What escapes the usual theory of evolution, however, is that it is the same individuals who are born time and time again, who make experiences and develop. Not only the individual develops, but the whole of humanity. Yes, in fact, all life, even the plants, will develop and eventually become humans. One of the respondents believes that it is possible to see "evolution itself as god's work… What's going on is a re-creation… From animals to humans."
The thoughts that exist within the new spirituality, about a collective unconscious, etc., may one day be supported even by mainstream science:
But today… if you then do as some new ageists make them interpret, for example, quantum physics or such things, or Jung for the part, in… So there are a lot of opportunities to get things like this in, like consciousness maybe being collective, for example, or there is a subconscious collective and such things. So I think that science will hopefully then maybe one day be able to study things like this in a more non-materialistic way, or that goes a little away from the classic as well as the perspective, that you are just a biological apparatus.
The older paradigms live on partly because we have become accustomed to looking at the world in a certain way:
Because we always have these glasses, and that's our… All our… Beliefs, huh… There is no good Swedish word. But that's what Set says… These beliefs are what shape that we create, and then we shape reality in that form. So we don't really see what's here. Because really, this is just energy, everything, but we… You know how the brain interprets… And then there are all our learned… Our whole culture, culture, everything. These are the glasses we're wearing.
There are researchers with a new understanding who will be able to make important contributions to the current science, e.g. to physics. One of the respondents mentions a researcher with his own laboratory in the US who will possibly succeed in formulating the "unit theory" that has eluded physicists for so long:
And there are those who believe that, well, he's right, as he can be the Einstein of the 21st century. Because he has continued… Einstein wasn't quite ready. They haven't gotten together. Einstein did not believe in quantum physics. Because it doesn't fit with relativity. And yet it is the same world. Our little world is made of this big one. All our atoms are in everything.
Humanity needs to get back to the "absolute truths," according to one respondent:
Basically, I don't think we'll get out of that. We have to dare to look for absolute truths, in order to have something to go on. All views are equally good said in postmodernism. Yes, except for the view that all approaches are equally good, because it is better. And you don't get out of those knots until you dare to think of absolute truths.
The major world religions have the same core, they all come from a kind of "degeneration" that existed at an early stage. People who become "enlightened" get an insight into this core and what they write and say is therefore very consistent, even if they formulate it in different ways. The new worldview is a representative of this original religion. In the future, all people will embrace this view of life. "For some people would say that but you compare world religions that cannot be compared at all. There is nothing in common between Buddha and Christ, and I mean that it does anyway." However, starting to search for the absolute truths can be dangerous, or at least their application may be. Yet that's where humanity needs to go:
And have you once dared to base ours on the fact that okay we are looking for something absolute, but we do not feel it… There is also a certain relaxation as well as in the soul. You can get out of this relative… Relative knowledge is a bit comfortable, but also always a little… Yes, but what is really true. If you dare to rest in ignorance of the absolute, you still have some kind of… Okay, I don't know what's absolutely true, but something has to be… There are things we don't know, you should be able to live with.
With postmodernism, the big ideas, the total ideologies, have perished. This is a hallmark of the time we are living in right now. One respondent points out that he takes a positive view of things like liberalism and pluralism, but that he nevertheless hopes and believes in a renaissance for a more cohesive idea of life. These absolute truths are, in fact, simple:
I think some of these truths are very simple. I think they exist today, but we find it hard to verbalize them. I think there's something in that that that it's better to forgive than to retaliate. We can't really… It has to be put into context, and do a lot of it, but some simple things I think we have… It's on the tracks, already there.I don't think it's just something remotely mysterious. And I think a lot of it is part of human knowledge in some way, but we find it very difficult to give it good words.
The new spiritual image of reality is very positive. This is described as "an unreserved positive perspective".
Faith and knowledge
Traditional religiosity or belief differs from newness in several ways. Faith is associated with the person not questioning, not thinking for himself, but only accepting what authorities say, as opposed to interested in the new spirituality who need logical reasoning to accept a claim. The new spirituality is understandable in terms of reason. Instead of accepting only certain dogmas, it is possible to examine for yourself what new writers and teachers claim to be true.
What can make someone a believer is a lack of security: "You are insecure in yourself, and then you seek safety in the outside world. A lot of people want fixed rules like this Bible, the Koran, or whatever you want… They need it. But I think it's because the internal structure isn't that strong."
Although religion teaches certain supernatural things, the believer is often content with these and regards other things, such as some that newness encompasses, as strange or improbable. This is because it does not say it in the Bible and cannot be "squeezed into this old one". Examples of things christians are inclined not to believe in are "out-of-body" experiences. However, being so faithful to a limited system of thought can come at a price for the believer, who runs the risk of becoming a divided person. The future may bring some new discoveries that the believer will then find difficult to integrate into his belief system. The hardest part will be for the most fanatical who even deny evolution and, for example, believe that dinosaurs wandered around here on Earth a few thousand years ago.
We say you're a Christian, for example, and then it says there and there and there in the Bible that you can't… or that doesn't exist, or it's dangerous and so on, then you'll start denying what you've experienced. And then you get like a divided person, it won't be a whole person, because then you have to be true to your old system. But you've experienced something that goes outside the box yourself, and you can't squeeze that into this old one. And if you are not prepared to give up your old structures, so to speak, but want to sit within that framework, then it is you free, because it should be all people free as well. But at the same time, how can you grow, like men… in the soul then. Because then you'll deny the experience you might have.
There are people with profound insights into life that they have not gained from studying, but through a kind of prophetic self-vision. These people can speak with great authority on existential and metaphysical issues. They are not like the priests, who only reproduce what is in the Bible or what they themselves believe and think. Those who, through their own experience, have gained an insight into the greatest perspectives know that it is a certain way. When you feel confident that a teacher or writer has such in-depth insight, then you can indist that it's probably true what that person says or writes. This can then become a conviction which, although not based on one's own experience, is nevertheless distinct from religious beliefs:
You are religious and go to church and pray to God, and this whole choir, and you are in the choir and yes everything they do in the church. You live in your little world, and you believe in God, you believe in Jesus, you believe in what is in the Bible. But believe me, you just think… Martinus, for example, he knows. So there's a difference. But I also think I know then, because I trust what Martinus writes. And everything I have read and everything I have done and everything I have experienced, the more suggest that Martinus is right than one has in church, with sin and such. So I think I know, I don't think so, no.
Since this is a conviction that can be confirmed, you cannot doubt the new worldview either. Through the study of new literature, it is possible to get an experience of coherence, that the sayings actually fit together. This is lacking in Christian theology, which is perceived to have many "loose ends". The new worldview is perceived as more solid. However, some new doctrines may be more coherent than others.
It also has to do with the fact that it is about FAITH, which is based on… based on an assumption with very loose grounds. And in my case, when it comes to hylozoics, it's a conviction that… A conviction based on… Assumptions based on conviction. To me, this makes perfect sense. It fits into my worldview, it fits into the science education and education that I have. And there is really nothing contrary to this belief, while the Christian faith it hangs on incredibly loose threads. It is contrary to all sense and reason, and science and everything, and then it is not so strange if you doubt there. While here… I mean, as I said, somewhere at the beginning, it would turn out that something is contrary to these theses, well then I'm prepared to reconsider that of course.
Own experiences of the supernatural also allow the individual to claim that he or she knows, no matter what others may think or think about this. However, it is understandable that others may doubt or be skeptical of what the individual claims is true on self-perceived grounds, but this need not affect one's own convictions:
For I have an understanding of people who do not believe in the spiritual and do not believe in spirit beings, or life before or after, as well as so… That you can talk to the dead and the spirits and so… It's pretty frustrating for me, who knows it is.
An interviewee describes a third position, in relation to the new ideas, which is neither faith nor knowledge:
I don't have faith like this and this, and I believe in this at all costs. So I really have nothing to doubt… If I was wrong, I was right. I'm not in a situation like that, I look at it and there is, but it's not something like that. I believe in this, if I was right, I was wrong. Without it… No, there is no such thing. On the other hand, I can feel… If you… I don't have a relationship with that or what to say.
The search can also be something that the individual has more or less been forced to do, via, for example, a life crisis: "I am not a natural seeker, but it was forced by circumstances. And as I said, as those circumstances are ringing, I have to constantly push myself to keep the search alive." It is possible to make a distinction between being a finder and being a seeker and possibly there are degrees between them:
Although I would say that I am a seeker more than a finder. I don't have a… I don't want to say that I have a fixed outlook on life that I think is true. And before you can land in some kind of… I haven't landed, I'm not looking to land. But you might still be able to find some kind of attitude in life so… It's not like landing so stable.
One of the respondents is interested in so-called conspiracy theories, but she points out that not all of them are to her liking. She distinguishes between those who seem sensible and others who aren't: "And then you can always have the skeptic radar on, because I've always had that… So you can weed out all the shit like…" One of the interviewees describes herself as skeptical and questioning and that this is an asset, for example, in the interaction with the thoughts and experiences that belong to her spiritual beliefs:
I'm so skeptical. But I also think it's good to be. And I also think I am because I also have a feeling that I'm going to get quite far in this life. I've done it now, but I'm going to go even further as I work on it. And I will. It is also good to be skeptical. And be able to question.
One of the respondents emphasizes that he needs his freedom of thought: "I think that has little to do with my orientation. I want my freedom of thought, I want it, wherever it comes." The fact that it would be possible to channel sometimes encounters criticism. An interviewee who is interested in one of these "channels" doesn't care so much about how it really is: "Then there are theories that it's only her subconscious that haunts, and then that it's really channeling. You can believe what you want about it, but it's interesting to read, it's really interesting what you want."
Alternative paths to knowledge or certainty
The interviewees mention several alternative routes to knowledge. For example, it is possible for a man, if the conditions are right, to gain deep insights into existence in a prophetic way. This path to direct knowledge, without going through studies, research, or experiments is likened, as mentioned earlier, to that person being "enlightened." Such a special comprehension is also called "intuition". The knowledge obtained in this way is of a high, pure, and complete character, and these individuals are self-written teachers in the spiritual field because they can see and understand things that ordinary people cannot see or understand. These individuals experience the "outcome of existence" themselves.
The conditions required to be "enlightened" have to do with certain experiences that that person has made in previous lives. It is a development issue. It is ultimately the development of everyone to experience this state. People like Jesus and Buddha were both such "enlightened" persons. The difference between this type of understanding and when you are referred to speculating or researching is like comparing the human comprehension with that of the animal, or as instead of just being able to weigh and measure the characteristics of a book, actually being able to read in it:
You can kind of analyze the paper, and count the letters, and weigh how much it weighs, and how long and big and all that stuff. Let me know a lot about this book, but nothing about what it's about. And like this intuition then, it's like the ability to read the language of existence. And then we ourselves will be able to experience as well as the eternal truths, so to speak.
The respondents give many examples of how they themselves have been able to get the correctness of the new worldview confirmed to them. For example, it is possible to test in one's everyday life the principles that the new spirituality describes. In this way, in some cases, a personal certainty is obtained that outweighs the usual opinion or what science means is possible or true. For example, if the individual focuses his thought on something that he wishes to obtain or achieve and this is then realized, it confirms that there are invisible ways to influence the world. With the help of a so-called "medium", it is possible to contact a relative who has died. One of the respondents has himself taken a course to develop such media ability and through this training received confirmation that the spirit world is real:
And then I trained with one of my fellow students from time to time… It's a man and I think he's wearing white pants, and so… I don't know what I said, if I said pantyhose or what I said, and I also thought that now I'm out on slippery ice, because one is so unsure of you… But right, she started crying. Then it's her dad, she's sure it's her dad.
It is possible to be enriched in an invisible way by another person's progress. One of the respondents describes how she captured what her mother went through in another place:
And I also feel that all the work she does, it generates positive for me. It was like a weekend so… It was like the divide or the moon… I just felt like, damn it, something huge has let me in. Just like you can feel if you've been on a good fucking course, or at a great healing session, when it's really let things go. Then you can feel this… Really this difference. Oh, damn, that's cool. I felt that. What the hell have I done for something? I haven't done anything, no. I haven't even meditated, what's it like… What's that? And then the same day, or the next day, I talked to my mom. And then she tells me that she's done the fucking thing on fredan, and let go of a giant thing. I just, well, okay. This is the first time I've really had it so proven that this is the case. The work she does it generates for me as well.
Several respondents testify about how they can live in situations, and feel compassion for people who experience something difficult, even though the respondents themselves have demonstrably not been close to experiencing something similar in this life. This is seen as confirmation that we have experience from past existences. A woman describes it this way:
Or like watching documentaries about things on TV. Sometimes you can feel… Oh, I'm really getting started on this. It could be something you've experienced yourself, right? Or that you think, yes, I know that. Like when you visit a city you've already seen, you think. Or that. But also that, yes, that… How the men are doing in the war, you know that. It's obvious what it feels like to be in the trenches. I know what it's like to be a man and be in jail and get fucking bullied for being weak, like. I know all about this.
It is also possible to communicate with animals and to know how they feel and how they feel about different situations. An interviewee has consulted an "animal communicator" to find out why her dog was so anxious. The communicator had then talked to the dog and was then able to reproduce important parts of the conversation:
Yes she was alone with N then, in the kitchen at home, and then she wrote down what they were talking about and then she read it to me later. I wasn't there then. It was really exciting. Well anyway, then she told this animal communicator about it, that she didn't like being alone, that she didn't trust me to come back, well I don't know everything she said. So that's great.
"Synchronicity" are meaningful coincidences that cannot be explained exhaustively with probability calculations or common sense. Such coincidences testify that we are more connected to each other than it may seem or what the conventional science claims. Behind certain events, it is possible to imagine an invisible planning. Some meetings may be perceived as meaning for them to take place:
I feel guided a lot. You meet the people you're going to meet, you get the meetings you're supposed to have. It could be… Everything can come to you, such as a book, so that you get a greater understanding of something you are in right now. All these synchronicities.
That trauma and the like in previous existences can cause symptoms and problems in this life, which can disappear by reliving the original experiences, is confirmation that these memories and experiences are genuine and that we have lived before. Several respondents mention that friends and relatives from past lives can often be recognized in the eyes when the people meet in the next life. Although the appearance changes, there is something about the individual's gaze that is constant, which can give a strong certainty that it is not the first time you have met that person:
There's a difference when you look in living life in the eye, than when you look at the photo. I had seen him in a photo. And I just said… Hey, Sune, I think I feel… Because he's into this, too. I feel like we've known each other before, I said. Yes, he said. So just… Yes /laugh/ Great fun. And then it was just so…
One of the respondents feels fortunate as she has had experiences of things that are out of the ordinary from childhood:
And then this thing with spirit contact and things like this, I have that in and of itself. So that I belong to these a little fortunate, I say, because my childhood was not fun, but on the other hand, it meant that my playmates were not playmates of a human being, but it was these little people then. In the woods or in the garden that I had. And I could even tell those classmates… To impress them… I could say this, that your room looks like this and that, even though I've never been there. And they thought it was scary, because I'd never been there. I have things like that, so my intuition is very strong in this case.
The fact that someone already as a child has experienced a strong resistance to eating meat is seen as a sign that these are experiences, or habits, they have brought with them from a previous life. This can be understood from the idea that at some point in their development everyone should develop such an aversion to eating meat:
I couldn't be in the kitchen if I saw raw meat, then I walked out of there. [Me: Yes. What do you think of that, I don't know. I think I've been a vegetarian in a previous life. [Me: Which explains why you] Yes, there I have… In fact, there are a few different things like… Meat was so clear. And then when I was sixteen, it was such a relief to become a vegetarian.
One respondent tells of the near-death experiences she had in surgeries. For her, these have confirmed that there is an existence after death:
Then I went through operations myself and got experiences, and then it becomes even more noticeable, because then you have not only read about it, but now I have experienced it myself… What it's like to die and enter a new world. And I did, I did two surgeries. And both times… As the staff said… We were losing you. And then I think like this, well then maybe that's the moment I disappeared into this other world… That it was a nice world.
Some reading experiences can be daunting. An interviewee tells us that many years ago he found a new book in a store, read a few pages and then laughed for a whole week. It was as if a weight had been lifted off his shoulders: "It was just the front page. It was like putting the key in the lock." The author of the book is the one who the respondent still, after several decades, thinks gives the best description of reality.
Criticism of newness
There are also many criticisms of newness and the new age. Such spirituality, for example, can be perceived as overly commercial, fuzzy, dogmatic or group-oriented. It is emphasized how a new world of imagination can sometimes lead to a simplified thinking. Supporters have then gone too far in their interpretations or generalizations. These species are not something that respondents want to be associated with. One of the respondents is interested in the "Law of Attraction" and the like, but she points out how some literature she has encountered handles these things in an overly banal way. That if you think about something, a certain car, for example, you should get it shortly: "Think about a car and it will be yours tomorrow approximately!" Such literature is described as "borderline cases". One of the respondents had considered putting her children in the Anthroposophic Walldorf school, but changed her mind when she saw the information material the school sent out:
I thought there was a lot of fear at that school. For example, they sent out a picture, a description of a child sitting on a rocking horse, a real toy horse like this and rode, and then there was a cross over it. That's wrong. There was a child sitting on a log. That's right, because then… And dolls shouldn't have faces either, because then… It was more right to sit on the log, because then the mind had to work, and you had to imagine that it was a horse. They promote the imagination. The man who was on the real horse didn't have to imagine, so it was bad. But of course it doesn't work, that the imagination stops, but the one who sits on that other horse, he continues to play that it is a real horse, or that he is out on some meadows or that he is in a situation… If he had a horse of flesh and blood, he would keep playing. The imagination does not stop with the objects, it is also an incredibly material view, I think.
When a certain ideology or certain ideas about what is right and wrong are overemphasize, it can resemble brainwashing, even within the new spirituality:
But I like… I like people that you see flaws, and I like… I like this, in both… All sorts of things like that, so you can see that… There is room to be human… And I don't like sitting like that… wet-in-wet in beautiful colors. And then it becomes very boring art. I think it's going to be like brainwashing, that everyone should be the same. I want the individual to come forward and do what they want.
One of the interviewees is interested in the UFO issue and is too likely to be visited by extraterrestrial civilizations. However, she objects to what she describes as "religious ufology":
There are many ufology societies that are very much into the divine… They are so divine and… No, I don't think… I believe in equals. Not this to look up to… Oh, they're gods. Then we'll end up in the same… We have a new Bible again.
A new doctrine can be more or less systematic or elaborate. Some directions are content with "let's worship the goddess again." One respondent, who reads very different literature in the new age area, notes that there is "a lot of rubbish" as well and that it is important to be able to sleep. There are course yards where the goal is for the participants to develop spiritual abilities. This can be misguided and even dangerous. Nyandligheten is an industry with many fortune seekers. A lot of it is about making money. The fact that the range is so "sprawling", for example in book boxes that sell such literature, is a sign of this, according to one respondent.
Personal problems can be understood too concretely, based on an imagined causality with causes in past lives. Reincarnation therapists tend to ignore the fact that there may be a symbolic dimension to what their clients tell us. They take it too literally. If I'm afraid of water, it doesn't have to mean I've drowned in a previous life. Such things can also have a symbolic meaning, one respondent points out, that it rather says something about how I am experiencing my life right now, that I may be "drowning mentally in my situation, of all demands".
Sometimes causal reasoning based on the law of karma becomes even cynical. If a three-year-old child is murdered, there are those who want to argue that then in a previous life that child should have killed a child who was three years old. This is certainly a possible reason, but it is unwise to latch on to this explanation. The Law of Karma teaches that man himself is responsible for how his life becomes. Nevertheless, it is possible to criticize this notion, according to which every human being is entirely the cause of his own destiny. The objections are not that it could not be true in principle, but that it can lead to a bad attitude if this is emphasised too much. It will be too selfish. After all, life is a relationship with others.
The claim that each "creates their own reality" can lead to a lack of empathy. If someone has been in a car accident, then it is insensitive to ask that person why she attracted that particular experience:
And now it's become a lot like this, you say with new-age people… "You create your own reality." And then this is going to be… Yes, someone has a car accident… Why did you create that for? So you have to blame yourself. I can't agree with that attitude… Some people think, "I don't have to worry about anyone else, I just have to worry about myself." Because I'm creating my reality. It's my world anyway.
In the short term, we cannot make very big changes in our lives, according to one respondent. The idea that "thought is creative" and the like is based on the assumption that existence is built in an arbitrary way, which it is not. One of the respondents describes certain parts of the new age as "a subjectivist swamp" that he personally wants nothing to do with. When people remember past lives then it is often in the form of celebrities and great figures from the history of the world, which indicates that there may be an element of self-deception in the whole thing. The idea that you can attract or attract anything, just by focusing on it, is all too simple:
The Secret is on it, it's great poppis like this in new age huh… And you can wish for exactly what you want, and you get it, because the universe is like a big candy factory, and so just wish… If you want enough, like this… Because you are creating your reality. I think that's only one half of the equation.
I don't give a about it, and they have to blame themselves. And it doesn't matter anyway, because everything exists and everything… and blablabla. If you use this philosophy, it's like a copout. You run.
The interest in finding out who you've been in a previous life is in itself suspicious and there's room for a lot of self-deception:
I would say that the interest in… this slightly romantic interest in past lives and so, what, speculation about it, it's very much related to what I call newness-newage-cripples huh, like that. That it's these bored, middle-aged housewives who drink herbal tea and talk about being princesses in ancient Egypt and things like that… Yes, I have been and… That there will be some kind of, well, sentimental pastime.
An interviewee puts the very concept of "spiritual" into question. What exactly do we mean by that? She exemplifies with poetry and art:
The spiritual is not in the description, it is a very materialistic way of seeing it. The spiritual is in how you build something. I mean, a poetry doesn't become spiritual just because you write heaven ten times, or… But that's what fits between words and how to construct it.
And I get very tired of looking at descriptions like this that are supposed to be so-called fine art. I like this thing in that case art in some way, and that you feel that it is a human being, and you know the person's inner being, and that there is someone who is looking, and that it can take up terrible situations, but themselves as well as how… This intelligent way of manifesting it, and how a spirituality seeps through. But for example, like Edith Södergran, she can be very spiritual, I think, even though she writes darkly, she writes that she lies at the bottom of a dark well for example. It's not heaven or anything, but there's so much longing and love that it holds, and I think that's spirituality.