What is ‘spiritual thinking’ and who are the people who do it? Does it count as philosophy or religion, and why does it seep so easily into conspiracy? Join Jules Evans to hear about the Spiritualist revival, where it comes from, and what it tells us about society today.
S2 E28: The Spirituality Movement
“A lot of those who’ve left the church tend to be younger people, who nonetheless still consider themselves spiritual. They’ve been turned off by churches, but they haven’t necessarily gone full atheist, materialist…”
Religion is declining around the world. Even in America, the great outlier of the post-Christian West, half the population doesn’t believe in organised religion any more.
But the loss of our traditional beliefs has given rise to a growing number of ‘spiritualist’ alternatives. They range from mainstream ‘Wellness’ culture, through eco-spiritualism, occultism, witch culture on Instagram and astrology on TikTok, through to the darker visions of QAnon and Millenarianism.
What defines Spiritualist thinking? What are its roots? Why is it flowering now? And why does it bleed so easily into Conspiracy?
“In the last two years, spiritual culture has curdled - from positive and optimistic to a much more fearful and paranoid kind of message…”
Listen to Jules and Turi discuss:
- The history of spiritualism, from the 16th century to today
- The cornerstones of spiritualist thinking: from myths and monsters through to harmony and health
- The ‘Meaning Gap’
- ‘Conspirituality’: why conspiracy theories and spirituality so easily merge
- Intuition (over Reason) as a path to knowledge
- What Rationalists have lost
- How Spiritualists have reacted to Covid
Jules Evans is a writer and practical philosopher interested in emotions, well-being, transcendence and flourishing. He is the author of Philosophy for Life: And Other Dangerous Situations, and The Art of Losing Control: A Guide to Ecstatic Experience.
On Opinion is a member of The Democracy Group, a network of podcasts that examines what’s broken in our democracy and how we can work together to fix it.
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