Narcissism and Spiritual Materialism: The New Age Legacy
The "New Age" movement, if indeed it can be referred to as a movement, appears to be a desperate effort of people attempting to find the spirituality that is totally lacking in the dominant culture. Dominant here means more than mainstream, for domination is an integral element of the pervasive materialistic and conquest based culture of the West. The power-over dynamic and materialistic nature of Western culture is a product of conquest and subjugation that grew out of European feudalism, patriarchism, theocratic dictatorship and opportunistic desire to wield power over other beings. The entire history of what we are taught is "civilization" is in short a story of conquest, written by the conquerors with their purposes in mind. This element of conquest is the backbone of materialism and the materialistic psychology that enables people to visualize their entire world as objects that can be manipulated for selfish gain, this manipulation includes people. Materialism and the principle of conquest are driving forces in the efforts of groups to control the lives of others. Efforts to legislate morality, attempts to mold society to arbitrary standards developed by religious groups based on belief systems all rely on the conquest principle, the subjugation of others.
What is perhaps no so apparent, is the degree to which this paradigm permeates our personal lives on a day to day basis. The conquest paradigm has disconsciously been incorporated into our psychology in ways that are far from apparent.
The conquest paradigm by its nature is diametrically in opposition to spirituality, and when practiced leaves no room for the freedom of spirituality, no room to breathe. The root of spirituality is "spiritus" the Latin word for breath, the essence of life itself.