Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Age Equals Very Bad Manners

"The concept that civilization is inherently corrupt, but Nature inevitably benign, is particularly popular in earthquake- and flood-ridden California. The natural approach to human relations presumes that to know any person well enough is to love him, and that, therefore, the only human problem is a communication problem. It refuses to admit the possibility that people might be separated by basic, deeply held, genuinely irreconcilable differences--philosophical, political or religious. Thus, the effort to trivialize etiquette as being a barrier to the happy mingling of souls, actually trivializes intellectual, emotional, and spiritual convictions by characterizing any difference between one person's and another's as no more than a simple misunderstanding, easily solved by frank exchanges or orchestrated 'encounters.'

Many forms of etiquette are employed exactly to disguise those antipathies that arise from irreconcilable differences, in order to prevent mayhem. When I was president of a school board, a member with whom I disagreed on every possible educational issue suggested that we could resolve our differences if the trustees all went off on retreat and got to know one another better. 'You don't understand,' I had to tell him. 'The only reason I haven't murdered you is that I really don't know you all that well, so I feel I have to give you the benefit of the doubt. Do you want to remove that doubt?'"


- Miss Manners on why New Age (and other forms of cultish thinking) are hypocritical and undermine their stated goals of fostering "peace and love".

I mean, when Miss Manners is driven to saying she wants to murder you, your perpetually "nice" ass is fucking up pretty bad. Even Penn Jellette (of Penn & Teller fame) once famously said the behavior of New Agers "just makes you want to smack 'em". About the only people with New Age experience who aren't driven to want to hurt them, somehow, is the believers themselves.