Archive for the ‘From Rationalism to New Age’ Category

When Is A Cult Not A Cult?

One source of morbid but free amusement is to take a “charismatic” church that has been fretting about the sequestration of youngsters by “cults”, and ask them to define the differences between these “cults” and themselves. Any member of the church who, instead of getting instantaneously angry and threatening you with hellfire, as some of […]

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 19:13 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · One Comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, From Rationalism to New Age

Three Shades Of Spirito-Babble

Whenever someone says, “Things can be true in special ways”, hang onto your wallet and look for the exit. This locution is a pointer to someone trying to believe an obvious lie. For some people, having a “spiritual life” is completely indefinable, but nevertheless gives them permission to launch polemics against all sorts of things, […]

Posted on July 12, 2011 at 10:22 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, From Rationalism to New Age

A Pilgrimage To Hendon

Almost every age has harboured an immense reverence for “spiritual” personalities, books and paraphernalia of the distant past, none more than our own; and few indeed are the modern voices suggesting that it was just as easy to be a religious grifter in the Egypt of the Pharaohs as in modern California. Perhaps even easier, […]

Posted on July 13, 2011 at 10:54 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, From Rationalism to New Age

The Mythology Of Will

I have mentioned elsewhere that the concept Schopenhauer termed “the Will” was not at all the same as that celebrated in the film Triumph of the Will. As the underlying reality of the universe, the Kantian ding-am-sich, he meant something like the Bergsonian élan vital or the Shavian life-force, and not the mere imposition of […]

Posted on July 16, 2011 at 14:52 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · One Comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, From Rationalism to New Age

True For Me, Untrue For You

Whatever happened to nineteenth-century anticlericalism and atheism? In the era that the uninformed imagine to have been supremely religious, there was no shortage of voices proclaiming that the whole thing was a lot of damned nonsense. Religion was the opium of the people, it was a conspiracy of the ruling classes to befuddle the workers […]

Posted on July 18, 2011 at 18:50 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, From Rationalism to New Age

The Jesus Dynasty

The main business of the book The Da Vinci Code and its original inspiration, The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail was to claim that Jesus of Nazareth sired children, and that his lineage continues today. This suggestion was so shocking to believers that the subsequent brouhaha concentrated on the alleged evidence; as far as […]

Posted on July 19, 2011 at 09:23 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · One Comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, From Rationalism to New Age

First Steps in Mystagoguery

A platonic friend, whom I had thought was very wise until I started thinking about this incident, once told me that I was like an island without an anchorage, or one with a No Trespassing notice, I don’t remember just how she put it. The point was that another person could sail round and round […]

Posted on February 9, 2016 at 10:36 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, From Rationalism to New Age

On The Truly Hidden

When mystics go on (and on, and on) about the Oneness of things, or about how everything is a unity, Hugo tends to go switch-off. It seems as much a meaningless babble as the invocations of Red Indian spirit guides by Victorian con-women wearing turbans and lots of bling. One fine day, however, the Arabic […]

Posted on December 28, 2017 at 15:34 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, From Rationalism to New Age

May The Force Be With You

I take my title from the modern pop-culture greeting, so common as to be known even to me, who am far from being a fan of Star Wars. When people start putting “Jedi” on their census forms, perhaps we should consider what people actually mean by it. What exactly is The Force supposed to be? […]