New Age Movement

New Age Movement, broad-based amalgam of diverse spiritual, social, and political elements with the common aim of transforming individuals and society through spiritual awareness. The New Age is a utopian vision, an era of harmony and progress. Comprising individuals, activist groups, businesses, professional groups, and spiritual leaders and followers, the movement brought feminist, ecological, spiritual, and human-potential concerns into the mainstream in the 1980s, creating a large market in various countries for books, magazines, audio- and videotapes, workshops, retreats, and expositions on the subject, as well as for natural foods, crystals, and meditation and healing aids.

Often seen as resurgent paganism or Gnosticism, the modern movement has more recent roots in 19th-century spiritualism and in the 1960s counter-culture, which rejected materialism in favour of Eastern mysticism and preferred direct spiritual experience to organized religion. Techniques for self-improvement and the idea that the individual is responsible for and capable of everything from self-healing to creating the world, have found applications in health care and counselling as well as in sports, the armed forces, and corporations, and have provoked debate in religious and other circles.

Holistic thinking has influenced attitudes about medicine, the environment, the family, work, regional planning, and world peace, among others. Ideas frequently associated with the New Age movement include anthroposophical teachings, inner transformation, reincarnation, extraterrestrial life, biofeedback, chanting, alchemy, yoga, transpersonal psychology, shamanism, martial arts, the occult, astrology, psychic healing, extrasensory perception, divination, astral travel, acupuncture, massage, tarot, Zen, mythology, and visualization.

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