Last week, we looked at how Trump strategists — particularly Roger Stone and General Michael Flynn — mobilised the world of conspiracy culture to attack the Clinton campaign and win the 2016 US presidential election. In this article, we look at how the far-right tapped into the world of New Age conspirituality.
I’m going to focus, in this story, on one well-known New Age influencer, called Sacha Stone.
Does it matter if Qanon emerged organically from the infosphere, or if it was synthesized in a lab as a weaponized political meme? I don’t know. I don’t know if we can ever find out exactly who was behind Qanon. When people have posted about it all being a psyop (psychological operation) led by shadowy intelligence agents, it’s sounded like, well, a conspiracy theory.
But I want to explore that theory, with an open mind, in this post and a subsequent one. We will explore the overlap between New Age conspirituality, intelligence communities, and right-wing illiberal politics — and how…
I’m doing a talk on this topic at the Psychedelic Society UK, online, on March 3.
When it emerged that the ‘Qanon shaman’, Jake Angeli, was not only the poster-boy for the Trumpist insurrection, but also a vocal promoter of psychedelic therapy, it provoked consternation among the psychedelic community. How could a psychonaut support Trump, and fall for an authoritarian and quasi-fascist conspiracy theory like Qanon?
The disbelief stemmed from a widespread conviction — and some evidence — that psychedelics make you more liberal, more open-minded, more connected, more ‘relaxed in your beliefs’, and less prone to authoritarian thinking, extremism…
We’re in a shroom boom. One company, Compass Pathways, which plans to offer magic mushroom therapy, listed on the Nasdaq in November with a $1 billion valuation. New funds like Atai are raising hundreds of millions to invest in psychedelics. New companies are listing, new training programmes for therapists are launching, new states are preparing to legalize or decriminalize psychedelics.
It’s a nervy, fast come-up for long-term psychedelic practitioners dreaming of this moment for years. What if it all spins out of control?
I’ve been thinking about ‘spiritual bypassing’ this week, after it was mentioned by a friend of mine (Alex Beiner of Rebel Wisdom) as one of the shadow aspects of New Age spirituality. His remark made me reflect that it’s also quite obvious in Christian culture and in modern Stoicism.
The phrase ‘spiritual bypassing’ was invented in the 1980s by Buddhist teacher John Welwood, and then turned into a successful 2010 book by Robert Augustus Masters called Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us From What Really Matters.
Spiritual bypassing is a very persistent shadow of spirituality, manifesting in many…
John Mappin, the wealthy owner of a castle / hotel in Cornwall, is in the news again for his support of the ‘Qanon’ conspiracy (a particularly toxic conspiracy theory which helped stoke the Capitol Hill riot this month). Mappin, also connected to the pro-Trump and pro-Brexit group Turning Point, raised a Q flag over his castle, which must have thrilled his guests. He’s a good example of ‘conspirituality’ — the overlap of conspiracy culture and New Age magical thinking, as I discovered when I unwittingly visited his castle, Camelot, back in 2015….
Last week, Maria and I spent a few…
There’s not much I can add to all that will be written about Wednesday’s day of infamy, when a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill, but I can perhaps shed light on one aspect of it — the role of “conspirituality” in fomenting the riot and in shaping the man who will go down as its poster boy: Jake Angeli, the “QAnon shaman.”
Conspirituality refers to the overlap between New Age/wellness culture and conspiracy culture. …
This is a brief essay that Iggy Pop wrote for the journal Classics Ireland in 1995. No, really!
Caesar Lives by Iggy Pop
In 1982, horrified by the meanness, tedium and depravity of my existence as I toured the American South playing rock and roll music and going crazy in public, I purchased an abridged copy of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Dero Saunders, Penguin).
The grandeur of the subject appealed to me, as did the cameo illustration of Edward Gibbon, the author, on the front cover. He looked like a heavy dude.
Being in a political…
RESURRECTING HUMAN EXCEPTIONALISM IN THE GUISE OF SCIENCE
An essay written by Professor Steve Fuller, published exclusively here
That which we were looking for, and could not find, was a hypothesis respecting the origin of known organic forms which assumed the operation of no causes but such as could be proved to be actually at work… The ‘Origin’ provided us with the working hypothesis we sought. Moreover, it did the immense service of freeing us forever from the dilemma — refuse to accept the creation hypothesis, and what have you to propose that can be accepted by any cautious reasoner?
This is about quite a dark subject: the Soviet gulags. I don’t recommend reading this essay if you suffer from clinical depression. If you’re just somewhat got down by global politics, I do recommend you read this, to realize that things can be a lot worse, and to appreciate what we have going for us.
A week ago, staying at my grandparents’ house in Wales, I picked up The Gulag Archipelago¸ by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He reached out a cold, bony hand, and wouldn’t let go. His account of the gulags — the slave-labour camps run by the Soviet Union —…