New Age

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The New Age movement is a non-religious Western spiritual movement that developed in the latter half of the 20th century. Its central precepts revolve around "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational psychology, holistic health, parapsychology, consciousness research and quantum physics"[2] in order to create "a spirituality without borders or confining dogmas" that is inclusive and pluralistic.[3] Another of its primary traits is holding to "a holistic worldview,"[4] thereby emphasising that the Mind, Body and Spirit are interrelated[1] and that there is a form of Oneness and unity throughout the universe.[5] It further attempts to create "a worldview that includes both science and spirituality"[6] and thereby embraces a number of forms of science and pseudoscience. The scientific community has debunked many New Age beliefs.

According to author Nevill Drury, the origins of the movement can be found in the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly through the works of the esotericists Emanuel Swedenborg, Franz Mesmer, Helena Blavatsky and George Gurdjieff, who laid some of the basic philosophical principles that would later influence the movement. It would gain further momentum in the 1960s, taking influence from metaphysics, self-help psychology, and the various Indian gurus who visited the West during that decade.[7]

The New Age movement includes elements of older spiritual and religious traditions ranging from atheism and monotheism through classical pantheism, naturalistic pantheism, and panentheism to polytheism combined with science and Gaia philosophy; particularly archaeoastronomy, astronomy, ecology, environmentalism, the Gaia hypothesis, psychology, and physics. New Age practices and philosophies sometimes draw inspiration from major world religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism; with strong influences from East Asian religions, Gnosticism, Neopaganism, New Thought, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Universalism, and Western esotericism.[8] The term New Age refers to the coming astrological Age of Aquarius.[1]

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