Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Turn of the Century Childhood's End

This may go against conventional wisdom, but what we now call New Age beliefs (normally seen as children of the counter-culture) are largely a product of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Parapsychology? Check. Ghosts and similar entities? Check. Fascination with paganism and arcane religions? Check. Space aliens? Check. And finally, the idea that humanity is on the verge of a huge evolutionary leap, a leap that might already be happening? Check.

The turn of the century probably also marked the peak respectability for these beliefs. It's difficult imagining something like this running in Scientific American in the 21sst century.

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