I've been tracking this quintessential New Age "development" for a couple years now, but it's so weird, and so depressing, that I haven't known where to begin trying to describe the phenomenon.
Yesterday, the New York Times saved me the effort by running an article on the so-called Indigo Children -- Are They Here to Save the World? by John Leland, 12 January 2006 -- and it's drawing comments from around the web, for instance, this note on boingboing.
In The Indigo Children, Mr. Carroll and Ms. Tober define the phenomenon. Indigos, they write, share traits like high I.Q., acute intuition, self-confidence, resistance to authority and disruptive tendencies, which are often diagnosed as attention-deficit disorder, known as A.D.D., or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or A.D.H.D.
The paranormal, right. But note the focus on IQ. This is inherently related to the material I've been developing here on the eugenics movement, in which intelligence testing played a major role. (See previous post on Abraham Maslow's mentor, E.L. Thorndike.)
Fortunately, not everyone is looking through the same rose-tinted glasses...
To skeptics the concept of indigo children belongs in the realm of wishful thinking and New Age credulity. "All of us would prefer not to have our kids labeled with a psychiatric disorder, but in this case it's a sham diagnosis," said Russell Barkley, a research professor of psychiatry at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. "There's no science behind it. There are no studies."
But now, thanks to self-appointed angel guru Doreen Virtue, we're on to the second generation: The Crystal Children.
By laying these harebrained expectations on kids, the New Agers are building a whole generation of narcissists. I don't mean stuck-up egotists. We're talking about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), in which the child never develops a genuine sense of self because he or she is too busy attempting to live out the fantasies of a delusional and psychologically abusive parent. This requirement to embody by proxy the parent's own grandiose "spiritual" dreams of power and glory almost invariably results in lasting damage to the child -- and often to the people that child will come into contact with as an adult.