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Blind Boy Apollo
and the All-White Astronauts

New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Thursday, January 15

discover your inner magic 8-ball

Among the set of concerns (let's call them) that led me to start Mystic Bourgeoisie, was the question of why certain New Age types -- especially those who most vehemently deny that's what they are -- seem to believe that the answers to all life's most profound questions are to be found, you know...

{{{ WITHIN }}}

Even if your literary masochism amounts to but a fraction of my own, you can't avoid running into this bizarre concept if you read anything in this genre. Look within, my child, and your questions shall be answered!

I strongly suspect that heading the FAQ Hit Parade in this regard would be:

"Who's the fairest of them all?"

And the #1 most popular corresponding answer:

"Why, you are, Queenie!"

I got thinking about this again today because a reader kindly sent me a link to an interesting post titled Folk Theories Of Guru-Based Spirituality, which included such items as...

  • The folk theory of everything being connected
  • The folk theory of ancient wisdom
  • The folk theory that only the heart knows what is true
  • The folk theory that the mind is an enemy of the spirit

In the comments, someone added one of my all-time favorites...

  • The folk theory that the Universe has a plan for Your Life
To me, that last is perhaps best expressed by this collection of psycho-spiritual hillbillies doing "That's The Way God Planned It." If you too have a rusted busted old brokendown Ford pickup parked in the weeds of your frontal lobe, feel free to sing along.

Meanwhile, I added...

  • The folk theory of the Inner Magic 8-Ball

But then, thinking that might well beg for further explication, I finally started my own post on the subject. And as Madge would say: "You're soaking in it."

OK then, let's go to the source...

Of course, that's not really the source of this meme. Nor, despite the highly self-assured (if terse) rhetoric of the reply, is the answer definitive. But even after years of searching and frustrated head-scratching, I have yet to discover where the idea originated that "the answer lies within" -- or words to that general effect. I did, however, just today -- and totally by accident, opening a random book in my downstairs bathroom as if it were the I Ching (it was not) -- find the following passage from Tupak Okra's The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams (pp. 43-44).

Consciously put your attention in the heart and ask your heart what to do. Then wait for the response -- a physical response in the form of a sensation. It may be the faintest level of feeling -- but it's there, in your body. Only the heart knows the correct answer. Most people think the heart is mushy and sentimental. But it's not. The heart is intuitive; it's holistic, it's contextual, it's relational. It doesn't have a win-lose orientation. It taps into the cosmic computer -- the field of pure potentiality, pure knowledge, and infinite organizing power -- and takes everything into account. At times it may not even seem rational, but the heart has a computing ability that is far more accurate and far more precise than anything within the limits of rational thought.
The cosmic computer, aha! So I guess there's my answer. But now I'm wondering if something like this is what Nietzsche was maybe on about with his whole "Gott ist tot" shtick...