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Less Douchebaggy Approaches to New Age Philosophies:

Wizard Basement
Guys, I need to talk to you about something important. Something that's bothered me about the Western implementation of New Age/Non-Christian philosophies for a while now.

I'm here to talk about the douchebagisation of philosophy as a form of communication.

I'm not talking about Steve Jobs being Buddhist, because from what I've read he at least took it more seriously than Allen Ginsberg who gave the Bodhisaatva Vow a bad name in general by not really acknowledging what being a Bodhisaatva generally involves (i.e. FREAKING CELIBACY IN SOME CASES, AND NO WEED).

I'm talking about the somewhat douchebaggy concept of toying with something like Buddhism when you have no idea what it involves or what commitment it needs if taken seriously, where other Eastern philosophies like Taoism still need commitment but would be far less taxing upon the lifestyle of somebody who likes the philosophy but does not want to become vegetarian like Buddhism requires.

I'm talking about treating such philosophies worthy of discussion being treated as ill thought out as those Asian character tattoos that mean nothing to the douchebag attached to it because he got it to look "deep".

Oh, but it doesn't stop there. Oh no. I'm also looking at you hipsters, yes, YOU READING LEAVES OF GRASS IN THE COFFEE SHOP. I'm tired of this subculture being so apathetic to anything that they're unable to be sincere in implementing the "love" aspects of the non-denominational faiths they claim to be into right now. Stop being so mean-spirited and maybe I might have provided something interesting to the discussion.

Fundamentalists, yeah, you in the book burning queue. If Salman Rushdie really was burned alive, wouldn't you just be proving him right? Look at yourselves, Al Qaeda. You're a mess. Actually read your Qu'ran and notice that killing people is a bad idea.

Oh, and Westboro, look at your Bibles and do the same. Douchebaggery knows no race or creed, and discrimination is one of the major symptoms of douchebaggery.

We need to cut this douchebaggery out if more helpful forms of New Age Philosophies and Faiths are to thrive. Douchebaggery, it's a plague. We're putting an end to it.
Hell Hasn't Earned My Tears
 2 Flyboy, Sun, 8th Jan '12 11:05:38 AM from the United States
Decemberist
Is it sad that I thought this:

Douchebaggery, it's a plague. We're putting an end to it.

Was the only really relevant part of the OP?
"Shit, our candidate is a psychopath. Better replace him with Newt Gingrich."
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
[up][up] Considering that many real-life buddhists are fairly secular and loosely observant to begin with, I don't think you have much of a point.

edited 8th Jan '12 12:15:58 PM by SavageHeathen

You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
What's irritating about the New Age spirit? Not so much that some people believe in astrology, because lots of people have always believed in that. Nor that some consider Stonehenge to be a prodigy of astral magic. People had already invented the sundial, so it wasn't altogether incredible to have stones oriented according to the rising and setting of the sun, but it is impressive to realize that those builders watched the sun better than we do. No, what's irritating about the New Age is syncretism. Syncretism consists in believing not in some things but in all things, even when they contradict one another.

-Umberto Eco, Turning Back the Clock, p. 290.
Currently taking a break from the site. See my user page for more information.
 5 Aondeug, Sun, 8th Jan '12 2:34:32 PM from  Our Dreams
Oh My
Not all forms of Buddhism require vegetarianism. Theravada as a whole doesn't require it at all. Even of the Sangha. At the most it's a special challenge that certain individuals take on because they want to. Mahayana it varies greatly, but by and large they do not require it.

As for Bodhisatta vows...Celibacy would be an absolute must. No intoxicating substances, of which weed is one, is also an absolute must. Sex is just a worldly pleasure one doesn't need to live and therefore must be abandoned by an Enlightenment being. Intoxicating substances are both that and things that clouds one's awareness. Which means someone claiming to take Bodhisatta vows and taking such things isn't allowed. This isn't counting all the other vows one must take and strictly uphold to actually truly qualify as a Bodhisatta. Unless you're willing to give up everything one shouldn't say they have taken them.

I'm greatly bothered by people saying they are Buddhist or Taoist or Pagan or what have you, but don't take it seriously. Christians not taking their religion seriously is a bother as well. Take it seriously and actually try to abide to the creed or just abandon the label. All you're doing is giving everyone else a bad name...

If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
 6 Pykrete, Sun, 8th Jan '12 3:19:37 PM from Viridian Forest
NOT THE BEES
OP: Ah, moved to Oregon, have you? :P

 7 Loni Jay, Sun, 8th Jan '12 3:55:11 PM from Australia Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
I admit that this bugs me, as well. If you're going to be Buddhist or Wiccan or whatever, that's fine with me, but actually be one. Don't just pick out some of the symbology that you like and bring out some books or trinkets when you feel it's a special occasion.

The belief in reincarnation is very strange to me - the sort peddled in new age magazines, that is. They seem to believe that reincarnation happens, and that bonds you form in previous lives stay into the next, but that's pretty much it. What religion is this lifted from?

I do feel, though, that it isn't quite the same as people half-heartedly using Christian symbols. Most people that I've met who do that do it because Christianity is sort of part of our culture, and references to angels, God, Mary, etc are just... the default.
Be not afraid...
They seem to believe that reincarnation happens, and that bonds you form in previous lives stay into the next, but that's pretty much it. What religion is this lifted from?

I think the logic behind this attitude is something like "several different religions believe in it, so it must be true."

I know the Hindu and Buddhist views of reincarnation have implications that most New Agers would reject. I'll have to look up Shinto views of reincarnation.

Edit: From what Wikipedia says, the Shinto belief in reincarnation is due to Shinto-Buddhist syncretism (though hopefully not in the sense that Eco uses the term) to begin with.

edited 8th Jan '12 4:46:51 PM by silver2195

Currently taking a break from the site. See my user page for more information.
Prince of Dorne
Syncretism is always syncreticism. Hell, before the Abrahamic religions arose, it was the norm. Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Germanics, Celts - they all pretty much raided each other pantheons for new gods, even created new gods out of the fusioning of elements from both sides, like Serapis. Theological-philosophical concepts also spread pretty much regardless of one's pantheon (of one's "religion").

So, really, syncretism is, historically, the norm.
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.

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 10 Exelixi, Sun, 8th Jan '12 10:55:30 PM from Alchemist's workshop Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Lesbarian
Damn this went south fast.

I'll post stuff tomorrow, when I have an actual keyboard, assuming this isn't locked.

edited 8th Jan '12 10:58:07 PM by Exelixi

Mura: -flips the bird to veterinary science with one hand and Euclidean geometry with the other-
I sometimes feel kind of cautious about talking about my..."faith". (Long story short: agnostic who believes in the Absolute as a 'higher' mental state humans reach through religion, myth, and story.) Mostly because I run the risk of sounding like a wanker, and that people might think because I'm interested in mysticism that I believe it's literally fact that Atlantis was real or you can actually tell people's fate with Tarot cards and the like.

[up][up]Syncretism is only particularly bad because often it feels like stealing from other cultures just because it's 'cool and exotic' - see how a lot of New Agers exoticise India, China, Japan, various Native American cultures etc. (The Greeks and Romans did that too, I believe, in particular with Egyptian gods.)

As for 'all religions are the same' - well, no, they're not, they focus on massively different things, but there are major similarities. There are Christian mystical texts that sound a lot like Daoist works, which in turn are similar to some Buddhist ideas, and Greeks and Hindus came up with similar philosophies more or less apart from one another.

edited 8th Jan '12 11:00:40 PM by AirofMystery

 12 Drunk Girlfriend, Mon, 9th Jan '12 12:35:27 AM from Castle Geekhaven
@Air: From the outside, they all look about the same. Not necessarily in terms of ideology, but in terms of how they impact the community at large.

You have a small group of people that sincerely take the teachings to heart and are quite faithful about the nicer parts, and a larger group of people that take the teachings and and use it as justification to be a complete dick.

This is pretty much the whole of why I have such serious issues with religion. It's not the faith in and of itself that bothers me, it's all the bits in all of them that are used consistently to justify bigotry and hatred of people that don't share the same philosophy.
"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
I'm not quite sure that piking and choosing the aspects of religion you like/displaying it only ocassionally/having shallow commintemt to it/holding contradictory beliefs etc in itself counts as douchebaggy behaviour. Acting like a douchebag is something people do to other people, isn't it? Not having logical consistency is not the same as harming anyone.

I've been disappointed in the New Age ideas due to inconsistency, yet the particular group of people holding them were some of the nicest people I knew. Of course, there probably are people who subscribe to the New Age ideas and act like douchebags about it, but it does seem to be a separate issue.
If we disagree, that much, at least, we have in common
 14 drunkscriblerian, Mon, 9th Jan '12 1:58:23 AM from Castle Geekhaven Relationship Status: In season
Street Writing Man
I'm not quite sure that piking and choosing the aspects of religion you like/displaying it only ocassionally/having shallow commintemt to it/holding contradictory beliefs etc in itself counts as douchebaggy behaviour. Acting like a douchebag is something people do to other people, isn't it? Not having logical consistency is not the same as harming anyone.

You are right that it isn't per se, but the fact does remain that one tends to follow the other with alarming frequency. Once you toss logical consistency out the window (or fail to acknowledge that you have), its a short step towards arrogance and insensitivity.

If I were to write some of the strange things that come under my eyes they would not be believed.

~Cora M. Strayer~
@Drunk Girlfriend: That's honestly a problem with any group large enough - fandoms spring to mind.

This is mostly because religions fulfil two functions: a philosophical one and a society-building one. The philosophical side of religions tends to age better and remain relevant even centuries and centuries after they begin, while the society-building side has its ups and downs. The Golden Rule, for example, is common to almost all religions because it's an ideal all societies hold to to some degree, whereas the frequent dislike for any kind of sexual activity except between a married man and woman in many religions is because most religions were formed before reliable contraceptives, and was presumably a way to prevent unwanted pregnancy or STDs.

 16 vijeno, Mon, 9th Jan '12 4:08:41 AM from Vienna, Austria
@New Geek Philosopher:

become vegetarian like Buddhism requires

It is true that some branches of buddhism do that - but remember that the buddha himself died from eating meat, so it is hardly something that buddhism per se requires.

Where did you read/hear that the boddhisatva vows require celibacy? Every last mahayana buddhist takes those vows over and over again, and yet they manage to reproduce.

 17 vijeno, Mon, 9th Jan '12 4:18:28 AM from Vienna, Austria
We need to cut this douchebaggery out if more helpful forms of New Age Philosophies and Faiths are to thrive.

Well, how are we going to do that? While speaking out against stuff that you don't like is surely necessary, you'll have to provide something positive yourself.

 18 Octo, Mon, 9th Jan '12 4:19:07 AM from Germany
Prince of Dorne
No, every last buddhist doesn't. Those vows are for the monks, not the lay population - and the Buddha did say only the monks could reach Nirvana... (though the lay population can hope for a better reincarnation which then maybe allows them to become monks)
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.

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 19 Exelixi, Mon, 9th Jan '12 4:26:08 AM from Alchemist's workshop Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Lesbarian
Aight, so: How precisely is someone taking 'new age' ideas and being a dick about it worse or better than someone of a common faith being a dick about it?

Answer: It isn't. The issue isn't with belief systems. If someone's going to throw logic out the window, they are going to do it whether they are Christian or pagan or Buddhist or what the fuck ever. Even someone of a faith with a very rigid and clear belief structure can ignore and misinterpret until said structure is no longer recognisable.

This isn't a problem with new-agers, it's the time-honored problem of idiots being idiots.
Mura: -flips the bird to veterinary science with one hand and Euclidean geometry with the other-
 20 Octo, Mon, 9th Jan '12 4:28:51 AM from Germany
Prince of Dorne
Hah. All religions are illogical to start with. If they weren't, they literally wouldn't be religions - that they're based on dogma and not rationality is what religions makes religions.
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.

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 21 Exelixi, Mon, 9th Jan '12 4:33:48 AM from Alchemist's workshop Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Lesbarian
That statement informs me that you likely will not have any constructive input on this matter. This is not "the snipe at religion thread." You are entitled to your opinion, but I must request you take it to a thread designed to accommodate it.

edited 9th Jan '12 4:38:18 AM by Exelixi

Mura: -flips the bird to veterinary science with one hand and Euclidean geometry with the other-
 22 Octo, Mon, 9th Jan '12 4:41:48 AM from Germany
Prince of Dorne
What is the core of every religion? What makes religion religion? In our day and age of course religions have become ever more free of dogma, but without the belief that Jesus is son/part of God, in his resurrection, in his second coming etc. Christianity for example would not be Christianity. That is what defines them - at the very least a core set of unshakeable beliefs - i.e. dogma which have to do with (groundless) faith, and nothing with rationality.

Now you can of course rationally deduce issues from those assumptions (that's what theology is all about) but those assumptions themselves are not based in rationality.

And given that I think it's unfair to criticize New Age. That is what it has to do with the topic: All religions are in their very core irrational, so why demand something extra of New Age? Hell, Christianity is the belief that God decreed the Original Sin, then became the father of himself, send himself down to Earth, sacrificed himself to himself, so that he could undo the sin he himself decreed humanity has. How is that any less silly than New Age?
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.

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 23 Exelixi, Mon, 9th Jan '12 4:45:06 AM from Alchemist's workshop Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Lesbarian
Oh pants. My appologies, I haven't slept in ages and I think I misunderstood you. Usually when one hears that faith is not rational, it is in a context implying or stating that this means faith is a horrible, atrocious thing.
Mura: -flips the bird to veterinary science with one hand and Euclidean geometry with the other-
 24 vijeno, Mon, 9th Jan '12 4:45:12 AM from Vienna, Austria
No, every last buddhist doesn't. Those vows are for the monks, not the lay population - and the Buddha did say only the monks could reach Nirvana... (though the lay population can hope for a better reincarnation which then maybe allows them to become monks)

In the mahayana sangha I once visited, they definitely took those vows, every single one. I think you confuse the boddhisatva vows with something else. About whether the buddha said that only the monks could reach nirvana, I won't judge that, but I will say that some buddhists seem to say so, while others don't.

So basically, demanding anything specific from western adherents of buddhism because "otherwise they don't take it seriously" is highly problematic, given that buddhists beliefs are pretty varied on a hellofa lot of subjects.

edited 9th Jan '12 4:50:56 AM by vijeno

 25 lord Gacek, Mon, 9th Jan '12 5:34:04 AM from Kansas of Europe
KVLFON
I am of the opinion that religions often are perfectly rational, it's just they start out from a different set of axioms. cool
"Atheism is the religion whose followers are easiest to troll"
Total posts: 45
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