Metaphysics and Theosophy on decline

We will take a break for a day from the Landes/Green debate.

Here is a report that early 20th century metaphysics and theosophy are on the decline. In its place are new age, wicca, and yoga. Most of the places that we still see metaphysics of New Thought is in Aish Hatorah thinking like that Rabbi Adam Jacobs over at Huffington Post or the meditations of Rabbi Menachem Eckstein currently beloved by the hilltop youth. Swedenborg Church and metaphysical Unitarian are not in anymore. There is still a small metaphysical church on a residential street in Teaneck.

The author of the post notes that all time American theosophy is moving to the web or merging into new age. The metaphysical approach spoke of powers in the universe or higher energies or way to tap into evolution. in contract, new age stresses the personal, the human narrative, or individual seeking. Metaphysical approaches had one master the hidden wisdom, new age teaches one to look into oneself.

I was recently reading the newest edition of Quest, the journal of the Theosophical Society in America. In it, Robert Ellwood, muses about the future of the society in an essay entitled, “Theosophy after the Baby Boomers.” In the essay he notes that the membership of the society has decreased from a high of 8,520 in 1927 to the current 3,546. These few members struggle to maintain the financial weight of the society’s properties and infrastructure. Ellwood posits that at some point if the organization can no longer continue in its existing form it may shift to an educational foundation using diverse media to deliver its lessons. He also points to the way the internet will be central to this future.

While some are organized by tradition, such as WitchVox, which allows pagans worldwide to meet and exchange messages and files… On this website one can find local yoga, astrology, or alternative health groups.
The differences between various metaphysical traditions are collapsing just as quickly as are the distinctions between religious and secular institutions that many religion scholars study. The boundaries between New Age practice, neopaganism, and yoga, for instance, are quite porous, as are the designations between what is and what is not religious.

Read the rest here by John L. Crow

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