Two Major Schools of New Age Thought
In its broader sense, new age thinking can be characterised as form of utopianism, the desire to create a better society, a “new age” in which humanity lives in harmony with itself, nature, and the cosmos. Unlike the Biblical “Second Coming” or most other millenarian visions, the new age being discussed today by a number of philosophers, scientists and social critics will not result from a future upheaval brought about solely by God. Rather, they say society is now in the midst of the transformation, a change potentially as sweeping as the Renaissance or the Protestant Reformation. What more. it is occurring in society from the inside out, as more and more people begin to question traditional assumptions about life, the future of the planet, and the nature of reality.
Conscious Renaissance sees humankind currently experiencing the beginnings of a new spiritual and socio-political awakening, a modern-day super-Renaissance destined to lead man into a new era of enlightened spiritual humanism. Spurning the thought of man needing divine intervention to assist in the creation of a global utopia, this perspective sees the awakening of “unlimited human god-potential as the means by which heaven on earth will manifest. In essence, as man achieves higher states of “god-consciousness” through New Age practices, heaven will dawn on earth only through the dawning of man’s enlightened “higher consciousness.”
As a leading spokesman of this position, David Spangler writes: ” … The essence of new age thinking is the process of seeing the heaven that is right here on earth every day, a process … called the ‘renaming of the sacred.’ To rename the sacred if to have a different view of the universe … It is to re-expand those boundaries we have placed around God, even to redefine the nature of divinity. It is to look at the objects, people and events in our lives and to say, ‘You are sacred.'”
What this school of thought basically asserts is that by elevating man’ consciousness, the “heaven” that always has been on earth is then perceived. The veils of man’s limited thinking are then lifted and, lo and behold, the world is divine and perfect, and the cosmos is divine and perfect. Man has simply been blind to this eternal fact because he has been veiled by a limited conciousness, a state of ignorance that needs to be overcome by awakening into cosmic enlightenment.
Quantum Leap of Consciousness
In this theory, humanity has now reached a critical phase of individual and collective evolutionary growth. When sufficient momentum is generated by enough people having developed “higher conciousness”, then the entire world will be ready to make a collective quantum leap into a higher dimension of the heavenly realm. Earth and humanity will literally leap in a flash of light into the heavens above.
In contrast to the Conciousness Renaissance view, this Quantum Leap of Consciousness model is directly tied to some form of divine intervention. Though there are a rich variety of concepts abut the nature and form of this divine intervention, essentially a sovereign and omnipotent celestial force is said to deliver Earth into the heavens above. Various groups attribute this intervention to different sources. Examples include “highly evolved extraterrestrials,” a “Council of Ascended Masters,” and “Enlightened World Teacher,” or some other all-powerful divine being(s). Earth and humanity are to be pulled up into the next major notch on the evolutionary ladder, thereafter to be governed benevolently by the intervening celestial force(s). Man’s task right now, according to this view, is to help generate enough people with higher conciousness in order to meet the requirements for intervention to occur. It’s like meeting a quota before the next stage of the job can begin.
The distortions of Scriptural prophecies are abundant; for example, many who believe in the Quantum Leap of Conciousness hold that the false prophets, earthquakes, plagues, wars, famines, etc. prophesied in the Bible will be magically bypassed simply by having enough people meditating for peace. In do doing, they will avoid this kind of “man-created negative thinking.” Furthermore, this school of thought maintains that some other “World Teacher” or “Ascended Masters” will have divine authority in the New Age and not Christ.
Another variation of this skewed theme is that it is not the personal and visible Jesus who returns, but rather “Christ conciousness” that descends into the minds of all earthly inhabitants. Yet others believe that the world will be delivered via extra-terrestrials’ intervention during a time of enormous world tumult. Some new age fundamentalists do predict that a literal apocalypse is imminent and that it will be brought about by mystical, extra-terrestrial, or cosmic forces. But for many others, the new age has become a metaphor for the unprecedented changes now occurring in many aspects of daily life, a process of rapid personal and social transformation.
Many of the Conciousness Renaissance camp try to distance themselves somewhat from what they regard as the flakier side of the New Age – UFO telepathic communications, crystal power, glorification of channelling, and so on. These people tend to focus more on integrating increasingly socially acceptable New Age values into personal and societal life. This is the side of the New Age that has made especially strong inroads into areas such as the corporate business world, psychology, entertainment media, education, health care, and science (amongst others). In terms of value-system and practical-level infiltration into the mainstream of societies, this aspect of the New Age has proven more successful of the two schools of thought due its more subtle humanistic approach.
Though there is much overlapping between these two major philosophies, the Quantum Leap of Conciousness viewpoint is much more predisposed to the metaphysical-occult end of the spectrum. In particular, the predominant themes lie much more towards mediumship, spiritism, witchcraft, psychic powers, and sorceries in a myriad of shapes and forms. One of the primary dangers from this branch of the New Age is its major contribution to the historically unprecedented unleashing of demonic forces into the world today.