Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion

Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion

Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion

Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion

Synopsis

From Feng Shui to holistic medicine, from aromatherapy candles to yoga weekends, spirituality is big business. It promises to soothe away the angst of modern living and to offer an antidote to shallow materialism. Selling Spirituality is a short, sharp, attack on this fallacy. It shows how spirituality has in fact become a powerful commodity in the global marketplace - a cultural addiction that reflects orthodox politics, curbs self-expression and colonizes Eastern beliefs.Exposing how spirituality has today come to embody the privatization of religion in the modern West, Jeremy Carrette and Richard King reveal the people and brands who profit from this corporate hijack, and explore how spirituality can be reclaimed as a means of resistance to capitalism and its deceptions.

Excerpt

God is dead but has been resurrected as 'Capital'.

From feng shui to holistic medicine, from aromatherapy candles to yoga weekends, from Christian mystics to New Age gurus, spirituality is big business. There has been an explosion of interest and popular literature on mind, body and spirit and 'personal development'. We now see the introduction of modes of 'spirituality' into educational curricula, bereavement and addiction counselling, psychotherapy and nursing. Spirituality as a cultural trope has also been appropriated by corporate bodies and management consultants to promote efficiency, extend markets and maintain a leading edge in a fast-moving information economy. For many people, spirituality has replaced religion as old allegiances and social identities are transformed by modernity. However, in a context of individualism and erosion of traditional community allegiances, 'spirituality' has become a new cultural addiction and a claimed panacea for the angst of modern living. Spirituality is celebrated by those who are disillusioned by traditional institutional religions and seen as a force for wholeness, healing and inner transformation. In this sense spirituality is taken to denote the positive aspects of the ancient religious traditions, unencumbered by the 'dead hand' of the Church, and yet something which provides a liberation and solace in an otherwise meaningless world. But is this emergence of the idea of spirituality all that it seems? Is something more complex and suspicious at work in the glorification of the spiritual?

To contest some of the dominant readings of 'spirituality' within western societies and their silencing of traditions will require some examination of how these discourses operate in the contemporary socio-economic world. This book emerges from a frustration with the lack of clarity and critical discussion of the concept of spirituality, a notion that has become pervasive in contemporary society in the

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