In Part One of this 4-part backgrounder to conspirituality, I argued that people immersed in the yoga and New Age worlds are trained in spiritual values that are Venn-y with conspiracism. I argued that if they gain insight or relief from believing that:
- Nothing is as it seems,
- everything happens for a reason, and…
- everything is connected…
…they have also rolled out a cognitive and psychological welcome-mat for conspiracist fascinations, up to and including QAnon.
I paused that post on a question:
What will nudge the New Ager downstream along these axioms, from the wholesome and connective, to the paranoid and conspiratorial?
In next week’s post I’ll look at political economy, and how conspiracy theories can offer more safety than the US government can. The week after that will be on how viral technologies amplify emotionally inflammatory content, and the wellness influencer must stay ahead of the conspiracy curve in order to monetize their solution to it. For the gig-working conspiritualist, uncertainty about the COVID vaccine can be a sales opportunity for Chinese herbs and sound baths. Any moral panic about child abuse uplevels the value of trauma-aware workshops.
But the influence I’ll focus on in this post comes in the form of an historical echo. Before neoliberalism convinced wellness consumers that they were on their own and inflated the influencer class to serve them, and before Facebook algorithmically boosted conspiracism, the New Age yoga practitioner was already living in the afterglow of a fascist fever dream.
For fascists, yoga was an occult tool for purifying and exalting the individual body as a microcosm of the triumphant nation.
Here’s a weird fact. Nazis. Loved. Yoga. Not for its therapeutic value. Not because they wanted world peace, nor because they wanted to chill out. For them, yoga was an occult tool for purifying and exalting the individual body as…