We’re now thirteen months into the Conspirituality Podcast project, and my co-hosts and I have done several dozen interviews with journalists and podcasters about the landscape of “converging right-wing conspiracy theories and faux-progressive wellness utopianism.”
Most interviews explore the basic themes:
- How easy it is for conspiracism to hijack spiritual impulses in a global economy with little connection to the groundedness of religious cultures.
- The weird history of New Age and far right overlaps.
- How depoliticized neoliberal self-care consumerism has made yoga and wellness people vulnerable to manipulative ideologies.
- How social media gamification has made conspirituality content irresistible to influencers who are always trolling for flashy new material.
- How conspirituality influencers regularly use cultic techniques —already rife in their industries — such as isolation from family, and the promotion of disorganized attachment.
All of this takes about an hour to unpack. But at the 45-minute mark, the good journalist will bend towards the most important questions:
Where do we go from here? How can people interested in yoga and wellness protect themselves from insane fever dreams?
I can always feel these questions coming, and I dread them, because there are no simple answers. But as I rambled my way through some guesses during the last interview I did, something began to take shape:
If there is hope for the yoga and wellness worlds being able to develop stronger defences against conspiracism, disinformation, and disaster spirituality, it may lie in those sectors that are doing good-faith work to engage with evidence-based medicine and scholarship, moving towards regulation and legitimacy that will allow them to integrate with public health.
There will always be arguments about whether practices like Naturopathic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, and…