Will the New Age Be Here Soon?

The other day I overheard a cringeworthy conversation between two 70ish ladies of the New Age persuasion. They were talking about how a great change is imminent in our society, as heralded by the unusually many catastrophes taking place (huh?), and by the 2011 end of the Mayan calendar, “or was it 2012?”, the Maya being of course the people who built Macchu Picchu (nope). The ladies seemed to think that the change, though scary, would be a good one. And then I remembered what the term “New Age” actually means. I just had to sing a line from the musical Hair to them:

“This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, Age of Aquarius…”

Incredibly, New Age Boomers are still waiting for that big vague groovy change in society that didn’t quite materialise in the 1960s. I pointed out that the new astrological age they’re hoping for is supposed to have begun decades ago. But their only response was some confused talk about something they’d read about the constellation Pisces. And of course, other deluded people are waiting for the Second Coming, for the Hidden Imam, for the Anointed One, for the Revolution, for the Classless Society…

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

23 thoughts on “Will the New Age Be Here Soon?”

  1. You never stop to impress me with you´re knowledge…
    Hidden Imam..rly? Does ppl (who aint shia) know these things or is it just u? 😛


  2. 2012-02-19 at 17:33GMT. All you have to do is examine the Talmud tract Peah (“Corners”), blat 18B. But don’t bother looking it up, the determinant Gematria method may be found in a deck of Instant Insight cards I purchased in Boulder, CO. in 1992.

    In the New Age, fundamentalists will eschew Creationism in favor of Miraculous Descent; it will be discovered that Obama was not born in Hawaii, but Youngstown, Ohio – far too prosaic for romantic Lefties; the Republicans will pass a bill outlawing erections as the equivalent of abortion.


  3. The sorry thing is that these people seem to believe that some mysterious outside force will automatically bring such a change. I was a small child when the Age of Aquarius was “dawning” and, while my parents were certainly not hippies, I was brought up steeped in some of the hopefulness of the times. This new age, however, wasn’t supposed to just occur on its own. We were supposed to bring it about ourselves with our actions.

    In America it was a time of hope as we were finally beginning to shed racism (with the Civil Rights Act of 1964) that had plagued our nation from the start. The artificial façade of happiness through the 1950’s American dream of ownership of more and more goods seemed to be broken down with the realization that materialism alone was not enough to make us happy. It wasn’t a paradise, however, and eventually many realized that having things like good medical care and quality education for their children meant re-embracing some aspect of materialism. A new balance was struck, probably for the better.

    By the 1980’s, when I reached college age, materialism seems to have become vogue once again and the New Age was over. This, of course, had nothing to do with stellar constellations or mythical predictions, but was a generational change brought about for all the reasons that generations do change in a modern society. The pity is that this new generation rejected all of the good ideas of that previous age as well as the bad ones.

    We can have a new Age of Aquarius if we like, but it requires that we make it happen ourselves. The part of me that voted for Obama was the part trying to make such a thing happen. I don’t want to live on a commune without indoor plumbing, but I certainly want to see a world where we can, once again, think that racism and bigotry can be left in the past and acknowledge our net worth to be more than our financial balance sheets.

    Maybe we should strive for the Age of Empathy this time.


  4. The new age is alive and well in archaeology;

    “This belief system would change . . …something that represents a whole New Age in our history, an age that experts refer to as the ‘Age of Astronomy'”

    Neil Oliver; [talking about the neolithic,]A history of Ancient Britain [BBC]

    I think ‘Age of Astrology’ might be nearer; If you want ancient wisdom, first select your living sacrifice . . . the answer will lie somewhere in the intestines.


  5. I pointed out that the new astrological age they’re hoping for is supposed to have begun decades ago.

    Well, not that it matters, but to be fair: Due to the fact that there is no definite way to draw borders between the individual astrological signs, there is no definite, agreed-upon date for the start of the age of Aquarius – anything from around 1950 to around 3650 can be argued for, which is why the New Agers cleverly opted for the weasely phrasing “dawning of the age of Aquarius”, and also why you can link it, if you want, to the end of the Mayan long count (or any other date in that timeframe). So, for anybody so inclined, there’s no reason to lose hope for at least another 1639 years.


  6. Zeno: That depends. At the Canadian startup I worked for the only papers were a few in the secretary’s office, the odd printout of a long document, some posters on the wall, and the programmers’ scratch pads. All the payroll and accounting and 90% of our correspondence were electronic. The office had one printer for 20 people. I think that’s as paperless as we will ever get- something which can replace paper for doodling or formal correspondence will look a lot like paper.


  7. Well I reckon today’s youngsters willl be taking their cue from geeky sex-god Professor Brian Cox.
    He was on the telly doing an astronomy prog. recently with that Dara O’Briain, who’s no slouch in the maths and physics field himself.

    The subject of “2012” cropped up (I think a viewer may have texted in, it was live) and Cox spluttered through his laughter, directly to camera, “This isn’t going to happen in 2012. The Maya didn’t have a clue about anything. They were useless!”


  8. Well, as neither a scholar nor an academic nor an atheist (so therefore, out of my league to be commenting but still a super-huge fan of Aard), I have to crop up here and defend the New Agers. If you’ve ever been leisurely hanging out with them, and when they are not competing with each other for the title “most enlightened,” they are typically an optimistic and magnanimous group. Since I was tragically handed a plate brimming with natural personal faith (but the good sense to be irreligious), the New Agers suit me just fine.


  9. The beginning of “The New Age,” “The New Era,” or whatever will probably be missed by the majority of people–especially those folks looking for such stuff. The naming of chucks of history with a beginning and an end is still something argued about. BC becomes BCE; AD becomes CE; etc.

    Personally, I’d just settle for an age when folks have enough of food, clothing, & shelter…call me an idealist.


  10. “Personally, I’d just settle for an age when folks have enough of food, clothing, & shelter…call me an idealist”
    Or, in the words of FOX news, a “communist-nazist” 🙂

    The new agers are relatvely harmless (but annoying). It is the escatological sects you have to watch out for. Do not join any group who ask “have you considered the positive sides of collective suicide?”

    Myself, I have eagerly awaited “The time of manned missions to Mars” since the seventies.
    As for the end times…beware of CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN*
    (*compulsory “Laundry” reference)


  11. Mainstream priests can be nice, though. Today, they arranged a manifestation thorough Sweden for more humane insurance rules for people who have been sick for a long time.
    — — —
    I totally forgot Gary Larson!
    “The Age of Aquarius” does not refer to the human race at all! It refers to the coming of giant mutated cows from the fields downstream of Fukushima.
    The rest of us are Doomed! Doomed I tell you! Do…(interrupted by arrival of Gary Larson’s lawyers)


  12. Still waiting to hear about jobs I’ve applied for, one in Norway and two in the UK! And responses to a few funding applications. And the Rapture of the Nerds.


  13. Is that “bless” an imperative or a subjunctive? Why would I need to bless a god? And why would I need to ask for a god’s blessing if s/he is a loving god? Prayer is stupid even if you’re a theist.


  14. “Prayer is stupid even if you’re a theist.”

    …especially since a truly omniscient god would know all your wishes -both conscious and subconscious. The subconscious wishes can be a bitch -see Strugatsky’s “Wayside Picnic” (Picknick vid vägkanten).

    — — — — —
    Prayer is simply derived from the way you did things back then; You got an audience with the local sheikh/archon/ Great Poo-Bah and begged him to maybe let your family keep enough grain for seeds for the next year, or not draft the last remaining son to the war with the tribe next door. And to keep the relationship good you had to butter up to the Boss constantly.


  15. Ah, but prayer is a way of aligning oneself with God’s will. Because if God is all knowing and all powerful, then what happens is His will.


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