"If both New Age thinking and anti-spirituality are exaggerated reactions to each other, the task now is to find a critical subjectivity that rejects the 'dictatorship of the mind' – the belief that societies already know the direction or end-point in which they are heading.
What would that consist of? For me, the key step is to reject the view that sees spirituality in terms of individual experience alone, and replace it with a spirituality that functions around relationships between different people."
"At a time when the left was disintegrating and many social gains were undone, New Age thinking provided a banner under which millions of people continued their concrete efforts for personal and social change. Nevertheless, this thinking was also reactionary in its exaggerated rejection of 'cognicentrism' - the Western focus on the thinking mind alone. It went too far in dismissing the role of critical intelligence."
"New Age thinking also provided a vehicle to overcome the separation of mind and body that was characteristic of western individualism prior to 1968. In many ways it represented what Freud called a “regression in service of the ego”, a return to repressed areas of bodily energy, instincts, emotions, mind and consciousness. Unfortunately, it frequently stayed in that regressive mode. New Age thinking was too anti-rational, too disdainful of the critical subjectivity that was one of the hard-won features of the West. "
"One of the first tangible benefits of the New Age was to reintroduce the importance of consciousness to the western world and to recognize that spirituality was not just a matter of belief but of experience. New Age traditions contained a vast array of methods that could open up new vistas of perception. For many people, they created an opportunity to re-integrate these methods into their lives and experiment with different alternatives."
"In my view, the essential characteristic of New Age thinking was that it was a corrective reaction to the excessive rationalization and mechanization of western life, the dissociation between desire and reason that lies at the basis of civilization in the west. This reaction was both necessary and exaggerated. It appeared as a new sensibility across alternative and complementary medicine, ecological awareness, and greater openness to non-traditional spiritual paths and alternative methods and lifestyles in the fields of communal living, architecture and education. New Age thinking was an attempt both to heal the self and to re-enchant the collective through connections with the natural world and the world of spiritual experience."