1.3. A new you?
"What a man terms his conscious mind is actually unconscious, for it is a self-created objective
dream, and what he terms the unconscious mind is actually fully conscious, as it is the self observing the true nature of Form without comment."
The term ‘New Age Movement’ refers to the assumption that humanity is moving into a new era of spiritual awakening (Heelas 1996). The initial impression of the New Age is one of an eclectic mixture of beliefs, drawing on ideas and teachings from various Western and Eastern traditions and religions (Hackett 1992). While authors such as Lemesurier (1990) and Streiker (1990) see no obvious connection between often contradictory ideas, Heelas (1996) and York (1995) arrive at a deterministic characterisation, based on the constancy of lingua franca (Heelas 1996,) that lies beneath its heterogeneity, which may be termed self-spirituality. This concept is described by York (1995) as a common commitment to self-directed personal growth and is based on the monoistic assumption that the self is sacred and lies hidden underneath a "contaminated mode of being" (Heelas 1996,p. 18), which has been created by socialisation. The New Age is therefore occupied with discovering people's authentic nature, by encouraging an individualised quest within (Cryssides 1999). This quest is facilitated by raising awareness of the shortfalls of life, as conventionally experienced, and providing an account of what it is to find perfection as well as offering the means for obtaining perfection (Heelas 1996).
In various New Age activities, such as workshops, retreats, seminars, lectures, rituals or healing sessions participants will learn to appreciate that mechanised modes of living prevent actual experiences (Gurdjieff cited in Moore, 1991). Behaviour externally controlled by society and culture result in role-playing, unnatural, deterministic and misguided routines, disrupting people's authentic nature (Heelas 1996). Inculcated by parents, the educational system and other institutions, these routines may cause individuals to be enslaved by unfulfillable desires, deep-seated insecurities and anxiety-generating imperatives. Self-limiting images and beliefs, the sense that one is a victim of circumstances but also guilt, fear and recrimination, generated by past events, are all seen to dominate people's thinking (Wallis 1984).
In order to reach authentic vitality, creativity, love, tranquillity, wisdom, power, authority and other qualities constituting a perfect life, the individual must overcome the socialised self, widely known as the ‘ego’, but also the intellect or mind (Heelas 1996) and experience the inner realm (Chryssides 1999), also referred to as the ‘Higher’ or ‘authentic’ self (York 1995, p. 34). It is therefore the transcendence of the ego, which is the internalised mode of tradition, whose authority must be lost, that constitutes the objective of New Age disciplines. As such “the New Age Movement is a highly optimistic, celebratory, utopian and spiritual form of humanism” (Heelas 1996, p.39). While it may be established that the New Age Movement offers individuals the satisfaction of the need to self-actualise, by way of experiential self-discovery, it is necessary to view this in the context of tourism.