What is this New Age trend that’s become the fashion these days? Is it a desire to create a new society from what the technological age has brought us?
Is it about acting without thinking, performing the tasks given to us, and being in harmony? Are these really new methods that we can use to develop society?
We are born and then we complete our time by dying. We usually don’t even realize we are breathing. Are we really living our lives so incidentally? Are we getting as much pleasure from life as we want to? Are we really living as humans? Do we know what it means to live as a human? Do we realize that life is actually an art?
Sure, we show the traits of humanity, and we have the same bodies as those two-legged, thinking beings called humans, but is it our bodies that make us human? You may have heard someone say, “If he’s a human being, I’m ashamed of being a human.” So, what are the secrets to being a human? Should we continue in an environment we are not pleased with and tell the later generations to do the same?
I’m sure you’ve asked yourself these questions many times, and the answers were probably on the tip of your tongue, or maybe you really knew them, but how would you implement them? We entered an age that came to be called the New Age, where people try to find answers to these questions, and some of us grasped a small part of this enlightened age. I want to light the way for you by simplifying it as much as I can with the things I know. I learned and now I’m trying to be a human being, so I won’t have a life that I’ll look back on when I’m old by saying “I wish I’d done that.”
How Did the New Age Come about?
The economy affects our lives because we live in an industrial society. It has been almost impossible to lead a tranquil life without money. Because of industry’s day-by-day development, every kind of material beauty has been used to attract people. Because the more modern something is, the more people loved it, people were steered toward an unhappy and unsatisfied exhaustion as they craved the newest of everything. Their beauty depended on economics, so they created societies where they could buy it using the same economic currency, money. This was far removed from personal values and lacked love and respect.
Among the people in society who had lost their personal values, a group started wondering why they were still unhappy and unsatisfied, even after they had accumulated substantial material beauty. People who were unhappily married started unhappy families. What was still missing?
Thousands of studies, books, and articles about this subject began to reach society and make people think. People finally realized it was necessary to provide people’s mentalities with something other than their primal and egotistical desires, because otherwise a society that is filled with desire, unhappiness, confrontation, and war would result. People would lose their values by distancing themselves from their self-esteem. This concept exposed how communication was necessary, not just for selling products but also for creating a society where people understand each other.
The polygamy that emerged in the western cultures was an expression of a kind of search. Unhappy people who lacked confidence in themselves started looking for the love and trust they needed in others. Just as people wondered if a new TV would be replaced by something better tomorrow, they also started thinking this about their relationships as well. The feeling of flirting with someone because you’re missing something was the same, but the point of view was different. Before poor humanity could realize this, however, broken families and unhappy, unloved children became a part of society where virtues were lost. People started becoming the pawns of various ideologies. A society was created where they couldn’t defend their own ideas but only exhibit the only thing they knew, the result of being unloved.
Humanity was still beautiful, though, because of its variety. It was exhibiting all of life’s variety through its different ideas and beliefs. The difference in its colors even exhibited the beauty of a life that wasn’t monotonous, but merciless competition began to show itself in all areas of life. The strong would win while the compassionate were condemned to be always oppressed. Different ideological branches began to form when it became clear how unhappy people were. These were political groups that promised happiness and tranquility or religious exploiters. It was a kind of industry that claimed to satisfy people’s need for spiritual fulfilment but instead used it for their own purposes, pushing people apart and setting them against each other. I call it an industry because it acted with the same mentality. The goods they put on the market were ideas for people who were chasing the desire for happiness and tranquility. Humanity then lost its most important quality, the ability to think, and it got used to being given everything in a pill form. People started following around those they considered strong, even sacrificing themselves. They were dying for the purposes of others, just because they thought it would make them happy.
Something was going wrong, though. The people who had been promised happiness weren’t happy. People who thought they could find happiness through sex started having sex with anyone who came along, believing it was freedom. In the end, however, it made them look for happiness in pills, at the discos, and on the streets. They had killed and died for their ideology, but they still couldn’t stray from their little groups and share their beliefs. They still couldn’t like themselves or the things they were doing. They still didn’t have confidence in themselves, so they couldn’t be happy.
People tried religion too. Even though the religions talk about love, equality, and forgiveness, they somehow couldn’t respect the beliefs of others. Religion separated people according to their religious beliefs, or lack of, just like society separated people according to their political opinions. Humanity was still looking for the happiness and peace that was eluding it. A force causing people to recognize themselves appeared, and this was called the New Age mentality. It was the result of searches into human psychology, something to promote peace and bring people together with their universal values. This mentality appreciated people just because they were people and didn’t separating them according to their ideologies and beliefs. The only obstruction to realizing this utopian hypothesis was that people should know and understand the furthest sides of the phantoms that defined them.
These were the most important reasons for the New Age movement. At the same time, it steered people to search for genuine things they couldn’t explain, see how truths they thought permanent could change the next day, and realize how what they were taught at school was not necessarily the only way.
The New Age is a movement that searches, communicating its results at the same time, to understand humanity. It tells us to appreciate humanity for more than just material reasons. It observes that we still need to believe in something to find God, even in a society where it is thought that intelligent people don’t need religious beliefs.
The Gifts of the New Age
The New Age shares its period with the technological and nuclear ages. Some people knew that the concept of “uniting with the world’s spirit” had been presented by eastern philosophers hundreds and thousands of years ago. This caused many philosophers around the world to try to rediscover these truths. People who unfortunately try to understand these truths through western books or articles are in great danger, because these subjects aren’t discussed much in our culture. I say unfortunately here because some people twist these magnificent truths for the purpose of exploitation. However, the New Age is the age of realization. It is a force that aims to wake the sleeping, that knows what it does and why it does it, that knows itself well, and that is aware of every kind of problem and tries to find solutions for them.
But just as you would accept it, it is possible that people still in the searching phase and not yet fully enlightened will try to guide others as if their beliefs are real, causing damage to them even when they don’t aim to.
As Nazım Hikmet said, “Living alone and free is like a tree and being brotherly is like a forest.” We can’t talk about the world’s individuals being siblings, and therefore like a forest, if we can’t first become free individuals. Yes, while western society was starting this age again, too many goodhearted people volunteered for this work and tried to help by giving lectures and writing work to enlighten people. Some people tried to learn from such work as well. They tried to use people wrongfully for their own ends by using their beliefs. The biggest wrong in the New Age is to bend the most noble and perfect things toward our dark natures.
Because of these twists, this movement made it its duty to put human rights (which is exceedingly virtuous) into practice individually. This defiance of not only their country but also world peace was seen as going against the flow. It’s all too easy to forget this age is about love, delight, tolerance, respect, and peace, especially when reading new books that seem attractive but which can’t stand against reality. With so many people following such books that constantly come on the market, the media damns New Age thinking as being nothing more than a utopian myth. It thinks New Age literature is garbage and dismisses its idealism. Of course, this wears down on the New Age thinkers who know the truth and work on subjects like ecology, preserving nature, and human rights. Discrimination always seemed ridiculous to me, whether it be because of gender, sexuality, language, religion, or age, so human rights are for all people. They protest against war and promote things like disarmament. They search for the meaning of the life by knowing themselves well and being respectful to themselves, because they care about the criticisms.
The New Age thinkers are open-minded people, even if they are skeptical of the mystical ways. This keeps them open to unexpected knowledge, even to people’s most insignificant dreams.
This is why it’s necessary to evaluate these critiques, because while acquiring such knowledge, you must be both careful and suspicious. When you don’t know who to trust, you might think a certain person is the very embodiment of a mental being.
Elizabeth Lesser, a cofounder of the Omega Institute, expresses how she believes its beauty and goodness that’s important. In her 20 years of being a canary in the New Age mines, she says she has seen the lifestyle change people’s lives in a positive way, despite spurious teachers, bothersome paradoxes, and general foolishness.
We can defeat the cultural differences passed onto us and instead achieve harmony and inner peace by always working with patience, and we can feel the effects of this transformation on our relationships. The most important thing is how the New Age teaches us to show respect for life’s beauty and to be unafraid of the mystery of death.
New Age knowledge can be used in good or bad ways, much like the duality inside ourselves. The New Age gives a good self-interest door to people who don’t ask themselves, “How can I benefit humanity, but especially myself.” Of course, the New Age isn’t the first movement that’s been represented anywhere between reality and hypocrisy.
It’s impossible to forget Confucius’ nice saying, “Mistakes create virtue. Mistakes cause me to test and analyze what I have learned. Not being able to move in right direction once the way is shown, because I am unable to correct my mistakes, is the reason for my sorrow.”
We can’t give up on the idea of pleasure and delight just because these beautiful truths have been twisted. This would be like the old adage of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so we must stay aware instead. While following this path filled with specious teachings, keep your wits about you while maintaining an open heart and mind. Just as Ms. Lesser says, check if your mental metal detector works on nonsense before leaving your house, so you won’t get caught up in fictional belief systems.
The New Age expects us to take responsibility for our own health and development, celebrate the differences in the world, shield each other, and uncover the secret of the universe.
The New Age knowledge is miraculous because it takes us to the real knowledge. That’s why real New Age guides always point out this way to us. That’s why we have events that can’t be explained by our current belief systems.
Let’s now leave the New Age knowledge behind and turn toward our life purpose. Our life isn’t about being born a human but rather to become a human. It needs attention like when growing roses, and it’s necessary to struggle with illnesses. A Rose’s thorns can prick and hurt, much like how people’s words and actions can hurt. How can we raise people without hurting both them and ourselves? What should we do to get a healthy society? Do we know ourselves? Do we take everyone under our wings as beautiful, harmonious, and overlooked individuals? Are we like a rainbow with our many different colors? Do we all smell sweet?
All babies are born human, but their environments, things they can or cannot see, their education, and the events they live through distance them from their humanity. So, what happens then? Let’s look at the society we live in. I’m not talking about one country in particular, because I’m sure all countries have similar things in different ways, but I will give an example from my own country.
Are any of you 100 percent satisfied with living in such a society? We have struggled in life to keep up with what society has taught us about home, work, and family necessities. We don’t even realize we are preparing for our own death in the process. Even if you ask a man this question, he will say he has no time to think about such useless notions because he is too busy with his demanding job. However, the thing that is truly real is his life. I have never liked using the expression “living like a vegetable,” because the living things we call plants do feel and understand love. When you submit your love to them they become stimulated and grow up. If we give them enough water, nutrients, and soil, and if they can feel the sunlight on their bodies, they will be happy. They undoubtedly show their pleasure by growing up healthy and full of life, just as we want them to.
So, what about us? What do we feel? Do we feel the love that is given? Do we realize it ourselves? We unfortunately only realize after too many opportunities have passed, when it is too late to do something or even when we are already deathly ill. We, the intelligent beings, are so busy with things that we can’t even realize where we are, because this won’t be useful for what we are trying to do.
We don’t even see or feel the world we live in. What does the world want from us? Are we the flowers in the gardens of the world? Do we take root, grow up, and die the way the gardener wants? This is not our problem because we have too many useless things to do. The conditions of life are hard; it expects too much work from us, and our children expect food. Above all, our mates never understand why we quarrel at work and how we fight for a single bite of bread. As if it isn’t enough for us to run around everywhere, he or she expects love, as if it is being given to us.
I am not one of those people who finds it necessary to experience a problem personally, no matter what it is, and repeat it over and over, crashing into a wall every time because I’m unable to see that the problem is the problem. I am one of those who can feel the pain of others in his heart.
I would like to ask if you have ever appreciated the roof over your head. Have you ever enjoyed a single bite of bread to the fullest? Yet you’ve worked for these things, haven’t you? We usually want to be able to appreciate these things when we get old. However, we, who neglect ourselves so much, cannot realize the world we live on can die the same way.
There are others who are more optimistic. They try to be happy by praying night and day for their families’ health. Life exists between four walls for these people. Are they glad of their lives? They “thank God” for giving them a house they can hardly afford. They never want to leave their four walls, but that’s fine because they can “thank God” for their health. Their children can’t have the education they want them to, because their teachers have to follow government policy first. They feed themselves with difficulty using the money they earn, but how will they pay the doctor if they get ill? They have no money to go to a private doctor, and in the free hospitals, people go in healthy and come out ill or dead, but still they “thank God” they are healthy. Anyway, the most important thing is their health, otherwise how will they earn money? How will they pay their rent? They have a boss who gets angry when employees become ill. If they don’t work like dogs, he’ll show them the door. The entire family will be wretchedly poor then, but still, they can “thank God” they are healthy.
If you ask them how long they should continue, they’ll say they never think about it. When there are so many poor around, they thank God they have a job. If you ask them what we should do for the other poor people, they will say, “I don’t know. I live by the grace of God with the things I have anyway, if you can call it living. Perhaps God will give them sustenance. Why should it bother me when there are so many rich people around?” Basically they are saying “I have no opportunity to think about what kind of life I want, because I don’t have time to do anything but thank God.”
Others are busy with cursing their own existences. They swear at the day and time they were borne, wishing they could erase that moment from time. Why had they been born to this meaningless, damned world? They can never understand their parents desire to bring them into the world? Why couldn’t they see how the conduct of the world is so worthless? Look at the youth of today. Wouldn’t it be better that this generation hadn’t happened? Where do the silly politicians come from, and are they going to correct our worthless world? They don’t even want to fix anything anyway, because they can just twiddle their thumbs and collect their paychecks. Don’t ever ask them, “What about us?” because they know they’ll have to work hard to change anything, and everyone knows it isn’t worth lifting a finger for this world. These people get frustrated about how their incompetent bosses don’t see their value, while those lazy politicians get paid ten times more.
Their parents didn’t just give birth to them—they also made them get married and have children themselves. Do you suppose their parents threatened them at knife point so they would get married, and their children just came out of nowhere? Don’t ask them what they were thinking, because they become very aggrieved. They will say things like, “I really don’t know. I thought it would be nice, but it didn’t turn out that way. Is there anything going right in this world?” It is all their parents’ fault of course. They light a cigarette and start saying things like, “What will we do about air pollution? They’ve ruined the air, and they’ve finally made a hole in the ozone layer as well! Why won’t these blockheads be responsible members of society? Anyway, let’s change the subject. This makes me really angry. Did you watch the match yesterday?” They speak like this for hours.
They claim they work hard yet can’t gain favor with anyone. They say they were raised to be honest and not do crooked things. They say their bosses know nothing, and their wives always shout at them. They would like a drink, but the silly waiter can’t get there fast enough, so they must shout at him, because it’s a language even a dog understands. The day ends and they must go home and suffer their wives, who have cooked spinach again even though they know they hate it. When they look at it in disdain, the wife says, “I can’t do anything else with what you bought,” as if there wasn’t anything else available. The children want schoolbooks, allowances, and summer vacations, and they think, “I’m working like a dog here. These animals just don’t understand.” These people complain about how no one knows how to do his or her job.
These people claim to understand everything, but you should see them when, God forbid, they get real power. Don’t ever say to them, “Okay, you’re right, but what should we do about it. How should we do it?” They claim to know very well what to do, and they claim they can even save the world, but it isn’t worth it for this worthless world, so they continue living in this world as it is. Where does it end? Who knows?
What will knowing ourselves bring to us? It gives us responsibility, frees us from our problems, and dispels the notion that other things are always creating our problems. A person who knows himself and can express himself as a human gets credit for the work he does. He becomes free by eliminating his dependencies and his accusing nature.
Becoming free isn’t like acting as if you’ve had physical chains removed. Becoming free is realizing we are responsible for the events we call problems and ridding ourselves of our dependencies. Every sort of problem we face in our environment stems from ourselves rather than from this or that, just like in the famous saying, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” If a person can’t contribute to a solution, then he has a big role in the problem.
People have established organizations, such as the United Nations, and laid terrifying responsibilities on them. This rids people of their responsibilities and provides a convenient scapegoat for everything that goes wrong. These groups have to discover, announce, and implement people’s aspirations. People sought to rid themselves of two responsibilities. The first was the responsibility to know themselves and what they want, and the second was the responsibility to find ways to achieve what they wanted.
Always someone or something should have taken action to prevent or end a war. Nations not involved in a war always accuse something, because they established organizations for that very purpose.
Is there really a problem with this life? I can imagine you would say, “Who do you think you’re kidding?” if someone suddenly said, “There are no problems in this life. Everything is perfect and in its proper place.” Yet this is the truth. The truth is your perception of events. The main requirements for gaining this point of view are to get to know ourselves and become able to express ourselves.
If we talk about the most frequently targeted politicians, we discuss how they generously bump up their own paychecks while keeping ours to the minimum. Sure, this is true, but can you honestly say you wouldn’t have done the same in their situation? What’s more, even if you could be sure of yourself, you can’t know if any of your relatives or neighbors wouldn’t do it.
Politicians haven’t become rich from their paychecks, however. Don’t take that as me being a defender of all politicians. Just like everyone else, I of course don’t want to see the corruption that occurs in politics.
Society and all of humanity deserves respect, whatever a person’s beliefs are. How can we kill people just because they don’t think like us? Have you ever watched those heated chat shows? Do you ever see people with opposing ideas discussing them in a way suited to humanity? The thing I see is how they incite each other, and no one shows the politeness to listen to the others. They just foam at the mouth and preach their own ideas, trying to find someone who will side with them while humiliating the others. Those with the greatest charm and most persuasive nature usually end up winning, but the objective should not be to win. We should at least listen and try to understand why people have ideas that seem alien to us. I want a society that listens, tries to understand, and creates solutions.
We all know we are a vocal society. We always speak out, but the way we do it is useless. We speak behind people’s backs, we speak when it isn’t necessary to, and we only shout out to protect our rights. Is it possible to love people just by understanding them? If we have created a society that’s quick to hate our ideas, it is our own fault. Think about the people we call intellectuals? Are they people who enlightened themselves? A true intellectual brings light to the darkness rather than being angry at it and expresses the things he or she knows to be true in a way everybody will understand. People we call intellectuals must be like light bulbs that shed light on their environments with their knowledge.
Look at what Atatürk, the first president of modern Turkey, said about this: “The duty of the intellectuals is extremely important. There is no nation that advances without relying on the moral basis. My spiritual inheritances are science and the mind. The ones who want to appropriate me become my inheritors if they accept the guidance of the mind and science. They are the real revolutionaries that know the real tendency inside people’s souls and conscience is to advance and acquire newness. It is impossible to ascribe their radiance to the imagination. We never hesitate to march to our targets rather than shift the blame onto everything else. Crowds of people can be dispatched in good or evil directions if individuals cannot think or be conscious of their laws, so it is necessary to save our country from those who would send it on incorrect paths. There is a real way to achieve this, and we will pursue it. That way is to provide our country’s thinking minds with a wholly new belief and give a fresh spirit to the entire nation.”
I don’t want you to complete your life journey by saying, “What a pity.” This is why I’m writing this, and maybe it will reach someone at just the right moment.
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