The New Age concept of the human predicament raises some important questions. Much of what New Age is is an amalgamation of various eastern philosophies and religions. These eastern religions hold that humans suffer from a type of metaphysical amnesia. In other words, humans are ignorant of the alleged truth that they have a divine nature. Widely read author of eastern thought is that of Deepak Chopra who believes “that essentially we are spiritual beings who have taken manifestation in physical form” (1). I agree that we are spiritual beings. However, it appears to be going too far to assert that we are really one with God, and that somehow we have forgotten that we are divine. This brings up a really good question, “What is it that would account for such divine amnesia?” Prominent philosopher Paul Copan thus asks, “If the human self is really divine – if there is no difference between God and humans – then doesn’t it seem strange that so many human beings have forgotten this? How do we account for this cosmic amnesia?” (2)
In other words, while we are claimed to be one in essence with God, or an Ultimate Reality, we instead perceive ourselves as separate and distinct entities. So, argues the easterner, we need to overcome the illusion of our separation in order to “reunite” with God (or the Ultimate Reality). As scholar Winfried Corduan informs us, “The key to Vedantic thought, then, is to transcend the world of experience, which is only maya, and to uncover one’s identity as the atman-Brahman” (3).
Yet what accounts for this cosmic amnesia that contemporary New Agers affirm to be humanity’s problem?
1. As quoted by Owalawi, W. (2011) in the The Dialogue in the City of Niyod. p. 81.
2. Copan, P. 2001. That’s Just Your Interpretation. p. 51.
3. Corduan, W. 1998. Neighboring Faiths. p. 199.