Discourse Development

Submitted by admin on Thu, 08/04/2016 - 21:56
Findhorn "living machine" eco-sewage system
Findhorn "living machine" eco-sewage system

There are lots of New Age discourses, typified by concepts such as potential and evolution. And then there are holistic, attunement, and co-creation. There are many other concepts, but perhaps these five are the core ones. I am sometimes calling them discourses, because using each of these words, such as potential, introduces a huge number of different ideas and connections when the "potential" strand of discourse interacts with other discourse.

The early New Age (at least at Findhorn) was a heady mix – Peter Caddy was a Rosicrucian, but some of the early members were hippies who had discovered their inward direction through drugs and trips to India. However, the discourse concepts I’ve mentioned above are a good description of the main initial themes for the community.

But then, as time went on, the New Age began to intersect more with other movements - esoterics, mysticism, psychology, and personal growth. These had valuable contributions, perspectives and techniques to offer the New Age, and a cross-fertilisation occurred, where both sides were changed by the contact, and consequently, new discourses were introduced to the community which became entangled with the old ones.

However, still more new discourses have been brought into the New Age (and Findhorn) in the last 30 years-

  • healing, (which played a very subsidiary role originally)
  • channelling
  • angels
  • prosperity consciousness
  • affirmations
  • Course in Miracles, Sai Baba, and many other 'schools' and teachings
  • commercialism, accountancy, charity law so it could exist in the world
  • (No doubt there are others more recently)

All of these strands of discourse existed in the original New Age, but in very peripheral forms, but have now developed much more. Each of these areas forms one or two pieces of the (500 piece ?) jigsaw, but little more than that. The people caught up in these peripheral discourses often develop a very distorted view, though, to be fair, this can happen to anyone ! It is an odd truism that our greatest strengths can become our greatest weaknesses

As part of the mapping, it is also interesting to try and list what was included in the New Age and what was not (I include an approximate date of when some of these happened (once again, I mean the New Age as it appeared at Findhorn, and by 'excluded', I mean it never happened at Findhorn, perhaps as it was “not on the right wavelength” rather than as a deliberate exclusion):-

'Allowed' in FH New Age

'Excluded' from FH New Age

Hippy culture (1970-75)

Mystical and Esoteric stuff (from 1962)

Channeling (1964, stopped in 1974)

Personal Growth (began 1975)

Humanistic psychology etc (began 1975)

Green movement/ Ecovillage (since 1983)

Drug taking (never allowed at Findhorn)

Any organised religion (on a large scale)

Conventional left-right politics


Postmodernism (no overlap ever)

Punk and Reggae (little overlap)

New Age Travellers (almost no contact)

This is not a criticism, it is how things were. Findhorn was essentially clean, straight, white and wealthy - it catered for people who have had (or seen) what life has to offer in terms of success and money, but have been able to say "there must be something better" or “what else is there ?” and then had been able to set out to find it, both at great cost and great benefit to themselves. This is a privileged group of people, but, they had created their own privilege and used it well ! They searched internally, rather than externally – no matter where you go, you are still there !