Re: New Age Nonsense

John W Norder (jwn@UMICH.EDU)
Thu, 2 Mar 1995 01:50:06 -0500

One of the things about new age-ism is that the people that they tend to
equate it with are of native societies at the simple horticultural or
hunter gatherer levels, or native groups that, after colonial contact no
longer engage in the intensive agriculture that they did before, thus
giving the appearance of having lived in harmony with the landscape.
You might take note that the Polynesian examples are typically at the
chiefdom level of organization and often practiced very intensive
agriculture, which was very destructive to the local environments. Many
of these 'chiefdom' societies crashed as a result of over-intensification
(Easter Island is a classic example). New agers are more interested in
less complex societies, which have 'not' brought about the destruction of
the environment, societies which live from the 'natural' products of the
land and, thus, share some sort of understanding with it because of their
closeness to the 'natural'. Not all native societies can be judged by
the example of one society or by one book.