603-103-MQ, New Age Literature
"Shaped by a variety of counter-culture movements, such as the Oriental Renaissance, Transcendentalism, German neo-Romanticism and the philosophy of the Beats, New Age has developed into a reactionary phenomenon to our modern age of reason and scepticism. The existential quest for knowledge and meaning is the main theme here, yet the works studied in this course consistently shift away from intellectual inquiry and offer alternative (and often occult) methods of completing such a quest. Our readings will allow us to delve into the subtler regions of what we call 'reality,' and discuss events and ideas that scientific worldviews routinely marginalize and dismiss as superstitious psycho-babble. Conversely, we will also look at the darker side of New Age theory, which is sometimes criticized for validating self-aggrandizing western consumerism, or which can, in extreme cases, degenerate into brainwashing and cult mentality."