A weekly study of converging right-wing conspiracy theories and faux-progressive wellness utopianism. At best, the conspirituality movement attacks public health efforts in times of crisis. At worst, it fronts and recruits for the fever-dream of QAnon. As the alt-right and New Age horseshoe toward each other in a blur of disinformation, clear discourse and good intentions get smothered. Charismatic influencers exploit their followers by co-opting conspiracy theories on a spectrum of intensity ranging from vaccines to child trafficking. In the process, spiritual beliefs that have nurtured creativity and meaning are transforming into memes of a quickly-globalizing paranoia. Conspirituality Podcast attempts to bring understanding to this landscape. A journalist, a cult researcher, and a philosophical skeptic discuss the stories, cognitive dissonances, and cultic dynamics tearing through the yoga, wellness, and new spirituality worlds. Mainstream outlets have noticed the problem. We crowd-source, research, analyze, and dream answers to it.
Bonus Sample: Did We Choose to Be the Good Ones?
Kyle Rittenhouse walks away from the courthouse while Ahmaud Arbery's killers were found guilty and "QAnon Shaman," Jacob Chansley, was received significant jail time. Our opinions on each of these cases are likely determined by our political affiliations, which in turn are a reflection of how we think about morality, crime, and punishment.
Julian draws on scientific research into how genetics and the brain shape our politics, thought experiments in moral philosophy, and the work of moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt.
As he questions whether or not any of us have freely chosen to be the good ones, he wonders if a way out of our toxic polarization might be found through understanding the underlying moral values and emotional reactions that drive one another's political beliefs.
79: Anti-Hate Work in Canada (w/Dan Collen, Elizabeth Simons, & Morgan Yew)
COVID has been a recruiting windfall for hate groups in Canada, with new alliances and networks forged between white supremacists, xenophobes, and ethnonationalists in the fire of accelerated conspiracism. Joining Matthew to map out this landscape are street-level anti-hate activists Elizabeth Simons, the deputy director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, Dan Collen, a researcher with the Neuberger Holocaust Education Center's Online Hate Education and Research Project, and Morgan Yew, a video journalist and DJ from Kamloops, whose coverage of Toronto's anti-lockdown protests has been rich and revealing.
We cover a lot in this one: the “irony poisoning” white nationalist recruiting tactics that target 14 year-old boys, the rogue’s gallery of extremists wreaking havoc at anti-lockdown rallies, racists trying on “sovereign citizen” pseudolaw in the courts, and their craven appropriation of Indigenous rights discourse when they lurch into “Pretendian” territory. We’ll also look at the People’s Party of Canada, and discuss why it is not very smart to write it off as QAnon foolishness.
Content Warning: analysis of hateful views, including notes from a white supremacist recruiting manual that is instructing followers on how to indoctrinate children.
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Dan Collen’s fantastic articles on Medium: dancollen.medium.com
Morgan Yew’s awesome Twitter feed
Canadian Anti-Semites and Far-Right Conspiracy Theorists Try New Tactic: Aligning with Indigenous Communities
Learning for Justice | Education Resources
Wisdom2Action – Facilitate Change. Strengthen Communities.
The 519- nonprofit promoting 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion serving Toronto - The 519 - Space For Change - The519
Egale Canada - nonprofit promoting 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion serving Canada Home - Egale
CASSA - Council of Agencies Serving South Asians - http://cassa.on.ca/
The Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre - https://www.holocaustcentre.com/
Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice - https://ccncsj.ca/
Timeline cleanse. Some of Morgan’s video nurturance journalism.
Bonus Sample: Sam Harris: High-Brow Secular Conspiritualist
Bonus episode, piloted by Matthew.
There is a subtle form of conspirituality that rides on the familiar dialectic of political cynicism and spiritual promise—but it's dressed for a button-down salon dinner in Harvard Square. No crystals in sight, no essential oils wafting through the room.
Sam Harris isn’t sounding the alarm about the Cabal or the Illuminati: his bugaboos are Islam, or “wokeism,” or “cancel culture.”
And he isn’t saying that starseeds will save the day, or that a Great Awakening is upon us. He’s not so low-brow.
His salvation product is meditation, which he says can validate his political insights. And hey, there's an app for that!
Celebrity Crusaders For Empire
Towards a geopolitics of atheism
Why the arguments of the 'New Atheists' are often just as violent as religion
Harris daydreaming about a nuclear strike
Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web
Will the "University of Austin" ever actually exist?
Sam Harris & Charles Murray
Harris. “A Few Points of Confusion.”
Decoding the Gurus: Sam Harris & Meditation is all you need
Gurometer— Kavanaugh and Browne
Buddhist Studies Has a Whiteness Problem
Buddhism, Race, and American Belonging
#BuddhistCultureWars: | Gleig
Joy Brennan on Buddhism & identity politics
Decoding the Gurus. Interview with Sam Harris
I Don't Speak German: 97: Debating Sam Harris
Remski: “I Got Mine-Ism”
"Woking Up" by Eiynah (which Matthew didn't cite NEARLY enough, as he filed before listening to it.)
78: Society of the Conspiracy
Conspiracy theories flourish during uncertain times. They're always with us, passed down through generations like alternate histories, yet they’re constantly reinvented when collective stress levels peak. Julian reports on the QAnon spin-off group that’s been camped out in Dallas’s Dealey Plaza for two weeks, hoping to catch a glimpse of a pantheon of resurrected dead celebrities. In light of the Astroworld concert tragedy, which killed 10 people, being interpreted as a ritual Satanic sacrifice on social media, Derek wonders if conspiracies are just how we process everything now. Matthew points out the legitimate reasons conspiracy theorists have for their paranoia while warning against the media's tendency to titillate by misusing the terminology of cult research. And he also reads a bit from Paradise Lost. A conversational recap week as we’re working on some Big Shows in the next few weeks.
01:41 By the Numbers
40:30 Satanic Panic in Houston
All music by EarthRise SoundSystem
Support Conspirituality on Patreon
Riots, deaths, sexual assault: Maybe Woodstock was always a nightmare
The Bizarre Travis Scott Claims Show That Conspiracies Are Just How We Process Things
TikTok and QAnon Panic Over ‘Satanism’ Conspiracies at Deadly Travis Scott Concert
QAnon’s Refuse to Leave Dallas After JFK Jr. Fails to Appear
Inside The QAnon Cult Waiting for JFK Jr.
On The Ground At Dealey Plaza
Twitter videos/thread on Michael Brian Protzman
What Biden is keeping secret in the JFK files
QAnon Influencer Recruiting Secretary of State Candidates
Academic Research on Conspiracy Theories in Times of Social Crisis
Karen Douglas PhD on The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
Bonus Sample: Privilege in Wellness Spaces
Privilege is often blind and rampant across societies. But is the term also overused?
In this bonus sample, Derek looks at two examples of privilege in wellness spaces, the danger of its overuse, and a possible reframing of how to approach the topic.
77: A Homeopathy Episode So Potent You Can’t Hear It (w/Jonathan Jarry)
To prepare this curative episode, we listened carefully to alternative health consumers for many hours, taking an exhaustive history of life challenges on physical, mental, and emotional planes. We scanned the symptoms against our compendium of disease states and prescribed the precise substances that would mirror them.
Then, we took minuscule audio samples from our podcasting apothecary — skepticism, melancholy, and empathy. We mixed these, diluted them a thousand times, to the point at which they became completely inaudible. Then we shook them up and down while chanting the spell of this bespoke remedy: Conspiritualitis investigarium.
Please don’t try to turn up your volume on this episode. You can’t actually hear it, and that’s what makes it so powerful.
But seriously folks. Welcome to our long-awaited homeopathy show — and not a week too soon. NFL’s leading quarterback Aaron Rodgers has just admitted to endangering the entire league by opting to be “immunized” via homeopathy rather than complying with the league’s vaccination requirements. (He’s also a lying liar.) There are reports of homeopaths selling COVID19 remedies — through both small ops in the U.S., and federally-approved dispensers in India, where Narendra Modi’s Hindu Nationalists mingled sugar pills with astrology to help disguise their negligent pandemic response.
Derek takes us on a tour through the strange history of this medicine that isn’t there, and interviews Jonathan Jarry of the McGill Office for Science and Society on why it haunts us. Julian contextualizes homeopathy against the broader “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” landscape. And Matthew wonders about the uses of magic.
02:42 Something's Fishy
12:43 Origin Myth
35:13 An Expensive Problem
1:18:44 Interview w/Jonathan Jarry
All music by EarthRise SoundSystem
Support Conspirituality on Patreon
A brief history of homeopathy
Vaccines and Homeopath
Homeopathy: A History
Berlin Wall pills: a cure for emotional trauma – or royal-endorsed quackery?
Jonathan Jarry's homeopathy video
Jonathan's articles for McGill University
Homeopathy And Its Founder: Views Of A British Researcher
MEASURING MYTHOLOGY: Startling Concepts in NCCAM Grant
$2.5 billion spent, no alternative cures found
Complementary And Alternative Medicine Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Intervention
Worldwide Homeopathy Industry to 2028 - Healthcare Expenditure and Reimbursement Presents Opportunities
Refreshing weekly hope
This pod provides a refreshing weekly dose of hope—hope that not everyone in the world has lost their minds. Kind and humble while also cutting and incisive, this pod is an oasis of original rationality. (A twice weekly dose if you subscribe via Patreon, which I do).
I love this podcast!
Such a breath of fresh air. These guys put words to things I have trouble articulating, which really helps when I find myself in endless circular debates with anti-vaxxers. So good!
First the good news: This podcast is very informative, and provides a nice deep dive into the whole conspirituality phenomenon, which as a non-American, non-wellness culture type, has been somewhat mystifying to me.
Now the bad news: These guys are in *dire* ned of an editor. Seriously, can these mammoth episodes not be broken down into smaller chunks?