571 episodes

Dismantling New Age cults, wellness grifters, and conspiracy-mad yogis. 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.

Conspirituality Awakener

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.0 • 1.6K Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

Dismantling New Age cults, wellness grifters, and conspiracy-mad yogis. 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.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Bonus Sample: 6 Chapters on Prospirituality

    Bonus Sample: 6 Chapters on Prospirituality

    Six chapters on approaches to prospirituality, now that we know (or think we know) what the hell conspirtuality is. This is a long episode, but there are evenly-placed breaks for you all to pause on!
    Chapter 1: Positions
    After 4 years, we’ve come to a natural question at the end of defining the problem of conspirituality. How do we orient ourselves towards possible answers?
    Chapter 2: The Prospirituality Challenge
    If you’re clear on how spirituality—including beliefs in the supernatural—can be medicine, you can be clearer on where it becomes poison.
    Chapter 3: I did not expect to be friends with Joseph Baker
    I never thought I would be friends with a student of A Course in Miracles: maybe my judgments about its inevitably bad impacts are misplaced. Also: it’s not a good idea to dismiss anyone on the basis of religious belief if you don’t know how that belief actually operates, and you won’t unless you talk to them. 
    Chapter 4: Buddhist Tolerance, Buddhist Repair
    Conspirituality is right at home within high-demand groups or cults. Paranoid and controlling social structures feed on paranoid and dissociative emotions and ideas. For members and observers alike, it can become difficult to tell whether the content of the religious group is intrinsic to its cruelty, or whether these can be separated. Surprisingly, some high-demand groups can foster reforms from within, with members reframing the very concepts that had been weaponized against them to liberate themselves. In that sense, the doctrines and beliefs can be part of the problem, but also part of the solution. 
    Chapter 5: Eve Sedgwick
    Cynicism about religion is an occupational hazard of this beat. It’s also popular. At times it’s worth questioning the critical economy focused more on deconstruction than on generating ideas and solidarity. 
    Chapter 6: The Trouble and Joy of Belief and Silence
    “You will know them by their fruits. Do we gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?”
    Matthew 7:16
    Show Notes
    Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
    Survivors of an International Buddhist Cult Share Their Stories
    Paranoid Reading, Reparative Reading
    Baylor Religion Survey: 3 graphs
    On the Relation Between Religiosity and the Endorsement of Conspiracy Theories: The Role of Political Orientation
    Anxious attachment and belief in conspiracy theories
    There are higher levels of conspiracy beliefs in more corrupt countries
    The impact of economic inequality on conspiracy beliefs
    To trust or not to trust in the thrall of the COVID-19 pandemic: Conspiracy endorsement and the role of adverse childhood experiences, epistemic trust, and personality functioning
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    • 6 min
    6 Chapters on Prospirituality

    6 Chapters on Prospirituality

    Six chapters on approaches to prospirituality, now that we know (or think we know) what the hell conspirtuality is. This is a long episode, but there are evenly-placed breaks for you all to pause on!

    Chapter 1: Positions

    After 4 years, we’ve come to a natural question at the end of defining the problem of conspirituality. How do we orient ourselves towards possible answers?

    Chapter 2: The Prospirituality Challenge

    If you’re clear on how spirituality—including beliefs in the supernatural—can be medicine, you can be clearer on where it becomes poison.

    Chapter 3: I did not expect to be friends with Joseph Baker

    I never thought I would be friends with a student of A Course in Miracles: maybe my judgments about its inevitably bad impacts are misplaced. Also: it’s not a good idea to dismiss anyone on the basis of religious belief if you don’t know how that belief actually operates, and you won’t unless you talk to them. 

    Chapter 4: Buddhist Tolerance, Buddhist Repair

    Conspirituality is right at home within high-demand groups or cults. Paranoid and controlling social structures feed on paranoid and dissociative emotions and ideas. For members and observers alike, it can become difficult to tell whether the content of the religious group is intrinsic to its cruelty, or whether these can be separated. Surprisingly, some high-demand groups can foster reforms from within, with members reframing the very concepts that had been weaponized against them to liberate themselves. In that sense, the doctrines and beliefs can be part of the problem, but also part of the solution. 

    Chapter 5: Eve Sedgwick

    Cynicism about religion is an occupational hazard of this beat. It’s also popular. At times it’s worth questioning the critical economy focused more on deconstruction than on generating ideas and solidarity. 

    Chapter 6: The Trouble and Joy of Belief and Silence

    “You will know them by their fruits. Do we gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” -- Matthew 7:16

    Brief: Math Class with Terrence Howard & Eric Weinstein

    Brief: Math Class with Terrence Howard & Eric Weinstein

    Terrence Howard recently made waves (again) when appearing on Joe Rogan’s podcast to discuss “Terryology,” a language of logic which he claims proves one times one equals two. Since he announced his theory in 2015 (and published it on Twitter in 2017), he’s been repeatedly criticized. In this latest round, that criticism is coming from Eric Weinstein, who appeared on physicist Brian Keating’s podcast to discuss Howard’s math. As usual with Weinstein, the conversation went in a million directions. Derek and Julian discuss.
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    • 34 min
    210: Bioquacking Bro Science (feat Mallory DeMille)

    210: Bioquacking Bro Science (feat Mallory DeMille)

    Are you ready to “live beyond 180? That’s the tagline of the 10th Annual Biohacking Conference, which went down in Dallas two weeks ago. The brainchild of Dave Asprey, the conference focused on numerous “hacks” to help you live not only longer, but better and longer. This has been a decades-long goal of Asprey, who you might know as the founder of Bulletproof Coffee—you know, despite mountains of clinical evidence stating otherwise, this tech entrepreneur is certain that melting a stick of butter in your coffee every morning is the key to longevity.
    Was the key, that is. Dave is now behind the supposed “mold-free” coffee company, Danger Coffee, alongside a whole bunch of other sciencey gimmicks, like his “Wasabi Method,” which was launched at the conference. The key to longevity, it seems, is knowing that your sales funnel always depends on there being another key. That’s the vibe our returning correspondent, Mallory DeMille, got when reviewing the many reels and videos that surfaced from the conference rooms at the Fairmont Hotel.
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    • 1 hr 6 min
    Bonus Sample: Speak Through Me

    Bonus Sample: Speak Through Me

    QAnon’s “Great Awakening,” influencers claiming to channel spirits or aliens, prophecies of a glorious Christian apocalypse—all aspects of the modern phenomenon that we call “conspirituality.” A sign of our crazy times?!
    Not quite. The roots of this passionate delusion can be traced to an eventful time in American history: the mid-1800’s. In this episode of his pseudoscience series, Julian covers the relationship between famous Spiritualists who talked to the dead on stage, the emerging science of parapsychology, early formulations of New Age beliefs, and the passionate Christian revivalism centered in New York State’s “burned-over district.” 
    Show Notes
    Doomsday Prophecy and Spiritual Porn (earlier episode on 19th century Great Awakening)
    Hearing Voices, Seeing Colors, & Fighting Phantoms (earlier episode on temporal lobe epilepsy)
    New Yorker: Why Did So Many Victorians Try To Talk To The Dead 
    PBS: William Miller and The Second Great Awakening
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 5 min
    Speak Through Me

    Speak Through Me

    QAnon’s “Great Awakening,” influencers claiming to channel spirits or aliens, prophecies of a glorious Christian apocalypse—all aspects of the modern phenomenon that we call “conspirituality.” A sign of our crazy times?!

    Not quite. The roots of this passionate delusion can be traced to an eventful time in American history: the mid-1800’s. In this episode of his pseudoscience series, Julian covers the relationship between famous Spiritualists who talked to the dead on stage, the emerging science of parapsychology, early formulations of New Age beliefs, and the passionate Christian revivalism centered in New York State’s “burned-over district.”

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5
1.6K Ratings

1.6K Ratings

brother-dan ,

Great topics

Poor follow through.

CMJRN ,

Biohacking Episode

Mallory rocks. Would like to hear more from you. As the Irish say, may you live as long as you like.

unbreakable zenith ,

Sadly self centric- off putting

Update came back looking to see if these guys had given up on tribalism and wanted to give integrity a try - answer- no - they are worse - trust NPR? - wow- more my side science and I already knew it commentary

As a scientist I remain mortified by how laypersons, journalists, and pundits such these folks ( yes I keep suspecting the next frauds they will discuss is themselves) miss what science is and does (see critical thinking org, carl popper, or excellent current thinking from david Deutsch) science explains things. Several points stand out - playing clips while laughing at them is just so 6th grade. Yes I figure they will use this and attack me as that is all they do they don’t respect expertise or how deep the world goes - stop playing expert - I am not playing the stay in ur lane game as they are generalist but as such then they need to provide levels of confidence and a 360 degree view of what we know and don’t. Being critical of crazy is easy and I am not sure who they are even connecting with that are surprised or enlightened by finding out that Q is 2nd grade thinking. The problem is they then confuse actually interesting and scientific thinkers with crazy without fair understanding or as far as I can tell even reading of their work .....finally it is also clear that if it is their tribe they fail to ask for or question evidence- if they like the idea than why ask if it’s accurate? Summary: more sad arrogance but it is well produced — ps my reference to 2nd and 6th grade thinking is not to knock children- children are smart very smart just different than older minds - their excellent mind are only pathetic when adults have them

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