New Age and Environment: New Forms of Spirituality and Lifestyle in the Context of Secularization?

Autores: Tiago Pinto e Helena Vilaça


From the middle of the 20th century, the rise of anthropocentric beliefs partly inherited from the Abrahamic religions led to a change in mentality about ecosystems. The measurable signs of environmental exploitation and destruction and their consequences for human health, the shift to post-materialist values, and the growth of ethical philosophies (Land ethics, the Gaia Hypothesis, and Deep Ecology) were predictors of global ecological awareness. Progressively, human cultures (which are inseparable from religion) have become a priority for understanding relationships with the natural world. Alongside beliefs, individual subjectivities, influenced by the New Age, also positively affect sustainable values and practices. One of the community manifestations that demonstrate this is the ecovillage phenomenon. The sociological study of these new social realities influenced by the New Age is a relevant field of research in the frame of secularization or the criticism of this paradigm.