and which blatantly demonstrate that these spiritualities and those who follow them, well fit, at least to some extent, to the definition of pseudo-science, as others have listed criteria for recognition of pseudo-sciences and other Crackpot indices:
Caring more about the intentionality of acts rather then their
actual consequences on the fate of others, leading eventually to devote
one's life to complex and disinhibit one's heart indefinitely while the
rest of the world could die, while hoping that this is not a selfish
approach. See my position here,
very different from some Buddhist approach. That is how the Buddha is
primarily obsessed by purifying the
navel of his intentions to become "awake". Yes, but awake to what? On
the one hand as regards the awakening vis-à-vis the general
understanding of problems and how to build a better world, rational
methods appear to me far more effective than spiritual methods. On the
other hand, if the matter is to present the spiritual Awakening as an
end in itself on a personal level, I can hardly see why it was not
better for this to remain in the beyond world rather than having come
to incarnate in this human condition so contrary to this Awakening.
The fact of pretending to unify everything, looking at the world
in terms of a unitary vision, and / or to promote simplicity, a simple
vision of the world, the belief that the scientific approach
"complicates" things. As I once answered to the author of a site with
very spiritual ways, that honored itself to defend the very idea of
spiritual oneness of all things (as opposed to the approach of science
and logic to distinguish and divide): "can you make the difference
between oneness and confusion ?". Of course it's always nice to
discover on occasion some profound simplicity, some deep links or
a common source behind a variety of appearances; science indeed already
managed to do so already for a large extent, and I devoted myself
largely to such research, but such wonderful properties are to be
discovered and not arbitrarily claimed. I do not complicate anything, I
am only describing things as they are. And for me, ultimately, they are
simple in the sense that I see them clearly. If someone finds my point
of view as complex (in the sense of « painful »
and « dark »), this is only his subjective
assessment related to his personal difficulty to reach my understanding
(and, admittedly, because I summarize here the results of a long
search, long to explain). Because my understanding was fortunate enough
to adapt to the complexity of reality.
Should I recall that the truth is not to be chosen; the truth has no duty to adapt itself to our own naive a priori sentiment or expectation of simplicity and clarity, but it is up to our mind to work to adapt and rebuild a new sense of simplicity and of clarity to be relevent to the truth as it really is in all its complexity. Anyone who wants to see the truth in what seems simple to his unskilled mind is in fact sinking into simple error, and reality will remain incomprehensible as too complex to him.
The fact to use as a final argument that ends any debate:
"You're blinded by your ego" or by "pride". Mistaking the intelligence
others for pride, seeing proud people everywhere, regarding as a pride
anyone that comes to contradict you claiming to know more than you
(while you reject outright any discussion of the details of his
positions and arguments seen as "complications" contrary to the clarity
and ease of mind), is indeed an excellent way of never having to
question yourself. What's more natural and necessary indeed, to remain
quietly in error, to see automatically those who claim to have better
reasons to have their positions, as being merely proud people, hard
hearted and closed minded that mistakenly believe to be more
intelligent than yourself and who refuses to hear your views ... Thus,
spiritual people often have big ego problems: many are obsessed with
of others they say oversized, probably because they suffer from this
same problem and the real or assumed one of others are an obstacle to
To pretend that the mind will transcend its own limits by focusing all its interest on itself and no more caring to know anything else
The acts of excessively taking care of someone, up to not
letting him manage his own affairs, then put forward these acts as
proofs of holiness and spiritual superiority, of omniscience and
illumination without possible discussion, according to the logic "I
lick your boots therefore I am right." To be willing to sacrifice
everything (or at least to persuade oneself to be so giving oneself to
the maximum) except the claim to know everything better than others and
being the best of all ... Accusing others of ingratitude if they are
not then flatly grateful and do not make sacrifices in return, while
the actual usefulness of this excessive care that was given was not
rigorously established (lived case).
To confuse paranormal (or normal) ultrasensitivity (such as
telepathy..) with knowledge and intelligence (indeed, feeling thing
does not necessarily mean understanding them).
The idea that belief is chosen, and that the happiness of an
individual is determined by his beliefs, so that people are just free
to be happy and for this they just need to adopt the beliefs of the
happy people (what I call corruption).
Meanwhile, to stick to a unique possible way of viewing the world, and to pretend to speak about doubt but see it as a mere
fearful ghost without ever seriously considering to define or get to know about any coherent alternative views, so that faith will be a
free choice in a single-possibility set. Meanwhile, to assume about people with another viewpoint than one's own, that it must be all
coming from the fact they just never happened to hear or considered one's own views or to live one's own experiences, so that
telling it to them will surely be a new revelation to them.
The focus on the values of politeness, good words and good
wishes to one's interlocutor, of optimism about life and destiny, and
the idea that these thoughts and attitudes would in themselves be the
universal solutions; by ignoring all the issues of real actions,
calculations and efficiency measures for the accomplishment of the
collective good by these actions, that would require a scientific
approach. Thus, the fact of systematically urging the unfortunate ones
to change their desires rather than the world order. While in specific
cases such an advice could be justified, refusing by principle any
research to build a better world giving people the means to be happier,
but requiring everyone to be "satisfied" of their poverty, is a
short-sighted solution, a solidarity of selfishnesses, a loose
discrimination where you manage to feel virtuous in "helping" (or by
persuading that you are helping) at little cost (empty words) who is
now in front of you while leaving all others perish. And it is in any
case only an act on symptoms while leaving the root (collective) causes
of evil, persist.
To be wanting to present your conception of things, but refusing
to enter a contradictory dialogue with arguments and / or to clarify
the meaning or detailed examples of what you are mentioning (except of
course truisms like "killing is wrong" or "Hitler will be judged
differently from Father Pierre"), while accusing your interlocutor of
being « not open », and sometimes using this
peremptory claim as an excuse to justify your own lack of explanation.
Too easy indeed to be the most open man in the world if the only
possible way is to be open is to agree with you. If someone has
something to say, let him set out and explain himself clearly by a
website, allowing everyone to freely discuss the strength of arguments!
To make a dialectic confusion between the natural, innate faith (in one's own existence, in the existence of the material
world, the one of other people as peer souls like ourselves, the fact the universe was not all created with fake memories 5
minutes ago; and to the feelings of some, that God and afterlife do exist) and the culturally-made one (the story of Jesus, or
the claim of divine origin of any given book), as if they were of the same nature, while they are only mistaken as such.
The invocation of the limits of human reason to scorn the use of
it; the confusion between the assumed ultimate limits of reason, and the accidental limits of one's personal understanding in a
given circumstance at a given time, not noticing that the domain inside the latter limits is finite while the one inside the former
limits is not. And based on these assumed limits of reasons, to regard as a possibly legitimate attitude the act of denying
evidence in front without any further justification. As if the awareness of the existence of an absolute limit for the speed of
physical objects (the speed of the light) was a sufficient argument against using modern means of transportation, and
against acknowledging the observation that someone eventually did reach a destination faster than oneself by using them.
To criticize the scientific method for being "reductionist", not noticing that the one reductionist thing here is this very act of seeing it as such (even if there are indeed unfortunately some "skeptics" with a caricatural, inappropriate practice of "rationality"
which may deserve such despise).
To make a dialectic confusion between the material nature of an object, and the relevance of the scientific method to the study of this object, so that a refutation of the former may by itself anyhow suggest to question the latter; to not notice the utter incompatibility between claims of an uttermost relevance and usefulness of a doctrine to practical life, and the failure of this doctrine to be empirically established (satisfying Popper's falsifiability criteria), however unusual the nature of its claims may be with respect to the fields of established science.
To pretend to be above matter (or that the spirit is above matter...) by not noticing the matter still staying above oneself.
To regard the Pope's declaration that reason and faith are compatible, or the existence of Christian scientists like Blaise Pascal, as a sufficient argument to conclude that reason is indeed compatible with the biblical doctrine, and that some specific currently believed articles of faith are not just blatantly ignoring the fact of having already been rigorously dismissed by evidence in the past, in a way that would be unquestionable by any properly informed and sanely thinking person. To see reason as an achieved entity that you could already put in a box, rather than a huge enterprise that may still require you a hard work to come to. To regard your best declared and sincere principles for rational thinking, for arguing and accepting any possible evidences of reason, as an insurance of an already unquestionably achieved and perfect success thereof.
To make a dialectic confusion between divinity and perfection, as if there had to be anything extraordinary in the very concept
of "perfection". As if there could not be any "merely" human but still perfectly or near-perfectly infallible evidence for some knowledge
(a mathematical theorem, for example - here, if it is much harder than 2+2=4, the only infallible proof is a computer-verified one, thus
can we qualify computers as more divine than humans ?). To ignore that, in practice, the true and reliable correctness comes not from
any ontological infallibility (insurance of never committing mistakes) but from the ability to correct the past mistakes, and that this very
dynamical process of committing then correcting errors does no way contradict the chance that it may finally achieve a perfectly sure
and infallibly correct knowledge on some well-defined specific subject. To use qualifications of divinity as an insurance for one's
positions to anyway always stand sure and unaffected, transcendent above those "only using scientific reason", no matter that the
development of these "transcendent truths" in a debate turned out to be a mere series of ridiculous mistakes and misunderstandings
of the other's positions, while the latter essentially committed no such mistakes; and to conclude on the transcendent superiority of one's
humility to make mistakes and see them refuted, but keep unshakable faith in the superiority of the "Word of God" on any discussion,
above the other's pride that always won arguments while rejecting this "word of God".
More generally, the unability to interpret some claims and ideas in a relative yet substantial way. For example, to fail understanding
how a proof of a claim that would happen to have 99.99999999% reliability is yet substantially different from no proof at all, and can be
fairly approximated as if it was 100% sure. To fail understanding that an effective 99.999999999% proof is stronger than a 80% plausible
claim of an assumed existence of a divinely 100% reliable proof, and that a solid human enterprise to make something as good as possible,
can produce better results than an ever-repeated (without perspective of progress) mixture of an assumed (unproven) zest of "divine
perfection" in a desperate ocean of popular mistakes. In short, to fail acknowledging how science could indeed ever do better than
religious faith and dogma.
To criticize anyone else's thoughts or teachings for being "only theory", and to claim that one's own ideas
and teachings would be anything "more than theory", as if such a claim could make any sense, except for the quality of being falsifiable and having resisted the proper trial of observation.
The insistence on the concern for the "root causes" and other
"deep nature" and "harmony" of things and events, presented as superior approaches to
the "reductionist" or "dividing" approaches of science and its
Example of such a claim, when someone begins to heal someone else by "magnetism". Without trying here to discuss the possibility of a real effect of such an undertaking, it would be very pretentious to present oneself as thus being like in the secret of things, while one would be no way able to account neither for what is really underlying the action done, nor for why all this will eventually lead to the effective realization of the presented goal (the disappearance of microbes or other). What a nonsense to claim to master and understand the actual events by only dealing directly why their supposed "ultimate causes" while grossly ignoring the scientific understanding of the intermediate causes.
Another example, is to present shyness as the "root cause" of a state of celibacy. See developments here.
Thus, this verbal obsession of the word "deep" is most often only the mask of the worst superficiality that refuses to acknowledge itself. Whoever is really deep has no time to lose to invoke every time slogans of "depth" or other "harmony" or "oneness" for feeling reassured or be admired, but rather simply spends time exploring these depths and harmonies it could approach. Thus science (including physics and mathematics) could really explore some of the real depths, a depth and harmony unsurpassed by any literature whatsoever, and with collectively more useful results (unlike the almost selfish loneliness of the spiritual quest) and marked by progress much faster than all the spiritualities that preceded them, without any need for religious incantation of the words "depth" and "harmony". It is the depth of the complexity of reality with its hidden harmony, which is highly non-trivial, and has to be conquered rather than passively believed in. The mere belief in the existence of an harmony that you neither precisely know nor hardly work to discover, can't be of any help.
(Also please don't pretend that I'd be here trying to devaluate any traditional people's knowledge of plants with their medicinal virtues: I perfectly admit they may be the expression a parallel valid form of scientific development.)
The act of systematically assuming without possible
doubt, that everyone is solely responsible for their own
happiness or unhappiness in the present world (this is for denying
any responsiblities of of hazardous circumstances, the school system,
or bad advices by parents or society).
In particular, the idea that a desperate single yet basically
kind, would be wrong to accuse society for his misfortune, or even,
that it would be wrong to be unhappy, because nobody would be
responsible for it (or: because it's his own life he is the only one
responsible of, or because others managed to be happy, or or because he
is not alone in having this problem, so that anything or its contrary
can be as good to justify any horror); the claim that a higher
spirituality would be the way for him to meet his love. Indeed, this
forgets that this passivity of society towards this problem ultimately
stems from a systematic disempowerment of it that gives itself good
conscience while leaving others to concrete suffer. In addition, a
truly divine inspiration in the search for amorous encounters should
lead to find for others the address of their future love, before
finding for oneself: in the name of what can you pretend that someone
is in default of transcendent inspiration to find the address of his
love and "it's up to him" to seek this transcendent inspiration, if you
you have not the self-decency to have yourself enough transcendent
inspiration to find by yourself that address for him ? And if the
strategy of Rael enabled him to win so many women, is not this the
reflect of the extent how his vibrations are in harmony with the
The act of judging an opinion according to the sole criterion of its (supposed) intrinsic value as an opinion, disregarding any issues of checking its compliance with reality. Specifically, the fact of judging negatively an opinion or its bearer, without having any proper reasons (proof or quasi-proof) neither to conclude to its falsity, nor to the fact that its bearer had not himself any good reason (of any kind whatsoever) to believe it.
Examples of opinions that many people this way despise by a
priori principle, without any care to first rigorously check ifever by
chance they might not be perfectly true:
The problem is indeed that this kind of value judgments, often results in practice to see as a perversion what may in fact be the very understanding of the truth, and to oblige those who carry this knowledge, to lie to themselves by pretending not to know it (while no substantive debate whatsoever can ever take place on the rigorous verification or falsification of the disputed views), and when some unfortunate situation or pessimistic consideration is at issue in the discussion, it leads to accuse the very understanding and awareness of the unfortunate truth (or the people who carry this understanding), to be guilty of this bad fate it is warning about, while a « healing » from this « perversion » of understanding or pessimism, would be supposed to be the solution to this bad fate. In particular the opinion that « the society is responsible for my misfortune » when it is correct: then, denying it has the mere effect of morally crushing twice the victim, blamed of knowing himself as victim. As if when starving, one should necessarily be confident and grateful for the kindness of those who have the goodness to encourage us not to be hungry anymore, on behalf of the very wise remark that it would suffice to be no more hungry so that all the problem would be solved (and that this encouragement is their best way to help). As if the victim who dares to complain was therefore more reproachable that the executioner-by-mistake that has destroyed his life by hits of misplaced good intentions. When so the fact of having discovered the truth in general, and especially of being a victim and having the lucidity to recognize it, is regarded as a perversion, the society is no longer a civilization.
The act of reacting to the above list of bad deeds of spiritualities by claiming « My spirituality does not teach to do those things », while forgetting that:
1) anyway I'm not accusing each particular spirituality to have all these defects together, but only at least some of them, and that each of these defects can be found here or there in the world and practiced as something of positive spiritual value ;
2) of course no spirituality explicitly teaches to do anything wrong, but the problem is that they lead their followers to commit such wrong things inadvertently. In other words, to become ignorant, unaware of what they are really doing, so that there is no surprise if they don't agree with the accurate description of what they really are. In other words: the whole problem with spiritualities is that they emphasize the BEING over the HAVING, namely, the BEING deeply unaware and innocent of all the catastrophies and moral injuries they may cause to the world and so to remain anyway absolutely holy in oneself, over the HAVING the best possible consequences of our actions to the fate and well-being of the world through the play of rawly material or logical consequences.