Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

What the difference between the new age movement and new thought movement..?

They seem very similar to me or as is the new age movement is part of the new thought movement. Just wandering the difference between the two and if they relate to each other, how is that?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    New Thought stems from the late 19th-early 20th century, New Age from the late 50s, but became most popular in the 70s. Both were spiritual movements and both placed a lot of emphasis on meditation. I'm not sure there's any consensus for their origins, but here's my take on it. (As with anything else, do your own research and draw your own conclusions!).

    New Thought had its roots in the spiritual movement of the late 19th century, which was highlighted by seances (many famously debunked by the great Harry Houdini), fortunetellers, and "spiritual healing" which was popular with a lot of the Christian sects of the time, and made huge by Mary Baker Eddy, who's Christian Science is still huge today. The early 20th century brought an interest in applying scientific methods to spirituality. There was also a strong influence of revived old-school occultism and and at the same time a breath of new energy in the form of Yoga and Indian spiritual practices. For all of that spirituality, the new though seems to have emphasized a rational approach and the importance of strengthening the will and will power.

    By 1910-1920 New Thought had gone mainstream, in the way that New Age has today. There's still a lot of New though writings out there (I've found Ramacharaka, aka. William Walker Atkinson's books by Yogi Publication Society both east to read and more or less practical). Interestingly, Chicago (and New York to some degree) seems to have been the hub of New Thought publishing.

    All of this mysticism lost steam after WW2 (1930s-40s).

    New Age seems to have got its start with the late 50s intellectual fascination with Asian philosophy, particularly Zen, Buddhism and Taoism. In the early 60s, yoga and Indian influence gained prominence. New age seems to be more of an all-encompassing realm, including physical activity (yoga, Tai Chi and so forth), diet, mental discipline, charity and social interaction. The emphasis was less on will-power and conscious effort, than on discovery, both within one's own mind and in the outer world, and understanding and challenging one's limits. There was also more of an appreciation of how an individual fit into the bigger scheme of things in an immediate way, and so the awareness of the ecology and compassion for one's fellows. By the 70s, some of it had melded into psychotherapy and pop-culture.

    Hope that's helpful to you!

    --Jeff Sauber

    Source(s): New thought: William Walker Atkinson/yogi Ramacharaka (same guy), Mary Baker Eddy, Phineas Quimby, Madame Blavatsky Transitional: Vitvan New Age: Alan Watts, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Teancendental Meditation, Ram Dass... there's so much out there!
  • Maria
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    There are way to many difference to even start. Do some research on it and you'll laugh at your own question. There are aspects that are similar and aspects that are widely different. However one could right a book on the subject and still not have covered all of it. The civil rights issue goes back to the 1850's before Lincoln was even elected. While the womens movement in comparsion is reletively new. One group was mentally segregated while another was FORCED into slavery. Like the said the difference are numerous. Pick up some books and learn for yourself.

  • 4 years ago


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