New Age thought represents the dawning of a new consciousness. In his astonishing book, The Awakening Earth. as far back as 1982, Peter Russel spoke of an exponential growth curve for people actively engaged in the transformation of consciousness, basing his conclusions on a study of the number of books and magazines published on the subject which had been doubling every two or three years. He also felt that with the phenomenal advances in information technology the the earth had become like an embrionic brain. He predicted that before long the consciousness curve would overtake the information curve and that within a few decades a fairly large proportion of the US population would be familiar with the subject. He then postulated that when the employment curve for ‘consciousness processing’ overtakes that of ‘information processing’, the evolution of human consciousness will have become the dominant area of human activity and we will have shifted from an Information Age to a Consciousness Age. This would be a time when the major thrust of human activity would move on to exploring our inner frontiers and self-development would be a prime goal. People would then be as familiar with meditation and spiritual experiences as today they are with calculators and computers.

Like a galaxy of thinkers in the field, Russel is no philosopher or mystic but a student of mathematics, theoretical physics, psychology and computer science at Cambridge and later a consultant on creativity, mindset and stress management in several major corporations.

Peter Russel

Peter Russel

The evidence that Russel’s predictions were not far-fetched can be seen in the growing coverage of New Age issues by the print and electronic media for information and entertainment. 

In succeeding posts I propose to survey precisely such a development in thought, linking spiritual insights with science and exploring the resurgence of mystical practices and their examination by scientific establishments. I have already touched on the emergence of spiritualism through Science Fiction and the extraordinary response it has received from the public. I shall now continue to present such an emergence in works of fiction, philosophy, investigative journalism, scientific studies,  and the literature on mysticism.