"EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED": NETWORKED CONSPIRITUALITY IN NEW AGE MEDIA
Keywords:conspiracy theories, New Age spirituality, QAnon, disinformation, media theory
Conspirituality refers to the confluence of New Age spirituality and conspiracism that frame reality through holistic thinking—connecting events and energies, the inner self to the outer world in unseen ways. Conspirituality has thrived online: between the pleasure of the weekly horoscope and the obsession with the QAnon drop is a mode of causal promiscuity in which, as Q puts it, “future proves past.” This panel traces forms of conspirituality from MAGA mystics to New Age influencers, from technolibertarian imageboards to Silicon Valley vision quests. While conspirituality marks an online psychographic segmentation, it also traces a formal quality that organizes ways of navigating, knowing, and critiquing the internet, which is undergirded by New Age spirituality’s perennialism: a belief that different spiritual traditions are equally valid, because they all essentially worship the same divine source that emanates throughout the cosmos and the human body. The internet supercharges perennialism, providing a connective medium for New Age ideology of manifesting: the belief that we create our own reality. As users trawl the internet for snippets and statistics to feed their confirmation bias and populate their vision boards, the connective medium of the internet manifests toxicity and misinformation at scale. The papers in this panel develop a line of research on the coevolution of spirituality and technology from organized to new religious movements. Instead of demystification, we use ethnographic, textual, and hermeneutic approaches—examining internet users, governance, genealogies, and internet studies itself—to politicize networked conspirituality as vernacular theories of power and powerlessness.