Several social scientists claim that the rise of the culture of contemporary spirituality is a pivotal part of the gradual but profound change taking place in the Western worldview, both reflecting the larger cultural development, as well as giving shape and direction to it. Its emergence is therefore not to be neglected in attempts to create a more sustainable society. The aim of this study is to generate insight into the culture and worldview of contemporary spirituality and explore its potentials and pitfalls for sustainable development. An investigation of the sociological literature on the so-called “New Age” phenomenon results in a delineation and overview of these and shows that this culture is both a potentially promising force, as well as a phenomenon posing specific risks. A structural–developmental understanding is introduced in order to be able to distinguish between regressive and progressive tendencies in this culture, and comprehend the deeper logic behind the observed potentials and pitfalls. This may serve to facilitate the actualization of the culture's potentials while mitigating its pitfalls, and in that way contribute to the timely challenge of creating a more sustainable society.
► Contemporary spirituality holds potentials and pitfalls for sustainable development. ► A delineation and overview of these is provided. ► A structural–developmental perspective on the culture is introduced. ► This serves to distinguish regressive from progressive tendencies in the culture. ► This may support the actualization of the potentials while mitigating the pitfalls.
Keywords: Contemporary spirituality; Cultural change; Worldviews; Environmental behavior; Sustainable development; Developmental psychology
- Literature Review: An Exploration of Potentials and Pitfalls
- 2.1. Exploration of the Potentials of Contemporary Spirituality for Sustainable Development
- 2.2. Exploration of the Pitfalls of Contemporary Spirituality for Sustainable Development