New and Improved? : The processes of globalisation on spiritual practices; illustrated by the global spread of Reiki.

analytical Essay
2310 words
2310 words

New and Improved? : The processes of globalisation on spiritual practices; illustrated by the global spread of Reiki. The processes of globalisation create an open market place for trade, but globalisation is also an exchange of cultures, of ideas and practices. Spiritual practices and rituals are one of the ways in which a culture reproduces itself and as such, is subject to hegemonic forces which act to alter the existing form. It has been said that Globalisation may be regarded as a threat to regionalized spiritual practices because there is a tendency to standardise them in an Americanised form, which is primarily Christian. One of the under explored aspects of the Internet is the cultural effects created by the exchange of spiritual ideas and practices online. As more people gain access to the World Wide Web, the diversity of spiritual information available increases exponentially. Exotic cultural practices, once only available to the privileged few who could afford to travel to exotic locations, is now available to millions of people across the globe, at the touch of a button. Gone are the days when spiritual practices are linked to a specific geographical area, with religions linked intimately to the histories and cultures of respective nations and ethnic groups. Spiritual rituals are undergoing a deterritorialisation, aided by new media. It has been suggested that the activities of individual religious groups will be increasingly characteristic of free competition on a global scale. Religion has always been a globalising phenomenon, with missionaries and pilgrims travelling to spread their version of the ‘Word’ to the unenlightened. According to Peter Beyer, “In the context of globalisation, all religions are increasingly under pressure to see themselves as universal in principle, whether historically they have or not.” Religions that have travelled across the globe have been spread, throughout history, by a network of the ‘Faithful’ leaving their home community, forming new communities as they travel, preaching and teaching their messages and rituals to their converts. Now these networks may be built and maintained electronically. As the printing press made the bible and religious texts available to the masses rather than just the clergy, so the Internet has given people the means to access spiritual information from other cultures and regions... ... middle of paper ... ...pick=67 accessed 10/1/05 BEY, Hakim, The Information War, accessed 10/1/05 accessed 10/1/05 accessed 10/1/05 accessed 10/1/05 accessed 10/1/05 INOUE, Nobutaka, 1997, 2001 The Information Age and the Globalization of Religion, accessed 10/1/05 MILUTIS, Joe, Making the World Safe for Fashionable Philosophy! accessed 10/1/05 ROBERTSON, Roland, Comments on the "Global Triad" and "Glocalization" accessed 9/1/05 SHIELDS, Rob, The Virtual, London and New York: Routledge, 2003, Reviewed by KELLNER, D., and Thomas, A. accessed 23/12/04 THIEME, Richard, Entering Sacred Digital Space: Seeking to Distinguish the Dreamer and the Dream, accessed 23/12/04

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how reiki illustrates the effects of globalization, syncretism, and technology on spiritual practices. it has become a marketable product affected by consumer demands.
  • Cites inoue, nobutaka, the information age and the globalization of religion,
  • Argues that globalisation creates an open market place for trade, but also an exchange of cultures, ideas and practices.
  • Cites shields, rob, the virtual, london and new york: routledge, 2003, reviewed by kellner, d., and thomas, a.
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