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The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in Our Time

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Here is the human potential masterwork that defined the New Age. Called "an exciting vision of the future” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), “a handbook of the New Age” (USA Today),  and “a new charter of human possibility” (Norman Cousins) upon its initial publication in 1980, The Aquarian Conspiracy is a breathtaking, compelling study of the changes in work, relationships, medic Here is the human potential masterwork that defined the New Age. Called "an exciting vision of the future” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), “a handbook of the New Age” (USA Today),  and “a new charter of human possibility” (Norman Cousins) upon its initial publication in 1980, The Aquarian Conspiracy is a breathtaking, compelling study of the changes in work, relationships, medicine, religion, education, and more that comprised the birth of the New Age movement.   An influence on thinkers from Deepak Chopra to Al Gore, The Aquarian Conspiracy remains a thorough, detailed classic of contemporary thought—an impeccable document that traces one of the most powerful cultural movements of our age.  


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Here is the human potential masterwork that defined the New Age. Called "an exciting vision of the future” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), “a handbook of the New Age” (USA Today),  and “a new charter of human possibility” (Norman Cousins) upon its initial publication in 1980, The Aquarian Conspiracy is a breathtaking, compelling study of the changes in work, relationships, medic Here is the human potential masterwork that defined the New Age. Called "an exciting vision of the future” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), “a handbook of the New Age” (USA Today),  and “a new charter of human possibility” (Norman Cousins) upon its initial publication in 1980, The Aquarian Conspiracy is a breathtaking, compelling study of the changes in work, relationships, medicine, religion, education, and more that comprised the birth of the New Age movement.   An influence on thinkers from Deepak Chopra to Al Gore, The Aquarian Conspiracy remains a thorough, detailed classic of contemporary thought—an impeccable document that traces one of the most powerful cultural movements of our age.  

30 review for The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in Our Time

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cwn_annwn_13

    This book was published in the early 1980s. It claimed that there was a grass roots movement that was going to change society in what I would call a very new agey liberal type way but on the other hand a few times in this book it hails "captains of industry and finance, foundation officials and university programmers, tv producers and scions of old American wealth" as being a driving force behind this "grass roots" movement. Sounds like social engineering from the highest levels of society to me This book was published in the early 1980s. It claimed that there was a grass roots movement that was going to change society in what I would call a very new agey liberal type way but on the other hand a few times in this book it hails "captains of industry and finance, foundation officials and university programmers, tv producers and scions of old American wealth" as being a driving force behind this "grass roots" movement. Sounds like social engineering from the highest levels of society to me. These types that adopt many of these ideas are what the Communists called "useful idiots" The type of people that would champion this book and the ideas in it are the types that love (from their armchair or as a detached fashionable accessory of course) globalism, Obama, pseudo environmentalism, new age religions and ideas, they love the idea of multi-culturalism and the global village, but yet they are the most isolated of white people. This species is most common in the pacific northwest and California. Reading this book made me feel like I was being talked to for hours on end by a babbling new ager. Enjoy your new world order!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mary Karpel-Jergic

    An interesting and fascinating read. I think it was quite controversial in its time. Marilyn Ferguson, the author who died in 2008 was an American and is best known for this book and its affiliation with the New Age Movement in popular culture. However, she had a scientific and enquiring mind and the evidence that she cites can be convincing even if it is only to make you hopeful for a kinder better world. Bearing in mind it was concerned with the 1980s, it is quite astonishing that relevance can An interesting and fascinating read. I think it was quite controversial in its time. Marilyn Ferguson, the author who died in 2008 was an American and is best known for this book and its affiliation with the New Age Movement in popular culture. However, she had a scientific and enquiring mind and the evidence that she cites can be convincing even if it is only to make you hopeful for a kinder better world. Bearing in mind it was concerned with the 1980s, it is quite astonishing that relevance can be found in 2014, 30 years later. The basic premise: there is a conspiracy going on, a powerful but leaderless network is working to bring about radical change in the US. The people involved are everywhere; stretching across every social boundary "they are in corporations, universities and hospitals, on the faculties of schools, in factories and doctors' offices, in state and federal agencies, on city councils and the White House staff, in state legislatures, in volunteer organisations, in virtually all arenas of policy making in the US". Before the internet and world wide web this may have seemed far fetched even when considering only the US geographical space but now it would be more possible than ever to extend this benevolent conspiracy across the globe. "Wherever people share experiences, they connect sooner or later with each other and eventually with larger circles. Each day their number grows". A fan of Thomas Kuhn, Ferguson presents the new perspective that these people hold as part of a paradigm shift and uses Kuhn's understanding of how these occur to provide a framework for her argument. The paradigm shift for Ferguson is one of perspective which is created by developing a higher level of consciousness. This can be compared to the discovery of 'hidden pictures' in children's books - Nobody can talk you into seeing the hidden picture but once you have seen them you wonder how you previously missed them. Echoes of Buddhism are found throughout. The conspiracy is traced back in history to the alchemists, Gnostics, cabalists and hermetics and various named people throughout the centuries. To provide a metaphor for her suggestion that our brains can change via this perspective transformation the book refers to a Victorian romantic fantasy 'Flatland' which is a story about geometric shapes living in a two dimensional world trying to come to terms with other dimensions. The reference intrigued me so much that I have purchased the book and it is on my 'to read' list. It's all a bit mystical - as you'd expect. Basically the conspiracy suggests that our consciousness interacts and affects our physical world. For a while and maybe as a result of the aging process I have begun to question many assumptions and this book offers windows in which to consider an alternate perspective "Cultural norms and mores are the great unexamined assumptions that run our lives" Love, like in more biblical texts is held to be the foundational feature of the conspiracy. Quoting Einstein she suggests that humans have an optical illusion. "We think ourselves separate rather than part of the whole. This imprisons our affection to those few nearest us. Our task is to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle to embrace all living creatures... Nobody achieves this completely, but the striving itself is part of the liberation" I liked this book. I found Marilyn Ferguson to be scholarly in her approach and persuasive in her argument. I wish it were true. I'd like to think that it is possible but I can't keep the cynic in me down. Ferguson would say this is denial, the opposite to transformation.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Book2Dragon

    Read this in the 80s, when I thought New Age might be a path to truth. Like much of the 70s, all utopia is not what it seems. It is a well written book about that culture however, and at this point sort of a historical perspective, although new age continues to exist.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Barb Lipford

    This became my personal and social Bible in a sense in my early 20's. I loved the Aquarian Conspiracy because it helped me understand why in almost every relationship in my life, I always felt torn, (except in being a mother and with close friends). Like I had to split off from myself to please everyone else. It help me free myself from living that waay. The book had been given to me by a dear friend, who was much older than me. He was also a big part of my personal awakening. It has been too lo This became my personal and social Bible in a sense in my early 20's. I loved the Aquarian Conspiracy because it helped me understand why in almost every relationship in my life, I always felt torn, (except in being a mother and with close friends). Like I had to split off from myself to please everyone else. It help me free myself from living that waay. The book had been given to me by a dear friend, who was much older than me. He was also a big part of my personal awakening. It has been too long since I have re read this book. I am looking forward to reading it again. I am feeling the need to put everything into perspective once again.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    New Age drivel.. Dont waste your money.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Serena Jade

    The Aquarian Conspiracy is a great book for a social and spiritual paradigm shift. Author Marilyn Ferguson says, "According to very old wisdom, self-discovery inevitably involves the awakening of the traits usually associated with the opposite sex." There it is: The journey of the self leads us to understand the other sex. We live in a Patriarchal society meaning the masculine side of our mind dominates our environment. That means both men and women are identified with their masculine rational lo The Aquarian Conspiracy is a great book for a social and spiritual paradigm shift. Author Marilyn Ferguson says, "According to very old wisdom, self-discovery inevitably involves the awakening of the traits usually associated with the opposite sex." There it is: The journey of the self leads us to understand the other sex. We live in a Patriarchal society meaning the masculine side of our mind dominates our environment. That means both men and women are identified with their masculine rational logical mind. True equality of the sexes comes when a psychological unity of the masculine and feminine forces of one's own mind has been made. I highly recommend The Aquarian Conspiracy for a positive new age. Serena Jade, author of CHARISMATIC CONNECTION: THE AUTHENTIC UNCOMMON AND ENLIGHTENING SOUL MATE EXPERIENCE.

  7. 5 out of 5

    J.

    I don't at all consider myself a new age person. I read this back in the day and loved it. I'm still influenced by some of the ideas planted back then. One of the first hardbacks I ever bought. Perhaps I'll read it again. I don't at all consider myself a new age person. I read this back in the day and loved it. I'm still influenced by some of the ideas planted back then. One of the first hardbacks I ever bought. Perhaps I'll read it again.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Don Gubler

    There are books that provide wholly new outlooks on the patterns of life. This is one of those books.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Julia Drew-

    Explains the transformation that is taking place...

  10. 5 out of 5

    James McCallister

    Inspiring ur-text of the modern New Age movement, albeit sadly laughable at times over how little progress has been made in the forty years since the book's publication. Still, much grist here for the seeker of transformation, both personal and social, including many practical ideas to exploit in implementing change. Example: I almost fell over when Ferguson wrote about how 'children will be taught critical thinking skills' in the future. The exact opposite has happened, which in 2020 became mor Inspiring ur-text of the modern New Age movement, albeit sadly laughable at times over how little progress has been made in the forty years since the book's publication. Still, much grist here for the seeker of transformation, both personal and social, including many practical ideas to exploit in implementing change. Example: I almost fell over when Ferguson wrote about how 'children will be taught critical thinking skills' in the future. The exact opposite has happened, which in 2020 became more than apparent to all but the most occluded of hive-mind 'thinkers'. Tell me another one. The key problem with this book, and others like it, is that the author presupposes that 'history' is unfolding the way it is depicted; and that actors in government and education exist who have the best interests of the populace in mind as they courageously grasp the reins of galloping historical progress, or lack thereof. Nothing could be further from the truth. The percipient among us know 'history' and all major events as depicted are contrivances. No amount of New Age-y hopium can overcome a mind-controlled majority population who accept every preposterous story promulgated by the media. I would gladly put copies of this book and The Hundredth Monkey under every windshield in the Wal-mart parking lot, but neither do I have the money to do it, nor do enough people dare read a book anymore. Marilyn Ferguson didn't realize how little the average person would understand about reality in forty years time. (See: the myth of linear progress) Cold fact—true human progress will occur on both spiritual and physical planes only when the current status quo is reduced back to its base elements. That's every cultural and social institution, especially centralized government like the ones now engaged in medical tyranny. All of them have grown irrevocably corrupt, with journalism standing in high relief as the chief co-conspirator in charge of keeping mental chains wrapped around intellects. The true Aquarian new age will begin only when the current crop of authoritarians have run met with investors long on lampposts and sturdy hemp rope. I wish it could occur from reading a book like The Aquarian Conspiracy, but no matter how many practical ideas for social transformation such a text suggests, a true revolution of thought and behavior will not be possible under the current conditions except through collapse and reconstruction. No pain, no gain. Don't forget, however, that humanity's ultimate fate is unchangeable. Space weather, magnetic pole shift, climate change, rocks falling from the sky—these are the real actors of history. The rest is merely a story someone put into your head.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Evan Anderson

    This was a completely formative book for me. I was actively on the periphery of this social / consciousness movement on the west coast at precisely the time that Fergsuon wrote about it. Indeed they were heady times, and she captures it well. Interesting to see it regarded by some as "New Age drivel" today; perhaps because that benevolent conspiracy she charted didn't manifest in any widespread or cohesive way, or perhaps because cynicism has become much more the norm in the generations since th This was a completely formative book for me. I was actively on the periphery of this social / consciousness movement on the west coast at precisely the time that Fergsuon wrote about it. Indeed they were heady times, and she captures it well. Interesting to see it regarded by some as "New Age drivel" today; perhaps because that benevolent conspiracy she charted didn't manifest in any widespread or cohesive way, or perhaps because cynicism has become much more the norm in the generations since the book first appeared. I'll always have a soft spot for it; partly because it helped to make me who I am, partly (to paraphrase"Lost Horizon", because "I want to believe it,") and partly because I met the author on several occasions, and found her to be a warm and genuine person. Perhaps, from the lens of today, a naive and even flawed book, but there's every indication that Marilyn Ferguson was ahead of her time. The Aquarian Conspiracy hasn't run its course yet.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kim Cloutman

    I read this a few years after college shortly after it came out. Even went to a group shared review. Was taken with its optimism and its interdisciplinary use of science and worldview knowledge. Pick it out to re read wondering. What happened! I do feel as I near retirement having made a modest success of “multi tasking in corporate world. Perhaps we do suffer from Future Shock another concept of that time that has validity. I miss the energy coming from knowledge drawn from various masters. The I read this a few years after college shortly after it came out. Even went to a group shared review. Was taken with its optimism and its interdisciplinary use of science and worldview knowledge. Pick it out to re read wondering. What happened! I do feel as I near retirement having made a modest success of “multi tasking in corporate world. Perhaps we do suffer from Future Shock another concept of that time that has validity. I miss the energy coming from knowledge drawn from various masters. The logo on the book is a mobis strip which is a math paradox that I used to understand. I’ve grown very discouraged by a cultural respect for knowledge and truth. Maybe the re read will help. I do recall it echoes a concept oft repeated. The answer lies with in.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Linda Brunner

    I read this in the 80's when I was exploring alternatives to mainstream culture. It was a guiding star and a confirmation. I'd like to reread it and now and see how much I have changed and the world has not. I read this in the 80's when I was exploring alternatives to mainstream culture. It was a guiding star and a confirmation. I'd like to reread it and now and see how much I have changed and the world has not.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth

    It would be real interesting to have another look at this book now, a couple of decades into the Age of Aquarius, to see what, if anything, it predicted correctly.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ietrio

    another prophet who knows the gospels well and, best of all, speaks directly with the creator. hence the "true" intentions of the american founding fathers are channeled through this pages. another prophet who knows the gospels well and, best of all, speaks directly with the creator. hence the "true" intentions of the american founding fathers are channeled through this pages.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    An infinite trefoil knot of New Age woo, deserving its "classic" status all the same: THE AQUARIAN CONSPIRACY is probably the best you can get for a sympathetic survey of the less intensely esoteric of the post-hippie New Age paradigm. Marilyn Ferguson was best known as the editor of the BRAIN/MIND BULLETIN, which I think was a sort of newsletter covering recent research in brain science, psychology, and related topics. It had a pretty wide readership, such that you can find citations to it in ma An infinite trefoil knot of New Age woo, deserving its "classic" status all the same: THE AQUARIAN CONSPIRACY is probably the best you can get for a sympathetic survey of the less intensely esoteric of the post-hippie New Age paradigm. Marilyn Ferguson was best known as the editor of the BRAIN/MIND BULLETIN, which I think was a sort of newsletter covering recent research in brain science, psychology, and related topics. It had a pretty wide readership, such that you can find citations to it in many books from the Seventies and Eighties. If only THE AQUARIAN CONSPIRACY had more citations! Ferguson takes a wide angle view of the rising "open conspiracy" of new-age believers, which (however much it's filtering through her own lens) is oddly disjointed, talking about mass consciousness raising but individualistic and self-centered. You can see the future social movements as well as Masters-of-the-Universe C-suite sharks germinating in this worldview. It's also, for all the talk of the coming age, the New World of the New Mind, etc. etc. (with liberal doses of Teilhard de Chardin's "omega point" theology) profoundly nostalgic. All these scientific innovations, coming from the "old" mindset, will ultimately just confirm what ancient mysticism "already" knew. (Salt with hippie Orientalism, for exotic flavor.) One consequence of the lack of citation (or example!) for these supposed paradigm shifting discoveries (no points for betting the New Agers absolutely adore their reading of Thomas Kuhn) is that most of the book is rather light, even breezy; but this makes the chapter on "holistic health" all the more troubling. See, the generic New Age frustration is with the "old" scientific materialistic worldview somehow underwrites the embrace of pretty much every "alternative," and at least in Ferguson's narrative, "allopathic" medicine is the central metaphor for everything else. Schooling, politics, relationships—all aspects of human life under the transformation of the Conspiracy get related to medicine and health, with very few analogies going the other way. So it's all the more troubling when Ferguson references quack treatments like the Bates "method, " or questionable psychotherapy fads (encounter groups, primal therapy... not for the faint of psyche), alongside perfectly mundane activities like exercise, sports, performing arts, fine arts, and so on. 1.5 stars, rounded down. Too boring, and with too little content, to be a useful New Age reference, its only value would accrue to students of its own popularity.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Coates

    Following the 60s and 70s with the, anti-war demonstrations, sexual revolution, drug culture, drop out culture and rock music explosion, many of the various strands of what had been the counterculture evolved to become the various strands of what was broadly termed the age of Aquarius. The book finds common ground in the many threads of these sub-movements including the environment, health awareness, scientific research and, above, all, an alternative spiritual awareness to conventional religiou Following the 60s and 70s with the, anti-war demonstrations, sexual revolution, drug culture, drop out culture and rock music explosion, many of the various strands of what had been the counterculture evolved to become the various strands of what was broadly termed the age of Aquarius. The book finds common ground in the many threads of these sub-movements including the environment, health awareness, scientific research and, above, all, an alternative spiritual awareness to conventional religious teaching. It was an excellent book at its time, although it might be fairly dated today.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Claire S

    Has been among those things which formed the basis of my political self all along. The idea that direct action is often too risky and often ineffective; and that more simply 'breathing with' one's kindred spirits can be as/more effective - while being by definition less risky - has enormous appeal to me. Actually only read the first chapter all the way through, and then skimmed the others; but the amazing content is laid out pretty completely in that one chapter. I also use to read her brain jou Has been among those things which formed the basis of my political self all along. The idea that direct action is often too risky and often ineffective; and that more simply 'breathing with' one's kindred spirits can be as/more effective - while being by definition less risky - has enormous appeal to me. Actually only read the first chapter all the way through, and then skimmed the others; but the amazing content is laid out pretty completely in that one chapter. I also use to read her brain journal back then, also very good and absorbing.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bruno Silva

    Comecei este livro cheio de vontade de perceber esta conspiração, mas o livro é desgastante pois vai a um nível tão metafísico que se torna difícil perceber onde podemos nós conseguir fazer a diferença num modo tão manipulado e marcado pela ganância, corrupção, consumismo e interesses.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Garry Alexander

    Defining the counterculture as the conscious embracing of irrationality -- from rock and drugs to biofeedback, meditation, "consciousness-raising," yoga, mountain climbing, group therapy, and psychodrama. Defining the counterculture as the conscious embracing of irrationality -- from rock and drugs to biofeedback, meditation, "consciousness-raising," yoga, mountain climbing, group therapy, and psychodrama.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Rolston

    Boring New Age nonsense.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    c 1980 trade paper average condition

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    I'm not finished reading this book. There are so many things I disagree with, it's hard to glean the gems. But there are a few. I'm not finished reading this book. There are so many things I disagree with, it's hard to glean the gems. But there are a few.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Glynda-lee Hoffmann

    I like her Mind/Brain Bulletin more.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Don

  26. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rue Koegel

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jeannette

  29. 4 out of 5

    Armani

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

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