James Redfield is the author of the novel The Celestine Prophecy, which has come to be viewed as something of a spiritual guide for the New Age by a substantial group of very silly people (“This book is very simply about how we get and use energy. When we get enough energy, in the right ways, we can ‘raise our vibration.’ With a higher vibration we are better able to tap into our psychic and intuitive skills, and thus are better able to discover and live our true purpose in life,” says one reader who, we suspect, wouldn’t be able to define “energy” (or “vibration”) if her or his life depended on it. Redfield himself treats his novel very much that way, too, in addition to using it as the basis for a very material industry that includes newsletters (The Celestine Journal: Exploring Spiritual Transformation), sequels (The Tenth Insight, which “will take you through portals into other dimensions,” The Secret of Shambhala; In Search of the Eleventh Insightand The Twelfth Insight: The Hour of Decision), audio tapes and CDs. The book is discussed in detail here. There are hints of L. Ron Hubbard. This is a cult.
Most of the teachings gleaned from his writings consist of vague gesturing about (never-defined) energies and vibrations, and, in particular, on how to increase your energy level in order to vibrate harder, because that is apparently good for you. However, for some reasons these energies and vibrations mean that for “half a century now, a new consciousness has been entering the human world, a new awareness that can only be called transcendent, spiritual. If you find yourself reading this book, then perhaps you already sense what is happening, already feel it inside.” Like most millenialist prophecies, we are always already on the verge, it seems. And how should you prepare for this consciousness? You should, according to Redfield, avoid the negative (you can tell good from bad people by their eyes), quell your doubts, follow your intuitions, adopt a teleological worldview, tap into collective consciousness and evolve. Apparently it is no coincidence that coincidences are happening more and more frequently at present, as Redfield sees it, though there are of course really none. Good lord.
In fairness, there are some more concrete events described in the novel, too (concerning mysterious insight into vibrations set down by Mayans in the 6thcentury in Aramaic(!)), but those are fictional, and Redfield’s followers should take them seriously but not literally (perhaps you should vibrate at the frequency of their post-truth truthiness?). The novel also reminds you about the restlessness of contemporary life and focus on material goods – a deeply profound revelation, isn’t it? – and advices readers to care about auras instead.
In any case, the book is supposed to convey nine “deep” insights, primarily about subtle energies (previously undetected by science, but which forms the basis of all things – how does he know about them? The insights of the Arameic-speaking Mayans that he invented, of course; silly you) that you can freely tap into by mystical experiences (unless blocked by childhood traumas, which can make you a psychic vampire) and which, if everybody does, will allow us to vibrate ourselves off the planet, which is apparently good. The sequels promise three more “insights”. Redfield has also written God and the Evolving Universe: The Next Step in Personal Evolution, with Sylvia Timbers and Michael Murphy.
The effectiveness of his message rests not on the contents but on its championship of solipsism and self-centered, self-serving egotheistic subjectivism (with a dash of victim blaming): truth is whatever you make it, follow yourself, evolve your spirituality, don’t care about reality. Subjective validation and communal reinforcement are everything you need. “Post-truth” is the currently popular word for it, we think.
Diagnosis: Redfield seems, at least superficially, to be a true believer, so we will assume he is. It doesn’t make him significantly less disgusting. And to his fans (and fans of similar tripe):youare the reason for fake news, post-truth nonsense, conspiracy theories and inauthentic living (yes: go read some Sartre instead, though we suspect you are too dimwitted to get anything out of it).