From Feng Shui to holistic medicine, from aromatherapy candles to yoga weekends, spirituality is big business. It promises to soothe away the angst of modern living and to offer an antidote to shallow materialism.
Selling Spirituality is a short, sharp, attack on this fallacy. It shows how spirituality has in fact become a powerful commodity in the global marketplace - a cultural addiction that reflects orthodox politics, curbs self-expression and colonizes Eastern beliefs.
Exposing how spirituality has today come to embody the privatization of religion in the modern West, Jeremy Carrette and Richard King reveal the people and brands who profit from this corporate hijack, and explore how spirituality can be reclaimed as a means of resistance to capitalism and its deceptions.
Jeremy Carrette teaches Religious Studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury. He is author of Foucault and Religion (Routledge, 2000) and editor of Michel Foucault and Religious Experience (2003), and has also co-edited the Routledge Centenary Edition of William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience (2002). Richard King is a Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Liverpool Hope University. He is author of Orientalism and Religion (Routledge ,1999), Indian Philosophy: An Introduction to Hindu and Buddhist Thought (1999) and Early Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism (1995).
'This book is a long-needed, highly insightful critique of the spiritual supermarket, site of the prostitution of spirituality for personal profit and corporate gain. Jeremy Carrette and Richard King have provided a powerful indictment of the corporate exploitation of 'the spiritual,' using advertising and the media to distort the ethical and philosophical teachings of the world religious traditions to buttress their control of the minds of the people they wish to dominate as their loyal consumers. Serious students and teachers of spiritual thought or practice are well-advised to cultivate their self-critical alertness and hone their critical insight with the help of this hard-edged and illuminating book.' – Robert Thurman, Columbia University, USA