We all like to think we’re individuals possessed of free will and open minds. So why is it so predictable what people will think and believe?
Take Republicans in the US, for example. Although an overwhelming majority of scientists agree that humans are substantially contributing towards climate change, if you’re a Republican you’re likely to disagree. They haven’t studied the science, researched the topic and then made up their minds – it’s simply part of the cultural identity of a Republican to deny climate change is happening.
Much the same thing can be seen at Rainbow Gatherings; people choose an alternative way of life and along with that identity they swallow a whole catalogue of beliefs at face value.
Here are a few popular beliefs you might hear around the fire in the Rainbow:
- an exclusively raw food diet is a healthy choice
- homeopathy works
- reincarnation is a reality
- there are angels/elves/spirits all around us
- crystals are charged with positive, healing energy
- Shiva, Krishna and the pantheon of Hindu gods actually exist
- when you burn yourself you should your hand back to the fire
- urine is good medicine
- the weather changes after full moon
- positive thinking can heal cancer
- everything natural is better than anything made by humans
- the Universe is self-aware and cares about you
- fluoride in toothpaste is harmful
- everything happens for a reason
- GMO is evil
- there is no such thing as ‘coincidence’
- vaccinations are unnecessary and might cause autism
- the earth is our Mother
- modern society is ‘Babylon’ and works against us
- tribal life was an idyllic existence
- it’s healing to get ill
- reiki is universal healing energy
- the world speaks to us in signs
- sugar is poison
- drinking sea water is good for you
- quantum physics proves any given spiritual belief
- there is such a thing as a ‘law of attraction’
- any given conspiracy theory (chemtrails, 9/11 as government conspiracy, Aids denialism etc)
None of the above beliefs hold any water with the scientific community or, indeed, with anyone with a fair degree of common sense. An exotic world view can make life more meaningful though; your car breaks down in a rain storm? Perhaps it was because you need to be more independent? Have you got a cough? There’s probably something unsaid stuck in your throat. Live in a first world country with enough money, good health and friends? The Universe loves you.
In a Rainbow Gathering part of the fun is hearing the panoply of beliefs, theories and philosophies that make the world as colourful as people’s clothes.