The Aquarian Conspiracy

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The Aquarian Conspiracy

Title of a 1980 book by Marilyn Ferguson. The title became a catchword to describe a new consciousness revolution involving a leaderless network of many enlightened individuals to bring about radical change in modern culture, based on a greatly enlarged concept of human potential. The book is subtitled Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s, and in her introduction, Ferguson explains her reasons for the choice of the term "conspiracy," which she uses in a positive sense.

In 1975 she founded a twice-monthly newsletter, Brain/Mind Bulletin, concerned with research and theory in the fields of learning, health, psychiatry, psychology, states of consciousness, meditation, and related subjects. The newsletter became a focus for other individuals exploring the same territories of experience, and Ferguson began to travel the U.S. to meet such individuals, attend conferences, and deliver lectures. She became aware of a transformative movement involving social change stemming from the personal transformation of individuals in all walks of society, which she discussed in Brain/Mind Bulletin (January 1976) (now known as New Sense )in her editorial, "The Movement that Has No Name." Ferguson claimed that the conspiracy had infected "medicine, education, social science, hard science, even government with its implications. It is characterized by fluid organizations reluctant to create hierarchical structures, averse to dogma. It operates on the principle that change can only be facilitated, not decreed. It is short on manifestos. It seems to speak to something very old. And perhaps, by integrating magic and science, art and technology, it will succeed where all the king's horses and all the king's men failed."

When writing her book about this new movement, Ferguson felt that the subtle links and mutual recognition among enlightened individuals implied something of an undeclared collusion. She was initially reluctant to use the term "conspiracy" because of its negative connotations until she saw a book of spiritual exercises in which Greek novelist Nikos Kazantzakis said that he wished to signal his comrades "like conspirators" that they might unite for the sake of the earth. The next day she read a report in the Los Angeles Times about a speech by Pierre Trudeau, in which he quoted a passage from French Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin urging a "conspiracy of love." As Ferguson points out, the literal meaning of the word "conspiracy" is "to breathe together." Even before her book was published, the use of this term produced friendly correspondence from individuals who signed themselves "coconspirators."

In the Aquarian Age ferment of the 1960s, there was a widespread emphasis on the more sensational aspects of the occult, but as this has subsided, there are signs of a more integrated and mature approach to personal transformation, loosely based on enhanced consciousness on the one hand and holistic approaches to physical health on the other. The term Aquarian Conspiracy has been widely quoted to characterize this widespread transformation.

Sources:

Ferguson, Marilyn. The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in Our Time. Los Angeles: J. P. Tarcher/ Houghton Mifflin, 1987.

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The Aquarian Conspiracy

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