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01/28/2019 / By Tracey Watson
Millennials – people born between 1980 and 2000 – are often referred to as the most useless generation in history. Fairly or unfairly labeled in this way, it is perhaps unsurprising that a large number have begun to feel that their lives lack meaning. Conditioned by their parents and teachers to have unrealistic beliefs and expectations, and growing up to find that the real world is a much tougher place than they were taught to believe, many feel lost and struggle with depression and other problems. Research indicates that this feeling of emptiness is leading many of them to fill their lives in a dangerous way: through dabbling in witchcraft and the occult.
Previous generations turned to religion to find meaning and a sense of community, but research indicates that more than a third of all Millennials are not affiliated with any religion, and as such, more and more of them are seeking spiritual fulfillment from tarot cards, the occult, Ouija boards and paranormal literature.
But is their search for meaning yielding fruit? Is dabbling with the dark providing this lost generation with the meaning it seeks? The research says no. (Related: Same Millennials who think they shouldn’t have to work for a living also believe they will be millionaires by age 45.)
Toni Airaksinen, writing for PJ Media, noted recently that Millennials are a generation obsessed with magic, tarot, crystals and everything related to the occult. Professor Clay Routledge of North Dakota State University, who has been studying the human quest for meaning for more than a decade and a half, explains in his book Supernatural: Death, Meaning, and the Power of the Invisible World, why he believes Millennials are obsessed with these things:
“Young adults in particular are abandoning what they perceive as culturally outdated religious organizations and instead opting for a more individualized approach to spiritual matters,” he noted.
“Some young people reject formal religion simply because they find it boring. They seek experiences that feel fresh and exciting, and religion isn’t something that checks that box.” (Related: Yes, things are getting DEMONIC: Middle school girls planned to kill classmates, drink their blood in the name of Satan.)
Humans have an intrinsic spiritual need, which much like the need for food, water and shelter, must be met to ensure happiness. With more and more people turning away from organized religion, Millennials are trying to fill this need in an unrestricted, unstructured way that pleases them. To many, the supernatural appears to tick this box.
However, is turning to the occult truly fulfilling that inborn spiritual need for them? Professor Routledge says that most are left feeling unfilled.
“Research from my lab indicates that witchcraft and astrology are driven, in part, by the need for meaning,” Routledge noted in an interview with PJ Media.
“However, it is unclear if some of the alternative spiritual practices young adults are attracted to can have the same benefits as traditional religious beliefs and practices. For instance, in a new study our lab hopes to publish soon, we find evidence suggesting that these alternative beliefs are not doing a good job of actually providing meaning.”
Routledge explained that while traditional forms of religion promote physical and psychological health by bringing people together in a way that promotes a social and moral duty to others, provides community support and instills high moral values which benefit all, witchcraft and its related practices simply do not promote the same values.
“Buying books of spells, collecting gemstones, and thinking about the compatibility of people’s astrological signs might be fun curiosities or even feel meaningful in the moment,” Routledge said. “However, if these interests do not meaningfully connect people in an enduring way to others by inspiring goals and behaviors that create and preserve long-lasting moral communities, they are unlikely to sufficiently fulfill the psychological needs that inspire them.”
It seems that the lost generation will have to search elsewhere for the meaning it seeks. Learn more about the human search for meaning at MindBodyScience.news.