When I say woo-woo, I know it is pejorative. Since I am not trying to make any situation worse, maybe I shouldn’t use the term. Yet, calling something woo-woo gets my opinion across immediately and somewhat humorously (me thinks).
For example, most Catholics believe speaking in tongues and playing with poisonous snakes is woo-woo. Protestants think transubstantiation is woo-woo. To be fair, so do most Catholics these days. But for me, it’s all mystical nonsense and unevidenced claims: woo-woo.
I’ve seen Deepak Chopra lose his shit when the term was used during a discussion/debate with atheists. (Click here to watch the youtube—it’s fun.) His demonstrative demeanor and insistence on his correctness were telling of his deeper persona.
It is in the Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Woo-woo means something is “dubiously or outlandishly mystical, supernatural, or unscientific.”
In bar or locker-room talk, I would normally say bullshit. While that is too strong, it also makes my point. I’m not trying to be a polite member of society when I say woo-woo. I am unsarcastically letting society know that I am skeptical but aware.
For years I wrote what are called morning pages (MP). I like them and I agree with Julia Cameron that they are therapeutic, but not therapy. I think they are also fun, considering it’s a morning thing. I don’t accept claims for MPs being mystical or supernatural. I’ve stopped writing them, but I want to begin writing MPs again.
According to Julia’s web page, “Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness (SoC) writing, done first thing in the morning.”
She goes on, “There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages – they are not high art. They are not even ‘writing.’ They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind – and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize, and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.” (juliacameronlive.com)
All good. I recommend, but.
That kind of SoC involves a lot of letting go and much trust. It is not easy, but doable. I have a stack of notebooks full of morning pages writing. My problem is that I do better when I am more emotional, which can happen any time of day. But mornings are what they are. MPs are (for me) not about politics or religion. They are about me, people, and the things closest to me.
But then here comes the word that makes me step back: spirituality. I am good with discussion of the human spirit. I am not okay with invoking woo-woo. I am not okay with others trying to make spiritual things part of my life even if it is part of theirs.
If they want to believe it, fine. If they want me to accept it, they need to prove it is reality. That does not stop them from using spirits or the forces of woo to explain even scientifically explainable phenomena.
By the way, these woo-woo promoting people make a ton of money selling books, doing personal appearances, and on the lecture circuit. They are promising something. Right? Like a religion? Often, their claims are outlandish (more woo-woo).
All we need to do is believe them.