Thanks for this. I had been waiting for someone to say it but in my case did not want to attract the hoopla and v*olence it could cause. Manifestation always gives Manifest Destiny to me. I would prefer a world where we are village- / community-made, where we are thriving with no wage slavery, but people who are able using the skills they want to use. It's what I work for in my capacity, and I write about it in my publication. Cheers, really appreciate your writing!

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Social media manifesting has been frustrating me, but I wasn't able to articulate all of the reasons why. This connected so many dots for me.

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So if people want to be anti-capitalist they need to switch languages and use the word manifesto instead of the word manifestation?

I'm being a little bit tongue and cheek there, but my point is that "manifesting" has a complex etymology and history that's not linearly reducable to "capitalist origins", even if capitalists like Oprah do love using positive spiritual/psychological thinking to open themselves up to the kinds of behaviors that tend to result in accumulation of wealth (relentless exploitation of "opportunity").

And at this point with the internet and all, spiritual movements (and words) are even more promiscuous than they already were!

The stakes are high though. For people who have experienced adversity or mental health challenges, "manifestation" can be about giving themselves permission to see possibilities, and personal agency, that they'd otherwise shut down automatically or be blind to. That can be a big deal for people with a prominent inner critic and/or with a lot of haters in their lives.

But of course just because you can imagine something doesn't mean you ought to impose it on the world, whether by manifestation, manifesto or manifest.

Anyhow there's a constituency of people who use the concept of manifesting as a form of pop cognitive behavioral therapy, but who also identify as anticapitalist like their life depends on it. After seeing your headline on their friends' Instagram stories they're gonna have some wild internal conversation as the oxytocin courses into their veins and looming social catastrophe unfolds in their imagination. Either publicly denounce #manifestation or embrace #capitalism. There are no nuances, there is no complexity, those are the only choices and they are mutually exclusive.

Maybe that's a little like what you experienced when you realized that you, an anti-capitalist, had accidentally vibed with someone from another camp?

But that's exactly the kind of absolute thinking that secretly drives people toward ideas like "manifesting" that affirm personal agency.

Critiques aside, this was an interesting read! Maybe my biggest takeaway is that capitalism is a religion and that conversations about it are practically theological.

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I was raised in the “health and wealth gospel” which is just manifesting repackaged as tapping into God’s power instead of the universe.

To me, the biggest problem with both is the blame they put on individuals when something in their life doesn’t work out. Sure, imagining new possibilities can be great for mental health, but the big question is when those possibilities don’t happen, what next?

In manifesting and in “heath and wealth”, it’s always the individual’s fault. They obviously didn’t visualize/believe well enough.

And there is never any need for the church or government to help the poor because their life circumstances are obviously their own fault and they could fix it if they just manifested/believed God’s promises/worked harder.

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Love that you brought in QAnon Anon at the end!

Enjoying your work. Thank you!

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Well-researched and insightful! Thank you for this piece

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2 years later found this piece trying to track down that same audio. disappointing to learn the truth, but this was well written and researched. thank you!

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I had just heard another clip from the same person and went hunting for who she was when I found this, because the original audio is though Abraham Hicks. Very interesting read.

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Thanks so much for this deep dive! When I started hearing that clip all over the place I also liked it at first...then I went to track down its origins. When I saw it was from the Abraham Hicks lady I gagged a little. I spent a number of years of my early adulthood entrenched in hippie new age communities. Now that I’m out of that scene, and a lot more aware of systemic/societal failings, this individualist crap just gives me the heebie jeebies. Nice to feel validated in my thought process, and also awesome to learn more about the underpinnings of these ideas from someone who did much more research than me 💙

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