The phrase “New Age” comes from the astrological concept of the “Age Of Aquarius”, an era beginning around the millennium and transitioning from the former “Age of Pisces”. Each “age” lasts roughly 2000 years or around the time taken for the vernal equinox to move through one of the 12 astrological constellations. This era will apparently see the Earth and its inhabitants reflecting the characteristics of the astrological sign of Aquarius.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the New Age, where you can be as ignorant, stupid, vague, ridiculous, foolish, inaccurate, superstitious and open-ended as you like. Feel free to take any bit of any science, religion, philosophy or ancient mystical superstition you like, mix them all together, and create your very own vague spiritual quilt masterpiece with lots of long-sounding words that will make you seem like what you’ve dreamt up is a profound revelation.
Nobody can scrutinise it because it’s all relative, and you can even make money from it! All are welcome, with any belief in anything. You don’t need intelligence or reason, just to suspend your disbelief and rational thought. And of course, it doesn’t have the irritating trappings of organised conventional religion, which are so passé. Anything is possible, even fairies. No thought required, just your imagination. No minimum IQ, no common sense, just your own personal experience bootlegged onto the communal imagination of other people as ignorant and dreamy as you are. Spirituality for stupid people.
It is not right to be so casual with the truth.
We are not living in a new age of spirituality. We are living in a New Age of Stupidity, and that is a far more dangerous evil than most. It’s time we showed a refreshed and violent intolerance to these Tarot-reading, energy-healing, magic-peddling charlatans and showed them the healthy disrespect they deserve. Yes, we should respect the spiritual beliefs of others, but this isn’t spirituality, it’s outright nonsense. Stupidity is harmful, and it’s definitely not cool.
Not only are they believing it, they are preaching it. Creating more stupidity and promoting the adoption of idiotic ideology in vulnerable people. No-one seems to question the obvious when it comes to over-reaching belief in ghosts, planets, cards or talismans: what is beyond these things? How do they explain the beginning of the universe? Where do they fit into the grander system that we live in?
So what exactly are we talking about when we say “New Age” practices? It’s impossible to create a whole list as new combinations are occurring every day like an IKEA range. We could start with the most popular:
Alchemy, Angels, Astral projection, Astrology, Auras, Automatic writing, Biorhythms, Chakras, Channeling, Chaos magic, Charismatics, Clairvoyance, Color Therapy, Crystals, Divination, Dowsing, Dreaming, Extra-sensory perception, Faith Healing, Feng Shui, Homeopathy, I-Ching, Kabbalah, Levitation, Magick, Mediumship, Necromancy, Neo-paganism, Nostradamus, Numerology, Oracles, Ouija, Palmistry, Past life regression, Psychic phenomenon, Psychokinesis, Psychometry, Reiki, Reincarnation, Remote viewing, Scientology, Shamanism, Sorcery, Spirit Guides, Synchronicity, Tarot, Telepathy, Wicca.
Identifying a framework of these beliefs
There are very few definitions, and most who subscribe to these beliefs have very little idea either. This is apparently because it is so “broad” and diverse, and includes pretty much anything and everything you care to think of. A New Age “belief” is something that comes from personal experience and so apparently can’t be defined as such. So nobody quite knows if these are beliefs at all, or if there is such a thing as a “belief” in the first place.
The terminology that appears to bind these ideas together are the vague concepts of natural “Forces”, mystical “Power”, spiritual “Energies” and “Spirit” beings. A point to note here is that Atheism is NOT a New Age belief.
The Achilles Heel of the New Age belief system is the inability to be exact, precise, coherent or specific about anything when put under scrutiny. These beliefs do not join up or make any sense whatsoever when held up to the spotlight for examination, because they are a vacuous collage and mix-mash of anything and everything that is held together with the most fragile of cotton thread.
There are no real answers — there are reasons for nature, but they transgress evolution; talk of the universe, but violation of the Laws of Thermodynamics; selective tolerance of other beliefs unless they happen to be of the Church; fantasy characters like spirits, elves and fairies that nobody can define as a reality or allegory; science is relied upon but believed to be useless; talk of “free will” but practice of divination of the future because it is already determined and set. The list goes on and on and on and on. The world has never seen a more convoluted, hopelessly confused and misleading waste of time than this.
Evasion is the name of the game, and mastery of evading a few searching questions comes from years of practice of spouting gibberish to people too gullible to discern, or lacking the education to see it. They will tell you that everything is just “opinion”, including scientific fact. They will deny basic reasoning has occurred even after it has been explained to them. They do not recognise the validity of reasoning or accepted norms of credibility.
A rather dull hangover of primitive science
The “ancient” practices that make up New Age belief have an interesting background and took a legitimate place in our development and history. They defined our understanding of the world at large in that time. Man has attempted to manipulate nature and tell the fortune using anything he can find to hand — there are over 500 methods of divination alone. We’ve been stupid for a long time.
Alchemy became chemistry; astrology became astronomy; biorhythms became circadian cycles; luck/fortune became probability and synchronicity; homeopathy became pharmacology; numerology became mathematics, and faith healing became medicine.
Practitioners declare these concepts “relative”, “metaphorical” and “allegorical, and ascribe value to them just because they were forerunners to modern science. Does the existence of newer forms of science mean the older ancient customs aren’t worth anything?
Yes. These things belong in a museum. It does not mean we should still practice these them, “use” them or believe them. They have been made irrelevant and redundant, and now form superstition. They are not ancient “wisdom” or “hidden knowledge”, they are ancient ignorance. Needless to say, New Age belief requires we should shun such ignorance of these new technologies and appreciate the magic and wonder of more simplistic rituals for truth and fulfilment, which is a bit like telling a cat to go to the toilet in the middle of the carpet instead of the litter tray.
Pick n’ Mix DIY Spirituality
New Age belief is syncretic in nature, meaning that it attempts to reconcile contradictory ideas and glue them together with vague philosophies and schools of thought. This is what supposedly gives it the tag of being a “tolerant” movement. It is not a new idea, but it is a fundamentally flawed one.
As a branch of Postmodernism and the idea of centralising everything around an individual, you can essentially take any part of any religion, science, faith or philosophy and jam them together to form your very own spirituality. You can take any inanimate object, animal, vegetable or mineral, and declare it to divine, as long as it works for you. Even humanism isn’t this pretentious or such a all-consuming throne to self-obsession.
It is the “all you can eat” buffet that anyone can dine in and no-one will question why you belief what you do or why it doesn’t make any sense. There are no entry requirements, no real rules or boundaries, no structure or absolute meaning, and you can pig out all you want without anything being required of you at all. To use a more simple analogy, it is like standing in your kitchen and adding random ingredients into a mixing bowl from any of the cupboards — some balsamic vinegar, chilli, ice cream, wheat, noodles, tuna, sprouts, apples, salt and eh voila, announcing you have a cordon bleu soufflé. No thought or validation required, just a fabulous meal on the table.
In the same way you can use odd verses from scriptures, pseudoscience, quotes from great leaders, snippets of imagination, imagery from movies and obscure ancient pre-science to provide some kind of basis for rampant fantasy. These snippets are always taken out of their original context and stitched together to appear relevant to the case in point. Hopeless confusion, half truths and a generalised free-for-all where everyone is right and there’s zero need for accountability. Sound appealing? It’s Mecca for the ignorant and woolly.
The Emperor’s New Enlightenment
One defining characteristic of New Age belief is the deliberate use of long words, open-ended rhetoric and sentences that make no sense whatsoever. Their musings are almost always devoid of any discernable meaning in the English language. The average person on the street is easily intimidated by complex terms and long words, and automatically presumes that because they don’t really understand it, it must be intelligent and profound. Organised religion is no stranger to the same, but look how well it worked for them.
In their own words:
“Much like poetry, the words of mystics are often idiosyncratic and esoteric, can seem confusing and opaque, simultaneously over-simplified and full of subtle meanings hidden from the unenlightened.”
There is another phrase that describes the same thing: meaningless, open ended drivel. Put this material in front of any educated academic and they will identify it for what it is — literary diarrhoea. Sufferers of Tourrettes Syndrome and inmates in psychiatric institutions often exhibit the same thing.
In order to understand why New Age subscribers can’t seem to articulate their “profound” spirituality in a more meaningful way, it is important to understand the concept of obscurantism. Obscurantism is the practice of deliberately preventing the facts or full details of something from becoming known, or: “a style (as in literature or art) characterized by deliberate vagueness or abstruseness.”
Relativism: the House of Cards
Our education system, our scientific and technological understanding and almost all of our everyday life is based on the concept that it is made up of absolutes. When something is absolute it has a beginning and an end, and it is conclusive. Examples of absolutes are true/false, black/white, yes/no, north/south/east/west and night/day. Making a statement or a claim typically involves saying something is absolute.
New Age belief is arguably founded on the idea of Relativism, which is a very long academic term basically describing that we all experience or perceive things subjectively (i.e. differently). Everything is relative to something else. Everyone’s truth is different and individual, our perception of reality is unique, and this constitutes a “higher” understanding of life. Needless to say, it’s an immensely complicated subject and one that keeps academics going in circles almost indefinitely. But it is important because if relativism is flawed, so is all New Age belief.
What you need to be very clear on is the supposed “link” between New Age “relativity” and Einstein’s Relativity. Mystics will tell you they are connected, when in fact they certainly are not. One is a philosophy of perception, the other is a scientifically observable principle of physics. New Age practitioners try to bring them together in a primitive form of unreliable and cynical scientism.
a) It inherently contradicts, refutes and invalidates itself. The statements “everything is relative” and “there is no such thing as originality because everything is relative to something else” are absolutes.
b) The world works according to natural laws that are absolutes.
c) When you give everything equal value, nothing has any value anymore. It declares that relativism itself also has no value.
d) Admissions of disbelief become impossible, when they are known to be reality.
e) The validity of relativism is an absolute (true/false).
What of the schizophrenic? Does he/she “create their own reality”? Perception is of course intrinsically subjective, but that does not make it relative. Relative perception does not indicate spirituality in any way — all it shows is that the stimuli our senses receive combines with our mental functioning to be unique, which gives us creativity.
New Age “spirituality” attempts to corrupt these principles with no credible basis or argument, starting from a false premise. Subjugate them and you can get away with claiming anything about anything. There is a reason why humanity has rejected the idea of relativism for thousands of years, and not because it’s complicated.
We certainly experience things subjectively, but to extend the principle of relatively beyond its own bounds to apply to everything (i.e. exalt it as an absolute) is the worst kind of pretentious and embarrassing quackery.
Misappropriation of Pseudoscience
Science, from the Greek word “Scientas” is a perpetual study of absolutes. It puts logic, reasoning, method and intellectual capability at its core. New Age belief values “feeling”, and distinctly states that it should be employed above these basic principles. Science apparently cannot explain and does not appreciate these mystical concepts and ancient wisdoms, so it follows that as a result you cannot justify or back them up with science.
However, mystics quote science at you when asked to explain, and claim you can interpret its principles your own way. Is science irrelevant, or is it not? If you cannot explain it with science, why use science to explain it? Either renounce science as a justification, or know your science well enough to cite it. If you establish or promote a belief that supposedly uses a principle of science and do not understand it, that belief is an absolute load of mindless noise.
The most boorish, bovine and revolting aspect of New Age belief is the appalling misappropriation of science for its own purposes. The ignorance and subsequent misuse and misrepresentation of simple scientific information is nothing short of disgusting. The use of scientific information in discussing the bigger questions of life and existence has its route in the philosophy of metaphysics. It is not a science, even when it has “physics” in its name.
A brief enquiry into the mainstream or academic press quickly reveals that the scientific community almost wholly reject, condemn and regularly ridicule New Age beliefs, philosophies and practices because of the way they encourage and promote pseudoscience and scientism.
Scientism is the improper usage of science or scientific claims, often used as a counter-argument to appeals to scientific authority in contexts where science might not apply.
Pseudoscience is knowledge, methodology, belief, or practice that is claimed to be scientific or made to appear scientific but does not adhere to the very well established scientific method.
The most common idea regarding Astrology is that because the moon’s gravitational pull affects the tides, it has the power to affect our personality, thoughts and feelings too. It’s worth bearing in mind that a doctor who delivers a baby has almost 200,000 times more gravitational pull on the baby than the moon does, and a paperback book held at arm’s length has about a billion times the tidal influence of Mars.
In addition, the Zodiac signs that were drawn up long ago have not changed even though our solar system has changed relative to the constellations as it has moved through the universe, with the consequence that all Zodiac signs in this century are off by at least a month from when the Zodiac signs were mapped out (relative to the constellations and planets).
It’s difficult to know where to start, but the first thing to do is throw out any science that is being quoted that does not conform to the scientific method, such as that illustrated in the hilariously stupid docudrama “What the Bleep Do We Know?” or anything about water having a memory for feelings. Why? Because it is not science. First stop, check the scientific validation. If it does not have the support of peer scrutiny, it is pseudoscience.
New Age belief asserts that God is universal and inter-dimensional spiritual “energy”, and that all things are made up of this energy. This energy is comparable to the concept of energy in modern physics — it cannot be created or destroyed and is always constant.
The major Laws of Physics that roundly concern energy can be summarised as:
· Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion
· Law of Gravity
· Conservation of Mass-Energy
· Conservation of Momentum
· 4 Laws of Thermodynamics
· Coulomb’s and Gauss’s laws of Electrostatics
· Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (invariance of the speed of light)
· Quantum Mechanics
The 3 worst abused scientific concepts are Einstein’s Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and String Theory, a newcomer.
We start with Einstein’s Theory of Mass-Energy Equivalence (E=MC2) which states any mass has an associated energy and vice versa. The “C” in the equation stands for “Celeritas” and is the speed of light in a vacuum in meters per second. In relativity, mass and energy are two forms of the same thing, and neither one appears without the other. So the New Age belief system co-opts this understanding and declares we are all energy, vibrating in motion all the time, and that energy is God. The rest of us used it to make nuclear weapons.
This spiritual energy allegedly manifests itself in physical form and behaves as the energy of physics does but it is not measureable or observable. This is a prime example of chopping out a scientific idea and trying to appropriate it for spirituality, as the detail behind it is always lacking.
Next up is Chaos Theory (the “Butterfly Effect”), which is quoted en masse to be interpreted any way you want for your own purposes and is the study of how and why things happen randomly. Weather, economics and climate are chaotic, and it is a bit like the idea of relativism as order is needed for chaos to occur. This is actually an explanation for the process of coincidence in many ways, but due to a fundamental lack of understanding of the science involved, most New Age practitioners have yet to realise it. Until then they will just have to quote it as a metaphysical or metaphorical idea.
The newest and most often quoted model of physics that is applied to New Age belief is String Theory (or the “Theory of Everything”), where building blocks are one-dimensional extended objects called strings, rather than the zerodimensional point particles, pointing to a quantum theory of gravity.
A special mention must be made to a whole category of misappropriated science — Quantum Mechanics. This has become so widespread that it has spawned its very own genre: Quantum Mysticism. Quantum Mechanics is the study of sub-atomic particles, or the things that the parts of atoms (protons, electrons, neutrons) are made of — the most basic building blocks of the whole universe.
The scientific community describes Quantum Mysticism as:
“The practice of selectively borrowing ideas from quantum physics to support New Age and pseudoscientific beliefs.”
New Age “mystical physics” began in the 1970s, with Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics, in which he asserted that quantum physics confirms Eastern mystical teachings. This was taken up in the 1980s by Hindutva pseudoscience which extrapolated on the statements of Vivekananda, who in 1897 claimed that “the conclusions of modern science are the very conclusions the Vedanta reached ages ago”, identifying concepts from physics like gravitation, electricity, magnetism and other forces.
The 4 most plagiarised and appropriated concepts are:
· Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
(Locating a particle in a small region makes the momentum of the particle uncertain, and conversely, measuring the momentum of a particle precisely makes the position uncertain)
· Quantum Entanglement (When the quantum states of two or more objects have to be described with reference to each other, even though the individual objects may be spatially separated leading to correlations between observable physical properties of the systems)
· Wave Function Collapse (One of two processes by which quantum systems apparently evolve, also called collapse of the state vector or reduction of the wave packet)
· The “Many Worlds” Interpretation (A theory that resolves the many paradoxes of Quantum Mechanics by denying the objective reality of wavefunction collapse and that every possible outcome to every event defines or exists in its own “history” or “world)
The entire misappropriation of Quantum science is predicated on the belief that what happens on a sub-atomic level is the ultimate truth of existence and is reflected on a macro scale in our daily lives. Unfortunately that’s not what the science indicates, or what scientists believe at all.
The use of Quantum Mechanics is another very blatant example of obscurantism as it is an esoteric study that few outside laboratories understand or have even heard of. A brief scan of scientific journals shows quite clearly that the scientific community almost universally rejects these assumptions and New Age mysticism so firmly that a common running joke in laboratories is to quote Terry Pratchett: “No-one knows the reason for this, but it’s probably quantum.”
If you want to know just how concrete New Age belief is, all you need to do is ask them a few simple scientific questions. The reply will be that you have to “feel” the truth.
Rebellion Against the Church
The most frequently quoted word in New Age literature is “freedom”. Everyone should be free to believe exactly what they want, in any way they want, free from judgement, criticism or ridicule. If it works for you, then it’s ok. But freedom from what exactly?
Tolerance of the beliefs of others, no matter how ridiculous or asinine, is essentially a New Age concept despite it being rooted in other religious faiths (doubters should look to the Qu’ran, where the penalty for apostasy is death).
When criticised, they bitterly attack their opponents for preaching and/or scrutinising their opinions and beliefs. Clearly the self-contradictory idea of being intolerant of others’ intolerance has yet to sink in.
There are many mainstream religions in the world that could attract enormous criticism for their social, political and spiritual ideology and the abuse of it — Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, Animism and yes, even Buddhism. It’s rare to hear a New Age practitioner spitting venom about any of them as they are too busy co-opting their beliefs.
But one faith is singled out that they are hysterically intolerant of — Christianity. Push them slightly, and you will get a whole diatribe of abuse thrown at you regarding the Inquisition, the historical legitimacy of the Bible and how flawed, corrupt and hypocritical Christianity is. It would seem all beliefs are tolerated in the world of New Age spirituality apart from the world’s popular Western faith.
Even Judaism doesn’t receive the same spite from Arabs.
Proponents claim it is because of the historical oppression by the Church, the judgemental concept of Hell and the pushy nature of Christian evangelism. New Age beliefs are automatically compared to Christian beliefs when discussed and scrutinised. The argument is that the Church has demonised and politically oppressed those seeking “freedom” to believe as they wish. The fact is that people in the Western world have more freedom to believe whatever they wish than ever before.
The Church may be guilty of oppression, but is it now, in the New Age of Aquarius? Where exactly is this oppression? Our question should be focused on exactly how much of this fairytale world of energy, fairies and relativism is an active protest and rebellion against the Church itself rather than a bona fide belief structure. It may just be the case that it is largely a parade of “freedom” from what they feel is an obligation to adopt and practice Christian beliefs.
Old Fashioned Fraud and Quackery
New Age mysticism comes complete with a business model, so you can make money out of it. That’s confusing news if you’re a spiritual relativist because you can get away with blue murder, and fill your boots with a whole tonne of loot in the process. Apparently mystics charge for their skills and experience like anyone else, so communicating with the dead has a pricing structure. Who are these other small spiritual businesses, exactly?
Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Taoists and others offer their wisdom for free because it is for a higher purpose — the only form of “spirituality” that directly charges money are the mystics. All major religions forbid contact or negotiation with purveyors of mysticism, but that doesn’t stop New Age practitioners from claiming the leaders of other faiths were great spiritual figures they aspire to be like..
Amongst the reasons given for this irrational and counter-productive “belief” system include curiosity, fun, reassurance, confirmation, understanding natural intuition and god knows what else. Let’s look at a small selection of silly and unfortunately nefarious practices.
Otherwise known as the combination of probability, proximity and scientific chaos theory. An example of the “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” logical fallacy.
Psychics, mediums, necromancy etc
Nothing more than basic “cold reading”. You can learn to do it in 20mins. The modern day father of Spiritualism, M. Lamar Keene, openly admitted everything he did was totally fraudulent. As did those other “authorities” of their subject, Colin Fry and the Fox sisters. And yes, production staff have admitted that everything on TV’s “Most Haunted” is completely faked.
Astrology, I-Ching etc
A bastardisation of primitive astronomy, and totally, utterly ridiculous generalised nonsense. Faithfully reproduced regularly by mentalist magicians such as Derren Brown.
Tarot & cartomancy
A 15th Century Italian card game with no fortune-telling whatsoever. Easy to fake, and uses cold reading techniques.
Ouija boards & pendulum dowsing
Invented and patented by the toymaker Parker Bros, who invented Monopoly. Due to a well-known scientific observation called the “Ideometer effect”.
A money-grabbing sci-fi “religion” dreamed up by a science fiction writer that sues and persecutes anyone who criticises it. As ridiculed by South Park.
Nothing more than easily-imprinted false memory, imagination and wanderings of the unconscious mind. Belief in reincarnation is the one factor that influences whether someone will recount a “past life”.
Based on human-invented systems of counting (e.g. base-10), and popular because of human ability to recognise patterns and repetition. A good example being the “Birthday Paradox”.
Pseudo-scientific nonsense that mimics the true biological study of genuine human body patterns like circadian cycles.
Who was a close affiliate of the church and actively spoke out to say his writing was fictional and not prophetic. Badly translated, missing facts, a fabulous PR collective and snippets taken from different quatrains to fit almost any event anywhere.
Magician James Randi has had a $1 Million dollar offer to a single person anywhere in the world who can prove it is a genuine paranormal phenomena open for years. Not 1 person has been able to. Group/audience effects are easily explained by understanding religious ecstasy.
We only need simply conduct a few simple tests to ascertain the validity and usefulness of psychic quackery: If i put 100 mediums/psychics together in a line and challenged them to divine/dowse the location of Madeleine McCann, surely more than 60% would come up with the same answer that would be correct?
Imagination, fantasy and delusion
Fantasy is applied principally to elaborate or extravagant fancy, as a product of the imagination given free rein:
“The poet is in command of his fantasy, while it is exactly the mark of the neurotic that he is possessed by his fantasy.”
If we are all one and all consist of the same “energy”, how can we experience reality and truth uniquely and subjectively? Are we individual or are we united? If everything is connected how can it all be separate? If we are separate units but part of the whole (New Age speak), then how does that work as they claim it’s something else? This is trite nonsense, but very creative nonsense nonetheless.
Surely all paths lead to the same destination? All faiths and beliefs are ultimately an expression of the same thing? Five simple minutes looking at the differences in religions clears it up. With such widely differing beliefs, it is near-impossible for all to be the same road, or a similar expression of spirituality.
Belief that requires you to put down reason, common sense, evidence and wisdom so you can be immersed in invisible and fantastical abstract concepts in your own mind has another unspoken name — imagination. Without substance they are fantasy at best, and lies at worst. There is nothing wrong with imagination per se, only when it becomes a spiritual belief system that governs the choices you make and how you hold up to your responsibilities (like not stealing, murdering and charging people to contact the dead on their behalf).
If it is not true and not real, it means you stop promoting it, stop believing in it, stop giving it any time and you look on it for the foolish and baseless superstition. As a culture we need to be considerably more ruthless and brutal when it comes to our sensitivity of others’ beliefs when they are so patently absurd. Stupidity doesn’t deserve respect, it needs sympathy and a gentle affectionate whack. We can only indulge the pluralists so long before the nut cracks.
24 people who subscribe heavily to the New Age belief system were each asked to validate the following statement:
Generally speaking, New Age beliefs involve:
Constructing your own spirituality from diverse but standardised beliefs/parts, as well as forming mental imagery and concepts (inc. sequences of them), a lot of the time that are typically not available to normal senses; that those visualised images can be unlimited as long as they help the person and fulfil a psychological need, and sometimes quite extravagant? And as much as it pains me, those beliefs transcend science and reason even if we see evidence and reasoning in the physical world (earthly plane, whatever)?
Now read these definitions.
1. The faculty of imagining, or of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses.
2. The action or process of forming such images or concepts.
3. The faculty of producing ideal creations consistent with reality, as in literature, as distinct from the power of creating illustrative or decorative imagery.
1. Imagination, esp. when extravagant and unrestrained.
2. The forming of mental images, esp. wondrous or strange fancies; imaginative conceptualizing.
3. An imagined or conjured up sequence fulfilling a psychological need; daydream.
de.lu.sion — noun.
1. A false belief or opinion.
2. A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness.
3. A fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual evidence.