Esotericism (from Greek esoteros, "within"): Originally referring to secret knowledge, disciplines, or practices, it today primarily means a belief in the power of perceptible forces beyond the ►laws of nature.
Esotericism is a way of renouncing both conventional religions and the scientific worldview. It differs from ►superstition by its more modernized explanations. Almost all esoteric theories are based on the postulation of some basic "energy" whose effects or "vibrancy", though not precisely defined, can serve to rationalize the respective theory. To be sure, esoteric energy has nothing to do with energy in the scientific sense of the word, which can be given a precise definition and made subject to quantitative measurements. Instead, esoteric energy possesses a moral dimension; it can be (morally) good or bad, depending on how it affects human beings. It is beyond space and time, hence infinite and eternal. Though it cannot be objectively measured, it has nevertheless managed to gain an entry for esotericism in this dictionary.
The esoteric worldview is not fixed by tradition, but represents an idiosyncratic mix of distinctly modern preoccupations, fashions, and terminology. It relies in part on elements adopted from religions, and in part on a broad spectrum of mystical teachings, ►parasciences, conspiracy theories, soothsaying practices, as well as diverse medical and healing theories. These include ►astrology, tarot, the technique of the magic Pendulum, chiromancy, black and white magic, Ufology and Nazi UFO myths, Neoshamanism, ►Kabbalah, spiritism, radionics, homeopathy, family constellations, gemstone therapy, and mental or faith healing. Due to the placebo effect, esoteric medical treatments are indeed often effective and are therefore sometimes employed even in conventional medical therapies, as in the case of homeopathy.
There are also variants of esotericism that do not have any cosmological or spiritual connotations. The most important of these, commercially speaking, is Hi-Fi esotericism,* which promotes the idea that special varnishes, gold-plated power cords, control knobs made of the wood used in making a violin, or CDs that are sanded down on the outside can improve the sound of Hi-Fi sound systems. Although no objective cause-effect relation has yet been observed between such equipment and the sound or error rate of CDs, the Hi-Fi esotericist does indeed subjectively perceive an improvement, particularly after investing a lot of money in such accessories.
Esotericism is a friendly ideology that harms no one and strives to please everyone. Nonetheless, adherents of other ideologies typically either do not take it seriously or reject it outright. From the standpoint of ►religion it is mere superstition; psychology considers it a form of escapism; ►science explains it as an effect of the lack of scientific education. Thus, esotericism finds itself sitting on the fence among all established ideologies and worldviews. But it has accepted its fate, partitioning itself off from all challenges to its foundations and thriving exclusively in subcultures of Western societies. Since the 1990s, however, esotericism has increasingly lost supporters. Though promoters of enlightenment may regard this as a step forward, providers of miracle drugs or fortunetelling services, whose revenues have declined as well, are not so happy about it.
Becoming a Millionaire With Esotericism?
It should be noted that even at present, in a country such as Germany, sales of esoteric products and services produce revenue totaling as much as around 9 billion Euros annually. This means that esoteric services and pornographic products constitute the two most important revenue sources for commercial websites and toll-free phone numbers. Of course, there are differences between the two, one of which is that 95% of all purchasers of esoteric products are female. If you do not want to miss this potential source of income, why don't you offer your esoteric services on the internet? You can do so even if you aren't an esotericist yourself (it may even help). There are plenty of lucrative business ideas like the following:
* The mouthpiece of Hi-Fi esotericism in Germany is the magazine ►STEREO, which is otherwise a quite solid consumer report magazine for Hi-Fi equipment.