In 1692 the Massachusetts Bay Colony was in the throes of the “Salem Witch Hunt”. Lacking any better explanation of some unusual occurrences in the Colony, a panicked mob accused several unfortunate fellow colonists of witchcraft ― and lynched them. There was a time when we modern Americans could look back with an air of contemptuous superiority upon those ‘superstitious fools’; but sadly, no longer. Many Americans today are more ignorant (relative to the amount of scientific knowledge available) and certainly more superstitious than the Salem mob; superstition being a home remedy for the wounds of the chaotic emptiness of modern American life. I am referring, of course, to the burgeoning obsession of “New Age” religionists with rocks and minerals, and of the miraculous claims attributed to them. You will also have deduced my opinion of those claims — any metaphysical properties granted to crystals, agates, rocks or the dirt they are found in is fantasy, and obsession with fantasy is dangerous.

I don’t know what you were expecting in beginning to read this commentary, but if you will be so good as to stick with me, I will try to make make your time well spent. You might rightly demand to know who am I to to make such criticism of others’ beliefs. I am simply an old man who was trained in the science of Geology before most of you reading this were born, and brought up to believe in Freedom of Speech. And though my time here may be short, I have children and grandchildren and a great stake in the future, and a great concern for their future.

I have held this…’hateful rant’, some might say, for a long time for fear of offending and driving people from this site; I hope I don’t, but it’s time to get it off my chest. I don’t write this to ridicule or condemn anyone’s beliefs, but to suggest a better alternative―an old fashioned, time proven remedy to the ‘cosmic angst’ that besets so many fellow Americans (lack of faith and hope, confusion, anxiety, lethargy, and weakness in the face of ever changing, and artificially induced, winds of popular culture). If I wasn’t sure of that better cure I wouldn’t suggest it, for ‘cosmic angst’, rather than a joke, is a killer. The streets of our country are lined with victims of it, so I suppose that any relief is better than nothing.

There are real, if ephemeral, benefits to the acquisition of such talismans as crystals. Buying things is pleasant in itself, and there is a placebo effect in having something to grab hold onto, to put faith and hope in, even something you have to pretend is real. Of most importance, I believe, is that becoming a part of some community of shared beliefs is comforting in this age of increasing social isolation. Moreover, there is a normal human response of pleasure to any objects of natural beauty and fascination be it to crystals, rocks, flowers, trees, sunsets, mountain views, etc. That pleasure is generated from within us however, not some ‘vibration’ from insensate matter. We are, after all, beings made in the image of the Creator of natural beauty and the astoundingly vast and complex cosmos. That is why we traditional rockhounds enjoy our hobby. But our hobby is eclipsed by a corrupt industry preying upon scientific illiteracy and spiritual and emotional confusion to cheat vulnerable people out of vast amounts of money, and worse, harm them spiritually and perhaps physically.

Two extreme examples of that corruption are particularly odious to me. ‘Andara monatomic crystals’ are frauds, bits of colored glass or cheap mineral crystal sold at absurd to downright obscene prices by unscrupulous dealers. One can look on ebay and find identical chunks of glass sold for hundreds and thousands of dollars as “Andara” this and that; and on honest sites as “slag glass” for a few dollars a pound as landscape decorations. On one slag glass site I noticed spirited bidding for a lovely multicolored chunk of recycled scrap glass ($51 at the time). It will probably be morphed into “Andara Crystal” or the slightly more accurate “Andara Glass”, perhaps on etsy, accompanied by outlandish fantasy (and price tag). That cockeyed demand is raising the price even of scrap glass. And ‘Lemurian seed crystals’ are even worse, common striated quartz crystals accompanied by comic book sci-fi fantasy pretending seriousness. I could go on and on listing such frauds but they are all pretty much the same.

I won’t waste much time debunking the pseudo-sciences behind these frauds, people who accept them do so because of spiritual and emotional needs, not scientific evidence. That being so, your reaction to my comments will depend more upon your attitude and openness than on my powers of persuasion. Besides, there is little even pseudo-science behind these claims to debunk. After a lot of disappointed searching, I happened upon one dealer’s website advertising the “science behind” their claims, and found nothing but more outlandish nonsense liberally sprinkled with scientific sounding buzz words.

One cannot easily prove, or disprove, anything about metaphysical claims, but these points however, I can make. Much of this mineralogical mystique is based upon a misrepresentation of crystal vibrations. In the late 19th Century and early 20th Century it was discovered that crystals, especially quartz, under specific circumstances, vibrated to radio waves, and ‘crystal radio receivers’ were developed and the world changed. However, the crystals produced nothing themselves, they merely reacted to external stimuli, and those vibrations had to be converted into sound to be perceived by humans.

An associated claim is that there is some commonality between the crystalline structure of minerals, especially quartz, and human DNA that allows communication between man and mineral. That is an absurdly false comparison. The quartz atomic lattice, for instance, is designed for simplicity and stasis. Changing geological conditions produce changes in the outward expression of the mineral but the internal structure is static. Even the simplest DNA is infinitely, and I do mean INFINITELY, more complex than the most elaborate mineral lattice, and is designed for functions so astoundingly intricate that biologists, bio-chemists and bio-physicists are only now beginning to understand them. But with these tawdry misrepresentations of “science” to back it, old superstition gained new credence, and customers.

“Monatomic crystals” in the sense used in these metaphysical claims is an oxymoron, a term that contradicts itself. For some reason, probably sales promotion, fine glassware is sometimes called “crystal”; but glass by its nature is not crystalline. It is amorphous, the opposite of crystalline; that is the chief defining characteristic of glass. The only monatomic anythings in our world are gasses (not glasses). I understand that the claim is made that these “monatomic” this and that (crystal, glass, liquid gold elixirs, etc.) are of extra-terrestrial origin or in some other sense not of our common stuff and therefore not subject to normal earthbound physical principles, but there is not the slightest proof of that claim, and from what I have seen of them, they are very common stuff indeed. The buzz word “monatomic” itself seems enough to insure an uncritical acceptance of any ridiculous product or claim, and there are all kinds of claims. There are so many hawkers of “monatomic” junk that it has created the effect of “If you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it.”

Now let’s turn off on what may seem an unusual path with a partial explanation of this unprecedented epidemic of the ‘cosmic angst’ I referred to earlier. I say “unprecedented” at least in my lifetime, and I am over half way through my eighth decade of life in these United States. The indisputable failure of modern education and cultural continuity behind this phenomenon is not accidental, or a natural evolution of thought, but a side effect, ‘collateral damage’ we might say, of a ruthless campaign over a period of generations to separate citizens from their Natural Rights (Remember this from our founding document the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, …”).

Why this overt animosity to the faith of our founding fathers? If there is no Creator, there are no Natural Rights (God given rights) ― our rights then are granted, or denied, by our earthly rulers who acknowledge no superior authority. Placid acceptance of that tyrannical ideology is the goal of the government’s official (and unconstitutional) establishment of a materialistic religion that is forced upon our public schools and popular culture ― the cosmos is self existent and eternal (no Creator of the Cosmos), humanity is the accidental product of natural forces and Darwinian evolutionary processes (no Creator of Human kind), and possesses no immortal spirit (no Creator Spirit).

So with appeals to hedonistic materialism and a pop-culture effigy of science, backed by government coercive power, those powerful and aggressive interests who despise our rights have succeeded in separating millions of Americans from their Christian religious and cultural heritage and left them adrift; “Alone, alone, all alone, alone on a wide wide sea”, as Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner puts it.

In so doing, they have set enmity between man and science. As the Bible says, God “has set eternity in the human heart” (Ecc. 3:11). Even many of us who absentmindedly accept the Darwinist/materialistic dogma that has been drilled into us from infancy can sense that we are more than mere random accidents enduring a pointless and transient existence in a insensate cosmos. So we are always seeking answers to life’s riddles, sometimes even in empty promises and bits of glass and stone.

Not coincidentally, we see the empty promises of these junk peddlers parodying the truths that have grounded western Judaeo-Christian civilization for millennia. Yes, “grounding” is one of the most common claims of the hucksters; this rock or scrap of glass will (or ‘is thought to’) promote “grounding”. Obviously “grounding” is a powerfully felt need among people today, although I’m not certain exactly how various people today understand the term. One website I visited uses the meaning of ‘being in tune with the vibrations of Mother Earth’. Whether that or some other grift, I believe that what people are missing and desperately searching for is more of the old fashioned understanding of being grounded.

Thankfully, I was grounded, to my way of thinking, a long, long time ago, without help from bits of glass and stone. Not that I was endowed with wisdom, that comes (as much as it ever does) with time; but I learned who I was, what I was, and had a good idea of where I was going and how to get there, although the road has been rocky and uphill much of the way. The primary talismans of my grounding were faith, family, and country. Ok, I can readily see that grounding is much more difficult in today’s world, as fragmented as it is and at war with itself. We can see the open wounds of that war reflected in the claims of the charlatans. Frankly, I am glad that I am an old man and have reminiscences of a true “lost civilization” (not Lemuria), but with children and grandchildren, as I mentioned, I have a great stake in the future.

Many prior generations, and many people in current generations, have found grounding in the Word of God. Let’s take a quick look at a few of God’s promises from the Holy Bible:

Jesus promises “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11: 28-29)

“Rest for your souls”, isn’t that what we all are seeking? And that comes from peace with God. In his letter to the churches in Rome St. Paul declares, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. (Romans 5:1) Ever since Eden man has been trying to displace God, “knowing good and evil for himself”, but it hasn’t worked well.

One huckster boasts that his lump of dead mineral matter “grants healing and cleansing to its owners”; what loathsome chutzpah. Another chip “promotes feelings of joy and happiness”; and another “frees one’s self from the shackles of the past”. Promises of a panacea for “pessimistic feelings”, low self-esteem, loneliness, hopelessness, inner turmoil, even physical healing (“stimulates circulation, strengthens the immune system, and counters the physical effects of aging.”) are all bound up in an amazingly wide array of mineral bric-a-brack available at greater or lesser prices from almost countless dealers throughout the world. Odd that with such miraculous help abounding humanity should be in such need.

Let’s look at a few Biblical promises on the subject of healing, cleansing and freeing “one’s self from the shackles of the past” from Old Testament prophets: “He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19) That’s a pretty definite way of putting away the past. And Isiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Again, a pretty definite statement on healing and cleansing.

Before you say, ‘That doesn’t apply to me’, let’s hear from St. Paul the Apostle again, to the church in Corinth:

(1 Cor 6:9-11) “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” The point is forgiveness and newness of life; “such were some of you”.

What does Christian grounding look like? Probably different ways to different people, I believe though, that St. Paul’s continuing Letter to the Romans most concisely describes it: “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die, but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:2-8)

No pie in the sky promises of crystal hucksters, or shady health and wealth gospel televangelists (first cousins to the crystal hucksters) selling ‘special prayers’. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Yes, in this world we will have tribulations, I think that’s why I’ve always found Psalm 23 so comforting:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” This is King James’ English of course, and it may sound odd to some people. If so, just drop eth and est and ad an s and it will be back to modern English (pretty much).

And now a word about cost. Oh yes, there is a price for peace with God, but a price even the poorest can afford. It is the surrender of your own claim to godhood, the reversal of Adam and Eve’s delusion that they could be as gods knowing good and evil for themselves. It is even the false hope that a few ‘good works’ will buy a place in God’s favor, or that crystals, even by the ton will avail you anything. And where does one apply for this ‘peace that surpasses all all understanding’? Jesus is always near to take our burdens, and when the transfer is made, you will know it; but that is only the beginning of the journey of faith.

Here is a brief addendum to the preceding commentary:

Do I sound a bit paranoid, or political, about the roots of America’s Cosmic Angst? I probably do, but I want to emphasize the cause of Americans’ estrangement from our past source of grounding as an inducement for re-examining it. “They” say that the attack on our Christian heritage is all about promoting ‘science’ but that excuse doesn’t seem to work. Even though the USA spends by far the most money on primary education, we consistently rank far down the list among nations in academic achievement, especially in math and science. Let’s look for another possible motive for engineering a new religion. America’s Declaration of Independence, in its time, was shocking and threatening to kings, noblemen and the other wealthy and powerful of the day. Nothing before or since has been as revolutionary. Che and the other dead Commies were penny-ante revolutionaries compared to Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams and the others who signed the Declaration of Independence.

But not all who signed were committed to the doctrine of Natural Rights. Some wanted independence from their English overlords only to make themselves the new lords. There was truth in the warning given by Benjamin Franklin: “We must all hang together, or we will surely hang separately.” Hanging, followed by beheading, drawing and quartering the body (just what it sounds like) and public display of the mangled remains was the punishment for treason to the Crown (hence the Constitutional prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment”). Tongue chewing compromise was necessary for survival then, and even today there is the camouflaged goal of destroying what their moral ancestors approved with fingers crossed behind their backs — the belief that all men are created equal, etc.

The Natural Rights doctrine, stated in the Declaration of Independence and enshrined, as far as possible, in the Constitution, forming the basis of this nation, is a Christian religious doctrine. It permeates the Bible in such New Testament passages as Jesus’ admonition “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, St. Paul’s admonition to Philemon to treat his slave Onesimus “as a brother”, and his admonition to the Corinthians “Do not threaten them (slaves), since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him”. The unprecedented egalitarian nature of the early Church was a witness of that doctrine. And in the Old Testament, Prophets held the rich and powerful, even kings, to the Mosaic Law the same as anyone else. That doctrine of equality before the highest power is the basis of the claim that the USA is a “Christian nation”. Those of us who believe in God given rights can be considered “Christian Nationalists”, a term which, sadly, has been deformed into an epithet and a name for phantom bogeymen.

In just such ways the heroes of American history have been smeared in order to disparage their work. Thomas Jefferson is despised as a ‘slave holder’ and ‘proven’ to have had children by a slave. It doesn’t matter that he inherited the slaves in a state where it was illegal to free slaves, and if he had ‘freed them’ they would have been subject to capture and sale to who knows who. So he kept them, and died in debt. It matters not that in his first draft of the Declaration of Independence and in his arguments in framing the Constitution he opposed the continuance of slavery. And if he, as a widower, had children by a slave woman he was legally forbidden to marry (a very sketchy claim by the way but popular among his enemies) that makes him less a racist and more of a human being. No, it’s not those supposed sins for which he is hated but opinions like this: “all eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of god. These are grounds of hope for others.”

There is perhaps no greater proof of the goal of government education than that Jefferson is disparaged, and despite the desire of much of the American public, and the actions of state legislatures, the US Supreme Court has ruled that no mention of a Creator, or even an unspecified “Designer” can be made in public schools (Edwards v Aguillard 1985). Whereas Charles Darwin, one of the most dangerous racists in history, who with his cousin Francis Galton pioneered Eugenics and Social Darwinism, resulting in millions of deaths, is the hero of public education.

Again we ask why? Supposed ‘great man of Science’ Sigmund Freud gives us the answer. Freud did a lengthy introspective discussion of the concept of ‘loving your neighbor’ and found it to be an impossible demand, “…their neighbor is for them not only a potential helper or sex object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and kill him. Homo homino lupus” (i.e. Man is a wolf to man). That is the way many people want the world to work ― those who sell Andara Monatomic Crystals and Lemurian Seed Crystals to spiritually sick people, those who sell fentanyl laced drugs on the streets, tech moguls who squeeze another few inches of their mega-yachts out of their employees, hypocritical politicians who have turned Americans into consumer slaves at the behest of their donors, … and I could go on and on. The only barrier to the wolves in this country is the US Constitution, founded upon the concept of Natural Rights, and that is being ripped to shreds.

To sum up my contention; the deliberate assault on belief in a Creator, for the purpose of eliminating the concept of Natural Rights, has left a devastating void in the American psyche that many Americans are treating with superstitious nonsense, along with drugs, alcohol, nihilistic violence, and fanatical service to pop culture figures and causes. Only a return to the old ways will resolve our peoples’ Cosmic Angst.

Bill Kitchens

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