Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions

2019 Edition
| Editors: Henri Gooren

Self-Improvement

  • Anthony D’AndreaEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-27078-4_81

Definition

Along with the belief in a new cosmic age, the sacred nature of the self (in harmony with nature and community) is a core category in New Age spiritualities in Latin America and across the world (Heelas 1996). In varying degrees, New Agers engage with meaningful practices that dramatize or cultivate one’s inner capabilities in the form of a harmonious balancing of physical, emotional, and spiritual capabilities, often labeled as “self-improvement,” “self-cultivation,” or “perfectibility of the soul” (D’Andrea 2000). Religious, artistic, and scientific systems are therefore recombined as tools for the reflexive cultivation of the self, which can differ significantly in style and orientation: either taking Romantic undertones revolving around the nurturing of affect as embodied in notions of “love” and “wisdom,” or entailing instrumental efforts for controlling inner and material realities as expressed in representations of “power” and “energy” (Heelas and Amaral 1994).

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Keywords

Self Self development Self knowledge Self shaping Perfectibility Individualism 
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References

  1. Cavalcanti MLVC (1983) O Mundo Invisível: cosmologia, sistema ritual e noção de pessoa no espiritismo. Zahar, Rio de JaneiroGoogle Scholar
  2. D’Andrea A (2000) O Self Perfeito e a Nova Era: Individualismo e Reflexividade em Religiosidades Pós-Tradicionais. Ed. Loyola, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  3. Heelas P (1996) The New Age movement: the celebration of the self and the sacralization of modernity. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  4. Heelas P, Amaral L (1994) Notes on the “Nova Era”: Rio de Janeiro and environs. Religion 24:173–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Russo J (1993) O Corpo Contra a Palavra: as terapias corporais no campo psicológico dos anos 80. UFRJ, Rio de JaneiroGoogle Scholar
  6. Torre R, Gutiérrez Zúñiga C, Juárez Huet N (eds) (2013) Variaciones y Apropriaciones Latinoamericanas Del New Age. Publicaciones de la Casa Chata, MexicoGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Latin American StudiesUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA