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the schmecret

April 7, 2007

Outside, it snows. It is still April. It is even Easter weekend. It’s ironic how, on the supposed holy weekend of millions of people, and amidst the holiday that holds origins in the fertility rights that take place two weeks earlier in some cultures, the earth has decided to take a nap for a couple of days, waiting for all the hoo-hah to run out.

I’m doing much the same, to be honest.

I went to Ye Olde Metaphysicale Shoppe to attend the weekly book-club discussion around The Secret. I should know better. I’ve watched the DVD and taken some time to really think about its concepts, as well as doing a touch of research, and I’ve come to some horrible conclusions about it that are very all encompassing: It’s total crap.

The basic idea is called “The Law of Attraction”: You attract everything that is in your life to you. The good, the bad, the ugly. Everything.

The two principles that are claimed hard in the book are “the Universe is neutral to all things” and “The Law of Attraction works in all instances.” The universe doesn’t care if you say “I want a new car,” or “I don’t want a new car.” You will get a car. The universe doesn’t listen to verb phrase conjuctions, but directo objects move to the front of the line. The universe is illiterate. This “theory” seems to only be in the business of adding things. It never rebukes, and there is no taking away.

Also, the idea that you bring everything in your life is your fault, essentially, then explain Katrina. Explain 9/11. Well, the book does, and it says in no uncertain terms (though I can’t site them properly because I’m a slacker. Bad blogger.) that even those events are brought on by the negative thought patterns of the people involved. Yes, every single person killed in 9/11 had it coming. Also, as a friend of mine pointed out, the decadence of New Orleans is what brought on the hurricane. Too bad, the French Quarter was saved almost completely.

A contributor to the text offers that thinking positive thoughts is “scientifically proven” to more effective than negative thoughts. However, there is no siting of the research or publication that would offer the numbers necessary for proof. So, now that all the gloves are off, we can even stop needing to reference our sources. If this is truly ancient wisdom, like the author says it is, then sources would be plentiful. However, it is also stated the this secret has been hidden for centuries.

Basically, there are tons of loop-holes that should arise from its simply being published. However, it has stormed the market. There are other opinions about this. One is here.

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8 comments

  1. Yep, I’ve heard and read the same thing about that book. So now it’s totally turned me off of even reading it. *grimace* It bugs the hell out of me when people say “Oh New Orleans was full of sin, God was punishing them.” Ok, so what about San Fransisco or Las Vegas? But wait…doesn’t EVERY place have sin? Hello?!!!! Gotta love how Medieval some people are on their ideals of God. Sorry, that’s my rant for now. 😛


  2. Wait a minute; isn’t this the book that Oprah’s raving about lately? I think I saw some photo in passing – maybe I was at the car dealership thumbming through a Newsweek magazine – and saw an article titled “the secret to weight loss” or something. As I am currently trying to exert less force on the ground beneath my feet, I flipped to the page to skim the article, only to find that the secret to losing weight is to avoid overweight people; to not even LOOK at them (does this include not looking in the mirror?). Hooey, indeed.

    Now, I could go into a very long – and probably disjointed – comment here about how I believe in the power of intention and how I believe that, to a certain extent, we DO choose to experience the bad stuff that happens to us. Somewhere, before we got to this existence, we agreed to live certain lessons – or to provide opportunities for certain lessons for others. In my paradigm, the people who suffer and / or die in events like plane crashes or Bhopal or 9/11 or Katrina didn’t ‘have it coming’ (puh-lease!) but, rather, agreed to be a part of that experience so that either they or we could learn vital lessons from it. Their conscious self may not know that they signed up for this, but their spirit does. Does that make any sense?

    I agree with the button that I have NO interest in even borrowing the book from the library (and you can forget about my paying money for the thing). I appreciate a good cognitive and metaphysical workout, but this just sounds like trash.


  3. Power of positive thinking: good
    Power of positive environments: good
    Power of psychologically considering your actions: good
    Agreeing to be part of an experience, for whatever reason: good

    though, I’d have to add that the last one there goes into a much higher topic than just what is going through their heads. I think it broaches into the business of souls and multiple realities and past lives and all that.


  4. Actually if you delve deeper into the subject of the Law of Attraction you will find that your limited view of the explanation for Katrina is not that all those people drew that into their lives. Rather that there are much greater forces at work on a larger scale. No those people did not specifically draw those events to them.

    Additionally it is not the words that matter, it is your thoughts, feelings and attention that are important. If I tell you not to think of a pink elephant, what do you have in your mind. It is impossible to not think of something. You have to direct your thinking toward those things you do want to think about.


  5. I’ll agree with every point you made right there.

    So the problem with The Secret isn’t with the concept, it’s with its presentation. I have discovered, also, that they do leave out a considerable amount of information about what it takes to use this idea.

    And mostly, I think I’m angry that they feel the need to market this sort of thing. Down with over-selling common sense.


  6. It’s true: The Secret has a hooey problem. If you delve really deeply into the Law of Attraction you will find a horde of lost sad people unable to distinguish between convictions borne of wish fulfillment and genuine events. Everyone wants to believe that the Universe is a kind of Star Trek replicator that will produce endless cups of Earl Grey Tea by demand. Wouldn’t that be nice? Except it’s the most venerable flim-flam of all, the appeal to the something-for-nothing mindset that discards reality in favour of magical thinking.

    I would really appreciate it if Kent Ogletree could talk about the ‘larger forces’ at work that spurred on Hurricane Katrina. The Law of Attraction sounds simple and straightforward – indeed, that’s it’s selling point – so why is there a vague esoteric side to the tough questions? For larger forces, I vote for weather patterns, bad luck and neglected infrastructure stemming from a systematic dismantling of civil support systems over the years on municipal, state and federal levels. That’s not nearly as exciting as ‘larger forces,’ but if you’re going to pick and choose your reality, I go for the disappointingly dull and actual.

    I think what The Secret really points to is the power of our brains to discern and select patterns out of millions of pieces of information. That’s an innate function. What we learn as we grow up is that our desires affect the world only insofar as desires influence our actions and provide cues to the people around us. For example: Want candy = Go Out And Get Some Candy, or even Want Candy = By Chance, Friend Brings Candy Because He Knows You Like Candy, You’ve Been Feeling Down And There’s A Reasonable Chance You’ll Accept A Twinkie. Not: Want Candy = Mystical Arrival of Candy. What will likely happen is that you’ll remember the friend bringing candy when you want it and discard the occasions that your friend offers you candy when you don’t want it. And why wouldn’t you? It’s a better, more pleasing memory. The problem comes when you attach a cosmic significance to The Candy Incident.


  7. *nods curtly* Yeah, what he said.

    This has been my biggest problem with the Secret: people who are longing to believe in something bigger than themselves are turning to the Secret for reassurance that their lives are managable, when in all reality, if they would simply get up off their asses and try to take control of the things they can, they’d be a lot better off.

    I have a number of naturally skeptical friends who are starting to rationalize what the book is saying instead of trying to bring it into a more realistic light. It worries me.

    I like to turn to older wisdoms that have stood the test of time. One that comes to mind that sorta fends off the Law of Attraction is the “Serenity Prayer.”

    “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the strength to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” If its good enough for AA and a number of other well-respected programs, its worth considering.


  8. Amen.



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