Friday, 14 November 2008

The Secret AKA The Law Of Attraction

As far as out there crackpot theories go, The Law Of Attraction or "The Secret" has got to be among the upper echelon of weirdness.

Let us get the basics straight: proponents of the Law of Attraction state that thoughts have "energy" and that this energy attracts "like energy". This should enable people to be able to use their thoughts to fashion and control the world around them.

By using some simple rules one would be able to gain anything they wish: power, material wealth or personal fulfillment. 

The rules are, very simply:

1. Know what you want and "ask the universe for it"
2. Feel and behave as if the object of your desire is on it's way
3. Be open to receiving it. 

Skip a single step and you flunk out and you don't get what you want and might get something you don't want. Simple? Nope. 

"If you really want something and believe it's possible, you'll probably get it. On the other hand, if you really don't want something and put a lot of attention on it, you'll probably get that, too. You can't avoid stuff by hoping you don't get it because the unconscious mind is literal and doesn't process negatives." In other words, negative thoughts bring negative experiences. Three Steps To The "Law"
So your unconscious mind might be betray you!! Sneaky. 

So say I want a car. I need to know I want a car. I need to "ask the universe for it". I need to feel like I really am going to get it and I must be willing to accept it. So I get the car. How did the universe get it to me? Did it in fact know I wanted a car before I asked for it, and set the wheels in motion ensuring that particular car was manufactured and sent to the right place at just the right time for it to somehow end up in my possession? If so... what was the point in asking for it? Surely "the universe" already knew what I wanted?

Do people really believe this stuff? Oh yes indeed... Oprah said it must be true and thus it is... So how did it come about? 

The theories and suggestions that ultimately coalesced into this bizarre belief system began in the late 19th Century but first found their true form in 1910 in a book came out called Science of Getting Rich: Attracting Financial Success Through Creative Thought. This book was the first of many and would quite directly lead to the current craze for "The Secret". 

The Secret, was created by Australian Rhonda Byrne, and she says that if you follow its philosophy, you can create the life you want—whether that means getting out of debt, finding a more fulfilling job or even falling in love.

Rhonda says she stumbled on what she calls The Secret at the end of 2004. At the time, everything in Rhonda's life had fallen apart—physically, emotionally and financially—and she was in "total despair." Then her father died suddenly, and she was worried about her grief-stricken mother. "I wept and wept and wept, and I didn't want my daughter to see me sobbing," Rhonda says.

That's when Rhonda's daughter gave her a copy of The Science of Getting Rich, a book written in 1910 by Wallace D. Wattles. "Something inside of me had me turn the pages one by one, and I can still remember my tears hitting the pages as I was reading it," Rhonda says. "It gave me a glimpse of The Secret. It was like a flame inside of my heart. And with every day since, it's just become a raging fire of wanting to share all of this with the world." Discovering the Secret

I think this can give us somewhat of an insight into what gives The Secret it's power; it's appeal to those most desperate. It's a similar attractiveness that allows beliefs such as Scientology to remain so successful. Person A desperately wants to beat cancer/have enough money to live/be happy. Their desperation leads them to listen to Book A or Person B when they say "You can have these things all you need do is believe you can have these things."

It seems harmless enough but there are two issues I have with this philosophy:

1) It is so obviously UNTRUE. It is a lie, and serves only to make money for those writing books and movies on the subject. 
2) It may seem a very positive belief system but it also has a terrible side effect. If you don't get what you want or worse something bad happens to you then the only person to blame would be you. Cancer? Your fault, your subconcious must be betraying you. Not really a very nice philosophy. Imagine if everyone believed in The Secret. Would we be sympathetic to those in need or would we admonish them for being useless? The Secret breeds contempt and not love for others. It is thus a disturbing and unworthy system.  

I will put a link below to the Secret should you still wish to read it but... if you are one of my American readers I'd recommend you give the following book a read which breaks down the various arguments against the Secret and other such beliefs intelligently, but sympathetically. 

Further Reading


Judy AKA "Spookannie" said...

Oh, wow, I'm glad to see someone writing about this, not that book in particular, but the whole idea that we can get whatever we want if we just get our thoughts in order, tune our psyche just right. I've seen little evidence that would support these ideas and lots of depressed people left feeling like they just didn't try hard enough. Anyway, great post!

p.l.s. said...

I do believe in the power of positive thinking. I'm a big fan of Norman Vincent Peale, and I apply his teachings in my life.

I read this book, and it has the same message. But the presentation of the book is all too...mystical. It seems too easy, and you will be disappointed if you believe it as so.

I have a friend who was in dire straits, so he bought a copy of the book to help straighten his life out. Applying the teachings of the book, he asked for one thing and pictured himself achieving that thing - which is to win the lottery.

As of this writing, the universe still hasn't given him his wish.

Jae said...

Positive thinking is quite different to the Law of Attraction. Positive thinking is about keeping chipper and helps increase confidence. The Law of Attraction is, as you say, mystical and, in my opinion, total bunk.

Thanks for reading.

Stephen Eli Harris said...

I personally believe in 'The Secret' and am trying to train my mind to put it into action, though it is not an easy thing to do.

The way I see it, whether it's real or not (though it is) what has anyone got to loose by putting it into affect in their own lives.

Jae said...

The problem? The problem is that it's not true so when people become depressed because it's not meeting their expectations it is causing unnecessary harm. If you wish to continue believing in it, I'm not in a position to tell you not to. It's a free world, but I would advise you to seek reality. It's harsh but refreshing.

Lauren said...

I have to say that I did wish on an eyelash this weekend and my wish came true X2. Maybe there's something more to this.

Jae said...

Well wishing on eyelashes has been scientifically proven! It's almost as foolproof as wishing on a star!