Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Tough View on The Secret and the Law of Attraction

This week’s post borrows Tony Brenna's article, previously published in The Bainbridge Buzz, a local blog site that ran out of gas. Tony is a fellow Toastmaster, a journalist and writer. I agree completely with his viewpoint about The Secret, though I wasn’t at the town hall.

I’d love to hear what some of the intelligent women out there think about The Secret and The Law of Attraction — particularly your reasons for buying into the concept, other than personal anecdotes.

"The recent town hall meeting to discuss The Secret drew mostly wistful comments from an audience obviously besotted by the main idea that the Law of Attraction rules everything in life, i.e. if you want something strongly enough, if you think about it constantly, you can literally will it into your existence.
While Dr. Jennifer Manlowe (author and writer on the psychology of religion) did an excellent job pointing to failings in this philosophy, you could feel her running into resistance from those who preferred to embrace The Secret’s core message: you can get rich, find the perfect mate, in fact have everything you want simply by visualization.  This message advocates embracing Magical Thinking, telling yourself you’re at the center of the Universe, even believing you’re God, not merely made in the likeness of the Creator.
New Thought Minister LeeAnn Gibbs, leading the discussion, appeared to agree with the central premise of the best seller, that the law of attraction really works — although she did concede The Secret is overly directed to the self-centered, self-indulgent aspects of human nature. And as another New Thought follower pointed out: “Worse, it doesn’t really tell you how to do what it advocates.”

Listening to comments one couldn’t fail to be amazed at the naïveté and self-delusion that permeated most of what was said.  This brilliantly packaged product wasn’t seen as full of clever hocus pocus, but rather as weighted with meaningful messages promising abundance, love and good health — just by placing your order positively with the universe.
Since these thoughts have been expressed in writings going back centuries, one risks being burned at the stake as a heretic by arguing against positivity.  But one must counter the current trend to banish reality, to not face facts. As much as it disturbs those wishing to see only goodness and light, the negative still has a valid  place in our lives and should be examined closely, too. 
We live in a society bombarded by artfully crafted messages from those seeking to sell us products or ideas; TV and films are full of mythical characters, situations and creations.  We watch all this rather than deal with the grim realities of the modern world.  The Secret seems like an escape hatch out of collective disappointment and despair. But it isn’t. The Western world is facing a host of problems right now:  an unraveling economy; environmental degradation; disintegration of the family; wars spurred by greed, religious wackos, poverty and disease. The Secret tells us just to go on our merry metaphysical way, emitting magical signals that will attract to us larger homes, luxurious cars and perfect partners."

That process won't work for individuals, groups or nations. As Paul Sloane, a British expert on thinking said on Twitter, "The Law of Attraction is a Dangerous Delusion."
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