Monday, September 27, 2010

Intelligent Women — Why Are You Reading The Secret and The Power?

I might be strenuously dinged for criticizing The Power since I haven't read it. But I was (and am) so disgusted with the major BS (which doesn't stand for Brainy Science) of The Secret that I can't stand to immerse myself deeply in the "power of love" as it relates to the law of attraction. Consequently I will quote from an article in the NY Times Book Review, Sept 27th. The authors, both men, are psychology professors. According to both books,  ". . . your thoughts and feelings have magnetic properties and 'frequencies'. They 'vibrate' and resonate with the 'universe', somehow attracting events that share those frequencies back to their thinker." What?

The professors comment on a few mind tricks involved in getting both books to the top of the bestseller list.

• social proof — if other people are "buying" the concept, or have stated a similar concept in the past, (celebrities (Oprah), theologians, historical sages) then an idea or action gains credibility by association with admired others. By joining, individuals feel similar to and therefore enhanced as they become part of a "movement" populated by intelligent, respected others.

• the illusion of potential — "A readiness to believe that we have a vast reservoir of untapped abilities just waiting to be released." We may all have untapped abilities, but in general we have to do a lot more than sending our wishes out to the universe in order to produce results.

The article authors note, "The powerful psychology behind these rhetorical tricks can distract readers from the larger illogic of Byrne's book. What if a thousand people started sincerely visualizing winning the entire $200 million prize in this week's Lotto? How would the universe sort out that mess?"

I ask, "Why are thousands of women reading these nonsensical books?" Both books can be labeled as self-help books. Women purchased 74% of books sold in the relationship and family category (of self-help books) according to book consumer trends tracker R.R. Bowker. Therefore, it's not a huge leap to think that women are buying most of the far-out, unscientific, untrue, illogical books that I'm talking about.

I would really like to understand some good, solid, logical reasons for buying a book that is based on fantasy, while pretending to be based on science and reality. To me there are sad reasons —

• women are hopeless about getting what they want through their own abilities
• hype and dreams are easier to live with in the short term than despair
• a low self-esteem epidemic
• waiting takes less effort than working toward a goal
• inability to accept that you may not be able to have everything you want, even if you're smart and capable

I'd love some answers. I look forward to push back. I'd be happy for someone to tell me I'm all wrong.
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