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Author Topic: The Secret
M. Spector
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posted 14 April 2007 07:25 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
You’ve probably heard of The Secret by now. If you haven’t, it is not from any lack of effort by The Secret’s aggressive promotion machine, or, for that matter, by the mainstream media, with their almost daily offerings of news and commentary about The Secret. The DVD was an almost-overnight cult hit with the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, and has now hit the mainstream in a big way. The companion book, released in November 2006, is Number 2 on Amazon.com as I write this.

Although its promoters bill the DVD as a life-changing “movie” and the harbinger of a new era for humanity, I’ve viewed it from the beginning as little more than a glorified infomercial for some of the leading lights in the self-help and pop-spirituality industries. Included in this stellar lineup are Mars-and-Venus author John Gray; New-Age preacher and Agape International founder Reverend Michael Beckwith; chiropractor-turned-New-Wage leader Dr. John Demartini; self-described metaphysician and marketing guru Joe Vitale; Chicken Soup For The Soul co-creator and “success coach” Jack Canfield; motivational speaker Bob Proctor; and Conversations With God creator Neale Donald Walsch.
....

If you’re at all familiar with The Secret, you know that the big secret revealed therein is a centuries-old principle called the law of attraction, or LOA. In The Secret LOA is presented as a scientific law akin to the law of gravity. LOA believers maintain that whether we realize it or not, we “attract” everything that happens to us – the good and the bad, the sublime and the silly, the comical and the tragic. Financial success or failure, health or illness, a life of peace or one beset by violent crime or natural disasters, all occur because we somehow attracted them. Proponents of LOA explain that this happens because our vibrations are in sync with the events in question. If we learn to focus on the good and ignore the bad, we will “raise our vibrations” and attract more good things into our lives – including, and some would say especially, material goodies.
....

So is this Secret/Bleep phenomenon just harmless drivel, or is it something we should really be worried about? Though I’m obviously no fan of these films, I tend to weigh in somewhere in the middle. Even in light of growing concern from several factions – including mental-health professionals – about the potential dangers of Secret-style magical thinking, I’m still more amused than worried at this point, and most of my writings reflect this. But I am concerned. In addition to the fact that The Secret and Bleep are grievously misusing science, I become concerned when the mainstream media give completely uncritical coverage to The Secret and its stars, as did Larry King and Oprah, and even the major news media for several months.


The Wrath of the Secretrons

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 20 April 2007 04:11 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was rather annoyed by "Bleep". The problem is that many of the mysteries of quantum mechanics are overstated as to their impact on the macroscopic world.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
quelar
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posted 20 April 2007 04:58 AM      Profile for quelar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
*gack* I feel the same way Conway. It was like they read the first chapter of a Quantum Mechanics textbook, read the idea of infinite probabilities and then stopped reading before reading about how to calculate those probabilities, which cuts down the possibilities of random occurances by a massive scale.

Yes, electrons can do funny things, but can I walk through walls?? The Bruise on my forehead would say otherwise.


From: In Dig Nation | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Caissa
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posted 20 April 2007 05:18 AM      Profile for Caissa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just finished the book (borrowed not bought). Its success seems to be a clear reflection of P.T. Barnum's Law of the Universe.
From: Saint John | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
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posted 20 April 2007 06:42 AM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Secret is absolute drivel. This BS being propagated in this book has caused a giant rift between my sister and I, a once normal, compassionate human who now thinks that everyone brings on what they deserve. I asked her how she could dismiss all of the research done by sociologists, not to mention the basic fact of inequality and lack of opportunity. I then asked her if she thought a poor kid growing up in housing had the same chances as a rich kid. She said yes, as long as the poor kid wanted it enough. My sister is an intelligent person. Now she has been brainwashed by this crap and yelled at me to stop shoving my 'reality' down her troat. Realty being that inequality exists and people don't send off 'vibes' to be poor, or raped as kids (or adults) and not everyone has a chance to become what they dream of. The scary part? After this I asked her if she was dismissing years of research and inequality - she said yes.

The Secret is right wing bullshit and I can only imagine the harm this is doing to set progressive thought back.


From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 20 April 2007 01:19 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think the law of attraction is best stated as: Idiots are attracted to bullshit.
From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Legless-Marine
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posted 23 April 2007 06:05 PM      Profile for Legless-Marine        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Stargazer:
The Secret is absolute drivel. This BS being propagated in this book has caused a giant rift between my sister and I, a once normal, compassionate human who now thinks that everyone brings on what they deserve. I asked her how she could dismiss all of the research done by sociologists, not to mention the basic fact of inequality and lack of opportunity. I then asked her if she thought a poor kid growing up in housing had the same chances as a rich kid. She said yes, as long as the poor kid wanted it enough. My sister is an intelligent person. Now she has been brainwashed by this crap and yelled at me to stop shoving my 'reality' down her troat. Realty being that inequality exists and people don't send off 'vibes' to be poor, or raped as kids (or adults) and not everyone has a chance to become what they dream of. The scary part? After this I asked her if she was dismissing years of research and inequality - she said yes.

The Secret is right wing bullshit and I can only imagine the harm this is doing to set progressive thought back.


Stargazer, is it really worth a fight with your sister? We are only blessed with a few siblings, and we can't always share beliefs with them.

It sounds like she's going through a bit of a honeymoon period with a new approach... And like anyone who'se found something that works for them, they think it will work for everyone.

It's not worth deep-sixing the relationship just because your sister hasn't progressed far enough on her own path to see it's not universally applicable. Perhaps a couple of thoughtful and nonconfrontational questions from you may help her get there faster. Wouldn't home be a great place to start practicing some "Progressive" "Tolerance"?

Likewise, don't be so quick yourself to dismiss such self-help/motivational influences, either - It can be useful to those who are ready and positioned for personal growth.

For someone limited more by their outlook and motivation than their cirumstances, I'm sure such motivational recipes are a highly useful. Undoubtedly it can be quite a rush for someone finding their way past personal limitations.

Like Bruce Lee said: Take what you need, discard the rest.


From: Calgary | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
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posted 23 April 2007 06:35 PM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
We're actually doing fine. We just decided not to talk about it. If it works for her great, I just don't want the lectures is all.
From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
ceti
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posted 23 April 2007 06:41 PM      Profile for ceti     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That's the secret? And I thought it was something do with the Illuminati.

That LOA sounds like a tautology to me, or at the very best a reiteration of the laws of Karma. Been there, done that.

I'll got for John Connor's wisdom in Terminator 2. No fate but what you make.


From: various musings before the revolution | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 24 April 2007 12:40 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've never heard of "The Secret" before reading this thread on babble. And I'm glad. Kind of sucks that Oprah's pushing it, but then she'll push any new-age fad that will attract her core suburban affluenza audience.

As others have said, this is nothing new. Just typical "afflict the poor and comfort the rich" ideology. This fairy tale's been around for a while. After all, we good protestants with our good work ethic know that being well-off is the best indication of our membership in The Elect.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 24 April 2007 12:56 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, I will predictably say that these kinds of things, while they will never be eliminated, would occupy less of the public imagination if science was taught properly in school.

Science isn't all about memorizing the periodic table of the elements, a fruit chart or cell division. Which is science education garanteed to repulse even curious students.

Scepticism should be the first thing taught in science classes.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
quelar
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posted 24 April 2007 01:31 PM      Profile for quelar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:

Scepticism should be the first thing taught in science classes.

So you agree that we shoudl be sceptical of Darwin and teach Intelligent Design?


From: In Dig Nation | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 24 April 2007 01:55 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Absolutely. However, the reality is that the theory of relativity can withstand skepticism.

That's why it is the REIGNING scientific theory on the subject of how species came to be, and why they have changed over time.

Skepticism involves asking the hard questions, but also in accepting it when answers are given, and found to be correct.

It would be great if the Religios would apply their great skepticism to the Bible, but that would be asking too much.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 24 April 2007 02:14 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by quelar:

So you agree that we shoudl be sceptical of Darwin and teach Intelligent Design?


Indeed, we should be sceptical of Darwin's theory of evolution. As we should be sceptical of Einstien's theory of relativity.

In both cases, evolution and relativity have stood sceptical analysis, and they therefore should be taught as a provisional truth untill someone comes along to disprove them.

Inteligent Design or Creationism has been put through the same crucible and have come up wanting, which is why they are not taught in reputable schools.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Legless-Marine
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posted 24 April 2007 05:56 PM      Profile for Legless-Marine        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

Scepticism should be the first thing taught in science classes.[/QB]


Tommy,

I so completely agree - Although I don't think instruction in critical thinking should be limited to science class. Critical thinking is an important life skill, particularly in this "information age".

It is a shame that everyday thinking skills have been relegated to the ivory towers of Philosophy and Science, where they are inaccessible to the average person.

(Perhaps that's by design?)


From: Calgary | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
Legless-Marine
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posted 24 April 2007 05:57 PM      Profile for Legless-Marine        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by quelar:

So you agree that we shoudl be sceptical of Darwin and teach Intelligent Design?


Skepticism has nothing to do with preferring one view over the other, unless it is selectively applied (Which it so very often is).


From: Calgary | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
Boarsbreath
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posted 24 April 2007 06:13 PM      Profile for Boarsbreath   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, jeez, that's "the Secret", ain't it? To know what you don't know and distinguish it from what you don't know you don't know.

You know?


From: South Seas, ex Montreal | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 25 April 2007 12:47 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
(Perhaps that's by design?)

I wonder. I think we have a public education system that treads a fine line between making us smart enough to run machines to make the machines we need to buy to be good consumers, but at the same time keep us stupid enough to buy the crap we make and vote the way we do.

Who said teaching was easy?


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
quelar
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posted 14 May 2007 10:43 AM      Profile for quelar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A little update on 'The Secret'
From: In Dig Nation | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
siren
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posted 14 May 2007 01:21 PM      Profile for siren     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From quelar's link:

quote:
As self-absorbed as I already am, I loved the permission the book gave to sink deeper into a Jacuzzi of megalomania. As The Secret points out: "You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the kingdom. You are the perfection of Life." Just as I'd always suspected!

So, I vowed to follow Byrne's simple rules for abundance and see what happened. The book encourages one to start big: "It is as easy to manifest one dollar as it is to manifest one million dollars." But I thought starting with the million-dollar manifestation was like saying, "I love you" on a first date; I didn't want to scare the universe into not taking my calls. I came up with three things I thought the universe would find reasonable: a kitchen floor, unclogged sinuses, and a new desk.

At this point I should add that The Secret is not only drivel—it's pernicious drivel. The obvious question that arises from its claim that it's easy to get what you want, is: Why do so many people get what they don't want? As Byrne writes, "Imperfect thoughts are the cause of all humanity's ills, including disease, poverty, and unhappiness." Yes, according to The Secret, people don't just randomly end up being massacred, for example. They are in the wrong place because of their own lousy thinking. Cancer patients have long been victims of this school of belief. But The Secret takes it to a new and more repulsive level with its advice not just to blame people for their illness, but to shun them, lest you start being infected by their bummer thoughts, too.


Crap. My sister gave that book to me on my birthday. Seems like it will confirm her view of reincarnation as well deserved suffering.

Another thing we won't be able to talk about...

Nice writing in the Slate article though.


From: Of course we could have world peace! But where would be the profit in that? | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
thorin_bane
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posted 13 June 2007 02:22 PM      Profile for thorin_bane     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Stargazer:
The Secret is absolute drivel. This BS being propagated in this book has caused a giant rift between my sister and I, a once normal, compassionate human who now thinks that everyone brings on what they deserve. I asked her how she could dismiss all of the research done by sociologists, not to mention the basic fact of inequality and lack of opportunity. I then asked her if she thought a poor kid growing up in housing had the same chances as a rich kid. She said yes, as long as the poor kid wanted it enough. My sister is an intelligent person. Now she has been brainwashed by this crap and yelled at me to stop shoving my 'reality' down her troat. Realty being that inequality exists and people don't send off 'vibes' to be poor, or raped as kids (or adults) and not everyone has a chance to become what they dream of. The scary part? After this I asked her if she was dismissing years of research and inequality - she said yes.

The Secret is right wing bullshit and I can only imagine the harm this is doing to set progressive thought back.


Great! Because my already incredibly selfish roomate just got a copy. This person had pie in the sky thinking to start with. She asked me "Why do you bother recycling" or this gem "Why would you help someone you don't know"...dumbass I didn't know you when I let you in my home. Maybe I do those things because I believe that it takes everyone to make a just society, when people break the rules of civility then you get chaos. If everyone was slefish we might as well go back to being tribes again and get rid of everything the selfish people value so much, material items.


From: Looking at the despair of Detroit from across the river! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 13 June 2007 04:12 PM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm not too surprised by this Secret considering how many people believe in horoscopes.

The american dream is also the Platonic Great Lie that keeps our society going.


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
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posted 13 June 2007 07:19 PM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
dumbass I didn't know you when I let you in my home.
Hahahaha. That must be hell. A very good reason not to have a roomate.

From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Phonz
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posted 13 June 2007 07:30 PM      Profile for Phonz        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What if we've got two people and they're betting on opposing teams winning the Super Bowl? They're both using "The Secret" (TM). Somebody has to lose the bet -- did that somebody just not try hard enough? This book is the stupidest thing I've heard of in quite some time.

ETA: Especially nice to comfort, say, grieving parents who just lost their 5 year old to cancer. Just didn't wish hard enough, I guess. Obviously! I mean the universe couldn't hear you. Holy blame the victim!

[ 13 June 2007: Message edited by: Phonz ]


From: Van&Vic | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged

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