I watched Oprah’s “The Secret” yesterday and was outraged by what I heard. The all-star panel that Oprah assembled to promote The Secret comprised wealthy motivational speakers and authors, the secular equivalent of tent meeting evangelical preachers. I was all the more troubled because I am a fan of one panel member, Rev. Michael Beckwith, and suspect that if he had been on by himself we would have had a very different show.
A book/DVD phenomenon from Australia, the secret The Secret reveals is the Law of Attraction: the life you live is the result of the thoughts you think and feelings you feel. I find this so disturbing I hardly know where to begin. So here are just four quick thoughts. I may write a more detailed review of this book but for now this will have to do.
1. The Secret says, “All forms of matter and energy are attracted to that which is of a like vibration.” To test this out, I took a rock, broke it in half and waited for the two halves to move toward one another. I’m still waiting.
2. The Secret says, “You are a living magnet.” What? Magnets do not attract likes; magnets attract opposites!
3. The Secret says your thoughts and feelings determine your reality, and that you should choose which thoughts and feelings to focus on. The problem is that by the time you have thoughts and feelings among which to choose you have already thought and felt the negatives you don’t want to chose and have thus fallen victim to the Law of Attraction. You can’t win!
4. The idea that you create your own reality, denies everything we know about genetics, ignores things like racism, sexism, social, political, and economic injustice, and blames the victim for all the horrors one endures. If you didn’t think “rape” you wouldn’t have attracted a rapist.
The Secret is simply Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking repackaged for New Age seekers. Sure it helps to be positive, but it helps more to do positive. Actions influence feelings and thoughts and are by and large under your control. To use the mind to fix the mind is to simply make you crazier.
Your behavior, far more than your thoughts and feelings, determine much but not all of your reality. If you are depressed and try to think or feel your way of out it, you will only get more depressed. Instead, do something constructive (see “Constructive Living” by David Reynolds and checkout the ToDo Institute on line). Doing good will often make us feel good. But if we wait to feel good before doing good will do very little good.
Here is the real secret: a sucker is born every minute and The Secret is going to milk them dry.