2007/01/03

"The Secret" -in the balance

I finally had a look at “the Secret” the other day, and was somewhat underwhelmed. Billed as a thread of knowledge that has permeated the great minds of philosophy and science, you can imagine my let-down to be greeted by “Norman Vincent Peale meets the Celestine Prophecy”.

I think the thing that undoes it for me is that they give one-line quotes from some of the greatest minds in Western and Eastern thought without doing a single scrap of work to establish the source of the quote, let alone what it meant within its original context.

In other words, they quote great minds in the same manner that an evangelist might quote scripture, and like the evangelist, our “teachers” expect to be taken at their word.

In short, it is academically lazy and chock-a-block full of positive thinking pep talk. I had hoped that the authors might have attempted to string their affirmations together with something more enlightening than “great achievers are deeply focussed on their goals.”

On the positive side, the “law of attraction” they espouse actually has a lot of merit. It is the principle wherein we tend to manifest whatever is foremost in our thoughts. Visual cues take precedence over academic ones, and the intensity of “belief” takes precedence over empty repetition. We are conditioned to find negative thoughts more believable than positive ones, and with a bit of deliberate thought, we can reverse that trend and change our lives. Its pretty basic really, but we do need to be told, so I guess this presentation does that much.

In my experience, the “law of attraction” is one of several metaphysical laws that can be studied in depth by any student of the great metaphysical and religious disciplines. It is only “secret” because we tend to be intellectually lazy. I find it ironic that the post-modern era and the “information age” are co-existent with a pandemic that is best characterized by intellectual sloth. “The Secret” is actually hidden in plain sight.

Affirmation is a useful tool in good hands, but like any tool it leaves itself open to abuse. If you don’t use it properly, it won’t work well. Affirmation and visualization should be used as part of a larger metaphysical model, lest the hapless practitioner visualize and affirm their way into abject misery, a principle simply summed up by the old adage “be careful what you wish for”.

For $4.95, the refresher course in "attraction" is probably good value for money. Certainly the information us useful to those who have never encountered the concept.

My only real criticism of the presentation is that it is overly materialistic in its emphasis, which says a great deal more about its sponsors and its target audience, than it does about the quality of information it carries.

One would hope that the “teachers of the secret” take their students through a broader metaphysical training than the one they espouse in the presentation.


There is a free viewing here if you, like me, are simply curious about what these folks are peddling.

In summary, intellectually lazy and materialistic in focus, but nevertheless a reasonable refresher course in “the law of attraction” that is better taken as part of your greater metaphysical model than as a stand-alone.

Take Care

Rod

2 comments:

Linda Benedict said...

Finally had a chance to read some things from a friendly, relaxing mode which I had let slide, i.e. your blog. Thank you for speaking on that movie- it was becoming annoying how PC it has become to view it in an aura of profundity, when in actuality I find it pale- your position rather accurately echoed my own. Since I had basically kept my trap shut on the subject since it seems so many are going spiritually postal over it, it was refreshing to see you go out in print.
Carry on - Its always real....
Linda

Michelle M. said...

I couldn't agree more! The Secret was inspiring upon first view but hardly the 'life-changing' film that my friend told me it was. She and her friends were just in ecstasy over this thing and I couldn't understand it. In fact, much as I love and respect this friend, I started questioning her intelligence and wondering where her mind was at afterwards. We all make mistakes but, whew, I couldn't believe so many people thought this stuff was 'original.' Also, I have a relative who visualized and 'prayed' for a Mercedes. She got one and is still unhappy with her life. Oh well, that's not surprising or a secret.