The Secret of the Secret: You Want to Believe It

First of all, I hate these names. There is no secret. There is no law. It’s not like gravity. Shut the hell up about it.

What they’ve actually done is repackage the power of positive thinking (PPT) and cloaked it in psuedo-spiritual nonsense.

Why I really hate The Secret is that it’s taken a perfectly good concept and corrupted it beyond all redemption.

  • Are you better off focussing on the positive rather than the negative? Yes.
  • Are there tangible benefits to strongly and viscerally imagining your ideal outcome? Absolutely.
  • Are you likely to “attract” luck and opportunities if you have the right mindset? I truly believe that’s true.

But shut the hell up about vibrational frequencies. Just… stop.

I won’t get into whether the “science” behind it is reliable. Just because the findings are valid doesn’t mean they support the interpretations.

Everything about PPT/LoA/Secret is explainable purely by the shift in your focus. Why muddy the waters?

The sad truth is that people want to believe in magic. They want to believe in peace, love, and goodwill as driving forces in the universe. They want to believe that there is benevolent power that gives them what they want. This even describes me. But I really think it’s disingenuous to flick your magic wand around and conjure up the illusion of mysticism for the benefit of gulling the masses.

Part of the reason the Secret spread like wildfire is because it tied in with what people already believed, in their childlike hearts. Like Santa Claus. The tooth fairy. Genies in bottles and friendly hobs. It gave people a magic they could accept, because the science said so.

I am all for magic! Let me be clear. I love magic for the sense of possibility it implies, and invites. But … don’t throw common sense out the window. The Holocaustย attracted Jews? Lets not even go deep. How bout poverty? Poor people attracted poverty? All of them?

That being said, there are several useful frameworks I use, even in practice, because they make sense to people on a visceral level: e.g. You get sick when you focus on sickness. You get fat when you focus on your weight. This is always a hotbutton one, because people are like, “Yeah? Yeah? Well I have cancer. How dare you say that’s my fault?”

I’m not. If you think you’ll get sick, you’ll feel like you’re sick more often. If you weigh yourself, you’ll feel fat more often. (Be honest. Percentage-wise, how many times have you gotten on a scale and thought “Damn, that’s good!”)

It doesn’t matter what the facts are. Reality is almost wholly a subjective assessment. If you are a healthy person, and you get cancer, for instance, your perception of yourself, and health, and this situation are very clearly mirrored in the words you use. Are you ‘coping’ with cancer? ‘Battling’ it? Dying of cancer? Or living with cancer? Even though it’s New Agey, I always prefer to refer to it as “experiencing a condition,” just to kind of take the focus off the condition, and onto your experience of it.

Again, that’s the power of focus. As I was busy hunting fruitlessly for the exact damn statistics that I know I have, Angela Artemis was writing a whole article on the topic. Go, read! Noticed how even though she references a genie (coincidence! Iswear!) there is no mention of the universe bending itself to your will as soon as you get clear on what you want. That is YOU bending the universe to YOUR will.

Heady knowledge, isn’t it? Kinda makes you sit up straighter. Kinda forces you to take responsibility. Between you and me, I think that’s why people prefer “The Secret.” It puts that buffering layer of mysticism in there so that people can still tell themselves that there is a benevolent power outside of them, telling them it’s okay for them to have what they want.

Whether there is or there isn’t is irrelevant. You can only control what’s inside.

End Rant.

Did any part of this push your buttons? What are your thoughts on this debate? Anyone brave enough to speak up on behalf of Rhonda Byrne?

Talk to me people!

Next week’s topic:

The fallacy of control. I’ll expand this topic all week so you can tear into me on Friday. Sharpen your knives!


15 thoughts on “The Secret of the Secret: You Want to Believe It”

  1. drat! I was really hoping for a quick easy answer. ๐Ÿ™‚

    seriously though, totally agree. changing your perception changes *your perception.* which is great! and makes you feel better! and makes you more likely to recognize good things, like…hey, opportunities!

    and I guess if it really helps someone switch from being negative to being positive (and I don’t have to deal with their rotten attitude anymore) then…okay, I’m cool with that.

    but part of me wants to just shake the gullible out of people!

    1. I know! I just sooooo hate that the Secret has put this veneer of woo-woo over something that, while miraculous, is still simply explained. Whyyyyyyy?

      Oh, and hello! Nice to meet you. Checked out your blog last week. Lovely to meet my neighbors!

  2. Oh, I’ve not seen/read/heard of The Secret (I live under a rock?) so can’t speak to that.

    But, I am a generally positive person and my life has gone well – some would even say “charmed.” I have problems but I don’t dwell on them or let them rule my world – maybe that’s the thing.

    Oh, I build fairy houses in my garden and have a doll house populated with bunnies who decorate with the seasons because I like to have a little whimsy (magic?) in my life ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I’m not sure why WordPress thinks I have to approve this comment, but I do! I surely do!

      Personally, I like to believe that I have hobs in my garden because I never have sickly or bug infested plants.

    2. Funny – I wrote my “charmed life” comment before I saw yours. “The Secret” is this amazingly successful New Agey product that tells people they can get what they want if they believe it hard enough. They try to make that sound sciency, but it’s just the reinvention of Snake Oil.

  3. I strongly agree… but you know I really really want to avoid sounding like bad things that happen to people are their fault. Randy (my partner) and I seem to have charmed lives – we have everything we ever wanted. But that only came after years of difficulties that we accepted with a positive… wait, I don’t mean being happy with everything that happens, I mean positive in the sense of, “OK, this is what I have to deal with. How can I make the best of it?”. After a while, it seems to work: things get better and better. I joke with Randy that he caused the financial crisis with “The Secret” magic because he wanted to work part time, but his employer had too much work for him, then all that came to a screeching halt and… he works part time now (Thanks, Wall Street!?). Of course, either of us could get cancer or some other devastating setback. But we’ll say, “This is what we have to deal with now…” The real secret is not being so upset when things don’t go your way that you make it worse by telling yourself that you are supposed to be unhappy.

    1. What? NObody wants to rake me over the coals for this? I thought YOU would at least take a swipe, just so I don’t get full of myself or something.

      I know, sometimes it’s soooo cool how magical it looks because it IS almost like the universe is conspiring in your favor… and people like to tell the story like that too. But when you codify it like Byrne did…. ick.

      I always hearken back to that old zen story about the old man who’s neighbor was always congratulating or commiserating with him on his “luck” And the old man always cryptically replies “Is it?”

    2. And also, it’s no one’s place to inform you that your perspective needs to change. That pisses me off so badly when people smugly inform you “Well, it’s all about your attitude.”

      About the best you can do is lead by example, and maybe ask once in a while if you’re perspective would be welcome.

  4. Anyone brave enough to speak up on behalf of Rhonda Byrne?

    Oh, I’m sure she can cry herself to sleep over how mean we are while hugging a body pillow stuffed with $100,000 in small bills, after which she can go spring off a diving board into her bank vault like Scrooge McDuck until she feels better.

    1. Well, I figured at least someone would tell me that she wasn’t all bad, and that she, uh, did it as a, well, maybe a trade-off in order for maximum, uh, exposure. I don’t KNOW! This was supposed to be a POLARIZING issue! So far everyone AGREES with me.

  5. It IS a polarizing issue. That your readers agree with you suggests that you’ve found the right audience and alreayd repelled those of the opposite polarity ๐Ÿ™‚

    (this comment is with a different email/website (yes I have more than one!) so maybe it’s the one that doesn’t need to be supervised ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Trolls really hate “intelligent discussions”, yaknow!

        BTW, and no surprise, I totally agree with you, too, and I’m forwarding this to my Sis, who I tried to ‘splain my outlook to in December, but we got sidetracked and sideways, and misunderstood each other… ( so easy with this sort of topic, eh?)

        Karen (coming out from my rock!)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *