If you don't want to read a rant, please go over to Linkateria where there is some very funny and odd stuff today.
This piece on BoingBoing today made me start thinking about "The Secret" again, so I wrote this:
I'm not surprised that "The Secret" is on the NY Times bestseller list for its 31st week. People want to get rich, and they want to do it without working, and this book purports to tell you how to do both. The only thing that could make it more irresistible hardcover catnip would be if it told you how to get skinny at the same time.
I have mentioned my loathing for this book before. Most people could just ignore the subject and it would go away, but I am in a church where the so-called "Law of Attraction" is taught with great enthusiasm. With all due respect to my fellow parishioners, I just can't buy this idea.
I not only think that it is wrong, I think that it borders on evil.
Don't get me wrong: I'm all for positive thinking. I believe that focusing your thoughts and dreams is a good start to getting what you want.
What I can't bring myself to believe, however, is that if you ask the universe for a red bicycle, you automatically get a red bicycle.
Because if that is true, the dark and icky side of this coin must be the reverse: if you have bad times, you must have had a head full of bad thoughts that led you to have bad times, a secret wish for bad things to happen.
As a sister to someone who died far too young following years of suffering with a chronic illness (multiple sclerosis), I absolutely reject the idea that my sister either brought upon or attracted her illness through her thoughts and attitude. If you can say that, you never met my sister, who had an attitude that could not have been better.
I think that "The Secret" is sick and wrong and hurtful and that those who promote it are all messed up in the head and need a good hard reality check, if not an actual hockey stick upside the ear.
My sister read these ideas and believed them (even before The Secret, others were promoting the same idea, like Louise Hay). She spent a long time feeling guilty for being sick and thinking that if she could change her thoughts, she might get well. We had plenty of conversations where she admitted that, and where I had to try and talk her out of the black hole of those cruel beliefs.
Her problem was that, no matter how hard she believed, her virus wasn't listening.
It's bad enough that "The Secret" tells you lies. But to me the evil part is that it also gives people a convenient excuse to exercise their meanness and prejudice when they see people who are poorer, sicker and less successful than they are – “If they would just change their thoughts, they could change their lives.”
This denies the existence of powerful outer forces that bear upon us all – economic, societal, political, natural. People who get hit by hurricanes and earthquakes don’t have bad thoughts. They have bad weather, and there isn’t a thing that thinking about it can do.
That kind of philosophy is handy when you are relatively prosperous, well and live in a peaceful society. But what about those kids in Darfur who had rebels come in the night and kill their parents? What were they thinking that was so wrong?
Ugh. I get so worked up about this that I should just learn to ignore it, because it causes me real physical and emotional pain. It makes me seethe with anger to think that anyone else is going through what my sister went through. Not only did she have to deal with being sick, but she had to deal with the guilt of thinking she was responsible for it. That stinks.
If I have one message to give the world, it is this: believe what you want, but act correctly. You can have all the bad thoughts you want as long as you go out there, work hard, be kind and try to make the world a better place.
I saw a bumper sticker: “Don’t believe everything you think.” Amen.
I also hate Microsoft products, so this made me laugh hard: