Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Can you keep a secret? Well, I learned a doozy a couple weeks ago. It's a secret so big, in fact, that it has been kept through centuries, passed down by many famous men and kept secret in smoky boardrooms until now.

Sound familiar? Then maybe you watched the same movie I did. The Secret, as advertised on http://www.thesecret.tv/home.html, is a movie in which scientists, philosophers, visionaries, and others tell you about The Secret (which is, of course, accompanied by dramatic music every time the words are spoken).

I pause here to apologize to those who truly love the movie. I want to make it clear that most of the sarcasm I express is about THE MOVIE, not about the idea of the Secret.

That aside, it was the cheesiest movie I've seen in a long time. For the first ten minutes, various people tried to impress you with the importance of the secret by naming famous people who have known it in the past, by showing pictures of laughing old white men with cigars in a smoky boardroom, and by playing dramatic music while testifying of the power of the Secret in their lives.

One man claimed that he always drove straight to the parking spot he wanted, and it was always open for him because he knew The Secret. Another story was of someone who wanted to make more money that year - he became an author and fabulously rich with The Secret. The movie spent a lot of time emphasizing richness, plenty, and beautiful beach or yachting vacations. It took nearly the first 10 minutes to even get to the name of the Secret. In fact, I've been doing the same thing - annoying, isn't it? Okay, fine, I give - the Secret is "The Law of Attraction".

At first I thought it was a dating technique, or a way to be popular. But "The Law of Attraction" is simply this: if you are thinking about something, you are creating certain vibrations that go out into the universe, and the things you are thinking about are attracted to you because of those vibrations. The Universe, in essence, grants you your every wish - just like Aladdin's genie - but only if you ask it correctly.

Are you serious? How lame is that! What a joke! Who would believe something like that?

Oh, wait a minute, what happens if you replace "The Universe" with "God", and replace "grants you your every with" to "grants you the righteous desires of your heart"... So maybe my initial reaction is similar to how some people view religion?

I thought about how "The Law of Attraction" compares with my views of how God answers prayers. They both require faith - faith in God is believing that he hears and answers my prayers for my eternal good; faith in "The Law of Attraction" means that you have to believe that the things you are thinking about will happen - if they don't happen, you must not have believed it. They both require asking - asking God means praying to him; asking "The Universe" means thinking positively about what you want to have or what you want to happen.

I think the theories differ in the source of their power - the power behind answers to prayer is God; the power behind "The Law of Attraction" is "The Universe". The conditions for an answer are also different - for God to answer us, we must have faith in Him, and we must be seeking a righteous desire; for "The Universe" to answer us, we must have faith also, but there is no limit on what we may receive. Also, the answers themselves are different - God answers prayers, but not always with what we think we want; "The Universe" answers prayers with anything we can think of.

Don't get me wrong - I do believe that positive thinking makes a huge difference to us. If we believe in ourselves, we have the courage and the will to try things we never would have otherwise. It's been proven, especially with athletes, that visualizing actions is a very effective method of improving those actions. Also, positive thinking is an antidote to depression, it is related to charity in how we view the world and others, it is a useful tool, and it makes life a lot more fun.

But The Secret views more like a strange infomercial, which claim is backed up by the various learning products advertised on the official website, as well as the numerous other teachers who are willing to take your money in order to teach you how to use The Secret.

Well, I'm sure there are other interesting tangents to take, but it is getting late, my laptop battery is running low, and so it is time to wrap this up. In summary, although the idea is interesting, I just don't accept The Secret as the movie presents it. And refusing to believe it means that it would never work for me anyway. The fantastic claims made by the visionaries, philosophers, and even a quantum physicist just don't work for me, no matter how mysterious you make it sound and no matter how many pictures of wealth and prosperity you show me.


Julie C said...

Is there some kind of rule about commenting on your own post, like maybe it means that I want everyone to think that someone read my post and that it inspired them to think?

But really, I just wanted to add that there was great irony in writing this post while watching yet another movie about big conspiracy theory secrets - The Da Vinci Code. I thought the movie was fun and okay, but not super. Dan thought the movie was very confusing - a lot of the plot changes and actions taken were very subtle, so we kept having to pause the movie so I could explain to him that there was a bullet stuck in the track of the rear door on the truck, so when the bad guy tried to shut the good guys in the truck, the door got stuck and that allowed the good guys to ram the door, knocking over the bad guys, reclaiming there treasure, snatching the truck keys, and driving off leaving the bad guy in the road. Since that all took maybe 3 seconds, I can see why Dan missed it.

Oops - babbling again. :)