I’ve been hearing about this nonsense about “The Secret” and “The Laws of Attraction” here and there. Thank you, Oprah, for inflicting yet another ridiculous meme, as if you weren’t already in the hole for Doctor Phil. They mentioned it on Girl Meets Girl/Makena Music a few weeks back and I just got an email from B&N.com about it. For the record, I don’t believe that human cognition controls the physical universe. I don’t believe just wishing really hard and focusing on something causes events to occur.
I do believe that human cognition, honed by millions of years of evolution, is one bad-assed pattern recognition engine. That usually helps us out, such as when we were able to spot meta-trends out on the plains. “Hey, it’s getting warm again, that’s when the mammoth come through here so let’s maybe dig some pits and get ready for them” In modern life, that well-refined ability to find patterns in almost anything frequently works against us. That’s all this “Secret” nonsense is. You focus on what you want to occur. Many things happen in and around your life, some good and some bad and most kind of neutral. This is the normal distribution or bell curve. When you engage your desire, though, things that happen on the good end get matched against the patterns. “Hey, that’s the thing I’m trying to make happen!” So, things that either would have happened anyway by happenstance or things that happen because you are working to make them happen get counted as a success of the “Law of Attraction.” The bad and neutral things get ignored. This is also the secret behind the power of prayer.
It’s bullshit. You either made that happen yourself, or it was dumb luck you could take advantage of but nothing mystical occurred. I think it is shameful that people are willing to take their work and minimize it in favor of this woo-woo vague force. Why does that make you feel better than being an effective person that gets things done? What happens when two practitioners of the “Secret” are wishing for the exact opposite thing, say full custody of the same child? How does the universe resolve these conflicting wishes? What is the communication mechanism from your mind to the universe? There must be some particle or energy transmitted. Is it measurable? We understand the electromagnetic spectrum pretty well nowadays, so it’s got to fit in there somewhere.
As always, we know who the beneficiaries of this are. It’s the people selling the Secret DVD for $40, the hardcover for $20, etc. Like B&N.com and the distributors and the creators. If this rule really worked that well and they really wanted to change the world with it, why didn’t they use the Law of Attraction to get them enough money to give away DVD’s to all the households in America? AOL could do it for shitty software on a shitty dialup service, surely changing the universe would be worth it.
I will always stand against things where people place the faith and credit for things they do themselves in some mystical entity, be it god or allah or this vague force that magically does good things for you because it wants you to be happy. The universe is a cold place that cares nothing about you, only about converting energy to entropy. These moments of warmth and value and love are there because we put them there and no other reason. The Secret doesn’t work because wishing makes things happen, it works because when you bust your ass things happen and because if you really want to be happy you can make yourself be.
So, I just saved you $40. You are very welcome.