Monday

the secret

I haven't read the hokey-sounding, Oprah-endorsed book "The Secret," but I have been following its steady rise to bestsellerdom in awe.

Aparently the book basically suggests that the "law of attraction" means that if you envision good things happening in your life, they will. If you envision negative things happening, they will.

As this REVIEWER sharply points out, this is wildly insulting to people who have been the victims of disease, crime, torture, oppression, or even plain old bad luck. Tell the parent of a very sick child that "positive thinking" will shring that tumor, and you will likely get a very "negative" response.

14 comments:

beth said...

I threw my homeschooling list in a tizzy when I went against the grain and said outright that "the secret" is a bunch of crap. I nearly got thrown out!

dewi said...

I agree with the above poster.
I think it is so basic a concept to "think positively" that I fail to see the big commotion this book is creating, except the excellent marketing and the Oprah push.

IMO, Oprah is a bit shallow and mainstream and acts as if she invented an inner life when she learns new things that have been tenets of eastern philosophy for centuries.

firstimpressionist said...

I firmly believe in the power of thoughts and the vibrations they create.
I've never heard of this book, but I've been an adherent to the idea that we attract what we project for some time now.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it is really insulting to say to someone when they are suffering to "think positively." However, my mother and I are currently caretaking for my aunt who is dying of cancer (breast moved to bone--same as John Edwards' wife) and on a morphine patch. They had upped her dose and it made her very, very sick (worse than the pain itself). We were so distraught trying to figure out what to do to help her. I talked to her son (she came to TN while his wife who was her caretaker recovers from a hysterectomy) and he told me that my aunt was a true believer and if you tell her that she is "past the hard part" and that things will be "better in a few hours" than she will focus on the positive. I am such a cynic/rationalist that it was hard for me to do this but I was amazed how it worked in her case. If I said (we needed her to eat) "if you eat half the piece of toast then you will be able to hold down the apple" she literally was able to do so. I don't know...honestly it really kind of freaks me out. I did see the Oprah "Secret" show and it bugged me for the marketing and "quick fix" but despite all the shameless promotion she does I think her message is a better one for middle america than most of the crap I hear...

Anonymous said...

I think dewi stated soemthing very true about The Oprah Phenom.
becky mom o' Willie

Anonymous said...

I have not read the Secret either, but there is nothing new about the power of positive thinking. It works. And, there are many medical studies that prove that it works. No, it won' solve all of life's problems. But, negative thinking certainly won't help.

beth said...

No one is discrediting the idea of positive thinking, I think we all agree that it is a powerful phenomenon. My problem with it is the flip side: That negative things happen because someone was focusing on the negative. In fact, there is a part of the book that suggests that being fat is caused by obsessing about weight. It says not to look at or associate with fat people, lest you become focused on it and become (or stay) fat yourself. This is a disgusting promotion of discriminatory behavior. Is this also true of hanging around someone who is terminally ill? Will being my husband's caregiver mean that more bad things will happen to him or me because that is my focus? The "Law of Attraction" would suggest so.
If you google "the secret" you can watch most of the film in several segments.

Anonymous said...

I saw the movie. The reanactments are extremely cheesy. I agree with the concept of positive thinking in many ways. I've seen it happen in my own life in ways that seemed to border on miraculous. But, I agree that there is a very insulting and condescending side to it too. It's good you pointed that out.

Anonymous said...

I think there is a thin line between the INFLUENCE of positive and negative thinking and saying that there is an absolute cause and effect connection. If what she is saying about the fat thing means if you are trying to lose weight then don't hang out with your negative fat friends who are reinforcing their collective victimhood as they stuff their faces with ice cream well, yeah, I see the point. It is a known fact that when you have fallen into some bad patterns that people who share those patterns are very likely to sabotage your efforts to change. It is the same principle that one finds in recovery where it is strongly advised to find "new friends and new playmates". If your previous recreation was feeding your faces en masse then yeah, hanging around with a bunch of other food addicts who are not dealing with the issue WILL help prevent your weight loss efforts.

Anonymous said...

Katie, although the "secret" is cheesey and produced for mass appeal and making money, the premise it promotes is very real. You are commenting about something you have not researched and are looking at it from an uneducated and surface point of view. Nothing wrong with that, except that it's not about kids getting nor not getting cancer or losing or keeping a job or having or not having hard times. It's about living a satisfying, authentic and prosperous life. The easy thing to do is to say it's about positive thinking, but that just scratches the surface. Unfortunately, the true message is a bit hidden in the cheesey, mass-marketing of "The Secret."

Anonymous said...

One thing about "the secret" is that you will hear what you need to hear at the time. If you're not ready to move on it, it may sound really hokey. Once you are ready, it is very powerful. I agree with the poster above that it is most definitely NOT about individual circumstances and making someone feel like they are a victim of circumstance. A better place to start: books by Esther Hicks or Catherine Ponder.

Anonymous said...

Sounds cultish to me...

Anonymous said...

Of course positive thinking and attitude can help but they do not mean absolute self-determination, which seems to be the premise of The Secret. Where I really take issue with Oprah is her failure to realize that she is the exception, yes, she is gifted but she has also been incredibly lucky. She seems to think we can all wish good things on ourselves, and always make them happen. POPPYCOCK!

Laura Linger said...

You don't need "The Secret" to have a satisfying and fulfilling life.

It is no secret that people who live their lives with a "glass half full" mentality tend to be better-adjusted and happier.

This "secret" nonsense is precisely that...nonsense. Marketing genius, for sure, but nonsense geared toward new-agey soccer moms (sorry for the stereotype, but you know that I am speaking the truth) with a lot of money and a need to keep up with the Joneses. And for many Americans, that means Oprah.

Want to find out "the secret"? Read the teachings of the Buddha. Read the Sermon on the Mount. It's a variation on all of that, marketed in a slick package.