I glance at my bookshelf and to my surprise I have a lot of books about spirituality and new-age thinking. The skeptic I am even purchased “The Secret”! Sigh. The theme of the book as you all probably are well aware of is that “[an] individual’s focused positive thinking can result in life-changing results such as increased wealth, health, happiness and more.” (The Secret, 2010)
Let me explain how “The Secret” works in detail. One’s thoughts and feelings flow from one’s body “as magnetic energy waves over vast distances, which then cause the universe around you to vibrate at the same energy level as your feelings”. (Smythe, 2010) For example, if I were to think negative thoughts, I would attract negative things, bad people, and horrific situations back to me. If I attained a positive line of thinking, I would only attract positive things back to me. Accidents and coincidences do not exist; we are supposedly in control of the ‘bad events’ that happen since the theory is ‘If one creates toxic thoughts the universe will give you rotten apples per se’.
I’m going to give an example, one that will skin the validity of the Secret’s theory. Last week I sat daydreaming about swimming in a pool of $50 notes, just like Scrooge McDuck did. The taps were freely flowing with brand new $2 coins. Hmmm shiny. I waited to see if my ‘positive’ thinking could tap the positive energy in the universe and bring it back to me. I carried on living my life, working, meeting up with friends, etc, and my pool of money never came. I entered the lottery to speed up the process. Nope, I’m not a winner I thought to myself. Darn, I had a negative thought. Does that mean I will miss my bus tomorrow?
Why do innocent people get murdered? Why do people get diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses? Why did the innocent middle-aged woman who went out to buy a loaf of bread from the corner store get run over? Did these innocent victims think negative thoughts? Did they wish for these tragic things to happen to them? Well The Secret claims we must all remember this law: “Everything in your life you have attracted. Accept that fact; it’s true.” (Byrne, 2006)
The reason why I’m addressing this notion is because I cannot believe how many people believe in this. Yes one will live a better life when you’re happy, but being upset (which is completely normal when something bad happens) does not mean something bad will be magnetically drawn back to you.
In sum, I think the book is morally defective, is not valid, and has no scientific evidence to claim it is 100% true. What do you think?
Byrne, R. (2006) The Secret. Australia: Atria Books.
Smythe, I. (2010) The Secret Behind The Secret. What is Attracting Millions to the Law of Attraction? Skeptic Magazine.
The Secret. (2010). Living The Secret. The Secret, The official website of The Secret Movie. Retrieved from http://thesecret.tv/living-the-secret.html