0.7
February 17, 2021

“The Secret” is Bollocks.

“‘Bollocks’ /ˈbɒləks/ noun
VULGAR SLANG. BRITISH
1. the testicles.
2. nonsense; rubbish (used to express contempt or disagreement, or as an exclamation of annoyance).”
~ Oxford Languages

 ~
The Secret (2006) is a movie and a book by Rhonda Byrne.

In it, she enlists a number of fellow money-grabbing “gurus” to explain how the so-called “Law of Attraction” works in an attempt to convince the impressionable masses that it is true.

In fact, The Secret is utter bollocks. Here’s why.

Let’s begin with some context.

What do you do when the sales of “positive thinking” books stagnate? You reframe the concept as a pseudo-scientific, quasi-mystical phenomenon and cleverly market it as having some sort of mystique (the secret) and then present it to the gullible masses (who are in desperate need of self-help) as an infallible empowerment tool and…hey, presto: you have The Secret.

And if that wasn’t enough, you get yourself on the Oprah Winfrey show because (a) we all know Oprah has a penchant for all things bonkers, and (b) it will ensure its exposure to millions of Americans eager to lap up the next phony trend in “self-improvement.”

Anyone with a modicum of common sense will question the basic premise of The Secret, which is: is it really a secret?

If what the book/movie propounds has any grain of truth, and if that truth were so pioneering, then surely the dissemination of such ground-breaking developments in our scientific knowledge would be through reliable scientific outlets and not via popular self-help drivel. This in itself is enough to approach The Secret with a high degree of skepticism in respect of the “truths” it purports to unveil to the world.

The fact is, not a single scientist contributed to the movie or book version of The Secret: we are presented with a series of pithy soundbites and quotations from a motley crew of self-help gurus, personal empowerment coaches, a share trader (wtf?), and a bunch of “wealth creators,” but not one person with any credibility or authority to explain the alleged science behind the “secret.” I say “movie” because “The Secret” has zero basis in reality or truth and is therefore not a documentary; rather, it is a fantastical narrative akin to a sensationalist Hollywood movie—and a bad movie at that, given its cringe-worthy content and piss-poor production values.

The underlying “secret” of The Secret is simply the Law of Attraction, which is pseudo-scientific bullsh*t popularised by Esther Hicks and others whose childhoods undoubtedly consisted of parental control, disenfranchisement, and self-loathing.

The Law of Attraction states that we can manifest anything we want into our lives simply by asking the universe, believing we are deserving of what we ask for, and by being open to receiving it. The movie itself uses examples of manifesting a new bike, better health, a diamond necklace, a loving relationship, and ridiculous wealth. At one point, one contributor states that all he had to do was imagine a multitude of cheques coming to him in the mail, and, abracadabra, he received a multitude cheques!

The universe clearly has nothing better to do than pander to our every whim, including our penchant for material greed. As ludicrous as all of this sounds, it gets better. The movie represents the universe as some sort of genie who exists solely to grant our wishes! At this point in the movie, I burst out laughing at such utter nonsense, not to mention the lamentable special effects.

I would hesitate to even call Byrne an “author” given that the majority of her book is a patchwork of quotes from her fellow attractor-gurus, but also random quotes from persons of historical importance such as Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Junior, Buddha, Carl Jung, Albert Einstein, and even the synoptic Gospel writers Matthew and Mark. What do these people have in common? Absolutely nothing. Did they believe in the “law of attraction?” Absolutely not. Has Byrne appropriated their work to serve her own agenda? Absolutely she has.

The quotes she deploys are taken out of their historical and semantic context and are used to loosely tie together various thematic threads, resulting in a book that is superficially coherent, but from a critically astute analysis, has no real substance. The threads are a knotty mess arranged to form a superficial pattern that effectively dupes the reader into falsely interpreting it as plausible. And no scholar worth their two cents would give the book an ounce of credibility, for its form and content lacks any sort of scholarly rigour. Even as a “book,” it’s hard to take it seriously.

The Secret is full of platitudinous wank such as “be the energy you want to attract.” Sounds great! But what the f*ck does it actually mean?

Basically, it means we need to emulate that which we seek to manifest on an energetic level. Indeed, the “scientific” premise of The Secret is that “like attracts like, so that when you think a thought, you are also attracting like thoughts to you.” And what is more, our “thoughts are magnetic,” our thoughts “have a frequency,” and we are each “like a human transmission tower, transmitting a frequency” with our thoughts.

What’s scientifically wrong with this notion? Everything.

First of all, the actual natural law is that like does not attract like, rather like repels like. Magnetism and polarity are some of the purest examples of this. The same poles of magnets repel each other, while opposite poles connect. The same principle applies to electricity: like charges repel each other, while differing charges attract. So, if our thoughts emit electro-magnetic waves all day and other beings can, in fact, detect and respond to them, the far more plausible assumption is that others with “like” thoughts and similar electromagnetic waves will be repelled, not drawn to us.

Secondly, harmonic resonance does not explain the law of attraction. Harmonic resonance says that when an object vibrating at one frequency is placed close enough to a similar object that vibrates at the same frequency, the vibrations from the first object slowly entrain the objects around it to vibrate, too. A tuning fork is the simplest example: strike it and place it next to another tuning fork of the same note and they both begin to vibrate at a similar frequency.

But here’s the thing: people are not tuning forks.

Harmonic resonance assumes that those other objects (a) are at rest, before being exposed to the original object, making them free to adopt the other object’s vibrations, (b) vibrate at the identical frequency, and (c) do not actively generate their own conflicting vibrations of equal or greater strength. Human beings satisfy none of these conditions. We are not empty of our own electromagnetic vibrations or waves, and we are not identically structured to resonate at identical frequencies. So much for the “science” behind the Law of Attraction.

But even if we are dumb enough to believe what The Secret tells us, then the whole concept of the Law of Attraction is morally questionable, for the theory goes: we are each responsible for everything that happens in our lives, so that if something terrible happens, we must have willed it into being—albeit subconsciously—because our thoughts create our reality.

So, by this insane logic, the millions of starving children in war-torn countries collectively willed their existence; or the soldier fighting to defend her country willed her own death; or the innocent child who was brutally raped and murdered willed it upon himself. Such a notion—which is at the very heart of the Law of Attraction—is downright irresponsible and unethical.

Bad sh*t happens to good people: they do not will it, desire it, or manifest it.

Our reality is not created by our thoughts alone; it is created by a myriad of external forces over which we have no control.

It is no surprise The Secret appeals in large to millennials who have been brought up in a materialistic, self-serving, and entitled culture. In its unashamed promotion of materialism and entitlement (the idea that “I want, therefore I can have”), The Secret speaks to a generation of people who want, want, and want, simply because it has been instilled into them that they “deserve it.”

Really, do they? Does a child molester deserve the perfect relationship? Does a lazy down and out deserve unlimited wealth? The simple answer is: no, they f*cking don’t.

But The Secret would have us believe that we are perfect, we are deserving, and we are entitled to anything we want without lifting a finger to get: all we need to do is “ask, believe, and receive.” And so not only does Byrne’s wank fantasy promote entitlement and self-love verging on narcissism, it promotes idleness, too; for the one key element missing from the tripartite formula of ask, believe, and receive is take action.

Or, in other words, get off your f*cking arse and work for what you want. Despite what The Secret would have us believe, money does not fall out of the sky and into our laps. Sorry, millennials, but you don’t simply “deserve it”: if you want something, then you have to earn it.

Lastly, the entire premise of the Law of Attraction is built on a contradiction.

If we follow the notion that like attracts like, then we can only attract abundance if we have what manifestation gurus call “an abundant mindset.” Their excuse for the Law of Attraction not working is that the person manifesting does not “believe” enough, or they have a “lack mindset.” So, if a mindset of lack precludes the manifestation of abundance, then the Law of Attraction will not work for us. But here’s the rub: the whole concept of manifesting is built on a mindset of lack because we wouldn’t desire a new car, a better job, a new relationship, more money, or whatever void we feel the need to fill unless we felt there was something intrinsically lacking. Therefore, the basic mindset underpinning the Law of Attraction is that “I am not satisfied, and therefore I want more.” Desiring more of anything is acknowledging what is lacking, and therein lies a fundamental logical flaw at the very heart of the Law of Attraction.

When stripped of its cosmic façade, the Law of Attraction is nothing but the power of intention: the natural ability of the subconscious mind to set to task on realising a goal once it has been set.

But the Law of Attraction as some sort of mystical, quasi-scientific phenomenon has become so ubiquitous within the “spiritual” and self-help industries that people tend to believe it just because they can’t escape from it: if you’re “spiritual,” then surely you believe in the Law of Attraction!

But does anyone actually question the integrity of such theories?

The danger is that many people become so dependent on such lies and bullsh*t for a feeling of purpose and empowerment in their lives, that an unfounded theory cleverly marketed as a “law” soon becomes a belief system; and once ingrained as a belief, it is hard to shift.

Why do people believe in such nonsense? Because they need to, often as a result of unresolved trauma.

I wonder how many people who have suffered some form of powerlessness, disenfranchisement, emotional or physical abuse, or self-esteem issues believe in the Law of Attraction? I would wager that most do. Concepts such as the Law of Attraction have value in so far as they give people a sense of hope, purpose, and a belief in something beyond this material world; but they also fill impressionable minds with utter tosh as a means to exploit our fears and our dreams so that the self-help industry can keep on making zillions of dollars.

Self-help gurus need to take more responsibility for the theories they sell, and consumers need to be more critically astute before lapping up their every word. Because real empowerment is getting wise to and questioning the spiritual and self-help bullsh*t that is fed to us. There is no secret, no genies, and no magic involved, just good old-fashioned common sense, critical discernment, and an ounce of sanity.

Leave a Thoughtful Comment
X

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Michael Farrell  |  Contribution: 2,585

author: Michael Farrell

Image: Roy Reyna/Pexels

Editor: Catherine Monkman