|Dolphins and Money
Esther Hicks (born Esther Weaver on March 5, 1948) is a charlatan who claims to be a spirit channeller (she prefers the term "receiver") who is well known for talking about herself in the third person. Hicks claims to channel approximately 100 otherworldly beings with the amazingly worldly name of Abraham. The inherent creepiness of her shtick is lessened when it becomes clear that Esther Hicks is talking in a weird voice in order to scam people out of money. This is a relief, because all reasonable people prefer hucksters to creeps.
Not surprisingly, the voices inside Hicks' head started coming to her after she read the works of Jane Roberts, another channeller who died in 1984. Depending on whether one asks Esther or reality, these books either opened up her mind to commune with whatever it is she communes with or show just how credulous the average American mark was to psychic woo.
Esther's primary partner in crime is her husband Jerry Hicks. Jerry was a former acrobat, movie stunt man and world class Amway salesperson before he and Esther struck it rich in the cosmic channeling lottery. He has brought that certain icky Amway tough-sell feeling to most of the products in the Hicks' self-help catalog/lifestyle/dynasty. Esther probably said it best in one of her few interviews when, in a rare moment of valid self-introspection, she realized that some people think she might be crazy. "I'm sitting here and I am uncomfortable because people don't like Mormons, people don't like Amway, people don't like channellers." It couldn't be that there's something very wrong with each of those, so it must be the fault of those who feel that way.
Hicks has translated the voice in her head into a series of books, lectures, and workshops. It is a wellspring buoyed in no small measure by a prominent mention on Oprah Winfrey.
Her material particularly concerns the Law of Attraction, a half-woo, half-pseudoscience that some New Agers are fawning over. It's called The Secret. The secret is that the universe exists to serve your whims. Obviously many cool, affluent and gullible people like to believe stuff like this.
Hicks is really into the quantum woo routine. She is all about the observer effect allowing people to define their own reality using their feelings. All of this of course is coming to her through her magical channeling of dead people, or aliens, or whatever the vogue term is. All this would be much cooler if she at least changed her voice when she spoke as the alien. Maybe take a puff of helium and then do Abraham?
Funny voice or not, Hicks' get rich quick scheme for telling you how to live a wonderful life consists of the following:
- You are a Physical Extension of that which is non-physical.
- You are here in this body because you chose to be here.
- The basis of your life is Freedom; the purpose of your life is Joy.
- You are a creator; you create with your every thought.
- Anything that you can imagine is yours to be or do or have.
- You are choosing your creations as you are choosing your thoughts.
- The Universe adores you; for it knows your broadest intentions.
- Relax into your natural well-being. All is well.
- You are a creator of thoughtways on your unique path of joy.
- Actions to be taken and money to be exchanged are by-products of your focus on joy.
- You may appropriately depart your body without illness or pain.
- You cannot die; you are Everlasting Life.
All the elements of feel-good gibberish are here. The basic theme is that the Universe has a consciousness and "adores" everyone (this provides easy "meaning" to existence and confers cosmic significance to individuals); that people can create anything they want just by thinking about it (no effort required to reach whatever dream you may have); and that people are immortal (no need to fear death). This is the ultimate in McDonald's theology: all the fears people have of meaninglessness, insignificance, lost goals and dreams, and ultimately death are taken care of, without the person needing to do anything.
Also, notice the use of "you" to add that extra personal touch. That's Jerry Hicks' Amway experience coming through!
The main publisher for all this drivel is Hay House, a notorious publishing firm that thumps all the latest self-help gurus from the bland and "mostly harmless" motivational speakers to the truly insane psychology woo quacks like Esther and Jerry Hicks. For an example of just how creepy this stuff gets, one need only know that Esther actually writes children's books. Here is an excerpt:
“”“Do you believe in ghosts?” Annette just sort of blurted out. Sara and Seth both looked up with surprise. “Well,” Sara stalled, “I guess I do.” She remembered the night Solomon had visited her in her bedroom after Jason and Jimmy had shot him, but she hadn't really thought about him being a ghost that night; she’d just been so glad to see her beloved feathered friend.
For the true connoisseur of creepy woo, nothing could compete with their 75-minute audio recording about the day she
decided to fleece people for money started hearing voices met her spiritual guide.
One thing that can always be counted on in the self-help world is that every major proponent and huckster is in it for the money. This is highlighted beautifully by the conflict between Esther Hicks and the director of the film The Secret. The film is a reality hit job, pushing the idea that the law of attraction can help people manifest whatever they want — from cars to making their brain tumor disappear. It was when Oprah decided to feature The Secret on her show that it went mainstream and became a cash cow. Esther Hicks appeared in The Secret originally to the tune of $500,000, but when director Rhonda Byrne wanted to release an "extended edition" (the gift that keeps on giving) Hicks wanted more money.
Naturally the Hicks got absolutely everything they wanted and that proved their teachings are correct! It worked out badly for Hicks; the conflict eventually ended up with Byrne editing out every appearance of Esther and Jerry Hicks in the movie, creating some seriously disjointed flow.
In a classic gambit, Esther came out and said that it wasn't she that had issues with the movie and the director, but rather her ultra-secret alien buddy Abraham who decided that it would be best if they renegotiated the contract. And when that didn't work, Abraham pulled a classic "cosmic guardian" stunt of taking his toys home to pout. and released their own version of The Secret called The Secret Behind The Secret.
To be sure, where there is one making money hand over fist, others will indeed follow. Not unlike radical Evangelical Christians, this tribe of folks need not even have a personal Jesus, all that is required is the thought! Reach into the stream of money up above and you will find all the millions you seek.
One such set of wannabes is the World Legacy Project or "Solutions". This outfit of scammers and schemers set up camp telling the world they can do just about anything from cure cancer to become uber-wealthy just like Bill Gates! "All you have to do is dream", says Mari Tierney, the founder of the "Legacy organization". After a quick look into the backgrounds of the people involved, we were left wondering why they had not just wished themselves out of everything from fraud, criminal theft, and jail time. It seems like if you want something bad enough you could just wish it into being! Well, can't you? Who gets to take turns being ruler of the world then?
In October 2010, New Page Books published 240 pages of garbage by the error-prone author Mike Bara, under the title The Choice. The sub-title was Using Conscious Thought and Physics of the Mind to Reshape the World, and it very much followed the self-evidently incorrect premise of "The Secret". The book attracted no professional reviews at all, and 10 five-star Amazon reader reviews of which two were very obviously by friends of the author. A flop, in other words.
- Seriously, check out this video.
- Interview: The couple who claim they can make you rich beyond your wildest dreams Archive copy at the Wayback Machine
- Dirty Little 'Secret'. New York Post.
- Abraham's Teachings In Brief
- Sara, Book 3
- Abraham-Hicks Introductory Tape
- Salkin, Allen, (February 25, 2007). The New York Times. "Shaking Riches Out of the Cosmos."
Esther HicksAbraham explaining to fans why she is pouting about The Secret