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The Secret is a movie (produced by Rhonda Byrne, released in March 2006) and book (written by Rhonda Byrne, published in November 2006). The film focuses on interviews and dramatizations that rationalize the New Age idea of the Law of Attraction. True believers and innovative entrepreneurs have also produced various knock-off products such as books and pamphlets. Its release, the promoters of the movie assure us, people have made remarkable transformations (whatever that may mean) that continue to baffle the so-called "scientists". Which, when translated from the curious lingo of pseudoscience-pushing quacks, means that people have been dumping countless amounts of money, time and effort into the hopeless and selfish belief that if they ask for it hard enough then the universe will magically grant them their every wish and desire. Author Rhonda Byrne explains carefully that "Imperfect thoughts are the cause of humanity's ills", that people are poor because "you are thinking thoughts that you do not have enough.", and that "Imperfect thoughts are the cause of all humanity's ills, including disease," -- this last may explain why infants and toddlers, who don't know what illness is, are universally immune to all sickness.
Still, it can't hurt to remind yourself every morning that whatever pain, hardship, or sorrow you suffer in your journey through life, it's all your own damn fault. You've failed to attune yourself to the happy positive vibration that thrills through the universe. It's because of your unhappy thoughts; if you can't get rid of them, it's because you aren't trying hard enough. If only you redouble your effort to be happy, it might work this time; but you're too lazy and too much of a failure to ever make the grade.
- Michael Bernard Beckwith: A New Thought minister and founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City, California, he teaches meditation and “scientific prayer”, speaks at conferences and seminars, and is the author of numerous books.. Salient quote: "There's enough for everyone. If you believe it, if you can see it, if you act from it, it will show up for you. That's the truth"
Scholarly consensus has held that applying the theories of The Secret
is about as effective as an air conditioner on Pluto does not yield any results besides frustration and depression.
A common theme in The Secret is the idea that you shouldn't help people who are suffering in any way and that you should instead only care about your own issues. This comes about in two different ways in the novel: the idea that negative issues are all because of your thinking and the idea that you shouldn't help anyone because it would actively detrimental to the people you are helping.
The foundation of the secret itself justifies suffering by its most basic rule: the idea that all things are brought to you by your thoughts. While it would be more forgivable if she kept it at the idea that negative thoughts are what's holding back your potential she goes far beyond that to the idea that disasters and genocide are caused by the victims of the disaster. This happens as early as the second chapter with her saying "By the law of attraction, they had to be on the same frequency as the event.". Her solution of course is that the poor and hungry should just stop focusing on the bad things in their life and use the power of positive thinking to manifest a better life as its the only solution given in the book.
Beyond the issue of disasters the book consistently pushes the idea that thinking about and learning about issues in the world will cause you to make the world worse. One of the commentators argues that fighting against things like poverty and violence is the cause of poverty and violence. This combined with the idea that you should ignore news that makes you sad means that the secret encourage ignoring the issues of the world and not giving anything to issues you do know because then you'd be fighting it.
Byrne was sued by people influential in the production of her book for failure to pay $300 million.
In a nutshell
- Official website
- The Secret on IMDb
- The Secret Behind The Secret, eSkeptic
- What's Wrong with The Secret?, Skeptoid
- Self Help's Slimy "Secret", Washington Post
- Review of a related book by Barbara Ehrenreich
- The Secret, Chapter 5
- The Secret, Chapter 7
- Amazon page
- The Secret, Chapter 2
- The Secret, Chapter 8