on 2 April 2009
I can't believe this is STILL number 23 on the Amazon's bestseller list. Luckily, the spread of reviews suggests that most people buy it to see what the hype is about, and see it for what it is!
When I initially bought it, I expected a motivational book of self-help. But it's both much more and much less than that.
I won't keep you waiting. The secret is to think positive:
think that you have what you want to have
*be grateful in advance,
*feel positive emotions as the thinking on its own won't work
"you have two sets of feelings: good feelings and bad feelings. And you know the difference between the two because one makes you feel good and the other makes you feel bad."
There. No need to buy.
The meagre 150+ pages are filled with unbearably repetitive reply of the advice listed above: plain, in-your-face, mercenary, repetitive regurgitation and nothing else.
Now, I am not arguing that positive thinking, affirmations, visualisation of goals are useless. They are fine. Fear and confidence problems can block our self fulfillment. People (at least sometimes) treat us the way we think we deserve to be treated. Generally, people tend to be happier and more successful with a positive outlook.
These are all true, useful and pretty inoffensive if fairly trivial bits of advice.
But "The Secret" claims that the ONLY thing between you and *anything* you want is your negative thoughts (or lack of positive ones).
The rich are rich because they think of themselves as rich so they keep and attract more money. It obviously has nothing to do with inherited wealth nor with ability, talent, hard work or social connections.
Even mass death is the result of people believing that they can be in the wrong place at the wrong time (and then finding themselves thus). The book doesn't devote much to such grim subjects, though - there is perhaps a paragraph about that and it singularly fails to address instances of mass suffering caused not by being in a wrong place at the wrong time (as in a case of a natural disaster for example) but by active, deliberate pursuit of evil ends by other human beings as happened during the Holocaust, Rwandan genocide or Khmer Rouge murders to pick just three random, obvious examples.
On some levels, "The Secret" is quite funny. It states, fore example, among other bits of nonsense, that according to the Bible, Jesus "was a prosperity teacher" who lived "a more affluent lifestyle that many present day millionaires could conceive of "(I am NOT making this one up, it's on page 109).
Throughout the book we encounter the most appalling abuse of scientific terminology I have ever seen. It goes beyond a mere misuse and strides happily into the land of pure nonsense.
The supposedly secret and mysterious "law of attraction" (=You Are What You Think) doesn't exist. There is NOT A IOTA OF EVIDENCE of external world reacting to one's thoughts. Despite Byrne's reassurances, we can't make the planets move according to our wishes by thinking about it.
Couching the idea in pseudo-scientific terms like "emitting this frequency into the Universe" doesn't make it any more viable.
Statements like "The feeling of love is the highest frequency you could emit" do not make sense.
There is no such a thing like "vibrations of mental forces". Modern physics' proposition that vibrations of so-called super strings is at the basis of all matter (or energy) DOES NOT translate into large-scale stuff like human bodies, brains or even (huge in comparison to strings) atoms.
Quantum physicists emphatically DO NOT tell us that the entire Universe emerged from thought.
All diseases are NOT a result of stress.
Healthy emotions do not guarantee a healthy body (though they might help recovery).
Ageing is not caused by thoughts, and even if you believe you can't catch something you still can if you are exposed to the infectious agent.
And the oil in Belize was not created by the belief of the team that discovered it.
I could go on for much longer, but these examples are sufficient to show to what lenghts this book goes. It's a pile of trite, mercenary, offensive and very, very silly nonsense.
And here is the question: does it matter?
Yes. It matters.
It suggests we should look inward and change our minds, instead of looking outward and trying to change the world.
It also implies that those who suffer exploitation, murder, robbery, rape, slavery, extermination, torture, abuse, poverty and inequality are responsible for their sorry situation, and that the best thing to do is to start thinking positive thoughts, grow self esteem and start "emitting frequencies of love and abundance".
It's positively destructive and deeply immoral (and IT DOESN'T WORK).