Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Secret Secrets of The Secret

Having just attended a personal coaching course, I was enjoying the material presented until the mention of The Secret and The Law of Attraction.

If you have not come across these techniques, belief systems, the basic premises (from The Secret Official website - no, it's not an affiliate link!) are as follows

1. "The Secret reveals the most powerful law in the universe. The knowledge of this law has run like a golden thread through the lives and the teachings of all the prophets, seers, sages and saviors in the world's history, and through the lives of all truly great men and women. All that they have ever accomplished or attained has been done in full accordance with this most powerful law."

2. "The Secret teaches us that we create our lives, with every thought every minute of every day. Living The Secret offers tools and ideas to help you live The Secret and create the life of your dreams.

Now, whilst I do not in principle have a problem with positive thinking (but see Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World), I consider that it has some unspoken and unmentioned principles which I list below in no particular order and which I will expand upon in future posts:

1. It adapts the (generally non-western) teachings of prophets, seers and sages to give credence to (generally western capitalist) goals.
2. When advocates of The Secret quote the sages, for example Ghandi's "Be the change you want to see in the world", in encouraging people to "think big", how many would be prepared to take the stance that Ghandi and his ilk have taken for social causes etc
3. Its principles generally only apply to individual "dreams" based on western capitalism
4. It relies on people being oblivious/unconscious/uncaring to the global consequences of their goals/visualisions - if I have an Apple iPad on my "visionboard", I do not have take into consideration the responsibility I have to the well-documented exploitation of Chinese labour.
5. In general, The Secret pays little attention to ethical, moral or social considerations, being all about the individual's dream, no matter what its global impact may be.
6. Another quote is that "People get the life they deserve and desire". So do advocates of The Secret consider that people living in favelas, ghettos, townships etc have the life they deserve?
7. A major principle is that people have to take responsibility for their actions, past, present and future. But where does this responsility stop - see reference to iPad above.
8. It considers that we live in an abundant universe. Abundant for who? It claims that what you focus on is manifested in reality so who is manifesting global inequalities?
9. In general, it seems to work within this system of inequalities, if not actively promoting them.
10. It is generally focussed on financial wealth, basing much of the ideology on Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich"

Whether I agree or disagree with global inequalities, the focus on financial wealth etc is irrelevant. However, I do consider that the principles of The Secret are at best paradoxical and at worst hypocritical.

Comments, as always, are welcome.

(See wikipedia's Law of Attraction entry for more information and critique)

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