I Can Even See my Gold-Diving Swimsuit

My roommate and I just finished watching the DVD of "The Secret" which is the latest feng shui-esque way of thinking sweeping the world (and by "world" I mean the rich, lucky, healthy, happy people), and I couldn't be yellier. Out of respect to my neighbors, I stopped yelling when it was finally over, but if I could still be guiltlessly yelling, I would.

My employer loaned me the DVD a little over a week ago telling me that "The Secret" was all about receiving back the energy one puts forth from the universe. (And, by the way, I refuse to provide a link to any information "The Secret" since I will not boost their readership by the - what, how many of there are you? - 2 readers of my blog.) When she told me this, I couldn't really argue with it since, I sort of agree with it in that I do believe that once you begin to look for the positive in the situation, the positive is more apparent. Likewise, of course, with the bad. Much in the same way that once you start to pay attention to yellow cars you suddenly see them all around you. So I reluctantly took the DVD and put off actually watching it since I would then have to return it only to be forced to discuss it with her. However, since she likes to watch bits of it fairly frequently, I had a set amount of time before I had to get it back to her. Expecting it to be pretty bad, my roommate and I armed ourselves with a bottle of wine and popped in dreaded DVD. And now 91 minutes later I am left not even angry as much as disheartened with the human race.

Basically, for those of you who don't know, (or, as I like to refer to you, "the lucky ones"), The Secret is all about how becoming schizophrenic will solve all of your problems. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a wee bit with the schizophrenia, but it is about how if you actually visualize yourself as a better, healthier, happier, and, most importantly, wealthier person, you will become one.

So the first issue that I take with this is that I am pretty much a person how lives in her head - imagining all sorts of happy, awesome things happening in her life. Therefore, according to The Secret, I should be diving into pools of gold like Scrooge McDuck with hybrid boyfriend Michael Showalter/Joseph Fiennes/Groucho Marx/Disney's Robin Hood telling me how funny I am with my pets, Ralphie, Toula, and an adorable panda bear cub named Inc., by my side. And yet, I am sitting in my tiny room, alone, broke, with cheap wine on my breath. So far, so good, right?

I mean I could almost forgive them the crazy of all of this if it wasn't so obviously based in materialism. There is even a bit in the video of a little boy looking longingly at a picture of a new bike. Of course all he has to do is think and see himself owning the bike long enough before he actually receives it.

Oh! and there is this whole bit about how The Secret works on a time delay - so just in case a couple of good nights of you imagining you spooning with the celeb of your choice doesn't work out, don't worry! It will. . . at some point. Just keep on imagining- sorry, realizing it and buying The Secret merchandise and it will come. For example, we do see the boy mentioned above does eventually get his bike, presented by his grandfather - but I couldn't help thinking it was like that old "Werther's Original" commercial where we see the initial kid's present grandson played by the same actor as the original young boy in the past.

Then, which elicited the most yelling, there is their whole thing about how if you are sick, it is your own fault since you were, obviously thinking unhealthy thoughts. They even go into a story about a woman with breast cancer who cures herself simply by "Secreting" it away. She claims that it was the funny movies that she watched that cured her in three months. Anyone who knows me knows that this is a touchy issue. And anyone who knows my late, beloved grandmother knows that, even in the toughest times, she was never without laughter so I call BULLSHIT!

There is also a whole portion of the 91-minute-long DVD (did I mention that it was 91 minutes long?) where all these rich and successful individuals (including one of the authors of "Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul") talking about how, clearly, there is more than enough riches/happiness/love to go around, since not everyone wants the same things. For example, in regards to relationships, not everyone "wants the same person." True, but quite a lot of people want to marry Brad Pitt and/or Angelina Jolie and I am pretty sure that polygamy is still illegal or, at the very least, frowned upon in most areas.

There is more that I could say - much more - but I need to start switching gears to how I am going to put some kind of positive spin on my seething hatred for this before I have to discuss it with my boss tomorrow.

Then again, I am going to start visualizing a fat raise, because, I mean, it couldn't all be bullshit. I mean, look how well it worked out for that “Chicken Soup for the Soul” guy.


Concerned Citizen said...

Allow me to vent my multi-sourced rage: It seems to me that any rational assessment of this theory of life would find it falsified. People who have positive thoughts do not always get what they want; people with negative thoughts do not always fail. Many very good, positive people die of cancer. It is downright evil to suggest otherwise.

Concerned Citizen said...

I would say that most religious traditions understand this. The Old Testament story of Job, for instance, emphasizes that material suffering cannot simply be attributed to ones "outlook on life". It is true that some modern incarnations of Christianity ("megachurches") and so forth sometimes seem to endorse the idea that positive thinking (or one's degree of faith) will result in material success. But these tendancies must equally be rejected.

Concerned Citizen said...

Indeed, Christianity has often emphasized possibility of suffering as a benificial spiritual sacrifice. I would suspect (without knowing too much about it) that many of the more ascetic traditions of Buddhism and Islam are consistent with this notion.

concerned citizens said...

One doesn't have to endorse sacrificial suffering or extreme asceticism to recognize the shallowness and silliness of things like the "secret" however. Again, the simple fact that it's claims are obviously empirically false strikes me as sufficient to reject it as (what?) a philosophy of life? A spiritual theory? A method of earning money? Who knows?

concerned citizen said...

Any more and I should write my own blog. Despite my rage, I love everyone. Even "secret" believers.