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The Belief in a Just World: A Fundamental Delusion
Melvin Lerner

The Secret

The Secret - Rhonda Byrne The Secret can't be wrong, only you can be wrong. What a nice dream. A few words about the secret. From the very first pages of the forward, I know what this is. I have seen a lot of stuff like it over the years, it is hardly new. It is the ever-popular combination of common sense truisms and metaphysics posing as some kind of revelatory philosophy that has remained hidden from us for so long. Worse yet, it is obvious to me, from the cost on the inside cover (hopefully not what my dad paid), from the layout, from the condescension, that it is designed to make money. Lots of it. And it has, no doubt. I hate to think how many copies this book has sold. The power of positive thinking. This is a cliche! It is a cliché because it is true. Yet this book is pretty riding on this cliche, that's how they are going to make their money. They claim it is part of some “law of attraction,” metaphysicial bullshit, that is apparently as immutable as the law of gravity. Of course it can't override gravity. But maybe it can.! Why don't you try it? 'This generation is the generation that will change history.' I have read this so many times I can't even count. This notion is as old as writing, if not older. The two biggest problems with it are as follows. For one, it is a tautology! Of course this generation will change history. If this generation didn't exist (i.e., if there were suddenly no new people), then history, as we know it, the story of human beings, would come to an end. Duh! The other problem is that, as a socio-political idea, it is always dangerous. The notion that “this” generation is special and superior to others underlies all attempts, whether religious or political or what have you, to bring paradise to earth. The logical end of this is genocide. I'm not saying this book advocates genocide. I'm just saying that this sentiment may be part of the “secret, but it also underlies ideologies that end in killing everyone. The universe (which is apparently something living, rather than just existing) cares about the 6 billion of us on this tiny little planet. Yeah! Right! I love how they've picked a physicist to quote for this book, but they picked one who terribly misinterprets the observer effect to back up what were no doubt a priori metaphysical inclinations. The universe doesn't exist for us. Space is vast, and cold, and inhospitable, no matter what you think about it. If I think about not getting hit by a bus on my way to work today (and I'm thinking about that), then I will obviously get hit by a bus today, because of the “law of attraction” (I am attracting that bus as we speak). And, since I got hit by a bus, you can't be reading this. I feel so guilty about giving my mom this for christmas, it must mean my life will now be ruined. How about those arbitrary exclamation points? It's so safe for them, making their millions. Whenever someone tries to prove them wrong, they can just say “it's because you don't believe yet.” That's the answer for all skeptics. So they can never be proven wrong. Anyone who believes they actually control the universe through their thoughts has to go through a religious conversion. Once that happens, their objectivity is doubtful. If they believe, then everything will indeed appear that way to them. Hence it is impervious to criticism. Beautiful. For a long time, everyone (everyone) believed the world was flat, and that it was at the centre of the universe. Why isn't that true? Surely, we're all powerful enough to make it so. Surely. This book is like those Jared Subway commercials. The authors forget to tell you all the other stuff they had to do (aside from thinking positive thoughts and predicting the future...oops, visualizing...right) in order to become rich. The problem with this, and Chopra's stuff, is that it isn't new. It's as old as human history. And yet, as far as I know, and as far as history records nobody, nobody, has survived death (though a special few have managed to escape taxes...albeit temporarily). That begs the question, why bother with all this nonsense if you're still going to die?