Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Slate Takes On "The Secret"

Emily Yoffe of Slate has a new article up discussing her attempts to apply the techniques published by Rhonda Byrne in The Secret for two months.

I've Got The Secret

As I've discussed in several articles, The Secret is essentially a rehash of the basic postive thinking methodology that originated with the New Thought movement in the early 1900's. That does not make it worthless by any means, but as Yoffe discovered, its power is substantially more limited than Byrne's sweeping claims. Positive visualization and affirmations constitute a system of magick, but one that is less precise and effective than systematic ritual work.

UPDATE: Slate has another article today (May 17th) that gives the pessimistic counterpoint to The Secret.

Think Negative!

The trick that allows a person to always think positively and at the same time be effective in the world is actually pretty simple - keep your emotions positive while maintaining an accurate view of facts. This is done by cultivating the realization that how you feel has less to do with your external surroundings than society normally implies.

UPDATE #2: Slate is really hammering these folks. Yet another article today (May 29th) on the "power of negative thinking."

Pessimist Nation

To be fair, negative thinking has little to do with these testimonials and contingency planning has everything to do with them. That's a good lesson - never assume that any magical method is all-powerful. Visualize success, but always make sure that you have a plan solidly in place for those times when the method doesn't work.

UPDATE #3: (May 30th) Some Christians don't like The Secret either.

The Secret: A Cosmic Dream Machine

Take a look at the references at the end - they cite me! Unfortunately the author's logic is something like (1) This ritual magician (me) says The Secret is magick, (2) Magick is bad, so (3) The Secret is bad, rather than anything constructive or interesting.

To materialize non-matter into matter, and to effect causal change through the power of thought is a hallmark of sorcery/magick. In essence, this is an attempt to be one’s own god, deciding for one’s self what is best and what is needed, and then endeavoring to create that desired reality.

I suppose what distances me from most Christians is that my first response to this assertion is "and?"

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