Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

© 2006-2017 All rights reserved

My Photo
Name:
Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Monday, February 04, 2008

I've Got A "Secret"?

A friend of mine recently lent me a DVD and told me I should watch it. It’s based on a book that Oprah touted last year. No, it isn’t James Fries’ faked memoir, A Million Little Pieces. This one’s called “The Secret.” I’d seen a whole pile of these books at Books-A-Million a couple of months ago, and wondered why they had a whole pile. Like a whole table full! Maybe if I watched Oprah, I’d know, but I don’t watch Oprah on any regular basis. Somehow I missed the book and movie when they first appeared. (Edited to add: Somehow I even missed Blue Country Magic's review of the book last summer—and I'm a faithful reader of her blog.)

But back to the video. After I’d watched a few chapters, I realized that this was the old “Power of Positive Thinking” repackaged. Only with a lot of mystical sounds and intriguing artwork in the titles. Because I taught middle school drama in a former career and because I’d taken some film courses, some manipulative film-making techniques used in The Secret set off a lot of my radar detectors.

But I kept watching. After what seemed like forever, amidst the mystery of how people in power for eons didn’t want underlings to know the secret, the secret was revealed: It’s the Law of Attraction, which was compared a lot to the Law of Gravity: Visualize what you really want and the Universe will provide it. It really isn’t at all like the Law of Gravity because with the law of Gravity we don't have to visualize not falling off the earth; it just works in the background and we stay put. With the Law of Attraction, we have to be pro-active.

I’m a skeptic. While some of the info no doubt works (There’s a 50-50 chance of anything; either it will or it won’t.), I find it hard to imagine that people get what they want by just concentrating on it and letting the universe provide. For instance, two people concentrate equally hard on winning a tennis game. Obviously only one can win. See?

A bunch of bloggers hopped on The Secret bandwagon last spring, and many of them were skeptical, too. Deric Bownd’s Mindblog explains it better than I can. It’s a good first stop on your search for The Secret.

Sceptico (“critical thinking for an irrational world”) evaluates the first twenty minutes of the DVD and provides some good insights into why this idea (the law of attraction) isn’t always valid. Again, he says it better than I can. His site also has a link to Mike’s Weekly Skeptic Rant (“Here’s the Secret: Blame the Victim”)—another good article.

Anita Quigley’s article, “Focus on the Things You Want. . .” is pretty good, too. For only $5, she’ll tell you the secret. That’s a real bargain compared to how much The Secret folks want.

. . . and other blogs also notice that the emperor—er, The Secret—has no clothes. This one, this one, and this one are worth a look.

Anyhow, I watched the DVD (I couldn’t do it all in one sitting, though) and some (that’s some, as in a little bit) of the information did inspire me. For instance, I visualized the house being cleaner. After I vacuumed, made the bed, carried some books to the basement, and put away some laundry, doggone if the house wasn’t neater! But I acted on my visualization—I made it happen. So, does it count? (I could be wrong, but I don't think the universe really cares about my housekeeping.)

I thought about my grandfather who’d had a stroke back in the 60s. He was a great fan of Oral Roberts. He’d watch the show religiously (pun intended). He really, really believed that Roberts would heal him. He believed so strongly that he didn’t bother to do any physical therapy-type exercises. He had faith! I think he might even have sent money to Oral Robert’s ministry. But, alas, no results. He never recovered from the effects of the stroke and died in a nursing home.

Granted, some of the info on the DVD is workable—I buy into the part about gratitude, for example. (I’ll blog about that at another time.) But when you mix what might work with what’s unlikely to work. . . .

I visualized finishing the stories I’m judging for a high school in Alexandria. After visualizing, I wrote up my comments on them. Again, I did it. A genii didn’t appear and do it for me. (If the genii had appeared, I’d have concentrated on him straightening up my study and cleaning the closet and organizing all my file folders.)

I’m visualizing about my white carpet being cleaner. (Yes, white carpet in a part of rural Virginia noted for its red mud. It came with the house.) Now I know a genii won’t appear, but this carpet cleaner guy who comes every month or so, will be here in about a week. I’ll have to pay him, though. Plus I’m visualizing replacing this carpet with something in taupe. When There’s a good carpet sale in a year or so, I’ll act on my visualization.


Camilla visualizes. Or maybe she just looks out the window. Whatever.

So, as I write this, I’m sitting at my elderly eMac visualizing wealth and a new iMac (and occasionally watching Camilla-the-little-brown-cat who’s looking out the window and visualizing sinking her teeth into the birds that fly past) when doncha know I find this email from somebody I don’t even know:

THIS INFORMATION IS FROM THE UNITED BANK OF AFRICA (UBA)

THE UNITED BANK OF AFRICA (UBA) GHANA WISHES TO SAY SORRY FOR THE DELAY IN THE TRANFER OF YOUR FUND TO YOU,IT WAS SUPPOSE TO HAVE GOTTEN TO YOU BEFORE NOW,BUT WE HAD SOME PROBLEM WITH THE PAST ADMINISTRATON THOUGH IT HAS BEEN RESOLVED NOW.

RIGHT NOW THE BANK HAS ORDERED THAT SUCH MONEY IN OUR POSSESION SHOULD BE SENT TO THE OWNERS VIA BANKING.

YOUR BANKING INFORMATIONS IS NEEDED, SO THAT YOUR MONEY CAN BE TRANSFER TO YOUR BANK. THE SAID AMOUNT TO BE TRANSFERED TO YOU IS $7.5 MILLION DOLLARS.

REGARD,
KOJO WILLIAMS

Is this a coincidence or what?!

Meanwhile, I’m reminded of a couple of old sayings that possibly reveal the secret a bit better:

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”—Seneca

“Chance favors the prepared mind.”—Louis Pasteur

“God helps them that help themselves” -Ben Franklin (Poor Richard's Almanack)

In other words, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” (But maybe not this way.)
~

Did you know that self-help is a major industry? See Michael Shermer’s Scientific American article, “The Self-Help and Actualization Movement has become an $8.5-billion-a-year business. Does it work?”



6 Comments:

Blogger CountryDew said...

I wrote about The Secret in June. You can read it at http://bluecountrymagic.blogspot.com/2007/06/books-secret.html
if you're interested. I thought it was among the worst things I had ever read.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

How could I have missed that?! Maybe I subconsciously blotted it out.

After reading your review and watching the DVD, there is no way I'll read the book.

Hmmm. I'll go back and edit the blog to give you a link.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Amy Tate said...

Becky, all I can do is laugh and shake my head. I've heard of this, but had no idea there was a DVD circulating about it. I'm sure your cat is visualizing as hard as her little kitty brain is able...
"I want that bird, I want that bird, I want that bird...

9:57 AM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

Thanks for the link! Makes me want to go write a self-help book, reading your entry again ...

2:45 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

Well, living in the country probably qualifies you. Those of us who live in the country know manure when we see it.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

Sadly, I bought the book. Can't get through it. It keeps saying the same thing over and over and over again. But no real answer. Yes, I know positive thinking works well. Same thing with The Five Wishes. Seems people are just churning this junk out because self-help is popular now.

I'd like to try the new one Oprah recommended, "A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" by Eckhard Tolle, but I'm afraid. She recommended The Secret. Anyone read that one yet?

I love self-help. Read The Success Principles if you want to read a good one.

10:23 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home