Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Secret to staying healthy this flu season

The Law of Attraction seems to be in full force now as the mainstream news media are being drawn to The Secret like flies to a reeking heap of you-know-what. ABCNews.com just ran a "news" story about the hit infomercial, and some of its stars were quoted extensively. One of them explained the historic significance of The Secret: "This is the most historic moment in history because this powerful information is being broadcast to the masses, to the people on the street in a way they can understand and relate to. They sit. They watch it. They absorb it."

There’s more good news for those unwashed masses and street people. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that a book and CD version of The Secret have just been released. I have to warn you, though, that some of the reading-impaired members of the masses might have a little trouble with the book, because, alas, it has far more words in it than the movie does (and, no doubt, far fewer pictures). In fact, it has more than twice as many words as the movie. Here’s the scoop from one of the promo web sites for The Secret:

...Now for the first time in history all of the greatest minds past and present come together in one all inclusive book, The Secret.

If you were to transcribe every word from The Secret DVD it would be about 15,000 words. This book has 216 pages filled with over 35,000 words. That is more than double the content of the DVD. Each of the teachers thoroughly explain topics covered in the DVD and then some. In addition past teachers works are sited [sic] and brought together in what is sure to be one of the most powerful books of the century.

The book is only $23.95 US. If the prospect of actually reading 35,000 words seems a little daunting, or if you just don’t have time to read, you can get this life-changing book on CD for $29.95 US.

Although the most notable aspect of The Secret is that it’s a true marketing phenomenon, the ABC story was placed in the "health" category, probably by virtue of the fact that physical health is one of the subjects discussed in the ’mercial:

Perhaps the most controversial claim in "The Secret" is that the mind wields enormous power over our health.

"I've seen kidneys regenerated. I've seen cancer dissolved," said Michael Bernard Beckwith, founder of Agape International Spiritual Center.

The creator of The Secret, Rhonda Byrne, told ABC that she wouldn't even get a flu shot because "if you're feeling good, how can you attract any illness to you?" Bob Proctor, another self-help / marketing guru starring in The Secret, adds, "Disease cannot live in a body that's in a healthy emotional state."

So there you have it: yet another reason to buy The Secret and learn its principles. If you master the Law of Attraction, you will never get sick again. And if you do get sick, remember, you brought it on yourself.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because your rant seems so extreme, I suspect that you have little actual knowledge about this topic. I bathe frequently, have seen the video, read The Secret and other books on the subject in question.

What is it about this subject that causes you to attack the authors and the audience?

I hope you don't carry sharp objects.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Connie -
Better get ready. Sooner or later, one of the nodding heads is going to see your blog, and as you know, these folks react to common sense like a vampire to garlic. Should be fun!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 6:42:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

You must be psychic, Rev. It's already happening... Stay tuned!:-)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 8:23:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon, first of all, thank you for writing. I was wondering when some dissenters were going to show up here.

In truth, I was not implying that fans of "The Secret" are hygiene-impaired in any way. However, I see how my remarks could have been interpreted that way.

So let me 'splain. "Unwashed masses" is an old term, which I'm sure you've heard, and I used it only because the quotation from the unnamed "Secret" star (who is one of the most skillful professional self-promoters I've ever had the pleasure of knowing) mentioned "the masses" and "people in the street."

Now, although he may not have intended it as such, his remark struck me as being extraordinarily condescending. The implication was that "The Secret" is a dumbed-down version of esoteric knowledge (which, in fact, it seems to be).

Read his quotation again and see if it doesn't sound a little patronizing to you (as do some of his other quotes in the ABC.com story).

So I was just carrying the condescension theme a step further.

Furthermore, the copy I quoted about "The Secret" book was accurate. As I read that copy, it seemed to me that the main selling point was that the book contains many more words than the movie. I was just playing on that.

What is it about this subject that causes me to attack the authors and the audience? you ask. In a nutshell, it is my cynicism about the entire new-age/metaphysical/self-help culture. I come by this cynicism honestly. If you check out the "confessions" and even a couple of the "rants" on my "Cosmic Relief" web site, you will perhaps gain more insight.

I stand by my opinion that "The Secret" is little more than a glorified infomercial, created mainly as a marketing experiment, and, not incidentally, a means of lining the pockets of its "stars." I will say this: it seems to be a stunningly successful marketing experiment. If as a side effect it helps some "ordinary" folks to achieve a more fulfilling life, great. But one can't help wondering how many will actually achieve the life of their dreams as a result of watching "The Secret."

BTW, I am not completely dismissing the Law of Attraction, or whatever one wishes to call it. I think that in many ways we attract both good and bad things into our lives, and trying to become more conscious about this process is always a worthwhile task.

My gripe is with the way these principles have been capitalized on and over-simplified to the point of ludicrousness. LOA is all the rage now. Companies are selling labels for you to put on your water glass now, to attract good things to your life. Anything to make a buck!

In addition, as you no doubt know, the LOA craze was inspired in part by the works of a well-known couple who have gained their "wisdom" from an entity the woman channels. I mean, c'mon.

I also have a real big issue with the way "The Secret" and its stars have thus far been given such uncritical, almost fawning, coverage by the mainstream news media. If I didn't know better, I'd almost think the media folk were getting a cut of the profits too.

And no, I do not carry sharp objects, for fear of hurting myself, since I am actually a rather clumsy person. Also, I may be passive-aggressive, but I am not a violent sort.

I hope this answers some of your questions, Anon. Thanks again for writing. And I am not being sarcastic here; I really mean it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 9:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Secret is best described as the Secret to lining the pockets of the originators!

Several folks have postulated that the recent rise in "New Wage" thinking is a direct response to the duration of a conservative administration in the US. They map similar events during Nixon/Ford and Reagan/Bush I.

I can't substantiate this, but it's interesting, including the fact that Australia has also had a "conservative" government for some time now...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 4:01:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Now, that is a very interesting idea, CD. Whether it's a cyclic thing or a steady upward (or downward) spiral, the New Wage movement does seem to be fueled more by capitalism than by spirituality. It may be couched in flowery or mystical language -- but it's capitalism nonetheless.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 6:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IF you have seen the video, and IF you have read the book, your "opinion" which is, in truth, a PREJUDICE, would be quite different.

Many books on this subject can be downloaded for free, since they are currently in public domain. Use your public library.

The law of attraction does not require an investment on your part to "line the pockets" of anyone.

Your attitude is TRAGICALLY HIP, and I suspect that you are too old to act like an adolescent. However, since you have chosen to send this out, the universe will send it right back to you.

The question is, WHY do you dislike yourself so much that you have to insult people who have an interest in something you clearly know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT.

May the Lord bless and keep you -- far away from me.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 9:46:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for your comments and the pop-psych eval, anon. I've been a critic of the New Age movement and self-help for many years now, since before it was "tragically hip." (This is assuming that it *is* hip.)

And if criticizing hustledorks, which is basically what I'm doing, is "acting adolescent," then I think we have reason to be hopeful for the up-and-coming generation.

You might also consider that since some of the hustledorks are sending out their b.s. to the universe, perhaps *they* are attracting the likes of moi.

In any case, thank you for the blessing; you sound as if you are truly filled with love and light.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Connie, I warned you! They'll try to cut you to ribbons, but never come out of hiding. Drive-by flaming! :-)

And anonymous, I have a question for you, which you were actually kind enough to provide: The question is, WHY do you dislike yourself so much that you have to insult people who you clearly know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT? I can safely say that CosCon knows significantly more about the Secret and other scams of its ilk than you know about her. Somebody step on your hero's cash cow?

Thursday, November 30, 2006 7:10:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for the support, RevRon, and you do raise some very good questions about the motives of those who feel moved to vehemently defend "The Secret."

But Anon 2 was right: I brought it on myself. Maybe it was the graphic, maybe it was the obvious sarcasm of the piece. If I had continued with my subtle satire, as I have done for the most part throughout the brief history of this blog, I probably would never hear a peep from The Secretrons. But then again, the "comments" section would be a lot duller, too. This blog needed some controversy. :-)

And, on a more serious note, there needs to be some counterpoint to the gushing media coverage of "The Secret." Consider this my small contribution.

In any case, I seriously doubt that my little blog, with my little dissent (which Anon 1 mis-named a "rant") will in any way threaten the mighty cash cow that "The Secret" franchise has become.

OMT: I forgot to address a point in Anon 2's comment, specifically: "The law of attraction does not require an investment on your part to 'line the pockets' of anyone." I never said or implied that LOA itself requires a monetary investment on my part or anyone else's. I have simply expressed the idea that LOA (particularly through "The Secret") has become a the newest marketing gimmick for countless "New-Wage" opportunists. And "The Secret" HAS lined the pockets of its creators and "stars."

Not that there's anything wrong with making money. I'm a capitalist too. But I'd be curious to find out how many of "The Secret's" passionate defenders ultimately realize great wealth or even happiness as a result of watching the movie dozens of times a week, or announcing their powerful intentions to the world, or repeating "switch words" to themselves. I suspect that eventually the vast majority will get tired of "The Secret" and go on to the next amazing breakthrough(although there's always "The Secret 2," and endless other possibilities).

Thursday, November 30, 2006 9:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fear the term "tragically hip". I'm 37 and listen to the same bands my 14 year old son does. He calls me "dude, Mom" as in "Dude, Mom, come see this...".

Someone get me a label. Quickly. And an expiration date.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 3:25:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

LOL, Anon. Don't worry about being tragically hip, though. Nothing tragic about it. There’s no expiration date for openness to new music. But, Dude, you better be careful. Your son may be approaching the age where he decides that if you like the music there's gotta be something wrong with it. He could end up abandoning it and going for Kenny G or some other lite-jazz/lite-rock icon. And that would be tragic (without the hipness).

I suspect that the "Secret" fan who called me "tragically hip" thought that s/he was being hip, when in fact the term itself is...well, not hip. And certainly not new. There's a Canadian group I used to listen to called The Tragically Hip, and they've been around since 1983 (though I didn't discover them till the early 90s; at times, I'm a little behind the times).

The group took their name from a skit in the crazy 1981 movie, "Elephant Parts," which I happen to have on DVD. At one time I had it on...er…laser disc. "Elephant Parts" is a creation of former Monkee Michael Nesmith, who, as you may know, was a pioneer in music videos. (Some say he all but "invented" MTV.) He performed some of his coolest post-Monkee songs in "Elephant Parts," including "Rio" and "Joanne." Although the movie seems pretty dated now, it's still worth a look and a listen (at least for those songs!).

So anyway, Anon, listen on. There’s a lot of good new music and other cool stuff to be enthralled by. "The Secret" just doesn’t happen to be among those enthralling things, at least in my opinion. Obviously, a few folks disagree with me...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 9:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it seem that if you believe in 'The Secret' that there would be nothing to defend against?

The idea in and of itself ( LOA )is what it is ( clear as mud, that statement was! ) and that said, I would think that if someone was truly living 'The Secret' they would be able to see your comments and statements as your own personal reality and not feel so threatened by it.

Why would followers of 'focus on your own thoughts'be so concerned about YOURS?

Inneresting, yah?

Keep up the questioning: regardless of the electromagnetic makeup of the world, we benefit from different sides having a healthy and mutually beneficial dialogue :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 6:57:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, Anon! Criticizing "The Secret" does seem to bring out the defensiveness in some folks, doesn't it? But then again, "The Secret" itself sure has brought out the "offensiveness" in the rest of us. (At least I've been told I'm offensive.)

I keep telling the Secretrons that they are free to ignore me, because if they do, then I won't exist in their reality... but somehow I just keep "attracting" them back to me. Anyway, you made some very good points. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 8:20:00 PM  

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