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.)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Heart of snarkness

I hope everyone to whom the holiday matters had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, or, as some would have it, Fourth Chakra Day. I definitely felt the love yesterday; my email in-box was positively bursting with sweet Valentine’s offers and love-related messages from my favorite New-Wage spam service. There were, for example, several ads for books about soul mates, Twin Flames and eternal love. One message that really stood out was an ad about a couple of twin flames calling themselves Antera and Omeran, who have, naturally, been together for thousands of years. They have written a book and created a musical play and a CD about their twin-flamation.

I also received a notice from a Kansas woman named Debbie King, who makes and sells personal altars that can help bring on love and a feeling of unity with all that is, and, by so doing, can ultimately create world peace. "Peace starts with you, to have peace in our world we must first become and allow peace in our lives," Debbie explained. "One Song Peace Boutique has beautiful and unique personal peace altars, One Heart I AM tee shirts, and good people bracelets all of original artisitc (sic) design." (The altars sort of reminded me of the company I blogged about a couple of months ago that manufactures makeshift memorials.*)

There was also the latest of several reminders about World Sound Healing Day, which, frankly, didn't seem at all sound to me. The event was described as a "Sonic Valentine to the Earth," with the intended result being a projection of "the energy of Light & Love throughout the Planet." The idea was that people all around the world would let out a big "AH" sound to heal this ol’ planet. But I know how easily these things can go awry, and, of course, have blogged about it, though admittedly my blog concerned a worldwide "OM" chant rather than the "AH."

The World Sound Healing people said it didn’t matter when I did my AH, as long as I did it within the 24-hour window. "You will actually experience generating a field of transformational energy as this occurs," they wrote. "We have found that creating a Global Sacred Sound any time within a 24 hour period on the planet will create a coherent waveform that will affect the entire Earth. Through sounding together we will make a difference."

But I totally forgot to AH, because I was too busy Cosmic Con-tificating on other people’s blogs to AH (not to mention too preoccupied with doing my "real" work). Heck, I didn't even have a chance to write an official V-Day post on Whirled Musings. So now the big day has come and gone, and I’m not sure if the world is soundly healed or not. I’d say probably not, but then I’m just a negative whiner, so what do I know?

As for personal celebrations, I’ve pretty much let The Rev off the hook when it comes to Valentine’s Day, since the holiday falls a mere three weeks after my birthday, and my b.d. celebration generally continues for weeks at a time. It just ended, in fact, and this year I was treated to not one, not two, but a total of six special birthday dinners and assorted other sweet surprises. Of the dinners, I have to say my favorite was the one I enjoyed with The Rev at an Empire, Colorado bed-and-breakfast called The Peck House. Here’s their dinner menu.

So…Valentine’s, Schmalentine’s. I have more important matters to think about now. F’rinstance, it’s been far too long since I’ve blogged about The Secret, the New-Wage infomercial that’s making waves all over the world. In the brief time that Whirled Musings has been up and running I’ve blogged several times about The Secret; just type "The Secret" into the Blogger search field at the top of the page and you can see for yourself. But lately I’ve been quite negligent, particularly in light of the fact that The Secret has now officially been endorsed by none other than Oprah, who on February 8 turned her show into an infomercial for the infomercial.

I’d heard disturbing rumors that Oprah’s Secret show was so popular she decided to do a follow-up show on Friday, February 16, and I needed to find out for myself if the rumors were true. So I went to Oprah.com, which, according to the description that appears on the title bar at the top, is my leading source for information about love, life, self, relationships, food, home, spirit and health. I wish I’d known that! For years I have been making all sorts of life-, love-, self-, and food-related decisions without consulting Oprah.com. No wonder I am so messed up.

Anyway, there on the home page at my leading information source was this blurb: "One week later…the reaction to The Secret! Your emails poured in and Oprah.com went off the charts! The secret to making more money, losing weight, falling in love, landing your dream job...and you want more! The questions, the successes, and the lives changed. Stories you have to hear. A follow-up to the show everyone is talking about!"

So, yes, The Secret is coming back to The Oprah Winfrey Show by popular demand. Was there ever any doubt? Oprah herself seems positively awed and enchanted by The Secret and its creator, Aussie TV producer Rhonda Byrne. As do her fans. I popped on over to The Secret forum on Oprah’s discussion board to see firsthand the enthusiastic viewer responses to the February 8 hypefest. One of the first things that caught my eye was an amazing true story of a woman calling herself Soul Angel, who had put the principles in The Secret to work in her life. She said she’d asked her genie for a whole bunch of things, and one of the things she asked for was for Oprah to do a follow-up show on The Secret. And…ta-da! Oprah is doing it!

Who says, "Ask, believe and receive" doesn’t work?

However, Soul Angel still had a few issues:

Here's My Question regarding "The Secret": I am an overweight, single - never-married, unemployed for the third time in 4 years, and on government assistance 46 year-old woman who is looking to change careers who has always lived in rental apartments, but who wants to financially improve her bank account in order achieve her goals to own her own home, have savings for retirement and travel.

So what do I focus on first - Career? Getting any job? Abundance of funds? Healthy relationship with a life long partner? Health and feeling whole?

Where does a woman start with -what area of her life? Teachers do tell??????

PS I now re-phrase my needs and desires to the positive - "I am a healthy and whole, intelligent and attractive woman who is successful in all areas of my life and love myself and my creative life and those I come in contact with everyday!"

Another participant answered her:

Soul Angel, Start wherever u feel the most energy or desire but know u can work on it all. U don't have to choose. One of my favorite activities to do is work on my creativity box. Find a beautiful box that u enjoy looking at, get a piece of paper and write or type "what is in this box...Is!" Then leaf thru magazines, write on pieces of paper, look all around u for the things u want and enjoy and put them in the box. Then let the universe create them for u. Just stay focused on the good things that u want and not where u've been. U r a beautiful child of God and deserve all the things u desire. One of the things I love to do now when i get a little down is to dump everything out and one by one put them back in reminding myself of all the beautiful things I now have or soon will. Good Luck and Feel Good!!!

All righty, then! I’m going to go make a creativity box of my own.

Not quite everyone who participated in Oprah’s board discussion was enamored of The Secret. A person using the name "cosmophilo" wrote, "In any upcoming show about The Secret, ALLOW SOME DEBATE. Instead of just having 5 people singing from the same hymn-book. That is called an INFOMERCIAL for the DVD."

The only thing Cosmophilo left out was that the DVD itself is an infomercial. Cosmo continued:

This is not a Hollywood movie, so it need to open up DEBATE. So allow on a few learned critical thinkers, who can point out some of the flaws in the philosophy of The Secret…

Also, for BALANCE, also allow on some Christians, to give their point of view. I myself am not a Christian, but I realize that their critical point of view has value to this discussion, even though I personally disagree with parts of it. Its healthy to look at all sides of an issue….

Otherwise, Oprah is going to be severely criticized, like the James Frey incident, when the stuff hits the fan with The Secret, as it will very soon, once people are able to think about its implications over time. The Secret is going to get severely criticized once people take the time to really think it through, and get passed the fuzzy soft-peddled sales-pitch.

Does Oprah want to be associated to being an Infomercial for a product that could lead to serious problems for people, like people with Manic-Depression, or mental health issues?

Its already being reported in the LA Times that therapists are saying...

"...they're starting to see clients who are headed for real trouble, immersing themselves in a dream world in which good things just come."

Cosmo concluded the message by saying Oprah had better get smart and at least have some qualified psychologists talk about the potential dangers of some of the principles taught in The Secret.

In response mainly to Cosmo, a person going by the name of plillian wrote:

…Yes many people have mental health issues, what if you watched the secret and learn to help these people?

I believe Therapist are afraid people won't need them anymore.

If there are "testimonials" how is it that it's not a fact? Why would someone tell a testimonial and it's false?

This is something completely different than James Frey.

Just to let you know, there are millions people who knew about the secret long before Oprah presented it on her show.

It's obvious you haven't watched the secret, or you would know that there are professional psychologists on the DVD.

Dr. Phil would tell you that the secret does work, it's how he lives his life.

It's ashame that you have your rose colored glasses on and you have a hard time believing that you could have a life you truly want and actually be happy, instead of critizing others for trying to make changes in their life. If it's not working, stop doing it. Give it a chance.

Ahh…ummm…hmmm. As Meg Ryan’s flibbertigibbet character Angelica said in Joe v. The Volcano, I have no response to that.

Oprah, as you probably know, is not the first media giant to highlight The Secret on her show. Larry King ran his own two-part infomercial on November 2 and November 16 of last year.

Fortunately, and notwithstanding Oprah, Larry King, et al., not everyone in the media is singing the praises of The Secret. Time magazine ran a critical article last December, which I blogged about. And on his SHAMblog yesterday, Steve Salerno, another assertive non-fan of The Secret, provided a link to a piece by one of Rhonda Byrne's fellow countrywomen, journalist and commentator Anita Quigley. Quigley described The Secret DVD and companion book as…

…basically the self-help book and DVD to end all self-help books and DVDs.

In other words it should be called The Scam. And it’s such a good one that it’s making all those other life coaches that have gone before Rhonda such as Anthony Robbins and the author of The Celestine Prophecy green with envy.

Pop psychology. The modern art of making money. Where you pay a group of clean-cut Americans with big white smiles and impressive titles and letters after their names to tell you what you already know.

And the thing about those impressive titles and letters is that in some cases they’re just made-up, and they’re not all that impressive anyway, at least not to me. But Anita is right about those big white smiles, and about the clean-cut Americans’ propensity to tell you things you already know. And most of all, she’s right about it all coming down to "the modern art of making money."

Fans of The Secret who’ve visited my blog have told me I’m closed-minded, that I clearly don’t know what I’m talking about, that I just need to "get over it." One implied that my criticism of The Secret and the Secretrons stems from heart-chakra issues. And one even said I was a hate-monger, no better than Nazis (that would be related to the heart-chakra issues, I imagine).

When it comes to The Secret, though, it’s not my heart chakra that’s the problem. It’s that my crap-detection meter is getting way overworked, which in turn makes me inordinately snarky, which inspires yet more sanctimony from the Secretrons. And so it goes.

And speaking of the latter, I’ve noticed that Cosmophilo, the naysayer on Oprah’s board, is getting the obligatory pop-psychology analysis as a result of criticizing The Secret:

Cosmo, You have so much anger, and Jealousy. It's really said. Re read what you've written and listen to the anger.

You may want to consider something new in your life. It's no secret that you are filled with so much hatred for others being successful.

This all sounds so eerily familiar…

Well, Cosmo, I hope you someday discover Whirled Musings and SHAMblog. I think you’ll feel much more at home among those who aren’t quite so attracted to the Law of Attraction.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I really have to get back to work. Besides the books we’re working on – and we just got yet another new project in – my big project now is trying to convince The Rev to publicly come forth as the real father of Anna Nicole’s kid. Claiming paternity of little Dannielynn seems to be a hot growth industry, and I want The Rev to get in on the ground floor. Since Anna Nicole is from Our Town, I figure The Rev has a better chance than many of being believed.

Wish us luck!

PS (added on Sunday, Feb. 18): The Rev just sent this my way. It's from the very inspiring web site Despair.com; it somehow seemed appropriate to the discussion of The Secret:

* I made up the makeshift-memorial company; it was part of a blog post. However, the personal-altar company mentioned above is real. Or at least as real as things get in the New-Wage world.
** I was dismayed to find out that in 2005 a UK psychologist declared my birthday to be "the most depressing day of the year."

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Anonymous Snidley Whiplash, Critic of The Universe said...

Take a sheet of paper. Draw a line down the middle. On the left side, write "Cosmic Connie's Accomplishments," on the right side, write "Oprah's accomplisments."

Get back to us on that one, won't you, dear?

Thursday, February 15, 2007 6:40:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Don't think I haven't contemplated that very point, Snidley. And I never said I don't like Oprah. She is a very accomplished woman and truly seems to have a good heart.
But that doesn't mean that The Secret isn't a glorified infomercial starring a bunch of overinflated egos, some of whom spend an inordinate amount of time boasting about their material acquisitions, their fame, etc. etc. etc.

And even though Oprah claims that she has used the Law of Attraction all her life, I stand by my opinion of The Secret.

Thursday, February 15, 2007 8:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Snidley Whiplash, Critic of the Universe said...

There is no use talking to you. You have an agenda, your mind is closed.

A friend once commented, "It's what you learn after you think you know everything that really counts."

If only you could stand back and see what your blog looks like objectively. I really feel that it is quite sad.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Such a waste of your time. Really.

I dust off my shoes and walk away.

Thursday, February 15, 2007 8:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Gotcha said...

"Overinflated ego...." Yes, that's the ticket. Kind of like a self-appointed monitor of public interests who belittles anyone who doesn't agree with her.

Now, who could that be????

You are not offensive, my love. You are something much worse. You are tedius.

Friday, February 16, 2007 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Snidely, is it possible that the producers, promoters, and stars of The Secret, as well as those who so passionately defend it, *also* have an agenda? I mean, an agenda besides "making a difference" and "making the world a better place." Is it possible that some Secret fans' minds are closed to the possibility that The Secret is little more than recycled (though, I'll concede, brilliantly marketed) pap?

You wrote, "If only you could stand back and see what your blog looks like objectively. I really feel that it is quite sad." I believe, Snid, that that is a subjective observation. Or, wait, are you talking about what the Universe thinks of my blog? But wait...don't we all create our own reality? So is there really such a thing as objectivity?

It seems to me that my blog is more a waste of your time than mine, but thank you for your concern for me. And thanks for your comments, too; it was beginning to get a little too calm around here. :-) I'm sorry if your shoes got dusty while you were here. I do try to keep the place clean, but it's impossible to keep it spotless. Don't step in a hairball on your way out.

PS -- The "hairball" remark is no reflection on you. There are cats in my Whirled.

Friday, February 16, 2007 6:09:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I can feel the love here, Gotcha. Snidley calls me "dear," and you call me "my love." Y'know, it feels good to be so adored!

A friend of mine once described the Internet as a "massive ego-airing." Of *course* this blog is an expression of my ego. I don't pretend it's anything else. Further, I don't charge people a thousand dollars a pop to bask in the glow of my ego.

As for being a self-appointed monitor of public interests, though, I'm afraid you seriously overestimate my ambitions. I'm just here for entertainment. Any actual gaining of information (or, perish the thought, enlightenment) resulting from this blog is a byproduct. For those who find me tedious rather than entertaining, there are scads of Secret-friendly blogs which, I'm sure, *never* become tedious.

Friday, February 16, 2007 6:23:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

OMT, Snid: I gave up "thinking I knew everything" after the age of sixteen or so.

Friday, February 16, 2007 6:28:00 AM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Perhaps if these folks had spent years receiving SPAM from Secret promoters, pitching a never ending series of products - each one of which, as it turns out, was allegedly life-changing - they might understand how the newest MLM product might be suspect. Who knows... they might even learn the real meaning of tedium.

I wonder how long it will be before one of the secretrons decides that given sufficient faith in the process, they will be capable of flight, and jumps from a building. But I have no doubt that by that time, the promoters will have found an even greater "secret" to share. After all, they won't be able to milk this cash cow forever, and they've made it clear that they need to sustain the flow, regardless of how it affects their marks... er... customers.

Friday, February 16, 2007 8:46:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Good points, Ron. And you're right about the desire to create new cash cows...oops, the desire to share even greater secrets with the world.

Even "The Secret," which the promoters had aggressively marketed as having the ultimate answer, apparently wasn't enough, since Rhonda & gang are busily at work on a sequel. Not to mention that at least some of the "Secret" stars are churning out material that "goes beyond 'The Secret'" or purports to reveal the *real* secret that "The Secret" only touched upon, and so on.

Friday, February 16, 2007 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

One point I forgot to make in my last comment: I have nothing against capitalism. I don't think that just because The Secret and its "teachers" are making money they are evil. That's not where my gripe is. At the risk of once again stating the obvious, though, it seems pretty clear that capitalism is the driving force behind The Secret, rather than a desire to save the world.

As for the accuracy of the principles, most notably, the "science" behind the Law of Attraction, that's a whole other matter, and all I feel qualified to say is that it sounds suspiciously like pseudoscience to me. (But few if any of the claims made are falsifiable, which of course is a good thing for "The Secret" franchise's marketing department.) Perhaps the Secretrons should take the science argument to some of the skeptical and critical-thinking blogs, LOL.

Friday, February 16, 2007 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous BJ said...


Have you heard the AMAZING news? Oprah is doing a SECOND show about “The Secret” this Friday, February 16th. It is UNPRECEDENTED for Oprah to repeat a topic so quickly. But as we all know… Once the Law of Attraction is set into motion… there ain’t no stopping it!

As a follow-up to this Oprah encore show, there will also be two more FREE International Law of Attraction Teleconferences. The Teleconferences were a BIG hit last week, and attended by people from four different continents and in 7 different time zones. The link to register for this week’s teleconferences is http://lawofattractionteleconference.com. They’re free, so why not???

I think it’s safe to say that “The Secret” is out! Let’s all keep spreading the word and see what amazing things happen next!

Friday, February 16, 2007 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Steve Salerno said...

A few thoughts:

1. Perhaps the oversight is intentional--and some will say that spelling shouldn't count in any case--but I think the first thing your first commenter should do is learn that it's "Snidely."

2. What's really tedious--and frankly, pretty dumb--is when people use words like "accomplishments" (as in, "Oprah's accomplishments") in a way that suggests what they're really talking about is "money." If you're going to judge the level of a person's "accomplishments" based on such factors as celebrity and money, then I guess we'd have to agree that no one has accomplished more in recent times than, say, Paris Hilton or the unfortunate Anna Nicole. I'd be the first to admit, I wouldn't mind having some of Oprah's money--but I'm not all that impressed with her intellectual firepower or even the manner in which she has chosen to spend a lot of that money (or throw her prodigious weight around--and I'm not being snid when I say that).

3. What Connie's blog looks like "objectively" is a great deal more objective and commonsensical than the things in our (pseudo) culture that tend to become the targets of her sarcasm and (gentle) ire. What does "The Secret" look like objectively?? What does Joe Vitale's usual spiel sound like objectively?? Are you kiddin' me?

Why people in this society are so passionate about abandoning common sense and mental discipline in the name of things like h'onoponogonorrhea, or whatever it's called, is, and shall remain, one of the great mysteries of our generation.

Friday, February 16, 2007 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Er...BJ...I think we already knew about Oprah's Secret Redux show. That's pretty much what this post was about.

Or were you being ironic?

Friday, February 16, 2007 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Connie -
I don't think Joe... er... BJ was being ironic (at least not consciously). But the extensive use of exclamation points, thrown in with the "AMAZINGs" and "UNPRECEDENTED" descriptors, sure sound like his boilerplate promo pieces. So perhaps it is ironic after all that his comment would appear on your blog, where drivel inundated with hyper-adjectives is one of your favorite sources. You should write a thank-you note! :-)

Friday, February 16, 2007 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, Steve! It's great to see you here. As we've discussed on your blog, the simple answer is that people want to abandon common sense and reason because it feels good. Promoters of "The Secret," Ho'poannoying, etc. are basically just telling them what they want to hear.

Speaking of spelling glitches, I think I recall reading that the name "Oprah" is a misspelling of a biblical name, "Orpah." But "Oprah" is the name that got put on her birth certificate, and it's the name that stuck.

As for Oprah's accomplishments, beyond the piles of money she's made, the part of me that is a little less cynical would like to believe she is somewhat driven by altruism. That's why I remarked to Snidley/Snidely that Oprah truly seems to have a good heart -- once again, perhaps, giving the benefit of the doubt, as I did in a previous discussion of New-Wage guru Gregg Braden. (OTOH, re the schools in Africa, etc. -- Africa is a hot op for conspicuous altruism, much more glamorous than the miserable ghettos of, say, our nation's capital. So there's that to consider.)

In any case, for better or worse, Oprah, the would-be Orpah, is a major influence in pop culture. And that seems to be what passes for "accomplishments" today. But Snid is right; I don't have a fraction of the influence that The Big O does. (I mean "big" in the sense of "important," of course.:-))

BTW, if the Secretrons really want to face some ire, they should go over to Skeptico's blog. He'll rip 'em a new one. :-)

Friday, February 16, 2007 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Renee said...

Snidley - Connie is just trying to point out that the emperor has no clothes. I, for one, thought this was obvious after last week's Oprah; but apparently, it's not. You should only need a fair-to-middling BS detector to see the problems with the Secret. Apparently, there are far more people lacking that critical function than I would have guessed. Connie seems to have figured that out a long time ago - and being unable to do much to combat it, at least decided to have some fun with it. Not a bad idea.

Friday, February 16, 2007 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

You're right, Ron.


Okay, back to normal.

OMT for BJ: I think The Secret Redux on Oprah has more to do with The Law of Ratings than The Law of Attraction.

Friday, February 16, 2007 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, Renee. I think a lot of people are in for some serious disillusionment when "The Secret" high wears off. I have been through similar disappointments in years past, and having fun with it seems to be the approach that works for me now.

Friday, February 16, 2007 12:23:00 PM  
Anonymous moi said...

"Perhaps the Secretrons should take the science argument to some of the skeptical and critical-thinking blogs."

Connie, I agree. I would like to see a match off between rockstar ryan, skeptico and the secret science defenders. That would be true entertainment.

But, I have to say, I kind of wonder if people are jumping on the secret bandwagon so fast because of things being so out of conntrol these days, what with global warming, the Iraq war, suicide bombing etc... I guess the secret gives people the illusion of control, which may be its appeal to otherwise intelligent people. Not that that justifies it in any way. Just a thought I wanted to share.

Friday, February 16, 2007 7:37:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

You may have hit it on the head, Moi. What with the truly frightening events of the day, it's comforting to many to think they can transcend the horror. At the very least they believe they can make their own lives better.

However, if you listen to that Rhonda Byrne interview I linked to in my December 29, 2006 post, you'll see she goes on and on about how everyone who sends out positive vibes can truly affect the Universe. She says it's been scientifically proven, of course.

But even if the Secret fans don't convince themselves that they can actually affect world affairs, they can at least use the Law of Attraction to explain the terrible things that are happening. They can look at innocent Iraqi citizens, for example -- the "collateral damage" of war -- and comfort themselves by saying that these people somehow "attracted" their troubles.

I understand, and to a very great degree sympathize with, the longings that draw people to "The Secret." But that doesn't mean I can accept its teachings.

Friday, February 16, 2007 8:03:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Ron and all: I solved the mystery of whether our friend BJ was being ironic. Apparently s/he was not. I saw an almost identical comment by him/her on a couple of pro-Secret blogs. In fact s/he apparently set up a law of attraction blog, a link to which she included on "those other" blogs, but not on mine. However, so far BJ has written no posts for his/her blog; too busy contributing to other blogs, I'd imagine. :-)

Saturday, February 17, 2007 8:30:00 AM  
Anonymous moi said...

"I understand, and to a very great degree sympathize with, the longings that draw people to "The Secret." But that doesn't mean I can accept its teachings."

I wasn't implying that we should sympathize with the teachings of the secret, but I guess i was trying to find a way to not get so angry about it. What you say: "But even if the Secret fans don't convince themselves that they can actually affect world affairs, they can at least use the Law of Attraction to explain the terrible things that are happening" is exactly the thing that is so annoying.
If you really get hardcore about the secret, I think it does lead to social apathy. Why do anything to help other people when you can just sit there and send out positive vibrations and teach people how to manifest?

Saturday, February 17, 2007 9:34:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Agreed, Moi. And my remark was actually directed towards those who think I'm closed-minded about The Secret, not towards you. I think you and I are on the same page re The Secret and its teachings.

BTW, even some of the folks on Oprah's "Secret" discussion forum are making the same point -- that The Secret seems to be teaching believers to stay away from, and not even think too much about, people in trouble, lest the "negativity" of the troubled ones rub off.

Saturday, February 17, 2007 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous moi said...

"The Secret seems to be teaching believers to stay away from, and not even think too much about, people in trouble, lest the "negativity" of the troubled ones rub off."

Ya know, Connie, in my personal experience, what you mention above has been the case. I am thinking of two very "spiritual" men who don't bother to read the newspapers cause they don't think they need to know what's going on , as their contribution to humanity by way of deeksha, high spiritual vibes, presence, or what have you, is so much greater than anything us regular folk could do. And of course, the newspaper is just SO negative. But, maybe I am generalizing too much from these limited examples.

Saturday, February 17, 2007 2:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Your "enlightened" friends' practice is apparently not all that uncommon, Moi. I remember reading similar comments from folks on various Law Of Attraction and related blogs and discussion boards. Several mentioned that they were more or less boycotting the news because it's too full of "negativity." One said he was going to eschew all news media and concentrate on reading nothing except positive books, such as those by Joe Vitale and Jack Canfield. I wonder if maybe they're on to something... if we all just ignore bad news, will it go away? :-)

Saturday, February 17, 2007 2:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For one moment, please put yourself in the shoes of a person who stumbles upon your writings. They purchased The Secret. They watched Oprah. They are ordinary folks just looking for a new slant on life. They feel pretty good about themselves.

BAM! You spring out, Ms. Cosmic, with a load of insults and snippey, adolescent little comments aimed at making them feel badly about themselves.

Some might be hurt by your insensitivity and name-calling.

Others might see right through you and walk away laughing at the weakness behind the taunting.

No, I am not trying to send you any "light and love." I am just not a supporter of the ongoing, relentless nastyness that obviously floats your boat.

Bon Voyage, Captain Bring-Down!Have a good trip on your garbage barge.

Sunday, February 18, 2007 2:49:00 AM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Connie - I know you well enough to agree with renee's remark, that you're simply trying to point out that the emperor has no clothes. I hope you understand why there will be some folks who will take great umbrage at being informed that they're naked, and will take great offense at the fact that someone noticed and has the temerity to laugh at the irony!

If we could only accept that we each have the capacity for foolishness and learn to laugh at ourselves, there'd be far fewer "boughs up the burros," and we wouldn't cling so tightly to some of our more ludicrous beliefs.

Who knows... we might eventually get to the point where we don't need to buy into anyone's panacea - whether it be a workshop, CD, ideology, or other drug - to make us happy enough to giggle at our own nakedness! Sure would save a lot of money and grief. :-)

Sunday, February 18, 2007 9:00:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Clever metaphor, Anon. I never thought I'd be the captain of a garbage barge, LOL. But no matter; on this big ol' river of life there are plenty of New-Wage party boats too, and from where I sit in my captain's seat, the latter far outnumber the "garbage barges" such as WM. You and all of the Secret fans are free to hop aboard the party boats and stay forever, where you can get punch-drunk on the promises of the captains. But take my advice: do your best to stay drunk because the hangover is no fun. Also bring bucketloads of money; the New Wage is a cash bar.

You would have to get me started on metaphors. :-)

Believe it or not, Anon, it does make me feel bad to think I might have genuinely hurt someone by my "name calling." However, I am confident that there will be plenty like you who are perfectly capable of taking the hurt souls in hand and convincing them that the only reason I'm doing this is because I am "weak."

And I think we should also take into account the ideas of people such as Steve Salerno (who, unlike me, has taken a more serious and journalistic approach to these matters): the New-Wage and self-help movements have done their share of damage, and it is a more lasting damage than my "adolescent little comments."

Sunday, February 18, 2007 9:54:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks, Ron. And there's a whole 'nother metaphor I could have fun with...anyway, point well taken. I think life presents enough challenges as it is, but there are very powerful marketing forces intent on making us believe we're even more unhappy than we may be, and that we can remedy our anguish with the next "breakthrough" CD or seminar or book or whatever. But, as we've discussed many times before, there's always "the next step"...the next CD or seminar or book or whatever. And with that comes an endless parade of nekkid emperors marching down the road before us.

PS -- I'm very glad we are speaking metaphorically, because there are quite a few of these "emperors" whom I would NOT want to see nekkid.

Sunday, February 18, 2007 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Dear Captain Dirty Mouth,

I don't see how we can continue our "special relationship" after what you've done, Shirley Schmidt.


Kinda sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Sunday, February 18, 2007 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

LOL, Ron. (For anyone who might not get the reference, it's from Boston Legal, one of The Rev's and my favorites.)

Ron, I'm thinking that maybe, given that I'm so full of myself and all, and always think I'm right (at least according to some of The Secretrons), you should call me Surely Schmidt. :-)

Sunday, February 18, 2007 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous moi said...

In reference to anon's comment above: Anon, I can understand where you're coming from. I was also involved in new age stuff and then saw the secret etc etc... I was taking refuge in these ideas from the sometimes brutal indifference of mainstream culture and thought I was encountering a safe haven of peace and love. I think there are a lot of good and loving people who get suckered by some of these ideas, and Connie is not doing a disservice to anyone by pointing out the flaws in new wage culture. The problem is, it is not grounded in critical thinking and when challenged, its promotors often go into denial. If you think irrational thinking and denial are healthy, than fine. Some of us don't think it's too healthy, though, and would like to inform people of its underside. And the marriage between spirituality and american consumer culture does a disservice to authentic spirituality, which is not, imho, about manifesting, getting things. or even becoming "enlightened", in the sense that that word is being used these days.

Sunday, February 18, 2007 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, Moi. My feeling is that sooner or later most of the people who are so completely enamored of The Secret and/or other New-Wage stuff will become disillusioned. And many will blame themselves for not "working the program" properly (or whatever term they choose to use), when in fact it's "the program" that is at fault.

Sunday, February 18, 2007 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous moi said...

"And many will blame themselves for not "working the program" properly (or whatever term they choose to use), when in fact it's "the program" that is at fault."

Connie, that's funny. I was recently talking to some people about the secret and its flaws and was told that the problem is that the promotors of the secret didn't tell people how much work it takes to get to the level of being able to manifest. So, essentialy, they are starting to blame themselves for not being able to create a better reality in a timely manner and are assuming they haven't done enough inner work.

Sunday, February 18, 2007 1:24:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

And that's truly funny, Moi, since the promoters of The Secret, as well as most believers in the Law of Attraction, say it's a natural law that works all the time whether we want it to or whether we believe in it. They've been telling us that with everything we do, say, feel or believe we are attracting stuff to us all the time. And we're manifesting stuff in our lives. And it's not all good stuff (even though, as you know, "It's all good" is the mantra of many LOA fans).

(BTW, Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale believes he attracted his recent major computer crash and his medical emergency (appendicitis).)

The problem with "The Secret" and LOA is that they fall apart on so many levels when people get over the initial high and actually start *thinking* about this stuff. But those who have a stake in believing in it will continue to rationalize.

Sunday, February 18, 2007 1:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked the Secret DVD. I think the law of attraction is a reality (although nothing is simple).

I also stand by the fact that you are rude and hostile -- outrageously sarcastic. Just step back and look at the name-calling you have been indulging in all along here.

Pay-back is a bitch, and apparently......

Sunday, February 18, 2007 4:09:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

...let me guess the rest of that sentence. :-) And now who's doing the name-calling? Oh, that's right, it's part of the "payback."

Actually, the only "name" I've actually been calling anyone is "Secretron." Which seems to me to be no worse than "Bleepers," the name that many fans of "What The Bleep" call themselves.

One thing you and I seem to agree upon, Anon, is that nothing is simple. Yet the "great teachers" in "The Secret" say or imply again and again that it *is* simple. One of them even said you can just think of the Universe as a big mail-order catalog, and you can flip through the pages and say, "I'd like this person, this situation, etc." (I'm paraphrasing, of course.) And he ended his sound bite with, "It's really that simple."

But it's NOT really that simple. And I'm not being rude, sarcastic or hostile when I say that.

Sunday, February 18, 2007 4:36:00 PM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Connie -
It seems that you're getting it from both fringes nowadays... must be doing something right!

I'd have to concur on the description of you as being "outrageously sarcastic," though I happen to think such excess is warranted if there is any hope of bringing some balance to an equation weighted down by a marketing program filled with such outrageously ludicrous ideas.

BTW, Anonymous... Love your outfit! :-)

Sunday, February 18, 2007 4:46:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for putting things in perspective as usual, Ron. But you didn't address the "rude and hostile" accusation, LOL. I guess we'll just have to let that one stand, as part of my "payback."

Sunday, February 18, 2007 4:50:00 PM  
Anonymous moi said...

"I also stand by the fact that you are rude and hostile -- outrageously sarcastic."

Anon, lighten up. This is a humor blog. She's trying to educate people in a way that makes them laugh. Besides, I don't think she is targetting the believers in this stuff, as she herself was once one, but the promoters who are taking advantage of people's gullibility and wallets.

Sunday, February 18, 2007 6:32:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

You got it, Moi! I'm targeting the hustledorks.

And I repeat my opinion that if fans of "The Secret" want to really see what "rude and hostile" means, they should go to Skeptico's blog. I'd recommend they start out by looking at his thread about "What The Bleep." I don't think Skep and his cohorts have really tackled "The Secret" yet, but when they do, they're gonna make me look like Marcy From Maui (the owner of the "Powerful Intentions" web site) by comparison. (BTW, I should note that on Skep's blog, some of the defenders of "What The Bleep" were the most rude and hostile ones of all.)

Sunday, February 18, 2007 6:43:00 PM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

I see no small irony in the fact that, according to Buddhist tradition, Siddhartha was only able to achieve enlightenment when he fled the protected cocoon of his affluent life and beheld the sorrows of the world.

Throughout his early life, his protective and well-meaning (but deluded) parents had imposed upon him the very tenets which the Secretrons embrace. He eventually grew to understand the emptiness of a life built upon the fulfillment of desires, and that the true path to joy had nothing to do with satisfying those desires.

I doubt, however, that the folks who are marketing the Secret machine would be very keen on the idea of letting go of their expensive cars and their 15 minutes of fame for something as mundane as enlightenment. I certainly have no objection to their chosen path, except for the fact that the source of whatever wealth they may achieve is dependent upon their convincing others to similarly immerse themselves in the insatiable quest for *more.*

Monday, February 19, 2007 8:51:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Good example, Ron, and you have addressed at least two major points in The Secret phenomenon: the lust for material goodies (a theme which seems to be paramount in Secret culture); and the implicit or explicit message, from The Secret teachers and Rhonda Byrne in particular, that one needs to isolate oneself from the troubles of the world in order to make the Law of Attraction work in one’s favor.

Re the first: Even our pal Mr. Fire seems to be sending a mixed message about the Law of Attraction and the fulfillment of desires. More than once on his blog, he has quoted his friend "Bootzie" in Maui, whose favorite saying is, "I'm totally satisfied, I just want more."

The message Joe is trying to send (at least on his Jan. 4 2007 post when he quotes Bootzie), is that you need to begin from a place of being satisfied about your present situation, or at least being grateful for what you already have. That way, you're not fueled by your own misery, but rather by gratitude and a desire to make things even better (rather than marginally less miserable).

Maybe it's kind of like what you, Ron, have explained is the literal interpretation of "the journey of a thousand miles" maxim: "The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath your feet." In simpler words, "You are here." Carrying it a step further, the idea is to be grateful for where you are, even if it isn't necessarily where you want to stay.

Fair enough...but...

The first observation that will come to many people is that it's a hell of a lot easier to be grateful for what you have when you're already sitting pretty than it is if you're, say, an overweight, never-married, health-challenged, out-of-work single parent (I'm using some examples from the Secret board discussion on Oprah).

Even for people in dire circumstances, developing the proverbial "attitude of gratitude" is certainly better and healthier than continuing in "woe-is-me" mode. It's a start. But for most people, the road to a happy life is gonna take a *lot* more than envisioning the Universe as a virtual catalog and simply flipping through the pages to order what you want. It’s going to take much more than cutting pretty pictures out of a magazine and making a “creativity box” or a scrapbook.

You and I both know that Joe himself worked hard for over thirty years to get where he is today. Most of the other folks featured in The Secret worked hard for years as well, and some had to reinvent themselves several times along the way. I daresay that for most of them, relentless self-promotion and clever marketing, more than anything else, were responsible for their success.

Joe may very well have been making a valid point when quoting his pal Bootzie. But that point has been obscured by the magical thinking and blatant materialism that is so often apparent throughout the entire Secret culture (and, it might be argued, in our culture at large). Somehow the “I’m totally satisfied” gets trumped by “I just want more.”

The problem with being a Secret critic is that it *seems* to put us in the same camp as the ascetics or self-righteous bluenoses who think that material success and enlightenment are mutually exclusive. I don't think they necessarily are. And even The Secret seems to make a stab at conveying the message that one can be both materially wealthy and spiritually enlightened (or at least emotionally fulfilled, which is a different thing).

But somehow what really comes through on "The Secret" are the big egos and their expensive bright shiny objects. That may very well just be "the sizzle." But there just isn't all that much "steak" behind the sizzle, and what there is seems pretty hard to swallow. (And again, I haven't even *touched* on the dubious "science" behind the Law of Attraction.)

Monday, February 19, 2007 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Citizen Deux said...

The Secret is not. Simply put. It is the worst of self-deceptions put out by some very savvy marketeers. I know, I work with a lot of them. We specialize in learning what you want and then packaging it for your consumption.

What I DO like about some of this New Wage claptrap is the following;

1) People are inherently capable of good

2) A positive attitude is self-reinforcing (a spin on the "you attract what you project")

3) We can make our lives better

Beyond that, the rest is wishful thinking. You can not prove the LoA with any empiracal evidence. The simple fact that infant mortality exists completely negates the LoA, just as it does a number on the existence of god (IMO).

Waiting and wishing are no substitutes for pure action and hard work.

Want to lose weight? Cut down your calories and exercise - it will work.

Want a better job? Learn some new skills and start hunting.

Want a better relationship? Start treating people the way YOU want to be treated.

Want to kick the alcohol / drugs / abusive relationships? Start by admitting your own culpability and then GET SOME PROFESSIONAL HELP!

I can personally guarantee that if you follow my few simple rules, the universe will respond favorably.

PS - And yes, I do make judgements. I firmly believe there is a "right and wrong" way to live on this planet. Although I don't have all the answers, at least I will ask some questions!

Monday, February 19, 2007 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, CD, it's great to see you back! And in your brief post, you have just written the makings of what should be a best-selling book. Too bad the public wants the hype instead.

Monday, February 19, 2007 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous moi said...

Rev Rant. I really like your comments on the Buddha. While I don't think wealth and spirituality are necessarily incompatible, I do think that the promotion of covetousness and material success belong in another sphere of life- the one that's called capitalism and the market economy. Why don't the secret people just admit it instead of camouflaging themselves in spirituality? I realize they also talk about gratitude, but that scene in the secret where that guy talks about how he always wanted a certain house, and then they show it and it turns out to be this big Malibu style California mansion negates anything meaningful that could come out of that DVD, IMO. Most people on this planet would be lucky to own a two bedroom apt. with good plumbing.

Monday, February 19, 2007 6:52:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

And that guy with his Malibu house is an apt metaphor for the material apsects of the Secret / LOA culture. Good points, Moi.

Monday, February 19, 2007 8:00:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Of course, Moi, many of The Secret and LOA folks would say that your statement (the one about how most people in the world would be lucky to own a two-bedroom apt. with good plumbing) is an indication of a "lack" mentality. They'd also say that the reason so many people in the world live in such appalling conditions is that they "attracted" those conditions.

Monday, February 19, 2007 8:06:00 PM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Moi -
Of course, spirituality and affluence are not mutually exclusive. However, if one's focus is upon the acquisition of ever more material things, it would be absurd to claim that such endeavors are an integral part of a spiritual path. Obsession with *anything* draws one away from that path, and the constant striving for more material possessions is an obsession that is actually encouraged by the Secretrons.

I'd noted on another thread that the vow of poverty is really a statement of affluence, rather than an ascetic denial of one's desires. It is simply an affirmation that "I have enough."

Monday, February 19, 2007 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Good points, Ron. Of course, it sounds so much more achievement-oriented to say, "I want more." And remember, many of the Secretrons are "success" geeks first and spiritual seekers second.

Monday, February 19, 2007 10:58:00 PM  
Anonymous moi said...

I did an online course once with a former Buddhist monk named Alan Clements. In the course, he named the 3 types of attachments, based on Buddhist principles, that impede spiritual growth. Material spiritualism is one of them. He himself calls it post modern spiritual materialism. He has a hilarious DVD out called "Spiritually Incorrect" in which he pokes fun at post modern spirituality. I don't think the Secret had come out yet when he finished his one man show. It is "stand up spiritual comedy".

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

And I imagine it's intentional comedy, too, Moi, whereas "The Secret's" comedy is completely unintentional. :-)

Speaking of spiritual comedy, the movie "Zen Noir," which I mentioned here a few months ago, is now on DVD. It may be worth checking out. Here's a link to the trailer:

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 1:04:00 PM  
Anonymous moi said...

Yes, his comedy is intentional. He calls himself the bullshit vaccine or something like that. While he is against this post modern spiritual stuff, he is not against spirituality. He just knows how to discern the crap from the real thing. He does poke a lot of fun at the bleepers and also at the Power of Now. That DVD really helped me to pop out of my new wage trance.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 3:26:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I wonder what he would say about "The Secret?" :-)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 3:53:00 PM  

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