Beggars and pretty women
The tag line for today’s Salon feature about Oprah’s cheerleading for The Secret sums it up pretty well: "By continuing to hawk ‘The Secret,’ a mishmash of offensive self-help cliches, Oprah Winfrey is squandering her goodwill and influence, and preaching to the world that mammon is queen." It’s an article that I think is well worth reading.
Having been in on numerous discussions about the controversies surrounding The Secret, I can’t help thinking of a verse from one of Leonard Cohen’s most widely covered songs, "Bird On the Wire":*
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,For some reason, I’d always envisioned the woman in Cohen’s song as an Amsterdam hooker. But these days I tend to think more about the New-Wage hustlers of both genders who are selling not sex, but bright shiny promises of untold wealth. "Ask, believe, receive. That'll be $1,000.00, please."
He said to me "You must not ask for so much"
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
She cried to me "Hey, why not ask for more" **
Like Cohen, most of us live our lives with our attention focused somewhere between the beggar and the pretty woman. At any given time in our lives, our heads can be turned by either one. But The Secret and its promoters seem to be strongly encouraging us to ditch the beggar completely and turn all of our attention on the woman, who, all too often, is also a beggar – just a far richer and slicker beggar, who only pretends to have our best interests at heart.
Meanwhile, one of the stars of The Secret – and, it might be argued, a leading promoter of mammon – has said he is hurt because in the wake of his success and newfound fame, some of his old friends have turned into anti-Secret warriors. As one of those old friends, though hardly what I’d call a warrior, I’m truly sorry to hear he is hurting. But maybe, just maybe, he brought some of this hurt on himself.
PS - Just to prove that I am not totally a "negative thinker" or a "naysayer," I want to share with you an aggressively cheery, militantly positive site I just stumbled upon. Crank up your speakers and give a listen to "Musivation" innovator Michele Blood, who uses the "Lor Of Attraction" to get information to your brain 300 times faster than other methods! Go ahead! Have a whole-brain experience! And then go out and cure some cancer! Or at least manifest a new mansion or two for yourself!
* Those of you who know what a fan I am of his writing (though not so much his singing) probably knew that sooner or later I’d bring a Leonard Cohen quotation into this.
** Copyright © by Leonard Cohen Stranger Music, Inc.