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, March 13, 2007

A lot to swallow

These days, it seems everyone is trying to cash in on The Secret and the Law Of Attraction. In a wonderful tribute to Rhonda Byrne's vision, people all over the Internet are getting, and spreading, the message of unlimited wealth and happiness, most of which can apparently be gotten while sitting on one's behind. Alas, some of these wealth-building plans are a bit beyond the budget of some folks whose visions are obviously as limited as their pocketbooks. Not to worry; there are plenty of smaller fish in the Ocean of Opulence!

I've blogged about The Spirit of Water folks before, in October and November of last year, but apparently I am still attracting important messages from them. And I just got this notice about The Spirit of Water Wealth Builder Gift Set, so I thought I would pass it on to you.
Water in Action equals the Law of Attraction. The "Secret" recommends using several positive practices to keep your desires in the forefront of your intentions. Water Blessing Labels are a silent reminder of what you want to manifest or change AND they re-structure your water's memory. You benefit both ways! See our website for this month's special gift set: The Wealth Builder Gift Set http://www.thespiritofwater.com
You obviously attracted this too. And you and I have been attracting some other neat stuff as well. For example, there's a guy named Alan Tutt who wrote a book. At least I think it is a book. The email I received not only didn't refer to Alan by name, but it didn't really say exactly what it was he was selling. For that, I had to do a bit of Googling. But the promises he sent me in that initial email, which had the subject line, "The Keys To The Secret," were so intriguing.

The body of the message bore the bold tag lines:

Today You Will Discover The Secrets
That Wealthy People Have Refused
To Reveal To Anyone!

I can’t help but quibble a bit on that one. Wealthy people seem to be crawling out of the woodwork now to "reveal" those Secrets... for a price, of course. But I can’t argue with Tutt’s promise that today could be my lucky day if I buy his product:
  • You too can have a never-ending flow of money.
  • Learn the easy way to attract prosperity into your life.
  • Being prosperous does not require hard work.
  • Bring money, love, health, & success into your life.
  • Learn key secrets to attracting unlimited prosperity forever.
But wait...there's more! Alan is prepared to teach me to...
  • Have anything you want easily!
  • Automatically attract prosperity to you.
  • A million ways to make a million dollars.
  • Simple ways to attract wealth.
  • Overcome barriers and obstacles to prosperity
  • Prosperity Mind! How to Harness the Power of Thought
  • Change your own magnetic properties and start attracting only those things you want into your life!
  • How to take advantage of the most powerful tool available for achieving anything you want!
  • Manifest money, success, happiness, positive relationships, or anything else you want into your life!
  • and MUCH, MUCH MORE!!!
Of course, this isn’t free, because, as Alan explains, “Knowledge gained freely is very seldom appreciated. And I would like to increase my own prosperity somewhat as well.” Well, hey, at least Alan is honest! In any case, whatever it is he has to offer is a real bargain because it's only $39.95 through this email offer. But if I go to his web site, I can not only get the product for nearly eleven bucks less, I can also start right away on my own prosperity by buying resale rights to Alan's product!

For you prissy idealists who find all of this focus on material wealth a little distasteful (and really, I think y'all just need to get with the program), I want to reassure you that it’s not all about money. There truly are some lovely, idealistic people in the LOA crowd. For example, there is Aiden, Child of Light, a member of Marcy From Maui’s Powerful Intentions Forum. Aiden’s Current Powerful Intentions are:
  • To live a perfectly healthy life free of diseases, discomforts, and abnormalities.
  • To create loving, peaceful, and harmonious relationships with my loved ones and others around me.
  • To create financial freedom and abundance.
  • To enjoy life to the fullest.
Aiden’s Life Purpose is equally idealistic: “To create joy within myself and share it with others. To celebrate life!” Under “Values,” she writes: “I am a fun loving, free-spirited Child of Light who enjoys every aspect of my life. I'm kind, loving, and respectful in dealing with others but I'm not bound by rules, regulations, and social norms which only purpose is to restrict people's enjoyment of life. As long as I don't harm others or myself, I'm free to do anything to enjoy life to the fullest without fear or guilt. I'm also very open minded and excited to learn new things that enhance my life.”

But it is Aiden’s Vision that truly got me choked up:
  • To have a successful internet business that creates value for others and in turn provides abundance and wealth in my life.
  • To live in a waterfront mansion surrounded by nature in a tropical paradise.
Who says The Secret and the Law Of Attraction are all about narcissism and materialism?

Okay, I know you're really excited by now. But calm down, go pour yourself a tall drink of water (hopefully, water that's been properly blessed)... and then send me some money – as always, the more, the better – so I can share with you the real secrets of unlimited wealth and happiness.*

* Not really. I just have some debts I'd like to pay off before the world ends in 2012.

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Anonymous The Voice of Reason said...

Here's the deal on positive thinking: You don't need to buy or invest in anything. Get the books from the library, download them for free (since so many of them are quite old) -- and move forward in your life. You can write on your water bottle with a marker if you wish, and it won't cost you a thing.

Sorry to say, all of this reminds me of the scoundrels in the Catholic Church who sold Indulgences to get yourself out of Purgatory. Bull is bull in any century, and Instant Karma is gonna get you if you screw with people's sincere desire to have the good things in life.

Despite the song title's claim, the good things in life are NOT free. Nobody ever benefited by living in abject poverty.

Here's to love, laughter, and the good life! I'm definitely a fan of the Secret DVD, but I'll be darned if I'll buy into the rest of this nonsense. I'll also never sink to the level of a mean little kid, taunting and insulting people who shopped for a DVD that she doesn't like.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I've never spoken out against positive thinking, VOR, only against magical thinking. There's sometimes a fine line there, and "The Secret" has crossed it.

I agree with you that positive thinking doesn't require an investment in anything. My beef is with those who are trying to convince others that a sizeable investment *is* necessary. Of course, we live in a very consumer-oriented society, so that's to be expected. But it's still worth making fun of.

I have NEVER implied that there is anything remotely beneficial or noble about living in abject poverty. There's a very big difference between making fun of the "instant-riches" hucksters (which I am doing), and saying that poverty is good, or declaring that all of the good things in life are free (which I am not saying). I am sorry if you got the latter messages from my post.

Yes, I quoted the spammer's declaration that we only value things if we have to pay for them. Though there is some validity in this, it has also become the mantra of every New-Wage huckster on the Internet. Granted, the person I quoted in my post was only charging $40.00 for his product. But he also had his hand poised to reach into the pockets of all who responded to his ad, to extract more $$ from them via an MLM scheme.

By quoting the remark about how we only value things we have to pay for, I was also making fun of the Three Amigos of "The Secret" - that would be Canfield, Proctor and Beckwith - who said the very same thing to justify charging nearly $2,000 for their latest "Secret" MLM scam.

If you think that I have been spending all of this time and space "taunting people who bought a DVD I don't like," you are missing the message. I wonder, do you think the same thing about every other blogger - and there must be hundreds by now - who has said an unkind word about "The Secret?" This must keep you very busy. I *am* taunting the people who so relentlessly promote "The Secret," LOA, and all of the auxiliary "breakthrough" products (and I think your comparison with the Catholic Church scoundrels selling indulgences is excellent).

If "The Secret" DVD is helping you in find or maintain love, laughter and the good life, more power to you. But "The Secret" has also brought every scam artist and desperate capitalist out of the woodwork with a new way to get people's money, and THAT'S my main point of contention.

Finally, if criticizing "The Secret" makes me a mean little kid in your eyes, you're certainly free to go hang around more mature people such as those on Marcy From Maui's Powerful Intentions Forum. They're having some pretty illuminating discussions there now, such as, "Do animals use LOA?"

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 9:46:00 AM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

What I find ironic is the offense taken by those who have been taken in by the hustlers. They are certainly not the targets of any meanness, at least, not until they begin deriding the very people who happen to acknowledge the emperor's nakedness.

I, for one, don't dislike the DVD itself, only the cynical deception that it represents on the part of the people who have latched on to it as a cash cow, while paying no regard to those whose spiritual path is misdirected as a result.

If the principles in the Secret were true, why would one of the chief supporters refuse to even address honest challenges to those principles on his blog, and restrict his responses to thanking those who pat him on the back or dismissing negative responses with a metaphysical wave of the hand, rather than a substantive reply?

By the way, voice... Read your last paragraph. I think you'll find that your own statement renders itself false.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 9:50:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Good points all, Ron. IMO, there's a bit of collateral damage on both sides. My "taunts," and those of others who don't care for "The Secret," may have hurt the feelings of some genuinely nice folks who really are only trying to make their lives better. (If in the process I have also annoyed a few of the hucksters, THAT was intentional.)

In any case, hurt feelings are nothing compared to squandered money and time, not to mention some of the effects you touched on, Ron, such as potential misdirection of spiritual or emotional growth. I'd say my "sins" are pretty small by comparison.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 10:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Lana said...


Loved your Chopra, Secret post! (How come your comments feature isn't available there?)

I'm amazed at how well you can whip out your thoughts. Great graphics too.


Friday, March 16, 2007 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks, Lana! I'm not sure why the "Comments" feature isn't available. Maybe Blogger reset itself. In any case, I'll go check my settings.(I was also having trouble with my Cosmic Connie email yesterday; private emails were bouncing back.) Maybe the Secretrons are working their magic, LOL. Anyway, thank you again for your continued support!

Friday, March 16, 2007 11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Lana said...

Okay, good. I thought maybe you didn't want to receive accolades for being serious :-)

I hope people come back and post!

No worries. My intentions, which are based on love, are higher and therefore more powerful than any Secretrons trying to harm you and your blog.

Friday, March 16, 2007 1:04:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Then I'm especially grateful to have you on my team, Lana. :-) Thanks again.

Friday, March 16, 2007 1:14:00 PM  
Blogger rajamaheswarg said...

It is interesting to read this article, Free tools and rescurces to help you shift your prosperity consciousness. Written, audio and interactive content including interviews with teachers from "The Secret" and the free online Prosperity Game.
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Thursday, March 22, 2007 3:09:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for writing, Raja. I'll say this about that site: it has a pretty Flash animation. Notice to everyone else: It is a pro-Abraham-Hicks / Secret / LOA site.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 9:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan Tutt said...

Hi Connie,

It's interesting to read about your disbeliefs about what is currently called "the Law of Attraction", and the judgements you've made regarding those of us who share our insights into this phenomenon.

I see that comments are being moderated, so it will also be interesting to see if you allow this post to go public.

From what you've described, it appears that the email you received that eventually led you to my website must have come from someone that has obtained resale rights to the ebook. If that person spammed you, I apologize, but I think it's a little unfair to label ME as a spammer because of it. I never send emails to anyone that does not get through a double opt-in process, which means that people really have to want my messages before they actually get them.

To label me as a 'huckster' might be more of a matter of opinion, and you are certainly entitled to yours. I understand that you find the concept that thoughts direct experiences a little hard to accept, and I can respect that position.

Since you seem to be willing to dig a little deeper into things, you might want to look up a book called "The Holographic Universe" by Michael Talbot. He quotes quite a number of scientific research experiments that demonstrate a correlation between consciousness and matter. Very interesting reading.

The main point in all the LOA stuff that has become popular recently is the same point that's been made for thousands of years - your life is a reflection of your inner self. Where I disagree with the makers of "The Secret" is that the information has never really been secret, although there have been those who have wanted it to be.

Just about every church, library, and hotel room in America has a copy of the Bible, in which Christ is quoted numerous times as saying "According to your faith is it done unto you." He also makes very strong claims, saying that if you believe without doubt, you could even have mountains throw themselves into the sea. Those of us who write about the same philosophy are simply putting our own spin on the concepts and helping the message get to a wider audience.

Yes, I agree that there are those who have used the recent popularity of the concept as a springboard into an area where they didn't previously have any experience. That justifies much of your discontent with the field, and again I apologize for what others have done. It's like when a bad salesperson gives all salespeople a bad reputation.

Although it's a minor point, your post makes it appear that I'm one of those that has "come out of the woodwork" since the making of "The Secret". That is incorrect, and all of my current products have been produced prior to that time. The ebook you mentioned (The Keys To Power Prosperity) was written and released late 2005.

Actually, if you had done a little more Googling, you would have found that there are some people selling copies of it on eBay for $2 each.

I do have a new book that I'm working on, due out later this year that will focus the message in a slightly different direction. Even then, I intend to keep a respectful distance from the whole "Secret" crowd.

Sunday, April 01, 2007 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Alan, I am always glad to hear dissenting opinions, particularly those of the people I write about. I am sorry for lumping you in with the "Secret" hucksters. It seems that someone else has indeed been exploiting "The Secret" to sell your work. I just assumed that you were responsible for the email or that you had approved it. My mistake.

I am aware of the longevity of the ideas you talk about, and I agree that LOA and other principles are no "big secret." The "secret" angle was simply a brilliant marketing gimmick. Further, despite my jaded views I have no trouble accepting that thoughts are very powerful things. However, I draw the line at believing that by the power of thought (or faith) alone, a human being can literally make mountains throw themselves into the sea. I am sure Christ was speaking metaphorically.

I am also aware of Talbot's work. My impression (though I do not claim to be very literate in these matters) is that although Talbot had some interesting ideas, he mixed a lot of new-age mysticism in with these ideas, which, in my book, seriously compromised his credibility. But I am always open to exploring these ideas in more detail and I thank you for the suggestion.

I applaud you for keeping that respectful distance from "The Secret" crowd. However, I'm sure you also realize that more and more people are getting as jaded as I about the constant hype that's part of any MLM scheme. Even so, I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming book, and I hope your work continues to be satisfying and profitable for you. Just try to keep a rein in on those hustlers. :-)

Sunday, April 01, 2007 4:48:00 PM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Christ "also makes very strong claims, saying that if you believe without doubt, you could even have mountains throw themselves into the sea."

I think it appropriate to inject the essence of an old Muslim proverb here, where the faithful are told that if they cannot bring Muhammed to the mountain, they hold the power to bring the mountain to him. The "qualifier" is that, before they can access that power, they must first possess the wisdom that put the mountain there in the first place. As a result, the mountain stays.

As to attributing the "spamming" to others, such has been the typical response by many of the hustlers (not to mention political candidates). While I don't think Connie was necessarily saying that you are one of them, I would offer that, given that this "viral marketing" process is rampant among MLM aficionados, combined with the fact that you are engaged in your own MLM activities, it does not require any kind of leap in logic to assume that some of your own marketing techniques might be consistent with the hucksters.

Please do not take this as a slur against you. I am merely suggesting that if you honestly do not agree with the spamming techniques, I would think it a good idea for you to disassociate your products from those who use those techniques. It's not that difficult to do, and would go a long way toward distancing your own products from those of the hustledorks, if that is what you wish to do. Just a thought...

Monday, April 02, 2007 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, Ron. You said it better and more concisely than I could have.

Monday, April 02, 2007 11:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Alan Tutt said...

Hi RevRon,

In response to your comment:

"I would offer that, given that this "viral marketing" process is rampant among MLM aficionados, combined with the fact that you are engaged in your own MLM activities, it does not require any kind of leap in logic to assume that some of your own marketing techniques might be consistent with the hucksters."

that could also be extended to apply to anyone who maintains blogs, since many hucksters online also maintain blogs.

Most of the businesses in the world use some form of multi-level marketing. It's usually a chain from manufacturer, to wholesaler, to retailer. That's multi-level, and used by the most upstanding businesses you'll find anywhere. Would anyone here call the big New York publishers hustledorks because they use middlemen?

I understand that you're trying to keep things real and do that by holding those in this field accountable for their claims, and I sincerly respect that. Please don't go to the other extreme in the process, okay?

I hear that you're suggesting that there might be some honest mistakes going on here in grouping one person with a group, and I can accept that possibility. I posted my original comment just to clarify the issue.

As I read through many of the postings here, I see a lot of claims that there is "no science to back up the claims" made by people like myself.

In order to say that there is no science behind something, one would have to know ALL of the science that is out there. Since this isn't possible for anyone, a safer statement would be to say "I am unaware of any science that supports this claim".

There is a lot of scientific evidence for the concept that our minds affect the world around us. However, at the moment, there is also a lot of scientific evidence to the contrary. The only conclusion we can really make is that IF it is true, then there are additional variables involved that we are unaware of.

There are many of us who are honestly approaching this subject with a scientific eye and will admit that there is a lot we don't know.

While I cannot yet PROVE beyond any shadow of a doubt that beliefs affect the world around us, I can say that I've seen substantial evidence to that effect, and that I think I've discovered ways to do this on a conscious level.

Will this work for everyone? No. But then again, neither will the miracle cures produced by the scientific medical community.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 3:12:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Now, this is the kind of discussion I like. I'm glad you joined us, Alan. The big objection that I and most critics have to "The Secret" is that its promoters and stars all seem to be saying that the Law Of Attraction is in fact an immutable law that has been proven by quantum mechanics / quantum physics. And they are using science as leverage for their ideas when it seems clear that many of them do not know what they are talking about.

So, Alan, kudos to you for making the distinctions you made. You at least seem to be taking a more honest approach, e.g., "I THINK this is true," and "There SEEMS to be evidence supporting this," and even, "It seems to be working for me, so it might very well work for you."

To me, that makes all the difference in the world.

I do, however, see where RevRon is coming from re "hustledorks," since I share his opinion. Of course every business must advertise, and most of them use middlemen of some sort to promote or sell their wares. What Ron and I find so aggravating are the 'New-Wage' type hustlers who glom onto every new product or service that comes down the pike, hyping it as a life-changing miracle breakthrough , and buddying-up to you in order to sell it to you. And they use terms such as "easy, effortless, foolproof," etc. It was one of these very hustlers, promoting one of your products, who made me think *you* were a hustledork, Alan.

Further, the business model of publisher/manufacturer -> wholesaler/distributor -> retailer is markedly different from the MLM we're talking about. To use one of your examples, Alan, as it happens I do have some gripes about big New York publishers (most notably, their focus on marketability above literary merit) -- but at least they don't pretend to be our best buds while they're trying to get us to give them all our money.

Anyway, as I said, I'm glad you've joined in the fun here!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 3:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan Tutt said...

Thank you Connie for your response. I like this kind of discussion as well. I also greatly value your objectiveness and willingness to see both sides of an issue.

I may be missing the distinction you are making regarding MLM.

Your original post mentioned the "resale rights" that I offered on my Keys To Power Prosperity ebook. From some of your earlier comments in this thread, it appears that you classify this as MLM.

Technically, that's not MLM as those who purchase a resale license do not share the proceeds of the sales with any 'upline'. The only resemblence that resale rights have with MLM is that a business opportunity is sold. But this is also true in any franchise like McDonalds.

The only thing that I do that can be considered MLM is my 2-tier affiliate program. Technically, this IS MLM, although a very limited form. However, I see no other way of setting up a distributor-type agreement without using this format. Personally, I don't see much difference between this and the normal product chain.

What most people mean when they use the term 'MLM' is a distribution system that pays commissions on several levels between the manufacturer and the end-user such as typified by Amway. In my mind, that requires more than 2 levels, but I understand that some people don't make that distinction.

Perhaps you can enlighten me as to how a 2-tier affiliate program is substantially different from the Manufacturer => Wholesaler => Retailer => Customer chain?

Any ways, I gather that your main contention isn't about the format, but the way the format is used (or at least the claims being made). If it were about the format, then none of us should be using email because it's used by spammers, nor should we establish websites, blogs, or any sort of affiliate program.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 4:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

You're right, Alan, my big gripe is about the way the format is being used. Thanks for helping me think before I lump everyone into one big category together. :-)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 5:22:00 PM  

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