Unevolved...or just unimpressed?
I want to share something that might come as a bit of a surprise to some fans of The Secret. You could, I suppose, call it another secret. Here it is: Not everybody who dislikes The Secret, or argues against the assertion that the Law Of Attraction is "scientific," does so because he or she is (1) "not ready" for the message; (2) not spiritually or emotionally evolved enough to grasp Truth; (3) closed-minded; or (4) jealous of the rich New-Wagers who have cleaned up so handsomely on The Secret.
When it comes to the ideas promoted in The Secret, some of us have simply "been there, done that." It’s not that we’re not ready for these ideas. It’s just that, for any number of reasons, we’re not impressed by them. It’s not that our minds aren’t open, or that we are incapable of grasping the Law Of Attraction. Many of us have seriously considered the ideas and rejected them, or perhaps have even embraced some of these notions ourselves at one time, but have since discarded them. (And I daresay most of us who reject the idea that the Law Of Attraction is a scientific principle formed that opinion after studying material produced by real scientists.)
And it’s not that we begrudge the New-Wage capitalists their wealth. Many of us simply take issue with the way some of that wealth has been gained: at worst, by selling empty promises, and at best, by selling…well, the opportunity to sell. Regarding the latter, I think Blair Warren put it very well in this post on his Crooked Wisdom blog. (He took a more cynically humorous approach in this one.) Read Blair’s posts and ask yourself, Do those sound like the words of someone who is "not ready" for the message in The Secret, or who is too spiritually undeveloped to grasp it? Or do they sound as if they were written by someone who has observed the dynamics of New-Wage culture and sees The Secret as little more than another example – though a stunningly successful one – of viral marketing and MLM-style hustling?
As I wrote the other day on a discussion on my blog, someone looking at the "bigger picture" might say that the Secret/LOA phenomenon is just like any other cult, or, in less extreme cases, any other self-help or spiritual path in which people get all caught up. (As a matter of fact, there is a big Secret discussion going on at Rick Ross’s Cult Education Forum.)
When it comes to self-help/spiritual exploration, it seems to me that most of us are either "coming" or "going." And where we are on the path of exploration will have at least some influence on our opinion of The Secret. Those who are on their way in one direction – who are either still in the starry-eyed, "oh-wow" stage of spiritual/mystical discovery, or who've been "into" it a while but have some sort of emotional or financial investment in it – are much inclined to love The Secret. They are the ones most likely to reject or even resent criticism of it, with many dismissing the critics as being negative, poor sports, spiritually ignorant, jealous of the success of others, and the like.
Criticism of The Secret is far more likely to be accepted or shared by those who are on their way in the other direction – people who are experiencing early or late stages of disillusionment – or those who never got much into spiritual and/or self-help stuff in the first place. (Of the latter, I’ve found, some have applauded my treatment of The Secret, while others have thought I’m not being critical enough, or that I am being critical for the "wrong" reasons.)
Even so, we are all more or less on the same road, though it seems to be a very wide two-way street. As I also noted in my recent discussion, some would say it’s a circular track, and I’d have to agree. I've been going round and round on this track for a while, and I keep passing the same people.
Most of you who are regular visitors to this blog have probably read what I’ve written, on my Cosmic Relief web site, about my own spiritual journey, such as it is. For those who haven’t, here are some links:
The twelve-and-a-half steps of Personal Growth Survivors Anonymous (originally written as a promo for my book-like product, Cosmic Relief)
My attempt to get serious about the self-help/new-age culture, written back in my earlier days as a skeptic:
And here’s a bonus, written 13 or so years ago but still relevant today. This isn’t about my spiritual adventures; it’s just a little something for anyone who may have been the victim of a New-Wage practitioner:
The point is, I'm not new to any of this stuff. I once enthusiastically embraced some of the ideas and teachings that I now lampoon. I've learned some lessons the hard way, and I'm not finished learning.
But I do think I’m getting a little bit tired of writing about The Secret again, especially since I’ve just recently discovered an even more amazing breakthrough. So stay tuned, because what I am going to reveal next is really going to blow your skirt up. I hope you're wearing underpants.