"The Secret" may fade, but stupid is forever
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.
I’m sure that Einstein, one of the unwitting stars of The Secret, would view Rhonda Byrne’s infomercial as a prime example (or, to be more exact, a Prime Time example) of human stupidity.
Some might argue that the bloom has faded from The Secret rose. Or, to throw another metaphor into the mix, "The Secret train has left the station," according to Walter Terry at the ROI Copywriting blog. The train may have left, but that hasn’t stopped the herd of hustledorks who are still trying to catch it and, with varying degrees of success, cash in on the franchise.
Even so, the formerly frenetic buzz around The Secret has calmed down a bit. Things were even kind of quiet on The Secret official discussion forum for a while, at least in the sense that nobody was saying anything that struck me as excessively inane. Then my pal Tony Michalski alerted me to a thread initiated yesterday by David Schirmer, the lone Aussie talking-head on The Secret. As luck would have it, I just mentioned Schirmer here the other day, in the context of announcing an article about Schirmer and The Secret written by another Aussie, Scott Pape, for Australia’s largest daily, the Herald Sun.
Schirmer is now on the front lines defending The Secret against unfair criticism – fighting the good fight, according to the Secretrons. On May 24 he announced his appearance on one of Australia’s hard-hitting news shows:
I am doing a shot with Channel 9 "A Current Affair"* today (and yesterday). It will be a great plug for The Secret. I'm sure they are going to try lots of hard and crazy questions ... the great thing is that the truth is always the truth and it is hard for people to deny that when presented with the correct facts. I am lead [sic] to believe I will also be addressing the question that Rhonda has copied this other woman's work (can't remember her name but wrote a book in 2003!)
I'm not sure when it will air, it guess it will either be tonight or early next week.
The first person to respond wrote, "Whose [sic] this, 'Other Woman'?" Soon enough there was this reply: "The other woman, is someone who wrote another book on the LOA."
At first I thought these folks were referring to Esther Hicks and her imaginary pals Abraham, who were featured quite prominently on the original version of The Secret DVD. (Not to give short shrift to Esther’s hubby Jerry, who wasn’t on the DVD but who, like some very ambitious New-Wage pimp, pushed Esther into "the life" in the first place by encouraging her to create her imaginary buds. No doubt about it, Jerry and Esther have earned themselves a fortune with this Abe-gang shtick.) Anyway, at the dawn of The Secret era Rhonda had a wonderful relationship with Esther and Jerry, who have perpetrated, among other works, a book called The Law Of Attraction. These days, however, Esther, Jerry and…um…"Abraham" are railing against Rhonda’s greed and have even released a DVD proving that they, and not Rhonda, are the ones who really know the true Secret.
So when I read Schirmer's post and the initial responses, at first I was thinking, How could these folks have such a short memory? How could dedicated Secretrons not remember the sacred names of Abraham-Hicks?
Then I did a little more digging. The woman whose name no one, including Schirmer, could remember, is not Esther Hicks; she is, apparently, Vanessa J. Bonnette, a holistic healer who – and this should come as no big surprise – claims to know secrets that The Secret didn’t reveal. Vanessa also claims that Rhonda plagiarized her 2003 book, Empowered For The New Age.
Rhonda has refused comment on this allegation. But apparently she doesn’t need to comment, for she has her posse of passionate defenders. F'rinstance, they angrily responded to one of my recent posts, leading Tony M. to make the observation that while so far not one person has made a comment on my recent post about Emile Coué, "...you off- handedly (and somewhat satirically) say that Rhonda pops pills and ... WHAM! ... a veritable sh-t storm of activity. Go figure."
Rhonda's defenders are out in force on Schirmer's Secret forum thread too. The Secretron I quoted added this (which I’m going to present unedited, without the constant insertion of "sic"):
And as for that other lady, i dont really care if Rhonda stole her or anyones work.
The point is, since the secret was released (whether it was clever marketing or not) people around the world are happier and have so much hope.
The LOA is a law like gravity. So it would be stupid if Sir Isaac Newton starts complaining that the law of gravity was stolen from him.
If its a law, it doesnt belong to anyone!
And that other author, honestly when you look at her, its obvious that she has not applied anything from LOA to herself, so its natural that people are not going to believe what she says.
If she believes the LOA, then she should stop complaining!
Ah, yes… the invocation of Sir Isaac Newton and the law of gravity. It always seems to come up when the Law Of Attraction is mentioned. Haven’t we seen this discussion before? And I like that Secretron's amoral attitude regarding theft of intellectual property.
In any event, David Schirmer had a disappointing experience with his interview (and again, I’m not editing or "sic"-ing this):
…have just got back from my interview and I have been setup. I was invited into the studio under the pretense that it was to answer questions from people who wanted to know how to apply the Secret in their life. When I got in there I found out it was a huge anti-secret, anti-david, The Secret is a con, I am a con ... the interviewer talked over me the whole time with information he had twisted to make out that I (and The Secret) am one big fraud. Every time I attempted to share the truth behind accusations he cut me off or talked over the top. I now understand how Rhonda felt after she was attacked by the media and why she rarely does any interviews any more.
It feels so weird after you've helped many thousands of people to get a handful of people not tell the truth. So right now I'm REALLY looking for the seed of greater benefit in this adversity!
Naturally the Secretrons rallied to his side, with one of them offering this assurance to David:
I believe David that when we hear this negative talk those who believe band together and become stronger! There are always going to be critics out there, their problem not ours. The wonderful thing is, is how many people have changed their lives thanks to the secret and people like you. Look at me for instance, remember my situation and what you did for me and the secret so i will always be a fan of it all!!!
…their attacks on Law of Attraction will only cause those who dont know about it, to dig a little deeper and see what all the fuss is about.
They will find us - and the truth.**
And yet another:
…she [the woman who claimed Rhonda plagiarized her] is a perfect example as to why her book wasnt successful in bringing the information from the universe through and Rhondas did (Rhonda is genuine in bringing this info thru) im sure she was chosen for the pureness and truth of her ...no one "stole" anything like Rhonda said in the DVD about the secret exisiting for ages and all of the people who knew the secret ..she merely put it together and HER book/DVD took ....people related to it ..and were ready for it .. it is the way it has always been people against and people for ..it is designed to reinforce the truth ..the knowledge we know inside ourselves to be true ..thats all that matters there will always be the yin and yang to keep balance to the universe ..to make those nonbelievers WANT to believe reguardless to what is being presented and in what light…
A few comments later, Schirmer himself came back thanking everyone for their support, adding, "Someone said to me today that as you try to change the world for better some will try to destroy you rather than change their beliefs."
And so David Schirmer joins Rhonda Byrne in the ranks of the world’s great martyrs: those who fight bravely to make the world a better place, only to be viciously attacked by the dark forces. To read the entire PI Forum thread, click here.
Y’know, Schirmer may indeed have been set up by the folks at the TV show, and if so, shame, shame on them. But I don’t think we really need to be too concerned about his future. Matter of fact, I’m sure he is crying all the way to the bank. After all, as my friend Blair Warren has pointed out, Schirmer is one of those at the top of the Secret pyramid. He’s pretty much made his fortune by telling others that they can make a fortune too. The whole thing is basically just a giant MLM scheme. And as long as The Secret has any power at all, there will be no shortage of folks who try to use it to reach their own pinnacle. But someday the pyramid may come toppling down,*** as Blair notes:
At some point people have to do some actual work, produce something of real value lest the thing collapses.
Oh well, at least the truly "spiritual" ones at the top of the pyramid will have already made their piles of money by the time that happens. And when it does their success will only further "prove" how spiritual they were and how much more work their minions still have to do.
After all, the Universe likes greed.
Meanwhile, the Secret rose may fade and eventually wilt, but more roses – oh, many more, count on it! – will grow in its place. The train may leave the station, but another one will come along, and then another.
And the infinite universe of human stupidity will only continue to expand.
* Not to be confused with the defunct syndicated US "television newsmagazine."
** If they really find "the truth," it’s curtains for The Secret for sure.
*** (Added a couple of years later): For David Schirmer, the pyramid did indeed come tumbling down. The Current Affair expose was just the beginning of his troubles, and he remains one of the least successful and most obscure "stars" of The Secret. Follow the "David Schirmer" tag here and you'll get an idea.