Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

The Secret

Rate this topic


Gean
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'd actually like to see two other people go head on head on this topic! Do we have two people out there, one who supports the movie The Secret, and one who doesn't that would like to debate about it? Personally I like to be on the side lines and step in here and there to add my two cents...but I'd really like to see this one!!

--Gean

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Oh no no! Come on -- Obviously "thinking" doesn't achieve! It's the consistent action you must take!

Anyone up for the debate? I'm really curious to see it as there's much controversy around the net.

PERSONALLY, I'm a huge fan of the Secret...but you've gotta realize it was just the tip of the IceBerg!

After watching it I got more and more involved in the self-development world. Reading books, listening to audio books, taking courses. Great stuff.

Currently my FAVORITE book is John Assarafs Having it All: Achieving Your Life's Goals and Dreams (gave the link in case anyone wants to check it out) -- The reason why it is so amazing is that it's seriously The Secret multiplied by What the Bleep Do We Know (credits for that analogy go to someone I saw mention that on the Secret Forums which I absolutely loved!)

The reason it's so great is because it not only gives you fantastic goal setting procedures...but really teaches you why we do and don't achieve goals and how to develop the 'mindset' for success, so to speak.

The book is NOT something that says "Think happy thoughts and you'll achieve great things!" It's emphasis is on taking action!! It's absolutely fantastic.

Any how, that's my little rant...I got slightly off topic from "The Secret," per se...but my point in general is that the Secret is GREAT if you use it as a stepping stone to other materials in the self-growth world, and begin taking action, educating yourself, etc. The best thing anyone can do is follow the steps Successful people take! Especially those who have taken it multiple times and been successful in various ways!

--Gean

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never heard of this movie. There are several listings of movies called "The Secret" on IMDB, none of which I recognize. Could you link to the appropriate one?

Maybe it's just me, but it seems rather pointless to make a post in the debate forums about an obscure movie, and then request others to present both sides of the debate.

Why don't you present your arguments in support of the movie?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wrote a review of this movie for the Rebirth of Reason site -- and in abbreviated form on Amazon -- and reproduce it here in full:

The Law of Attraction -- Subjectivist Style

The self-help and actualization movement (SHAM) in America today offers two polar opposites of empowerment and victimization. The former argues that anyone can accomplish anything with enough force of will while the latter claims that everyone ultimately has no control and that someone or something else warrants blame for any misfortune one experiences. Admirers of Ayn Rand would likely much prefer to spend time with empowerment types than victimization types due to the former's optimistic sense of life. Nevertheless, the empowerment movement has so enamored itself with New Age "primacy of consciousness" metaphysics as to drive away even the most open minded Ayn Rand fans living by her realist philosophy, Objectivism. Given the amazing feats that people can accomplish with reason as their guide, this makes the empowerment movement especially tragic.

If anyone wants to grasp in one concentrated place the best and worst aspects of the empowerment movement, The Secret offers such an experience. In a single 92 minute rapidly paced video documentary filled with impressive visual effects, a moving score and a parade of impressively credentialed and influential speakers and authors widely respected within the empowerment movement, the viewer gets a feast of all that the movement has to offer. Sadly, that feast comes laced with a poison of profound, misleading, mystical errors and evasions that can literally lead multitudes of gullible viewers off the cliff of reason into the abyss of self-delusion.

The Web site for The Secret tantalizes viewers with trailers reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code claiming that "the secret" has remained the private information of select elites throughout history. With this information, the teasers claim, these elites have risen to power, earned fortunes, and kept the masses at bay in the toil of fields and factories. The creators of the movie assert that they have become the first in history to make "the secret" available to common people across the globe.

The video opens with a woman in dire straits attempting to get her life on track. She learns of "the secret" after researching the successes of great men and women throughout history. After more staged theatrics, the movie finally gets down to business.

What exactly constitutes "the secret"? Talking head after talking head explains it as the "Law of Attraction." The entire video argues that the universe responds to thoughts and manifests whatever a person habitually thinks. With dazzling special effects, the film shows various actors "reenacting" different situations, "broadcasting their thoughts" into the world and then experiencing externally the content of their internal, repeated, focused thoughts.

So, the argument goes, if you focus on the rotten nature of your job, your marriage, your social life and so forth, you will continue to manifest those awful experiences. Conversely, if you change your habitual thoughts to how great you want those parts of your life to become, then eventually the universe will respond like the genie from Aladdin's lamp: "Your wish is my command." Under this alleged natural law, anyone who couples enough emotion and sincere belief with repeated affirmations and habitual thoughts will eventually coax the universe into delivering the goods to his doorstep.

To abuse further the key term "natural law," Dr. John Hagelin, a Transcendental Meditation champion and former Natural Law Party presidential candidate, figures prominently in this documentary. As do his many fellow gurus, he excitedly talks about how wonderfully well the "Law of Attraction" works for all who sincerely apply it. Testimonial after testimonial gush forth from true believers. They claim that because they wished, affirmed, felt and visualized with enough "power of intention," they encountered abundance in all areas of life.

Naïve persons unfamiliar with the basic axioms of Objectivism -- existence, identity, consciousness -- and seeking a better life while avoiding the victimization route will find much appealing here. Unlike the morally arrested, subjectivist dupes of The Secret, however, Objectivists grasp that to act with genuine purpose requires knowing exactly what one wants, why one validly wants it, and then employing reason to achieve it. In that regard, then, "visualizing" exactly how one wants to experience the future can guide a person into experiencing that future provided he acts rationally and productively toward that purpose. If The Secret admitted to this limit then Objectivists would have little quibble with it.

However, this movie goes well beyond those objective limits. It asserts, in effect, that one does not need reason at all but can simply focus on "visualizing" and "experiencing" the future using "affirmations" in order to "attract" what they want from a universe that becomes as obedient to human will as Aladdin's genie: "Your wish is my command." Objectivists know better: A is A, and existence possesses primacy over consciousness.

Can an Objectivist employ a variant of the Law of Attraction that maintains sane metaphysics? Yes!

The Law of Attraction -- Objectivist Style

In the Objectivist metaphysics, the root of volition consists of the choice to focus. A person can focus his mind to bring reality into cognitive clarity, defocus it to turn his cognition into a fog, or even focus it away from reality to a fabricated world of evasions. In addition, the "crow epistemology" captures the finite nature of human consciousness. A person can only hold so many units of focus in his conscious attention at any one moment before his mind turns into a fog of "too many units."

Because a rational person needs to act with a clear sense of purpose, he needs to choose a life affirming purpose consciously and then maintain that purpose at the center of his focus so he can act productively toward it. His purpose gives his subconscious "standing orders" to begin working on the challenge of achieving it. Through reason, he can evaluate all concretes he encounters as beneficial, irrelevant or detrimental to his purpose. Because he keeps his productive purpose "in front of himself" cognitively, resources he might not otherwise notice begin to grab his attention. They existed already, but he never noticed them until he focused on his purpose and his need for those resources. His consciously chosen purpose thus "attracts" his focus toward the resources he needs to achieve that purpose. This sequence of explanations preserves the sane "primacy of existence" of Objectivist metaphysics and offers a fully grounded version of the "Law of Attraction." It stands in stark contrast against the insane "primacy of consciousness" subjectivist metaphysics of the "your wish is my command" crowd in The Secret.

Learning to focus on a manageable number of productive purposes and to achieve them through rational action offers the real formula for earned success in any endeavor. But the people behind The Secret want to keep that fact a secret. Otherwise, they would have to pack their bags, return to the primitive swamps of their Witch Doctor ancestors, and wallow in the mud in which they would have to live without the assistance of the authentic producers -- those who proudly apply reason to accomplish life affirming, consciously chosen, productive purposes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chops: Thanks for the reply. Actually I did post a little bit of how I felt in my follow up reply right before you yours! As for the link, go to www.thesecret.tv --

I'm actually really surprised people here aren't more familiar with it. It's not exactly an 'obscure' movie, though it is somewhat viewed by a sub-culture. People heavily involved in the world of self-development are very familiar with it for the most part.

LutherSetzer: Thank you so much for such a fantastic reply! I mean, you hit it RIGHT on. I completely agreed with you all up until your last paragraph, where you said how the people behind the secret want to keep that fact a secret. I think you would really appreciate Bill Harris's blog on the Secret.. He was featured in the secret, and discusses the problems with the movie as well. You see, the teachers of the 'Secret' were for the most part not portrayed the way they would have liked...

Bill wrote one blog titled: 'Control the universe with your mind?? Or just the tri-county area? Let’s clear up a few things about The Secret…" -- Go to Centerpointe, then click on "Blog," then scroll down to see that post. His post AFTER that one follows up on it a little more as well.

What you mentioned in your second to last paragraph of 'focusing on what you want,' which will then bring your attention to the things necessary to take action, is EXACTLY what John Assaraf teaches...the one I mentioned above in my last post...It's called the Reticular Activation System...otherwise known as the RAS. It is the part of our brain which is basically our own personal google system that searches out in the external world, what matches up in our internal world. That is why the basis of all those "positive thoughts," and thinking of "what you want," is so important, because your RAS will go in search of those things...the necessary step after that though is ACTION, that wihtout it, nothing will happen!!

--Gean

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also wrote a critical review of What the Bleep Do We Know!? at Rebirth of Reason and Amazon which you can read at

http://rebirthofreason.com/Spirit/Movies/134.shtml

My main problem with these and other self-growth materials is that, whatever their virtues, hardly any bother to appeal to the objective nature of reality and the need to appeal to reason, not "visualization" and "belief" and "passion," as the final arbiter of the worth and achievability of any particular goal. However, I disagree with the book SHAM which goes in the opposite direction toward an almost fatalistic view of human potential. So I published a critique of that book at Rebirth of Reason and Amazon which you can read at

http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Setzer...oble_Soul.shtml

I have written some articles on self-growth using Objectivism such as this one on Quicken:

http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Setzer...h_Quicken.shtml

Click my name at the top of that page to find other articles by me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Hi Luther,

Regarding your comment, 'hardly any bother to appeal to the objective nature of reality and the need to appeal to reason, not "visualization" and "belief" and "passion,"...How many have 'self growth materials have you actually looked into and really studied? I just find myself a little uneasy when I hear things such as this cause for the most part, when I hear these comments, it's by people who really have not studied the material, but just "heard" about it...or scanned through and saw the "main points..." -- In a lot of the personal growth books (at least the ones I've been exposed to), you could definitely scan the book and see that one might have most to do with "Visualization" and "Affirmation" for example, as the main points...but if you don't read into the material, you'll miss that they say that NONE OF THIS works without taking actually...the visualization and affirmation simply aligns your mind with ideas of what you need to do to achieve your goals. Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there who study self-development as well who miss the entire point, and think that they can just sit on their ass thinking happy thoughts and life will be great.

--Gean

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How many have 'self growth materials have you actually looked into and really studied?

Here are several of the self-growth materials encouraged by members of this web site;

http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/prodinfo.asp?number=AR91B

http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/prodinfo.asp?number=AR09B

http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/prodinfo.asp?number=AR07B

http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/prodinfo.asp?number=LP02B

Of course, other outlets are available for those books and others books about Objectivism. Have you read any of those books? They can truly change your life for the better! :thumbsup: Actually, given the purpose of this site, it really helps to have read and become familiar with some of those books. Are you sure The Secret can provide a better foundation for a happy, healthy, productive life when compared to the ideas and principles contained in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...

this is compete bullshit..

all hitler ever thought about was the complete extermination of the jews.

and yet judiasm is still alive and kicking...

on the other hand he DID wipe out 6 million of them...

if anything, the constant positive thinking leads to self-motivation.

this helps you eventually get the things you want.

theres no way i could gain something just by thinking about it.

cept maybe an erection....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
As far as I can tell The Secret is just another version of the primacy of conciousness.

I agree - it's basically primacy of consciousness (POC).

I think a lot of the advice is good, such as don't focus obsessively on the outcomes you fear or want to avoid, and have confidence that you can succeed in achieving your goals. I particularly like the part where they say there's no big blackboard in the sky that has your life's purpose written on it; that it's up to you.

But the metaphysics is POC.

It seems to me what actually happens is that by having clear goals, confidence in their achievement, and not fretting about them, you allow your subconscious to work more smoothly, make connections and present them to your conscious mind - things you'd miss if you were too busy worrying. (I just noticed I'm repeating what Luke wrote)

If someone isn't interested in learning and adopting a fully consistent philosophy, what would be the harm in their adopting this viewpoint ?

Couldn't they correct their understanding later if/when they decided to get more philosophical ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
...

If someone isn't interested in learning and adopting a fully consistent philosophy, what would be the harm in their adopting this viewpoint ?

Rand's article The Metaphysical Versus the Man-Made actually answers this question; for example:

...

The technique of undercutting man's mind consists in palming off the man-made as if it were the metaphysically given, then ascribing to nature the concepts that refer only to men's lack of knowledge, such as "chance" or "contingency," then reversing the two elements of the package-deal. From the assertion: "Man is unpredictable, therefore nature is unpredictable," the argument goes to: "Nature possesses volition, man does not--nature is free, man is ruled by unknowable forces--nature is not to be conquered, man is."

Most people believe that an issue of this kind is empty academic talk, of no practical significance to anyone--which blinds them to its consequences in their own lives. If one were to tell them that the package-deal made of this issue is part of the nagging uncertainty, the quiet hopelessness, the gray despair of their daily inner state, they would deny it: they would not recognize it introspectively. But the inability to introspect is one of the consequences of this package-deal.

Most men have no knowledge of the nature or the functioning of a human consciousness and, consequently, no knowledge of what is or is not possible to them, what one can or cannot demand of oneself and of others, what is or is not one's fault. On the implicit premise that consciousness has no identity, men alternate between the feeling that they possess some sort of omnipotent power over their consciousness and can abuse it with impunity ("it doesn't matter, it's only in my mind")--and the feeling that they have no choice, no control, that the content of consciousness is innately predetermined, that they are victims of the impenetrable mystery inside their own skulls, prisoners of an unknowable enemy, helpless automatons driven by inexplicable emotions ("I can't help it, that's the way I am").

Many men are crippled by the influence of this uncertainty. When such a man considers a goal or desire he wants to achieve, the first question in his mind is: "Can I do it?"--not: "What is required to do it?" His question means: "Do I have the innate ability?" For example: "I want to be a composer more than anything else on earth, but I have no idea of how it's done. Do I have that mysterious gift which will do it for me, somehow?" He has never heard of a premise such as the primacy of consciousness, but that is the premise moving him as he embarks on a hopeless search through the dark labyrinth of his consciousness (hopeless, because without reference to existence, nothing can be learned about one's consciousness).

...

So the harm is primarily to the person himself who adopts a viewpoint based on the Primacy of Consciousness.

The harm to me would be if I interacted with this person and by adopting this viewpoint they became a less valuable trading partner due to an increase in "the nagging uncertainty, the quiet hopelessness, the gray despair of their daily inner state".

Edited by Tom Hall
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...