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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"Shh... It's a Secret!"

When I heard about The Secret, my first thought was of the routine Victoria Jackson would do on SNL back in the '80s. She would dress up in Victoria's Secret lingerie, vamp at the camera, and purr an anectode about being a bimbo, always ending with "Shh- it's a secret!" Sadly, the self-help/new age juggernaut known as The Secret isn't anywhere near as fun.

Obviously, the filmmakers used What the Bleep Do We Know? as a model. In short- there actually is a good message buried in there. Sadly, it's smothered by a) quotes from people whose only qualifications are that they believe in what the film is saying, b) quotes taken out of context from various religious texts, and c) a lot of quick and easy gobbledygook about quantum physics. The reason for the quantum physics is to convince people that there is a scientific validity to the core concept. As most scientists with PhDs have problems wrapping their brains around quantum physics, it is correctly assumed that most viewers will just accept that it "proves" what the filmmakers are trying to say. This is the bit that really pisses me off.

So what's the whole message? Think positive, and be thankful. That's it. Well, not exactly. The Secret (A phrase that they keep repeating over and over again) is based on The Law of Attraction: if you truly feel and believe in good things, then good things will be attracted to you. But you have to believe it with all your heart and soul. Is it not working? Then you just don't believe enough. Shame on you. Now at first, this all sounds like crap, but I don't think it is entirely. Having a positive outlook and being thankful is a wonderful reality tunnel to get into. It's a hell of a lot better than swirling down in self-hatred and depression. But forcing yourself to repress naughty thoughts until you get stomach cancer can't be any good either.

Let's go back to What the Bleep Do We Know? The nugget I found in that movie is that everything in our brains is electro-chemical, including emotions, and the brain easily becomes addicted to chemicals. So if your brain becomes addicted to you feeling like shit, then your subconscious will cause situations that make you feel like shit to happen. If your brain becomes addicted to feeling good and thankful, then your subconscious will create good things for you to be thankful about to happen. There is also the question of perspective. If your reality tunnel is centered on the world being a horrible and miserable place, then no matter what happens to you, it will be. If your tunnel is that the world is a joyous and beautiful place, then no matter what happens to you, it will be.

So what's the answer? I try to follow the Zen practice of living in the moment, focusing on what I'm doing, and enjoying it as much as possible. This isn't always easy, especially if you have a runaway imagination (and mouth) like mine. Be aware of your emotions. Don't judge them as "good" or "bad," but step back and observe them. If you want, choose to be thankful, and choose to be be positive.

If I had to recommend two psychology books, I would suggest Robert Anton Wilson's Quantum Psychology (there's that quantum thing again) and Prometheus Rising. They're not road maps to feeling any particular way, but they are quite enlightening. If you'd rather read about these ideas in a fictional setting, then I'd suggest his science fiction classic The Illuminatus Trilogy (co-authored with Robert Shea) and it's sequel, Schroedinger's Cat Trilogy. That's it from Tony's book club.

TTFN
-Tony

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the laugh Tony! I never thought the 'secret' was a secret! Creative visualisation is a good one when you can't sleep at night (I call it wishing)but living the here and now is the best. *I wish I had time to read books*

Diana Evans said...

Hi Tony...great post today...

I have to confess that I do believe that we make things happen in our lives...but I never ever thought it was a big secret...

it did make them some huge coin in the end...

...if you're hungry...pop by for some pancakes and a sandwich...

Cheers,
Diana

Aravis said...

Quantum Psychology sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out. Thanks!

Craig J. said...

I've read Prometheus Rising (along with a lot of other Robert Anton Wilson books), but haven't come across the other book.

I'm glad you told me what "The Secret" is. Now I feel like I'm in "the know."

V said...

Hi, Tony,

Came over from Steve's blog. Very good post about the whole "secret." phenomena. Isn't it nice that you can just wish something and it happens? That's pretty much what they are saying in that movie. Like the universe is some sort of cosmic cash machine. Anyway, speaking of books, I had just purchased the book "Schrodinger's Cat" the other day which is weird reading about it here. Now was that coincidence or the law of attraction? hmm.

Anyway, great post. And btw: I grew up in Woodside. Went to PS152.

captain modroom9 said...

Yes the Here and Now is a good place to be!

imwithsully said...

I really need to learn how to step back and observe situations more carefully sometimes. Working in an ad agency with one emergency project after another, I often find myself with the glass half full. I am going to check these books out.

imwithsully said...

I meant half empty...

Diana Evans said...

Hi Tony...glad you popped by for some treats...

the good news is I have more...

If you get hungry ...pop by!

Cheers,
Diana

isay (Marissa) said...

Interesting topic over dinner Tony.
Why not? dinner's at my place tonight...anon can fly,ohh i mean can come, too.