Thursday, August 02, 2007

How The Secret changed my life.


I made it through twenty pages before I began to see the visuals. I imagined a paper mache sculpture of a sheep made from its pages...on fire. I imagined the book sinking slowly into dark waters...on fire. I imagined Poppets surrounding the it on fire.

If I wasn't bothered enough by the book, I had but to go to the website to look deeper into The Secret's hole. Had I wanted to look even deeper, I could've paid the fee to become an Abundant Member. No need. It is even more excluding than the book.

I decided not to waste the time. I have other things to do.

So right, at first I was angry. Angry at Byrne for duping people, angry at people for paying $20 for a book that tells them that whatever they want will come to them if they simply wish for it.

Fine. I want to be twenty, and a ballet dancer. In which direction should I stand as I command the universe? North, I think. Santa might hear me too, and throw in a tutu and some shoes, size six.
I realize I'm not unique. There are over 1500 reviews of this book up on Amazon alone. Lots of those are angry reviews.

After a little while, I decided it wasn't worth being angry about. I'd try being amused.

I read a few more pages. Was it possible that Byrne was joking? Laughing with others who recognize this old sham? That seems too mean-spirited to be funny, like playing keep away with a child too small to ever hope to reach the ball.
Surely that's not the case. Is it?

I moved on. Tolerance sounds good. If this book makes people feel better, then let them believe it. There's nothing wrong with positive thinking in itself. Is it possible that Byrne believes she's doing something to help people? After all, few people consider themselves to be evil, or even harmful. But, if so, why present something she made up as an ancient secret?

And, Byrne has the right to make money. This is a capitalist society. Ideally, everyone gains from this sort of exchange. So I ask myself who it is that Byrne is harming? I know who she's hurting. You do too. She's hurting the people who buy into The Secret, if only by misdirecting them and delaying actions that might actually help them attain their goals.

Then, there's the fear of one's own thoughts. I think my favorite was here:

Nothing can come into your experience unless you summon it through persistent thoughts.
--page 28, which also suggests that events in history where masses of lives were lost were attracted by the thoughts of those people.

Yes, you brought that car accident upon yourself with your thoughts. (I'm not kidding, it's on page 27.)

Possibly a disclaimer would help. "For entertainment purposes only."

Why is it okay for Byrne to present The Secret as though she believes it? How is it even possible for people to accept this made up, unsubstantiated method as "real" or "truth?"

Well, wake up, silly woman (me.) Some people believe soap operas are real too. Do those people deserve what they get?

By the same token do those who buy into Byrnes program deserve to be duped? After all, not all of the reviews I read were against the book. Some were from people who were keeping The Secret by their beds, buying copies for friends and family. Well -meaning people looking for answers.'s not like I never bought sea monkeys

Finally, I elected not to care, or at least, not to care much. Once I got there, I recognized a pattern. A gamut of reactions very similar to my reaction to the film "What the Bleep Do We Know?", the crock of shit that The Secret replaced, at the top of my list of crockery. I do, at least for "Bleep" have the fond memory of Pete and me guffawing throughout the movie. Thought we'd be asked to leave, actually.

So, how did The Secret change my life?
It cured me from the desire to "save" people from it, and whatever version of The Secret comes up next. It's not possible for "Wake Up" to be heard over the roar of such. Is it my responsibility to pull back the curtain? Is it anyone's?

For a few moments, it seemed anything I could say would be in vain.

Those were not particularly happy moments. So, as with other such quandaries, I applied my favorite rubric: The Truth is in the Middle.

The middle between begging people to wake up and dismissing them as too stupid to live might be to continue to work without losing any sleep over whether anyone 'hears.' It seems that when creating art in any form, finally one has to just do the work he loves without beating himself up worrying over how it's received.

As far as The Secret is concerned, I'll resist shaking shoulders and crying, "Wake up!"

Instead, I'll say, "Good luck with that," and mean it.

Your artist is going swimming.

g'night and thanks for checking in


Anonymous said...

Kudos! You are slightly more awesome after posting this. I have the same rant (though I never paid for the book or read it, for another matter), but you phrased it perfectly. Got my Chester by the way, and Donna says she loves her's too!


ravyn said...

The complete quote, from George Carlin goes like this:

"Somewhere between 'Live Free or Die', and 'Famous Potatoes', the truth lies. Probably a little closer to 'Famous Potatoes'."

chrisa511 said...

You're very good at laying your thoughts out ;) Had I read something like this, I would be slightly less civil, lol...That's something I need to work on and kudos to you for obviously having achieved that gift. And a great photo came out of all of it!

Anonymous said...

Oh, my gosh! Thank you! This is just what I've wanted to say about this book since I first "experienced" it on its publication.

Anonymous said...

One for the cheap and easy crowd hovering out there adrift in the quantum foam.

I know what The Secret is.


A fool and his $12.95 U.S/$14.95 CAN are soon parted.


I blame Oprah.

K said...

It is amazing how many people - people who should know better - really do believe that if you don't have a perfect life, you brought it on yourself. It's a surprisingly short trip from "Don't underestimate yourself" to "If you really wanted X to happen, you would do something about it yourself."

People such as J's new psychiatrist. Now his ex-psychiatrist.

That is a fantastic photo, though. Did it take long to round up all the poppets, or did they gather spontaneously?

Anonymous said...

Love the photo and the spot-on rant!

I've wished for hundreds of things through my life. I've wished really hard too- with my eyes all scrunched up- and most of those things did not happen.

I'm going to point others to your post when they ask me how I feel about that horsepucky.

Holly said...

I prefer Kermit's book "It's Not Easy Being Green". It doesn't pretend to hold any secret information, but gently reminds you that "life is like a movie" and you can "write your own ending" but it takes action and perserverance, not just wishing.

Carl V. Anderson said...

I don't have a problem with self-help books if they truly help people focus on what is important, etc. They just aren't for me. No matter how enlightening and wonderful they may be.

You see, I like fiction. Or nonfiction about people who write fiction. I like fictional accounts of nonfiction events. I like nonfiction about fiction. I'm a novel addict. I like stories. Real life be damned, I want to be transported somewhere else in my reading.

That's my Secret.

BTW, LOVE the Poppets En Masse picture.

Dan Guy said...

That is an AWESOME picture.

I too loathe The Secret. The flipside is that it's your own damn fault when bad stuff happens. Yeesh.

I think that, with hard work and perseverance, you can bring about wonderful changes/outcomes in life. Not just anything, though, and certainly not by merely thinking happy thoughts.

There's a big difference between always looking on the bright side of life and visualizing a check for $10k in your mailbox as hard as you can.

lisa said...

Kermit is ever so much smarter than Oprah.

The Poppets in this photo are from my "poppet hoard". They're my 'extras'--not painted in great detail, so they don't make good close ups, but they're really good for group shots like these---and for poppet diving.

Which reminds me. I could use some Poppet diving.

Anonymous said...


lisa said...

anonymous: You're entitled to disagree. I can even hear you without all caps. But I have to ask---is "You're an idiot," your best argument?

I've known me for a long time and, though I may be an idiot, I'm the sort of idiot that can make a case for my point of view without calling you an idiot, or rude, or inarticulate.

Try again. Make a point and I'll do my best to address it.

And, chill out. If you want to believe The Secret is the cheat sheet for the difficult curriculum of being human, knock yourself out.

Stacey said...

teehee! If I hadn't RSS'd your comments, I would have totally missed this.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with what your saying but then again im sure you and others think its worthless...well i think the secret is better than living life day to day trying to make everything work properly in your life. your the type to say do it is funny but true at some point, i know for a fact that no one is going to do anything for me unless i do it who cares, bcuz life is good and i think your in over your heels...shit this is so bunk!!! The book is great and the movie is aight. have a good life all of you who want to do everything that u dont care about.

Anonymous said...

^^^for the anonymous who commented earlier.^^^
"Who cares what happens when we get there, when the getting there has been so much fun?"

is a quote written by:- Will Schuester

This quote is great and all. I totally agree with you guys but i prefer to say who cares bcuz you all dont care. and i dont care either.

lisa said...

anonymous: first of all, you mean "you're" not "your."

secondly: I can't help you see what you're (not your) not seeing so...good luck.

Anonymous said...

The majority of the comments here are proof of the Law of Attraction, like attracts like, is well & truly in operation here. Cynical, mean-spirited peipke attract cynical, mean-spirited people. Well done folks.