April 17, 2007

I will now trash The Secret without ever having seen the movie

The Secret: stupid feel good bullshit designed to make people delusionally happy (at least, delusionally happy enough to spend their money).

I can tell you why it's stupid, because I have the book that the movie is based on. I checked it out from the library. And to further point out how stupid it is, I don't even have to read a word of the book to trash it. All I need is the copy on the cover.

The book claims that a secret "has been passed down through the ages" and that now this book will reveal it to you (for $23.95, if you're not friendly with libraries). Read on: "As you learn The Secret, you will come to know how you can have, be, or do anything you want."

The book supports this claim by stating that this "secret" was known by "some of the most prominent people in history". It lists them: Plato, Galileo, Beethoven, Edison, Carnegie, and Einstein.

This is how we know this book is already contradicting itself. If these men (apparently the secret has only been known to men) could have anything they wanted, why did Einstein struggle for most of his adult life to come up with a Unified Theory of Everything (he failed)? Why was Carnegie's reputation permanently damaged by the Homestead Incident?  Why did Edison have to try thousands of different filaments before he got his light bulb working? Why was Beethoven deaf? Why was Galileo persecuted for his heliocentric model of the universe? Why was Plato unable to stop the unjust trial that resulted in Socrates's death?

In reality, these men suffered, just like the rest of us (okay, maybe Carnegie didn't suffer that much, but the others did). I'm all for positive thinking--it helps people. It has helped me, even. But when positive thinking works, it has more to do with accepting what you have than trying to "have, be, or do anything you want."

Besides, this book has people like Neale Donald Walsh contributing to it, a man who claims to have conversations with a god that called George Bush I a "visionary."

"Life is pain.... Anyone who says differently is selling something."

         -From William Goldman's The Princess Bride

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