The Secret: Also Spelled B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T
/// I lacked my usual editing time while writing this. There is likely a typo or two below. Tread lightly.
Off a Twitter conversation, and on a whim, I purchased a copy of The Secret. Reading the book was to be an experiment: What was all the noise about?
In our culture there arise touchstones of sufficient import that we need a working awareness of them if we are to understand the modern dialogue. The Secret is popular enough, and sufficiently enduring that at least a passing knowledge is good form.
Before you mange to read a word, however, you can already smell the bullshit. The slick cover, colored pages, various fonts and scripts all scream a single message: We are covering up a complete lack of substance. Note that I spared you the exclamation point.
That initial internal revulsion you feel when you heft a tome of obvious gibberish is borne out by the text is in this case borne out to an extent that I had not thought possible. The book is unreadable. I made it to page 56 before surrendering to a dull headache and retreating to my keyboard.
However, I made at least part of the climb, so let me describe the view from the mountain such as it is. Here’s the core point of the book, boiled down:
“If you want shit, it will happen, so want good shit, and not bad shit; do this by thinking good thoughts; after all, the universe is really cool.”
Yes, they managed to turn that spittle into not just a full length book, but one that was a number one bestseller. You have to sit back and ask yourself what this implies about the state of our reading population.
It certainly can’t mean anything positive.
What do I mean by that? The book is demonstrably incorrect, contradictory, vague where it should be precise, precise where it should - out of shame - be vague, insulting, overly inclusive to thought and tradition that it has no business calling its own, and perhaps worst of all, is a massive bore.
How any person managed to stretch their mental legs through this dreck is beyond imagination. Perhaps the sort of person who buys The Secret isn’t exactly that much on finishing books.
Oh, and there is a typo on the second page.
If you have even a grain of training in philosophy, logic, argument, or even the much ballyhooed ‘critical reading,’ then unpacking The Secret is almost a task in finding what is not wrong, and not what is.
I had been tempted to dally up a drinking game for reading the book, but I had to give it up as I realized that any sort of imbibing exercise in which the participants were asked to consume when bullshit cropped up on the book would have them drunk in one page, and in the hospital by the end of the third.
In short, the book is bilge. It is trash that has no place in our discourse except as the butt of jokes. It is demagogic chicken soup for the idiot soul.
[As an aside, the ‘name-it-and-claim-it’ Prosperity Gospel is quite similar, if less woo-ey, if you are already familiar with that bit of Christian trash.]
For fun, a few excerpts.
Here is a chunk from page 33 that well details how shit the book’s ideas, arguments, and conclusions are:
“Remember that your thoughts are the primary cause of everything. So when you think a sustained thought it is immediately sent out into the Universe. That thought magnetically attaches itself to the like frequency, and then within seconds sends the reading of that frequency back to you through your feelings. Put another way, your feelings are communication back to you from the Universe, telling you what frequency you are currently on.”
If that made no sense, you read it properly.
One more quote, from page 11, to further ice the fact that this little work is utter fatuity:
“You are a human transmission tower, and you are more powerful than any television tower created on Earth. You are the most powerful transmission tower in the Universe. Your transmission creates your life and it creates the world. The frequency you transmit reaches beyond cities, beyond countries, beyond the world. It reverberates throughout the entire Universe.And you are transmitting that frequency with your thoughts!”
However, there is an implied threat to The Secret, an element of blackmail. See if you can spot it:
“Often when people first hear this part of [T]he Secret they recall events in history where masses of lives were lost, and they find it incomprehensible that so many people could have attracted themselves to the event. By the law of attraction, they had to be on the same frequency as the event. […]
You have a choice right now. Do you want to believe that it’s just the luck of the draw and bad things can happen to you at any time? Do you want to believe that you can be in the wrong pace at the wrong time? That you have no control over circumstances?”
Of, if I may: “Not believing every inch of this book will get you killed. So buy another copy just in case, and send one to your Aunt. The mean one.”