Religion & Beliefs

The Secret: The Dark Side

Ever since two horrible events last week—the massacre at Virginia Tech and the brutal rape and torture of a Journalism student at Columbia University—I have had a hard time sitting down to write about The Secret. Not only because such … Read More

By / April 23, 2007

Ever since two horrible events last week—the massacre at Virginia Tech and the brutal rape and torture of a Journalism student at Columbia University—I have had a hard time sitting down to write about The Secret. Not only because such ethereal musings seem frivolous in the face of such real nightmares, but also because of The Secret’s dirty little secret: Not only does it teach the law of attraction for good, but also for bad. Here’s Secret Person Joe Vitale:

Everything that surrounds you right now in life, including things you’re complaining about, you’ve attracted. Now I know at first blush that’s going to be something that you hate to hear. You’re going to immediately say, “I didn’t attract the car accident. I didn’t attract this particular client who gives me a hard time. I didn’t particularly attract the debt.” And I’m here to be a little bit in your face and to say, yes, you did attract it. This is one of the hardest concepts to get, but once you’ve accepted it, it’s life transforming.

Hearing this statement on the video, and reading it later in the book, I was horrified. What does this guy mean, accidents are our fault? Accidents are, by definition, accidents. This concept of total individual responsibility has dangerous implications: it can make us feel all-powerful—omniscient even—which is exhilarating when what’s happening is good, potentially devastating when it isn’t. The Secret plays to both sides of narcissism. Why would we be attracted—no pun intended—to a philosophy that assigns blame to the blameless? Aside from what might be a sense of masochistic martyrdom inherent to the new American character, I would also attribute it to our culture’s endemic solipsism. A terrible thing happened to them, but I am a positive thinker, so it cannot happen to me. It’s a mode of superstitious self-protection. Yet another way to differentiate us from them. Until we become one of them.