Monday, March 12, 2007

The "Secret" Is Out

Today tastes like Starbucks' coffee with nondairy creamer. Burnt and unsatisfying, yet undeniably popular.

The big movement in metaphysics is positive visualization, backed up with quantum physics for a blend of soft science (QP can be brought in and discussed without recourse to mathematics, unlike solids and liquids or chemistry) and feel good fantasy1. Cf What the Bleep Do We Know and Down the Rabbit Hole.

The latest installation is The Secret. Basically, it's another flick about the law of attraction, with a heavy materialistic spin. Want more money? Believe you already have it, and it will come to you! Want fame? Believe and it will be there! Want a really good parking space? See it in your mind's eye, and have it!

And if you don't, then clearly there's some negative energy that you need to get cleared out before you will be basted in butter and wrapped in warm blankies.

Ahem. So, since I am a believer in synchronicity, and the universe has thrown this theme at me three-four times in the last couple of weeks (I HEAR YOU ALREADY) I'm gonna blog this and see what comes2.

See, the straw that sent the camel to the chiropractor came when two people whom I admire very much on the web (One has more creativity in her little finger than I do in my whole brain, it seems) ('Tother writes and advises well enuff that I spent some of my very own buckage on her books. I didn't even look for them remaindered on Overstock, or used on eBay, that's how willing I was to actually support the writer and not the stockist) took up the issue of positive visualization. It seems One sat down with The Secret and thought her little hiney off and visualized herself into third eyestrain, and surprise! Nothing happened. The Perfect Life (TM) did not fall from the ceiling into her very lap.

'Tother was a little confused by the things people were spending their energy wishing for--I lifted the parking space from 'Tother's report of the movie. < hangs head shamefully> 'Tother wondered about the extreme hype of "If you want it, you can have it--but you can't doubt it for a minute." Uhm, how can you avoid doubt? Even for a minute? We are complex beings, after all.

And yeah, technically I should link their blogs here, since I'm having the temerity to disagree with them in public. But I don't disagree with them so much as I'm thinking that they're throwing out the bathwater before doing a nose count to make sure the babies are all out.

So spank me in the comments. I'm a big girl. I can take it.

See, you gotta remember with all the positive visualization/magical thinking processes that the addendum is "Wish in the one hand and spit in the other." In other words, wishing will only open up your hand to possibilities. Doing is the thing that will actually get your hand full.

Dear One, I'm going to address you directly, because you spelled out your story so clearly. (Besides, 'Tother hasn't disabled comments on her blog, so I could reply to HER directly. (And I did.)) You visualized yourself in an office job. But you hate office jobs, remember?? You suffered for a couple of years doing a temp job. You wrote in your blog that you felt strong resistance just VISUALIZING this outcome. So I can imagine just how many steps you took to start making it come true.

Did you even get out of zazen long enought to check the want ads?

Yeah, like that.

You didn't "create right" in the sense that you stood at the canvas and imagined having a completed painting. Subject matter? Oh, something. Composition? Yeah, it'd have colors, and spaces, and stuff. Line? There'd be lines, I guess.

And then you walked away from the canvas, disgusted by the LACK OF PAINTING, angry that the painting WAS NOT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU--before even putting charcoal to canvas to start a sketch, or paint to pallete, never mind brush to canvas. You refused to do any of the WORK that needs to come after the visualization; you created in the passive sense. You imagined, just as you thought "they" were telling you to do. However, you forgot that "they" also say you have to get up and DO in order to make this work.

Positive thinking is a TOOL--it will no more get you the result you want than laying the can opener next to the can on top of the stove will get you a hot lunch. You have to USE the tools to get the results.

And yes, the hard part of positive thinking (positive action) tends to get glossed over in the mainstream media, tends to get blown by in the sound bites, and is NEVER used to sell the literature--no more than McDonald's is going to flog actual calorie content of the latest Big Fat McBurger and recommended calorie intakes for the average human being in its advertising. No one wants to hear that you can eat ONE meal and get all your kCals for the day (and your fat for the week!!) out of that.

No one wants to hear "eat right and exercise and you can be healthy and as fit as you're gonna git." No, we wanna hear about the magic pill that will make you six inches taller, 25-50 pounds slimmer and 10 years younger while you sleep and eat anything you want in unlimited portions. So that becomes the sales line--you need to do the research and find out what the caveats are.

Heinlein was right -- TANSTAAFL3.

I'm not sure where your sense of surprise and indignation comes from.

Love, Spike

1. What's wrong with feeling good? Nothing, so far as I'm concerned. What have you lost but an opportunity to feel bad? If belief in an Imaginary Friend gets you through the long dark teatime of the soul that man is heir to, then feel free--but don't expect me to set a plate for Ralphie, or to shake his hand.

Unless, of course, I can see Ralphie too.

2. Gareth has said, on more than on occasion, that I am the sort of person things happen to. And yeah, that's true to a certain extent, because I am the sort of person who has connections like a spider in her web. I am on many many mail lists with people who share one or more of my esoteric interests, and have many equally esoteric interests of their own. So I ask someone if she knows X, and suddenly the list erupts with sources for X.

Or, in the course of being interested in a particular producer of yarn, I'll get an e-mail where that producer is looking for folks who design, and like her product. Stuff happens all around you IF you keep your eyes open for it.

3. For you non-fans: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. See The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Or better yet, read it.


georgeious said...

i'll read heinlen, so long as i NEVER have to read the secret. i hear about it at work at least every half hour. oprah is not the boss of me! :)

and that's my creative action (v. just visualization) for the day.

altermyworld said...

Can i just say "The Secret" is a crock of shit.

Nola said...

Gotta love a girl who tells it like it is! Mind you, I do find you channelling my mother like this just a little weird... "if wishes were horses...."