SPidge Tales

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Secret: More New Age Mumbo Jumbo

Job was a good man. He was righteous in the eyes of the Lord. Yet, his wife and children died, his wealth disappeared, and hideous boils covered his body, leaving him sitting on a dung heap, left to ponder the meaning of his existence while his three self-righteous friends accuse him of sinfulness, since—of course!—anyone suffering misfortunate must be receiving punishment from God for something he did.Job pleaded with God for an answer. ‘Why, oh Lord, must I suffer?’ God gives Job no answer. God points out the simple truth that He, God, is creator of the world. It is His place, and His alone, to know. It is Job’s job (so to speak) to shut up, get on with his life, and keep his faith in the Lord.

If, say, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were to rewrite the Book of Job, they might substitute God’s silent answer with Jack Handey’s response to a little kid’s question about rain, ‘why is God crying?’: “Because of something you did.” Falwell and Robertson, after all, were the guys who blamed 9/11 not on the crazy Muslims who actually flew the planes into the World Trade Center, but on God pulling his providential hand of protection away from America because of the gays, feminists, secularists, and friends.

The response of the American people to these two preachers was a collective ‘what the f*** are they smoking?’ Yet, the wisdom of the Book of Job is lost on many, not just fundamentalist preachers. Just look at the latest New Age mumbo-jumbo, Rhonda Byrne’s New York Times best selling book and Oprah favorite “The Secret.”

The Secret consults great thinkers across the fields of psychology, physics, medicine, philosophy, and education to reveal the hidden truth about the greatest force in the Universe. Is this great force gravity? Is it any of the other laws of physics? Is this great force God, for the religiously inclined? No, it is none of these things. The most powerful force in the Universe is YOU!

That’s right, you are more powerful than gravity, the speed of light, a Nolan Ryan fastball, a teenage boy’s body odor. You are even more powerful than God. There is this mystical thing out there called the Law of Attraction. It says that whatever you are attracted to will be given to you. Let’s say I am attracted to—I don’t know—Jessica Alba. My attraction will send energy waves out into the universe and bring Jessica Alba to me since nothing is more powerful than the Law of Attraction. Are Jessica and I currently together? You’ll have to wait and see; first, there is a book review to finish.

Do you want wealth? Envision yourself being rich, and it will happen. Do you want a nice job? Imagine that cushy desk, fancy computer, and stunning secretary, and it will all be yours. Do you want to improve your golf game? Picture that ball rolling onto the green for a hole-in-one, and you will be the next Tiger Woods.

‘Ah,’ a detractor might say, ‘but what about the people who don’t get what they want? What about the poor schmucks who get what they don’t desire?’ The Law of Attraction is still in play, says Rhonda Byrne. Whatever you are envisioning or thinking about will come to you through the Law of Attraction. A person who loses his job may say he doesn’t like unemployment, but when he was thinking, ‘I don’t want to lose my job,’ his energy field sent out vibes attracting that job loss. You see, the Law of Attraction may be the most powerful force in the Universe, but it has trouble reading certain words in the dictionary. The Law of Attraction does not understand negative words like “no,” “don’t,” “can’t,” and “won’t.”

Imagine yourself walking down the street after a nice meal at the local Mexican restaurant. That pretty girl from your high school class (whom you haven’t seen in years) randomly walks by. You start a nice conversation, catch up on life, but all of a sudden, the beginnings of Montezuma’s Revenge appear. You let out that wet fart. Inside, you say to yourself, ‘please God! Don’t let this one smell.’ But the Law of Attraction does not hear “no.” The Law of attraction hears ‘let this one smell.’ The pretty girl from high school gets a whiff and quickly needs to leave.

Rhonda Byrne has an interesting theory, but has she ever considered that maybe the Law of Attraction—being the most powerful force in the Universe and all—actually CAN hear the word “no,” but people, when they are thinking these negative thoughts, think them in bad English? Maybe that kicker hoping not to miss a field goal is really a Spanish guy who speaks bad English. He thinks, “I no wanna miss no kick today.” Or it could be a factory worker thinking in ebonics, “I don’t wanna be losin’ no job today.” Then, the Law of Attraction would correctly interpret the proper intent of their language by giving them what they didn’t want but couldn’t articulate properly in their minds.

In case you are still wondering, no I am not with Jessica Alba. Maybe I emitted negative feelings, such as “please don’t let Jessica Alba and me be apart.” Or, maybe this Law of Attraction is just a bunch of bullshit, plainly seen when the book suggests that the victims of the Holocaust, somehow, someway, pulled negative energy towards themselves through some deep seated attraction to the Auschwitz ovens.

There is no “Secret” to happiness, success, and wealth. There are no energy fields out there attracting things to you through the subconscious. Sometimes, like in the story of Job, bad things happen to good people. Unlike what Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Rhonda Byrner believe, not everything that happens to us is our fault. Sometimes we need Robin Williams' psychologist character Sean McGuire to tell us, like he told Will Hunting, "It's not you fault."

In real life, you don’t get rich through happy thoughts. You get rich through (mostly) luck and (occasionally) hard work. That pretty girl isn’t going to date you if you imagine it in your head. She will date you if you are good looking, smart and funny. If you’re not, you better start looking lower in the gene pool if you want a mate. There is no magic formula for happiness. There is no guarantee of contentment. You can’t really be anything you want to. Even the holiest people sometimes suffer. Look at Mother Teresa. She felt the absence of God her final 50 years and still went on helping the poor.

People don’t need false dreams. They need a dose of reality. Yes, we should work hard, treat others well, and keep our faith in God. But, even doing that, there is no guarantee of happiness, wealth, or love. The only secret formula is to follow the example of Job; be a good God-fearing person and accept that some things are beyond our control.


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