In 2006 a book was published that has gone on to sell 19 million copies worldwide by promising everybody literally everything they ever wanted. That book is The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.
The “secret” is “The Law of Attraction” – the assertion that the atoms in your body vibrate at a certain frequency, and changes in emotion change the frequency of these vibrations, which go roaring out of you and into the universe where they seek and attract similar vibrating frequencies: “positive” or “negative”. If your feelings are negative, negative experiences will inevitably flow right back, while positive feelings elicit positive experiences. Like attracts like. Every time. Better still, you can choose the things you want to attract, be they money, love, fame, or cars. To quote from the book: “Thoughts are sending out that magnetic signal that is drawing the parallel back to you. It always works; it works every time, with every person.” Therefore there is no such thing as coincidence, bad luck, or even circumstantial misfortune outside of your control. If you are having a rough time it’s because you aren’t vibrating positively.
The book claims that even the most awful, unthinkable events, such as the Holocaust and even natural disasters, were caused by bad vibrations. So abused children, people suffering in poverty, and refugees need only change the vibrations of their thoughts to attract a fabulous new reality for themselves. Worse still, drawing attention to negative experience only increases negative vibrations, so it is better to pretend that atrocities don’t exist.
As an admitted former believer in The Secret, I can confirm how much it messes with your thinking, making you do mental pole-vaults over reason and reality. Anything bad that happened to me could be blamed on an hour I spent feeling shitty about something. The irony is, the pressure I put on myself to be in a constant state of imbecilic bliss made me anxious and terrified of what would happen if I allowed myself to feel sad about something that actually sucked. Yet I felt a smug sense of superiority over people going through bad times, “knowing” that if they only knew the “secret” I knew, they could have be as maniacally, falsely happy as I had tricked myself into thinking I was.
The Secret doesn’t work. It’s a nasty, insidious idea that fools spoilt first-worlders who don’t have problems beyond normal loss and dissatisfaction. The only thing the “Law of Attraction” attracts is millions of dollars to Rhonda Byrne.