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February 24, 2007

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Wow. Such realists. Your intuition sounds a bit rusted.

If you know that danger is imminent and you remain in the vicinity, can you blame anyone for calling you a fool? Or are you to become a hero? Example: those firefighters who rushed in to save as many folks as possible from the crumbled Twin Towers. Fools or heroes? Another: those people living on the Gulf Coast know that hurricanes are inevitable. They continue living there. When the Big Wind comes, many die; others run; still others remain to help the injured. Fools or heroes?

Interpretation. No matter what happens to me or to the world, it will always be my interpretation that determines my experience and relationship to the action, activity, or incident. I do not live in the so-called real world. I live in my world. It is the only world available to me. I can, hopefully, influence the outside world for the better (sometimes for the worse) but my relation to the whole thing is still internal. I can never be 100% certain that somewhere, somehow, I created it all and I'm the only one here. Refute if you will, but you can never prove otherwise to me. Oh, I may somewhere along the line give into your statistics, especially if you're hitting me over the head with a statistic stick, I may feel the pain, note the blood, watch the scabs form, etc., but still not be completely convinced it's not all a product of my own mind.

Sound like blathering? Actually, I borrowed that from a story I once read called The Game of God, wherein the Creator, being the only Existent One, could create nothing but from Itself. All was God, all was Eternal. Boring. So H/She creates a universe, out of Him/Herself, hides in it, with the objective of the game to once again discover His/Her true identity. Ultimately, God wakes up to the reality that it was all an illusion. He/She was/is everything. Next step? Start over and make it more difficult to find Itself again. An eternal game with no resolution.

The author had quite the imagination. Or is it just another clue as to who you really are?

I'm not trying to be cutesy here. My point is actually the same as yours. I am a True Skeptic. That's heresy among most ministers. But I know that no Ultimate Truth exists in books. Words are human constructs and contain only what the creators of the words, and their dictionaries, decide they mean. Every word you have written is limited by its definition. There can be no meaning beyond what the originator, the definer and the user of the word agree upon.

And still, where would we be without words? But they're the beginning, not the end.

Question everything.

I smiled at someone once and they smiled back.

Is that Law of Attraction or just common sense?

Rev. Richard,

your story is a good one, and contains the only truth there could ever be...

Rev. Richard's story is wonderful. Its what Hindiusm refers to as God's lila. But there's more to it. By creating or manifesting itself as universe, God or the One or spirit or whatever you call it, does not just preoccupy itself with self-discovery. It also creates or becomes or manifests something that previously it was only in potential. Its the same for all of us. Everything we think, say and do is a manifestation of what we are in potential. Shakespeare created 37 plays with hundreds of unique characters, thousands of acts and words. Where did they all come from? Out of what were they created? They were manifestations of his creative imagination giving expression to some of the infinite possibilities he could see with his creative vision. Sri Aurobinodo describes the universe as this process of creation in his writings. The Secret is based on the same principle. What manifests externally is what is there is our consciousness, conscious or subconscious.

Some of the marketing methods that are being used by the producers and the resellers of 'The Secret' (like many other Internet get-rich-quick and self-help schemes) created disturbing questions in my mind about the validity of the claims and the quality of the product when I started my research about it. Eg: 'If you borrow this DVD or book, or get them for free, the method will not work!' Instead of this secret threat, they could have created intense vibrations in themselves so that everyone bought it and nobody borrowed or pirated it. As per the 'rules and regulations' of their method it should have worked! no?

But, the issues are more important than the persons or in this case, the marketing methods.

I believe many Indians - including uneducated and illiterate - know the words of Bhavad Gita that says you become what you want to become.

A few others have written years ago about the Secret Method in detail and answered questions that the producers of The Secret find difficult to answer and avoid or censor.

I think The Secret has done a good job in attracting a great number of people to a small part of the knowledge that have not been easily accessible to them till now. Of course, for many people, this knowledge has been available in full and in complete form for decades. (The Secret claims that this is the first time it is being done.)

A Wikia community website has raised many interesting points about The Secret and the theory behind it.
http://humanscience.wikia.com/wiki/Secret_behind_The_Secret_Project

Refute if you will, but you can never prove otherwise to me.

Bingo. Thanks for playing.

Most of you probably have heard of tithing, right? What's your take on the practice? Here is a wonderful definition. See if you agree: Tithing: the art and science of letting go of the fear of scarcity. Now, I know the def is not the traditional one, but I think it is a good one.

Here's the real secret: let go, quit hoarding, share, serve, be in the world. And, receive well.

No need to buy anyone's book, tape, CD, DVD, or course. No need for MLM schemes, pyramid schemes, or any scheme.

The Great Teachers had it right. Give and you'll get. Simple? Yes. Easy to buy into? Not so much. Why? People don't understand the premise.

Committed giving changes the mind of the giver. And the giver then sees the world differently.

It is always about changing the mind.

Interpretation. No matter what happens to me or to the world, it will always be my interpretation that determines my experience and relationship to the action, activity, or incident.
Right. Your interpretation determines your experience and relationship to the action, activity, or incident. What it doesn't determine is the action, activity, or incident. All your interpretations are based on events which occur in the physical world. If nothing happened to you externally, you'd have nothing to interpret.
I can never be 100% certain that somewhere, somehow, I created it all and I'm the only one here.
True enough. But this is called solipsism (or reductionism), and it requires you to completely deny the validity of your senses. You can reduce the world to "cogito ergo sum," but that doesn't do you a whole lot of good. So, while you can't know with 100% certainty that the world actually exists (and I'd say you can't know with 100% certainty anything), there's a point at which you have to say "you know, 99.9% is good enough." That other way, madness lies.
Oh, I may somewhere along the line give into your statistics, especially if you're hitting me over the head with a statistic stick, I may feel the pain, note the blood, watch the scabs form, etc., but still not be completely convinced it's not all a product of my own mind.
Yes, we all go through that phase at some point, with varying degrees of sobriety. Most of us eventually realize what a dead end of a philosophy that is.
The author had quite the imagination. Or is it just another clue as to who you really are?
Yes. The authors had quite the imagination, and had probably read quite a bit of Descartes and Existentialism. Heck, maybe they read Alan Moore's Swamp Thing #56, where the titular character, stranded on a distant world, does pretty much the same thing. The challenge here is recognizing fiction for what it is. Sure, it may be neat. Sure, it may make you think. Sure, it may be the sort of thing that makes your friends go "whoa" when you're toking under the stars, but in the end, what does it get you? What usefulness is it?
I'm not trying to be cutesy here. My point is actually the same as yours. I am a True Skeptic. That's heresy among most ministers. But I know that no Ultimate Truth exists in books. Words are human constructs and contain only what the creators of the words, and their dictionaries, decide they mean. Every word you have written is limited by its definition. There can be no meaning beyond what the originator, the definer and the user of the word agree upon.
True Skepticism doesn't lead to solipsism. True Skepticism leads to the realism that you dismissed at the beginning of your post. I'd agree that "univeral truth" can't be found just through books, I'd doubt the existence of such "universal truth" entirely. But inasmuch as there is such a thing, it can only come through experience with the physical universe. Once you've philosophically reduced the universe down to one person's mind (and maybe that's an illusion too; are you the dreamer or are you the dream?), what use is "universal truth"? At some point, you have to draw a line in the sand and say "I can be reasonably sure of this," and start from there. It's not axiomatic, it's pragmatic, but it's the only way to ward off total solipsistic madness.
Question everything.
Yes. But be open to the answers. See, this "I'm so skeptical that I doubt my own senses" crap is precisely the same as "I'm so trusting I'll believe anything." Both philosophies are totally disconnected from reality. When we say "be open-minded, but not so much that your brains fall out," it works both ways.

Todd:

I smiled at someone once and they smiled back.

Is that Law of Attraction or just common sense?


Common courtesy, basic psychology, maybe physiology.

your story is a good one, and contains the only truth there could ever be...
So, when you smiled at that person, you were doubting that they even existed?

Garry:

Sri Aurobinodo describes the universe as this process of creation in his writings. The Secret is based on the same principle. What manifests externally is what is there is our consciousness, conscious or subconscious.

And the problem with your analogy should be obvious. Let me simplify the two things you're comparing:
1. William Shakespeare creates a bunch of characters out of his imagination and prior experience, and they go through various plots and say various things. All the things that the characters do are directed by the grand puppetmaster who is the author.
2. God creates the universe out of his imagination and consciousness, and we are all characters in his grand story.

According to you, we are able to manifest things in this story through our consciousness. What you're doing here is forgetting who's in control of these two "stories." In Shakespeare's stories, Shakespeare controlled everything. In God's story, if we accept the analogy, God controls everything. What you're suggesting is that in God's story, we control things, which would be as though Shakespeare's characters were in control of their stories. Now, speaking as an author, sometimes characters take on lives of their own and help you direct the plot, but that doesn't mean the author isn't still in control.

Bill:

A Wikia community website has raised many interesting points about The Secret and the theory behind it.

...What "theory"?

Rev. Richard:

Most of you probably have heard of tithing, right? What's your take on the practice?

Um...donating money to the church so it can continue to operate and pay its employees, such as they are.

Here is a wonderful definition. See if you agree: Tithing: the art and science of letting go of the fear of scarcity. Now, I know the def is not the traditional one, but I think it is a good one.
I don't. First, what art and science is there to donating money to an organization you belong to? Some groups call it tithing, most groups call it "dues." It's a membership fee; the only difference is that most churches are pretty lenient about how much that fee is--it's a "suggested donation." Second, if it were about "letting go of the fear of scarcity," then it wouldn't be "donate ten percent of your net income." It would be "donate ninety percent of your net income." The very word "tithe" comes from "a tenth." Third, fear of scarcity is a rational fear. We live in a shared world of limited resources, and there is every reason to fear scarcity of those resources.
The Great Teachers had it right. Give and you'll get. Simple? Yes. Easy to buy into? Not so much. Why? People don't understand the premise.
Sure they do, it's called "game theory." Bronze Dog or Akusai would be better suited to explain it.
Committed giving changes the mind of the giver. And the giver then sees the world differently.

It is always about changing the mind.


Fantastic. What does that have to do with the Law of Attraction again?

Whoops, fouled up the blockquote tag at the end, there. Should read:

Committed giving changes the mind of the giver. And the giver then sees the world differently.

It is always about changing the mind.


Fantastic. What does that have to do with the Law of Attraction again?

[Note from Skeptico - fixed tag.]

Bill: A Wikia community website has raised many interesting points about The Secret and the theory behind it.

Tom Foss: .... What theory?

The authors of the Secret ask you to follow the method and they do not know how it works.

The Theory on this wikia tries to explain the how part. (A surprise - it is not from the authors of the Secret!)

Here is the exact URL:
http://humanscience.wikia.com/wiki/Secret_behind_The_Secret_Project#Theory_of_The_Secret

Note: Bill Singers’ ''The Secret'' Project clickable link. Without going into too much detail, it looks like just more drivel. The claims made in The Secret are repeated ad nauseam but with out any actual evidence to support the claims.

No, it's by people equally as clueless about actual science as the authors of the Secret. I edited out the unsourced misinformation about Quantum Physics, Electromagnetism, Magnetism, and Holograms on the page you linked to. Taking bets now as to how long it'll take before it gets undone.

But ye gods...this may be worse than Conservapedia as far as accuracy goes. It's like a swirling pit of newage vapidity.

There are now three posts on The Secret and The Law of Attraction, making it hard IMO to follow the discussion. To simplify things I’m closing this post to new comments. If you want to comment on The Secret or the LOA please do so on my original The Secret post, where comments are still open. Thanks.

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