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March 26, 2007


Stephanie Brail

Well, the other thing that strikes me about The Secret is that I think there are a lot of different people in the DVD who have overlapping belief systems that aren't necessariy the same thing as the strict Rhonda Byrnes/Esther Hicks Law of Attraction philosophy.

I am a member of Agape, Rev. Michael Beckwith's "church." Agape is all about love and helping other people. If Rev. Michael talks about expressing your "spiritual power" it's more about expressing the divine within you, not so much about having a big car and to heck with everyone else.

There's so much confusion and overlapping ideas that The Secret hardly does justice to some of the thinkers presented. The speakers were collected and then shoe-horned into this one general idea on the DVD.

On the surface, I am sure the concept of a positive thinking film was...ahem..."attractive" to the speakers. But when all is said and done, would they agree with everything? Certainly they don't teach us at Agape to ignore the poor or the overweight. Agape has entire ministries that work to heal and help people.

So I'd take a book Rev. Michael wrote any day of the week over something Rhonda Byrne wrote.

Still, while Rev. Michael's appearance in the film has gotten the word out about Agape more, I am almost sad he is involved with it. It doesn't do justice to his message or Agape, I feel. Agape means "unconditional love" and that's why I joined. I am sorry that message did not come through in The Secret.

Signe A. Dayhoff, Ph.D.

Thank you so much for the panel discussion of the so-called "Law of Attraction." The increasing abandonment of critical thinking is very worrisome, as is the lack of compassion that accompanies the "Law."

As a Social Psychologist, I want to add a couple of thoughts that were not addressed directly in the call.

Re: Lack of Critical Thinking - People tend to want to believe that the world is predictable and controllable, that events (good or bad) are not random. Instead, they tend to want to believe that events occur for a reason. The upshot of this is the "Just World Hypothesis": That people get what they deserve and deserve what they get.

In other words, we are responsible for what happens to us. Thus, if we are "good" people, we can control and prevent "bad" things from happening to us: from getting cancer to losing a child to having a fender-bender. If only this were true.

This is despite the fact that other people and the environment aren't keeping an account ledger of our "goodness," such that even if we had lived in New Orleans, we would have remained untouched by the wrath of Katrina.

Re: Lack of Compassion - While this means less compassion for those suffering, it also means something even worse. It means that those who are suffering are now "blameworthy." That is, since they caused their problem, it is reasonable to "blame the victim." The result of this attribution of responsibility to victims is that it takes us back to the time when poor people were automatically blamed for not "pulling themselves up by their bootstraps” and raped women were automatically blamed for having caused their rape.

This further suggests that we shouldn't help those who have lost everything along the Gulf or in Dafur, for example, because they are responsible for their plight and they should be the ones to deal with what they brought upon themselves.

For these reasons and all the powerful others the panel put forth on the call, I believe an acceptance of and adherence to the "Law of Attraction" is both regressive and dangerous.

It makes us potentially more gullible and vulnerable regarding ways we can control our lives. Furthermore, it has the potential to make us less humane. It's important to remember that the degree of humanity and compassion of a people is that by which a country or culture is judged.

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