Is The Secret a Joke?

You really know that people or ideas have reached a meaningful level of familiarity when they make an appearance in pop culture. But when jokes fly, what does that mean?

I caught a commercial the other day for that TV series 30 Rock. One of the characters is trying to start a secret Santa gift exchange at the office and right away the objections came.

“But (so and so) is Jewish.”

“And Jenna practices The Secret.”

Cut to Jenna, who recites her positive affirmation “I’m going to marry George Clooney!”

Jenna MaroneyWhoaaaaahhh! Yeah, Jenna is portrayed as the stereotypical dumb blonde, a self-centered and flighty actress. Jenna, simplistic follower of the Kabbalah, possibly involved with Scientology, is of course the one on the show who would embrace something as ridiculous as the ideas presented in the The Secret, right?

Is that how pop media views The Secret?

Yes, pop culture tends to poke fun at many belief systems that in themselves are respected by a large following (such as the Jewish Kabbalah and the Church of Scientology). Apparently, many are under the unfortunate impression that the Law of Attraction as presented in the movie The Secret is just the latest New Age fad.

The movie The Secret does not present a new belief system, but has only repackaged a concept that has been around for a long time – perhaps thousands of years. You see ideas based on the Law of Attraction in Vedic teachings, Judeo-Christian writings, and in the writings of businessmen in the early 20th century. It is a life concept that can be apparent to anyone who takes the time to notice.

My son has been driving for only a couple of years, so he is still learning how to deal with various traffic situations. There is one lane-merge situation that he encounters every day on the way to school that has caused him a lot of stress. After turning right onto a major street he needs to merge left in order to get out of a lane that becomes a freeway on-ramp. During regular commute times this can be a bit of a challenge and he’s mentioned coming close to having an accident several times.

So the other day we’re talking and tells me “remember that intersection that I’ve been having trouble with? Well, I decided that instead of dreading how hard it’s going to be each time, I told myself that it will not be a problem.”

Apparently, he did more than just tell himself – he actually believed that this would have some effect.

“It’s weird, but ever since then the traffic has not been bad. The same situations that made it so difficult don’t come up any more.”

And then came the revelation.

“Heyyyy, this is just what that DVD you had us watch was talking about!”

Of course he was referring to The Secret. Then he asked how all these people got together to come up with these concepts for the Law of Attraction. I told him that each person is relating information based on their own experiences, and many people just noticed how things worked in the course of their lives – much like he took note of his own small experience.

So, the movie The Secret has slickly packaged the ideas behind the Law of Attraction and contributed to spreading these concepts throughout modern society. But the ideas are not new. They’ve been experienced by people throughout history – some in small ways while others have worked to gain mastery over the process with great success. I’m sure you’ve noticed events in your own life that indicate that life is not a jumble of random events in which we are helplessly swept along. We see these ideas in most religions, too, in the emphasis on prayer and faith.

It’s not confined to any particular religion, faith, or movement. And it’s definitely no joke.

Check out this one minute intro into recent studies in the power of intention.


16 thoughts on “Is The Secret a Joke?”

  1. The Secret is the latest and by far the worst example of a HIGHLY profitable trend where self-help gurus with fabricated new age titles and little relevant education, credentials or legitimate expertise brainwash us into believing that they know what is best for us, our marriages and our families.

    Often their only contribution to society is introducing some exotic sounding, new age philosophy. However, they often cleverly form an incestuous group of like-minded “experts” who cross-promote each other by swearing their success is due to following the beliefs of another member of their “cult!” All the while, they ply the airwaves jockeying for an ever-larger audience by appearing in the national media to garner third-party endorsements.

    The Self-Help Movement has become the Self-Destruct Movement by diminishing or destroying our critical thinking skills to choose and evolve on our own. We have given up the freedom to build healthy lives, marriages and families based on our unique history and life experience. Instead many victims, blinded to the value of their own life experiences, are attracted to the latest secret in self-help, in an attempt to find out what they should think, feel and how they should act… this is the definition of a cult.

    The solution is a return to our (common) senses! The best way out of this learned “self-helplessness” is to go cold turkey. Stop following ALL self-help gurus now. Begin, instead, to reclaim your natural, God-given ability to think for yourself. The common sense that was once readily available to all of us is still there free of charge and waiting to be applied to just about any challenge we might face in life… all you have to do is use it.

    Please, let’s all work together to stop the flock of “sheepeople” who blindly move from one UNPROVEN concept to the next, looking for the answers to life’s challenges that you already possess and that is the OBVIOUS!

  2. The Law of Attraction is indeed ancient wisdom that has existed for ages. It is ONE of several Universal Laws that govern our planet.

    I have no promblems with the DVD, The Secret. It was able to capture the attention of the masses. I have a daughter who, despite being raised with the principles of the Universal Laws all of her life, did not fully grasp and accept this wisdom until she saw The Secret. It may have been the slick packaging or the medium it was delivered. I am not sure. But I am glad she now gets it and because she now gets it our relationship has been transformed!

  3. @John Curtis: Thanks for sharing your passionate thoughts about the need for people to think for themselves. Part of thinking for yourself is being free to listen to other ideas and then coming to your own conclusions. Yes, it is unfortunate that many people need for others to tell them what to do, think, or feel. But that’s not the fault of the so called “self help” gurus. As long as they don’t use coercion (which is different from persuasion) to keep people’s attention, they are doing a “good work”. Many people do benefit from these ideas, as T. Dorsey commented. And I’m sure many people would benefit from being taught critical thinking skills and how to learn from one’s own experiences. But again, this can’t, and shouldn’t, be forced.

    @T. Dorsey: I’m glad to hear that the DVD has helped transform your relationship with your daughter in a positive way! Just think how the world can be changed for the better if more young people learned these principles early in life. Thanks for your comment.

  4. It’s great that your son had this realization. Of course pop culture pokes fun at “The Secret”, it pokes fun at everything! Good overview that you provided. Thanks for sharing the video!

  5. Good old John Curtis gets around. He left the same comment on my site!

    Part of the problem with The Secret is that it’s over-simplistic. It would be quite easy to watch it and go away with the idea that you could indeed marry George Clooney – as long as you imagined it hard enough. People need to understand that the law of attraction is a way of tapping the great potential of the universe – not of exerting mind control over other people! Jenna can only have George Clooney if George Clooney also wants Jenna. But if Jenna can imagine the qualities of the man she wants, then she can use The Secret to attract that kind of man into her life.

    There really needs to be ‘advanced version’ of The Secret to explain this sort of important detail to people! Even so, there is a lot of wisdom in The Secret – as your son discovered – and it has opened up a lot of people to previously unsuspected possibilities.

    It was nice to discover your blog (through Blog Rush) – keep up the good work!

  6. Well I will have to totally disagree with Mr. John Curtis. Not being critical, but the reason our society is mostly stagnant on new ideas, fringe science or metaphysical topics, is the lack of understanding of such. Throughout history the unknown brings fear and in turn the only way to deal with fear is to criticize or ridicule (ie poking fun).

    As far as suppressing critical thinking, I think major religions have the market cornered on that. But to the contrary, fringe science and metaphysical subjects tend to open the mind to new ideas.

    The Secret’s concept is by no means something new, I remember being introduced to “Thoughts are Things” way back in the 70’s, when I read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. In fact the book was first published in 1937.

    So to answer the original post: No! “The Secret” is not a joke, but a very sound positive way of thinking and living your life on a daily basis.

  7. I am so happy to find positive comments about The Secret. i just recently read the book and then i rushed out and bought ten copies to give to friends. Everyone loves it and they call me with little results everyday…. we are picking up momentum for bigger things…
    Thanks again

    Jane, Italy

  8. @Mark: Glad you enjoyed the post. One good part about being the butt of pop-culture jokes is that it shows how well-known the matter is.

    @Secret Simon: Yes, John Curtis has his mission. I enjoyed your response to his comment on your site. In fact, I’m glad to have found your site, too.

    @Charles Hamel: Thanks for the additional points in your comment. I visited your blog and it looks like we have been on similar paths. I’ll be sure to check back often.

    @Jane: Yes, I do hope that there is a momentum building. Thanks for visiting!

  9. The secret is part of pop culture. My son works in a book shop, and says it is one of the best sellers, perhaps because it promotes one of the most popular values in the world today — greed.

  10. Yes, the Law of Attraction is one that is based on Universal Truth. That should not come as a surprise to anyone. I think that the surprise came in it being thought a “Secret”. And, what was that “K”? It’s Immoral? Well, maybe taught the way it’s taught in modern times, and without the emphasis that needs to be there. The Principle is one Jesus Christ taught using words such as ‘Love one another as I have loved you.” “What ye sow, that shall ye also reap.”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    The Universal Principle involved is “What you put forth, that shall be returned to you, sometimes by threes, sometimes by 100’s”. Put forth good things, and good things will come back to you. By the same token, put forth that which is bad, and the world may cloud up and rain all over you! It isn’t new, and it isn’t a secret.

  11. I have not read the secret yet because I’m a bit concerned about it’s popularity among the masses. Generally when something becomes this popular, you later find out that is was fraudulent and inaccurate. I do practice affirmations everyday however and I feel changes little by little. It makes you feel good to KNOW that you are receiving the things you’re hoping for. The hardest part is accepting and believing that it’s all real and that it can happen for you- I’m still struggling myself to understand how this works but maybe if I watch the secret I wonder if it will help. I just don’t want to hear people keep telling me the same things over and over again that I could just read online.

  12. Hi Alexandria. Since you already practice affirmations, you must at least have already accepted the validity of it. I would recommend watching the DVD and then see what you can take from it. One valuable point, for example, is the importance of having a positive emotion behind the affirmation. And the DVD presents the information in a very easy-to-watch format (some might even criticize the marketing slickness of it). I have a feeling that it’s not quite what you might think.

  13. The Law of The Secret is the Law of the people working for The Secret! The fast-food world needs fast-food solutions. The terms like ‘Positive thinking’ and the ‘law of attraction’ are as man-made as their oppositon of ‘negative thinking’. Smacking these ridiculous terms into people as the facts, with the use of cheesy psychological ways in choice of the music, scenes and communications inside the dvd wil just add extra misery to this joke of a dvd. The bunch of mercenaries who live to wealth and money and don’t think about the consequences of their ‘postivie thinking’ babbling which automatically make the monster of ‘negative thinking’ to fight, will unleash the mask of these demons behind the experts who try to keep people brainwashed about the life. Messing with the secrets of the world is no joke for the people who look at the universe with respect, but seems it is for the people who look for wealth and fame for their short miserable life on this planet. There is no ‘Law of Attraction’ in the world as long as people no invent it! When a deer get chased by a lion it doesn’t mean that it was thinking negative or something. There are whole lot of very details behind every move in this universe. SOmething that is mocked and joked by these narrow mind morons of ‘The Secret’ whom their best ability is their psychological ways to manipulate the people who are looking for fast-food solutions.

  14. If it weren’t for “wisdom” such as the secret, I wouldn’t get to read all the things that you people are obviously willing to post in PUBLIC to demonstrate both your gullibility and apparent eagerness to latch on to any asinine product that you are offered. For this reason alone, I think that the availability of this PRODUCT and the like are a very valuable tool when one needs to identify those whom need to be avoided. Great stuff, and thanks for the laughs!

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