In the film The Secret, the main message is that thoughts become things. So by thinking more positively, you can create a better life? Is this marketing fluff or is this a real science?
The law of attraction has been around some time. Napoleon Hill made the term popular in 1937 in his book Think and Grow Rich but it was around long before then too. Thought “leaders” used the term in success essays and it is thought to have grown from the teachings of Phineas Quimby in the early 19th Century:
“The trouble is in the mind, for the body is only the house for the mind to dwell in, and we put a value on it according to its worth. Therefore if your mind has been deceived by some invisible enemy into a belief, you have put it into the form of a disease, with or without your knowledge. By my theory or truth, I come in contact with your enemy and restore you to your health and happiness. This I do partly mentally and partly by talking till I correct the wrong impressions and establish the Truth, and the Truth is the cure.” – Phineas Quimby.
So if the truth is the cure for incorrect thinking, as Quimby puts it, by correcting the false beliefs we hold in our minds, we can correct our lives and make them better. Quimby was talking about his illness here since he had tuberculosis. He recovered despite medical treatment not working and put it down to his thinking.
Science is claimed to support the law of attraction too and the double slit experiment is used to explain it. The double slit experiment shows that electrons act differently according to whether they are being observed or not. So the mind entering into something changes it on an atomic level. Without being observed, electrons as seen to act as a wave. While being observed their behaviour changes and they act as particles.
But does this explain the law of attraction and how it is portrayed in the film The Secret? Perhaps you’ve seen The Secret, and spent the afternoon imagining all those dreams you previously gave up on. I know when I first saw the secret, that’s exactly what I did. Then, after a while when nothing happened, I decided that it was complete rubbish. Only when I returned to the idea, and began studying it did it start to make more sense.
The Secret is an overview of the law of attraction and although many have seen it in a poor light, it is not a deep investigation into the idea. It can be said to be a little ‘fluffy’. The presenters on the film have all experienced The Secret from the perspective of success. But what about us mere mortals who are struggling to get by? Why can’t we manifest those large things into our lives? Can we?
Joe Vitale, (one of the presenters on The Secret), for example wasn’t always a success. He states in his books that he was in fact struggling for many years and even homeless. He discusses the topic and also says he ‘created’ struggle into his life because he believed that’s what writers have to do!
So, is the law of attraction fake?
Here’s another perspective. There’s a thing called confirmation bias which can explain many things in life. Confirmation bias is the natural inclination to look for evidence which backs up our existing beliefs. So, if you’re a fervent believer in something, you’re unlikely to look for evidence to the contrary. Instead, you look for evidence which backs up your existing beliefs.
The placebo pill can also explain the law of attraction. If you believe in a fake pill so much, you trick your mind into making yourself well. Placebo pills which are nothing more than sugar have been shown to produce amazing effects in people simply because they believe so much in what they are told by a doctor. Checkout Derren Brown’s TV show “Fear and Faith” for an amazing insight on this.
If the law of attraction works, perhaps it’s because we believe it will. Certainly if we don’t believe in it, we will never apply it in our lives.
There’s also the depth of understanding of the law of attraction which matters the most. On a superficial level, you can easily discount the film the secret as some marketing fluff. But on a deeper level, I believe we are all manifesting our lives based on what we believe. The placebo pill proves this. So if this is already proven by such as simple experiment as a placebo, surely there must be something more to the law of attraction?
Another similar idea is that of being lucky. In his book The Luck Factor, Richard Wiseman throws some light on the subject of luck. He shows that it is those who believe they are lucky who create their own luck. Those who think they are ‘lucky’ tend to be more outgoing, take more opportunities to meet people and do things, and therefore create more opportunities to encounter what they believe to be “luck”. Hence, they think they are lucky!
Those who believe they are unlucky do the opposite. They associate bad things happening instead of good with more interaction. So they avoid going out and meeting new people. They tend to take less risk and venture out less. As a result they find less experiences, come across less opportunities and therefore create the feedback ‘loop’ of them being “unlucky”. The cycle continues and they are proved ‘right’.
So, is the law of attraction fake? You choose. But given this evidence, be careful what you decide!