There’s a breathtakingly well-written post from Rabbi Rami Shapiro about The Secret (Rhonda Byrne’s book and DVD) on the Spirituality and Health website. Here’s the link: http://www.spiritualityhealth.com/NMagazine/articles.php?id=1760.
In The Secret, Rhonda Byrnes claims that according to the “law of attraction”, you attract certain things to yourself by means of your own thoughts. And she says, “you can have, be, or do anything, and there are no limits” (page 47).
Rabbi Shapiro begins with acerbic strength. It would be a disservice to paraphrase him, because I couldn’t say it any better than he did:
“This is pure baby-boomer narcissism: the universe is your personal concierge. The thought that the universe is some kind of genie whose sole purpose is to fulfill the endless desires of human beings is terrifying. To see just how terrifying, I spent a few hours wandering around the campus where I teach asking people what they would ask for if they thought the universe was a giant wish-granting machine. For every “world peace” there were 10 “SUVs.” For every “cure for cancer” there were dozens of “a million dollars.” For every “an end to injustice” there were 20 “a perfect body.” If the ideas in The Secret are true, the universe is doomed.”
At this point, I guffawed loud enough for my neighbors to hear.
But there were sad parts too.
He quotes Byrnes: “Everything that is coming into your life you are attracting into your life” (page 4), and “the only reason any person does not have enough money is because he is blocking money from coming to him with his thoughts (page 98),” and then utterly eviscerates both claims, saying:
“Rape, incest, spousal abuse happen because their victims want them to happen. Poverty has nothing to do with racism, sexism, or social and economic injustice.”
Yeah, I have a hard time contemplating a mother watching her child die of starvation just because her thoughts didn’t magnetize any food her way.
Not only does the rabbi use logic like a sword, but –
The rabbi could be a Quaker.
The Friends also assert that it is our moral, personal responsibility to address these ills (e.g, feed people), rather than blaming those who suffer them for “not thinking right.”
And that is why I kept saying ”Amen!” as I read the rabbi’s post, with the same vigor you might hear in at a Baptist revival meeting.