Strong opinions, weakly held

The idiocy of “The Secret”

Tim Watkins demolishes “The Secret,” the latest pop psychology guide to life that’s going around. It’s worth knowing about, just so you can smack it around if someone brings it up at a party.


  1. Rafe,

    This sounds like the secular version of the gospel of prosperity. One says: if I think good thoughts, good things will come to me. The other says: if I think good thoughts, God will reward me with monetary riches in this life.

  2. While Watkins’ observations may be cogent, they also rate a large “duh, but hey, you got paid at least three figures to suck your thumb in public.” Not only is “The Secret” just the latest data point in thirty years’ worth of New Age quasi-Christian pablum along these lines, the very nation in which he now resides is run (poorly) by quasi-Christians — anti-Christians, in my opinion — who act as if it is true. Remember that whole “reality-based community” thing a couple years ago?

    The odd thing about a nonrational belief is that it can be partially true. Yes, your attitude (or emotional response) to a situation can have a profound effect on what happens to you. But it doesn’t stop bullets, and it rarely cures your cancer. (Nor, temporally, does it get the people of Iraq to peacefully accept your occupation.) And it certainly doesn’t mean you should denigrate science in favor of belief — some of us think that, should there be a creator deity, It created science too, and to deny science is to deny It.

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