A fellow on Twitter asked if we believed in "The Secret," to which I replied:
I believe "The Secret" is a way to get large amounts of money from desperate people. When my son was in 8th grade, one of his teachers had the students read it & write letters to themselves to be opened @ 21. My son wrote, "dear future me, I hope you still think this is BS."
In continuation, when my son opened the letter from his teenage self at 21, he chuckled and said:
"Dear younger self, yes, I do."
When I was 18, I excommunicated myself from the Catholic church because I could no longer abide by the rigid, dogmatic, "my way or the highway" thinking. I was a rudderless ship being captained by a lost soul. Initially, I latched onto basic Paganism, reading Tarot cards, and doing spell rituals with candles and incense.
Unfortunately, my desperate need to understand myself and to BECOME SOMEBODY SPECIAL!!11!!! led to my falling down the rabbit hole of self-help books and New Age thinking. I stayed in this hole from 1985 until 2010 and spent thousands of dollars trying to "fix" myself.
I learned a few things on this long, strange trip.
First, the New Age and self-help industries are just as toxic and dogmatic as any church, and they love to blame the victim. Did you get sexually assaulted? Hey, it's not just because you wore that dress, Sunshine! It's also because you were sending out a low-energy vibe that attracted predators! If you put yourself into a den of wolves, you shouldn't be surprised when you get attacked.
Do you have a chronic illness? Well, it's all the fault of your low self-esteem and the fact that you aren't adhering to our approved diet plan. Your throat chakra is out of alignment because you don't like yourself, so now your thyroid gland has gone to pot. WHY DON'T YOU LIKE YOURSELF, YOU PIECE OF SHIT???? JUST LIKE YOURSELF, AND YOUR HYPOTHYROIDISM WILL BE CURED!
I shit you not, I read something pretty much like that.
I honestly don't have a problem with practices such as chakra meditation, which can contribute to relaxation and well-being. But tying these practices into a victim-blaming guilt trip isn't helpful, it's toxic.
I believe that stress can and does trigger and exacerbate certain disease processes. But it helps absolutely no-one to scold them about the need to be less stressed. The answer to that is, well, no shit, Sherlock! But it isn't always so easy to make it happen.
I was always struck by the fact that those who have money are more readily able to go on retreats, get massages, and, you know, get things fixed when they break down. I lived for years in a place that had no working furnace. I was working at the time, but couldn't afford to get it fixed. I also couldn't afford to get massages or even take time off from work.
We live in a society of haves and have-nots that is more Metropolis or Brave New World than some sort of egalitarian utopia. Those who perform the mundane, necessary jobs to keep society running are relegated to working in low-paying, stressful, demeaning, and often dangerous conditions rather than being given necessary protections, respites, and respect.
New Age thought preaches that everyone should aspire to become one of the upper echelon living life in the cloud city, high above the low-paid lower class. The lower class deserves to be in their strata, whether because they were born with inferior genes or because they are sending out "low" vibrations, making it their own fault that they are suppressed and living out a life of misery.
The Secret is horseshit. It has done a great job of making money for its creator, not such a good job at helping anyone else although there are a lot of people who have convinced themselves that it is their salvation.
Ornery Owl Has Spoken