Episteme

Mike's random thoughts and ramblings

Some Debunking of "The Secret"

All the big hype lately in the "self-help" world has been about The Secret. This is a movie produced in the UK with many of the big names on the "B List" of the self-help world. And the movie has very quickly made them into "A List" people - the cast of the movie made Oprah last week, which is about the pinnacle of the universe for self-help authors.

Linda had a post recently that talked about some of the content in the book (which is based on the movie). From the post:

"This morning, I was reading a book that is currently the subject of lots of buzz (yes - it made it to Oprah). It contained a statement that it has been 'scientifically' proven that an affirmative thought is hundreds of times more powerful than a negative thought. No reference was given to the study or studies that "proved" this hypothesis."

Having read much of the work that underpins the premises in the movie, I can reference the study. The "scientific proof" is based on the work of David Hawkins and his book Power vs. Force. In the book, Hawkins "scientifically" proves the energy level behind certain thoughts, concepts, emotions and figures in history. This one is done using Applied Kinesiology (AK) or "muscle testing" because, in Hawkins words, "the human body is the ultimate measure of truth or falsehood".

Do a bit of reading about AK and you'll find very quickly that it's as much a phenomenon of social proof and hypnotic suggestion as it is of any response with the body's energy field. And, unfortunately, Hawkins' experiments have been unable to be reproduced by anyone other than him.

All told, it's far from "scientifically proven".

All of that said, I enjoyed watching The Secret - the movie was entertaining and in a very similar vein as What the Bleep Do We Know. It has some interesting concepts around putting intention out into the world.

At it's heart, though, it's not much more than a spiritualized, new-agey version of the best book on the subject of creating wealth: Napoleon Hill's classic "Think and Grow Rich". You're far better off reading that first.

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Michael Murray

Michael Murray