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Leefstyl | Lifestyle > Gay > Artikels | Features

The secret about The Secret

Cobus Fourie - 2010-03-10

The Law of Attraction, also known as The Secret, is a trademark mass marketing phenomenon even endorsed by Oprah. That alone is a sign of pedestrian popularity.

Let us play with some juxtaposition here. In 2001 there was a specific song which played regularly on an indie rock station in Pretoria. This meant that the vast majority were excluded from it, which saved the song from overkill by the commercial radio stations, and as I was quite fond of the song I quite liked the idea of exclusivity. Problem is, a well-written not-too-heavy indie song can stay obscure only for so long. And indeed, in a matter of three months every single commercial radio station in Gauteng was playing the song. It wasn’t only played – it was desecrated, harassed and played over and over until my initial fondness turned into the common garden variety of disgust.

At a pool party organised at the Lynnwood Road mansion of a commune, either said track was on selective repeat, or the playlist was awfully minuscule – I cannot remember the exact facts as there was obviously alcohol at a student pool party. I looked to my left and saw one of my friend’s boyfriends lip-synching the song. I liked my friend – he was random, he was irreverent and had no qualms about anything really. The boyfriend, however, was busy with a masters degree in some obscure discipline and was quite sub-culturally out of place. The moment I saw him acting all cheerfully as if one of his life wishes had come true I lit a cigarette, cringed and decided to not look in that direction for the duration of the party. I kept to my decision; whenever it seemed that I was going to be involved in some conversation I excused myself to fetch more drinks from the house.

Now that was almost a decade ago and the more things change the more they stay the same.

Unbeknownst to me, a couple of years after my hedonist student days, a phenomenon hit the world like a Spice Girls World Concert in the nineties. Oprah, king and queen of trendsetting for housewives and aspirant house-gays alike went more gaga for this stupid little faerie tale than the current queers for Lady Gaga. I suppose it’s all a Bad Romance.

Some “learned” gays who do not know me would shout “internalised homophobia!” at me dare I criticise the dear queer community. Now not discounting the scientific validity of internalised homophobia, such things sound quite paradoxical to a self-amusing, subversive and irreverent antithesis of a de rigueur little queer like me.

Of course not all gay people are worshippers of The Secret and I bet a great many don’t even know what the hell it is. I just have happened to be so unfortunate as to bump into quite a number of the followers. Now before I get another yellow card for internalised homophobia methinks this is aimed at any worshipper of pedestrian pop psychology of any possible sexual orientation (the American Psychiatric Association defines four: heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and asexual) and any gender identity (now this list is very nuanced, so I won’t even attempt not being a doctorate of a suitable field of study).

While at university I realised that almost everyone knew about Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs of the Humanist School of Thought as it was found in first-year Marketing Management, Psychology, Visual Studies, and a plethora of other courses. Hype tends to spread virally and sometimes the hype even transcends the confines of a specific time frame. I hope the spawn of our time do not carry along the burden of pop psychology and the suffering of The Secret. I can only think of one thing worse: Tuscany in perpetuity.

What makes The Secret such a farce is that is just too esoteric for words. I imagine balancing chakras and crystal healing and Chinese water torture when the ghosts and supposed “enlightened” unwarranted advice of The Secret worshippers reach past my installed deflection devices. I cannot take any pseudoscience seriously. The Secret doesn’t even qualify for that abrasive label either.

If you take into account rules of reasonableness, the infiniteness of possibilities, the much-needed cynicism and peer-review of actual science, The Secret fails dismally and loses even the most insignificant, wishful thinking status it has.

The secret of The Secret is that there is no secret at all. Wishful thinking has probably existed from time immemorial. There is nothing novel or profound to it. The secret of The Secret is that the secret lies in deluding the delusional.


Author: Rhonda Byrne
Titel: The Secret
ISBN: 9781847370297
Pages: 160
Format: Hardeband
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd

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