Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Rhonda Byrne's The Secret: the paradox of giving and sacrifice
Author: Rhonda Byrne.
Title: The Secret.
Publication: New York: Atria / Beyond Words (Simon & Schuster), 2006. ISBN 1-58270-170-9,
Description: 198 small pages, hardcover, illustrated, heavy paper.
Other contributors: (John Assarat, Michael Berrnard Beckwothm Lee Brower, Jack Canfield, Dr. John F. Demartini, Marie Diamond, Mike Dooley, Bob Doyle, Hale Dwoskin, Morris Goodman, Dr. John Gray, Dr. John Hagelin, Bill Garris, Dr. Ben Johnson, Loral Langemeier, Lisa Nichols, Bob Proctor, Lames Arthur Ray, David Schirmer, Marci Shimoff, Dr. Joe Vitale, Dr. Denis Waitley, Neale Donald Walsch, Fred Alan Wolf, Ph. D).
This book is so much reviewed on the web that it is pretty much a “non-secret.” The “secret” is the Law of Attraction. The book presents some Rosenfels-like concepts like the Creative Process, and Love and Action, with a more centralized notion than in the polarity theories of Paul Rosenfels.
Of particular interest and controversy is her distinction between giving and sacrifice (p 118). Giving comes out of love, from what you have developed and can offer to others. Sacrifice is a loss of self and the goals of the self because of the practical needs of others. It implies lack and failure. This point has stirred anger and resentment on the web, as some people see sacrifice as central to a concept of social justice, or the sharing or burdens needed to achieve justice.
I certainly relate to the idea that one’s own thoughts have an influence and create energies that take one through life and influence others, even if one does not beget his own children. When I lived in New York in the 1970s, I attended a few meetings of a group called “Clearer Skies,” run by singer Paul Wagner – and one of the speakers was a witch, who presented witchcraft as simply the fact that “you create your own reality.” That can affect others, and did so ever since ancient times. Jesus knew how to use this power to make himself very public in an era two thousand years before there was a Myspace.com. This sort of wisdom is sometimes held to have created "the invisible empire of the Rosicrucians" (reference to AMORC). I look back on my life and see lots of curious ironies and twists (as would befit a novel) that are meaningful to me but hard to explain except in a screenplay.
The book has a DVD film, more expensive than the book itself, distributed by Drew, and not yet available from Netflix.
The book was discussed on ABC "Nightline" on March 23, 2007, with physicians and scientists maintaining that is dangerous to rely on the precepts of the book.
"Nikki" suggests this correlated link (about the Seven Spirtual Laws), which I pass on to readers.
Update: Feb. 6, 2008
Oprah Winfrey discussed this book today, interviewing Louise Hay. The guest said that we create matter with our thoughts all the time, that this comes from quantum mechanics. She did talk about forgiveness as a "letting go" of something, and presented life as a kind of emotional openness. Link is here. Another link is here.