Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is There Any Science Behind The Claims Of "The Secret"?

In 2006, a little video called The Secret exploded onto the scene and created a tsunami wave of fresh enthusiasm for new age spirituality and personal empowerment.

The Australian producers of The Secret included a few scientists to bookend the usual cast of self-help gurus and pulled off what many would claim as a product marketing coup of the decade. Their claims were scientifically astounding. Quite simply, according to these mostly self-credentialed authors of self-help books, anyone can create and have any reality they want in our world merely by visualizing it to be so.

Since the initial release of this documentary style, feature length infomercial, millions of people began a quest to change the laws of physics and create fresh new realities that would sweep the globe, drowning out the voices of any naysayers standing in their way.

Now, almost seven years later, and millions in profits to the producers, what will history say about the benefits gained by purchasers of all those CD's, books and tapes? Surprisingly, the consensus is very encouraging. Regardless of whether The Secret actually helped people create any new reality they chose, most people seemed to feel their lives were better for having embraced the tenets espoused by The Secret line of products. And to be fair, there are endorsements by people who cite specific examples of life changing events they attribute to their investment in what The Secret revealed to them.

So that's not a bad thing right? Right. And furthermore, I say more power to them! But, is there any science to these claims or is everyone just feeling good about deciding to feel better about themselves? Let's take a look.

The "science" behind the claims are tied to what people have now come to accept as "the law of attraction". First of all, that's not new and it's hardly a secret. And notwithstanding the clever marketing twist in the movie that suggested there was some heinous plot to keep this information from the masses, thus benefiting only those horribly capitalistic captains of industry who needed uninspired cheap labor for their factories, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha, who was born somewhere near 563 BC, was quoted as saying:

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him."

Sound familiar? So now Buddhism has been talking about this "law" of attraction for a lot longer than the producers of The Secret. But even if that's true, is there any science to the - breaking it down into other words here: transformation of one reality through the visualization of another? In fact there is!

Science is now able to finally illustrate that reality itself is a condition, or state of existence that is constantly in flux, not something hard-wired into relentless evolution of the universe. Energy moves in and out and around the voids between fixed states of existence, or reality, which has become stable enough to appear solid, thus forming the tangible world around us. And then just as quickly it disappears again to be replaced by another new reality, to take the place of the "old" reality.

From moment to moment reality moves in and out of existence at a level and a frequency that we cannot perceive as individual units of reality, but rather what appears to be an unbroken stream of existence similar to a motion picture. We don't see the separate frames of film in a motion picture either - but they
are there nonetheless.
The "flicker effect" or a slight awareness of individual spaces of blackness between frames of film through a movie projector is subliminal. They pass by your eyes so quickly you begin to consciously overlook them; so they disappear as your brain compensates for them and no longer appear as individual still pictures anymore. Now they become a moving picture and the still photos simply blur as individual scenes that would otherwise be just a series of single frozen pictures in time.

But the really cool part is how WE make up the movie as we go along! Almost any outcome is possible. Letting that one creation play out without fiddling around with it and creating a new one in it's place is the trick. You just need to decide what movie you want to see and stick to it. In effect you are then choosing the outcome you want to experience. Click on the picture above and see what I mean (from a sample clip of the movie entitled: "What the Bleep do we know?")

So now that you're back, let's continue. What I'm illustrating here is that reality is a transformative illusion you move through on a daily basis pretty much on autopilot. You just live it and it moves you around as if you really weren't in control - when if fact you are. You just don't see yourself doing it anymore. You've lost that perception now over a very long time of living at Effect, rather than from Cause. And the worst part is that you keep changing your mind about what reality is really going to be for you. You second guess yourself and overlay the first reality you imagined, with a second and a third, on and on. So what you get is at worst a total surprise and at best a pretty good average of all the different realities you imagined.

So popular mind-over-matter theories marketed by products like the The Secret (2006), The Greatest Secret in the World (1972 by Og Mandino), PMA(Positive Mental Attitude) and Psycho-Cybernetics from the 60's (authored by Napoleon Hill who also authored the earlier seminal book on the subject entitled Think and Grow Rich and W. Clement Stone),  all relate the power of visualization to creating your future reality. To that extent they are supported by the latest scientific theories about how reality is being created at the base levels of subatomics, or the quantum level as it's now frequently referred to.

And therefor they ARE fairly well rooted in our new understanding of physics. And what is that exactly? It means that consciousness does appear to have influence on the fluid edge of reality. If that is true, then personal reality can be influenced by people thinking thoughts about what they want it to look like.

So The Secret is actually in good company with many other methodologies sold as remedies for your underperforming expectations for your life. It's just not much of a secret really. So go forth and conquer! Visualize your new life just the way you want it! Make of it what you will, but also know it will be as good or bad as you can focus on what you want - and stick to it.

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