Friday, April 27, 2007

The Secret

This film, which springs directly from the little gem that was "What the bleep do we know" and is meant as a further exploration of the relationship between quantum physics and consciousness, is not only a serious misreading of its sources but also both morally repugnant and a sad confirmation of exactly how some in America end up conflating the spiritual and the material, the real and the evanescent - when they should definitely know A LOT better.

Judging from their website I would say that the producers have been reading too much Dan Brown and not enough Fritjof Capra.

It's all very well to get together well known US self help gurus like Jack Canfield, Marci Shimoff and John Gray together with the odd Quantam physicist and have them spout about what great lives they have and how they lived through tough times, transformational experiences and personal redemption. It's another thing altogether to invest these individuals with some sort of mystique ("The Secret") and in so doing confer on their view of the world as we see it post-edit an aura of reality and authenticity, and in the process render this view something to aspire to; whether it be the '$4 million dollar house' or the 'Checks that just keep coming through the mail'.

Let's not forget just how profound and important real self actualisation is and remind ourselves just what all the fuss is about when we bring together theories and philosophies like Quantum Physics and Buddhism.

Eastern spirituality and Quantum Physics both seem to suggest a similar concept of the universe. Although of course one is spiritual and the other physical at the outset nonetheless they appear to converge in suggesting that essentially the universe is empty, that all that exists is energy and that we, and our minds, are nothing more than manifestations of this energy. In seeing this we can either accept the impermanence inherent in our universe or exist in a state of grasping and delusion. The confusion of the permanent with the impermanent and the concepts of attachment and non-attachment are at the heart of Buddhist teaching and it is here that we get to the nub of the problem in The Secret. The much vaunted 'Law of Attraction', the idea that the minute one relinquishes one's attachment to something it can be effortlessly possessed and that we are therefore masters of our own individual universes, is nothing but a grimly distorted and misunderstood interpretation of the concept of non-attachment.

You wanna own that new car? Stop thinking about how you can't do it because this is only ever increasing the impossibility of doing so. Just start thinkin how ya gonna do it and your La-Z-Boy will transform itself into the babe magnet of your dreams. Whatever.

This film mentions cars and money and God an awful lot. It doesn't mention love, compassion or peace. It equates material possessions with happiness in the crudest manner possible and suggests that if you live in utter poverty, at the bottom of the heap then no-one but you can possibly be responsible. Now, I'm not saying that these are the beliefs of the participants or even that this is what the producers are trying to argue. No. But what I am saying is that this is what they have ended up doing. And I wonder why they did that.

No comments: