July 13, 2008

A Slice of PIE: Oprah, THE SECRET, Rhonda Byrnes, PIE and Quantum Entanglement

What do Oprah, Australian television writer and producer, Rhonda Byrne, THE SECRET and “Christianity, faith, science fiction and writing” have to do with each other?

Oprah’s promotion of Byrne’s 2006 “self-help” book, THE SECRET on her talk show, helped lead the book to blockbuster status. For me, THE SECRET was “A story that immerses you in its detail so that as you are reading it you feel almost as if you were surrounded by a whole world of people, things, and events...” alpha.fdu.edu/~jbecker/americanlit/literaryterms-fiction.html).

Based on this, I’m going to classify THE SECRET as a novel. During Rhonda Byrne’s February 8, 2007 TV interview with Oprah, she also “defines The Secret as the law of attraction, which is the principle that ‘like attracts like.’ Rhonda calls it ‘the most powerful law in the universe,’ and says it is working all the time. ‘What we do is we attract into our lives the things we want, and that is based on what we're thinking and feeling,’ Rhonda says. The principle explains that we create our own circumstances by the choices we make in life. And the choices we make are fueled by our thoughts—which means our thoughts are the most powerful things we have here on earth.’” (http://www.oprah.com/spiritself/slide/20070208/ss_20070208_284_101.jhtml).

I was reading about quantum entanglement this morning. It’s a…“phenomenon in which the quantum states of two or more objects are linked together so that one object can no longer be adequately described without full mention of its counterpart — even though the individual objects may be spatially separated. This interconnection leads to correlations between observable physical properties of remote systems.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_entanglement

In my opinion, The Secret is fiction that Rhonda Byrnes cobbled together from sources purportedly 3500 years old then labeled it “the most powerful law in the universe”. This appellation suggests that The Secret supersedes the laws of gravity, light speed, entropy and motion. She is fiddling with science in a work of fiction. By definition, she has written science fiction.

If it’s SF she’s writing, I don’t think she’s gone far enough. If she’s going to talk about how our “thoughts” can alter physical reality, why use three-millenia-old mumbo-jumbo? Why not use the most obvious modern explanation: quantum entanglement? According to THE SECRET, we need only think and the universe will change to accommodate us – this happens of course, because when we “think” something, we alter the quantum states of the particles nearest to us. Because they are entangled with other particles, the states change there as well. By thinking positive, we change the spin of nearby quantum particles to reflect a more positive spin. As they spin positively, the particles that they are entangled with will begin to spin in a positive way, thereby increasing positive energy both near us and at other places. That much positive spin couldn’t help but begin to change physical things for us in a more positive direction. Right?

Ah yes, THE SECRET is so much easier to believe than that God loves us and sacrificed his only Son to take on the sins of the world – just so that we might live in His perfect will with his blessings forever.


PS: On February 6, 2008, Oprah continued: “No matter any criticism for The Secret, Oprah says she still believes it's valuable. ‘I'm grateful that for so many millions of people the door was at least opened to the idea that we are each responsible for the quality of our lives,’ she says. ‘The Secret was really just the beginning.’" http://www.oprah.com/spiritself/slide/20080206/ss_20080206_284_101.jhtml

The beginning of WHAT?


John Curtis said...

Amen... well done!

The Secret is the latest and by far the worst example of a HIGHLY profitable trend where self-help gurus with fabricated new age titles and little relevant education, credentials or legitimate expertise brainwash us into believing that they know what is best for us, our marriages and our families.

Often their only contribution to society is introducing some exotic sounding, new age philosophy. However, they often cleverly form an incestuous group of like-minded “experts” who cross-promote each other by swearing their success is due to following the beliefs of another member of their “cult!” All the while, they ply the airwaves jockeying for an ever-larger audience by appearing in the national media to garner third-party endorsements.

The Self-Help Movement has become the Self-Destruct Movement by diminishing or destroying our critical thinking skills to choose and evolve on our own. We have given up the freedom to build healthy lives, marriages and families based on our unique history and life experience. Instead many victims, blinded to the value of their own life experiences, are attracted to the latest secret in self-help, in an attempt to find out what they should think, feel and how they should act... this is the definition of a cult.

The solution is a return to our (common) senses! The best way out of this learned “self-helplessness” is to go cold turkey. Stop following ALL self-help gurus now. Begin, instead, to reclaim your natural, God-given ability to think for yourself. The common sense that was once readily available to all of us is still there free of charge and waiting to be applied to just about any challenge we might face in life… all you have to do is use it.

Please, let's all work together to stop the flock of "sheepeople" who blindly move from one UNPROVEN concept to the next, looking for the answers to life's challenges that you already possess and that is the OBVIOUS!

Paul said...

Huh. So, if like attracts like, the poor and hungry are poor and hungry because that's what they've chosen. And the rich are rich for the same reason. What's more: neither one can ever become the other. Like attracts like, after all; like doesn't attract unlike. Huh.

John Brown said...

Guy, I don't buy the Secret either. If you begin to ask those who popularize this law of attraction about tragedy, they have no answer but that it is probably vibrated into the life of the person by their very thoughts. Yikes. But that's not my only problem with it.

However, theologically it sounds like if you switch "Universe" with "God" it squares up with many interpretations of NT statements such as:

(New Testament | Matthew 7:7)"ask and ye shall receive"

(New Testament | Matthew 21:22)22 And all athings, whatsoever ye shall bask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

(New Testament | John 14:13 - 14)
13 And whatsoever ye shall aask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

And so I can see how many believers would buy into it. So my question is what your main issue is with it. Would a simple switch of "universe" with "Christ" make it sound to you? Or is there something else?

Guy Stewart said...

Something more: the Secret posits no limits to what you get. John 14 suggests that there's some sort of "editing process" -- "in my name" and "that the Father may be glorified". Matthew 21 "ask in prayer", Matthew 7 continues: "seek and ye shall find, knock and the door will be opened...". "seeking" implies more that just a cosmic vending machine and "the door will be opened" implies an Opener...(As well, the Bible also delineates that a "price" was paid for the priviledge of asking.

Besides, TANSTAAFL has always bugged me and THE SECRET strikes me as the ultimate perversion of that.

Anonymous said...

The Secret is an intresting argument of truths, but it just isn't quite liable enough.

John Brown said...

That was one of my big issues as well. God, the vibrating genie.