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The Secret's Double-Edged Sword

charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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10/12/2010 7:30:07 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
It's a plain as day aspect of living in a world that's bigger than you that there are going to arise plenty of circumstances not of your own making or choosing, circumstances utterly and completely beyond your best efforts at control. And of course some of these bigger-than-you circumstances are going to be of the unpleasant and vexing variety. The enormity of the universe includes a whole lot of seemingly senseless suffering and haphazard hardship, and this means that eventually the outside world is going to randomly poop on your life's parade, is going to direct some grievous injustice your way.

And it's not at all a good idea to pooh-pooh this downbeat and uncomforting fact of our existential condition, that we are often the involuntary victims of forces, factors, and flukes that we have little or no part in causing. Deluding ourselves that we're always the masters of our own fate can give us a feel-good sense of being "empowered", but the drawback is that it can also lead to our taking responsibility and accepting blame for misfortune inflicted on us by other people, by society, or by history and the world at large. It can add the insult of self-reproach to whatever injuries life deals out to us.

Even more dangerously, denying or downplaying the negative influence that external conditions can sometimes have on people's lives leads to unfairly viewing our neighbors as being at fault, one way or another, for any and everything unfortunate that befalls them. We can then find ourselves being judgmental of and withholding sympathy and compassion from fellow sufferers who, through no real sin or shortcoming of their own, have received a staggering blow from the universe.

And last but not least, overstating our personal power to control the course of our lives, and unestimating the power of The Powers that Be to take the steering wheel away from us, and to drive our lives off a cliff, a cliff such as the current global economic crisis for example, can lead to social and political inaction and inertia. If we assign all responsibility for the state of our lives to ourselves, if we hold our focus entirely on ourselves as individuals, then the "power structure" of society escapes any criticism or backlash from us, and gets to continue injecting excessive grief into our lives.

These are some of the problems I have with the popular thinking of the New Thought movement, and with books such as The Secret and its "law of attraction". Such ethically shallow thinking has some people looking the other way when it comes to the social and economic injustice perpetrated by governments. It has them instead blaming themselves, and their brothers and sisters in suffering, for troubles and tribulations that they did not in fact bring on themselves. And, oh yeah, such supposedly spiritual philosophies do also make people narcissistic, in a lofty, pseudo-spiritual way, they do give us another reason to keep thinking "Me, me, me". The tragic irony of this is of course that narcissism and egoism are the great obstacles to genuine spiritual growth.

Yes, there's nothing more dangerous to our spiritual welfare and progress than the wolf of egoism being disguised in the sheep's clothing of a spiritual-sounding philosophy. And nothing more hazardous to our general happiness than living in denial about the way the world actually works, and about the world's enormous ability to annihilate everything outer that we precariously ground our sense of life's blessedness and joy in.

This was all important to say, but having done so it's equally important that I now stress that much of our misfortune and suffering is in point of fact due to our own lack of spiritual wisdom, to our own spiritually uninsightful choices, and to our own self-defeating responses to the circumstance the world keeps generating for us. Let's not be overeager to always see ourselves as the cause of our own unhappiness, but let's not go to the opposite extreme either, and pin all the blame on the "big bad world", glossing over our own share of responsibility. Just as denying the evils of the world can lead to people taking no action to better the world, denying your own flaws and failings can lead to taking insufficient action to inwardly improve yourself.

We are, many of us, in very large measure responsible for making the uncomfortable bed we're currently sleeping through life in. When we at last wake up to this fact, when we courageously begin to acknowledge our own lack of spiritual understanding and wisdom, and the effect this has on our personal happiness, we take the first step toward true spiritual self-empowerment and what the Buddhists call liberation.

Okay then, so we're partially but not totally accountable for our own suffering, in the light of this existential fact how should we respond to our own and the world's misery? What, in practical terms, does liberation entail? Well, AA's Serenity Prayer perhaps holds the answer. Rolling up our sleeves to change and correct those realities in the wider world that can be fixed or improved, and practicing a mental-spiritual discipline to maintain an internal composure and joy in the face of trying situations we have no power to remedy. That's it in a mighty tiny nutshell. The details are something for each individual to work out in the course of his own spiritual odyssey.

www.spiritualsolutionsnow.com
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Kleptin
Posts: 5,095
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10/12/2010 8:17:43 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Pro-tip, people are more open to small, succinct introductory posts, followed by a guided conversation leading up to your point. Not essays or copypasta.
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
lovelife
Posts: 14,629
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10/12/2010 8:57:04 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/12/2010 7:30:07 PM, charleslb wrote:
Huge rant

If your going to c/p and provide a link, I suggest a much smaller text. I suppose its similar to what was suggested, but still, these big c/p rants are annoying.
Without Royal there is a hole inside of me, I have no choice but to leave
nonentity
Posts: 5,008
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10/12/2010 9:09:09 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
How is what you're suggesting different from The Secret or The Law of Attraction?

>>I read your original post but it would be helpful if your reply was more concise. It's midnight for me and my brain is not up to it.
Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
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10/13/2010 3:16:24 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At KFC I just prefer chicken legs to the large breast pieces, the latter can be far too dry.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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10/13/2010 2:19:18 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/12/2010 10:55:25 PM, Puck wrote:
Yes, 'The Secret' is a long known scam for the gullible. Good job.

Thank you for some positive feedback. With "thought leaders" like Oprah Winfrey endorsing and promoting The Secret and it's supernaturalistic, wish-fulfilling New Thought mind philosophy I think it's important to get and keep the opposition point of view out there, i.e., that authentic spirituality is not a get-affluent-quick stratagem. Regardless of what one thinks about religion it's a rather sad development that for many spirituality is being co-opted by the materialistic-consumerist ethos of modern society and reduced to a metaphysical gimmick for getting one up on everyone else who's striving for a BMW, widescreen TV, and an Yves Saint Laurent handbag. If people want to be materialists, well, that's their right. But I'd rather they didn't blur and blotch spirituality with their materialism.

Again, thanks for your reply.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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10/16/2010 4:55:49 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/12/2010 9:09:09 PM, TulleKrazy wrote:
How is what you're suggesting different from The Secret or The Law of Attraction?

>>I read your original post but it would be helpful if your reply was more concise. It's midnight for me and my brain is not up to it.

The fundamental metaphysical article of belief of The Secret and New Thought philosophy in general is that we can and should endeavor to manipulate outer reality with the power of our minds, in order to get the material goodies we crave from the world. The ethos of authentic spirituality, on the other hand, is one in which material self-aggrandizement is not the object in the first place. And mental principles and disciplines are practiced to gain insight into and more effectively flow with the nature of reality, not attempt to manipulate it in magical ways. What I'm suggesting is that the latter is spirituality and that New Thought is a form of faux mental-spiritual philosophy that trivializes, bastardizes, and twists the wisdom of the ages to sell books and make pseudospiritual self-help gurus wealthy.

I think there's a very definite and deep difference between the approach to spirituality and life that I advocate and what's advocated by New Thought types. If you'd like to explore this topic further and at your leisure you can always do so at my website, www.spiritualsolutionsnow.com And thanks much for your feedback.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.