News just in: there is no ‘Law of Attraction’.
Wishing for things doesn’t work.
You have to go out and make your own success yourself.
This is a guest post by my friend Ayd Instone, an international speaker, philosopher, songwriter and entertainer on the subject of creativity. He’s the author of a number of books and I thoroughly recommend his blog ‘Ding!’ which is full of thought provoking articles.
There is no ‘Law of Attraction’
I know this to be true because I have run experiments throughout my life. There are things that I have really wanted, more than anything, that I have focused positively and insensately on for prolonged periods of time. The result: I have not got them. There are things that I have not wanted, that I have paid no attention to at all, that I did not even know existed, that came upon me in my life.
This is why there is no Law of Attraction.
I know this for certain because I have studied science. For something to be a Law it must be true under all condition, every single time. Anyone who refers to Wishful Thinking (or Focus, or Positive Thinking or The Secret or As A Man Thinketh as a Law – they are dimwits. And deluded. And wrong.
Something that is sometimes true, sometimes works, where the rules are arbitrary and not universal and are not simple to describe, cannot be a Law, it can only ever rise to be a superstition.
But so what? What’s so bad about making a wish? What’s so wrong about buying into the latest cool spiritual revelation?
There is no quick fix
By thinking there’s an easy quick fix to all life’s problems (especially the financial ones) people always end up losing a lot of money and time that’s either eaten away by wasteful inaction, or stolen by snake oil hypnotists who are masters at exploiting us at our most needy.
In short, the Law of Attraction does the opposite of what it claims: it is the Law of Distraction, of Repulsion. It is a delusion.
On reading this there will be some disciples who will cry, “you’re not doing it right” or “you’re not trying hard enough” and yet no-one seems to be able to decide on exactly what the rules are.
Let’s put aside scepticism for one moment and look at the Universe as if the claims of the Law where actually true.
If the natural laws of the universe were able to be manipulated as the Law of Attraction demands, we could not have any science or any technology at all. They require unrefutable, unchanging natural laws.
If Newton’s laws of motion, if chemical reactions, gravity, the electromagnetic force and other natural laws were all at the whim of someone’s individual will, what would the universe look like?
All matter and structure would collapse. We would live in a dark age of magick and chaos where the most powerful minds (those who can ‘try hard enough’ and ‘do it right’) would have the rest of us bent to their will. They could wipe us out, or manipulate us like voodoo dolls, they could bring the stars crashing down, they could set themselves up as gods.
Fortunately they don’t, because thoughts do not manipulate matter unless we intervene in the process by using our hands.
The words manipulate, manage, manoeuvre and manifest are all derived from the verb ‘to handle’, i.e. to use one’s hands, not one’s mind.
Let’s look at a few more mundane examples.
If you believe in the Law of Attraction you must never hold any insurance policy of any kind. Just by preparing for death, accident or thinking about any kind of safety net means you’ll be asking the universe for trouble.
Make sure you don’t wear a cycle helmet as you’re just ‘attracting’ to fall off and bang your head.
Another aspect that is intrinsically linked to belief in the Law of Attraction is that the controlling force behind it, the Universe, is amoral. This means that we must be careful what we wish for. It also means we can wish for personal success and riches guilt free. There is no judgement. We can use the Law to be as greedy as we wish and in fact this is often encouraged and the main practitioners of the Law promote the wealth angle and cite their own wealth as proof that it all works. The Universe, it seems, just gets us whatever we really want.
Stephen Fry once said of such ‘New Age’ beliefs, “At least when we believed in God, we didn’t believe all this horse sh**”.
And he has a point. If we want to believe in a universe or being that grants wishes, looks after us and communicates with us in some supernatural way then we should turn to the most researched, explored, debated, believed and trusted methodology for that kind of system which is contained in a set of books called the Bible. (Other faith based books are available).
But people stay clear of the Bible (and the other major faith based doctrines) because it says something that the Law of Attraction doesn’t say: you actually have to do some work.
And that’s the attraction of the Law of Attraction, that you don’t really have to do any work. You don’t have to be righteous, or truthful, or love your neighbour, or worship and praise a higher authority, or support a community. It’s spirituality without the religion which is like having a cake without baking it.
Some people deride religion as if it’s some sort of disease. It isn’t. All it is, is a mode of life that sticks to particular rules, an organised system of living a life. Football can be a religion. Religion isn’t a dirty word. Religion is about order and about getting things done, on time when you said you were going to do it, in the way you said you were going to do it. To do something ‘religiously’ means to do something continuously and consistently.
The Law of Attraction is anti-responsibility and anti-action. It is wishful thinking. It is a promise of a quick fix, an easy way out without having to do any work.
But what about all those people who claim they have indeed ‘attracted’ success?
There are two factors that play a vital role in any success: taking action and coincidental luck. Just study anyone who is or was successful and you’ll see that they all DID something AND were in the right place at the right time, often without conscious design to be there.
There is no evidence that wishful thinking increases ‘luck’. There’s plenty of evidence that directed, focused action increases ‘luck’. There’s also plenty of evidence that lack of action produces lack of success (even for people who were in the right place at the right time).
Taking action means actually doing something rather than just thinking about it or wishing for it. Directed focus means deciding on the right action that will likely get the desired result.
If dream/vision boards, positive thinking, prayer and meditation help you decide and set goals that create focus then they are useful tools. What you think about dictates what action you’re likely to take.
So instead of waiting around for the Universe to deliver our wonderful wishes, we should be taking matter and energy into our own hands, manipulating the Universe for ourselves, to manifest the outcomes we desire by focused, directed action.
As humans we are creators. We make things. Civilisations rose through action. The great discoveries of science were made by experiments. The great works of art were painted, transcribed, carved and written. In short: things got DONE.
It’s good to dream and it’s good to plan but it’s even better to DO.
But leave all that ‘wishing’ to Peter Pan.
And if you STILL have a spiritual need, a vacuum inside you that needs filling, go join an established Church, and ask questions. Be very wary about finding the answers from some millionaire guru selling bootcamps and books. Do you really believe that anyone has had a genuine spiritual experience simply by paying money to get it? To get anything worthwhile in life you have to do the work to get it. Usually things that come easy aren’t worth having.
Ayd Instone is an international speaker, philosopher and entertainer on the subject of creativity. He’s the author of a number of books and writes regularly on his blog ‘Ding!’ Follow Ayd on Twitter @AydInstone.
So tell us what YOU think. Comments in the box below ….
I just wanted to suggest about this quote:
"All matter and structure would collapse. We would live in a dark age of magick and chaos where the most powerful minds (those who can ‘try hard enough’ and ‘do it right’) would have the rest of us bent to their will. They could wipe us out, or manipulate us like voodoo dolls, they could bring the stars crashing down, they could set themselves up as gods."
1. What makes you think this isn't already happening? People rely on social networking sites to stop themselves feeling isolated and lonely, their creators are rich and powerful as they have the power to manipulate people if need be. Politicians have people ranting about them all the time because of how difficult the government have made things for some people. I'd say that describes what you said pretty well.
2. People don't necessarily need to know about something in order for it to take effect. I try to avoid using words like "Magick" but I've also heard that "Magick" is just a focussed method of using the law of attraction, you'd be surprised as to how this effects people.
A literary agent once rejected a book of mine saying: “We dont do law of attraction anymore. That was trendy 10 years ago, when “The Secret” came out, but most people have already moved beyond that”. The statement struck me as hilarious, considering that the so-called LOA is a principle that has been in effect since eons, not just 10 years and that these “most people” have not actually “moved beyond it” but instead given up on it.
Here’s the real equation of the law of attraction… You don’t attract what you want – you attract what you are.
I do teach some advanced law of attraction techniques; so I invite you to take a look at http://www.realitycreation.org/2012/05/top-7-misunderstandings-about-the-law-of-attraction.html and http://www.realitycreation.org/2012/12/advanced-law-of-attraction-techniques.html
Would love to know what Ayd, Ann and you guys think about it..
Yeah but the law of attraction is not supposed to be a quick fix. Its supposed to work much differently right?
If you are focused on accomplishing a goal then won't you be motivated to go out and do what ever it takes to reach that goal?
Well, where to start with what I think about this? I've got a lot!I believed in the law of attraction for a while, some time ago when I first watched the DVD of 'The Secret'. I was quite vulnerable, quite in need of hope, in need of affirmation from the Universe, etc. And I was swayed by the status of the people who were saying 'This isn't wishy-washy new age stuff, this is SCIENCE!'. I thought, 'Ok, it must be science then!' And so followed my attempts, and when they didn't work, so followed my feelings of 'I must just not be doing it right'. In the same way as when I was a teenager, and I was told my mormon missionaries that if I prayed with a sincere heart I would get an answer from God. I didn't. And let me tell you, my tears and prayers were bloody sincere!
The main reason I don't believe in LOA now, is not because I'm some bitter atheist (I'm very open-minded about how much we still don't know about everything), it's because, like you pointed out Ayd, it doesn't hold up in practice. People I know who believe in LOA still have insurance, but they're not all having lots of accidents.
Also, if we can manipulate the universe in such a direct way as the LOA claims... wouldn't we be being constantly affected by the effect of everyone else manipulating the universe at the same time? Why does no one seem to take that into account?
None of us live in isolation. We are constantly CO-CREATING the reality we live in. We're in a dance together. It doesn't make sense to think we can isolate ourselves in a bubble and cut off from the influence of everything else happening around us. Whenever you do something great in your life: you didn't get there by yourself. Same goes for when something bad happens.
What the LOA gives people who believe it is, a sense they are being rewarded by the Universe for thinking in the 'right way'. I relate to that. I'd like to feel like that too. But what I'd like more is to be content with who I am, and what I have, just as it is. I'd rather work towards that feeling: to affirm myself.
It also means that when someone goes through some terrible experience, they can soften the blow by believing that person has asked for it on some level. It creates a distance from the suffering. Again, I can understand why people do that. But that's not what I'm aiming for. I want to sit with suffering and not judge it or make beliefs around it, because I KNOW from experience, that that does not create more love and compassion in me. So, in essence I agree with most of what you've said, Ayd. Although I don't agree that they are dimwits. Anyone who is holding onto something which helps them deal with what is often a difficult and painful life is not a dimwit. And if they are, then we are all dimwits, because we're all holding onto something.
But I do get angry about this subject. Especially about this Guru complex a lot of people are suffering from these days: either wanting to call themselves one, or wanting to call someone else one. I could keep typing for a long time, but I'll finish here. Excellent post, Ayd. Thanks for writing it! It's much needed!JC Piech
@JCPiech Thanks JC, great addition. But just to be clear - I was only using the term 'dimwits' to apply to those that thought LoA was a 'law', which it can't be for the reasons stated, I don't use that term to those that may or may not believe or follow it in all or part. Half of my angst against it resides there: if we all called it Theory of Attraction it would be more helpful. It's the dressing up as science, as a 'Law' as an absolute that irks the most. (Even the Big Bang is still a 'theory'). Henceforth I will never refer to it again as such and will use the abbreviation ToA instead. (My first idea was to call it Theory of Wishful Attraction Thinking but I decided against it),
I can totally see how you see how this is the truth. Most do, but that is because you don't truly understand it. Seriously, there's a lot more to it.
For instance, there is action involved, of course! Except with LOA, you take inspired action, allowing the universe to chime into your life and not trying to act out of lack & try to force something to happen. It's about putting your desires out there, believing you already have them, letting go of limiting beliefs and allowing the universe to come into your life and inspire you to take necessary action.
I don't expect this comment to change your views around it, but I do hope you'll look into the law more. Believe me, you're not getting the full picture. LOA overall is about being happy & having good vibrations! It's saying that God is love & in all of us. There is no bad, only good. The only thing that make us think it's so bad is because we have limited beliefs that pinch off our flow of goodness & when we die all that resistance is lost & we experience the full flow of goodness.
Your examples on surface level, seem right, but these can easily be proven wrong. The law is not just "want it & you will receive it." Unfortunately, that's the message of The Secret which was made lacking a lot of information to sell to the mainstream.
I'm going to give you an excellent blog from an LOA expert & her articles are outstanding & will explain everything, seriously. Read them & keep an open mind. It would be a shame for you to miss out on something so awesome!
This is the first post of a series of many answering skeptic including addressing science. Read it. You won't regret it.
@mikee88 It seems to me that people who believe in the LoA might or might not get what they want and almost certainly will get things they don't want - there are no guarantees even with the right thinking / vibrations / actions.
It also seems that people who don't believe in the LoA might or might not get what they want even if they act from a 'lack of' and determinedly force things to happen. They also will certainly get things they don't want.
Both people who believe and people who don't believe can be happy with or without the good vibrations.
Therefore I can't see any difference.
It's a bit like some people who walk under ladders believe they'll have bad luck and other's don't believe that at all. There is nothing to show that believing or not believing alters the luck.
The Law of Attraction is a superstition. Things that happen in our lives are random. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. We can't control it and we hate that so instead of simply believing in ourselves, in developing strategies to cope with and enjoy life as it is, we resort to superstition. It's nothing more than modern day witchcraft, voodoo or shamanism.
@AnnHawkins All I'm asking is that you look more into it. I thought the same way as you & now that I've studied it extensively, I no longer think the same. The post you just wrote me is basically telling me that we have to realize we don't have much control over things in our lives.
Well, that's a belief & as long as you hold onto that, that's exactly what you'll see. Someone else who doesn't have that belief, won't see it. Everything just "is" in this world & we are the ones who create the limitations. We all just have our own pair of sunglasses on that filter it all out. Yours will only make you see that bad things will happen to us & we can't get everything we want which by the way, "bad" things are only what we, ourselves classify as bad. There are no "bad" things. You can keep your opinion, but at least look into it extensively so you can deepen your perspective.
@AnnHawkins @mikee88 Oh how I'd love it to be right that there are no bad people, no bad actions, no bad decisions, no bad outcomes. But the sad evidence makes it clear that there are. One of the main questions posed by theologians and philosophers from every discipline throughout history has had to face the 'Problem of Pain' (as C.S.Lewis called it). None of them answered it with "it's ok, don't concern yourself, there isn't any pain". The problem remains, because there is.
@mikee88 Mike, I didn't come to these opinions from 'not' looking at the LoA. I have investigated and found it wanting.
I'm also unable to agree with the idea that there are no 'bad' things. Children who are abused, people who are tortured, random victims of accidents, disease, fire, flood, racial hatred, wars, famine are all bad things and not one of the victims 'attracted' these things into their lives.
My belief is in the power of human beings to cope with these things, to recover and become strong and help others. They didn't choose what happened to them - it wasn't a result of faulty thinking or bad vibrations - but they choose how to deal with it and that usually means they accept the randomness and don't believe in superstition.
I think Derren Brown (a true skeptic if ever there was one) pretty much proved in his TV programme that people who think they are lucky are actually luckier than those who don't. This even applied to the totally made up myth (by DBs team) of the lucky dog statue in a park.
Ayd and Ann ..... very interesting although there seems to be some irony in someone who makes a living, giving out advice and wisdom, warning us about people who are very successful at making a (good) living from selling advice to others.
I absolutely agree though that in our journey through life "We need advice, tuition and support" .... Now when I was younger I always enjoyed Robert Heinlein's works and musings on life, and I also remember in one of his books he wrote " one man's theology is another man's belly laugh".
Could it be that just like everything else in the (personal development) world two people can say the same thing and mean two different things.
IF the LOA is only about creating a "positive intent", IF it's about recognising and focusing on what's really important to US. And IF it's backed up with an openness to the "real" results we get and a careful analysis of the "cause and effects loops" that produce the outcomes we see, then it is nothing more (or less) than a part of a process of learning.
After all it has been shown that optimists carry on longer than pessimists. Optimist deal with challenges, set backs and failure differently to pessimists so imagining what we really want, focusing our attention on it and then "going for is" is what every successful athlete I come across does.
If on the other hand LOA is s a "mystical force that rules the universe" - well anybody the "buys" that deserves to be fleeced. And whilst I have no desire to get "rich" of the back off the lazy and gullible, good luck to those that do. Here's to the "snake oil salesmen ... I wouldn't have the "bottle" (pun intended) for it but if it works for them, I'll enjoy a chuckle, if not a belly laugh.
Now (just between you and me) admit it , wasn't using the LOA as an article and headline just the same trick as all those folks out there that have jumped on the LOA?
@AndyFerguson Nice touch Andy! However, I think there is a bit of difference between advising people to believe in themselves and take some practical action rather than a theory that was invented with the sole purpose of fleecing the unwary and largely advises inertia interspersed with buying more snake oil.
@AnnHawkins I guess Ann, I'm saying some one like me should be more interested and focused on helping people that really want to help themselves than worrying about the "hustlers" who con the lazy or gulible giving us a bad name. Surely if we are happy and have happy successful clients we don't need to give a spot light to the "crap" any more than it already gets.
@AndyFerguson I would generally agree with that approach Andy. However I've had more than one person come here to refute @aydinstone 's assertions and find themselves actually agreeing with them. In some worlds it seems the LAO is like a case of The Emperor's New Clothes and people are afraid to call out the frauds.
@aydinstone I need to respond to this because I think you are missing the whole point of LOA. LOA is not as simple as making a wish and the universe delivers it, like a genie in a bottle. It's about attracting into your life things, events, people, circumstances that will help us to attain our goals. In achieving what we want we have to take action every time. I am trying to set a business up at the moment and the law of attraction has brought to me so many wonderful people, circumstances etc to enable me to continue moving onto the next step in achieving my business goal. I don't just sit on my backside expecting the universe to just deliver a business to me, of course I've got to work for it but what the universe does is it put scertain people, events, ideas etc and I take every opportunity delivered to my door. You talk about the things you wanted most you did not get and the things you did not focus on the most you got. It's a funny thing but you will usually find with LOA that if you are holding onto something so strongly, you are not giving it time to breathe therefore, you are holding it in resistance and believe me this happens all the time with people. You'll generally find that if you are relaxed about something and in a way I suppose, have no real need of it, that's when you attract it into your life. I have had such amazing things happen to me and not so amazing things happen through practising the LOA, people do it everyday without knowing it. Why is it that for example a woman may keep attracting lying, cheating boyfriends into her life? It's simply down to her expectations and her belief system, it is her very energy that keeps attracting the same kind of male. I believe in God and the bible and LOA is very similar to a biblical principal: 'I assure you that whoever tells this hill to get up and throw itself in the sea and does not doubt it in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him' - Mark 11.23. I am very blessed and LOA has some wonderful thoughtful, sharing principals like being greatful for what you have, feeling positive about where you are in your life, no matter what you are going through. It's not all about money and greed but is a beautiful positive way to live one's life and remember this: you can only attract into your world what you believe or know will happen for you. This is not a quick fix, it take time to master the art of belief and knowing, I may wish to be a millionaire but without treue belief, knowing and input on my part, it's not gonna happen. LOA is based on relaxing yourself ,just living your life, and taking action. There is nothing wrong in wanting to attract money, business, love etc but if it's going to happen, you can only do it from a place of calm and certainty. Thanks
@aydinstone I was going to stay out of this as both sides are so entrenched there will be no "winner". But I think this part is all that is needed : 1. There is no LoA. Don't wish for things, set goals and take action for success. 2. Watch Star Wars, and enjoy living in a wonderful fantasy world. I'll let you get back to it...
@PeterOToole @aydinstone Thanks for taking the time to understand where Ayd and I are coming from on this issue Peter. I don't know Ayd's religious beliefs and I don't think he knows mine. We're both coming at this from the point of view of following through on reasoned arguments rather than espousing a particular doctrine. I'm not familiar with the bible so my arguments are not from theology but from rational, logical thought. Listening to some of the arguments tho' it make you realise how religious wars start which is a bit terrifying.
@PeterOToole I think you're refering to a comment that wasn't aimed at you, it was answering another point so you can simply ignore that thread, which incidentally doesn't contain my beliefs as such, just my understanding of one point which is that the Bible does not entertain superstitions, only its own theology. It's that point I was suggesting you ask a priest about for the official line as I am no theologian. Why people missed that point I have no idea, I thought I'd made it clear enough, sorry for any confusion.
@aydinstone How about if I serve no master and I truly don't believe in God? Am I not still entitled to an opinion? You have given me 5 choices as a non-believer and drawn your own conclusions to each, none of which fits my version of the truth. I share your concerns that there are charlatans in the world who will use a variety of different mind games to manipulate others and often to make money out of them, but I am sorry to say that you as a believer (a status by the way, which I have full respect for) have no right to lecture others on the limits of their choices. Why would I consult a priest or church leader on my beliefs, when I already know theirs will oppose mine and the chances are very high that, like yourself, as soon as they find I am an atheist, they will not make any effort to listen to, understand or consider my views
If you believe in God and have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and saviour, LoA whether it is real or unreal, should have no place in your life.
Accept no false prophets or vain idols. If you believe in God, there is only God. There is no 'Universe' acting on your behalf. And if there might be, you should reject it. According to the Bible, anything that doesn't come from God, comes from the devil.
You cannot serve two masters, God and LoA. The greatest commandment is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind" Luke 10:27. "I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me" Isaiah 45:5.
As a believer in God, the choices are:
1. LoA is a superstition and delusion - if this is true it should be rejected, or referred to as a bit of fun like throwing a coin in a well or blowing out birthday candles.
2. LoA is a real and living energy field - if it is good then it comes from God and we should be calling it the Holy Spirit and reject all references to anything that excludes the Holy Spirit
3. LoA is a real and living energy field - if it is not the Holy Spirit, the only transcendental energy field/person mentioned in the Bible to come from God, then it is the work of Satan.
As a non-believer in God, the choices are, as 1 above or:
4. LoA is a real and living energy field that 'is' the universe. Congratulations, you're a candidate to believe in God, refer to 2 or 3 above.
5. LoA is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us. It binds the universe together. Congratulations, you are a Jedi.
So far, nothing is this debate has added anything that offers any reason to deviate from one of these three courses of action:
1. There is no LoA. Don't wish for things, set goals and take action for success.
2. There is no LoA. Do as in 1, but go to Church as well.
3. Watch Star Wars, and enjoy living in a wonderful fantasy world.
Carol, I'd like to suggest that its really YOU who is bringing all those wonderful things into your life because you are out there doing the right things to make it happen. If you did the same things without believing in the LOA you would get the same results.
There are many people who are surprised by success and set out do something without any real belief that it would work - indeed are often openly sceptical about it - but because they do the right things at the right time they get the results.
There are also lots of people who get unlooked for help when they pretty much given up hoping for anything which simply means that life is random. we can't influence what happens to us, we can only deal with it.
@IcyShiningStar You can make videos about anything you like. I just hope you don't charge people money for them
"A very well known and well documented example of the law of attraction is the placebo effect, most of which occur in medication trials. Even the most carefully designed double-blinded study almost always yield very measurable placebo improvement; patients who believed they would be affected positively by the medications fared better than those who did not, even when given an inert tablet (often a sugar pill)."
@AlvinJohn1 You still wouldn't expect pharma companies to sell the sugar pills as though they were real medicine tho would you?
What a great article @aydinstone , thank you for debunking a myth.
True story, i was emailed the other day from someone who said "the law of attrction has brought me to your website Lee" I thought it may have been google! Anyway i replied and said a polite "hello, nice to meet you" and they have not contacted me since. Comedy gold :)
We must take action of course, and we mustn't believe random theories. Regarding motivaional speakers, books and faith (which i have), we should NEVER check our brains in at the door.
Richard Wiseman's book 59 seconds may help to get to the truth behind my industry.
Lets be real in our beliefs and motivation, always ask questions, and always take action when we need to.
If you walk around with a face like a slapped arse, you aren’t going to attract happy people into your life!
The Law of Attraction DOES involve taking action. Anyone who thinks it doesn't is fooling themselves. Focus on what you want, set a plan top get it and take action. Nothing mystical, just common sense
I agree the 'law' of attraction can appear to work because it acts as a focus for the mind in goal setting. There is, as you say, still a need for action if the goal is to be realised. Positivity has other useful effects, perhaps less tangible in the way that one's attitudes can be reflected in others. If we are happy and bubbly that tends to have a knock on effect on the people we interact with and so gives the appearance of attracting happiness towards us...
In my opinion religion is equally delusional and probably more insidious than the law of attraction. By the creation of an illusion of a god and a set of laws handed down to us we create barriers, both in our own minds and into the world around us which can often cause intolerance, closed minds and conflict.
@PeterOToole Let's not get bogged down with the organised religion debate Peter. It's far too trendy to go along with the celebrity religion bashers and the cultural and media drive to highlight extremists. It's not religion that causes conflict anymore than it's football that causes hooliganism and racism. It's people. People whose brains are stuck in the animal purging of the hives built-in tribalism from our ancient past. Humanity's ability to rise above that programming and mate with people who are different has been the secret of humanity's rise and finding tolerance to differences now will be the secret to our survival as a species.
I have Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Christian friends who are really into their religion and are amongst the most tolerant, peaceful and collaborative people I know. I even know some football fans who are quite nice people too. Having one of the cultural and spiritual code of conducts found in traditional religions does not make you seek conflict and hatred; none of the religions preach that. The people who do, would find any excuse.
Charles Manson cited the Beatles' White Album for the call to carry out murder. When I listened to it I just heard some songs.
A lot of people find great comfort in their faith and it's not my place to ridicule anyone's encounter with God - that's a personal experience and none of my business. And I would never call them delusional. So why am I having a pop at LoA which may be just the same? Because whatever your gripe with main organised religion it does not, at its core, say you have to do nothing and that getting rich is the best thing to do without thought for others and community. It is not the same. If we read the Gospels, Torah and Koran et al we can see that it is not the same at all.
@aydinstone couldn't agree more with the principle of what you are saying Ayd. I'm not a religion basher and certainly have never been trendy :-).
I too have many friends with faith and many others without. Indeed I have a few who believe in the attraction principle and others in their ability to control their inner energy (chi) with 'amazing' results. Most of these are also tolerant peaceful people....
I'm afraid I don't personally believe any of these things have inherent truth, but people are able to make them 'work' because it is their way of inspiring a positive attitude or belief in themselves.
This can lead to improved motivation and to action which in turn may result in the desired effects. It is very difficult then to argue against the idea that it is the persons beliefs that have magically produced their desired results.
The problems begin when these ideas are transferred or sold onto others wrapped up as something they are not such as magical powers or supernatural beings. I believe we need to strip away the illusions from all of these systems and have the opportunity to see them at face value, which may in many cases have some useful guidance, advice or techniques to help us understand and achieve our goals. :-)
@PeterOToole This whole subject is really about control isn't it Peter? Either we allow ourselves to be controlled by 'someone' - a guru, preacher, diciple etc., telling us how to think and behave or we open our minds and find our own power.
@AnnHawkins I agree Ann... I believe it is possible to get good support and advice and in some cases that might come from a teacher or guru. We may need help from them to reach the point at which we really are using our own minds and power. The difficulty is that there are many, many people out there who are either charlatans or are deluded and actually believe the mantras they pass onto others.
Many of us actually want to find an easy solution and are easily sucked in by these people. The evidence they pass on can be compelling, partly because of their convincing sales pitches and many people are too polite or fearful to question their arguments. Therein lies the difficulty: how do we progress as individuals, find our paths and develop our powers and talents? We need advice, tuition and support, but we need to start off with the very insight we are seeking in order not to be sucked in by magicians of one sort or another! :-)
Ayd, I agree 100% that 'wishing for it doesn't get it - you have to DO something'! (kids - take note :-)
Yyet, I wonder if the act of positive thinking is better de-coded as 'you must wholeheartedly commit - and then all manner of seemingly unlikely outcomes become more likely'. Because the actions that follow from that commitment are more likely to be the ones that it will take. Still nothing like a guarantee though!
@Mike Yeadon I had a whole extra bit in this blog about 'positive thinking' but it was getting too long so I cut it out. But the general gist was that 'negative thinking' damages our outcomes by unrealistically limiting our actions through fear. 'Positive thinking' may give false confidence that could ignore real pitfalls that should be addressed before we take action. So 'Neutral thinking' is what we need: to see things as they really are and take the right action, in confidence, based on facts, backed by experience, without prejudice, without being swayed by irrelevant emotional pulls, but drawing upon intuition to as accurately as possible weigh up the right course to take.
Agreed - calling anything a law is a dangerous thing to do anyway. Even the law of gravity does not hold for all extremes. If anything what the LoA advocates are experiencing is a Phenomenon of Manifestation - our ability to make things happen. As a real world example, I'd love to do a guest post for/with you one day ;-)
@thebookwright Gravity is the weakest force in the universe and yet it's the one we always go on about isn't it?
@aydinstone - Indeed Ayd & although weak, it's a multi-dimensional force and pervades all - in some circles it's known as love too :-) e.g. the Earth loves to revolve around the Sun and the Moon around the Earth
& Ann & Ayd, I'll concoct a post for you soon - perhaps a left field approach to time management (and how it's more malleable than is thought)
Great post. I hear so much about 'think it and it will happen', that I thought it was me that was going insane. I'm all for positivity and striving for your dreams, but they won't happen without planning and old fashioned work. I can't imagine that Richard Branson sat around wishing very hard to get where he is today.
@WendyNorman Good point Wendy. I know lots of people who 'have a go' and are pleasantly surprised when things work out. The only belief system we need is that we will cope with whatever life throws at us and if (when) things go wrong, we'll get on and have another go.
Cracking post Ayd - Brilliant.!
In other words the law of attraction only works like a magnet you have to do something to attract it. Otherwise it is just wishing!
@PhilJ But the magnet thing doesn't work because it attracts 'opposite' poles. It repels 'like' poles. You see there was deep meaning behind the choice of pic for this post - people think we need to 'be like magnets' to attract but magnets repel, so just like the LoA it's the opposite of what we've been led to believe.
I turned the magnet pic around so that it looked like a lucky horseshoe, another superstition that people get wrong: people say you need to mount it on your door as a 'U' so that the 'luck' doesn't run out. It's an opposite again, the wrong way round - the horseshoe does not bring luck, it shows that you probably have luck; lucky enough to have a horse and enough spare shoes for it to waste one hanging it on your door...
This 'opposites' issue is part of the LoA problem in that people don't understand the laws of Newton - cause and effect, every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction - not the other way round. A action does not create a cause.
@aydinstone Ah! But the principle of attracting does follow the principle of magnetism. The desire for something is the opposite pole to the something that is desired. "I desire a car" means that I do not have that car. The "Car" is the opposite of that desire because it is there. Once I have that car, equilibrium is established - no longer the desire and no longer a spare car.
And there is no clash with Newton's third law which is so often misquoted. What this actually states is: "When two bodies interact by exerting force on each other, these action and reaction forces are equal in magnitude, but opposite in direction." Thus, a mass sitting on my table of 1kg represents a force of 9.81N in a downward direction. In order to maintain equilibrium, the table exerts a force of 9.81 N in an upward direction
To state the law in the way you have would suggest that any work I do in order to achieve the goal of getting the car will be faced with an equal amount work that is preventing me from getting it. Clearly this is as illogical as the LoA in it's raw form. I am an actor and a writer; following your logic, I should never meet another writer of actor because each time I got close to one I would repel them. Clearly not the case as I have hundreds of actors and writers in my network and each of those has their own network.
I cannot agree with your last sentence, either. An action is a cause of some effect. I stand up from my chair; this action creates the cause of many effects - The carpet is compress under my feet, the air is moved by my body, sound waves are generated, etc.
In my years of teaching young people, I often told them that the only thing you need to achieve anything is a strong enough desire to do it. Obviously, wherewithal is a a useful quality as well but often the wherewithal is a function of desire. Athletes with amputations of both legs do not have the wherewithal to run but the desire gives them the wherewithal - with a little help from technology.
In 1954, no-one believed it possible to run a mile in under four minutes (the record of 4m 1.4s stood for nine years) but Roger Banister did and he had a strong enough desire to do so. Within two months of his record, he was beaten again. Since then, athletes have beaten the four minute barrier time and time again.
I would say that nothing can be achieved by sentient beings without desire and the belief.
The problem with the Law of Attraction and "The secret" is that they are incomplete. The secret actually gives away no secrets as it doesn't actually tell you how to manifest these desires. The LoA definitely needs expanding upon. Mmm. I feel a book coming on.
Blog: John Mc the Writer
@PhilJ I'd argue that even when you do the right things to get what you want and have all the right thoughts marshalled as an extra precaution, sometimes it doesn't work. We are not magnets in any sense of the word and most of what happens to us is random.
The danger in this lies when the 'disciples' spout trivia like 'You obviously didn't want it enough' or 'There will be a positive reason for this' and the fatalists add 'It wasn't meant to be'
Quite often all that is needed is a re-adjustment of the strategy (sorry, not trying to teach you to suck eggs) and the strength of will to try again.
The problem with the purely scientific view is that you cannot observe a person's thoughts (the cause) before you measure the thing that has been "attracted" (effect).
The supposed "Law" of Attraction works when people are truly focused because it controls their own behaviour such that they are far more likely to get what they a wishing for.
This is only the same principal that was expounded by Napoleon Hill in his book "Think and Grow Rich" published early last century.
If you always stick to the Dawkins dogma that nothing exists if if can't be scientifically proven, then so many opportunities will no longer exist. Did gravity not exist until it was proven to exist. We have no proof of wormholes, only a mathematical theory but I'm sure there are not many scientists who would say categorically that they don't exist because no-one has seen them.
Blog: John Mc the Writer
@JohnMc_Lpool The real problem with science is that it describes how the universe works. People don't like that and think it should work in a way that suits them instead. Comedian Stewart Lee said that someone was arguing with him about creationism for which he cited the clear science that refutes it, "oh, there you go again" they said, "you can prove anything with science"!
@JohnMc_Lpool You make a couple of important points John. The first is about thoughts influencing behaviour which they undoubtedly do but, as @AydInstone points out, books like The Secret and its disciples fail to point out that action is a necessary part of making things happen and lead to delusion that 'positive thinking' is all that is necessary.
My own big beef with this as mentioned in another post here is that people who have unlooked for tragedy enter their lives are made to feel guilty by the trite phrase like "Everything you have in your life is a result of how you think."
Napoleon Hill's book that you mention is actually as far removed from its modern so called counterparts as it is possible to be. Hill expounds at great length and with many examples the necessity of cultivating the habit of rigorous thinking combined with disciplined action and is at great pains to point out that the resulting 'riches' are about acquiring wisdom and inner resourcefulness not just about material wealth.