Unpacking The Secret [Part Two]

This is part two of my three part examination of The Secret. I'd suggest reading part one before digging in here. The Secret wasn't marketed using conventional methods but took advantage of viral advertising means. It is available in both book and movie form. Reinforcing my selective book purchasing policy, I decided to watch the movie [isn't that the American way, anyway?]. So I carved out an hour-and-a-half of time to check it out. The film is a mixture of interviews with proponents of The Secret interspersed with dramatic reenactments.

From an artistic perspective, it isn't the worst thing I've ever seen, but it's pretty close. It was a mixture of cheap CGI effects and green screen interviews. The acting in the reenactments was reminiscent of a Lifetime movie. And there was a hint of The Da Vinci Code as they showed the mythological myth being passed down dramatically from generation to generation [note: I say mythological because its defenders offer up even less evidence than Dan Brown pretended to]. Rhonda Byrne, writer of The Secret, first offers up an excerpt of her journey towards discovering The Secret. She explains that she searched the world over for teachers who knew The Secret [apparent the search was limited to English speaking countries]. Byrne then allows the teachers to explain The Secret to the masses.

The movie begins with the teachers explaining the Law of Attraction and how it affects the world we live in. Esther Hicks*, author of The Law of Attraction: The Basic Teachings of Abraham, instructs listeners of the two basic feelings that we have: good and bad. It's instant karma- the kind of thoughts you're putting out there is the kind of return the world will give you. So as people look to expand their share of the universe, they need to follow the three step creative process behind The Secret: 1) Ask for what you want 2) Wait for the universe to Answer and 3) Receive what the universe offers you. Hicks assures, "You are the creator of your own reality."

Included in the film were testimonies of business men who claim to have used the Secret for significant financial gain. Also profiled was Morris Goodman, a man who survived a horrible plane crash and beat the odds to walk again. The inspirational stories are retold to lend credibility to the power of positive thought.

Dr Joe Vitale, a motivational speaker, is the pragmatic Secret teacher who instructs viewers on how to approach the universe. He advises viewers that when you live your life by the Secret, "The universe becomes your catalogue and you choose what you want."

The movie spends 90 minutes rehashing self-help/power of positive thinking principles cliches in digestible sound-bytes; it's basically a "You can do whatever you imagine" love-fest. I can only imagine that the book is similar in nature.

Now that we've looked at what The Secret media blitz, what does it mean to the Christian? I'll attempt to deconstruct it in the next post.

*Apparently Esther Hicks didn't appreciate the aggressive marketing surrounding The Secret and his since parted ways with the movement.