For as long as humans have gathered together in groups, families, tribes, villages or cities, there have always been individuals who seek to make their living by peddling “higher knowledge”, snake oil, invisible clothes, Cures for every ailment known (usually in a single product), magic and “Real Miracles”
Down through the ages, individuals and organisations have made a very comfortable living by convincing the unthinking masses that they have a secret, a gift beyond price of which they are the custodians and which they are willing to share with YOU (lucky dog) …… for a price.
These guys come in many different guises. Witch Doctors, High Priests, Astrologers, fundamentalist religions, mainstream religions, Fortune Tellers …. there are even so-called social scientists (to put a contemporary label on unqualified philosophers).
Everything is for sale from these folks ….. cures for every disease, happiness, prosperity, good fortune, luck in love, the odd miracle or two, and information about your future … to name just a few. Even today, there are travelling road shows of latter day Gurus who get paid very handsome, per person rates for attendance at their ‘seminars’. Lucky participants are taught, in a single sitting, the secrets that will bring them every good thing their heart can desire. When you consider what’s being given, even a hefty attendance fee is a mere trifle, by comparison.
The more successful Gurus become sufficiently well known that they can churn out the occasional book or video and diversify their income stream. Then there’s personal workshops. Mentoring and merchandising … every imaginable marketing strategy in the pursuit of more money.
Fortunately for the Gurus, life is finite and constantly regenerating itself, So every new generation of Gurus has a new generation of truth seekers, ready to cough up big time for the secrets to love, life and happiness. In the current age, we are positively awash with Gurus of all kinds. Some play the religious card, some preach spiritualism, magic and mystery; still others, astrology and metaphysics. The number of different angles is is amazing but the message is always the same …. “I have something that you want …. it is special … and I will share it with you …. at a price” The shakiness of the claim is often backed up by the guarantee that, when you buy the product and it proves faulty, the fault is yours … because you didn’t believe enough. And there’s always that old standby line “My product is everything I said it is. Unfortunately, fools just can’t see it”.
It has always been my belief that the very best magic shows always involve a little bit of genuine truth …. embellished with a really good side show of smoke, mirrors, magic and bullshit. You only need a little bit of truth in the formula, but that little bit of truth is central to the massive cloud of crap that surrounds it.
Which brings me to ‘The Law Of Attraction’. This bit of relatively latter day nonsense holds that, if you simply believe that you’ll get those things that you want in life, it will happen just that way. And conversely, if you believe that bad things will happen to you, your belief will attract exactly what you are expecting.
Wikipedia (the ordinary person’s reference library) states it as follows”
“The law of attraction is the name given to the belief that “like attracts like” and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. This belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from “pure energy”, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy. One example used by a proponent of the law of attraction is that if a person opened an envelope expecting to see a bill, then the law of attraction would “confirm” those thoughts and contain a bill when opened. A person who decided to instead expect a cheque might, under the same law, find a cheque instead of a bill.
Although there are some cases where positive or negative attitudes can produce corresponding results (principally the placebo and nocebo effects), there is no scientific basis to the law of attraction”
This Law Of Attraction is referred to in other ways also …. “creative visualisation” for example. But the underlying theme stays the same …. that what you believe, either good or bad, will come to pass. The only circumstance where I believe there has ever been solid evidence of this idea having any legitimacy whatever, has involved mass hysteria and psychosomatic illnesses. The miracle healers of the world still have a considerable following, even in these enlightened times. And so, it is their followers’ faith, that cures them.
Having said this, I would hasten to add that only a fool would dismiss the power of belief (or faith). It is indeed, the little element of truth at the centre of any number of magic shows, both contemporary and historical. I sincerely believe that faith (creative visualisation) really does work. But it’s the why of the working that we desperately need to understand. While we don’t understand the simple dynamic of the power of belief, we remain forever vulnerable to the next snake oil salesman, evangelist or witch doctor who crosses our path. So I’ll explain my understanding of the mechanics of ‘The Law Of Attraction” and you can decide for yourself, if it makes sense for you.
Let’s say that two guys, Fred and Joe, both become firmly convinced that they are destined to win the lottery. Fred’s response to this belief is that he sells everything that he owns, empties out his savings and spends every cent on lottery tickets. Joe, on the other hand, doesn’t buy lottery tickets. He just KNOWS that he is destined to win and he only needs to sit back and wait for his payday.
Common sense will tell you that Fred’s ACTIONS have been motivated by his belief (faith) that he is going to win the lottery. You could argue that Joe’s INACTION is likewise inspired by faith (belief). But if you consider the relative likelihood of either person winning the big one, you would have to agree that Fred is infinitely more likely to win the lottery, than is Joe. In fact, unless some benevolent outside party decides to buy a lottery ticket for Joe, his chances of winning are exactly zero NO MATTER HOW SINCERELY HE BELIEVES THAT HE’S DESTINED TO WIN. Fred, on the other hand, is in with a very real chance because, acting upon his belief, he has purchased a pile of lottery tickets.
While I would never encourage anyone to spend their money on lottery tickets, the story serves to illustrate the ‘secret’ of the so-called ‘Law Of Attraction’. And it is simply that when people BELIEVE a thing, they tend to take action that is in keeping with their belief. And in taking action that is in accord with their beliefs, the chances of that which they believe coming to pass are massively increased.
It isn’t your belief that increases the likelihood of a particular thing coming to pass in your life. It is your actions. There’s no mystery here. There’s no science and there is certainly no magic. All that is, is common sense …… which regrettably is far less common than you might suppose.
The thing that makes ‘creative visualisation’ so powerful is that it will inspire and influence you to ACT in ways that will vastly increase the chances of your expectations being met. Cultivating the habit of POSITIVE creative visualisation is therefore a practice that anyone can profit from. Indulging in Negative creative visualisation is equally as effective and for the same reasons. Creative visualisation is habit forming and we need to be acutely aware of the validity of those things we are believing for. A habit of negative creative visualisation will bring you every bit of the misery and suffering that you expect from it.
The thing that amazes me about human behaviour in this enlightened age, is that rational explanations of real phenomena are of little interest to society. If you want to sell a truth, it is still necessary to wrap it up in endless bullshit, shine some bright lights and break out the smoke and mirrors. People will only believe …. if it’s magic!
Andrew Caddle 2014-12-08
A LITTLE HELP PLEASE
If you find anything on my website that you feel is interesting, amusing or thought-provoking, please consider sharing it on your social media site or emailing it to a friend. Links are provided at the bottom of each post to facilitate this. Your help in getting my work out into the world will be very much appreciated.
Thank you, Andrew.