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March 23, 2007

Think about it

Jana Riess at The Review Revolution has an insightful review up on latest book phenom The Secret (which Martha discussed previously here).

Riess points out, "The logical reverse of extreme positive thinking -- which asserts your responsibility for every good thing that happens in your life -- is that every nasty thing that ever happens to you is, correspondingly, entirely your fault." How is it your fault? Because you thought negative thoughts.

As an example, The Secret's author asserts that obesity isn't rooted in genetics or bad eating habits, but rather focusing on fatness. The solution: Don't even look at someone who is fat, lest it cause you to think fat thoughts. Riess very aptly applies the ridiculousness of this mindset to our every day experience:

By this logic, I should have ignored the guy in a wheelchair I saw in the airport last night, instead of sharing a smile and some small talk. I should have made him feel invisible! What was I thinking? Now I will become paralyzed too. Damn. And I wasn't even in the war.

Speaking of wars, famines, natural disasters . . . if you are a victim of any of those things, that is also entirely your fault. You summoned the famine to yourself because you were afraid of starving, see? And 9/11 victims must have been so worried about terrorism that they became vulnerable to terrorist attack. Byrne says flat out that people who perish in large-scale tragedies had it coming because they were participating in negative thinking on a massive human scale. So Jews in the 1930s were targeted not because of other people's racism, but because of their own pessimism and oy-my-aching-pogrom mentality.

I can't help but be reminded of that famous and favorite verse from Isaiah 29:11, which in the King James Version reads, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." Despite what this pop-new-age-psuedo-spiritual movement would have me believe, the thoughts that really determine my life's course are His, not mine. And frankly, that's pretty reassuring.

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Comments

Dan Knight

I just had a mtg with a client who afterwards was raving about this book and how it's helped his business, etc. I did a quick skim of the jacket cover for the book and was amazed that "The Secret" which has been hidden for so long known only by a few, is now to be shared with the millions (as in dollars received in royalties primarily). Call it simplistic, but I thought: "If this 'secret' is so powerful then why is it only now being shared/revealed to the masses".
It struck me odd that my client only spoke of the positive results from positive thinking (and the action that the thinker needed to take commensurate with that thinking. I suspect "The Secret's" proponents would argue that the negative results come not just from negative thinking (as you infer) but rather because the negative thinking produces negative actions and results.

The fallacy you're pointing out is still valid; Are we to construe that the Holocost victims no only thought negatively, but also acted negatively? Sadly, I understood history of that time and place, to be such that they were seeking (ie: thinking and acting) to escape their situation; Hardly cause for the negative result of extermination.

yetprahz

The wonderful scripture is actually Jeremiah 29:11.
Scripture tells us what things to think on and to embrace. Phil.4:8. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Bryne adopts this mind set.

"Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind", by what you think.

A thought:
a thought can change your actions
your actions can change your habits,
your habits will change your character,
your character will change your destiny. Embrace the things of God, the ways of God, to impact the Kingdom of God, for the people of God.

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