Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Rhonda Byrne's "Secret"

  1. Top | #1
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    8,375
    Archived
    16,829
    Total Posts
    25,204
    Rep Power
    82

    Rhonda Byrne's "Secret"

    The Legal Storms Around ‘The Secret’ | Roll to Disbelieve: So So So Many Lawsuits!

    In 2006, a certain Rhonda Byrne released a documentary called "The Secret", where she claimed that wishing will make it so.
    Rhonda Byrne tells people that her Secret will give them lives of comfort, joy, and ease. But the reality behind her creation looks very, very different from the mythology she pushes about it. Today, I’ll show you what I mean by outlining some of the lawsuits swirling around her and her creation.
    She was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1945, and she was a TV producer for decades, and an energetic one at that. But fame and fortune eluded her until "The Secret". Ever since then, she's been coming out with successors to that documentary.

    She claims that she got the idea from a book that her daughter once gave to her: "The Science of Getting Rich", by a certain Wallace D. Wattles, written back in 1910. But she does not credit that book in her documentary. Her daughter gave that book to her when she was grieving over the death of her father.

    Author Captain Cassidy: "Now I think Rhonda Byrne deliberately gave her “Secret” a lineage that didn’t require her to share its success with anybody else."


    A fellow Australian, Vanessa Bonette, soon claimed that RB had plagiarized her 2003 book, "Empowered for a New Era". VB sued RB, and RB responded by suing VB for defamation. They settled out of court in 2007. CC: "Gosh, that whole Law of Attraction thing didn’t work out too well for either of them."


    Then Esther Hicks, a spiritualist from Utah. She receives messages from spirit entities who go by the collective name Abraham. RB got her into "The Secret", but in a later version, RB edited EH out of it, and her lines were spoken by others. CC suspects that this was from negotiating for its release online. It was originally released on Australian TV.

    Then some more litigation with Drew Heriot and Dan Hollings, who also worked with RB. But not with a certain Jack Canfield, author of "Chicken Soup for the Soul" sorts of books. Because he has his own successful career, and CC suspects that RB has not tangled with him because he already has a successful career.
    Just as we saw about the “experts” Rhonda Byrne chose for her project, we see the same ruthless cunning in her business dealings as well. Over and over again, we hear about people who feel unfairly treated by her — even cheated by her and lied to as well.

    For someone playing herself off as a super-serene spiritual guru radiating love to the universe, she’s sure not sounding like one based on these stories. She sounds more to me like a typical Christian hypocrite.

    Her overarching goal, in all cases, seems to revolve around clawing for every bit of The Secret’s profits that she can: screw alla them, she’s gonna get hers.

    You’d think that someone so very attuned to the Law of Attraction and who talks so much about the necessity of gratitude would feel some of her own — maybe starting with the people who made her vision come true. Those people made her a wealthy household name among self-help enthusiasts. Without them, she’d still be making TV shows about silly commercials and psychic detectives in Australia.

    But nope. The only people who don’t seem terrified of her retaliation are the ones she would definitely know better than to betray.
    Then CC argued that "The Secret" has not made RB into a decent human being or made her and her production colleagues get along with each other very well. RB has now made a fundagelical-themed version of "The Secret", and CC says about it that it fits.

  2. Top | #2
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Chochenyo Territory, US
    Posts
    3,249
    Rep Power
    12
    I'm baffled as to why anyone would think Rhonda Byrne is a "spiritual guru" or a "decent human being" in the first place, unless they have not seen or read her work at all. Her philosopophy is not that far from Objectivism in theory, it just uses mythologized, magic-fueled optimism rather than mythologized, exploitation-fueled personal genius to justify the reader's inherently greedy and self-serving behavior. The Secret encourages people to worship themselves and their own desires, even fetishize them, not to help or even consider the needs of others.

  3. Top | #3
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    8,375
    Archived
    16,829
    Total Posts
    25,204
    Rep Power
    82
    When Optimism Becomes Toxic Positivity | Cassidy McGillicuddy - "Toxic positivity is optimism and cheerfulness taken way too far. "

    The Power of Positive Thinking, Rethought | Roll to Disbelieve: Turns Out It Ain't That Powerful - "Today, let me show you what positive thinking looks like when it goes overboard and gets unhealthy — and why so many really awful people love it when positive thinking acts naughty like that."

    There is a famous book, "The Power of Positive Thinking", by Norman Vincent Peale, written back in 1952.
    Peale taught that people could alter their fortunes and find true happiness by maintaining a very positive, optimistic outlook on life. They could bring good fortune their way by focusing on their goals and de-emphasizing obstacles to those goals. When bad things happened anyway, they couldn’t let that stuff get them down. And above all, they had to maintain a strong belief in the Christian god and his power.
    How Positive Thinking Backfires | Cassidy McGillicuddy

    In "Illusion and Well-Being" (Psychological Bulletin, 1988), authors Shelley E. Taylor and Jonathan D. Brown describe an odd psychological paradox.
    A substantial amount of research testifies to the prevalence of illusion in normal human cognition. Moreover, these illusions often involve central aspects of the self and the environment and, therefore, cannot be dismissed as inconsequential.
    ...
    • To most successfully navigate our world and our society, we need accurate information perception and processing skills. All kinds of research leads here. It’s all but axiomatic in the mental-health world that realism leads to good functioning and mental health.
    • However, lots of other research indicates that we fall prey to all kinds of unrealistic and false ideas, especially about ourselves, our capabilities, our traits, and our potential, but also about our environment generally (and about others). Perhaps worse, many of these unrealistic/false ideas actually serve various functions for us, so seem adaptive in nature — whereas realism seems to correlate with depression and low self-esteem.
    They continue with
    • Unrealistically positive views of the self
    • Exaggerated perceptions of personal control
    • Unrealistic optimism
    As Captain Cassidy notes, "all three sound like components of the cult of positive thinking." Like "The Power of Positive Thinking", "What the Bleep Do We Know", "The Secret", Word of Faith/prosperity gospel in fundagelicalism, etc.

    CC continues with "Eventually, Taylor and Brown concede that illusions may be a necessary component of mental health — so maybe the goal is to avoid going overboard with them. Taylor and Brown provide a great many citations for research indicating that mentally/emotionally healthy people do indeed harbor many illusions about themselves. But the authors temper this information with cautionary scenarios."

    But illusions can harm us. Like overestimating our capabilities causing trouble for us.
    In Andrades’ paper, he fires shots at the entire self-help industry. Interestingly, he connects that industry directly to New Thought. I’m not surprised. New Thought powerfully influenced the development of various self-help books through the years, including Rhonda Byrne’s 2006 money-grab The Secret. In turn, an 18th-century Christian movement called New Church influenced New Thought. (Yes, weirdness always seems to come back to Christian wackadoos.)

  4. Top | #4
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    4,035
    Rep Power
    14
    Sounds like the Seth material, only monetized.

  5. Top | #5
    Veteran Member James Brown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    3,011
    Archived
    5,844
    Total Posts
    8,855
    Rep Power
    58
    'm baffled as to why anyone would think Rhonda Byrne is a "spiritual guru" or a "decent human being" in the first place, unless they have not seen or read her work at all
    I worked in a bookstore when her book dropped. I can say this with confidence: A lot of people had never heard of her until Oprah said, "Buy her book!"

    Oddly, there was nothing under the author blurb on the book about swiping from other authors, and her typical customer couldn't define Objectivism on a bet.

  6. Top | #6
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    8,375
    Archived
    16,829
    Total Posts
    25,204
    Rep Power
    82
    The Secret: Background and Pre-Review Chat Post! | Roll to Disbelieve: 'The Secret' Pre-Review Warmup Post!
    The ideology of The Secret centers around what Byrne called the law of attraction. That’s just a rewording of the power of positive thinking that Norman Vincent Peale popularized. It tells people that if they simply think very hard about what they want, then the universe itself will bend the laws of physics and ignore its usual karmic laws to get that thing for them.
    Captain Cassidy has this chain:
    18th cy. Swedenborgian New Church - after mystic Emanuel Swedenborg
    19th cy. New Thought
    1910 Wallace D. Wattles's book "The Science of Getting Rich"
    1954 Norman Vincent Peale's book "The Power of Positive Thinking"


    The Secret: Full Red Hot Maximum Overdrive Review! | Roll to Disbelieve: The Official 'The Secret' Review!

    The movie starts with a woman with an Australian accent telling us how miserable her life was.
    I heard a doctor once describe fibromyalgia as sucky life syndrome because so many people diagnosed with it have terrible diets, little to no activity, little social support, and in dead-end jobs or unemployed/unemployable. It fits so well here, where Byrne tries hard to make a case for her being a totally suffering individual. This is her version of that, it seems, but as I saw on her IMDB page, she actually had a few TV gigs to her name.
    A middle-aged woman with dyed-blonde hair appears. She brings out a book with a note on it: "Mom this will help OXOX". She opens it up and gasps. She learned a great secret. What could it be?

    She described it as having been suppressed over the centuries. Then a panel of experts comes on, and its members describe The Secret. It's the Law of Attraction, how wishing will make it so. One of the experts stated that all our miseries are the fault of us thinking about bad things. But there is a time delay in how The Secret works. No further details.

    "Jack Canfield talks about his enormous wealth and his expensive leisure pursuits. He says that the Secret is how he got that wealth and leisure. Yep, writing a bestseller series of pure glurge had nothing to do with it." It can be summarized as three steps:
    • Ask
    • Believe you’ll get it
    • Receive it

    We get bills because we expect to get them.

    Then a lot of stuff on gratitude. Then getting what you want by visualizing it. Wealth building. Relationships. Healing. Like thinking good thoughts to cure cancer. Someone's recovery from plane-crash injuries. Then how the War on Drugs failed because of people thinking nasty thoughts. "It’s not your job to change the world," one of RB's "experts" says. God = energy. Some more of that sort of bullshit. Then the end, with RB closing that book.

    CC calls it "one of the most boring things I have ever seen in my life." She gives it a super low rating.

  7. Top | #7
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Chochenyo Territory, US
    Posts
    3,249
    Rep Power
    12
    Well,yes. Her core market is dumb people. But presumably the article we're discussing isn't aimed at that same group.

  8. Top | #8
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    8,375
    Archived
    16,829
    Total Posts
    25,204
    Rep Power
    82
    The Secret: Let’s Meet the Experts of This Thing | Roll to Disbelieve: The Experts Responsible for The Secret (Have Much to Answer For)

    Oprah Winfrey *loves* featuring woo-woo, like "The Secret".

    Discovering The Secret - has a slideshow that shows some of the "experts" who appeared in "The Secret" -- they appeared on Oprah Winfrey's show. Captain Cassidy then researched them.
    Dr. Joe Vitale, MSC.D., Metaphysician. He’s one of Byrne’s first “experts.” He wears a lot of hats: author, “spiritual teacher,” musician, and — as we saw in The Secret — victim-blaming nutjob preaching the “Law of Attraction.” He’s a “Doctor” of “Metaphysical Science.” (See here for interesting info regarding his one claimed credential.) Otherwise, he has no real credentials whatsoever.

    ...
    Bob Proctor, Philosopher. He’s one of the most prominent “experts” in this dreck. However, I notice he has no honorifics at all mentioned. He’s simply a “Philosopher.” Whatever his education and training might involve, he keeps it all very much on the down-low (one site reveals that he’s a high-school dropout). He’s just another self-help get rich quick huckster.

    ...
    Lisa Nichols, Author. She was another early sign-on with Rhonda Byrne’s ideas. I noticed her on that Oprah slideshow, done shortly after The Secret dropped. On the next slide, she discusses how she “fell madly in love” with herself. It shows, too. Like Bob Proctor, she possesses no real credentials. Her Amazon biography mentions nothing about it, either. The word “therapist” floats above her to suggest she’s a real live therapist, but her byline says she’s simply an “author.” I’m guessing she’s not legally allowed to use the title “therapist.”

    ...
    Dr. John F. DeMartini, D.C., BSC., Philosopher. It’s cute they put the books on one side and the spine on the other in his background, because “D.C.” means Doctor of Chiropractic and “BSC” means Bachelor of Science (Chiropractic). This guy is not qualified to talk about the various medical stuff he’s talking about in the documentary. Not even by half.

    ...
    Dr. Ben Johnson, M.D., N.M.D., D.O., Physician. His qualifications read, accordingly: “M.D. (Doctor of Medicine), N.M.D. (Naturopathic Doctor of Medicine, more or less), and D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine).”

    ...
    James Arthur Ray, Philosopher. Lookie there, another “philosopher” with absolutely no credentials! And this one’s especially wild. He appears all through The Secret, beginning early in. There, he advises people to keep pets and children around to “bring goodness into your life. What a gift that is!” Cuz parenting is all about you the parent, baby.
    Captain Cassidy then notes some patterns.
    • These self-proclaimed “experts” possess absolutely no training or education in the subjects they discuss with such great authority.
    • These “experts” cavort through life after The Secret amid accusations of fraud, lots of lawsuits, and general fidgey-widgeyness. Most of their careers are marked by incompetence, negligence, and gross irresponsibility. Rhonda Byrne sure knows how to pick ’em!
    • The Secret ignores the strangely incestuous professional ties between these “experts.” The film discloses those ties, if it ever does at all, only in passing and as read between the lines.
    So they are experts at bullshitting more than anything else.

  9. Top | #9
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    8,375
    Archived
    16,829
    Total Posts
    25,204
    Rep Power
    82
    The False Claims of ‘The Secret’ | Roll to Disbelieve: Science Woo Abounds in The Secret

    Claim #1: OMG, It Was Hidden and Suppressed For Eons!

    Captain Cassidy calls bullshit on that one, noting that it was around since at least the 18th cy. The Swedenborgian New Church was founded on 7 May 1787, a little bit after Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) himself died. ES was a scientist who started having dreams and visions at the age of 55, and he became a theologian.

    New Thought emerged in the 1830's, in the "work" of faith healer Phineas Quimby. One of his followers was Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science. It states that disease is false beliefs, and that one becomes cured by recognizing their falsity. But she herself conceded to materialist medicine by wearing glasses and taking laudanum, opium powder dissolved in alcohol.

    Claim #2: The 1% Uses This and That’s Why They’re Rich (And You’re Not).

    Economists have explored the issue of some people becoming very rich, and they have hypotheses like inheritance of wealth, lucky investments, good business moves, and economic-elitist policies. "The Secret" is nowhere in sight.

    Claim #3: People Are Magnets! Like Attracts Like!

    CC takes that claim too literally, though I agree that a literal interpretation is absurd. We make very tiny magnetic fields as a result of the electric currents in our neurons, but that's about it. We can easily survive strong magnetic fields like what MRI machines make.

    Claim #4: Thoughts Have Frequencies That Can Be Measured.

    It's true that EEG measurements pick up somewhat well-defined frequencies of operation, but they don't translate very well into what's going on in our minds. Also, different parts of our brains are responsible for different things, but that's very coarse-grained. Uploading our minds from brain operation is very implausible.

    Claim #5: The Universe Is Based on Attraction.

    Bullshit. Electric charges with the same sign repel each other. Etc.

    Claim #6: Attraction is a Real Live Law of Science.

    More and more bullshit.

    Claim #7: Quantum Physics Quantum Physics Quantum Physics!

    Woowoomeisters *love* quantum mechanics. The Copenhagen interpretation seems to them like we have psychic powers.

    Claim #8: Positive Thoughts Are More Powerful Than Negative Thoughts.

    Doubtful at best.

    Claim #9: There’s a “Buffer of Time” Involved Here.

    No further details on what it is supposed to be.

    Claim #10: Dear Depressed People, Just CHOOSE To Be Happy!

    Total bullshit. Depressed people are depressed because they can't get out of their super sadness, however hard they try.

    CC:
    There’s lots more, but I think I’ve made my point. The Secret makes a number of astonishing claims. However, it backs up precisely NONE of those claims with credible evidence.

    Rhonda Byrne makes the exact same mistakes that fundagelical leaders make: she thinks that if she just hammers at a claim repeatedly, people will accept it as true. If she uses a bunch of anecdotes, people will confuse that for real data.
    CC: "Lucrative Lies Told to Tickle the Ears."
    Nothing in The Secret tethers to reality. It’s all wishful thinking in service to confirmation bias.

    No wonder it still sells like hotcakes to the desperate and the gullible. And no wonder Byrne’s work has suddenly become so attractive to fundagelicals.

  10. Top | #10
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    2,463
    Archived
    4,183
    Total Posts
    6,646
    Rep Power
    69
    I lost what little respect I had for Oprah when she began promoting this nonsense on her show. I happened to be home watching her show while doing laundry the day Oprah had Rhonda Byrne et al on her show giddily pushing this nonsense. I couldn't believe what crap it was. I heard later that one of Oprah's fans wrote to her telling her that she became a true believer watching the show and decided to forgo her breast cancer treatment and use "The Secret" to rid herself of the cancer.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •