Released in 2006, The Secret harnessed the power of positive thinking and enthusiastic! punctuation!! It claimed that the blueprint to a happy and prosperous life lies in politely asking “the Universe” for a happy and prosperous life, please. “When you think about what you want,” author Rhonda Byrne explained, you attract it by causing “what you want to vibrate at the right frequency!” If nothing else, this provided a plausible explanation for why Quarter Pounders start to shake when Kirstie Alley pulls up at the drive-thru.
Byrne has now produced a sequel, The Power—and she’s cut out the middleman. No longer do you need to climb upon the Universe’s lap with a wish list. Simply express feelings of “love” for what you desire—cash, health, the telepathic powers of Aquaman—and it will be delivered to you. To assuage skeptics, the book is padded with deep quotes from such esteemed figures as Jesus Christ, Sophocles and the guy who draws “Dilbert.”
All you need to thrive in this age of economic upheaval is a cheery demeanour, Byrne writes. Hard work, dedication, a skill set: these are for suckers. Money “sticks” only to those who are upbeat. “The moment you react negatively to a big bill, you give bad feelings, and most surely you will receive bigger bills.” Got that? You don’t get big bills because you spend foolishly. You get them because you’re a grouchy pants. To think: the whole financial meltdown could have been avoided if only the employees of Lehman Brothers had triumphed over the Monday blues.
But The Power isn’t all jolly adjectives and attitudes. There’s math and science, too.
The math: the book reveals exactly how upbeat you must be to get off the Universe’s naughty list. “If you give just 51 per cent good thoughts, you have tipped the scales . . . The love that comes back to you multiplies itself by attracting more love through the power of attraction.” Translation: even a D-minus optimist is pretty much assured a happy ending. You have to love a Universe that grades on a bell curve.
The science: “The inside of your head is 80 per cent water!” Byrne declares. Why does this matter? Because “researchers” have found that “when water is exposed to positive words and feelings . . . the structure of the water changes, making it perfectly harmonious.” I have no idea what she’s talking about either—but think of all we can accomplish with our harmonious brain water! We can live for hundreds of years if we just put our minds to it, Byrne says. Mortality is for sad sacks.
But be warned: life is not all easy money and marinated super-brains. The Universe hates a mope. “From the small irritation of a mosquito, to the bigger irritation of your car breaking down, all of [your] experiences are the law of attraction responding to your irritation.” So mosquitoes bite only the crabby and my Volkswagen is at all times carefully monitoring my disposition. Noted.
Other revelations in The Power: nothing is dead, everything is alive, there’s no such thing as time, and the Universe always knows where your car keys are. But mostly, the book is dedicated to its singular vision of how to confront modern problems.
Are you one of those negative Nancies who responds to lousy eyesight by wearing glasses? Dumb move, idiot. According to The Power, you can get 20/20 vision just by thinking, “I have perfect eyesight.” If you’re sick and not getting well, it’s not because the cancer is ravaging your body—it’s because you’re not being optimistic hard enough. Gratitude alone can apparently make “failed kidneys regenerate, diseased hearts heal and tumours disappear,” which is really going to help Obama afford that health care plan.
Need a job? Do NOT apply for one. That’s a “desperate action” that announces your shortcomings to the Universe. Instead, do what “one man” did, according to Byrne. “He imagined his new office . . . He imagined his work colleagues. He gave them names. He had conversations with them. He even tasted the tacos at lunch breaks.” And then apparently out of the blue he got a job allegedly! Learn from him and you can make the symptoms of clinical insanity work for you.
“One thing is certain,” the author concludes. “We receive back what we give.” If that’s true, the Universe owes Rhonda Byrne a tremendous amount of bullshit.