There was a series of posts on this blog in 2007 concerning Steve Pavlina, Julian Walker, and a few other Integrally informed folks about The Secret (a.k.a., the Law of Attraction). Coming late but ever welcome is a comment by Joe Camosy.
Sorry to be coming so late to this topic! Having skimmed the past discussion, one thought occurs to me. Everyone seems to be psychologizing the person who presented ?the Secret?, but what about a real analysis of the theories behind the secret itself? I?ve also done some internet searching and I don?t see any really serious attempt to do this. Here is my hypothesis: IF ?the secret? is talking about certain valid principles (the particular use of attention, memory, imagery, reason, etc?) they where are they going wrong? Are they applying valid principles to the exclusively lower levels of development (magenta, red, blue, etc..) ? If so, then would not a valid critique show the true nature of these principles and their wider range of application to the other levels as well (orange, green, turquoise)? On the other hand, if the principles themselves are incorrect or too broad, or conflated, etc? then a valid critique of the theory would be to break down the process into it?s more accurate steps, stages, principles, etc? and then show a more healthy and effective way to apply these to manifest one?s intentions. However, I see a problem in doing this from an ?Integral? perspective, largely due to a lack of a sufficiently robust ?typeology?. I see typeology as the weakest arm of Integral theory. Joe
I’m not sure exactly what Joe means by “typology,” though if he is using Type in the same sense as Ken Wilber, then I’m not sure that that’s really the area where more attention most needs to be paid. So I added this comment:
Joe, I completely agree with you that much more attention needs to be paid to the use of attention, memory, visualizations, and so forth by the practitioners of The Secret and other New Age spiritual practices. Certain quarters of the ?Integral community? tend to dismiss such things as bunk because they don?t think the ?I create my own reality? school of thought passes muster, that it?s all pre-rational, magical thinking. There?s certainly that perspective out there and at the time this conversation started I was not so interested in criticizing it. Today, I would say things differently and offer a more compassionate and appreciative view of The Secret while holding a critical distance from some of the wild claims. Thank you for chiming in, however late, and if this is a topic that interests then I hope you?ll stay tuned to this blog as I will be revisiting the topic in the weeks ahead.
I’m looking forward to going into this topic in more depth because a key part of my spiritual explorations in the past several years has been looking at the relationship between linguistics, ego development, synchronicity, and magical / shamanistic / prophetic experience.
What I’ve noticed is that the more attention we pay to the production of speech in the body, the evolution or historical transformations of language, and the ways that symbolic reasoning constructs awareness itself (i.e., non-symbolic consciousness), the more we realize that the world looks extraordinarily different than we realized. And the more we try to create rules to distinguish between what exactly is pre-rational, what is rational, and what is trans-rational (as in Integral Theory’s “pre/trans fallacy”), the more we get into “fuzzy” territory that starts be more interested in what is simply non-rational.
The new article “The Secret Language Code” originally printed in Scientific American is only the tip of a vast icebert. James Pennebaker, chair of the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, gives a terrific intrview … but if you’ve been paying attention to researchers in ego-development over the past 10 or 20 years, Pennebaker seems to be coming late to the party.
Science is figuring out that language is a Pandora’s Box of secrets, and before psychologizing or ridiculing the Law of Attraction folks, I would pause to consider that what we don’t know about the power of language far exceeds our knowledge. Integral thought can benefit from continuing to theorize about the relationship between language, mind, and unexplained phenomena.