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    Sitting in a room all alone

    For years, I’ve had a fantasy about being able to write a SHORT blog post. Well, today is that day!

    I just saw an ad for a Law of Attraction workshop, and all I could think was:

    If the LOA REALLY worked, then why would the guy need to advertise?

    If he REALLY believed in it, why didn’t he just book the room, believe it would fill up, and watch it happen for real?

    It’s like when a psychic asks you your name… come on, you tell me you’re about to talk to the dead, but you can’t intuit the name of the live person standing in front you? Hmmm.

    10 Responses to “Sitting in a room all alone”

    1. Taking Care Says:

      I haven’t heard nor seen anyone claim the law of attraction to work like magic. It is more like common sense. If I am thinking a lot about what I can’t do, how do I expect to pick up on the things I can do. Once you decide what things to focus on the loa works to keep bringing the ideas, things and /or people your way to aid in manifestations.

    2. sashen Says:

      Hmmm… I haven’t heard anyone claim the LOA works by anything other THAN magic.

      “Ask, Believe, Receive.” Tell me how that’s NOT magical thinking.

      Oh, sure, most of the LOA teachers now claim it’s not magic because “science” agrees that your thoughts actually change the molecules and plans of the universe, but science does not actually say that.

      Even what you say is more than a bit magical: You focus and then LOA brings you things.

      What’s the mechanism that “it” uses to bring you things?

      What about the times where you’re focusing on something and it doesn’t come to pass? Or what about times where surprising things come your way that you weren’t focusing on?

      To address your question about how can one expect to pick up on things if you’re focusing on something else (including its opposite), I have a drawer full of stories from people who have created some of the important tools, products, ideas, etc. that we use on a daily basis who say that the inspiration came out of the blue, was an accident, happened when they were working on something else, etc.

      Human beings love (maybe, live) to try to figure out the causes that reliably lead to the effects they believe will make them happy… and in lieu of an actual answer (which we don’t have: why doesn’t everyone using LOA have what they want?), our brains relieve the tension of the struggle by making up stories and giving us a hit of dopamine. Combine that with our lack of skill at thinking in terms of probability and, whammo, LOA.

      It wasn’t too long ago that people would sacrifice one of our young girls every night to make sure the sun came back the next day. *NOW* we think that was superstition, but how is that different than “I think about it and the universe changes course to give me what I’m thinking about.”

      I’ve made this point before, but it’s relevant again: The surest sign that a theory like LOA isn’t true is the never-ending series of “advanced” products, all the “No, this is the REAL secret behind The Secret,” products. Interesting to note that since The Secret, there have been at least 5 products that have come out to help you with the REAL truth for when LOA isn’t working for you.

    3. Renzo Says:

      Will Smith talking about the “Law of Attraction”

      It is kind of funny how he talks about LoA at the start, but then at the end he mentions the real secret to his success… ie. working harder than anyone else :)

      Here’s another with him, talking all about hard work:

      And, if you want a wonderful example of how human beings will do anything to attach meaning to random events, and how much we suck at figuring out probability watch the last episode of the 2nd season of Trick or Treat by Darren Brown… absolutely amazing…

      And the most wonderful example of them all… Did Oprah cause the economic collapse? Well she did promote The Secret to the world… oh the irony…

    4. Ric Says:

      That’s the Secret, isn’t it? Advertising is the REAL Law of Attraction. And what better product than a “Secret” could be more attractive?

    5. Brian Adler Says:

      I often say to atheists that I don’t believe in the God they don’t believe in either. But so what?

      The concept of God they disbelieve is STUPID. I think it’s the same with the LOA. I do believe in an LOA that points out that certain thoughts leads to certain actions that leads to certain results. For example: If I believe people don’t like me and I speak to them in a way that conveys this (why don’t you like me? I need you to like me etc) , I’m not going to be fun to be around, and they won’t like me.

      The LOA is just cause and effect – thinking – acting – result – cause and effect. And it isn’t deterministic. It just creates probabilities…

      The “magical thinking” LOA that you are criticizing is just as dumb as “God is a man in white robes who lives in the sky”… The mystery is that ANYONE believes in that God or that LOA… But I still find it interesting to use the word God to refer to what is apparent in direct/actual experience ie experience prior to thought (or between thoughts). And I find it useful to use the phrase LOA to refer to the process of thinking producing action producing result (ok actually I don’t care for the concept of LOA at all even clarified like this – but at least it makes sense to me)…

    6. ellen Says:

      ‘That’s the Secret, isn’t it? Advertising is the REAL Law of Attraction. And what better product than a “Secret” could be more attractive?’

      I’m actually more interested in why these ‘Secrets and Laws’ hold such fascination for so many when the logic of Ask, Believe, Receive’ is so ludicrous.

      It is a form of abberrant thinking and advertising plays on this to a great degree. One of the reasons that this nonsense is so compelling is that it makes active use of double binds–if it doesn’t work for you then you are doing it wrong and need further expensive courses. (the implication being that you, personally, are wrong in some unfathomable way and will never ‘get’ it)

      A lot of people grow up this skewed communication and for them it remains a trigger of thought confusion until it is understood.

      Bateson clarified Double Blind Theory as a possible explanation of some mental illnesses but it is recognised as a pattern of very poor communication that leads to confusion of thought. A good, updated paper on this from Paul Gibney:

    7. sashen Says:

      Interestingly, the same research that was done to disprove the Double Bind theory as a cause of schizophrenia is what would disprove the LOA, if the adherents would do it.

      Specifically, what researchers did is looked for examples to DISPROVE the theory, rather than engage in confirmation bias by looking for more examples to prove it. So, they simply checked to see how many parents acted in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” manner, and did NOT have schizophrenic children. Turns out, LOTS of parents do that and very FEW children have mental illness.

      This is similar to the “black swan” story where finding another white swan does not prove the non-existence of black swans.

      If the LOA people would look at their results carefully, they would see:

      a) Most of the time they are not getting what’s they put on their vision board
      b) Sometimes when they do, it’s not like it was much of a stretch (e.g. a real estate agent who has been working for 20 years eventually closes a big deal… or my becoming an All-America gymnast came from a combination of hard work, good genetics and the fluke of having a high school gym teacher who was also the 9-time national tumbling champion)
      c) Often, if they do, what they ACTUALLY get is not the same as what they said they wanted (they rewrite history
      d) Here’s the big one: If they looked at ALL the things they get, MANY of them were not things they tried to attract. I have more than a few friends who were into the LOA who have noticed that many of the big events in their life were total surprises and came out of nowhere.

      I think the attraction is simple: We’re wired to try to figure out how to get what we want (what we THINK will make us happy). And when we can’t figure out how to reliably do it “out there” (because it’s not possible to reliably create everything we want), we then “logically” turn “in here.” It’s not actually logical, but it does give our pattern seeking brain something to latch onto.

      My $.02

    8. ellen Says:

      Bateson’s paper was “Towards a Double Bind Theory…” and his team spent ten years researching these communication patterns. His hypothesis is not as simple and clear-cut as ‘Damned if you do, damned if you don’t,’ being built on observed patterns of interaction. Understanding the dynamics of the interactions can demystify the interaction and allow a choice to follow a simpler, more logical pattern.
      And statistics? good for measuring lots of things but rarely much use at measuring interactions between individuals.

    9. sashen Says:

      Good points… suffice it to say, the idea that schizophrenia is caused by Double Bind behavior has been debunked. There’s a great book called Blunder that, among other things, takes a good look at this.

    10. ellen Says:

      “the idea that schizophrenia is caused by Double Bind behavior has been debunked.”

      My point wasn’t to suggest a definitive answer to the causes of schizophrenia or any other mental confusion, as you know I’m not a great fan of conclusions set in stone.

      Ideas are inherently free once expressed and I consider myself a pragmatist and thus an equal-opportunity thief of ideas. If it works I’ll use it. Bateson’s research is solid and has value in showing how the conditions for abberrant thinking can be initially constructed. I don’t have to agree with Bateson’s conclusions to benefit from his method.





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