Category Archives: The Secret

Weekly Meditation: Do It Now, Part II

So last week’s meditation was to try and do a little quiet so soul searching and find your purpose in life (short of that divine revelation, to at least focus your goals).

Again, just to reiterate this pair of blogs was inspired by the song “Do It Now” by the great Ingrid Michaelson.

So now that you have some better understanding of where you what your purpose of where you should be directing your life, I hope, we need to put that into practice. (Still don’t know what you want…then I may suggest using this Michaelson song in the meantime as your goal until you have your own purpose figured out.).

First the easy part. Come up with a 5-10 step plan on how you will get that goal (or those goals if you have more than one) done. That should be relatively easy.

And now for the hard part you knew was coming…Do it now. Take point 1 on the list for all of your goals and do it this week.

How is this a meditation? Well meditation is the art of focusing your mind on something…and nothing is more about focus then when your mind and your actions are one and directed toward a very clear goal.

Now I would also suggest, in accordance with the law of attraction that you begin and end each with 10 minutes of visualizing not just following through on that first point but all the way through each point until you achieve your goal. But visualization are not cure for actually getting starting and doing it right now.

“But…”
No.

“But…”
I don’t care
“But….”
You really do not seem to be getting the message…

DO IT NOW. This week. I don’t care what it takes, I don’t care if you need to take a day off work. Even if you need to take a few hundred out of savings. DO IT NOW. And if your first step cannot be done in a week, then clearly you need to break that down into smaller pieces as well.

Now if you’re already in the middle of achieving your goals, this certainly can’t hurt you.  But if, as the song says “you’re living to die” then you need to get out of your morass and start living.

But to move forward this week you need to start working toward every goal you have.

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Filed under Faith, Free Will, God, Meditation, New Age, Religion, Selfishness, Solar Plexus Chakra Willpower, Spirituality, The Secret

The Law of Attraction and its detractors

So I’m suddenly getting comments about my blogs about the The Secret and the Law of Attraction. I don’t quite understand it. If you don’t believe it don’t believe in it, why do you need to insult other people’s beliefs? The supreme irony here is that more often than not these are the same people who claim I’m closed minded for critiquing Muslims for their rather backward religion. So let me see, beating up on people for a belief that doesn’t hurt anyone: good; beating up on people for a belief system that leads to tyranny, genocide, and massive human right violations: bad. Am I the only one who is confused?

My argument has always boiled down to two points. The first is that while I know I don’t have scientific proof in favor that the Law of Attraction, there is a preponderance of evidence suggesting that it may likely be true. My second point has been that, let’s for a minute say that I’m wrong about it and the Law of Attraction doesn’t work, then playing on oppositions turf for the sake of argument it still isn’t worth arguing about, it doesn’t cause anyone any harm and it still leads to a better quality of life. For some reason this has been interpreted as a contradiction. Apparently being able to suspend my own beliefs for a hypothetical situation is wrong…despite in any other context this would be considered being open minded. And really I just do it because the detractors claim that following this law hurts people. I can only attack that point if I for a moment play on their premises that it doesn’t work. Obviously if we play on my turf it doesn’t hurt people, but even if you assume it doesn’t work it still doesn’t hurt people. So why attack me for going about it both ways? Oh, I know why it’s wrong, because I then prove that the people arguing with me are still wrong for attacking this. I have a strong respect for defending the truth at all costs, but I also believe in prioritizing. For instance I hate socialism in all its forms. However, while I hate socialism I hate tyranny a hell of a lot more. So do I spend all my time critiquing the economic systems of the U.K. and Israel? Nope. Why, because those two countries are our greatest allies in the fight against tyranny and I prioritize that at the moment there are bigger issues to worry about. Now if we turned Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela, the majority of the Middle East, Cuba, Mexico, and at least a larger portion of Sub-Saharan Africa into functioning democratic-republics, then yes I would be harsher on socialist nations, but right now I have bigger problems. I complain about socialism mainly in the U.S. because it (A) affects my life more directly and (B) because we are at a point where we might soon collapse if we do not go back to capitalism and if we collapse then we are certainly going to cease being the biggest obstacle to the tyrannies of the world. The same applies with the law of attraction. If you don’t believe in it fine, don’t, I am a huge believer in free will and won’t begrudge you any belief in your own life so long as it doesn’t hurt mine. But even if you don’t believe in it, aren’t there bigger false ideas out there for you to challenge? The rampant misogynism in Western culture? Anti-Semitism? Even among religious beliefs you have homophobia and the culture of fear that so many religions propagate…even if you’re right that the law of attraction, basically the idea that focused prayer can lead to a better life, doesn’t exist this seems to be biggest false idea out there, why attack this one when there are far worse ideas out there?

Now of course I believe it to be true, but we’re still playing in the opposition’s ball park. They claim that they need to oppose this because it hurts people. Really. How? The basic idea of the law of attraction in all its forms can be broken down into a few simple premises.
I. Believe that you and you alone are responsible for your life.
II. Be grateful for what you have to eliminate negative thoughts in your habits of thought.
III. Focus on the end of what you want, not how you are going to get it.
IV. Act as if you already have what you want in life.
V. Believe that the universe will respond to your thoughts and it will come to you.
Now the argument over the science comes into the fifth part and again for the sake of argument, let’s say that is totally bunk. So you don’t get the payoff promised. How do the other 4 parts hurt you? “Believe that you and you alone are responsible for your life.” Now basic psychology tells you that people who take responsibility about their life, that they are responsible for their actions, their thoughts, and the outcomes of those are certainly happier and more productive. The opposite is that we are responsible for our actions, that it’s nature and nurture and chance and fate that determine our life and we aren’t responsible for what happens to us. I think we all have enough experience to know that the people who always take responsibility for their actions are much happier and more productive than people who always blame others for what goes wrong (and even those who never give credit to themselves when things go right).

Now someone might claim that there is a happy medium, people who take responsibility but admit there are things out of their control, and that seems rational on the face of it, but actually it’s not. Because responsibility isn’t so much what happens to us, it’s about how we respond to what happens to us. “Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up?” as one of my favorite movies puts it. The actual other extreme is taking too much on yourself. It’s saying that you are responsible for your actions but only looking at the past and not picking yourself up. It’s only dwelling in the guilt, the fear, the blame and being as paralyzed as the people who don’t take any responsibility for anything (if we weren’t playing on the opposition’s field I might also point out that the Law of Attraction will sometimes give you something bad so as to ensure you’re in the right place at the right time to get what you really want, e.g. losing your job which forces you get the want ads in which you find your dream job has just opened up but you would have never seen it if you hadn’t been looking for a new job). And yes this obsession with the past and the blame could be a terrible side effect of taking responsibility for everything in your life. So I guess it is a valid complaint. If only every person who preached the law of attraction also told people that for the law to work they need to focus on what is already good in their life and be grateful for all those good things….oh wait.

Point two of any version of the law of attraction is that you have to focus on what’s good in life. So I guess we don’t have a valid complaint against the philosophy yet.

But maybe this optimistic outlook at what is good in your life is a bad thing. I’m going to assume most of you just rolled your eyes at reading this sentence. For those you who don’t know medical science and psychology have long since proven that optimistic, grateful people are happier, less stressed, healthier, live longer, and have a better quality of life. There are no downsides I have ever heard of to being optimistic and grateful for what you have. So how does telling people that they need to appreciate what they have hurt them? I guess you could argue that if someone becomes too complacent with what they have they’ll be come stagnant…but then you read points three and four and that kind of goes out the window.

Point three and four deal with having goals and acting toward them. Start with the goal in mind and act in accordance with getting that goal. Now it’s been a while since I’ve read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People but I seem to recall these are basic principles of any goal oriented system. Start with the goal and be the change you want to see. Typically speaking isn’t that how you get what you want, even if you the universe isn’t helping you get what you want because of your thoughts, these are still the actions that will result in getting what you want. So what’s the down side? How does this harm people?

So we’re playing on the opponents and there is no harm to a person’s life through the first four required points to the law of attraction. But, the opponents say, it will lead them to depression when they don’t get what they want! They’ll be more optimistic, more goal oriented, healthier, probably have more friends and more efficient in whatever field they have chosen for a profession (which probably means more money). Okay, so if I’m wrong about the law of attraction they don’t have the island they wanted…but they probably have more than they did before they changed their attitude to follow The Secret. I don’t think most people would complain.

Now those that complain that the law of attraction isn’t real will probably say that success in life is highly dependent on luck. But I think we’ve all heard the sentiment that luck is opportunity plus preparation. The first four points deal with preparations that are actually required for success even if you assume that the law of attraction doesn’t work. So there is literally no way this can harm people. All the law of attraction says is that the opportunity is dependent on you being prepared and you looking for the opportunity, that the opportunity literally doesn’t exist until you look for it, it is dependent on you looking for it (kind of the Schrödinger’s cat of destiny).

So please, tell me, someone who disagrees with the law of attraction, how on Earth do you claim that it harms people. That to preach this is wrong. That to make money by selling good psychological practices is a con? How?  By believing in basic psychology that everyone knows leads to better life?  I’d love to hear examples of how this could go be bad…not vague statements about well it could lead people to do have long term problems (which it won’t) but actual examples or at least hypothetical situations.

And of course there is that other point…you know the one where it is a fact of nature. Our thoughts do control our life. They do affect all those literal variables that cascade into the opportunities we can reap the benefits of or eliminate those opportunities before they ever even materialize. Now I will admit that this is an article of faith. I do not have irrefutable scientific data to show that I am right and all who disagree with me are wrong. But the opposition doesn’t have that either. I would say however that the preponderance of the evidence is on my side. There are studies that show prayer works, there are studies that prayer doesn’t work. The funny thing is that when you take a step back you find those who come into the study to prove that prayer doesn’t work prove that prayer doesn’t work and that those seem more unbiased or to show that prayer does work always seem to show that prayer has some effect (Wow, it’s almost like thought effected the reality around it…no I won’t go that far, but I will say perhaps it’s a little hard to ignore the fact that scientists are people and it’s hard to remove bias from people). Also, how do you set up a control group, only find people who have absolutely no people praying for them? Tell the patient “we’re going to perform major surgery, but you can’t pray for yourself.” Atheist in a foxhole? It’s not exact mathematical proof, but there is the suggestion of proof. (Here are a listing of studies done in looking at the effects of prayer…I I find most interesting the ones of people who told that they were being prayed for and then did worse than the control group…do you think that guilt and self hatred which may have put them in that medical condition would have made them feel even worse being told that they were being prayed for and maybe countered the prayers for them?). So I will admit that I don’t have iron clad scientific proof if you admit that you don’t either. It’s an issue of faith (one that interestingly enough doesn’t hurt anyone). Of course my favorite part of this argument against the power of prayer in scientific studies is that it’s just the placebo effect. As most of these studies rely on people not being told they were being prayed for there isn’t a placebo effect present…someone has to know they’re being given something for the placebo effect to be present. But what’s really funny about this is the problem modern science is having with the placebo effect. Apparently for the last decade or so, drugs that have previously been tested when retested show less of an increase over the placebo effect. And when you go back and look at the data it’s not that the drug is less powerful it’s that the placebo effect has been getting stronger over the course of time. So people expecting there to be a change is leading to stronger changes even if there is no real drug present…it’s not just that is seems like expectation is changing reality, but it’s almost like the thoughts of people are getting more focused and thus having a larger effect on reality. But you’d have to be one of those crazy New Agers who believe we are on the cusp of a New Age where there will soon be a major jump in the evolution of the human soul.  But I’m always open to hearing other theories as to why the placebo effect is getting stronger.   Now those who don’t believe in the law will probably argue that science doesn’t support the idea, but this is a foolish understanding of reality.  Things are true whether science and prove them or not.  The earth moved before Galileo, it was round before Columbus, gravity pulled light before Einstein…reality exists before science, just because modern science can’t prove something it’s the worst arrogance to say that just because science hasn’t proven it yet it isn’t so.  Real human life has to admit that science doesn’t know everything, especially when it comes how we live our lives.  Yes it would be foolish to fly in the face of science fact, but what science has not proved or disproved, (things like the existence of God, the soul, the afterlife, or this law), it should not be assumed that just because science hasn’t proven something yet it should not be acted on.

Now I will concede that foolishness in conjunction with surface understanding of the law of attraction could lead to problems. For instance prayer healing, the idea that if you pray hard enough you can immediately fix life threatening problems. You know, prayer works great for a disease like cancer because they take time, and those who preach the law of attraction are very clear that it takes time for effect to appear. In terms of faith healing, it’s often something that requires immediate attention, if you think it’s only a matter of how hard you pray, clearly you don’t understand that there is a time delay issue involved in how the law of attraction works. Further, let’s take an extreme view of the law of attraction, if you attracted this disease you clearly do not have the law of attraction mastered, go get medical attention and with the extra time you have to live and take some more time to get it down. The spiritual text A Course in Miracles draws a line between what it calls miracles (a true understanding that the world is a reflection of our thoughts and the ability to control the world through our thoughts) and magic (an understanding that thinks the world is something more than just an illusion projected by our thoughts, which tries to control things in that illusion through the illusion, science is included in this). A Course in Miracles makes it clear the only way you are going to learn the truth of the world is by living, learning, and growing, you can’t do that if you’re dead. If you’re experiencing problems, especially medical ones, if you know how to control miracles (well you wouldn’t be in that situation) use them—if not, probably demonstrated by the fact that you’re in a situation that could really use a miracle don’t be an idiot and go for magic of science and medicine (you have to appreciate the apparent irony of that phrase). The law of attraction is something that works, but it’s not an immediate fix to problems (unless you’ve reached Enlightenment and then I seriously doubt you’ll be reading this blog if you have). The law is supposed to be used in conjunction with reason not in opposition to it.

Of course the thing that always surprises me is that the argument I made about the first four points of the law of attraction just being good positive psychology aren’t made by my opponent. Instead of arguing against it in totality they should be arguing, “well of course being goal oriented and optimistic leads to a better life, you don’t need any mystical element to explain that” which would actually be a much harder argument for me to refute and I would have to just fall back on “Yes, but my spiritual belief system says that it also affects the world around you and provides you with the opportunities that reflect your attitude. Can’t prove it but that is what I believe, and it’s not worth arguing because you can’t disprove it.” I admit that’s a weak argument philosophically, but it’s an issue of faith and only a fool would think that you apply the laws of science to faith. But no. They take the tack that it hurts people and it must be challenged at all costs. Again I’d love to see an example of where it hur.t someone. I suspect however that it has more to do with the first point. People don’t want to be responsible for their actions. They want to avoid thinking and doing. These are often the same people who argue their life is terrible not because they didn’t get an education or a job or what not, not because of their choices, but because the government didn’t give them this or that, that the system is broken, that life is unfair and we need to make it more fair for the disadvantaged. They dislike it because the philosophy leaves no room for excuses or others to blame. It requires that you think for yourself. It requires that you act in accordance with those thoughts. It requires that you take responsibility for those thought and actions. And for some people that is a horrifying idea.

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Filed under A Course in Miracles, Books, Books for New Agers, Faith, Fear, Free Will, God, Happiness, Karma, Law of Intention, Meditation, New Age, People Are Stupid, Popular Culture, Prayer, Purpose of Life, Religion, Spirituality, The Secret

New Age Thought for the week

Okay, so I’ve taken a couple weeks off (it was Christmas) and today’s not going to be great writing either but I promise to be back in full form this week starting this week. But for today’s meditation I’m kind of stealing. If you’ve read this blog you should know I’m a believer in the Law of Attraction, the idea that our thoughts do affect reality. And if we can focus those thoughts they can actually change the world around us. This idea is right now best known through the book The Secret and The Power (go buy the books, they’re very good and easy reads and I feel less guilty about taking these two videos by suggesting you should go buy them).

Now one of the biggest ways to influence your life is to start the day off right. We’ve all known those days where we feel it’s going to be a wonderful day, and it is…and those days where we wake up hating the world and the whole day spirals down from there. This is the Law of Attraction at work. What you believe will happen will happen.
So one of the best ways to counter the negative in your life is to start off the day with a positive affirmation or two. I suggest watching both these videos every day shortly after you wake up and shortly before you go to bed. Trust focusing on these will help improve your days.

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Filed under Law of Intention, Meditation, The Secret

The Secret and Pseudoscience

So I recently came across an article in the New York Times critiquing the popular New Age book The Secret and its new sequel The Power. And as expected it laid out the usual skeptical tripe against New Age belief. This partly annoys me, but it also amuses me. New Agers as we tend to believe in a little of everything get hit the hardest when skeptics try to critique belief systems.

(Although you ever notice how elitists will critique Jewish and Christian prayer, Buddhist meditation, Hindu Yoga and all the accompanying beliefs that come with it…but there is one system of belief they never seem to critique. That would be the system with the most anti-Semitic, most misogynist, most bitter, most violent and most hate filled religions, both in terms of what is laughably referred to as a holy book and certainly in practice. I’d name that religion but I have no immediate desire to have a fatwa issued against me…but you probably can figure out which religion founded by a genocidal lunatic I’m talking about. But back to my original point for this cat-walk, isn’t it utterly hypocritical of skeptics to critique beliefs that work for the good and make people feel better, but don’t’ like to critique on the same grounds butchers. But it’s worse that these are often the same people who tell you you’re a racist if you criticize this particular religion. But it might just be because if you insult Jews and Christian and Buddhists and Hindus and New Agers they’ll feel sorry for you for your limited view of the world and not, you know, cut your head off.) But enough of my side comments…is The Secret Pseudoscience?

Well here’s the thing, they can list quite well the psychological points on why people are willing to believe in the Law of Attraction which states that our thoughts create reality. You think about something long enough, good or bad, and you’ll get it. But while you can point to the psychological reason why a person might be drawn to this, even without scientific data to back up that belief, the authors offer absolutely no evidence against the idea that the Law of Attraction is true. They claim that what evidence is given on quantum mechanics is wrong, but the day I simply trust a psychologist on quantum mechanics is the day I trust a linguist on politics. Quantum mechanics is a field that even the people who study it don’t have an idea what it’s really all about. But thought does seem to have some part to play in it. Is it really a terrible jump in logic to believe that thought might create reality instead of the other way around? It isn’t illogical in light of the utterly bizarre things we learn from quantum mechanics. But just because it’s a possibility isn’t scientific proof. At this point I am merely saying that just because you can’t prove scientifically doesn’t mean it isn’t true, nor does it mean it’s true. This is realm of faith. And science should have the common decency to stay out of the realm of faith. Conversely faith should have the tact to stay out of science (i.e. evolution is real, intelligent design for the start of life is still up in the air though).

Further one has to ask the pragmatics of such a critique. If it makes people feel more empowered, focused and goal driven…what exactly is the harm. So you’re out 23 dollars for the new book. If the you bought the first book and the DVD too you’re out about $75. I’ve spent more on a single dinner. Possible positive psychological effect for a relatively cheap price. I fail to see why among all the evils in the world, this is one these author’s choose to attack.

But my favorite part of the criticism is where they reveal that they never really read the book. They’re just making complaints without knowing what the hell they’re talking about (it’s a classic skeptic move). As proof that the logic of the Law of Attraction doesn’t work they offer this very stupid thought experiment, “What if a thousand people started sincerely visualizing winning the entire $200 million prize in this week’s Lotto? How would the universe sort out that mess?” Well, maybe if you read the book you’d have read you’re supposed to focus on what you actually want and not worry about the means. People don’t want to win the Lottery, they just want the money, how is mildly irrelevant. And because your brain would keep going through a thousand different ways you could get the money, you’d never win the lottery that way.

So why attack this area of faith when it really hurts no one? After all if works for you personally use it. If it doesn’t, then skip it. It’s not like we’ll ever have any kind of scientific test that can prove thoughts affect reality….

…oh wait. We do have those tests. We have a large body of research studying prayer. Now not all of the evidence is conclusive and some studies show a greater effect than others, but the general conclusion is that prayer actually does cause a measurable difference in the recovery of patients (even when they don’t know they’re being prayed for). Now, if these studies are correct then there are only two possibilities for how prayer affects the recovery of hospital patients. Either God is up there in heaven with a big clip board and saying “Oh, he only got 99 prayers, he dies–he’s got 2,000 prayers, he lives.”….an illogical way of looking at things. Or option 2, God doesn’t really get involved in this world directly and it’s the thoughts of the prayers that affect reality. Oh that’s the law of attraction. I wonder what would happen if those prayers studies used the principles of The Secret and The Power (i.e. focus only on what you want and don’t think about what you don’t want….I’m sure some of the people praying were praying that the person didn’t get sick, which according to the law of attraction means you’re focusing on getting sick…the universe doesn’t really understand negating adjectives). If they did that I’d be willing to bet a year’s salary that the recovery rates would go even higher.

So. Law of Attraction 1. Bitter psychologists 0.

I hope the two psychologists who wrote this found some happiness in trying to tear down other people’s harmless beliefs…but I doubt they have a concept of what happiness is.

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Filed under Books for New Agers, Faith, New Age, Prayer, The Secret

A Series of Unfortunate Blogs: Part VIII–Capitalism in the New Age

So I got a few complaints that can be boiled down to (1) hasn’t it been a while since you’ve talked about the spiritual side which this blog is supposed to focus on and (2) isn’t capitalism in contradiction to that hippie-ish New Agey belief you have?

Point 1 is a valid complaint; Point 2 needs to be dispelled immediately.

Okay so lets go over some basic points of New Age belief.

Reason

Long Term Thinking

Quality over Quantity

Charity

The Infinite Potential of the Human Soul

(Just looking at that list tells me that Part 8 will not be the last in this series…sigh)

So lets determine how each of these plays into the New Age.

The first point is Reason. Saying that New Agers believe in Reason usually gathers one of two reactions (sometimes oddly from the same people). Either you get people who get very indignant as if you’re saying their religion doesn’t believe in reason (and while I’m not going to get involved in saying which religions and which denominations might not live up to encouraging reason, I will simply say if a religion says you must submit to the will of God and never use your brain you are insulting God’s greatest gift to us, intellect and free will..I’ll come back to this point later). No I’m not saying other religions don’t encourage reason, although certain people fall short of actually using it. It’s just that New Age beliefs want to encourage reason at all costs. This is found in such texts as A Course in Miracles and The Secret. The physical universe operates on very specific rules, as you learn these rules you begin to see their implicit contradictions, which means either God’s insane or we are. As we realize that our ego and the world it has created is insane, reason leads us further and further away from egos and closer and closer to God. Did you think the Buddha sat under the tree using illogic to reach Enlightenment? No, reason leads to God, because God is reason and love (the more you think about it those two things all lead to the other which is why I list them together, we just don’t usually think of them as being synonymous). Our unenlightened state here on this world isn’t due to reason, it’s due to a flaw in our reasoning, and this world will dissipate as soon as we rid all illogical thoughts from our being. Thus reason is the only way out of this state of existence and back to the bliss of enlightenment.

The second objection against saying New Agers belief in Reason is that this somehow means we reject Faith…which is an equally foolish statement. Reason and Faith are not opposed to one another. Reason dictates that there is just something that at our current level of knowledge we can’t know with absolute certitude, thus these things are beyond reason. For instance the proofs of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas prove conclusively that there must be an unmovable mover, a force that set the universe in motion, which we call God. However they’d be the first to tell you that they can’t prove that this God of their logical proof is the good God Plato’s vision of the Form of the Forms, Krisna’s description to Arjuna of Enlightenment, or Christ’s beautiful poetry of the Kingdom of Heaven…or something vindictive and wrathful as seen in Revelations and the early chapters of Genesis…or something just ungodly evil, hate, irrationality and chaos as one might find in the pages of H.P. Lovecraft novel that demands only worship, submission, and maybe mass genocide. The chaos and suffering in the world, otherwise known as the problem of evil, doesn’t exactly create a logical answer to the answer of what kind of God exists, and hence we turn to faith to fill in the void that reason cannot at present reveal to us. The interesting thing about faith is that is leads to reason. When we use faith to fill in the blanks we find the pieces fit perfectly together and this lets us move onto the next level of reasoning and when we look back we can see that no other choice than the one made on faith makes reasonable sense and the other options actually contradict other things that pure reason dictates…but we couldn’t see this if we didn’t take that leap of faith. (Ask yourself how many scientific advancements have been made because scientist believed in something, had little reasonable proof other than question and random ideas, took a leap of faith to prove it, and now their discoveries made via faith are accepted as absolute truth). Now I will fully admit there are those who use blind faith with strict interpretations of outdated texts where reason would just as easily give answers and New Age belief is in no way encourages this kind of blind faith because it is contradiction to reason (and blind faith usually leads to unspeakable evil).

Before I lose you, I’m sure you’re asking what this has to do with capitalism. Well if you’re following reason then there is always a certain amount of pragmatism. (Please note there is a difference between pragmatism, doing what works, and expediency, doing what will work right now. Expediency to avoid temporary pain or suffering, at the cost of later and better payoffs, isn’t pragmatic and it certainly isn’t reasonable). We may have principles and hold to them dearly, but a principle that doesn’t work is illogical. Thus any system that doesn’t work isn’t reasonable and must be discarded.

Socialism doesn’t work. It can’t work. Not in part or in whole. Yes the Communist Utopia is a very nice fairly tale, but as long as people are still motivated by selfishness mixed with the ego’s insanity, they won’t always perfectly balance needs of self and others and the only system that puts up safeguards against extremes is capitalism (again that’s real laissez-faire capitalism, not the mixed-economy bull we’re dealing with right now). Yes someday people will have progressed to a level of enlightenment where we are basically so consistently rational that we are living in the Communist Utopia, but never will there be the socialist government in the middle between perfect capitalism and that utopia. Government cannot force people to change, that is something that only the individual can do, and as such as human beings evolve spiritually the only possible way for true progression is from limited government in capitalism to less and less government as humans need that necessary evil less and less.

As I’ve made it clear over the last few blogs and as numerous authors before have made it even more clear than I could in the space of a week’s worth of short posts, socialism can’t work. It’s illogical and will always collapse under the weight of its own inefficiency and evil tyranny. Thus New Age beliefs can never be for socialism, and anyone who thinks otherwise hasn’t reasoned out how socialism and New Age beliefs are diametrically opposed.

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Filed under A Course in Miracles, Capitalism, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, God, Long Term Thinking, Natural Rights, New Age, The Secret

Pandemics and Karma

So the comments on the most recent blog were rather quick in coming, but really people you can post these comment on the comment board rather than emailing me personally.
Anyway, so this is a summary of my end of a discussion, half of it being about economics, sociology, and history–the other half on the spiritual implications of my statements.

Primarily this started over my comment that only a pandemic can quickly solve our economic problems. Now maybe it’s just the Malthus economist in me, but I have noticed a strange pattern in history. WWII followed by a major economic boom. Spanish Flu followed by the Roaring 20’s (and notice the economic boom started after the flu, not WWI). Civil War followed by the Industrial Revolution, and of course, the piece de resistance of my argument, Black Death followed by the Renaissance. Now one can easily argue that many factors went into all of these economic booms, but it seems that the massive drop in life seemed to be a catalyst for allowing those other factor to take full effect. Why is this? I’m not a trained economist but I figure some of the factors for this are I. these massive drops in life were not accompanied by massive destruction in the infrastructure (with WWI and WWII the economic boom primarily occurred first and foremost in countries not directly devastated by the fighting, the same with the post Civil War boom, where the biggest jumps were made in the North and West where the least damage was done) II. Under a true Malthusian prospect the death left a surplus of food production, but also of capital that could now be distributed through a much smaller populace, making it more likely for even the poorest person to own capital and have an opportunity to better themselves III. The human psyche’s desire to return to a mythic pre-destruction golden age coupled with human determination to make things happen (and the likelihood that government bureaucracy is usually one of the first things to be destabilized in such situations leaving less impediments to that determination).

Does that mean I want a pandemic to wipe out a lot of people? No, I would rather people start using their brains and pull ourselves out of this current economic crisis through intelligence, will, and common sense…but honestly that’s never happened in history and while I’m hopeful about humanity’s capacity for good, I’m not naive. Further the Malthus in me worries that if things aren’t fixed soon you will see more dire situations occur: like war and famine due to continued economic problems (again based on my study of history, when people feel they don’t have enough they soon become very open to taking it by force from others…which in turn destroys the infrastructure that allow for those goods to be actually provided). And given that war and famine tend to historically lead to that third horseman of pandemic…well if I have to choose between bad situations, could we just skip to the option that leaves infrastructure relatively safe and has a significantly shorter span of suffering (a bad flu will kill you in a week–war and famine on the other hand, as many a Holocaust survivor might be willing to testify to, will only make you wish it killed you in a week). I would love it if we could just evolve as a species and get our collective heads out of our collective you know what orifice–but I have yet to see proof of that, so yes I want the option with the less suffering involved.

At this point in my conversation with my friend, they claimed it was still terrible I could wish that kind of suffering on innocent people (Note this is where the spiritual discussion begins). I responded from my New Age perspective, with an understanding of Karma and intention, they had all in one way or another asked for it. This of course caused shock in my friend, but let me explain, because most people don’t understand how Karma works and why bad things actually do happen to good people.

There are three things that cause events to happen in our life: Intention, Karma, and Dharma (and while I am going to deal with them separately, they are probably best represented by a very tightly wound Venn Diagram).

1. Intention: From a New Age Perspective our thoughts create reality. What we focus on creates the reality around us (see “The Secret” and “A Course in Miracles”). When you do nothing about getting a dent on your brand new car, you worry about nothing else, until you bring that into your life, your car gets dented. When you focus on your career being nothing but one success after another, it is…why because this world is an illusion and only a reflection of our thoughts. Most people do not know how to consciously control these thoughts into series of desired outcome, which leaves their consistent subconscious beliefs to take over. These thought are often self-recriminating, self-loathing, and self-hating which most often manifests in the form of disease. Unhappy people don’t just have disease more often, but are often more accident prone, more disastrous and have more failures in life–they’re not unhappy because of this bad luck, they have bad fortune because that is how they see the world. Pain is life’s way of telling you’re not getting the message. Why do people’s cancer’s go into remission after they embrace life? Because the shock of the disease made them realize they were operating under a faulty belief system, change their beliefs, and the happier more productive belief manifested into a disease free body. So from the point of view of the Law of Intention, people often get sick because their negative and false beliefs created that in their life and they refused to correct their belief system–therefore they brought it on themselves.

2. The Law of Karma…which is really just a long-term view of the Law of Intention. If we believe we have done something good and should be rewarded for it, we manifest that into our lives–or Karma pays off. Now Karma often works at a subconscious level of intention, and the way most people think of it is as paying off for acts in a past life is correct. If we have done something in a past life that we have yet to forgive ourselves for, we will manifest a punishment of some kind in this life. However, Karma is a creation of our making, not God’s. God is a forgiving sort of fellow, and forgave you before you even did anything you thought might offend him, he’s really quite incapable of hating you. So Karma, in terms of punishment is only brought on us by ourselves…if you slaughter a million people in a past life, but in this life came to the realization that while it was terrible what is past is past and you have already been forgiven by God, and thus forgive yourself, there would be no Karmic punishment. Karmic punishment is only the universe’s way of trying to force you to a point where you can forgive yourself. So again, by failing to forgive themselves, if people died in a pandemic, it’s their own fault.

On a related note to both of these two points. Death in this case is not necessarily a bad thing. Often from a larger karmic perspective it take suffering and death to wake people up. People’s souls often feel they must pay some kind of “Karmic” debt for their past misdeed and can only move on until they have done so. Granted while this is a false belief, getting over their past misdeeds is still a step forward, just not as much of a step as fully forgiving themselves, but it is a step in the right direction. Further, many people sadly need a violent and often painful slap in the metaphysical face to realize how stupid their beliefs are. Someone I know thinks that people will only wake up if we have an all out WWIII between the forces of liberalism and conservatism before people realize that liberalism is, at its heart, evil–this is a foolish and reckless belief because even if you did have everyone who believed in liberty and free will stand up, draw a line in the sand and say “no more” the following battle would most likely only entrench the negative and hateful beliefs of liberalism into the souls of their opponents (fighting always makes you think you’re right, just having to suffer the effects of you beliefs leaves no one to blame but yourself). Granted we do need to stand up and kill some people (Al-Qaida, the Taliban, producers who green light reality TV) because these people are out to kill us, but liberals, while holding to a vile and hateful philosophy, aren’t directly out to kill us (yes their beliefs will result in suffering, but they need to learn that themselves).

3. The Law of Dharma: Dharma, roughly translated as purpose or meaning of our lives, holds that we come to Earth through each reincarnation with a purpose. Sometime we succeed, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes that purpose is quite pleasant. Sometimes it’s quite the opposite. Often many of the more advanced souls will come back into lives with great hardships, not because they need to suffer or their mind is focused on false beliefs, but to bring out the humanity in others. Think of it this way, the Holocaust while an unspeakable evil that we would all love to see never repeated, did bring out numerous acts of absolute goodness from those who helped the Jews. The fact that more than 20,000 are honored as Righteous Among the Nations for helping Jews during the Holocaust by the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem does show that the adage that the light of humanity burns brightest when things are darkest, is true. Sometimes, perhaps too often, the suffering of another is often the very thing needed to teach us something about the power of love and hope. The point being that just because someone seems to be suffering from the bitch that is karma, don’t necessarily assume that they deserve it as punishment and move on; they may be an opportunity for you to help and learn. And this may be another reason why there is economic and cultural boom after periods of high death…after seeing the suffering of others and striving to reduce that suffering bring out the best in us, the right way of thinking, which in turn manifests itself into a better world.

So any way you want to look at it, people’s suffering is always brought on themselves. From the perspective of you the observer you should always assume it is a chance for you to practice compassion, because either it’s because they are intentionally giving you the opportunity to help or because they are suffering from false beliefs which should at least inspire pity in you and a desire to help replace that with a better belief system…but you shouldn’t feel guilty that others are suffering and you’re not.

So that is certainly the long way around of describing why I feel a pandemic would solve most of our problems. But I would be more than happy to find that we as a species just grew up, gave up faulty beliefs, and recovered quickly because we have the potential in ourselves to find opportunity and prosperity in any situation.

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Filed under A Course in Miracles, Death, Karma, Law of Intention, New Age, The Secret