Ah yes, the good ol’ Law of Attraction. Think deeply about something (funnily enough, usually money) and you will attract it. Well that’s the gist of it.
For sure, the many gurus and alleged practitioners do like to dress it all up with mysterious sounding jargon, pseudo mystical paraphernalia and a whiff of scientific plausibility, but at heart it boils down to what I just said. Plus it’s total bollocks.
No one can attract anything with their mind. Uri Geller can’t really bend spoons by focusing very intently. Fortune tellers have no more of a clue what will happen in the future than anyone else. This is all the realm of charlatans and hocus pocus. We know this because we have the actual Law of Physics among other tools for discerning fantasy from reality.
But why though has a frothing at the mouth, swivel-eyed, howling at the moon, certifiably bonkers idea become so pervasive?
Certainly, the internet is absolutely awash with folk following and promoting this ludicrous nonsense.
The answer, as ever, is that it’s all about the money, money, money. Jessie J may not want loadsa loot, but there are plenty who do. And they don’t want to work (or indeed think) terribly hard to get it; which makes them easy meat for the vultures pushing scams of one sort or another.
People want to believe that they might win the lottery, make easy money from online trading a couple of hours a day (I don’t suppose I might interest you in some proven binary options trading strategies? – my offering at least has the merit of some verifiable math to back it up), or enjoy the affluent idyll that the purveyors of LoA dangle before them.
The world is not short of indolent dolts and when other people tell them that, yes, these things are truly possible with little or no effort on their part, they will eagerly swallow great handfuls of regurgitated half baked tripe. For example “There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made, and which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the interspaces of the universe. A thought in this Substance produces the thing that is imaged by the thought.”
No, I didn’t make that up – Wallace D. Wattles did, in his book The Science of Getting Rich. Like a great many such books, while it made the author rich it did little, if anything, for its readers. Nor does it contain even the slightest amount of science. But let’s not nitpick eh?
It’s also worth noting in passing that around this time (late 19th, early 20th Century) William Walker Atkinson penned “Thought Vibration of the Law of Attraction in the Thought World” and some years later Napoleon Hill made himself rich, not by merely thinking but by writing a book called “Think and Grow Rich”. This was also a period of time when séances, ouija boards and interest in the occult were very much in vogue. Read into that what you will.
Like I said right off the bat, that previous quote from Wattles sums up LoA in a nutshell – it is indeed complete cobblers. No one has ever offered a shred of evidence that there actually is a “thinking stuff” or that all things are made from it or that thoughts produce the thing imagined by them.
What A Fool Believes, No Wise Man Has The Power To Reason Away
Not one scintilla of proof. That’s because LoA rests on faith – it only works if you “believe” (you do believe, don’t you?). It’s a lot like religion in that the proponents are at liberty to assert all kinds of things simply because “proving” that something doesn’t exist is oddly even harder that proving it does.
The fact that science cannot detect a “thinking stuff” might simply mean that our instruments are insufficiently powerful. I could for instance claim that invisible aliens live amongst us (I have a sinking feeling that somewhere in this world there are people who really do believe just that). Because no-one can actually “prove” otherwise – they are, after all, invisible – I can twist that round as “proof” for the existence of my aliens.
One well documented side effect of belief systems is a fair amount of cognitive dissonance among their believers. When all too clear contradictions appear they feel a deep need to paper over, rather than address them. If too many cracks were to appear then they might have to confront the very unsettling possibility that it was all smoke and mirrors after all.
And worse still, their dreams of riches beyond, well, their wildest dreams would shatter along with the illusion into a thousand pieces. So they cling tenaciously to their belief in the promised land and tend to get quite defensive with anyone who dares to question, or worse, ridicule the sacred tenets (Scientology anyone?). The net effect of course is to further entrench belief.
The great conceit of LoA though is its pretense to be a bona fide Law, up there with Thermodynamics and Gravity (and maybe even Dienetics – that is a proper science isn’t it? Oh no, I’ve got mixed up with Diarrhea again).
The gurus sporting sharp suits and good hair frequently offer themselves as evidence that LoA delivers the goods in this respect, because they quite clearly made a lot of money (yes, that again). But the drab reality is that not a single one of them have ever actually attracted diddly squat. They made their loot by conning those who would readily believe you if you told them they were gullible.
The even more depressing fact is that, whereas a genuine Law makes testable predictions about the way things work, LoA fails to stand up even to the scrutiny of a thoroughly disinterested cat. Because, apparently, it only works when you do it right… So if it doesn’t actually work that’s not (as any reasonable person would deduce) on account of it being a crock of shit. Nope, it’s because YOU fucked up. Sweet huh?
This article, inaccurately described as The Truth About Winning the Lottery Using the Law of Attraction gives a flavor and is very much par for the course – trust me (you do trust me don’t you?) there’s shovel loads more.
Win The Lottery Using The Law Of Attraction? Gotta Get Me Some Of That!
The “truth” it seems is that most people don’t in fact win the Lottery using the Law of Attraction. That’s because instead of maintaining relentlessly positive thoughts and simply leaving it to the Universe to deliver the goods, apparently they fuck things up. The real truth of course is that very few people ever win anything and do so very infrequently because the math is hopelessly stacked against them.
You can quite easily test the math using modeling and checking against real world results and what you will discover is that the LoA “winners” fall within statistical norms – their belief in LoA makes them no better or worse than anyone else. All it achieves is a serious clouding of judgment.
Trying to attract (or “manifest” to use the jargon) a lottery win (or anything else for that matter) is about as idiotic as consulting Tarot cards before playing Russian Roulette. And although clearly nowhere near so dangerous, it still amounts to augmenting an essentially stupid act with a transparently stupid methodology.
Take as a simple example the UK Lottery. The odds of winning are 14,000,000 to 1 and no amount of mental focus can alter the fact that you are NOT going to win 13,999,999 times for every one that you do. And with an average Jackpot payout of £2,000,000 that’s going to leave you out of pocket to the tune of £12,000,000.
Even if you consider just the odds of winning ANY of the lesser prizes, that too is stacked against you 57:1 – put simply you are guaranteed to lose 56 out of every 57 goes. That’s an awful lot of fucking things up that’s going to get blamed on you personally. No wonder there are so many exhortations to stick with it and BELIEVE (you are still believing? haven’t lapsed a teeny weeny bit and fucked things up again?).
The trouble with all this “belief” though is that it muddies the waters. In order to accomplish anything in life, it’s true that you have to believe you possess the ability to do it. Needless to say though, you also have to be able to back this up.
The Secret Revealed…
It is not possible to dive from a hundred foot cliff, chop through a stack of bricks with your bare hands, sing live to a large audience, land a golf ball on a small green from 300 yards or many other such things unless you believe you can do it. But this belief always derives from previous experience. It is not plucked from thin air using only visualization.
Karate experts don’t start with bricks – they learn by first chopping small bits of wood and build both their confidence (belief) and expertise as they graduate to more demanding challenges. Think, do, think some more, do some more… Not think, think some more, Universe delivers.
Belief is essential to all human endeavors and it is certainly true that a positive attitude also helps. There is more than enough real evidence from techniques such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy to confirm this.
Where it all tips over into LaLa Land is when belief has no basis in reality and is instead used as a substitute for a proper (or at least honest) explanation. So we get this sort of undiluted shit from one of LoAs best known shysters, Rhonda Byrne: “Whatever you believe about your body, your cells believe too. They don’t question anything you think, feel, or believe. In fact, they hear every thought, feeling, and belief you have.”
What?!?! This is utter gibberish yet you, the reader, are expected to believe it as an explanation of how your metabolism works. And if you do believe it then you’ll be perfectly setup to receive whatever illogical corollary follows on from it.
It’s not dissimilar to how people often used to “explain” things as “magic” rather than simply admit to ignorance. The trouble is that she might then say something like: “If you’re not feeling good and you want to change the way you feel, then take a minute or two and go through a mental list of everything you love and adore.” which is for the most part a useful way of lifting a low mood.
It’s like some deranged bar tender has mixed 2 parts bullshit to 1 part common sense with a dash of scientific sounding verbiage and ended up with a Magnetic Cocktail. But enough already, are you ready to receive The Real Secret? You know, the one THEY don’t want you to know?
Well it is this: the Law of Attraction holds within it a half truth. To achieve whatever it is you want in life you have to first figure out what that actually is, figure out how to get it and stay very focused on that goal.
What the High Priesthood of the Cult of Attraction don’t want you to figure out though is the second half, which is that you actually have to DO something about it. The Universe does not deliver, you have to shift your ass and go get it.
But why are they so keen that you don’t get to that second step? Because then you wouldn’t waste so much time (and crucially, money) on the various distractions they’re pushing.
Still, if despite it all you’re determined to make money using the Law of Attraction it’s easy enough: sell idiotic crap to the endless army of idiots willing to believe in the mystical (and effortless) power of thought.
Just pretend you know how to manifest money using a secret system based on a mysterious but fundamental law of nature, be sure to appeal to both indolence and greed and soon enough you will have attracted more of it than you know what to do with. You see! It really does work!