Sunday, March 11, 2007

spiritual bullshit

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I just finished watching this week's Real Time with Bill Maher, one of my favorite shows, and I'm dying to share something I heard on the episode. Bill brought up the popularity of The Secret, which started as a DVD and then became a book. It has been featured at least twice on Oprah, though I have not seen the episodes myself. From what I understand, the idea behind it is that you can have anything you want in your life by visualizing it.

One of the guests, David Kuo, a former White House aide and current blogger on, said his big problem with the ideas promoted in such works is that they give spiritual approval to greed. Wow. That summed up perfectly for me what I think about The Secret and other programs of its kind.

I believe optimism is important and highly valuable. Honestly, without positive thinking, life really is not worth living, in my opinion. However. I feel strongly that to suggest you can have what you want by thinking positively, the converse must also be true: if bad things happen to you, you did not do enough to bring something better into your life or to prevent the bad things.

I believe this ranks right up there with "everything happens for a reason" in terms of spiritual bullshit. Sometimes shitty things happen for absolutely no reason and no one can reasonably be to blame, not even God. If wanting to be well and get my life back from chronic migraines was all it took to be cured, I firmly believe I would be. My body has problems. Inherent, genetic problems that I have no control over. I am doing my level best to overcome them, but I also know that I will probably never be cured. I do not consider that pessimism, however. It's just the reality. And coming to a place where I can accept that reality has taken a lot of spiritual and emotional work. And this is just my little challenge. What about all the people affected by famine or natural disasters or crime and so on?

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