by RIP RENSE
PSSST. . .
I’m sitting in a little tea joint in
Westwood right now, and a guy has just walked in---waddled in,
really---who preceeds himself. Which is to say, his stomach enters the room
before he does. He is dressed in a giant hooded sweatshirt which was
yellow but is now closer to brown, and jeans that have not been washed or
perhaps changed since Bush first stole the presidency. He has a beard that
was also yellow but is now closer to brown, and he exudes the sour smell of old
socks on a hot day.
This man does not know
A woman just passed by on
the sidewalk outside. One of her legs is twisted and about half the size of
the other, and she walks with a kind of hobble-hitch, hobble-hitch rhythm
that Stravinsky would have liked. Her face is pained, defensive.
She obviously does not
My friend Craig, who is
drinking tea with me, also does not know The Secret. When people bump into him
and fail to say “excuse me,” or do not move to one side on a sidewalk, it
bothers him. Same for my pal, Jenn. She’s a brilliant,
modest UCLA grad student who just wants to study and learn, yet she keeps running
into fellow grad students trying to push her around, drawing her into ego games. It annoys the hell out of her.
And I sure as hell
don’t know The Secret. I am the most irritated person I know. Well, next
to Dick Cheney. I can’t stand the way most people drive, speak, think,
dress, write, sing, tell jokes. The gluttonous manner in which humans exploit this paradise
disgusts me. Pretty much everybody I admire is dead, sick,
or worse, unpopular. Oh, and I hate the way everyone says “stu-dent” and “impor-dunt.”
Guess that about covers it.
The funny thing about The Secret,
though, is that it is
no secret. It was the top of the New York Times bestseller list, which is
the greatest measure of what poorly educated people who cannot read very
well are buying. And it has been touted by no less a personage than
Oprah Winfrey, who
educated people who cannot read very well what to read.
As for those poorly
educated people who
don’t or can’t read, a two-hour television special about The Secret was
shown last year in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Europe,
and probably Antarctica---where
hundreds of millions, if not several billion, are reported to have watched.
For those who were too poor to own TV’s, The Secret was streamed into
mobile phones in Africa and China. Right now, tens of thousands are staring
Why, The Secret must be the
worst-kept secret in history!
If you are gleaning
that your faithful weekly Internet columnist (that’s me) is being snide
and sarcastic again, and that this is a piss-poor attitude for a mature male
adult to have, then I’ll just bet that you know The Secret! If you are
thinking, “Oh, there goes Rense being reactionary and lashing out from his
wretched little website at more successful people again,” then you almost
certainly embrace The Secret. And if you are thinking, “Cynical curmudgeon,”
“Cranky middle-aged man,” or especially, “Loser!” then you are probably the proud
owner of “The Secret”---the book, the DVD, the CD-set, the perfume, the hand
The Secret is new
evidence, as if any more is needed, that, to quote the great, eerie song by
Cream, we're goin' wrong. We are headed for a supersize spiritual
self-immolation that will lead either to a one-world not-so-benevolent dictatorship
with a corn syrup and water-based economy and no animals other than domestic dogs
and cats---or a violent reversal of priorities that will see kindness,
empathy, compassion, conservation, creativity, and tweetie-birds manifest as social structure.
(I’d bet the bullion on the former.)
But to end the big suspense
here, allow me to "reveal" some of The
*It’s not how you play
the game, it’s whether you win or lose that counts.
*Don’t try---do! Trying
is just “failing with honor.”
*When you project
negative thoughts, they become reality and your life becomes negative.
*When you answer “not
bad,” or “hanging in,” or “doing my best,” to someone asking how you are
doing, then you will make that mediocrity your reality! When you say,
“Fantastic!” or “Everything is fabulous,” you create a fabulous
Those fans of the great "Fawlty
Towers" will understand what I mean when I say that I now hear Basil Fawlty
The Secret was
concocted by a shrew---er, shrewd---highly ambitious woman who probably
had very little money and wanted to change that in a big way. Her name is
and she is Australian, and that should
tell you something about The Secret right there. When is the last time you remember anything
sane happening in Australia?
The Secret is snake oil
of and for the snakes of our time, as they coil and slither their way to cheaply
won riches. In essence, it pretends to be The Answer, The Light, The
Revelation---a popthink Yellow Brick Road to Hap-Hap-Happiness. What it
really does is to allow the aggressive to be arrogant---er,
impunity, giving them license to ignore and pity those of us who can't help but see warts, scars,
hypocrisy, deceit, George W. Bush, and be bothered by them. The Secret?
Flush those anti-depressants away! (So they can go into the water system and
cause people to grow fins and redundant sex organs.)
Rhonda Byrne, who might
or might not have redundant sex organs, claims to have
culled The Secret from the thoughts of, among others,
(What, no Nietzsche?) Now, forgive my darkness here, but I vaguely suspect that Einstein
and Plato were not quite happy-go-lucky, “positive-thinking” souls like
Rudy Giuliani, and
Hugh Hefner. I
seem to recall something about Einstein playing around on his wife a fair
amount, and having oh, some mixed feelings about having paved the way for
the uh, annihilation of the human race. And I’m not real well versed
in philosophy, but I think Plato’s dedication to preserving the work and
of Socrates---someone who saw warts, scars, hypocrisy, and deceit very
clearly---stemmed from being a bit disturbed by Socrates’s persecution and
But never mind all that
unhappy gunk. The world is screaming help me, Rhonda---and
Rhonda is obliging. Who am I to spoil the party? Want to join in? Have a
ball! Here is the basic Secret for you, courtesy of an article in the Hartford Courant:
“It's the law of
attraction. The power of positive thinking. Like a magnet. . .the
thoughts and images held in one's mind determine what is attracted to them
and, ultimately, the quality of life they live. Go anxiously through the day
with a negative loop of thoughts in your mind, anticipating bad things will
happen, and they will."
Winfreyly puts it:
"We create our own
circumstances by the choices that we make, and the choices that we make are
fueled by our thoughts."
(Quick, cue Basil Fawlty
Hmmm. Maybe it's that "negative loop" that caused the well-dressed elderly gentleman on
the sidewalk to yell obscenities at me the other day for no apparent reason
(must have been the way I nodded a polite hello to him.) And darn that "negative loop"
for making three women in a row run over
my feet with their shopping carts in a Whole Foods last week. Oh! Maybe it was
also that negative loop that caused my stepmother to kick me out of the house at age
And well, I've got this
loopy problem, see. . .I tend to "go anxiously" through every day. I know, I know,
what is there to worry about? Lousy health? No money? No health insurance?
No job? No publisher? Iraq? People driving like prison escapees? The country
going to hell? Scabies? American Idol? Pshaw! If only I could embrace The Secret!
It got me to thinking. . .What a tragedy
it is that
Rhonda Byrne was not around during World War II to share The Secret. All the
Jews and gypsies who died in concentration camps would have lived to ripe
old ages had they just adopted The Secret attitude and projected a positive
reality for themselves! If they had just ignored the fact that they
weighed 90 pounds, were covered with sores and lice, and proclaimed, "I feel
fabulous!", all would have turned out well. As Oprah said, they created their own circumstances by the
choices they made!
Whoops. There goes my
“negative energy” again. Oh yeah---and it is all energy, you see---that’s more of The
Secret, as I found on a Secret website: “Everything is energy. Your thoughts and actions control the flow
of energy. A thought is a unit of mental energy that can be measured and that
affects every aspect of your life (insert Elaine Benes saying
blehh and other Seinfeld sounds here.)"
Wow. I wonder what will come of the
units of mental energy expended in typing this column? Maybe lots
more people will send me no e-mail. I'm so negative, after all. Who wants to
talk to a human Negative Loop? Someone who is merely Failing With Honor?
Well, just in case some of you readers are also prisoners of seeing the
world for what it is; in case you have a little trouble feeling fabulous,
here are a few more units of mental energy for you:
The Secret attracts
what I call the tyranny of The Smilers. Oprah is the Queen Smiler, with
the likes of Tom “The Scientology Jesus” Cruise not far behind.
They are part of an epidemic of pseudo-positivity sweeping the land (usually
found among the rich and famous) which is really arrogance in disguise.
Capped and whitened teeth are exposed from
shore to shore as never before, but they radiate the leer of the
in other words, are really The Frowners. They are motivated not by beneficence, but by
self-aggrand-isement, a compulsion to dominate, and a fear of anyone who does not embrace their giddy,
quasi-religion. They are not far afield of holy-rolling Evangelicals, in
that sense---and have even included some bastardized Christianity about
"forgiveness" (piousness) and "gratitude" (my personal relationship with The
Secret) to give the veneer of humility.
Gooble-gobble, one of us, one of
What The Secret all comes down to
is a license to indulge ego and self in the guise of projecting “fabulous”
thoughts---preferably the kinds of thoughts that might make you as
fabulously rich as Rhonda Byrne (but usually don't.) And to tacitly dismiss as destructive those
who do not do the same; those increasingly anachronistic, empathetic souls
who believe that it is how you play the game, that trying is a downright
valiant act, and that “hanging in there” takes a lot of guts and fortitude. . .
Notions that are
becoming so scarce they might as well be. . .a secret.
We get e-mail:
Hello Mr Rense,
Thanks for making me laugh and brightening my day.
I have been observing the fanfare of "the secret" with great amusement.
This thing is an outright plagarism of a book titled "Think and grow rich"
written by Napoleon Hill way back in 1933. Mr. Hill was employed by Mr.
Andrew Carnegie to create the "science of personal achievement". The purpose
of this in my opinion, was to create a way to "prove" to the poor and
working class, that their situation in life is their own fault. It helps to
protect the rich against popular revolt if the lower classes beleive that
they too could become rich if they could only master "the seceret". I think
this has been an amazingly successful tool. Please forgive any spelling and
punctuation errors I may have made. I am the product of the Oakland public
schools and I don't have a spellchecker. However, I proudly keep on tryin'
Regards, Robert MacConnell.
Perfect timing with this week's column, as one of my coworkers insisted on
loaning me this wonderful, life changing DVD that she just knew I would
love. Yep, you guessed it - "The Secret."
The DVD is in fact playing in the background as I write this. Along with
sharing all of your observations, I have also noticed that 99 percent (or
possibly more) of the program is only about acquiring material goods. Too
bad no one enjoying "The Secret" experience is going to visualize being
decent, compassionate humans, but I suppose only "losers" would find that
goal worthwhile. Maybe I just need to visualize how to transform loving
compassion and mutual respect into commodities, then perhaps they will be
valued. Maybe I will visualize a Human Decency Stock Exchange! Or maybe one
has to be rich and materially satiated before they can become compassionate?
But then again, based upon what I'm presently hearing coming from the TV,
only losers concern themselves with anything but money, money, MONEY! "Focus
on abundance. Focus on prosperity." Maybe once we are all rich we each will
become as benevolent as Bono (
http://www.counterpunch.com/marsh03092007.html ) and dribble a few
coins and feel-good platitudes upon those left beneath us. That should make
us feel good, and positive! And that means more abundance for us!
I guess it's no secret why society is so spiritually bankrupt...
A loyal reader,
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