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Literature / The Secret

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"As above, so below.
As within, so without."
The Emerald Tablet, circa 3000 B.C.

The Secret is a self-help book by Australian TV producer Rhonda Byrne that claims to be able to teach you how to get everything you ever wanted (yes, everything! Even that!) by simply keeping a positive attitude and performing some simple exercises such as meditation, visualization (basically, using your imagination), and writing about what you want. In the book, the eponymous secret is the "Law of Attraction," which states that a positive outlook on life and positive thoughts will attract positive things into your life, whereas negative thoughts will do just the opposite. A big part of this is daydreaming about the things you want and believing they're already yours.

There's also some Technobabble regarding Einstein, string theory, and quantum mechanics. Also, there are a lot of personal anecdotes from a bunch of people.

Optical engineer and sci fi author Travis S. Taylor recently put out a book titled The Science Behind The Secret attempting to support The Secret with appeals to authority, noting a long history of similar beliefs, and a terribly butchered reading of quantum physics.

If The Secret actually works as intended (which it might, at least in the sense that being positive will make you more productive), then it's a real-life Magic Feather. If not, it's just a multi-million dollar franchise which teaches bad values.


  • Artistic License – History: No copy of the Emerald Tablet other than this book has ever featured the phrase "As within, so without" after "as above, so below". Furthermore, there is no evidence that it predates the Abbasid Caliphate from around the 8th century.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Several historical figures, such as Napoleon, Leonardo da Vinci, and Albert Einstein, are mentioned to have studied up on the Law of Attraction and mentioned it in their writings (along with some more modern, albeit obscure, names who contributed to the book), "shown" by quote mining their work.
  • Good Fortune from God: Perhaps the best-known non-theistic example.
  • I Wish It Were Real: It contends that doing so will actually make a desired object real.
  • Literal Genie: A metaphor describes the universe as a genie that will consistently give you whatever you think about the most in your life, be it positive or negative. Although for some bizarre reason, it will give you the negative stuff if you so much as give it a passing thought, but you have to concentrate to get the good stuff.