So how did The Secret get it wrong? First, how did it get it right. The Secret is one of the most brilliant direct marketing pieces ever created. Like all good direct response work, it strikes at deep chords in the human psyche, greed and love (sex). The classical direct response piece, like its close relative the con scheme, always has its hook in easy money. The Secret puts most direct response work, and con games, to shame with its simplicity. Simply think you have a million dollars and you will have it. As you read this "divine revelation' over and over again, you are introduced to a series of gurus and inspirational speakers with websites galore ready to sell you all you need to be happy.
Basically, The Secret is a hundred pages saying "fake it till you make it" disguised as spiritual revelation, expertly packaged in a direct response piece promoting the products of a bunch of quacks. To top it all off, free distribution through social media on the Internet and you have a game changing piece of marketing. But apart from a very professional sales pitch, the sad thing about The Secret is that it promotes desire as a religious attribute. Don't look beyond desire for something more profound, embrace it and become one with it. Zen Capitalism.
By allowing desire to become the person all is be lost in the labyrinth of the ego, which blocks out all universal consciousness, leaving one in the dry barren place of anti-depressants, malls, cable television, McDonalds, golf clubs and of course The Secret.
The ego is a necessary element of human development. In order for us to separate from our mothers, our families, leave childhood and navigate the horrible adolescent years, we need an ego. We must make an exceptional effort to create a healthy stable ego that will feed our ambition, drive, self esteem, and allow us to make something of ourselves, find a partner and protect our loved ones. But once that process is complete, the second half of life should follow the reverse path, trading away ego for universal consciousness. The two are incompatible. The ego drags us out of infancy and childhood and finally, when we realize we are not the ego, that we are a reflection of something incomparably bigger, we must slowly allow the ego to crumble in the face of "the truth'.
In India, some men in their 50's, once their children are grown become Sadhus, ascetic wandering monks, leaving their work, status, family, in short, their egos, for the contemplative life. Some are even obligated to attend their own funerals, to reinforce the idea of becoming dead onto oneself. Many men in the west do the opposite, they find a younger wife, start a new business, and do it all over again, preferring too live two lives instead of one real one. This is the key choice in life, retold countless times in spiritual and mythological stories. The hero often has a choice between two paths, security (ego) and death (universal consciousness). Death is change; it's the formless void from which form emerges, the knife that cuts, the bullet that wounds. Only from the perspective of middle age can one see the folly of the ego while accepting it as the "game of life'.
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