Secret, a film produced by Prime Time Productions,
consists of a series of interviews and dramatizations
related to "The Law of Attraction".
Distributed through DVD, and online (through streaming
media), the film and the subsequent publication
of a book by the same name and of the same topic
as the film, has attracted interest from media
figures such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres,
and Larry King as well as criticism from the mainstream
Secret, described as a self-help film, uses a
documentary format to present the non-scientific
"Law of Attraction." This law is the
"secret" that, according to the tagline,
"has traveled through centuries to reach
you." The film features short dramatized
experiences and interviews of a team of "personal
transformation specialists", "spiritual
messengers", "feng shui masters",
and experts. As put forth in the film, the "Law
of Attraction" principle posits that people's
feelings and thoughts attract real events in the
world into their lives; from the workings of the
cosmos to interactions among individuals in their
physical, emotional, and professional affairs.
The film also suggests that there has been a strong
tendency by those in positions of power to keep
this central principle hidden from the public.
The previews or "clues" to the film,
show men who "uncovered the Secret...".
Ann Storr, founder of Nibbana (Sydney) in a how-to
of the film's tenets, reports, "it all starts
with gratitude" and Stephanie Whittaker of
Montréal's The Gazette notes, "proponents
... talk about a universal intelligence that responds
to our desires. The film encourages the viewer
to see "the Universe [as] 'a catalog' that
we can flip through and shop" and advises
surrounding oneself with "positive"
people. Visualization and Vision boards—anything
on which one has placed images of what one wants—are
recommended as aids for manifesting desires.
Paul Harrington, the co-producer, uses his computer's
screen saver as a vision board. The Secret lists
three required steps — "ask, believe,
receive" — as the essence of the Law
of the Law of Attraction
film interviews "professionals" and
"authors" in the fields of quantum physics,
psychology, metaphysics, coaching, theology, philosophy,
finance, feng shui, medicine, and personal development,
who are referred to as "secret teachers".
Some of these individuals, at their Web sites,
promote the film and their connection to it. A
few of the individuals with only brief appearances
do not specifically speak of the "Law of
Attraction" in their interviews, so their
support of the concepts is based on viewer assumption.
who focus on the "Law of Attraction",
are interviewed in the film, and have later been
featured on prominent American TV shows, are:
John Assaraf, Dr. Rev. Michael Beckwith, Dr. John
Demartini, Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, James Arthur
Ray, Dr. Joe Vitale, Lisa Nichols, Marie Diamond,
and Dr. John Gray. Other people involved in the
film, who have spoken of their strong belief in
the Law of Attraction include Esther Hicks (original
edition only), Mike Dooley, Bob Doyle, David Schirmer,
and Marci Shimoff. Others interviewed in the film,
and who voice very similar views without actually
using the phrase "Law of Attraction"
include: Lee Brower, Hale Dwoskin, Cathy Goodman,
Morris E. Goodman, Dr. John Hagelin, Bill Harris,
Dr. Ben Johnson, Loral Langemeier, Dr. Denis Waitley,
Neale Donald Walsch, and Dr. Fred Alan Wolf. Also
included are quotes by historical figures, who
the film claims were "secret teachers".
In a voiceover, producer Rhonda Byrne says, "I
can't believe all the people who knew this; they
were the greatest people in history," referring
to them as "past secret teachers." The
people identified include: Hermes Trismegistus,
Buddha, Aristotle, W. Clement Stone, Plato, Isaac
Newton, Martin Luther King Jr., Carl Jung, Victor
Hugo, Henry Ford, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas
Edison, Albert Einstein, Robert Collier, Winston
Churchill, Andrew Carnegie, Joseph Campbell, Alexander
Graham Bell, and Ludwig van Beethoven.
foundations in New Thought ideas
marketers of The Secret cite the New Thought movement
ideas that began in the late 19th century as the
historical basis for their product.
Essentially, The Secret is ... touting the principles
of New Thought and Unity Christianity. The teachers
of The Secret have been regulars on New Thought/Unity
circuit for years — now more "prosperous"
than ever. - Illuminati
New Thought book The Science of Getting Rich,
the source of Rhonda Byrne's inspiration for the
film, was preceded by numerous other New Thought
books, including the 1906 book Thought Vibration
or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World
by William Walker Atkinson, editor of New Thought
magazine. Other New Thought books Byrne is purported
to have read include,
...self-help gurus, like Charles F. Haanel’s
“The Master Key System” from 1912;
Prentice Mulford’s 19th-century Thoughts
Are Things; and Robert Collier’s Secret
of the Ages from 1926.
fast-paced, opening sequences of the film portray
the alleged history of The Secret — showing:
a sequence titled, "The Secret was Buried:"
The text of the Emerald Tablet being copied on
to a scroll and given to a priest.
* The Emerald Tablet being buried near the Pyramids
by a sequence titled, "The Secret was Coveted:"
A Knight Templar giving the scroll to a Catholic
* Scroll with text of the Emerald Tablet being
analyzed by alchemist St. Germain.
* A drawing of the Azoth of the Philosophers in
the alchemist' shop.
by a sequence titled, "The Secret was Suppressed:"
A series of brief scenes of the business elite
meeting in a contemporary board room.
Portrayal of ideas preceding the New Thought movement
Secret website cites the Emerald Tablet, supposedly
written by Hermes Trismegistus (purportedly a
"secret teacher"), as "... one
of the most important historical documents known
to mankind". Byrne posits that the earliest
trace of "the secret" occurred in the
Emerald Tablet, followed much later by the Rosicrucians
— a "secret order that espoused many
of the ideas of The Secret." Mention is made
of Victor Hugo and Ludwig van Beethoven's supposed
membership in the order as well as Isaac Newton's
purported work in translating the tablet.
Sackariason of the Aspen Times, when commenting
about Byrne's intention to share The Secret with
the world, identifies the Rosicrucians as keepers
of The Secret:
The Mastery of Life" [ a Rosicrucian teaching
similar to The Secret ] is not difficult to grasp,
but the secret of the Rosicrucian tradition has
been protected and preserved for thousands of
years, shown only to those who have proven a true
desire to know.
the words "Emerald Tablet" nor "Rosicrucian"
are spoken in the film, however, at key transition
points the screen image rapidly zooms in on the
Elements in opening sequences
elements pass quickly in the cinematic, historical
sequences at the beginning of the film and are
not explained or otherwise mentioned in the film
(listed in the order in which they appear —
excepting Rosicrucian element):
[show]Element Related detail Significance
Page in a book, showing chapter title: "The
World's Greatest Discovery" From book: The
Secret of the Ages, by Robert Collier (appears
during the first minute of the film) Reported
to be one of the books Byrne read in researching
the Law of Attraction.
Book: A History of Egypt Shown for less than a
second Byrne's voice-over: "I began tracing
An illustration in A History of Egypt Labeled,
"Fig 13. The Emerald Tablet" Initial
mention of Emerald Tablet
Emerald Tablet Authored by the "mythical
deity," Hermes Trismegistus The website claims,
"perceived as one of the most important historical
documents known to mankind"
Scroll The film shows the text of the Emerald
Tablet being copied on to a scroll The film shows
the copy being kept by a priest.
Book: The Life Power and How To Use It by Elizabeth
Towne, published in 1906 — wrote about New
Thought ideas First image in the sequence titled,
"The Secret was Coveted"
Alchemist Saint Germain Shown probing the secrets
of the Emerald Tablet Alchemy, the transforming
of mind into matter.
Azoth of the Philosophers A meditative emblem
used by alchemists and first published in 1659
"'Azoth' ... is one of the more arcane names
for the One Thing"
"Rosicrucian", as text — Note:
the word "Rosicrucian" is not spoken
in the film. Appears briefly, 12 times in the
film, at 0:22:43, 0:22:50, 0:45:16, 0:53:26, 0:53:30,
0:59:41, 0:59:45/46, 1:08:55, 1:08:59, 1:15:36,
and 1:22:14[ Described by the official website
as "...a legendary and secret order that
espoused many of the ideas of The Secret"
film was created by Prime Time Productions of
Melbourne Australia with Rhonda Byrne, executive
producer; Paul Harrington, producer; and Drew
Heriot, director. Gozer Media of Collingwood,
a suburb of Melbourne, is the design house responsible
for the visual style and feel of the film and
book. Byrne's company TS Production LLC, a Hungarian
company, is responsible for marketing and distribution
of the film and book. Byrne commented about the
research she did prior to making the film:
So I sat down and did a huge list of everything
I had read ... and when I finished the list I
handed it to them [the film production team].
They said that’s impossible, you couldn't
read that many books in a year, two years, and
I had read all of those books in two and a half
weeks - and well, that's The Secret.
inspiration for creating The Secret came from
reading the 1910 book The Science of Getting Rich
by Wallace D. Wattles. The film was done as a
project for Channel Nine an Australian TV Network.
Nine put up less than 25% of the $3 million project
with additional funding from mortgaging Bryne's
home and from an investment by Bob Rainone, "a
former Internet executive in Chicago". Rainone
became the CEO of one of Byrne's companies, The
Secret LLC, and is described by Byrne as, "delivered
to us from heaven".
of the interviews was done in July and August
of 2005 with editing "effectively completed
by Christmas time". About 55 teachers and
authors were interviewed at locations including
Chicago, Aspen, Alaska, and a Mexican Riviera
Cruise (interviewing Esther Hicks). The film uses
24 of these teachers in the "Extended Edition"
of the film. The first edition featured a 25th
teacher, Esther Hicks, known "as the most
prominent interpreter of the Law of Attraction".
Since the first release of the DVD, Esther Hicks
declined to continue with the project, mentioning
contractual issues in a letter to friends. Her
10% share of sales netted the Hickses $500,000.
As a result of this, scenes with Esther Hicks,
are instead narrated by Lisa Nichols and Marci
Shimoff. No other "secret teachers"
received compensation for their appearance in
the film — revealed by Bob Proctor in an
interview on Nightline.
Chasse, one of the producers, directors, and screenwriters
for What the Bleep Do We Know!? interviewed Paul
Harrington, the co-producer of The Secret. In
the interview, Harrington gave this description
of Byrne's production methods:
We used the law of attraction during the making
of the program. We went very unconventional, in
terms of scheduling and budgeting. We allowed
things to come to us... We just had faith that
things would come to us.
Nine, after viewing the completed film, chose
to not broadcast it. A new contract was negotiated
with all DVD sales going to Byrne's companies
(Prime Time, and The Secret LLC). In hindsight,
Len Downs of Channel Nine commented, "we
looked at it and we didn't deem it as having broad,
mass appeal". The film was eventually broadcast
by Channel Nine on 3 February 2007. Downs reported
that "it didn't do all that well".
“ They [Byrne & related publishers]
have created a look for their books, DVDs, CDs
and marketing materials that conjures a "Da
Vinci Code" aesthetic, full of pretty faux
parchment, quill-and-ink fonts and wax seals.”
— Peter Birkenhead, Salon.com
film has been described as a "slick repackaging"
of the Law of Attraction, a concept originating
in the New Thought ideas of the late 19th century.
In producing the film, the law was intentionally
"packaged" with a focus on "wealth
enhancement" — differing from the more
spiritual orientation of the New Thought Movement.
One of the film's backers stated, "we desired
to hit the masses, and money is the number one
thing on the masses' minds".
to package the film's theme as a "secret"
has been called an important component of the
was an incredibly savvy move to call it 'The Secret',"
says Donavin Bennes, a buyer who specializes in
metaphysics for Borders Books. "We all want
to be in on a secret. But to present it as the
secret, that was brilliant."
seeming descriptions of the film's packaging—describe
the film as:
* a "breathless pizzazz" for a tired
* "emphatically cinematic" and "driven
by images and emotions rather than logic"
* a blend of Tony Robbins and The Da Vinci Code.
* "the Unsolved Mysteries of infomercials"
movie was advertised on the Internet using tease
advertising and viral marketing techniques in
which The Secret and the specific details of the
film were not revealed. Additionally, Prime Time
Productions grants written permission to individuals
or companies, via application at the official
site, to provide free screenings of the film to
public audiences. Optionally, the DVD may be sold
at these screenings.
continuing to speak highly of the film, Esther
Hicks (presented as "secret teacher"
in the first edition of the film) goes on to say
"Jerry and I were uncomfortable with what
felt to us like a rather aggressive marketing
campaign (just not our style, nothing wrong with
it)... allowing them to edit us out was the path
of least resistance."
Secret has been reported as a "self-help
phenomenon", a "publishing phenomenon",
and a "cultural phenomenon".
critics reported on the self-help phenomenon:
Julie Mason of the Ottawa Citizen (Canada) reports
News of The Secret has spread like the Norwalk
virus through Pilates classes, get-rich-quick
websites and personal motivation blogs.
* Jane Lampman of the Christian Science Monitor
reports The Secret is becoming a brand with 'secret
teachers' providing secret related seminars and
Jill Culora of the New York Post reports:
In countless Internet blogs, supporters of "The
Secret" tell how shifting from negative to
positive thoughts radically improved their lives.
film became a publishing phenomenon in 2007 —
helped by being featured on two episodes of Oprah—
and reached number one on the Amazon DVD chart
in March 2007. A book version, also called The
Secret reached number one on The New York Times
bestseller list. For much of February through
April both the book and DVD versions were #1 or
#2 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders.
The book's publisher, Simon & Schuster, did
a second printing of 2 million — "the
biggest order for a second printing in its history".
Time reports brisk sales of the DVD through New
Age bookstores, and New Thought churches, such
as Unity and Agape International Spiritual Center.
Secret is reportedly being discussed in "e-mails,
in chat rooms, around office cubicles, [and] on
blind dates". It is recognized as having
a broad and varied impact on culture and is likened
to a "Hollywood phenomenon". —
New York Post
Spoofs and parodies on television
* In the March 17, 2007 episode of Saturday Night
Live, cast members spoofed "The Secret"
in a sketch with Oprah Winfrey (Maya Rudolph)
interviewing Rhonda Byrne (Amy Poehler). Includes
a scene of a man in Darfur being scolded for his
* The film was parodied in the Boston Legal episode
"Brotherly Love," where Denny Crane
tried to use the "Law of Attraction"
to draw Raquel Welch to him (he was planning to
move on to world peace if successful). Unfortunately,
Phyllis Diller was the person he eventually drew
* On May 16, 2007 the concept was parodied on
The Chaser's War on Everything, a satirical comedy
program on Australia's ABC network. The show provided
an analysis of The Secret, with various themes
and theories of the film tested to see if they
work in real life, including asking for a parking
spot and then pulling into it, despite the fact
that there was a car already there, and asking
the universe for objects in stores and then just
taking them. It was the first subject of the segment
"Nut Job of the Week".
* Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist Maureen
Dowd invoked "The Secret" while wondering
if wishful thinking could lead to a change in
the White House.
Greg Beato, of Reason, reported:
...if you think really, really hard, say, about
vigorously cavorting with Salma Hayek on a soft,
fluffy bed of Google Series A preferred stock,
you will emit a magnetic signal to the universe
that will make your vision a reality.
Public response — favorable quotes
* Some say they watch the DVD repeatedly, and
have uncovered new secrets within "The Secret"
with every viewing. — New York Post
* "I was resistant at first," says Julia
Holmes, a Los Angeles resident who saw the DVD
on the day after Christmas. "But after watching
it, I decided to play a game. I was late for a
yoga class and I thought about a particular place
in the room next to a wall that I wanted to be
in. When I got there, the space was open. I went
through the rest of the day smiling to myself
and thinking, this stuff works." —
* Cathy Jacobs -- owner of Angels Cappuccino and
Ice Cream Cafe, a small operation ... has sold
nearly 1,400 copies of the DVD. Jacobs says customers
buy several copies at a time to give as gifts.
— Calgary Herald
Public response — unfavorable quotes
* Critics of The Secret, and even some fans, are
bothered by its obsession with using ancient wisdom
to acquire material goods. — Time magazine
* ...the whole idea that any of this is a "secret"
is widely considered a joke. — New York
* To sane people this is laughable, like the Tooth
Fairy or Ouija boards. To others it’s downright
offensive — where does God fit into this
DIY [do-it-yourself] existence? — Beliefnet
Secret has been featured on national talk and
news programs for TV and radio.
Talk show circuit
* Two special episodes of the Larry King Live
Show on November 2, 2006 and November 16, 2006.
The episodes are called "The Power of Positive
Thoughts" and "The Power of Positive
* On December 1, 2006, comedian Ellen DeGeneres
followed suit by presenting two of The Secret
teachers on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
* Oprah Winfrey presented two episodes on The
Secret: "Discovering The Secret". on
February 8, 2007 and "The Reaction".
on February 16, 2007.
* The Montel Williams Show presented Jack Canfield
and real life stories of the Law of Attraction
in an episode titled "Unlocking Secrets to
Success" on March 12, 2007.
* On March 29, 2007 Oprah Winfrey invited Law
of Attraction expert and channel Esther Hicks
to discuss the controversy of "The Secret
Behind The Secret" on her radio show, Oprah
* On April 5, 2007 Winfrey interviewed Hicks about
her involvement with the original version of "The
Secret" and questions "non-physical
entities Abraham-Hicks" (channelled by Esther)
about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, disease, children,
and how they all relate to "The Law of Attraction
— on Oprah & Friends, titled "Esther
Hicks and the Law of Attraction".
* The Today Show with Matt Lauer interviewed James
Arthur Ray and reported that Byrne had canceled
her appearance at the last minute the day of the
show, February 27, 2007.
* The March 25, 2007 edition of Nightline with
Cynthia McFadden discussed the universal Law of
Attraction and "The Secret" criticism
by mainstream institutions with secret teacher
Interviews of purported "secret teachers"
featured in the film have been interviewed on
various TV shows. These comments have been made
* James Ray, interviewed by Harry Smith on The
Early Show (CBS), aired Mar. 1, 2007:
If I get this straight, the secret of The Secret
is, "ask — believe — receive".
Is it as simple as that?
RAY: Well that's one of the author's interpretations.
I believe that you have to think, feel, and act...
* Bob Proctor, interviewed by Cynthia McFadden
on Nightline (ABC), aired Mar. 23rd, 2007:
Given the fact that so many of these ideas have
been written about before...why do you think this
book [and film] has struck a chord?
PROCTOR: ...I think she [Rhonda Byrne] has an
understanding or a way with this that no one’s
ever had before. I’ve been in this [ New
Thought ] industry for thirty-eight years and
I have never seen anything that will even come
close to this.
Joe Vitale, on Larry King Live (CNN), "The
Secret" episode aired Mar. 8th, 2007:
I'm just curious, where does God come into the
VITALE: God is all of us. God is the secret and
everything about it. This is a law from God.
It has been suggested that some of the information
in this article's Criticism or Controversy section(s)
be merged into other sections to achieve a more
neutral presentation. (Discuss)
Bennett, of the London based Guardian compares
the behavior of the leader of the UK Conservative
Party to the principles espoused in the film.
Touching on themes of greed and blaming-the-victim,
Bennett asserts the film is a "moronic hymn
to greed and selfishness" and that it "nastily
suggests that victims of catastrophe are the authors
of their misfortunes".
Human Guinea Pig, Emily Yoffe, experimented with
living according to The Secret's precepts for
two months, concluding that the film/book's message
was "pernicious drivel." Yoffe found
it particularly "repulsive" for its
tendency to blame the victim and its suggestion
to "not just blame people for their illness,
but to shun them, lest you start being affected
by their bummer thoughts, too."
Jeffrey Ressner, reporting in Time, writes that
some critics are concerned with the film’s
attitude toward "using ancient wisdom to
acquire material goods." In one example in
the film, "a kid who wants a red bicycle
cuts out a picture in a catalog, concentrates
real[sic] hard, and is rewarded with the spiffy
Adler of Newsweek notes that despite the film's
allusions to conspiratorially suppressed ancient
wisdom, the notions presented by the motivational
speakers who make up the film's cast have been
commonplace for decades. Adler notes that the
film is ethically "deplorable," fixating
on "a narrow range of middle-class concerns
— houses, cars, vacations, followed by health
and relationships, with the rest of humanity a
very distant sixth." Noting that the scientific
foundations of the movie are clearly dubious,
the Newsweek article quotes psychologist John
Norcross, characterizing it as "pseudoscientific,
an article for the Chicago Reader, Julia Rickert
questions the validity and authenticity of certain
quotations attributed by the film to "past
secret teachers". The article describes
the extensive, unsuccessful efforts by Rickert
to verify a quote claimed to be by "secret
teacher" Ralph Waldo Emerson — "The
secret is the answer to all that has been, all
that is, and all that will ever be". Rickert
also examines a quotation in the film by Winston
Churchill. She claims Byrne has taken it out of
context in order to suggest Churchill held beliefs
in accord with The Law of Attraction — “You
create your own universe as you go along".
Rickert points out that the full context shows
that Churchill found such ideas "perfectly
Klein, editorial writer for the Los Angeles Times,
called The Secret "just a new spin on the
very old (and decidedly not secret) The Power
of Positive Thinking [book by Norman Vincent Peale
(1952)] wedded to 'ask and you shall receive'."
The editorial, in one of its strongest criticisms,
asserted Rhonda Byrne "took the well-worn
ideas of some self-help gurus, customized them
for the profoundly lazy, [and] gave them a veneer
Riazzi, columnist for the Dayton Daily News, also
questions the merits of The Secret, calling Byrne's
background as a reality TV producer a "red
flag." He also said that "The Secret's"
ideas are nothing more than "common sense.
Take out the buzzwords and pseudo religious nonsense
about what you 'manifest' for yourself, ignore
the vague prose and you get the message that thinking
positively serves you better than thinking negatively."
Criticism of health claims
news referred to claims that the mind has power
over our health as "perhaps the most controversial"
in The Secret. They quote Rev. Michael Beckwith,
founder of Agape International Spiritual Center
in Culver City, California, and one of The Secret
"teachers" as saying: "I've seen
kidneys regenerated. I've seen cancer dissolved."
The film features one man who was paralyzed, mute,
and on a ventilator after his spine and diaphragm
were crushed in an airplane accident. He credits
his full recovery to the power of his mind. A
similar story is told by another interviewee whose
breast cancer went into spontaneous remission
without medical intervention.
critics have expressed concern about detrimental
effects the film may have on the health and well-being
of individuals. Dr. Richard Wender, president
of the American Cancer Society, worries that guidelines
in the film will prompt others to "reject
helpful therapies in favor of positive thinking",
even though the film verbally asserts that traditional
medicine should be pursued for serious illness.
Julia Mckinnell of Canada's Maclean's Magazine
in a commentary about the film and book titled,
"Some people are finding the self-help phenomenon
is actually screwing them up", cited several
real-life cases of alleged detrimental effects.
She closed with a line Oprah used when urging
a guest to seek medical attention for cancer:
"The Secret is merely a tool; it's not treatment."
On the spiritual side, Valerie Reiss, in a review
for BeliefNet, expressed concerns that others
might get into "head-tripping" on negative
thoughts as she did when younger.
I would realize I was thinking negative thoughts,
which would trigger more thoughts about how awful
I was for thinking negative thoughts and how I
was ruining my life with those thoughts, and so
on and so on, until my head was ready to explode
with all the bad juju. The only thing that freed
me from that loop was something else I also learned
that summer at the ashram, meditation.
Earley—president of Prison Fellowship, a
group of ministries founded by Charles Colson
— in a commentary titled "New Book,
Old Lie", claims "Byrne’s hot
new trend" repeats "the oldest lie there
is — 'You shall be like God'." Earley
asserts this is a prescription for "misery".
Today reported on the impact The Secret has had
on New Thought churches, such as First Unity Church
of St. Petersburg, Florida, led by Rev. Temple
Hayes. The church uses the film and book as a
teaching tool. James Trapp, CEO of the Association
of Unity Churches, calls 'The Secret' "superficial"
and Ms. Hayes amends The Secrets promise of everything-is-yours-to-have
with "...you may face some pain along the
way. Nothing comes easy."
John G. Stackhouse, Jr., Professor of Theology
and Culture at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada,
in a commentary at his blog, calls the film "the
newest packaging for gnosticism". He portrays
the film's message as just another choice among
many religions to choose from, not the "Lowest
Common Denominator of all religions". And
[The film] is wishful thinking that does not correspond
to the way things are. Some of it does, yes, which
is why people can honestly testify to good things
resulting from it. But some of it does not...
finds the good in the film "genuinely nourishing"
and the bad "genuinely toxic". He makes
it clear he is "...all for proper positive
thinking" — the alleged good aspect
of the film — and finds fault with Christian
culture for not being better at it:
By God’s grace to us, we know better, we
know Christ and his Gospel of new life, and yet
often we have failed to speak to the spiritual
realities so skillfully addressed by proponents
of The Secret.
toxins are, in Stackhouse's eyes, a spiritually
lethal concoction. The identified "poisons"
"blaming the victim"
* "refusal to admit" that life has worthwhile
"trade-offs ... [and] sacrifices"
* "It’s all about me and it’s
all up to me"
of the Law of Attraction
Law of Attraction
Law of Attraction is the essence of the film's
message. The film's presentation of the law has
been criticized for claiming "quantum physics
is a part of the Law",for not getting it
right according to New Thought practitioners,
and for mistakenly usurping the role of God.
Criticism of society
number of critics wrote hard hitting satirical
comments about society's relationship to the film.
Karin Klein, of the Los Angeles Times, on greed:
Americans are never too jaded for another get-rich-quick
chimera... My sister says I'm over-intellectualizing.
She, after all, had manifested a fine leather
satchel. And I have to admit, if there were designer
leather goods to be had out of this, I was interested.
Emily Yoffe, writing for Slate, ran with a quote
by one of the "past secret teachers"
— a quote from Einstein that never made
it into the film:
Only two things are infinite, the universe and
human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
Catherine Bennett, writing for the The Guardian
describes adherence to The Secret's "law
of attraction" as:
[a] creed so transparently ugly and stupid that
it seems impossible that anyone could take it
critics find much to fault in the film and nevertheless
see it as providing positive opportunities or
benefits for society.
* Greg Beato of Reason Magazine, described previous
"A-list hucksters" as "...infectious,
helping to create a national mood of high-octane
optimism." He closes with:
If there's anything our current bleak era needs,
it's a little irrational exuberance. Perhaps The
Secret is the Grand Genie of the Universe's answer
to our prayers.
Jefrey Ressner, at Time—in his final remarks—finds
parallels between Madonna and Bob Rainone, Byrne's
U.S. business partner:
Da Vinci Code was entertaining, but this film
is a personal tool for people who want to change
their lives," says Rainone. "It's a
gift to the world, to help humanity." Or,
as another empowerment teacher, Madonna, sang
in her own 1994 hit Secret: "Happiness lies
in your own hand."
* Jerry Adler of Newsweek, writing about the producer,
Rhonda Bryne: ...Irene Izon, [mother to Rhonda
Byrne] did offer this assessment to NEWSWEEK:
"The thing is that Rhonda just wants to bring
happiness to everybody. That's the reason it all
began. She just wants everybody to be happy."
And to give her her due, she might actually be
achieving some of that. There is nothing, in principle,
wrong with thinking about what makes you happy.
Australian Nine Network's A Current Affair—an
Australian TV tabloid show—on 14 May 2007
segment titled, "The Secret Stoush",
interviews Australian author Vanessa J. Bonnette.
In the interview, Bonnette—when referring
to the book version of The Secret—asserts,
"that is my work and Rhonda Byrne has stolen
it". Bonnette and a reporter compare her
book to Byrne's on the use of the "TV transmission"
analogy. Bonnette's book, Empowered for the New
Era (2003 Empowered For Life) will be released
in 2007 as a second edition. Bonnette, at her
website, claims 100 instances of plagiarism.
Byrne's marketing company, TS Production LLC,
has responded with a lawsuit to restrain Bonnette.From
the statement of claim:
Analogy between frequency transmissions, including
a television station transmission via a frequency,
and humans and human thought is used by many persons
in the field of self-help and motivation.
Schirmer, the "investment guru"—and
only Australian—in the film, has his business
activities under investigation by the Australian
Securities Investment Commission (ASIC). This
was reported on 1 June 2007 by A Current Affair
in a segment titled "The Secret Con"with
those words and The Secret logo appearing in the
background behind the newscaster. The show initially
confronted Schirmer in a segment titled "The
Secret Exposed", aired on 28 May 2007, with
complaints from people who say Schirmer owed them
February 12, 2008 Bob Proctor's company, Lifesuccess
Productions, L.L.C. filed a lawsuit against "investment
guru" David Schirmer, his wife Lorna, and
their several companies (including Life Success
Pacific Rim PTY LTD, Schirmer Financial Management
PTY LTD, Life Success Productions PTY LTD, Excellence
in Marketing PTY LTD, and Wealth By Choice PTY
LTC) for "mislead. or deceptive conduct".
Harrington, the producer for the film, reported
that broadcast TV—instead of the Internet—was
initially planned as the medium for the first
...we had as our vision to go out to the whole
world in 24 hours on television. It was a grand
vision, which we weren’t able to pull off
for various reasons. We were trying to force,
to control the “how” of the universe,
when what we were supposed to do was just focus
on the vision...
Secret premiere was broadcast through the Internet
on March 23, 2006 using Vividas technology. It
is still available either on a pay-per-view basis
via streaming media (or on DVD at theSecret.tv,
the official site for the film). A new extended
edition of The Secret was released to the public
on October 1, 2006. The Australian television
premiere was on Nine Network on Saturday, February
Future releases and spin-offs
have been announced to produce a sequel to The
Secret and a spin-off TV series. An August release
is planned for the sequel and "spinoff books
expected in 2007 are The Secret Workbook and a
collection of The Secret Success Stories".
Secret official website
Body and Spirit