Tag Archives | The Secret

Beyond New Age The Problem Isn’t Just Belle Gibson

001-belle-gibsonIt’s a well known truism that, in life, we tend to find what we’re looking for.

I realize this truism is tautological, and it’s been rendered down so far that it seems meaningless, yet it is something we repeat to one another in so many forms.

This idea has been central to the positive thought movement for well over a hundred years, with many different off-shoots, but all can be considered unified in regard to this particular idea: “our mental states are carried forward into manifestation and become our experience in daily living.”

The belief is that Somehow (and this is The Secret), our mental picture effects the world. This produces the “law of attraction,” whereby like attracts like, and our thoughts somehow manifest reality. This is the very foundation of what’s happened with Belle Gibson, as JR Hennesey explored on the Guardian today:

Gibson needed to fake cancer, because the New Age narrative of transcending physical and spiritual sickness is so ingrained into its marketing.

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We Sold You The Secret – Now Buy The Power

Rhonda Byrne's The Secret, originally released as a film, became a book publishing phenomenon in 2006, with 19 million copies printed in 46 languages, not to mention disinformation's own Beyond The Secret, in which Alexandra Bruce dissected the teachings of Byrne and her fellow "life coaches" that comprised the so-called "Secret." For reasons unknown (to us and the rest of the general public, anyway), Rhonda won't be promoting the sequel, The Power. Could it be that she really can't think of a way to tell interviewers what's different in this book from the fluff in the previous one? Her publishers have resorted to advertising on TV with the promo below -- it goes on sale at midnight tonight...
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James Arthur Ray, New Age Guru, In Court To Defend Sweat Lodge Manslaughter Charges

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office photo of James Arthur Ray, after his arrest on manslaughter charges.

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office photo of James Arthur Ray, after his arrest on manslaughter charges.

Maybe we’ll finally learn what really went on inside the infamous Arizona retreat held by one of the teachers from The Secret, James Arthur Ray, now that he’s in court, although so far he’s keeping quiet. From Forbes:

CAMP VERDE, Ariz. — Self-help guru James Arthur Ray says it was all a tragic accident when his followers began collapsing one by one in a sweat lodge at his retreat, with three of them dying. As unfortunate as the ordeal was, he says the participants knew about the risks the ceremony presented.

Prosecutors say it’s a blatant case of manslaughter by a man who recklessly crammed dozens of people in a 400-square-foot sweat lodge and chided them for wanting to leave, even as people were vomiting, getting burned by hot rocks and lying lifeless on the ground.

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For Some Seeking Rebirth, Sweat Lodge Was End

A little bit late to the party, the New York Times finally reports on the now infamous James Arthur Ray sweat lodge death scandal, managing to dig up some rather peripheral figures such as Page Bryant, a psychic in Waynesville, N.C., “who was among the first to claim in the 1980s that Sedona had several “vortexes” of high energy — the initial lure for the legions of seekers … [and] became fed up and left nearly two decades ago ‘because of the craziness I saw going on in the New Age community.’”

The Times does fill in some details I haven’t seen reported elsewhere though, so for those still interested in the rise and likely fall of Mr. Ray (star of ‘The Secret’ and profiled in the disinformation book Beyond The Secret), here’s an excerpt:

SEDONA, Ariz. — Midway through a two-hour sweat lodge ceremony intended to be a rebirthing experience, participants say, some people began to fall desperately ill from the heat, even as their leader, James Arthur Ray, a nationally known New Age guru, urged them to press on.

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Barbara Ehrenreich Takes on the Plague of Positive Thinking

Interesting perspective for those drunk on The Secret's kool-aid. From a New York Magazine profile:
Barbara Ehrenreich, renowned for her exposés of America’s grueling blue- and white-collar job markets (i.e., Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch), is out to cement her role as our nation’s reality checker. Her new book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, was initially inspired by her resistance to the cancer-gives-my-life-meaning trope, which was inflicted on her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. She found that insistent, blind optimism is deeply ingrained in our nation’s psyche, especially in the realms of finance and national security.
And an interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show:
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James Arthur Ray’s Sweat Lodge Death Count Rises

I posted a story earlier this week about new age guru James Arthur Ray’s culpability in the Arizona sweat lodge deaths. Now a third victim has died, as reported by the BBC:

A woman taken to hospital with multiple organ failure after attending a spiritual retreat in Arizona has died.

Forty-nine-year-old Liz Neuman was one of 21 people taken to hospital after the sauna-like experience on 9 October.

It brings the total number of deaths from the event, run by self-help expert James Ray, to three.
The deaths at the Angel Valley Retreat Center, 115 miles north of Phoenix, are being treated as homicides, but no charges have been laid.

Emergency services were called to the sweat lodge after some of the 50 people at the event reported they were having difficulty breathing.

Those taken to hospital were said to have illnesses ranging from dehydration to kidney failure.

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New Age Mafia Rivalry Causes Deaths?

Long time visitors to this site will know that Jaye Beldo has been a contributor and friend for many years. These days he runs lavacocktail.com and is reporting a bizarre story about one of the stars of the movie/book phenomenon The Secret (for more on that check out the disinformation book Beyond The Secret):

A new mafia rivalry may be to blame for a couple of sketchy, sweaty deaths.

Two people recently died at a “sweat lodge” retreat in Arizona hosted by New Age author James Arthur Ray. He charged $9,000 a head to stuff 64 people into a tiny, sauna-like room covered in tarps and blankets, promising they’d be spiritually cleansed by the ritual.

Two people died and many suffered oxygen deprivation, but visionary Jaye Beldo thinks a curse may be partly to blame.

In addition to Ray’s own negligence, Beldo believes the retreat was sabotaged by a rival “New Age mafia” that’s jealous of Ray’s success.

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