Mar 6, 2010

James Arthur Ray: Tweeting Through the Darkness

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

In an earlier post, I made reference to James Arthur Ray's "thoroughly nonsensical defense of The Secret's blame the victim idiocy, in light of things like 9/11 and the Holocaust." Allow me to elucidate. Here is the quote from ABC News:

In that interview, Ray defended "The Secret" against critics who asked if the victims of 9/11 or the Holocaust are to blame for simply thinking incorrectly.

"I know people of the Jewish faith and heritage who don't necessarily believe the Holocaust was bad," Ray said. "Now that might be shocking to you but I have people on record who have said, hey there's a lot of good things that came out of that, a lot of lessons, a lot of opportunities for the world. "

I don't personally know any Jews -- or anyone else really -- who would characterize the Holocaust as not "bad," so I really wonder who he's been talking to. But that's almost beside the point. Ray's answer dodges the question. One could certainly argue that every dark cloud has a silver lining and that the Holocaust did provide certain opportunities for growth, learning, and social advancement. But that has nothing to do with whether or not victims of horrendous adversity bring it on themselves with their "thoughts."

The question posed to Ray is one raised by The Secret's simple formula: Think and feel positive things and you will attract positive experiences. Think and feel negative things and you will attract negative experiences. Ray was certainly not the first proponent of the "law of attraction" to face that question, and I guess he answered it, or avoided it, about as well as anyone.

As I've discussed ad nauseum, in particular here, the paradigm set forth in The Secret is one doomed to fail even the most ardent proponents at some point in their lives. Bad things happen to good people; even when they're really "positive."

So now that the eternally optimistic Ray is facing an indictment for manslaughter and the implosion of his fortune, what does he do? How does he fit that experience into the philosophy on which he's built his career and reputation? More doubletalk like his Holocaust dodge. 

Now that he's been released on bail, Ray has taken to his Twitter account  and he's tweeting up a storm. He's emerged from his incarceration with a new appreciation for the workings of the shadow.

"If you can't embrace the dark you'll never dance in the light"
3:03 PM Feb 27th via txt

Very few understand that it's the dark that creates and gives birth to greater light. Read the book of Genesis again.
11:19 AM Feb 27th via txt

It's the experiences of the darkness that bring clarity to the light
9:08 AM Feb 27th via txt

Okay... So he's no St. John of the Cross. (Of course St. John of the Cross didn't have access to a microblogging format so his published works were a little more polished.) But now that James Arthur Ray has entered his dark night of the soul, has he learned anything new about how the "law of attraction" might explain his current predicament? It would seem not. As he tweets along, we learn that "conditions" in our lives don't seem to operate according to the "law of attraction."

Current conditions have NOTHING to do with cause... unless we thru our own ignorance of how the universe operates give them power.
12:59 PM Mar 3rd via txt

Whaaa? [Insert Jon Stewart spit take of your choice here.]

The Law of Cause and Efffect is misrepresented in the realm of conditions. Conditions have no primary cause only "secondary causes"
10:55 AM Mar 3rd via txt

We've discussed Universal First Cause as well as Relative First Cause, let's return to the differences btwn "cause" and "conditions"
8:13 AM Mar 3rd via txt

I looked. I couldn't find any of these distinctions between primary and secondary causes in any of his extant writings. Must be new. Hmmmm...

Many misunderstand "If you know the laws of the universe you'll never have challenges, difficulties, upsets" yet no tradition teaches this
11:00 AM Feb 28th via txt

That's true. I can't think of single religious or spiritual tradition that says knowledge will make your life a cakewalk. So where would people get that idea? Oh. I know. From The Secret and from a certain motivational speaker who contributed to The Secret, James Arthur Ray. They've been telling us for years now that if we can only learn to think properly, we can have exactly the life want; not the one the wheels of fortune thrust upon us.

Remember. The universe is really a great big catalog here to hand us exactly the life experience we want. Quantum physics tells us so. James Arthur Ray explains it all to you.

The Copenhagen interpretation states this. There is no objective reality. What does that mean? That means there is nothing outside of you that doesn't come from where? Inside of you. Everything is subjective. Subjective to whom? To you... The observer effect states that you always, always get what you're looking for...  What are you creating? What are you creating? Is it worthy of you? Because see, here's how it works. There's unlimited potential and possibility in the quantum domain. There's vibrant health and vitality and there's dis-ease... There's abundance and there's poverty... There's joy and there's pain. And the moment you place your attention upon a chosen intention: Boom! The particle is created and every other possibility collapses to zero. I hope you're thinking. Once that particle is created that is coming into form and what happens, there's a law in this dimension, the third dimension, called the "law of attraction." "Law of attraction" says what? Like attracts? Like. This particle is created and so another particle in resonance to it is attracted to it and another and another and another and another and... Boom! You've got a Mercedes. And that's how it works. That is how it works... "I'm not good enough." Particle! "I don't have enough education." Particle! "I can't lose weight. I'm big boned." Particle, particle, particle! [Emphasis mine.]

"This sweat lodge is going to kill people." Particle!... No. Scratch that. I think this is where we get into the primary, or is it secondary causes that create... or don't create "conditions." I think... Sweat lodges that kill people are not in the quantum realm... or if they are, they can't be created by our attention to our intention... I think I get it... The observer effect means you "always" get what you're looking for, unless you get several deaths from hyperthermia and a manslaughter indictment... Or something like that. It's a little confusing.

I looked through some of Ray's books to get clarity on this causative principle, and again, he seems to say exactly the opposite. Here's an excerpt from The Science of Success. (p.47)

Most of us are already familiar with this SuperLaw. It states that every effect must have a cause, and every cause must have an effect. Anything that is a "cause" is actually the "effect" of something that came before it. And that "effect" becomes the "cause" of something else. It is impossible to start a "new" chain of events. The SuperLaw shows us the universe is a perpetual and never-ending cycle. All the great religions and philosophies speak of the Law of Cause and Effect. They phrase it in a variety of ways:
  • What you sow, so shall you reap.
  • If you put a lot out, you get a lot back.
  • You can't get back something other than what you give.

And from Harmonic Wealth (p.185):

What you believe you'll achieve is the driving factor of your results: your lack of abundance in terms of money, peace of mind, relationships, physical health, or anything else. This is the cumulative effect of your current Total Belief System, which is exactly what it sounds like -- the totality of everything you believe, your habits, experiences, values, and assumptions. Most people try to change their results by dealing with the effects, throwing new solutions at the results, thinking they're going to change things. But if you want to change the results you must deal with the cause. You have to change what you believe.

One thing that I've noticed, when it comes to The Secret, is that they assiduously avoid discussion of "negative" results in your life. Once you understand The Secret and think positively, you'll attract positive results and your fortunes will change. (From whatever your story is, which they don't want to hear about.) They don't delve deeply into how we "attract" unwanted outcomes -- or how the Jews (and Gypsies, and homosexuals, etc...) may have "attracted" the Holocaust through their "thoughts." It would seem that pattern is holding. At least so far, it seems that Ray is not addressing what "thoughts" attracted his current legal troubles. He seems to be back to a world where negative "conditions" are beyond our control. He doesn't seem to be looking at the metaphysical causes of his predicament. More to the point, he's refusing to take any responsibility for the overtly physical and tangible causes of this disaster. He packed too many people into a very hot sweat lodge for too long and several of them died. Many more were hospitalized with symptoms of hyperthermia and dehydration. No mystery there, really.

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