Psst… do you want to hear something amazing? There’s an unbelievably simple trick you can use to get everything you’ve ever wanted, without having to work for it, put any effort at all into bettering yourself or your life, or kill off your rich uncle.
It’s called THE SECRET
Anyone’s who’s taken any type of eastern philosophy course knows about the law of attraction. Basically, the theory is that if you put positive energy out into the world, you will reap the benefits of that energy. Hindus call it karma, Taoists call it the Tao, and skeptics call it a heaping pile of steamy bullshit.
Like prayer, or ‘remote viewing’, or psychics, mediums, Tarot and horoscopes, the law of attraction (karma) relies on some fundamental cognitive heuristics our brains use. The first and most important is called confirmation bias – our brains selectively attend to those events that fit assumptions we’ve already made. The second is a logical fallacy called ‘post hoc, ergo propter hoc‘ or, ‘after it, therefore because of it’ – we see two events and infer that the first causes the second.
For an example of this, think of what happens when you’re waiting for a bus. How many times have you waited for a bus, got fed up and decided to walk, only to have the bus show up a minute after you leave? Have you ever said “of course, as soon as I leave, the bus arrives.” Your leaving has nothing to do with the bus arriving – the two events are independent, but after it happens 2 or 3 times, your mammal brain puts them together.
So when you send out positive vibes and something good happens, the two aren’t necessarily causally related – indeed, there’s no mechanism by which they could be related. The “Secret” is just an appeal to your mammalian brain and the cognitive shortcuts we all use to get by.
“So what?” you might be saying. “It doesn’t hurt anyone to think positively.” Despite evidence that it absolutely CAN hurt people to have unrealistically positive outlooks, it also leads to victim blaming. People assume that if you can think your way to happiness and wealth, then anyone who is poor just has a bad attitude.
Let’s let Dave Chappelle have the last word here…
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