Meryl Davids Landau, author of the new spiritual women’s novel, Downward Dog, Upward Fog, writes an article asking the ultimate (I’m being facetious) question: Does the James Arthur Ray Trial Mean There’s No Law of Attraction?

I was shocked to discover that her answer to the question is a simple, No, of course not!

Wow. This was not at all what I expected to read from the Huffington Post. Quite the opposite indeed.

The few in this world who succeed to the point of having multi-millions and even billions of dollars at their fingertips find the concept of random circumstance too frightening. It ignores the ego. The notion that is has nothing to do with your goodness or greatness is inconceivable.

Believing that they were/are special is much more comforting than believing they got lucky. Indeed, our ego hungers to believe it received because it believed, making it exceptionally special. Godlike. As a species, we’ve spent thousands of years mimicking the gods in attempt to get close to what they’ve achieved. So when we achieve it, we believe we’ve arrived at that secret formula. So why not package and sell it? The rest of us also hunger for that validation. (The foundations of solid marketing here.)

Yet, there are far more Willy Loman’s in the world (Death of a Salesman, fellow who believed if he could just walk the walk and talk the talk then he too would become successful – a fundamental “belief” at the core of the so-called “Law” of attraction) than there are Oprahs. But LOA advocates easily rip this point to shreds by mindlessly stating that the Willy Lomans simply do not think, feel, or believe the right things. Akin to blaming the victim.

LOA is landmine of destruction. Sure, there are a few towering trees (a favoured LOA metaphor) that loom over the masses in the forest, but statistically most saplings will die before they can even cast a scrawny shadow. Not because of their thoughts, but because of the random placement on this earth, in this universe. Their potential for growth was doomed by a larger cast shadow. Or some random hungry cow. Whatever.

Statistically speaking, the popularity of motivational speakers increase in times of economic upheaval. The Great Depression launched Dale Carnegie’s career. Depressions, recessions, and natural upheavals invite the human hunger to know (and tap into the power of) God.

A fire here in Alberta recently wiped out one third the entire town of Slave Lake. Norman James’s house was left standing amidst the ruins, and he quickly commented that there must be a higher power looking out for him.

“All I can say is if anybody believes in God or a creator or whatever, I believe it’s a miracle,” said James. “I believe my house is still standing because of a higher power.”

What that blissfully simple  statement pleasantly ignores is that that same God finds James’s neighbours unworthy of the same level of protection.

Yes, it’s easy to believe in a God when you’re succeeding. Our ego craves this. And it’s easy to cling on to the notion of a God when your desperate to find your way out of disaster. It’s called Hope, and it’s there for us all. But to charge money for that, and then to blame Willy Loman for not thinking the right thoughts is where, in my books, an ethical line is crossed. When lives are lost, it becomes criminal. I think the people on the jury– not God — needs to find James Arthur Ray guilty.

Luck is random and subjected to the whim of time, place, nature, and the influence of others. Governments, banks; family and neighbours. Success is being prepared when an opportunity (should the opportunity arise) crosses your path. You can’t think that opportunity into existence. You can’t justify it into existence, using the exception (ie Oprah) not the rule (Willy Loman) to back it up.

Huffington Post, you’ve seriously let me down.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 13th, 2011 at 9:04 am and is filed under On James Arthur Ray, On the Law of Attraction. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 comments so far


Excellent post, Britt! (Yeh, I finally worked out how to log in to comment again.)

I’ve often tried to find a clear and concise way to point out how all the LoA “success stories” are based on post hoc reasoning.

The forest analogy is perfect. The “Oprah / Willy Loman polarity” sums the situation up perfectly too.

Meanwhile on the original post, the commentors are trying to blame Ray’s participants for “attracting” it and putting the blame on Ray. Including one who thinks the powers that be have done this to Ray for letting out The Secret to the masses.

June 21st, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Thanks, Yakaru! Glad you found your way back on, and great to hear from you on this blog. The challenge is one of belief. We need belief to navigate from one day to the next. And for many people the Law of Attraction gives them hope. That’s all fine. Where I rear my ugly head is when LOA (or any fundamental religion or cult) chips away at and erodes a person’s center. That’s when THEY start to question, and when that happens, they need to know there are other perspectives out there. Like any politician, I’m not interested in converting the decided thinker; rather, I’m interested in informing the undecided (or the newly ripped open) thinker. That’s why I’m glad that there are other bloggers around such as yourself who offer that critical glimpse. Keep up the good work!!

June 21st, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Another awesome post, Britt!

That woman Meryl posts on the Abe Forum from time to time (mostly to promote her book and tell people she’s got an article up on the Huffington Post.)

I love the sub-genre of Law of Attraction material where writers take pains to explain that this or that does not invalidate the law of attraction.

Well, it would have to be valid in order to be invalidated, wouldn’t it?

March 25th, 2012 at 1:06 pm

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