Law of attraction

Can we attract good and bad things with our mind? - No!

This is one piece of certified bullshit which I have encountered one time too many.

There seem to be quite a number of people who chose to belief that you somehow can attract good stuff (health, love, money, …) by positive thinking (previously known as wishful thinking).

Initially there was the (comparatively harmless) concept of positive thinking. I.e. some psychology experts observed that successful people seem to generally have an optimistic attitude. So they came up with the notion that you could be successful in life by thinking positive thoughts.

This is simply a confusion of cause and effect. But this didn’t stop some people from taking this idea further and coming up with the law of attraction. It finally culminated with a movie called the The Secret. According to this movie, mankind (except for a select few such as Rhonda Byrne of course) has somehow missed out on the fact that it is possible to attract wealth, health, and happiness by changing one’s thoughts and feelings.

So what’s the harm? Well, this is not about threading a fine line between healthy optimism and wishful thinking. This is serious bullshit. There are people trying to cure dangerous diseases using positive thoughts. For example a recent article suggests that Steve Jobs tried to fight cancer using magical thinking.

Here’s a nice artist’s animation based on a talk by Barbara Ehrenreich. Barbara Ehrenreich points out that positive thinking might even be the root cause for the financial meltdown.

The full talk (35 minutes) is available here: