Update: the law of attraction

That’s “like attracts unto like”, pursued with respect to sexual attraction here, though the discussion in that posting veers off at one point into Esther Hicks and the Teachings of Abraham — Abraham is a group consciousness — and somewhat loopy self-improvement material with religious overtones.

Now the loopy stuff is featured in a short “Critic at Large” piece in the September 13 New Yorker: “Power Lines: What’s behind Rhonda Byrne’s spiritual empire” by Kelefa Sanneh, about Byrne’s fabulously successful documentary and book The Secret and its successor The Power (just out, and already topping the best-seller lists). Hicks figures prominently in early versions of the documentary but is erased from later versions and from the two books.

Sanneh manages to be critical and analytical without lapsing into mockery — quite an achievement — though he does get in some wonderful sly digs:

In one passage [of The Power], [Byrne] advises readers to imagine that the front side of a dollar bill is the “positive side,” associated with “plenty of money,” and the back side is the “negative side,” associated with “a lack of money.” Accordingly, she suggests a ritual: “Each time you handle money, deliberately flip the bills so that the front is facing you. Put bills in your wallet with the front facing you. When you hand over money, make sure the front is facing upward.” One can imagine devotees in the distant future holding fast to this practice and repeating this explanation to one another, doing this in remembrance of her.

And this comes in a work that offers (in Sanneh’s words) “a spritual message that claims to be compatible with all religious traditions.”

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