November 14th, 2007
A response to all your comments about my last post about The Secret…
First of all, I do thank you for all your posted comments. I read them all, and I wish I had time to answer all the questions and respond to all the comments you made, but I just don’t. If I did, I wouldn’t be able to get all my other work done (and that work is designed to create more ways to help you grow). Hopefully, as I discuss development more deeply–we’ve just scratched the surface–all of this will become more clear and most of your questions will be answered.
I do answer a few of your comments below, though, so keep reading.
First, let me say that pretty much every negative or critical comment I read assumed something I didn’t say or mean, and then shot it down. There’s really no reason to defend against a criticism of something I didn’t say in the first place. I guess I have to get better at saying what I mean in a way that cannot be misunderstood. Before you rant about what I’ve posted, you might take a step back and ask yourself if I actually said what you are arguing against.
What I’m trying to say about the developmental process is really quite simple. Many, many researchers have found that people (and societies) move through developmental stages–cognitively, morally, spiritually, in terms of ego development, in terms of their values, and in many other ways. In each new stage, a person has a wider and more all-inclusive perspective, in which they see (and have conscious choice over) more than they could see or consciously choose at the previous stage. What they were immersed in before, they can see and exercise choice about from the new perspective.
In this sense, higher developmental stages are more resourceful, and they involve a greater ability to see other points of view, other perspectives. People move to a new and broader perspective, however, only when the old perspective doesn’t work. The environment changes, and to deal with it, they have to grow into a new way of thinking, acting, and seeing.
For those of you who cling to magical explanations of the world, life, and so forth, and who argue so strongly for your view–I wish you well. I don’t know what else to say. I’m not trying to get you to give up your point of view–UNLESS, of course, you’re having a hard time functioning well in the world. In that case, you might want to examine whether or not believing in magic is holding you back.
For those who assumed that by “not believing in magic” I was somehow offering a dry and lifeless view of things, where all the joy is gone from life (indicating that I’m a desperate and sour human being living in a tortured hell), all I can say is…WHAT? Are you kidding? Existence, being human, being in this universe, and all that goes with it is 1000% awe-inspiring, amazing, overwhelmingly incredible. The universe, once you get your IDEA of it–and your IDEA of who you are–out of the way, is entirely, infinitely love. And I don’t mean this metaphorically, I mean it literally, because that’s they way I experience it. I didn’t always experience it this way, but I certainly do now.
My world is one of bliss, and I invite all of you to jump in, because the water’s FINE.
And you can jump in. Keep using Holosync, and keep doing whatever else you’re doing to grow and expand your perspective. As you do, infinite love as the ground of reality will become more than just a lovely idea, I promise. You ARE infinite love, and you deserve to experience yourself as such.
Only your mind, and your ideas of who you are and what the world is, stands in the way. Stop confusing your ideas of who you are with the reality of who you are, and it happens.
In a metaphorical sense, you could say that the feeling of awe and love about being human in this universe is “magical”–if by magical you mean, ”delightful, awesome, joy-inspiring.” What I’ve been referring to, though, is something entirely different.
The kind of magic I’m down on involves thinking (or hoping) that the laws of nature can be suspended so you can have something you want but can’t figure out how to get, but without actually doing anything to generate it or deserve it. (Magical thinking with children is a bit different–it’s just a matter of not yet seeing how things work, such as thinking that the moon is following you as you ride along in a car, because that’s what it looks like to a child. They don’t know enough to realize this isn’t possible.) As someone said in their comment to me, magical thinking is all about “me” whereas post-conventional thinking (and beyond) is about “us”.
The idea that there is no such thing as something for nothing is the real meaning of the Law of Attraction–things are always balanced. You get back in equal measure, in one way or another, what you put out. Hoping to get something for nothing is a sign of magical, pre-conventional thinking.
A few of you referred to using “magic” to get parking spaces. I’ve parked my car thousands of times over the 41 years I’ve been driving. Somehow I always seem to get a parking spot. As I drive by all the other parked cars, I notice that those people also ended up with parking spots (there they are: parked). Amazing! (I think I can remember one time when I literally could not find a place to park–not because my mojo left me, but because all the spaces were full.)
So, when you’re looking for a paking spot, did all those people who already have one use magic to get it? Or were there just fewer spots than cars at that moment? And if you’re looking for a place to park (while you “put it out to the universe” that you’ll get one), do you finally find one because you used your mind to make someone’s car disappear from their spot, so you could have it? Does this seem a little bit me-oriented? Or maybe your call to the universe made someone leave their spot before they really wanted to, just so you could have it?
If this is what you think, this IS magical thinking (it’s also very self-centered thinking–should you have someone else’s spot just because you used the right magic charm?). Look, people, either there’s a spot available, or there isn’t. And, as anyone who drives can tell you, there nearly always there IS a spot, so finding one isn’t proof of magic. It’s the result of driving around until you find it.
I could say something similar about “synchronicity,” the idea that it’s magic if you meet just the person you need at just the right time, or it’s magic if someone calls you just when you were thinking about them. There’s a very logical explanation for why you often meet the person you needed to meet, or why you find the resource you need, just when you need it. This happens because you had your attention focused on the need, or on finding such a person.
So, when you came across him (or her), he or she stood out like a sore thumb. If you hadn’t been looking, you’d have met the same person, but the meeting would have been unremarkable. As I said, focusing your attention on what you want alerts you to people and resources that might help you get it. This is just one example of how focusing your mind works to generate actions that lead to the result you want. Trust me, you would have run across the same people or things–you just would have overlooked them.
And when someone calls when you were thinking about them, this is a coincidence. Think of all the times you’re thinking about someone and they don’t call. You probably think of other people during the day hundreds of times, without receiving a call. Yet some of you jump on the times when someone coincidentally does call as “proof” of some sort of magical Vulcan mind-meld.
If you’re counting on this type of magic to functionally get through your life, you’re not going to do too well. Look, the only reason I bring any of this up in the first place is that I get many letters from people who are madly “putting it out to the universe” and (of course) getting no results. They write to ask me why it isn’t working. These people are having trouble making money, getting a decent job, attracting friends, having a relationship that works, and so forth. It’s sad–and unnecessary–to live this way. Life does not need to be a struggle.
The real problem is that such people (for various reasons) haven’t learned the basics skills of the conventional level of development–the functional ways people use to get along in the world in the areas of job, money, social interaction, and so forth. Because they don’t know how to do these things very well, they are easy prey for the idea that magic will somehow get them what they want. But magic isn’t going to help, my friends, unless you want an occassional coincidence. What does work? Learning how to focus your mind on what you want, and then taking appropriate actions to get it–actions that create value.
Since I care about people who are stuck in this way, I just have to tell them that magic isn’t the solution.
But, as I’ve said, if you really want to give magical thinking a try, go for it.
This might be a good time to bring up another nuance on this whole subject of developmental levels and magic. Many of us see the limitations of rational thinking. This actually started with what is called The Enlightenment, which began in the 15th century. This “Age of Reason” supplanted the previous church-centered reasoning (which was, quite frankly, magical, or pre-rational, in most ways).
Here’s a good example of this type of pre-rational thinking. When it was discovered that Jupiter had seven moons (we now know that there are more than seven, but at this point only seven had been discovered), the pre-rational thought-leaders of that time responded with statements such as, “Well, of course there are seven moons. There are seven orifices in the human body, so it makes sense that Jupiter would also have seven moons.” This numerological view is a type of magical thinking, the idea being that the there is some magical reason for things to come in sevens.
This new Age of Reason began to find out many things about the world that had previously been explained by some sort of magic or otherwise assigned a pre-rational source or reason. This new rationalism was the beginning of the age of science, and this shift from pre-rational to rational was in many ways a very good thing for humanity. It brought modern technology, modern medicine, longer life-spans, better food production, and many other positive changes. The reason you have the time to read this (and that we can communicate at a distance like this), instead of having to till your fields from dawn until dark just to survive is one result of the Age of Reason.
But the Age of Reason wasn’t all moonbeams and rainbows. In suppressing pre-conventional views it also threw out the baby with the bath water. It decided that unless something could be empirically proven or seen, it didn’t exist.
Some of what couldn’t be seen was, indeed, magical nonsense, but not all. But, unless it could be backed up empirically, out it went. This meant, among other things, that the huge discoveries of Hindu, Taoist, Buddhist, Sufi, Christian, and Jewish mystics (to name just a few traditions) regarding internal states of awareness were seen as irrational fluff. This led to what some have called “Scientism”–an over-reliance on reason and empiricism.
So, today, we have a fairly large number of people who see themselves as post-rational, or post-conventional (“rational” and “conventional” are really names that refer to the same developmental level). These people see the limitations of rationality (some of these people also throw the rational baby out with the bathwater, though, just as the rational advocates threw the pre-conventional baby out with the bathwater earlier in history). Some of the limitations of rationality include, for instance, the post-rational observation that everything is situated in a cultural context, and that this context must be taken into account when looking at what seems to be empirically “real”–in other words, that all meaning is context-dependent.
Another is the realization that the internal dimension (thrown out for the most part by the rationalists), even though it cannot be seen in the same way as “the stuff out there” is still real–and valuable.
So, we have this group of people who see the limitations of rationality–they have moved to at least a post-conventional perspective (this, by the way, doesn’t mean that rationality is wrong–it means that it is partial, that it isn’t the whole story). At the same time we have a lot of people who are still at the pre-conventional stage. These people definitely don’t like rationality because it deconstructs their magical ways of looking at things. (These are the people, by the way, who are angry at me for telling you to give up believing in magic as a method of navigating the world. They love their magical perspective.)
Anyway, because both groups are anti-rational, they look similar, superficially, and are often confused with each other. This is called the pre-post fallacy, or sometimes the pre-trans fallacy. Seeing the limitations of rationality is not the same as being pre-rational, though the two at first glance look the same. When pre- and post- are confused, one of two things can happen. One possibility is that pre-rational magical thinking is elevated to some sort of “trans-rational glory” (as Ken Wilber puts it). Magic is seen as being more advanced that rationality, when it actually is not. Such people want to elevate “the ancient ways” as a solution to the problems of the world.
The other confusion is a reductionism, an explanation of actual, higher, trans-rational ways of seeing the universe as if they were all primitive magical baloney. This is the way most of science sees meditation and other trans-rational points of view. They don’t make the distinction between magical ways of seeing reality and POST-rational ways of seeing reality. One is a NO-rationality stance, while the other is a reality-PLUS stance (it sees the truths in rationality, but realizes that rationality is also limited in some ways).
The pre-/post- fallacy can be seen in social issues, too. During the Vietnam war, for instance, the rationalists (those at the conventional stage, with clear black and white thinking) were for the war. Of those who were against the war, some were looking at it from a post-conventional point of view, where certain principles about life and how countries should interact were more important than “killing those commies.” Others, though, were against the war because “nobody is going to tell me what to do” or “I’m not going to sacrifice my life to save Vietnam from Communism”–a me-centered, pre-conventional point of view (believe me, I know about this–I was one of them). Both groups were against the war, and from the outside it was difficult to tell them apart. These two groups were, though, against the war for very different reasons.
The same sort of confusion comes up with the abortion question. A pre-conventional person is okay with abortion because the only thing that’s important is their own needs. They’re interested in what they want, and the hell with anyone else (including an unborn baby)–a typical narcissistic view. The conventional person is against abortion because it takes a life, and their Truth says taking a life is wrong, and they see this as a purely black and white distinction, with no shades of gray (yes, I know that in other areas such people are fine with taking a life). The post-c0nventional person is, like the pre-conventional person, okay with abortion, but for a totally different reason: they believe that there are principles that transcend those cited by the conventional people. They aren’t, however, pro-abortion for selfish “me” reasons. Yet the two pro-abortion groups look, superficially, the same.
This pre-post fallacy will come up again as we delve more deeply into this treasure-trove of information about development and what it means to each of us.
Okay, on to something else:
A few people critcized me for “benefiting from” The Secret, yet being critical of it, as if this was a moral lapse on my part. In this way of thinking, if I was an actor in a bad movie, I should not give my honest opinion about it because I was paid to act in it. Of course, in this case, I wasn’t paid. We also aren’t selling copies of The Secret, so we aren’t benefiting in that way, either. And The Masters of the Secret course I created is FREE–and was designed to clarify and correct what I see as the deficiencies in the point of view expressed in The Secret, so you can benefit more.
My obligation is to you–to tell you the truth as I see it, and to teach you what I know about growing–emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I’m coming from an integral view, not a pre-conventional (selfish) view. Yes, more people came to Centerpointe because they heard about me in The Secret. We did “benefit” from that, though the real point is that the people who came to us benefited, as many of you have said in your posted comments.
Quite frankly (and some of you won’t believe this, because you don’t know what it’s like to be in my position), I really don’t care if I benefited. I have far, far more of everything than I’ll ever need and I don’t do things any more for whatever I might get–any more than you think all of the time about whether you’ll eat today or have a warm place to sleep tonight. Abraham Maslow (another developmental theorist) showed that once a need is met (his developmental work was about needs, hence the name “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”) you don’t really think about it anymore. I don’t need money, or anything else, so I think about serving. I serve as best I can, and what comes back to me, personally, takes care of itself.
And whether or not I benefited, I can’t help anyone if I’m not going to tell the truth, so I do.
If I were to do things that weren’t good for you in order to benefit myself, that would be an example of preconventional narcissism, an egocentric level of development. I’m not at such a level, and therefore don’t operate that way. Second, operating that way doesn’t create success. As I’ve been saying, pre-conventional methods don’t work very well in the world, so it would be stupid to operate that way, though many people do.
One of the main reasons for the success Centerpointe has enjoyed is that, first and foremost, I’m interested in how I can serve your needs. I learned long ago that my needs are automatically taken care of if I meet yours, so there’s no need for me to worry about that, or to operate without integrity, or to act in any sort of win-lose way.
So, yes, I was in The Secret. I don’t agree with some of what was said in it and some of what was omitted. So, whether or not I benefited in some way, I still have to be honest about what I think–which I do mainly for YOU. If I lied and said that everything in The Secret was great, then those who are struggling, and who need to know that you can’t just wait for the Wish Fairy to give you what you want, are harmed. If I remained silent and allowed that to happen, would that be a good thing?
Enough of that. Hopefully I’m not just wasting my breath (or the tips of my fingers, I guess). The point is that I care about all of you, and hope that in some small way what I share is helpful in making your life better.
Within the next several days, I hope to write something about cognitive development, based on the work of the great developmental theorist Jean Piaget. I think you’ll find it to be very interesting. Then perhaps we’ll go into moral development (based on the work of Lawrence Kohlberg), and then ego development (based on the work of Robert Kegan, Jane Lovinger, and Susanne Cook-Greuter), and then, who knows? As we look into these different lines of development, many things will become clear. This is a fascinating topic, so stay tuned.