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Learning in Freedom

Welcome to Learning in Freedom, a blog all about the learning adventures (and mishaps) of the Allen family. My four children are unschooled, following their interests and passions every day and living the lives of their choosing. The purpose of this blog is to share our every day lives (and my not-so-humble opinons) with anyone interested in stopping by. We hope this will give a glimpse of how natural learning unfolds from day to day......

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Law of Attraction

I'm finally going to do it...go against the stream and write about how I feel on this topic. I know a lot of unschoolers believe in and practice Law of Attraction so I'll probably step on some toes. Not that I've ever worried about that sort of thing in the past, so why start now?;)

It sounds nice, this whole "think it and it will happen" doesn't it? But is it true? Does changing your thinking align the whole universe with YOU and your thoughts? What if someone else has an opposing thought? Who wins the Law of Attraction bid for stuff? I find it very entrenched in the old school notion that the person who does something better, wins. If you practice LOA correctly, if you believe enough, you'll get exactly what you want.

I don't believe that.
I don't believe that thinking about something equals a result.
I believe that trusting yourself and being OPEN to your own unfolding, your own needs and desires while moving forward with action creates amazing results. Always has. We didn't need a "law" to learn this truth. We don't need a movement to re-name "positive thinking" and it's sure as hell not a revolution.

Changing your thinking towards a more positive direction has always been helpful and good. It's not new. Helping myself and other people see opportunities, be more creative, find ways of doing what seems impossible is what I've been all about.

There is also that part which seems very materialistic about the whole thing. If I think about that camera long enough, someone will just GIVE me one right? Or that farm I want? Cool. You know what? When you talk about something, focus on something, work for something, connect with other people about that thing, you ARE going to find more opportunities. Duh.

It's pseudo-science folks. Pure and simple. I don't buy into New Age pseudo-science. I buy into my own thoughts and power to change my life. I'm really thankful my thoughts aren't powerful enough to make the universe/goddess/powers-that-be respond directly to my thoughts. That would be one helluva scary world.

From the Wikipedia entry:

"Since many of the claims of the law of attraction appear impossible without violating established scientific principles and our understanding of the universe, it has received criticism from the scientific community.[8] Physicist Ali Alousi, for instance, criticized it as unmeasurable (and therefore unscientific) as well as questioning the likelihood that thoughts can affect anything outside the head [2]. The Associated Press is also quoted as saying that "some medical professionals suggest it could even lead to a blame-the-victim mentality and actually be dangerous to those suffering from serious illness or mental disorders"

That's my biggest problem with LOA....that if you aren't getting what you want you must not be doing the thinking thing right. That if you were more positive, more _________-fill-in-the-blank you'd be getting exactly what you want. Maybe what some people want is unhealthy. Maybe wanting less and really being absolutely content with the here and now is better. Maybe I can move towards my dreams while being right here in this moment without trying to conjure anything.

I resonate with Zen Buddhism more than anything. LOA is opposite of Zen.

More from Wiki:

"Writing in the New York Times, Virginia Heffernan said: "“The Secret” is not really a book but a series of misquotations from historical figures and fraudulent maxims from no-count hucksters. And yet something in that gooey red waxy seal on the front of “The Secret,” and the book’s believe-in-magic glitter, takes me to a happy place." The hitherto undiscovered "Secret", is actually a mix of misunderstood quantum physics and a re-telling of "New Thought" fallacies, which have been around since the late 18th century"

I don't care much for misquotes, misrepresentation and fraudulent maxims. How truthful is something that needs to twist information to make it fit an agenda? Sounds like the folks who twist information to fit the Bible. Same thing.

Here's the other thing, a lot of unschoolers seem to think that LOA links so well with unschooling. I couldn't disagree more. If it's helping you think and believe in yourself more, GREAT. If it's helping you see possibilities and be more creative and trust that there are wonderful things available to you, GREAT!

However, it is taking people away from their own inner-guidance in the fact that it is a philsophy or idea that encourages a certain way of thinking. Are you learning these "truths" from within yourself, from your own experiences? If so, why the need for all the writings and talk about LOA, why all the "rules" about it? No, I say Zen and Taoism are much more in line with the philosophy of unschooling:

"Zen asserts, as do other schools in Mahayana Buddhism, that all sentient beings have Buddha-nature, the universal nature of inherent wisdom (Sanskrit prajna) and virtue, and emphasizes that Buddha-nature is nothing other than the nature of the mind itself. The aim of Zen practice is to discover this Buddha-nature within each person, through meditation and mindfulness of daily experiences. Zen practitioners believe that this provides new perspectives and insights on existence, which ultimately lead to enlightenment.

In distinction to many other Buddhist sects, Zen de-emphasizes reliance on religious texts and verbal discourse on metaphysical questions. Zen holds that these things lead the practitioner to seek external answers, rather than searching within themselves for the direct intuitive apperception of Buddha-nature. This search within goes under various terms such as “introspection,” “a backward step,” “turning-about,” or “turning the eye inward.”

Not that we need any philosophy in line with unschooling or anything else. People practice what works for them. Unschooling is a lifestyle that works with whatever else you want/need to practice.

My disgust is in hearing about stuff being "manifested" as if it dropped out of the sky. I'm tired of hearing how the universe is gifting someone with everything they want, as if the people who are dying and starving in other countries aren't manifesting good enough or something. Surely if thoughts were enough, nobody would be hungry. Because I'm pretty sure they think about food all the time.

Rant over.....


Blogger Frank said...

Snicker! You tell it, Ren.

For me, the parallel between LOA and Cargo Cultism is precisely perfect. "Magical thinking" at its silliest.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

Well said, Ren! The Law of Attraction has bothered me since I first saw it gaining traction after The Secret was published. Here's a link to another "no, it doesn't work that way" post that I enjoyed elsewhere: http://www.loweringthebar.net/2008/04/the-secret-your.html

3:46 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Ren, I think you'd like this talk - http://www.ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_a_kinder_gentler_philosophy_of_success.html
(sorry, I don't know how to hyper text in comments)

One thing he talks about is our current view of potential (you can be anything you want to be) makes people in our culture view those *with* less, *as* less. Very sad. Goes right along with what you've said here about "Well, they must not be manifesting well enough."

7:45 PM  
Blogger lao80 said...

THANK YOU. I want to hurl when ever I hear about how so-and-so manifested the new bike they wanted....

8:18 PM  
Blogger Ren said...

I remember a family who wasn't very well off that got into the whole LOA thing. I'm pretty sure it was harmful to their child, believing he could conjure stuff with his mind, yet missing out on so much because they were poor. At some point it just looks like the whole heaven/hell paradigm; you're just not doing it good enough.

I like this line from a Regina Spektor song:

~~God can be funny,
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious
Ha ha~~

11:08 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Ren... thank you! Gawd. Thank you for posting this. That's all I got. :-D

11:39 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

Have you seen this?


Totally amusing.

1:52 AM  
Blogger Deanne said...

Thanks for writing this. :)

10:35 AM  
Blogger christina said...

Ren- I just discovered your blog the other day and absolutely loved your thoughts on unschooling. I'm noticing now you have some great posts on other topics as well... this was so well said!!

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Edward Litors said...

LOA does in fact all of the time, whether it's a positive outcome or not, it still works. Our job is to learn how it works, and get it to work to our advantage. Here is a good Article to read. It's a good way of learning how to use LOA to your advantage.


3:45 PM  
Blogger Ren said...

Edward, if it did in fact work, then you "got a lot o'splainin' to do"....

It flies in the face of scientific reasoning. And in spite of the limitations of science, it is still the best method for logical discovery.

If MY thoughts became reality you would be living in one helluva world dude. Trust me, LOA can not, will not EVER work. It's bullshit.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Ryan Biddulph said...

"I am so happy, it's not logic." - Joe Vitale

Ever notice how gurus or people who live the law of attraction are happy people? Joyful people?

As for the LOA, it's not some buzzword. It's God, the Universe, Life, The Invisible.

As for scientific reasoning quantum physics proves that our thoughts are things. Tough for people to understand the science of the unseen, but I tend to trust the most brilliant people on earth.

Or Einstein, or Christ, or anybody who realized that our thoughts and feelings mold our reality.

I appreciate your take on things, because it was my viewpoint for the longest time, when I went out of my way to disprove all of that "psychobabble gargage."

Then I began to study, understand, and practice it, and my life is very different from how it was. I'm happy just about all of the time, no matter what happens, and my $bank account$ seems to have mysteriously spiked.

Either way, I came to the realization that my thoughts weren't serving me (very few take this step, even fewer act to remedy it) so I tried something different by being open-minded to LOA, or Life, or God, or whatever you call the invisible force that resides in you and everything. I'm glad I did.

Thanks for sharing your insight :)


6:26 PM  
Blogger Ren said...

The most brilliant people on earth (so you trust other people more than your own internal knowledge...my big problem with LOA) did not say that your thoughts equal things. Your thoughts ARE your reality, which nobody even brought up here.

Your thoughts can not make a plane fall out of the sky, or make anything appear magically. Your thoughts undoubtedly change the way you see and the way you act. This again, is not being disputed. The universe does not magically align yourself when you think differently...you simply are aligning yourself with natural law. Easy-peasy. Don't need some psychobabble new age garbage to tell me that much.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

Interesting how these people who are apologists for LOA are making a profit from proselytizing it.

LOA is science? Absolutely not. It's the opposite; it's belief in opposition to reality. It's the Cargo Cult of the industrialized world.

8:16 PM  
Blogger Sandra Dodd said...

-=-Ever notice how gurus or people who live the law of attraction are happy people? Joyful people?-=-

Ever notice people equating the law of attraction with other things in some kind of parasitical way?

Why would anyone follow an unhappy guru? It doesn't make sense. But if someone can fake happy, and always say "Good idea!" whether the idea is good or not, they will indeed attract some people who need to hear "good idea." And then what? A mass of people saying "good! good!" while they don't make any actual progress, though the one making the money will spike a bit, bank-account-wise, maybe.

Jesus plus law of attraction. I don't think Jesus agreed to that.

Einstein plus law of attraction.

A few years ago someone wrote "Some of us have gone beyond John Holt and Sandra Dodd." Someone sent it to me. Hello! John Holt is as dead as Einstein, a lot of gurus, and maybe Jesus. I'm still alive. But the intent was to say "I know everything Sandra Dodd knows and then some."

I left a note on Frank's blog the other day. Then I got really sick and stayed in bed about a day and a half. I'm about to go back to bed now, but here's what I wrote:
I think "like attracts like" is a big part of any "law" of attraction. I prefer to attract people who think and act, over those who wish and conjure.

Another bit of ancient lore is "you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar," but there are two problems with that:
1) I don't *want* to attract flies.
2) Flies much prefer bullshit to honey.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I believe that trusting yourself and being OPEN to your own unfolding, your own needs and desires while moving forward with action creates amazing results. Always has. We didn't need a "law" to learn this truth. We don't need a movement to re-name "positive thinking" and it's sure as hell not a revolution."

Ren - this is the basis of what some call the Law of Attraction. It isn't any different than what you've written above. Like everything else everyone can take or add their own spin on it. And no, it doesn't need a name. But unfortunately some people need a label in order to get to the point where they can think more freely. It's all a part of the process of each one of us getting to the place where we allow our lives to unfold, and that unfolding will begin to naturally include trusting our children. It's not something that should be seen as a religion or separate from normal living. But if you are a person who has held on to authoritarian ways, then believing in a "law" might help you break free of some of those ways. It might be too much to just begin to be a free thinker.

Like everything else in life, some things work for some folks, somethings don't. Do whatever works best for you. As long as there is respect (which I have found to be the case in the unschooling community) it's all good.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Enjoy said...

This is very close to what I would have written if I had space to write. It was beautiful to read. I really appreciate it.

I will spit fire if one more person says that my(or anyone else's) life is this way and that things happen to me because I make it that way. I fully accept that things are what they are but surely I don't deserve to have two families members die in one week because I attracted that to my life.

Sandra's comment about flies was hilarious. As well.

9:43 PM  
Blogger sak said...

I agree with you! I just wanted you to know you afre not the only one who feels this way. However I see from the many comments neither of us are alone. :)

2:18 PM  
Blogger Ren said...

Yes, I was actually surprised by the amount of agreement...I was half expecting to be lambasted with "you just don't understand/you aren't enlightened" type of comments!

I don't respect half-baked ideas even when there are some truths woven through. If I were going to judge the value of a philosophy by the followers I could find validity in any world religion or philosophical teaching.

I know many good-hearted, happy, kind, generous people who follow LOA. I could replace LOA with Christianity/Muslim/Jewish etc...and yet many, many ideas about what they believe are steeped in lies and are not sound doctrine.

A thread of truth can be found in just about any idea. LOA is right that your thinking can change everything. But changing your actions first can change your thinking. There is just way too much emphasis on pure thought having some drastic effect on physical things. Thank goddess pure thought alone can not alter the physical world. Can you imagine the damage a rapist or murderer might be able to create if just thought made things happen?

Like I said before, there would be no hungry people if just thinking something could change reality. If it doesn't work for the starving people of the world, then it just plain doesn't work. Bullshit couched in pretty sayings with nice people promoting it is still bullshit.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I made a joke about LOA on your facebook a few weeks ago. FTR...I don't follow this 'law', but it's fun to post.

4:30 PM  
Blogger @}-,'--- said...

:D I think it is pretty bunk, too.

I'm more of a *this is your life NOW... so get off your ass and get to work doing those things you want to do... quit thinking about them, just do them.*

Good post Ren.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was certainly interesting for me to read this blog. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read more soon.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is awesome, Ren! Thanks for speaking out. A while back, "The Simpsons" did a parody of "The Secret" called "The Answer". In their version some of the historical figures who had discovered " The Answer" were Hitler and Colonel Sanders! Hilarious :)

11:53 PM  

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