When I was 28 years old and living in Singapore, I hung out with this American lady for a while. One afternoon, we were lounging around her pool discussing the next challenges we wanted to undertake. From society’s point of view, we hadn’t done too badly for ourselves. We were expats; financially independent in one of the most privileged places on earth. But of course we wanted more.
During our conversation, she asked me:
-“Have you ever read The Secret?”
-“I’ve never heard of this book. Is it good?” I replied.
-“Oh my God,” she gushed. “It’s amazing. Eye opener. Total life changer. Tomorrow, you will have it.”
I was intrigued. She kept her promise and the next day, I had it in my hands.
The book: the secret
I opened it and to my surprise, the first thing I saw was text in different typographies and loads of images. These were testimonial letters from readers – apparently, this book was revolutionary and had changed millions of lives.
After reading through 5 pages (which contained 12 lines of text in total and if the author could have dotted all their « i’s » with heart shapes, I am sure she would have done it.)
I quickly grasped that the author was explaining to us desperate moronic readers that one can have whatever they wanted by sending positive thoughts to the universe. This wordsmith was gaining millions by marketing the concept of hope. Jesus!
Mind you, I believe in positive thinking, and it has been scientifically proven that optimistic patients recover more rapidly from their sickness. But this New York bestseller was an insult to the concept of positive thinking.
In other words, it was a big piece of merde!
What it implies
I couldn’t read this hardcover. And I was very disturbed by the implication of this book: if people are miserable or live in poverty, they have brought it upon themselves. Because that is what it says: if you cannot get what you want , it is because you are not sending the proper message to the universe.
Like any parent, one of my biggest anxiety is having an unhealthy child.
I live with this constant fear that something is going to happen to my bébé. So if something happens, following the logic of this piece of glossy American toilet paper, I would have put it upon myself by thinking of the very possibility and broadcasting my fear into the bowels of the universe.
It is like when people say that is karma. So all the children who are being beaten up, raped by their fathers, these women who are being tortured by their partners, they deserve it. If you believe that karma applies to your life, then it applies to everyone. Today karma is used as a representative of justice on earth.
I do not believe in karma and in “the secret”, I do not believe that there is any justice on this earth as long as babies, children suffer, and on a side note that the Kardashians exist.
This “book” and this concept of karma perfectly embody our Instagram society of today: everything needs to look and be simple. The power of the intellect is reduced to its minimum. The masses refuse to think and work hard; refuse to feel any negative sentiment. Everything must be flawless, effortless. Like a fake photoshopped picture.
But that is not life.
Life is all about complexity, nervousness, and therefore hope. Hope of better days, hope on getting what you want, and hope on justice on this earth- you can hope for it, even if you do not believe in it.
But this hope comes from the first raw emotion of us human: angst.
Embrace your anxiety
Kierkegaard, my favorite philosopher, postulates that anxiety drives creativity; that it is the “awareness of being able”. I appreciate how this melancholic, XIXth century impression of depression puts a commonly negative emotion in a positive light.
Angst should not be a factor for not acting. On the contrary! It is a reassuring feeling that one’s ambition is within reach.
Kierkegaard’s extraordinary power lies in giving life to anxiety with his explanation that it is the unconditional proof of existing. Each time we are overwhelmed by this feeling, we should know all it means is that we are freely experiencing life as the sum of its parts, and that all possibilities are open to us.
Kierkegaard believes that we are free to create the life we want, and that this is the source of our anxiety. If there is anxiety then there is also the freedom to become who we are.
So do not deny your anxiety, but embrace it.
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