Scratching the Surface of the New Understanding
I have just read a book “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace Wattle which likely influenced Napoleon Hill, the author of “Think and Grow Rich” which I’ve read and praised earlier.
I have to praise this one too and without hesitation I can recommend it to everyone looking for constructive insights on how exactly to attain wealth and success, especially since it’s just 66 pages long.
“The Science of Getting Rich” is what also largely influenced The Secret, a popular movie from 2006 that popularized the concept of “The Law of Attraction”, albeit such a term isn’t found in the actual book.
That said, just like “Think and Grow Rich”, this book greatly resonates with me. I can see the logic in them and I can see exactly how applying philosophies expressed in these books can lead one to success. Think and Grow Rich especially has a pretty solid mount of evidence in support of the positively transformational power of its ideas as many successful and wealthy people reportedly cite that book as being a major influence to their success.
I can also say that it certainly made me a lot more likely to succeed as I can with absolute confidence say that in part thanks to these books I am far more confident about myself and far more daring. I have transformed and solidified my view of failure as part of success, of limitations as primarily mental and self-imposed, of wealth creation as a noble rather than morally reprehensible goal, and so on.
Yet I am still somewhat uneasy, or at least, I am eager to express something that I feel could make the philosophies presented in these books more complete, and put them deeper within a rational and scientific context. There are two reasons for this.
Confusion over The Law of Attraction (and The Secret)
As much as I could say that “The Secret” movie brought philosophies of these books to the masses I would say that it perverted them or dumbed them down to the point at which pretty much the only thing an average person could get from it is that “I can get whatever I wish in my mind by the simple act of wishing”. And I can see how can these philosophies be brought down to this incredible oversimplification. The fact that they zeroed in to this term “Law of Attraction” which immediately implies that the core of the idea is attraction, not action, doesn’t help at all.
Yet both Wallace Wattle and Napoleon Hill emphasized the importance of taking action. Even the movie itself, The Secret, glossed over this briefly, but insufficiently.
That said, Wallace did pretty much say that strongly envisioning something you desire in your mind and being grateful for getting it even before you actually get it (in order to affirm your absolute belief in that you will get it) will directly cause a chain of events independent of your physical action that will make the thing you desire to be attracted to you. In a nutshell, this guy believed in the Law of Attraction.
However, this is what leads me to the second reason of my “uneasiness”. He uses terms which CAN be interpreted in a different way where a different light is cast on the whole “attraction” business and where thought itself doesn’t necessarily have to be considered a direct cause of your getting what you desire. In essence, the whole action-reaction chain that ensues once you form the desire filled and confident thought in your mind may be slightly different than what most readers of Wallace and perhaps even Wallace himself, is led to believe.
This would be a result of our limited understanding of that which we are, through these ideas, beginning to discover. The ways in which we are describing it are still inefficient and insufficient to precisely pin point the exact science in question. Due to the amount of people that succeed by applying these ideas it seems plausible that we ARE looking at a glimpse of truth rather than a fallacy, but due to the limited understanding, we may be getting some of the crucial details wrong, which is the case regarding “The Secret” and “Law of Attraction”.
Thoughts, energy and action-reaction chains
First of all, it is currently scientifically understood that all matter in existence comes down to energy. When an object, no matter how big or how small, is inert, it has potential energy, albeit on a more fundamental level it is never inert so inertion is relative to the observer. When the same object becomes active it converts its potential energy to kinetic energy. And due to the conservation of energy law energy is never actually destroyed or “spent away”; it’s simply converted from one form to another.
It is then conceivable that physical forms of shape could also be considered as specific forms of energy, of potential energy if anything. Wallace Wattle talks about “formless substance” and this is where it appears that energy fits right in. But then we enter the realm of thought. Wattle also describes this as “formless substance that thinks“.
If formless substance is energy then the question is can energy think? If everything in existence is fundamentally energy though then human beings and other thinking life forms are energy as well in which case through them energy can and does indeed think. Observing what happens in our brains when we think does reveal that our thoughts are in effect just a complex stream of impulses, of energy!
But the concept of “formless substance that thinks” seems to imply that energy thinks regardless of whether it holds a form of a thinking life form or not, in which case a tree thinks itself into existence as a tree, a rock thinks itself into an existence as a rock and so on. Can this be?
Well, to answer this would require defining “thought” and this again refers me to the observation of thoughts as streams of energy in which case thought is nothing but a patter of energy flows. Thoughts then ARE energy. Thoughts then could be considered a fundamental building block of everything in existence.
In that case by the very virtue of being, a tree thinks. The only difference between a tree that thinks itself into existence and a human that thinks itself into existence is that a human is aware of his thoughts whereas a tree isn’t, giving a human the power to transform his thoughts and therefore himself and direction of his growth whereas the tree just “instinctively” grows according to parameters established by itself and the rest of the thinking reality.
So where does law of attraction or its rebuttal as it were fit in?
Well, it implies a very specific thing. It infers from the above realizations, provided that LOA supporters have these realizations, a particular action-reaction chain without actually seeing any empirical or logical consistency evidence of such an action-reaction chain occurring. It infers that because we are all made of thought-energy that our envisioning a particular image strongly somehow materializes this image into a physical equivalent. But what basis do they have for concluding this? This is NOT a necessary conclusion of everything being consisted of thought-energy and it ignores the many intricate ways in which thought-energy actually flows or interacts with that which it constantly creates.
So even if all of the above is true, that everything is consisted of thought-energy thinking itself to existence, it doesn’t necessarily follow that I can think something else aside of me and my actions into existence, something that on a macro scale never actually interacts with me. I think this is all coming from a gross misunderstanding, or lack of understanding, of the laws which actually govern “thinking”, that is, a process by which thought-energy shapes itself into forms we see around ourselves, and the universe at large.
What we CAN conclude based on actual evidence though is that a thought can cause an act and that therefore one indeed cannot achieve anything before previously envisioning that something in the mind. The efficiency of any given act in its ability to bring us closer to the achievement of our goal is directly dependent on our understanding of the action-reaction chains which are necessary to achieve it. Most of us probably still use crude methods and do things which we might not necessary have to do, that are superfluous to our goals, but we’re still learning.
Theoretically though it is possible that as we begin learning more and more about precise action-reaction chains involved in how everything comes into being (or in other words the process by which thought-energy creates) we MAY be able to by the power of our mind alone replicate things we envision out of thin air, by arranging our thoughts in such a way to create an energy impulse that arranges molecules of air surrounding us into whatever we have envisioned.
But we’re likely a very long way there and still have plenty to learn.
In conclusion, I think that it is worth considering what was written in “Think and Grow Rich” and “The Science of Getting Rich” as it IS evidently changing people’s lives for the better. I think that they are scratching the surface of a new understanding that may soon become a real science. The fact that they sometimes sound almost mystical or add what appear to be superfluous conclusions (like law of attraction) merely reflects the limitedness of their understanding of the actual source of the ideas they have through their thinking and observing discovered, not that these are ideas are completely false.
So let’s keep exploring this and evolving.