I ran across The Wrath of the Secretrons by Connie L Schmidt. In it, she coins the very amusing term “New Wage” movement, which is her term for “the prosperity-obsessed, MLM-loving segment of the New-Age and motivational crowd.”
Basically, she dismisses The Secret and its emphasis on the Law Of Attraction in promoting personal wealth, which I agree is a somewhat dubious motivation for spiritual enlightenment.
One of her biggest critiques is that the Law of Attraction “is presented as a scientific law akin to the law of gravity.” This reveals her misunderstanding: The Secret, What The Bleep, and all this other stuff is metaphysics, not physics.
Metaphysics cannot be proven one way or another; it either makes sense or it doesn’t. They all are theories and cannot be scientifically tested; whereas metaphysics speculates on the whole of the universe and how it operates, scientific theory must rely on isolating variables (ie, cutting off the interesting variable from the rest of the universe and testing it in lab conditions). One cannot do this with metaphysics.
I agree, The Secret and What The Bleep and countless other metaphysical offerings have their problems. But they shouldn’t be taken as science. They are more metaphysical in nature; they suggest to us ways of being in the world as opposed to solid, provable, repeatable, and peer-reviewed hypotheses about isolated chunks of existence.