Disowning James Ray, Defending the LoA

June 19, 2011

Meryl Davids Landau has written an article titled

Does the James Ray Trial Mean There’s No Law of Attraction?

Well, here are some quick answers: Yes, the James Ray trial, along with every other phenomenon in the known universe means that the LoA does not exist. Or, No, the trial itself has nothing to do with the truth or falsehood of any proposition, but even if Ray had not been brought to trial there would still be no LoA.

The question Davids Landau really wanted to ask is

What should I think when I see a grand master of the LoA suddenly clapped in leg irons and led off by the police?

Did mysterious cosmic forces have a hand in it, or did everything happen for the more prosaic reasons that the prosecution outlined?

 James Ray & Det. Ross Diskin: not much attraction, plenty of law

By my reading, the evidence assembled by the state prosecutors sounded like a pretty complete account of events. If I was looking for evidence of mystical occurrences, the James Ray trial is not somewhere I’d go to look. 

Meryl Davids Landau does though, because…..well she’s not interested any mystic experiences anyway.

The LoA isn’t a mystical concept from the realm of subjective experience. It’s not even a theological idea from the realm of revelation. No, in Ms Davids Landau’s world, the LoA is science, which is woo-shorthand for you’re not allowed to question it.


There are three main problems with the Law of Attraction:

1. It’s not true 

2. It’s dangerous 

3. Its “blame the victim” approach is utterly immoral

I will deal with each of these problems as revealed in Ms Davids Landau’s article. Blaming the victims, she says is a misconception about the LoA. She titles one paragraph:

There’s no blaming the victim involved.

Mysteriously however, the explanation that follows contains nothing at all to explain why victims are not to blame. She says the LoA can “empower” victims, but then actually affirms that the victim is in fact to blame:

It’s not that someone expects to get cancer; it’s that they spend much of their time feeling angry or disempowered about life, which attracts other, similarly low-vibration creations, including diseases.

So the heading should be:

Blaming the victim is involved, but I hope no one else will notice it, if I also decide not to notice it.

Which brings us to the James Ray problem. I’ve already dealt  here with the difficulty people have had protecting the LoA, while simultaneously claiming James Ray is innocent and not responsible for the quagmire he turned his own life into.

That’s changed a bit now. The details of the torture Ray subjected his unwitting clients to, and his cowardly attempts at blaming others are now a matter of public record. His reputation is shot, and his behavior is clearly that of a deeply disturbed individual…..So it’s time to throw James under the bus and rescue the LoA from his evil clutches.

This is what Ms Davids Landau sets about doing. The result is the standard mix of assertion-presented-as-fact sophistry, and profound ignorance that is the norm for proponents of the LoA.


The LoA is dangerous

First off, she ignores the role that Ray’s apparent (at least partial) belief in the LoA played in the horrors that he visited upon his clients.

The “reckless” part of what he is charged with is a result of prosecutors noticing the manner with which Ray risked, and four times claimed, the lives of his clients. His obliviousness to the danger to others, just like his obliviousness to the danger to his own business and even his freedom, accords well with the narcisstic LoA belief that a higher force is guiding proceedings to give each person “their own reality”.

His indifference to the suffering of others is also in perfect accord with the LoA, although his twisted psychology no doubt played more of a role.

Ray of course, dumped the LoA as soon as the cuffs were on him, but that’s standard practice for LoA teachers. They drop it as soon as it’s their own ass on the line. Ms Davids Landau references channeler Jerry Hicks who spent his life spouting the kind of irresponsible nonsense about cancer which Davids Landau also uses in her article. No need for that horrid destructive chemotherapy developed by materialistic western medicine, as he advised many a cancer sufferer. Now that he himself has cancer, it’s a different story. He has that special kind of cancer only spiritual people get, and which can only be treated by chemotherapy.

Fear smells different when it’s your own, doesn’t it…..

Those who get rich on a scam drop it as soon as it no longer serves their purposes. Those who sincerely believe it are often not so lucky.

I have watched friends ruin their finances by making over ambitious investments, placing their trust in the nonexistent powers of manifestation. I have seen parents of handicapped children going through years of therapy, trying to locate and “release” the thoughts that caused their child to be born handicapped. This has sunken them in guilt and frustration, and caused them to view their child as being some kind of horrible distortion of what he “should” have been.


The LoA is Not True

Handicap, like other tragedies, happen because of the laws of nature which are neutral in relation to our wishes, our morality, or our pain barriers. They exist whether we want them to or not, and we simply have to deal with them realistically or suffer the consequences.

….Which leads us to the claim that the the LoA is an actual part of the physical universe.

“It’s a law just like gravity is a law”. And here is where the classic assertion-presented-as-fact rhetorical style gets employed. Here, an analogy is employed –“it’s like”– and it must be true if the thing that it’s like is true. This deceitful and stupid technique was used ad nauseum in The Secret. The idiot Joe Vitale argued specifically for it, as is amusingly dealt with here by the blogger Skeptico.

And Davids Landau borrows the technique too.

This law is powerful, so you might as well at least experiment with harnessing it. As Esther Hicks observes, if you didn’t believe in gravity, you still wouldn’t be able to leap up and fly away.

This is a particularly unwise piece of rhetoric. If it were indeed true that some unknown force in our brain attracts particular objects and selectively repels others, it would prove the law of gravity wrong. So if the LoA were indeed true, then the law of gravity is fundamentally flawed, depriving it of the very legitimacy that Ms Davids Landau hopes to hide behind.

A more honest analogy would be that the LoA is analogous to Ms Davids Landau’s understanding of the law of gravity, which is zip with bells on.




  1. Bang on. I was incredibly disappointed by the Huffington for this one. They’re supposed to be a skeptical lens, and here they are promoting the world of woo-woo. Thanks for your critical eye on the matter!

  2. Thanks Britt!

    I’m a bit late to the party – you and others already posted on it, but there’s so much wrong that article (as with the entire ideology) that there’s always room for one more criticism of it.

    I’ll quote a part of your article which sets out succinctly the way the LoA is a post hoc explanation by the “winners” of how they won, and how absurd it is to claim that this is a “force of nature”.

    LOA is landmine of destruction. Sure, there are a few towering trees (a favoured LOA metaphor) that loom over the masses in the forest, but statistically most saplings will die before they can even cast a scrawny shadow. Not because of their thoughts, but because of the random placement on this earth, in this universe. Their potential for growth was doomed by a larger cast shadow.


  3. You’re only late to the party if you show up dead. There’s always room for critical clear-cult thinking (pun intended, in reference to the forest metaphor). Your three top points are critical and succinct. Looking forward to the rash of posts of the next few weeks. Am really curious how the court decision will go.

  4. There’s plenty more points that could be listed, of course. It turns people nasty, it isolates people from reality and puts a distorting lens between them and the normal daily events around them, it prevents them from ever having understanding even the most basic ideas of science. It opens people up to to being serially exploited by their supposed teachers, leaves them emotionally and cognitively ill-equipped to deal with misfortune, to say nothing of tragedy. It can cause people to walk straight into misfortune and tragedy without picking up the warning signs, because they were so focused on “the positive”….

    I always find it hard to write about because I have to leave so much out….

    Yeh, we’ll see happens in the trial. Possibly a decision as early as Wednesday, I guess….

  5. It’s amazing how many people posted on Landau’s blog supporting her position, which means there are still tons of people out there who believe in the LOA garbage.

  6. Hi Sharon,
    Yes, I just had a quick look after seeing your comment. One commenter came out with the stupidest comment I have read for a very very long time. “Sarah246” claims that the Ray trial is a vast conspiracy by the those in power who are enraged that The Secret has finally been made public.

    Is there a clearer example of the way this bullshit separates people from reality? There probably is, and it’s probably also on that page. I briefly considered posting a comment and leaving a link to here, but didn’t for same reason I don’t open the window when the wind is blowing from the chicken farm.

  7. I call it the law of BS

  8. Her article is moderated, I’ve posted twice and my words have not “manifested.” That darn law of attraction or “denial” is strong with that one.

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