Blogging “The Power”: A Critique of Rhonda Byrne – Part 2: Love is Gravity

August 22, 2011

The first post in this series covered the introductory pages of Rhonda Byrne’s Secret follow-up, The Power. This post covers the opening chapters, including Byrne’s ideas about everything in the universe being either positive or negative, and finishes up with Ms Byrne’s extremely unusual claims about the nature of love.

As always, Byrne starts off chapter one in her usual bold “assertion-as-fact” style.

You are meant to have an amazing life! You are meant to have everything you love and desire. Your work is meant to to be exciting, and you are meant to accomplish all the things you would love to accomplish…

She continues in this vain for quite some time. Now this all sounds very nice, but there is a hidden agenda in all this inspiring motivational talk. If your life is not the way she says it was “meant” to be, there’s something wrong with you. You’re not using the LoA the way you “should” be. The reader is to measure their unhappiness against the amount of joy they imagine they would feel if all their wishes were granted. The difference shows how much they are going wrong, and how much they need Byrne’s help.

Soon, the ground is laid for this assertion:

Your life is made up of only two kinds of things – positive and negative things.

Everyone who believes in the Law of Attraction has swallowed this notion whole. But a little reflection would make it clear to anyone above the age of five that life doesn’t cut up so neatly into good and bad. How we experience an event at the time, reflects neither its real significance nor its actual consequences. Yet Byrne instructs the reader to label events according to their spur of the moment emotional fluctuations. Learning a measure of equanimity when faced with apparent good or bad fortune is not one of Byrne’s goals.

She’s also no fan of self acceptance or self awareness. Instead Byrne endorses jealousy, envy and a narcissistic sense of entitlement:

If you have more negative things than positive things in your life, then something is wrong and you know it. You see other people who are happy and fulfilled and whose lives are full of great things, and something tells you that you deserve that too. And you’re right.

Would someone tell me why this stuff is considered “spiritual”? Or even helpful? Anyway, Byrne claims that we all have the power to get what we want, and that Power is…..

love….Love is the greatest force in the universe.

And this is the point of the book. The Power behind The Secret (i.e. the Law of Attraction), is love.

Nature’s great powers, like gravity and electromagnetism, are invisible to our senses, but their power is indisputable…

Here we go again….Just like in The Secret, Byrne presents this analogy as if it’s a logical argument: 

Gravity is invisible; so is the LoA.

Gravity exists; therefore so does the LoA:

…Likewise, the force of love is invisible to us…

This is the only attempt ever made at backing up the assertion that the LoA exists.

Also, note the sudden shift in terminology here: the force of love now equates not only with the LoA, but also with love itself. We will see more of this blurring and shifting of terms, allowing Byrne to fudge out some of the more jarring gaps in her reasoning. Slowly Byrne is attaching her own concept of “the force of love” (aka the LoA) to the reader’s own personal experience of love. Associating your product with the consumer’s emotions is of course the secret to successful marketing, and Byrne is using the cloak of spirituality to get right under her readers’ skin.

…but its power is in fact greater than any of nature’s powers.

…In fact, it’s so easy to write the words “in fact” that I think I’ll do it again. In fact. There we go…..Another nice fact has just been added to the universe. Now love is in fact more powerful than any other force! It’s all a logical progression, and it’s your love! See how I’ve empowered you?

From the greatest to the smallest – the law of attraction is what holds every star in the universe and forms every atom and molecule.

Now we are back again to calling love the LoA. And even more strangely the LoA has suddenly morphed into gravity itself, holding stars together. But what happened to it being stronger than any of nature’s powers? Suddenly it IS one nature’s powers.

Every single invention, discovery and human creation came from love in the human heart.

And now the LoA is back to being love again. It resides in the human heart, where it presumably loses its gravitational properties. Instead,  love  now becomes a fount of creative thought, and scientific discovery.

Then it gets really weird. Love suddenly becomes gravitational again and morphs into a new and mysterious entity called the “force of attraction”…

The force of attraction IN gravity holds you and every person on the earth [emphasis added]

What on earth is Byrne talking about?

We’ve already been told that the “force of attraction”, (aka the LoA, aka the force of love, aka love), is analogous to gravity, as well as being stronger than gravity, as well actually being gravity itself. Now it is also some kind of active ingredient “in” gravity. Something tells me Byrne doesn’t know what gravity is.

But it doesn’t stop there.

The force of attraction can be seen in all of nature from a flowering plant attracting bees or a seed attracting nutrients from the soil….

Love is the cause of color perception in bees, as well as doubling up as a good fertilizer! 

…to every living creature being attracted to its own species.

Love is sex?

The force of attraction holds together the cells of your body…

Love is a semi-permeable membrane?

…and it holds your car to the road…

And love even governs the improved handling of high performance tyres in all weather conditions, for your motoring comfort!

…The law of attraction or the law of love. They are one and the same.

…And we shall call it the LOL.

Think this is crazy? See Part 3 —  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!



  1. Another gaping hole in her logic, on the quote “You see other people who are happy and fulfilled and whose lives are full of great things, and something tells you that you deserve that too.”

    If we were to measure our life’s successes by “looking” at what others project, we’re measuring ourselves against a lie. We are duplicitous as human beings, meaning we NEVER truly project our true selves.

    Our inside self and outside self are two completely different people. What we guard and what we give vary wildly. That’s why we are shocked when a divorce happens. Or an affair. Or addiction. Or homosexuality. Or …

    Consider: One in four females (conservative estimate) are sexually meddled with, yet you’d be hard pressed to think of four in your own life. Why? We keep it to our inside self. Statistically speaking, someone on your street is assaulting their spouse or children this night. That inside self is not the same self they present out in public the next day, assailant and victim(s) alike.

    When we see these “other people who are happy and fulfilled,” you can pretty well rest assured that they have on a great mask. And when something tells you that you deserve that, all you’re asking for is that vacant mask of happiness-mantras. An empty shell, a carcass, that wears everything on its sleeve because there’s nothing left on the inside.

    Confusing a person’s public projection with the real thing is naive and deceiving. For a so-called expert (Rhonda Byrnes) to ask us to do just that is manipulative, shallow, uneducated and shockingly insane.

    Yakaru, I /love/ this blog! Thanks so much for making us think!!

  2. Yes, that’s an important point.

    It would be difficult to find a more superficial approach to life than what Byrne is promoting. Even the worst tabloids offer a more accurate depiction of life and a greater concern for the truth (even though that concern is minimal). She doesn’t want people to look any deeper because she wouldn’t want to risk having them make a habit of it.

    Maybe more to the point, she doesn’t want anyone looking beyond the facade — or the mask — that she and her colleagues present.

    As always, I appreciate your comments, Britt. Compliments also very happily received!

  3. This really made me laugh out loud, great inspiring (and positive!) stuff. The good thing about “The Secret” is it has brought me to loads of like-minded critical thinkers, who not only see through the non-science of the Law of Attraction, but do it in a stylish, eloquent humorous, joyful and life-affirming way!

    Much more so than the depressing, vapid sloganeering prose of of “The Secret”.

  4. Same here – The Secret also led me to the happy discovery that there is a large community of skeptics and critics, many of whom have a far better grounding in science than I do. Many of them do a great job of correcting the tortured version science that Secretards foist on the unsuspecting public.

    For those like me who don’t have a background in science though, there is still plenty of room for the simple “point and laugh” style of criticism.

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