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The Whitstable Gazette: The Law of Attraction, 2012 and other strange conceits
Stories first appeared in the Whitstable Gazette.
The Law of Attraction
I keep getting emails from someone called Bethea. She claims to know me, addresses me familiarly as “Chris” at least once in every paragraph, and signs herself “your friend”.
One of the emails is entitled “Chris, it’s your birthright to be rich”. It turns out that it is an exclusive, risk-free offer which will give me the benefit of thousands of years of belief in traditional and spiritual artefacts that can lead to a better life.
It is, of course, a life-changing opportunity.
I’ve had at least nine of these emails in the last two weeks. Bethea has clearly been busy with the keyboard writing all of these individual, personalised letters to me. I wouldn’t dream of accusing her of having a computer programme which generates these letters automatically.
The “traditional and spiritual artefact” she is offering turns out to be something called a “Phaya Taoreuan” amulet.
Don’t ask me what “Phaya Taoreuan” means, but Bethea assures me that it really is possible for me to experience the security of a permanent flow of abundance and wealth.
Actually, I’ve just noticed how cleverly it is written. She talks about the amulet in one sentence, then she talks about wealth, but at no point does she directly link the two. It’s all implied.
In these times of economic hardship there is a definite market for this kind of hocus-pocus.
There is a whole spiritual sub-genre which goes under the name of “The Law of Attraction”. It claims you can make yourself rich by positive thinking. When people try this method and then fail to get rich it is always because they aren’t thinking positively enough.
They must have had a sneaky little negative thought which wiped out all of their positive, wealth-creating energy. Nothing to do with the fact that “The Law of Attraction” is little more than a giant pyramid scheme selling wish-fulfilment fantasy.
The only people who become rich using The Law of Attraction are the ones who are selling the books.
As to how the bankers in the City of London got to be so amazingly wealthy: we’ve found out their secret at last.
They must all be wearing Phaya Taoreuan amulets.
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Kentish Gazette series
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My Dad has just had his driver’s license taken off him, having failed his compulsory eye-test. I drove him back from the test centre.
When we got home I told Mum. She gave me one of her furious looks and said, “They take everything off you when you’re old except humiliation.”
I thought, “but they haven’t taken your tongue off you yet have they Mum?”
The man at the test centre was very nice. You could see he didn’t want Dad to fail. He got him to read a number plate from varying distances, but it wasn’t till they got to nine and a half metres that Dad could see it clearly. You are supposed to be able to read a number plate from 21 meters apparently.
The question is, why would you need to read a number plate from 21 metres? Who needs to read number plates when they’re driving? The important thing is that you can see the brake lights, the indicators and the reverse lights.
Also, why 21 metres?
It seems that 21 metres is the distance between those chevrons they have on motorways which help you to judge your stopping distance.
In other words, 21 metres is the stopping distance for someone travelling at 70 mph on a motorway.
My Dad stopped driving on motorways years ago. He only used the car to pootle around town, or up to Tesco to do the shopping. He never travelled at more than 25 mph. He also never travelled in the dark. Whenever he had any distance to cover he would ask me to drive.
It seems a bit harsh to me. Dad is actually a good driver, very cautious and observant. I can’t remember the last time he had an accident.
Yes, maybe people above a certain age shouldn’t be allowed to drive on motorways, but to stop them driving altogether seems grossly unfair.
Meanwhile Mum is threatening to throw him out.
“You’re no good to me now are you?” she says, pointedly, and adds that she’s looking for an available taxi driver to take his place.
An Optimists Considers 2012
An optimist is someone who believes that things will always turn out for the best. A pessimist is someone who believes that things will always turn out for the worst.
They are both right about half the time, and wrong about half the time. The difference is that the optimist has a far better time while he's at it.
But it’s kind of hard being an optimist these days. There is so much bad news to contend with, what with global economic meltdown, wars, rumours of wars, nations rising up against nations and all the rest. It’s all getting very biblically apocalyptic all of a sudden.
And if you go on the internet it’s even worse. There are some very disturbing predictions going about. Try putting “2012” or “Nibiru” into your search engine to see what turns up.
According to some websites, Nibiru is an undiscovered planet even now reeling it’s way drunkenly into our solar system on a collision course with our world, while December the 21st 2012 is the day the Mayan calendar draws to the end of its 5126 year cycle.
There’s talk of volcanic eruptions and giant comets, not to speak of polar shifts and mass extinctions which will wipe out the majority of life on the planet. Some people even say that it is the end of the world as we know it.
Mind you, people have been telling me it’s the end of the world for as long as I’ve been alive. The difference is that in the old days they just stood on street corners and shouted at you.
That’s the trouble with the internet. You might think it’s very high tech and modern, but actually it’s more like a million crazy people all standing on a street corner and shouting at you at the same time.
Personally I’m an optimist. I realised a long time a go that when human beings talk about the end of the world, what they really mean is the end of the human race.
And maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all.