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Psychotherapist and Harper Collins author, Thom Rutledge, registers his objections to the New York Times best seller, The Secret

A Preface to "The Antidote"

I have been in the people-helping business for 25 years. I was right there in the thick of the new age movement of the 1980's, facilitating past-life workshops, attempting astral projection, collecting this and that kind of crystal, believing most everything any psychic told me, all the while genuinely wanting to gain from the experiences and to help others do the same. Although I am amused looking back at my gullibility, I certainly do not dismiss everything I came to believe back then as untrue. The wisdom I have gained through the years, since my days as (what my wife calls) Metaphysical Man, has come in the form of healthy skepticism, not cynicism.

Thom's book is about the courage it takes to face life's lessons, rather than trying to wish our way around them.

Knowing what I know now, I can see that I was certainly a fundamentalist, if not evangelical, new age thinker --- accepting my beliefs as absolute truth, with or without evidence. (By the way, to anyone I pushed those beliefs on, you have my apologies.)

Today I see clearly the danger of anyone claiming to have an exclusive hold on "the truth." All we need do is look at a newspaper or watch the evening news to see how that is working out. The most well-meaning people become vulnerable to the contamination of judgment and arrogance when they insist that they "know the truth." I have witnessed this with countless belief systems. I even know some fundamentalist atheists, who claim absolute knowledge on God's non-existence. What's up with that?

If you have not read The Secret, and would like to, I encourage you to
take "The Antidote"
along with you.
After spending a year or so writing my book about fear (Embracing Fear), it seemed to me that the thing that scares us humans more than anything else is uncertainty. Uncertainty horrifies us. So we set out - our resourceful unconscious minds and ourselves - to create our illusions of certainty. Believing something to be absolutely true, especially a belief that insures that we are going to be just fine in the end, is --- as far as I can tell --- a psychological defense, protecting us from the frightening task of admitting that we really can't know with certainty what is going on here. Like I said, uncertainty horrifies us.

Which brings us to the subject of this web site: The Secret. As you will discover in reading what follows, I am a big supporter of many of the basic premises put forth by this collection of short vignettes by these highly successful authors. It is their collective claim on absolute truth that inspires my objection. And for the record, I have no particular need to argue about this. I would just appreciate it if these authors would help out a bit by acknowledging that they don't know these things with absolute certainty, that what they describe are their beliefs, not facts.

To further explore the success and the ideas behind The Secret, read Karen Kelly's new book.

Last and certainly not least, what I hope to support with this article, more than anything else, is the value of independent thought. If I have a belief that I tend to think is absolutely true, it is that protecting our abilities and our rights to independent thinking is vital to the care and feeding of humanity.

Thank you for your attention. Even if you are a fan of The Secret, I hope you will consider my point of view, and whether or not you agree with me, I hope you will find "The Antidote" to be thought-provoking.

Thom Rutledge
July 28, 2007

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