My Secret

This The Secret business is creeping me out still. Granted I don’t actually know all the details about what exactly The Secret is because I refuse to get involved with it, but roommate Jeff has informed me that it has to do with positive outlooks, having a gravitational pull not in weight but in happiness (I just made that up, but you can have it, The Secret)…and buying the book and/or DVD. Today Oprah talked to a woman whose doctors found a tumor and she was choosing to medicate herself not with their recommended surgeries, but with The Secret. Even Oprah was a little taken aback and emphasized that uh, dudes, The Secret‘s not a doctor.

For all the head shaking I do at The Secret (because to me, happiness is something that can obviously be realized with a little retail therapy, a massage and habitual overeating) I have a book on my Amazon Wishlist that’s a little..secretive itself. I heard about the book Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert from a boss, and it even comes recommended by Malcolm Gladwell right on the cover. Here’s an excerpt Gladwell wrote which I stole off of the Amazon site about the book:

We spend a great deal of our waking life imagining what it would be like to be this way or that way, or to do this or that, or taste or buy or experience some state or feeling or thing. We do that for good reasons: it is what allows us to shape our life. And it is by trying to exert some control over our futures that we attempt to be happy. But by any objective measure, we are really bad at that predictive function. We’re terrible at knowing how we will feel a day or a month or year from now, and even worse at knowing what will and will not bring us that cherished happiness. Gilbert sets out to figure what that’s so: why we are so terrible at something that would seem to be so extraordinarily important?

First of all, are you serious? I’m putting all my eggs in a basket marked “Your status as a sharp wit and elite tastemaker, and the Brooklyn brownstone you own, not rent, go HERE”, and you’re telling me that basket might not be an accurate perception of my future??

For some reason (eh, several not-so-vague reasons like self-doubt, laziness and the previously referred to habitual overeating) the happiness question is important to me…but instead of trusting the “Put out a good vibe, man, and things’ll happen and stuff” book, I want to trust the “There’s a scientific reason for your positive emotions involving synapses firing and various neurotransmissions” book. I’m a treehugging, liberal, art majoring, follow your own path kinda gal. I couldn’t even handle the 60-second science podcast, I was too bored after 45 seconds to care what interesting science fact I was learning about each day. But I want this book. And I don’t want The Secret. The science (a subject I don’t excel in and dropped in high school, leading to limited college choices) of happiness seems more valid than the artsy-fartsy “just be a happy refrigerator and the happy magnets will be attracted to you” (again, Secret people, you can have that metaphor) thing, which is SO me. I mean, most people don’t SEE that part of me. In fact I’m sure no one has. But it’s there. I am not just dripping with sarcasm and dismissive scoffing, but we all know being nice to people has no place on the internet or even in daily conversation, so that aspect of myself gets lost. But it’s there, in the way way backseat of the station wagon of my mind (Hey, um, The Secret…Do you want that last metaphor? Maybe?). But I am curious and can’t wait to blame the inner workings of my brain for the days when it seems the only answer is Top Design marathons and raw cake batter by the spoonful.

happiness

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