Home > Glossary > Law of attraction (New Thought)

What is the Law of attraction? (New Thought)

The Law of Attraction is a pseudoscience promoted by the New Thought spiritual movement. It is based on the concept that positive or negative thoughts attract positive or negative situations into a person’s life. The theory is founded on the notion that people and their thoughts are composed of “pure energy” and that a process of like energy attracting like energy exists via which an individual can enhance their health, fortune, and personal relationships. No empirical scientific evidence exists to support the law of attraction, and it is largely regarded as pseudoscience. Cognitive reframing techniques are frequently combined with affirmations and creative visualisation to replace limiting or self-destructive (“negative”) thoughts with more empowered, adaptive (“positive”) thoughts. A central tenet of the philosophy is the notion that in order to change one’s negative thinking patterns effectively, one must also “feel” (via creative visualisation) that the desired changes have already occurred. By attaining resonance with the hypothesised energetic law, this combination of positive thought and emotion is claimed to enable one to attract pleasant experiences and possibilities. Supporters of the Law of Attraction make reference to scientific theories in order to bolster their case. However, it lacks a scientific basis. Numerous researchers have criticised its proponents for misusing scientific concepts.

Pseudosciences garner explanations and reasons from people who deem themselves next to kin of scientists. The Law of Attraction is quite famous and has been used to manifest desired objects in popular culture. The Law of Attraction is a pseudoscience established on the sentiment that positive or negative ideas carry positive or negative incidents into a person’s life.

The concept of Law of Attraction is founded on the notion that people and their beliefs are created from “pure energy” and that execution of similar energy mirrors what energy exists through which a person can better their health, wellbeing, and interpersonal relationships. There is no quantifiable scientific evidence reinforcing the Law of attraction, and it is broadly referred to as pseudoscience.

A vital element of the philosophy is the concept that to transform one’s negative thinking patterns effectively, one must additionally consider that the preferred transitions have already happened. This blend of positive thought and sentiment allows one to draw positive experiences and prospects by resonating with the suggested energetic Law.

Disciples of the Law of Attraction refer to scientific hypotheses and employ them as assertions in favor of it. Regardless, it has no verifiable scientific grounds. Several researchers have criticized the misuse of scientific ideas by its supporters.

What Is The History Behind The Law Of Attraction?

The history behind the Law of Attraction starts with The New Thought movement that expanded out of the instructions of Phineas Quimby in the early 19th century. In the initial days of his life, Quimby was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Early 19th-century medication had no dependable treatment for tuberculosis.

In 1855, the phrase “Law of Attraction” occurred in The Great Harmonia, authored by the American spiritualist Andrew Jackson Davis, in a context indicating the human soul and spheres of the afterlife.

The foremost articulator of the Law as a broad code was Prentice Mulford. Mulford, a critical constituent in the evolution of New Thought thinking, examines the Law of Attraction at length in his article “The Law of Success”, printed in 1886–1887. In this, Mulford was observed by other New Thought writers, like Henry Wood (starting with his God’s Image in Man, 1892) and Ralph Waldo Trine (beginning with his first text, What All the World’s A-Seeking, 1896). The Law of Attraction is discussed with healthiness and every facet of life for these writers.

The 20th century witnessed an overflow in welfare on the issue with many texts being penned about it, among which are two of the best-selling textbooks of all time; The Power of Positive Thinking (1952) by Norman Vincent Peale, Think and Grow Rich (1937) by Napoleon Hill, and You Can Heal Your Life (1984) from Louise Hay. The Abraham-Hicks material is founded mainly on the Law of Attraction.

In 2006, the idea of the Law of Attraction achieved renewed exposure with the release of the movie The Secret (2006), which was then materialized into a novel of the same title in 2007. The film and text earned widespread media coverage. Afterwards, a sequel to the movie, The Power in 2010, came out. It spoke about the Law of attraction being the Law of love. The restored and modernized interpretation of the Law of Attraction is manifestation.

Law Of Attraction In Religion And Philosophy

The New Thought idea of the Law of Attraction is implanted in concepts from diverse philosophical and religious conventions. In particular, it has been influenced by New England transcendentalism, Hermeticism, thorough verses from the Bible, and Hinduism.

Hermeticism impacted the evolution of European introspection in the Renaissance. Its notions were conveyed partly through alchemy. In the 18th century, Franz Mesmer examined the creations of alchemists like Paracelsus and van Helmont. Van Helmont was a 17th-century Flemish physician who revealed the remedial capabilities of the imagination. This guided Mesmer to expand his ideas regarding Animal magnetism, which Phineas Quimby, the creator of New Thought, learned.

The Transcendentalist movement originated in the United States directly before the introduction of New Thought and is considered to have had a significant mark on it. George Ripley, an influential figure in that movement, noted that its ultimate idea was “the dominance of mind over matter”.

New Thought writers often cite specific verses from the Bible in the context of the Law of Attraction. An instance is Mark 11:24: “Thus I tell you, whatever you request in prayer, accept that you have acquired it, and it will be yours.”

In the latter part of the 19th century, Swami Vivekananda journeyed to the United States and gave speeches on Hinduism. These words greatly impacted the New Thought movement and, in particular, William Walker Atkinson, who was one of New Thought’s believers.

Criticism Of The Law Of Attraction

The Law of Attraction became famous in the early 21st century through novels and movies like The Secret. This 2006 movie and its sequel book (The Secret) use discussions with New Thought writers and motivators to expand the regulations of the suggested metaphysical Law that one can lure anything that one thinks about invariably. Authoring for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Mary Carmichael and Ben Radford noted that “neither the film nor the book has any foundation in scientific actuality” and that its assumption includes “an unattractive flipside: if you have a mishap or disease, it’s your fault”.

Others have challenged the relations to modern scientific theory and have said, for instance, that the Law of Attraction falsifies the electrical activity of brainwaves. Victor Stenger and Leon Lederman are skeptical of endeavors to employ quantum mysticism to bridge any unexplained or ostensibly implausible results, assuming these to be attributes of modern pseudoscience.

Skeptical Inquirer magazine condemned the absence of falsifiability and testability of these assertions. Critics have argued that the proof delivered is generally anecdotal. Because of the self-selecting essence of the positive reports and the subjective nature of any results, this information is sensitive to confirmation bias and selection bias. Physicist Ali Alousi, for example, condemned it as unmeasurable and examined the likelihood that ideas can influence anything beyond the head.

Jerahmeel Angel
Nuriel Angel