SoapBox Philosophy

As within, so without: The law of attraction just works. Right?

Landscape with a lake reflecting deep colours of surrounding evening sun-lit mountains
As within, so without: Right? (Pexels, James Wheeler)

Here, Mary Contrary takes some time to reflect on one aspect of life that more and more people are embracing: the often cited law of attraction. Some say we attract in our life what we feel on the inside, or, as some call it, "as within, so without", and she wonders: just because something is called a law, does that make it an all-encompassing truth? Is there no critical, individual thinking possible? 

There are a few things in life which are just too nice not to consider. Take the law of attraction. People that embrace it say we can attract the kind of things in life that are of similar energy to our thoughts and feelings. That we create our experiences by our thinking and that ultimately, by steering it in a positive direction, we can "manifest" good things into our life. And so, they read a book or a website about it and accept it as the truth. 
After all, proponents tell us that happiness, abundance, health, well-being and improved relationships, are all things that we can create by having feelings of gratitude and positivity and embracing this kind of thinking or being.

You might have heard great stories from people around you, or you might have read one of the many studies showing us the positive effect of using this law in our life. Take this 2018 research paper, which states that "positive thoughts and grateful minds" can "help people create a happy disposition" and eventually "contribute in creating an emotionally and mentally healthy society and a better world."

What's not to like? But, assuming it works, and for all we know it does, even if on a level we might not cognitively or rationally understand as humans, are there questions to be asked, or drawbacks to consider?

Other aspects

Say you have found an aspect of the law of attraction that works for you, and so, you feel that it must work for others too. So you keep telling them about it. Say, that ultimately, you might even dislike it when other people don’t take your advice and don't pick it up, and you might even decide to stop meeting with them. Sounds familiar?

Say you end up feeling better than others because of this way of thinking and living. And that everything starts to revolve around you and your similar-thinking friends and family? Can this not happen to anyone if we don't take time to stand still and look at the bigger picture? For example, might we lose some valuable people in our life? Is it good, or beneficial, to only have people in our life that think the way we do?

You could also wonder: is the law of attraction for everyone? Is it useful for those who might drive themselves crazy, constantly wondering; 'was that a good or a bad thought?' and pushing away any negative thoughts or parts of themselves for fear of it coming back in another form, or even blaming themselves for bad things happening to them?

Is it useful if we end up thinking we don't have to take any action, that we don't have to change anything about ourselves or our life, that we can just attract it? That it can render us untrained at dealing with challenges, so that when they happen we are not that well-equipped?

And is it useful for those people who end up feeling that 'the universe' owes them? Is it a good thing if this way of thinking makes us feel that good and bad are black and white concepts, or that animals and people in hardship have brought it upon themselves?

When we follow something like this, with no questions to be asked, do we use critical or independent thinking?

Get in touch and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. what you think!

Selfportrait of a photographer as seen from a mirror in a field of grass and flowers
(Pexels, Beyzaa Yurtkuran)

About the author

Mary Contrary just knows. Or she doesn't. Who knows. In any case, she likes to reflect on life and look at it from different perspectives. Being a little bit contrarian has never hurt anyone, she says. Mary lives in a lovely country, with her dog, husband-but-not-through-marriage and her other children, and together they enjoy watching the bat show at dusk with a cheeky glass of sherry.


Panorama of autumn woods and sky

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