Law of Attraction Arguments, Part 2: “No Purpose”

Titlepic: Law of Attraction Arguments, Part 2: No Purpose

Here I discuss Neil Farber’s “No Purpose” argument against Law of Attraction. But what is his claim, exactly? And does he succeed in proving that Law of Attraction is false?

KEYWORDS: arguments, desires, goals, goal completion, law of attraction, passion, philosophy, psychology, purpose, purpose of life, wants.

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Note: This article is part of a series on arguments against the Law of Attraction. All articles in this series are available from the overview page called “Law of Attraction: Is It Real?

In my first article on Law of Attraction arguments that I published yesterday, I discussed the “Metaphysical Pseudoscience” argument.

Today, I am discussing the second argument against Law of Attraction that was published in an article by Neil Farber called “The Truth About the Law of Attraction“.

So here are some questions for this article: What does Farber mean by “no purpose”? How is that an issue? And does he succeed in convincing us that his argument is a good one? Or is it a weak argument? Let’s find out!

PART 1: THE ARGUMENT

Farber’s argument about “no purpose” is hard to evaluate, since it’s so short and cryptic. But here it is in its full length:

“Material abundance and wealth are the most important manifestations to attract. The Universe sets your life purpose. You pick the specific goal based on wants; not values. This is one reason there is less passion driving goal completion — because these are not deep-seated principled goals.”

Because of Farber’s unclear writing style, it is not easy to understand what he is trying to say. One reason for this is because he does not really spell out the argument. I mean, what does “less passion” have to do with the existence or non-existence of the Law of Attraction?

Another example of his unclear writing style is that he does not clearly indicate who is saying what. Is it Farber himself that claims that “Material abundance and wealth are the most important manifestations to attract”, or is it some student or author of the Law of Attraction? If it is some student or author, then who is it, and when and where did he or she say that? Farber gives no evidence for any of his statements in this argument.

Nevertheless, despite that his argument really is non-functional and unsound already at this stage (there is no proof that anyone has ever said that which he claims they are saying), we could just dismiss it right away using standard philosophical practice. But let us, nevertheless, try to use our imagination and our God-given inspiration to try to reconstruct this enigmatic piece of argument.

Argument 2: “No Purpose”

So here is my reconstruction of what I think he is saying:

P1.Some authors of Law of Attraction are claiming that the Universe is setting the life purpose for each and one of us. Consequently, according to such authors, we do not have to have as a goal to be morally or ethically compliant, but we can simply follow our wants and desires in life.

P2.Because of this lack of moral or ethical framework, there is less passion in the life of those people who follow the Law of Attraction. For all they care about is getting their wealth and material abundance so that they can live a very happy life for themselves.

P3.So it makes them less interested in participating in society to support “the human project”.

P4.And if a theory of the Universe does not support “the human project” and its advancement, then that theory is false.

P5.Therefore, Law of Attraction is false.

PART 2: MY RESPONSE

In this part I will analyze Argument 2 (“No Purpose”), to see if it makes sense, and to figure out if it is actually a philosophically valid and sound argument.

Proposition P1: Following Our Wants and Desires

In this section I am discussing proposition P1 in Argument 2, which goes like this:

P1.Some authors of Law of Attraction are claiming that the Universe is setting the life purpose for each and one of us. Consequently, according to such authors, we do not have to have as a goal to be morally or ethically compliant, but we can simply follow our wants and desires in life.

Let me be frank. I have no idea what Farber means by the phrase “The Universe sets your life purpose”. Where did he get that from? If that were true, why in the whole world would we be here at all?

In any case, let us ask the question: What could he mean by saying that? Well, the idea is presumably that there is something wrong with the idea of “no purpose” (which is the title of his argument). Thus the idea of “no purpose” is, in his view, something bad.

But if the Universe “sets your life purpose”, then there is purpose, after all. Thus, then there is not any “no purpose”. So what does he mean, really?

His idea is presumably that it is not the human being himself or herself who sets his or her own life purpose. And because of that, each human being can live exactly as they themselves please, without following any moral or ethical norms (of society, of religions, of other people). That is, I think, the essence in proposition P1.

Proposition P1: Three Points

So what do we think about this proposition? Well, I think there are three points to discuss. The first point is that there are many authors on the Law of Attraction who explain things their own way. So we have to distinguish speculators from authorities.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of all literature and audio books on the Law of Attraction is provided by non-authorized writers who are popularizing and simplifying things so that the material is no longer authentic.

The second point is that the fact that the Universe “sets your life purpose” (if that statement at all is true) would not necessarily lead us to think that the individual could not have his or her own purpose(s) as well. In other words, there might very well be many purposes with our lives here on planet Earth, some of which are decided by ourselves, and others which are decided on a higher level.

So does proposition P1 work? Not really. For he has not provided any evidence to back it up. There are no quotes, and no references. So, technically speaking, his argument can safely be dismissed. It’s a no-go.

Nevertheless, just to have some more fun, let us proceed as if his proposition were true. For at least the last part of his account has some merit. What do I mean? Well, I mean that it is quite correct that “we can simply follow our wants and desires in life”. That is what the authorized accounts of the Law of Attraction are teaching. So let’s continue, even though proposition 1 is not really working as a whole.

Proposition P2: Less Passion

Proposition P2 in Argument 2 goes like this:

P2.Because of this lack of moral or ethical framework, there is less passion in the life of those people who follow the Law of Attraction. For all they care about is getting their wealth and material abundance so that they can live a very happy life for themselves.

The idea here is that because the human being, according to the Law of Attraction, has free will, and no moral or ethical obligations, there is less passion in the lives of those who are practitioners of the Law of Attraction. For they are selfish people and only care about themselves.

So what do we think about this? Much of it is correct. The Law of Attraction teaches selfishness, no doubt. This is confirmed by Abraham-Hicks in their book The Law of Attraction (p. 64):

“We are often accused of teaching selfishness, and we always agree that we certainly do teach selfishness, for you cannot perceive life from any perspective other than from that of yourself. Selfishness is the sense of self.”

And it is also true that many people only care about money and material abundance (whether they are Law of Attraction followers or not).

But what doesn’t make sense is the claim that there should be less passion in the life of a person who is applying the Law of Attraction in a deliberate manner. That is simply not true.

The whole idea of the Law of Attraction is to increase one’s energy, increase one’s enthusiasm, increase one’s passion, increase one’s interest in life. Consequently, the successful Law of Attraction student has more passion that most other people, not less.

This is why Abraham-Hicks say (Money, and the Law of Attraction, p. 102): [note 1]

“As you begin to positively focus, getting to feel so good about so many subjects that you often feel passion rise within you, you will begin to feel the power of the Universe–the power that creates worlds–flowing through you.”

So Farber’s statement “there is less passion driving goal completion” is simply not true. This means that also proposition P2 is false. So yet again do we have another premise that destroys his whole argument.

Nevertheless, we understand what he means. And we will talk more about that in our discussion of the next premise, proposition P3.

Proposition P3: The Human Project

Here is proposition P3 from Argument 2:

P3.So it makes them less interested in participating in society to support “the human project”.

The core idea associated with P3 is that followers of the Law of Attraction are less interested in contributing to society, or in engaging in “important” projects. And that is typically true. But that is, of course, also true for lots of other people who are not followers of the philosophy of the Law of Attraction.

And this connects to the issue that we previously discussed in proposition P2, namely the fact that students of the Law of Attraction typically have more passion than others. But, of course, they may not have more passion about international infrastructure projects, or about the welfare of criminals, or about the so-called global warming issue, or about helping the needy, etc.

So although they have more passion in general, they typically do not use it to engage in politics or in the support of the community or state. So, their passion for those things is low. And I think that is how we should understand Farber, when he says “there is less passion driving goal completion”.

So he is probably not talking about any goal completion. He is talking about the completion of so-called “important” goals, namely those goals that are part of the “the human project”. And that presumably includes: developing better technology, building a better democracy, advancing our knowledge by applying the “scientific process”, etc.

So proposition P3 boils down to this: the followers of the Law of Attraction have little interest in the “Human Project”. And that, I think, is a quite correct statement. But there are, of course, also some individuals who are involved, in some capacity, in “the human project”. Nevertheless, we can say that, as a general approximation of the state of affairs, P3 is true.

But what has passion (or no-passion) for “the human project” got to do with the existence or the non-existence of the Law of Attraction?

Proposition 4: No-Support

In this section I am discussing proposition P4 in Argument 2, which goes like this:

P4.And if a theory of the Universe does not support “the human project” and its advancement, then that theory is false.

Here in proposition P4 we come to the core stuff of the whole argument. And this is without Farber even having said it explicitly. For if he had said it, it might not have sounded very good. But P4 is necessary for ending up with P5, the conclusion. So if P4 is not true, then P5 is also not true.

So the question is this: How can P4 be true? Who in the whole world would ever believe that a universal law must “support” the human project? Does, for example, the law of gravitation stop people from jumping off cliffs? No, people can kill themselves just as much they want, and thereby stop contributing to society.

So the law of gravitation does not support the human project, in the sense that it prevents “naughty people”. And in the same fashion, Law of Attraction does not support the human project more than anything else. For people have free will. For morality is in people, not in universal laws.

All in all, proposition P4 is false. So once again we have a false premise. This invalidates the whole “No Purpose” argument.

Proposition P5: Law of Attraction Is False

In this section I am discussing proposition P5 in Argument 2, which goes like this:

P5.Therefore, Law of Attraction is false.

So this is the proposed conclusion that Farber wants to reach. But wanting to reach a conclusion is one thing, and having reached it is another. And in this case he has not succeeded in reaching it.

In order for the argument as a whole to be successful, it is necessary for P1, P2, P3, and P4 to all be true. But we have seen above that there are several propositions that are not proven to be true. In proposition P1 he did not succeed in presenting the evidence needed for us to conclude that P1 is true. So that has the effect that we never can reach P5 at all.

Then, in P2, Farber’s idea that the Law of Attraction practitioner has less passion is not true. And if P2 is not true, then we will never be able to reach P5 and draw that conclusion.

Similarly, although we found P3 to be basically true, also P4 was problematic. There is no need for any universal laws to support “the human project”. Morality and ethics are human inventions, having little to do with any universal laws.

All in all, proposition P5 can never be reached with these premises. Therefore, Farber has proven nothing in regard to the Law of Attraction with his “No Purpose” argument.

CONCLUSION

Farber’s “No Purpose” argument is hard to understand, since it is so concise and so loosely formulated. However, if I have decrypted it even approximately correct, it is not a very powerful argument.

This is because three of the four premises are problematic. P1 is not proven, because Farber does not give us any evidence in the form of quotes or references. P2 is false because it suggests that followers of the Law of Attraction are less passionate than other people, while they in reality are just the opposite. And P4 is false, because it suggests that universal laws must support “the human project”, although there is no evidence, or reason, given for that.

Summing up: there is not a shred of evidence in Farber’s argument that would make us believe that the Law of Attraction is false. It still can be 100% true. And it is.

Chris Bocay

NOTES

  1. The existence of passion is a “productivity” indicator: “When you focus long enough that you feel passion, you harness more power and you achieve greater results” (Money, and the Law of Attraction, p. 102).

REFERENCES

  • Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2006), The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham. Foreword by Neale Donald Walsch. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]
  • Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2008), Money, and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Wealth, Health, and Happiness. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]

Copyright © 2022 by Chris Bocay. All rights reserved.

First published: Tue 6 Sep 2022
Last revised: Mon 19 Sep 2022

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