Law of Attraction Arguments, Part 3: “No Action”

Titlepic: Law of Attraction Arguments, Part 3: No Action

Here I am presenting Neil Farber’s “No Action” argument against the Law of Attraction. Does that argument conclusively establish that Law of Attraction is not true?

KEYWORDS: action, arguments, goals, goal achievement, law of attraction, no-action, philosophy, psychology, purpose.

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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 an interesting article called “The Truth About the Law of Attraction” Neil Farber has presented fourteen different arguments against the existence of the Law of Attraction.

Previously, in two different articles, I have discussed the “Metaphysical Psedoscience” argument and the “No Purpose” argument. Today, however, we are going to focus on his third argument, the “No Action” argument.

So here are some questions for this article: What is Farber’s claim? What does “action” or “no action” have to do with the existence or non-existence of the Law of Attraction? And, more importantly, does he eventually succeed in proving that Law of Attraction is not true? Let’s find out!

PART 1: THE ARGUMENT

Here is what Farber is concluding in his presentation of the “No Action” argument:

“While it is obvious to most that action is a necessary component of goal achievement, it is completely inconsistent with a belief in LOA.”

Before he arrived at that conclusion he also talked about the idea that, according to him, Law of Attraction philosophy teaches that the practitioner must live as if he or she already has accomplished his goal. And another idea of Farber’s is that some representatives of the Law of Attraction say that we should not create through action.

The problem here, though, is that Farber only presents his argument in an informal way, not in an “orderly” fashion. So we first have to reconstruct it in a more strict way, to see what it actually may amount to.

Argument 3: “No Action”

So here is my reconstruction of his argument:

P1.In order to reach their goals, a Law of Attraction practitioner must think and live as if they already have reached those goals.

P2.So the practitioner must refrain from action to achieve those goals. For by acting to achieve a goal, the practitioner would show the Universe that he or she does not have full faith in the process.

P3.And one proponent of the Law of Attraction publicly admits that we should not create through action.

P4.But it is obvious to most people that action is a necessary aspect of reaching goals.

P5.Therefore, Law of Attraction is not true.

PART 2: MY RESPONSE

Here in Part 2 I will now analyze the five propositions in Argument 3, to see if it makes sense, and also to figure out if it is actually a philosophically valid and sound argument.

Proposition P1: As If Having Reached the Goal

In this section I am looking at proposition P1 in Argument 3, which goes like this:

P1.In order to reach their goals, a Law of Attraction practitioner must think and live as if they already have reached those goals.

First of all, it is of course questionable whether any author has ever said anything like that. Since Farber does not quote any author on that topic, or provide references to anyone that uses such a philosophy, Farber has not provided enough evidence for us to easily accept P1.

So technically speaking, he has not proven the truth value of P1 to be true. Therefore, because P1 may not be true, then his whole argument is now in question. For if P1 is not true, he can never reach the conclusion (P5).

As if that was not enough, it is also obvious that the idea expressed in P1 does not represent any of the authorized versions of the Law of Attraction. So using the philosophy expressed in P1 will most likely result in that it will be very difficult for anyone to master the the Law of Attraction. For if you do not use the recommended, authentic approach, you will most likely not succeed.

So the question is: what is wrong with the approach that is expressed in P1? The problem is that Farber says “think and live”, instead of just “think”. For how can anyone, for example, “live a billionaire’s life” in one’s real life before one has the billions? That would be impossible. One can, however, do it in one’s mind. But not in one’s real life.

So if one would skip the phrase “think and live” and replace it with “think”, then P1 would be much less problematic, in terms of it representing an authentic version of the Law of Attraction, or not.

But making that adjustment in P1 (from “think and live” to “think”) would, of course, be devastating for the whole argument. This is because all the other propositions (P2-P5) are discussing the issue of “physical action”. So if we no longer talk about “action” in P1, then the whole argument falls apart.

In other words, even if Farber would be able to present quotes or references to texts with a philosophy such as the one expressed in P1, that would have no bearing on the authorized versions of the Law of Attraction. For P1 does not represent the philosophy of the authentic versions.

Thus, he would not be able to conclude anything about the authorized accounts of the Law of Attraction.

Proposition P2: Refrain from Action

Proposition P2 in Argument 3 goes like this:

P2.So the practitioner must refrain from action to achieve those goals. For by acting to achieve a goal, the practitioner would show the Universe that he or she does not have full faith in the process.

As we have already discussed in P1 above, the philosophy of the authorized versions of the Law of Attraction do not prevent the student (or anyone) from involving in action. Thus, in relation to the authorized versions of the Law of Attraction, proposition P2 is false.

And because of that, the whole argument (P1-P5) falls apart. Thus there is no proof for that the authorized version of the Law of Attraction is false.

Proposition P3: The Quote on “No Action”

Here is proposition P3 in Argument 3:

P3.And one proponent of the Law of Attraction publicly admits that we should not create through action.

Farber mentions a quote by Abraham-Hicks (“You did not come into this environment to create through action”) as some sort of proof for his idea that action is “completely inconsistent” with Law of Attraction.

There are two problems with this quote. The first one is that Farber quoted it, but did not tell us from where he got it. There are no references or sources given, other than his statement that “LOA guru Esther Hicks said…”. Thus, once again, he has not succeed in giving an easily verifiable premise. For we cannot be sure that that is the exact formulation unless we can actually verify it.

However, after having researched the works of Abraham-Hicks, I discovered that they did say precisely that. Thus, that quote can be found in their book The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham, on page 105, in a section called “How Does Action, or Work, Fit into Abraham’s Recipe?” (pp. 104-105).

And this leads to the second problem with this quote, namely that the quote is taken out of context. Abraham-Hick’s philosophy is not correctly represented by that quote alone. For it is abundantly documented that Abraham-Hicks are not prohibiting action in one’s manifestation process (p. 105):

“Action that is inspired from aligned thought is joyful action. Action that is offered from a place of contradicted thought is hard work that is not satisfying and does not yield good results.”

The idea in the authorized versions of the Law of Attraction is that there are different types of action. There is “inspired-and-joyful” action (which is recommended) and then there is “hard-work” action (which is not recommended, and what most people on this planet are engaged in). And this is why they end that section with the following words (p. 105):

“You are mostly physical-action Beings at this time because you do not yet understand the power of your thought. When you are better at applying your deliberate thought, there will not be so much action for you to tend to.”

So Abraham-Hicks are not saying that action is not needed, or that action shouldn’t be performed. Their intention with these statements is to point out that the real creation is not done in the physical act, but in our mental activities.

Thus, according to their philosophy, in order to be successful manifestors, we must train ourselves to take control of our minds. We must morph our thoughts and emotions into a more good-feeling place. For if we just can come to a state where we first feel good, then we will get inspired to the right kind of action.

And that type of inspired action will be much more efficient than if we were not having those good feelings first. So we then don’t have to do a lot of action, but just a little. And that means that we can then spend more time trying to mold our thoughts and emotions into an even better state. Which then will yield other inspired thoughts that will be even more efficient, etc.

So Farber’s representation of the authorized accounts of Law of Attraction is false. Thus, proposition P3 is false. And because of that, Farber’s whole argument is unsound.

Proposition 4: But Action Is Necessary

In this section I am discussing proposition P4 in Argument 3, which goes like this:

P4.But it is obvious to most people that action is a necessary aspect of reaching goals.

There are two problems with proposition P4. One problem is that it is committing a philosophical fallacy, namely the “argument from popularity”, as noted in Moore and Parker (2003, p. 162):

“That most people believe something is a fact is not evidence that it is a fact–most people believe in God, for example, but that isn’t evidence that God exists. Likewise, if most people didn’t believe in God, that wouldn’t be evidence that God doesn’t exist.”

So as it stands, proposition P4 seems, at first, true, since most people do, in fact, think that action and hard work is needed in many cases to achieve results. But using the opinion of the public as an argument for whether action is necessary or not, is a fallacy. Thus, even though the premise is true, it is not permissible as a part of the argument as a whole, since it displays the fallacy of “appeal to majority”. [notes 1, 2, and 3]

And even if we were to allow it, it would still have no effect. For the authorized version does not require the student to renounce action, but just that he or she chooses the right type of action (see the discussion in proposition P3 above).

Therefore, once again, the whole argument is not working. Farber thus cannot reach the conclusion (proposition P5) that he wants to make.

Proposition P5: Law of Attraction Is False

In this section I am discussing proposition P5 in Argument 3, which goes like this:

P5.Therefore, Law of Attraction is not true.

So this is the conclusion that Farber wants to be able to come to. But he does not succeed in arriving at that conclusion with this argument at least. So let’s do a quick recap:

Proposition P1 is false, since the authorized accounts of the Law of Attraction do not require that the practitioner must “live as if they already have reached those goals”. For living like that is more or less impossible. Say your goal is to drive around in a Rolls-Royce every day. But how can a poor man or woman live such a life if they don’t own such a car themselves, or have the money to lease one, etc.? It’s a no-go.

Proposition P2 is false, since the authorized accounts of the Law of Attraction do not prevent anyone from engaging in action.

Proposition P3 is false, since the authors of the authorized account of Law of Attraction do not suggest that the practitioner should refrain from action. The quote is simply taken out of context, without explaining the whole philosophy around it.

Proposition P4 fails because it commits the “appeal to majority” fallacy. So P4 cannot be used.

All in all, because of all these points, the conclusion (P5) can never be reached. Therefore, there is no possibility that Farber can conclude anything about the authorized accounts of the Law of Attraction with his “No Action” argument.

CONCLUSION

Farber’s “No Action” argument does not work.

This is because all of the four premises are problematic, each in their own way. Some do not provide enough evidence; some are committing a philosophical fallacy; and some are just plain false.

So any way you look at it, Farbers “No Action” argument fails to perform. There is no evidence that proves that the Law of Attraction is not true.

Chris Bocay

NOTES

  1. The fallacy that Moore and Parker call “the argument from popularity” (2004, p. 162) is also, by some, referred to as the “appeal to majority”. One example of this is seen in Kelley 1994, where he summarizes this fallacy like this: “The fallacy of appealing to the majority is committed whenever someone takes a proposition to be true merely because large numbers of people believe it (regardless of whether those people actually constitute a majority).” (p. 131). Also van den Brink-Budgen 1996 uses the name “the argument from popularity”, but at the same time also points out that it does not always have to be a fallacy. There are some limited examples of when using wide support for something can be relevant to the argument. This is one example where public opinion is relevant: “Most people support the Bill to ban hare coursing. So MPs should vote in support of the Bill” (1996, p. 64).
  2. Another name for the fallacy of “the argument from popularity” is “the fallacy of appealing to the authority of large numbers”. This is the name that Michalos 1970 uses for the situation “when it is argued that a claim must be true because it is supported by many people.” Note also that Michalos explicitly points out that “the supporters do not have to be popular or even hold important titles.” (p. 41).
  3. Another variety of “the argument from popularity” is the argumentum ad populum, which is discussed by several authors. In Sparkes’s estimation, this can literally be understood as “appeal to the people”, or less literally as “appeal to widespread opinion”, or “appeal to fashion”. He gives the following example of the “opinion” variety: “‘Forty million Frenchmen can’t be wrong.’ Of course they can, and the fact that most people, or all people, hold an opinion is not sufficient to prove that it is true” (p. 103). Note, though, that Copi interprets argumentum ad populum as “the appeal to emotion” (2005, pp. 127-128). See also Walton 1998, p. 544b.

REFERENCES

  • Copi, Irving M., and Carl Cohen (2005), Introduction to Logic. Twelfth Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. [Link to book]
  • 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]
  • Kelley, David (1994), The Art of Reasoning. Second Expanded Edition. New York and London: W W Norton & Company. [Link to book]
  • Michalos, Alex C. (1970), Improving Your Reasoning. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. [Link to book]
  • Moore, Brooke Noel, and Richard Parker (2004), Critical Thinking. Seventh Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill. [Link to book]
  • Sparkes, A. W. (1991), Talking Philosophy: A Wordbook. London and New York: Routledge. [Link to book]
  • van den Brink-Budgen, Roy (1996), Critical Thinking for Students: How to Use Your Recommended Texts on a College or University Course. Plymouth: How To Books, Ltd. [Link to book]
  • Walton, Douglas (1998), “Fallacies” in Edward Craig, ed., Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Volume 3: Descartes to Gender and Science. London and New York: Routledge. [Link to book]

Copyright © 2022 by Chris Bocay. All rights reserved.

First published: Thu 8 Sep 2022
Last revised: Fri 9 Sep 2022

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