To What and to Whom is the Universe Indebted?


I’ve heard more than once over the last decade that the universe has bestowed us with a gift—that it will either fulfill some desire, or make us happy, because, you know, “woe is from wit,” as all of us are terribly lacking in the new mentality of positivity… But really, give us a break! But there’s no end in sight, and some people who pretend to be smart and educated, professionals in every way imaginable, not only speak in all seriousness about such things and firmly believe in all of this, moreover making it look like something modern and progressive.

Such phrases as, “the universe will provide”, have nowadays become like a traditional saying—but a bad one though! Why? It is awfully silly, funny, and even dangerous. You be the judge.

Where did this novelty come from?

This concept emerged in Russia along with the life and business coaches on motivational personal development. All of them offered seminars and webinars where they expounded on this teaching and authored books on mind management methods.

They learned these skills in Europe and North America—or at least the most ambitious among them did. This concept was already in high demand abroad at the end of the twentieth century, because due to the insane pace of life, multi-tasking, and on top of it all, the sizable unemployment benefits, people in the workforce burned out too quickly.

We learned about the burnout here in Russia as well, but much later, together with the notion of workflow optimization. They were introduced with the foreign models aimed at destroying the stable systems in place in Russian organizations. The “apostles” of new thinking offered various information technology choices that devalued the personality of a worker, increased the scope of work, justified the cutting of wages, eliminated trade unions, and, instead of providing real motivation—real money for labor—they offered a dummy concept of “mission statements”: ideas that partly serve the interests of an employer and wholeheartedly work at the system’s collapse. That is, it works in the interest of those who made up the info technology about new thinking, and those who transform global society to meet their political goals, and to make money on top of it all. These structures are behind the organization of a series of so-called “color” revolutions in different countries.

Ask any Western psychologist today; they laugh at us because they have long ago moved away from the positive thinking techniques, which are now deemed ineffective. Nowadays, they actively use psychology as a powerful instrument of mass manipulation in every area of life. The work conducted by psychologists and life coaches is heavily regulated, while licenses are issued exclusively to those who dance to the tune of the American Psychology Association’s International Relations Committee. Whereas in Russia, “New Age Thinking” still remains a hot topic.

Does the teaching of “positive thinking” remain relevant? I don’t think so, as it gained wide popularity as far back as the middle of the nineteenth century, together with the popularity of occult theory as a religious movement. In our times, it brings together various civil organizations, psychologists, writers, philosophers, and doctors (as the authors of wellness regimens), athletes, actors, and businessmen who share the beliefs in the law of attraction, wish fulfillment, healing, visualization, self-healing through the mind, the cult of success and social adequacy according to the requirements of a new morality. There are many of them. Take New Age, for example, or its for-profit versions in the form of sects like Amway, Herbalife, and the like…

It makes no sense to offer examples from around the globe, as they will sound too vague. That’s why I will talk about my encounter with this movement, and maybe you will recognize yourself here.

I used to work at Sberbank[1] as it was undergoing its massive transformation. That was when German O. Gref became chairman. He introduced the “LIN-technology” that divided the bank’s unified and robust structure into separate inertly associated units; a formerly exciting inner culture became corroded, and its employees turned into the “immortal ponies” who “worked like horses till they dropped dead.” It was an of an insider joke shared via internal chain emails until the staff started to defect for smaller banks with hefty salaries. Those, in turn, went bust in about five years due to the introduction of governmental licensing in Russia’s banking sector and the impossibility of competing with the financial monopolies.

The staff at Sberbank couldn’t figure out why was it necessary to break down its well-oiled corporate system? It did operate quite well in almost every way! Because, in truth, this “green Moloch” was a state within a state! And people even deemed it prestigious to work in this organization!

Next, I stumbled upon a similar occurrence at another bank, but this time they were called the SLAs (that stands for the Service Level Agreements) and it chewed up a huge amount of operating time as, according to this system, one had to prove the efficiency of any activity—be it hiring extra help or ordering a ballpoint pen.

Still, later on, the technological novelties caught up with me in the form of “smart-goals” in a government organization to which I have devoted a whole seven years of my life. They even found their way there! The result: a huge number of experienced workers were laid off; odd perturbations among the officials when people—misfits or those lacking the necessary experience—went to occupy key positions, and we were left with unbearable working conditions with low pay for highly educated employees.

Movie still: “The Secret” Movie still: “The Secret”   

I stumbled upon the “New Age Thinking” again when at the recommendation of a friend, a business owner, I watched “The Secret,” a movie dating back to 2006 and produced in the US and Australia. Oh, what an inspiring joke it was! However, it was essentially advertising skillfully produced by Rhonda Byrne—a media personality who earned money by not only writing books on this subject but also by conducting training sessions where she promoted her teaching about dream visualization.

A video sequence of rapid-fire revolving stories by obscure and dubious “fortunate souls” sharing their personal experiences, keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning till end. The neuro-linguistic methods program the mind and hypnotize. For example, repetitions in the form of learning points and displays of “The Secret” as a brand name, or the rate of change of themes and images while the teaching dogmas are reaffirmed over and over again, but at different angles, thus giving an impression of authenticity. You can finally take a breather once you’re done watching it.

Many years have passed since then, and we know nowadays that none of those featured in the movie have found happiness. Heart attacks, loneliness, bankruptcy, and even jail time are what they’ve found instead. For example, people even died in the hands of a personal growth and self-help guru, James Arthur Ray. By the way, my friend who recommended the movie is suffering from cancer, but he refused conventional treatment because he believes in the power of positive thinking. Overall, you shall know the failure of that “Secret-ive” teaching by its fruits.

For a little while, these training sessions will give you an illusion of significance. For example—the sense of belonging to a non-existing team of co-workers, because the market economy is above all about competition on every level; the illusion that you genuinely like your place of employment and value its achievements; that you firmly believe in the quality of the proverbial “product”, which is as truly “useful” for the society as you are, and that this society is supposedly powered by benevolent intentions and progress, while the world markets (be it in the area of education, ecology, social, commodities, medical services, IT, etc.), aside from profits, pursue other interests as well. That’s why “personal growth” is an illusion of personal advancement. What’s worse, it is the degradation of human relationships. I will explain myself.

Man isn’t only rational but a spiritual being as well. But the word “personal” should be translated as “individual,” the way it is understood in the west. These two notions of “person” and “individual” aren’t the same, just as “spirit” and “essence” aren’t alike. The acquisition of “new” competencies, against the background of the declared omnipotence of a human brain and all sorts of problems housed inside it, will assist man to perceive the meaning. However, his desire to develop spiritually can’t, therefore, be satisfied, and he will keep on thirsting, languishing, suffering, and fizzling. That’s why trainers and life coaches mix in philosophy, as well as the pagan spiritual practices, in their psychological toolkit since they extend its effectiveness on followers and, subsequently, offer a long-lasting opportunity of milking them for money.

Why don’t the information developers turn to world religions as the wholesome, precise, and harmonious systems that have become familiar to many people? Because the teaching about new thinking and the theory of success are anti-Christian and contradict even Islam and Judaism.


To get the exact meaning of the word “success,” one should check the Websters Dictionary by Noah Webster, an American linguist: yet even there, it offers different semantics if compared with the Russian Glossary by the Soviet linguist Sergei Ivanovich Ozhegov. The goals vary and the means of achievement differ, too. The former treats success as man’s social achievement, conquest, triumph, victory, satisfactory result of attempts and efforts to gain status, wealth, prestige, or glory. The meaning of the word is based on a struggle for survival. As for the Russian glossary, it speaks about the success to reach the goal, positive results at work or studies, and public recognition. During the Soviet times, being approved by the team of co-workers and the management meant a lot and it was a powerful work incentive. In our case, the word “success” in its essence is oriented towards public welfare and personal diligence.

In terms of the theory of success, Christ would be considered the biggest loser. What we see in Him is hard work and large-scale activities but is there success? The foxes have dens and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head (Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58). Why does He disregard the external well-being and remain so indifferent to the worldly standards of success? Christ not only rejects the conventional but He even offers a special kind of paradoxical teaching that people, with their narrow-minded interests in the social well-being and basic needs of the flesh, would never have thought up.

In terms of the theory of success, Christ would be the biggest loser

The Church calls Christ victorious. The sacrifice of the Cross and Resurrection – this victory holds deeply lying narratives that are way more important than social achievements and worldly possessions; it relegates them to the background of goal setting. However, those who are “successful” don’t need God, they are their creators and doers, that’s why the “misfits,” the “weary and burdened” (Matthew 11:28) – are happy people because they know Who they should appeal for consolation and support, just as that the well-being in this world doesn’t necessarily and explicitly depend on the human mind, trials, efforts, and rivalry.

The knowledge of “new age thinking” alienated us, don’t you agree? We are capable of handling our deficiencies, seeing the shortcomings of others, and deciphering their attempts at steamrolling. At the same time, we are awfully lonely, because the more successful ones don’t need us while we aren’t interested in those with the “old thinking.” We cement our boundaries with unsustainable anti-social beliefs and wither away by denying ourselves of simple life’s pleasures – intimacy, communication, spiritual belonging, and the simplicity in relationships – sympathy – happiness. It sounds like inner comfort, but not because we perfected the skill of getting along with people or got smarter and more patient; it was the result of an all-out aloofness. By pumping up our brain instead of the heart as the essence of our spiritual being we lose the ability to love, eliminating sacrifice, mercy, obligations, and the beliefs representing the ancestral experiences that for centuries carried virtues and benefits. In other words, we are dehumanizing ourselves.

Social success, as the result of positive thinking, is unable to make us happy, it has nothing in common with spiritual life, personal communication, and the meaning of life. It is nothing more than a consumer mentality, while for the governments it’s a great tool to measure the citizen’s good standing rating, in addition to the vaccination certificate of compliance. It is the system that is already up and running in China.

The movie creators speak about the “law of the universe” even though it is an entirely pseudoscientific term: their goal is to simply inculcate in viewers a belief that it works this way whereas the social success stories shared by the characters serve as evidence. You shouldn’t get fixated on negative thoughts: but isn’t it something that was never a mystery or that everyone knew about long ago! Take notice that nature in a form of the universe is all of a sudden attributed an ability to act reasonably and influence humanity: it is straightforward paganism. Admittedly though, there is nothing scientific about this movie no matter how many specific terms they heaped on us. Easy money and gaining happiness, healing, and fulfilled wishes – at all times, they were used as bait by swindlers and cult followers… “Like draws to like” – but the law of universal gravity has nothing to do with it, whereas people with similar tastes don’t get along too well as they usually end up either competing with one another or get bored with monotony.

As you can see, it’s sketchy at best, that’s why immediately after I watched it, and before I could trust this juicy and tempting spectacle, I went online to seek out the information about the creators of “The Secret” (thankfully at the time, Wikipedia wasn’t rewritten by bots or edited by anyone else!).

I was rather surprised that Byrne and her entourage used to talk about beings from space revealing the secret to them. Besides, one of the websites offered the books in Russian about the teaching the aliens have “dictated.” For curiosity’s sake, I peeked inside: alas, the writing wasn’t as spellbinding as the movie; it was choke-full of the esoteric and magic gibberish, mind numbing and unintelligible. Essentially, the euphemism of the “Universe,” even if known as “What,” it implies ”Who.” It turns out that it’s not the universe that operates but certain obscure spiritual “entities”!

In this case, it is quite terrifying, as if you are gazing into the abyss! One thing was an obscure “law of the universe” on the verge of being deciphered by science, or a gift from God the faithful were well aware of: for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45). It's free of charge, at no cost, a gift! But quite another thing was to use the services of a genie. You’ve got to pay for his services. And it certainly won’t be just money.

One thing was a “law of the universe” and quite another was using the services of a genie

I haven’t found anything about “entities” today. It makes sense because, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the mystical experiences, paranormal, and UFOs were all the rage. But once it was no longer taken seriously by the target audience or those who voted with their wallets, the occult teachings were repackaged to become business psychology, self-development psychology, and mindfulness.

Speaking about visualization, why is it so appealing? In the old times, the confessors were doing the job of the psychologists, to some extent. They were guided by the patristic teachings where the spiritual nature of man was explored in great depth. If you research how the church fathers perceived imagination, you’d see them speak quite cautiously about it – all because of the visualization. It turns out that man falls into delusion or prelest and becomes easy prey for fallen angels.

You don’t believe the church fathers? You think the pagans had it the other way? The Buddhists, for example, forbid practicing meditation without any help from an experienced mentor. The same goes about the creation, using the power of imagination, of tulpa, a visible entity that will live with a sense of self. But who can guarantee it will be a good doer and not an evil-doer… We also heard not once that thought is material while faith can do miracles. Faith, by the way, is a cornerstone of sorcery. Consequently, faith is at the beginning of it all, and that’s why things often play out. Yet, no one can guarantee you that it will make you happy because wishful thinking isn’t always useful, needful, or rightfully earned.

Wishful thinking isn’t necessarily useful, needful, or rightfully earned

It often happens that our desires get fulfilled but they bring nothing but problems. For instance, an old lady had dreams of her retirement and finally taking a rest but she got paralyzed. Naturally, the gurus of new thinking will accuse her that she’s done her wishful thinking wrong and they will dare to assert it since absolutely nothing in their teaching is supported by evidence.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of info wanderers who, like Gypsy, float around the Russian-language segment of the internet, or Runet, and, often without any professional background in psychology, actively use the “New Age” ideology, the pagan spiritual practices, hypnosis, meditation, esoterics, and fortunetelling. Now, do you recall who came to replace the apostles of positive thinking in the west? You see, the so-called “info-Gypsies” are unknowingly called to disenchant the audience, because their job is to pave the way for those who will come next – smooth operators; capable at online manipulation, they will establish universal control, enforce, and submit. The era of deeply calculated digitalization draws near and it will replace western political thought that remained too incomprehensible for many Russians. Incidentally, have you ever seen the robot-psychologist operating a polygraph machine? Do you think it was invented to take care of your spiritual concerns?

Elena Dubrovina
Translation by Liubov Ambrose


[1] The Russian Federation’s main bank, which evolved from the one and only bank of the Soviet Union.—OC.

JJ11/1/2021 4:41 pm
This is written from the perspective of someone living in Russia - and as such traces trends brought to Russia from the USA.. An article written from a USA, UK, Australasia, Canadian, South African English language perspective would be far more relevant.
Fr William Bauer10/30/2021 11:56 pm
If you do not know to whom the universe and we are indebted, you could benefit from some BASIC Orthodox/Catholic thinking - quickly.
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