BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

My choice is "nope!" ...

This was another book obtained at the dollar store. Sometimes I get great stuff there, some times “not so much”. I wonder had I taken the time to look at this more closely if I'd have bothered to put it in the cart. At the time I must have figured that if it had Richard Branson and Jack Canfield involved, how bad could it be? Well …

Choice Point: Align Your Purpose by Harry Massey and David R. Hamilton, Ph.D., is based on a film (that I'd obviously never heard of) by the same name, which evidently was primarily set up by stringing together interview clips with a lot of people in fields related to the interests of the authors. More on this in a bit. It also came out in 2012, and was evidently part of the “Mayan Calendar Ending” the-sky-is-falling mania from back then (interesting, the book has no copyright date, although the Foreword, Preface, and Introduction are dated – all to late 2011 – with Amazon listing the publication date as February 1, 2012). It purports to be a “personal blueprint of transformation”, but is pretty much New Age twaddle serving as a loose matrix to hold quotes from “names” interviewed for the movie.

The guy behind this, Massey, is a co-founder of NES Health Ltd., which peddles “a 21st-century system of natural holistic health care based on integrating physics and biology” … this is one of those books that actual physicists hate, and every time the text floated a physics term, the Inigo Montoya (from The Princess Bride movie) quote “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means” came to mind … over and over again. Almost every scientific term in here is twisted around to some cringe-worthy “unicorn fart” interpretation.

And, of course (it wouldn't be New Age without it!), they're selling a course … which seems to follow the general outline of the book, with out-takes and transcripts from the movie (which they're also selling DVDs of).

As regular readers of these reviews know, I typically have several little slips of paper to guide me back to the “good parts” … I had one in here, in the Preface (notably, not written by either of the nominal authors), which seemed pretty promising:
The knowledge of how a cycle begins and ends is the key to using choice points. Whether the cycle lasts for one day or thousands of years, the principle of when it starts, when it ends, and what happens in between is the same. Each cycle begins with a seed event – something that sets a pattern of energy in to motion. Before the pattern repeats itself as the next cycle, however, it ends with a window of time where the pattern is absent. This place of no patterns is the choice point of the cycle. The choice point is the greatest window of opportunity for each cycle because it holds the greatest opportunity to change patterns of the past before they repeat. In this way, cycles of time and our power of choice are closely related.
This reminded me a lot of the Gurdjeffian enneagram concept with the “shock points” (deleted in the since-popularized corporate “enneagram” crap) and motion … which made me hope that the whole “Choice Point” thing would be a system along those lines. Nuh-uh.

The book is, however, structured to be a system of sorts. It has ten chapters across three “phase” Parts, with 3-6 topics per chapter. The “parts” are “Understanding Your World”, “Align Your Purpose”, and “Be The Change” … which would be fine, I suppose, with less “fluffy” filler. What's frustrating here is that it's hard to totally reject the project, as there are some pretty substantial quotes from the 20 “visionaries” (some of whom hardly qualify for that label, being simply “newage” activists of various stripes that fit the authors' paradigm). Frankly, this whole thing reminds me (embarrassingly) of some of my college papers, which strung together more-or-less applicable blocks from multiple sources with narrative copy steering everything toward the point I was trying to establish. I wonder just how “involved” the bigger (or less woo-woo) names included here actually are/were with the project, as in a lot of cases it feels like they were interviewed once, and had various “sound bites” extracted, first for the movie, then for the book, and eventually for the course!

There was one thing that I actually liked here … but it's more “structural” than anything … at the end of each chapter there's a list of “Things To Remember”, which gives one the outline of the material without being burdened with the saccharine blah-blah-blah of the actual text. Here's an example, from Chapter 7, “How To Be The Change”:
  1. Changing ourselves ensures that a change is a lasting one.

  2. We need to be a match for what we want.

  3. There is an interplay between destiny and free will.

  4. We can choose how we act within natural cycles and choose to align with specific patterns.

  5. The outer world reflects the inner world.

  6. If we look within, we can discover our inner world.

  7. If we want to see peace in the world, we need to be peaceful.

  8. If we look inside and deal with any emotional wounds, we can discover our true selves.

Sounds great, yeah?

Now, I have to admit that I'm a cynical, curmudgeonly, cranky font of darkness, so all that “peace & love” stuff makes me snarl … and I suspect that somebody more on the “flower power” side of the gauge would likely have no problem getting behind this. However, it's one of those reads that had me channeling Michael Ironside's “Ham Tyler” from the original “V” TV series, with his contempt for Marc Singer's “Mike Donovan” character, with the book's authors standing in as the nauseatingly light “gooder”.

Needless to say, it's a good thing that Choice Point only cost me a buck. This had the potential of being a valuable book, but it would have to have been taken out of the hands of its authors and put into the control of some less hearts-and-flowers types. If you're into that stuff, hey, you might like this. Bizarrely, this appears to still be in print (the on-line big boys have it at full cover price), and even stranger, the new/used guys are actually charging a few bucks for it.

Again, if they hadn't played fast-and-loose with the science, went with fewer “gooder” types stuck in as “visionaries”, and wrote out the 2012 “Chicken Little” vibe, this could have been a worthwhile read … but that would be a different book, wouldn't it?

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Tags: book review
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