Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Game of Life by Florence Scovel Shinn

The third of the Transformation Book Circle books is The Game of Life by Florence Scovel Shinn and my first disappointment in the collection. Honestly, if I had read this when I received it, I might have considered canceling my membership altogether. Hopefully the rest of the books won’t disappoint as much as this one did.

The first part of the book is the original text, followed by a new interpretation. As before, there is a cd included. This book was chosen by Louise L Hay, a teacher my mother personally cannot abide. If you mention Hay in my mother’s presence, you may as well sit back and be ready for a clear explanation of why she thinks that Hay has caused more harm than healing. I know that others would disagree with my mother and would likely laude Hay for helping them find healing where none had been experienced before.

After reading this book I can say that Shinn’s teaching is “convenient.” She quotes from the Bible, taking verses completely out of context to support her arguments. She misapplies the “Law of Karma” and what worthy teachings she may be presented are outweighed by the unfortunate errors of a woman who picks and chooses without offering any real depth. I can see where it would appeal to those who have embraced the Law of Attraction and that is probably why it was included in the collection where it was, building erroneously on the teachings of the previous text.

But worse, the “new interpretation” is so completely unnecessary as to be insulting to the discerning reader. If it was necessary to remove the sexist language from the previous book to make it more accessible to the contemporary reader, is it any less sexist to remove any reference to the masculine by making each and every example female? What purpose does this serve? And if readers were not offended by this then they should perhaps consider that discrimination can work in all directions and by removing men from a text one is no less sexist than male chauvinism. The editors should be ashamed for being so narrow minded or should be abused for thinking their readers would be so immature as to not notice this hypocrisy.

I looked forward to the cd which, unlike the unnecessary audio recordings of the previous two books which merely repeated portions of the text’s exercises, because it is a cd of affirmations by Louise L Hay. I have heard so many good things about this woman’s teachings, my mother’s opinions not withstanding, and I figured that affirmations could not be too disappointing. Having never listened to an affirmations cd before I can’t adequately gauge the quality of this one, however I would have to say that it is tedious and somewhat cheesy. The music in the background is annoying and incredibly distracting. Hay’s voice is pleasant, even soothing, but the redundancy of listening to the affirmations is mind-numbing. I timed it and, what with the repetition of each affirmation, it takes one minute to repeat two affirmations. I didn’t object to anything I heard, per se. I just found it all very boring. On the plus side, it puts me to sleep. I know this because I have tried to listen to the cd several times now and every time I inevitably fall asleep.

Unless a cd is meant to help with insomnia or is a collection of lullabies I think it is safe to say that by stating it has put me to sleep every time I’ve tried to listen to it that it is not one I would recommend.

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