First... thanks Turtlez for your reply!
It's really good to have a discussion about this - not sure if this is the right message board, but there are things I need to get clean about in regards to Landmark and it helps to verbalize all that. I know, you might see all of that as something I'm making up, a story, etc. but I really think that's what 1 of the things language is for - and I like it.
I notice, that I did NOT use the phrase "it is all about you" , you added that.
That is true, you did not literally use the words "it is all about you", what you said was:
No two people see a tree the same way. What you described is entirely not my experience whatsoever, not even in part, nor was it the experience of my family and all of my friends who participated in The Landmark Forum and other programs, and we are a VERY large and diverse group of people.
Some people get traumatized walking into Walmart or attending a family christmas dinner. They are not wrong for seeing that world that way but it is not the common experience
What I made out of this was that it does not matter that what I described was a logical conclusion of critical thought,
but a subjective point-of-view that contradicts what you describe as a "common (and therefore probably more reliable?) experience
However, since we learned in the Forum that we are responsible for the way we make meaning from what we experience, my development of critical
thoughts about Landmark is about me
- it contradicts "standing in nothing" which I am supposed to get in the Forum.
ergo:My critical thoughts are just my experience - I am the one making up my experience - I better shut up about it, there is no merit to it anyway. - thanks for sharing, little voice in my head.
Do you see how it works (I think this one is called "thought stopping".)?
The pathway that would permit me to frame Landmark into critical words, however valuable, thorough and well-founded the reasoning behind them might be, is blocked. - it's all just a self-created experience - a little voice in my head - a Racket - a meaning-making machine running amok. ETC.
People aren't really manipulated by Landmark, except that they are.
You calling it a "rhetorical sleight of hand" does not make it an actual "rhetorical sleight of hand". It is actually you doing the exact thing you are accusing me of, using rhetoric to "divert" away from my pointing out that your opinions are just your opinions, whatever they are worth.
There are many situations in which it is productive and liberating to see one's opinion as a position that's just as good as anyone else's, to realize that reality as it appears is not as "real" as it seems...
I just really think it's extremely dangerous to let an organization you know nothing about uncritically shape your approach to reality for you.
Even more so if it is a commercial organization needing your money to survive.
Just think about "Enrollment". How is that not a rhetorical trick to make you bring your family to them and feel good about it?
I'm seeing the benefits some people have had, and I "got things out of the forum" too.
But that is not the whole story.
I also have friends who remain as critical as I do and there are people the Forum Leader doesn't call up to deliver their testimonial at the guest event.
And you never heard what they had to say since all "sharing" is under the frame of "what you got out of the forum", not "what did you really think about it".
As well, it may be a clever sounding and convenient thing to say but there is no "Landmark Book" full of tricks. If there is one please provide a link to it. We both know it does not exist and is a figment of your own imagination and arguement.
Well, there is a binder in front of the room that the Forum Leader runs the course from,
and in that binder there are instructions about how to guide the conversations, how to approach and frame what is being said by the people who come to the front of the room.
While it might be a little exaggerated to call it a "book of tricks", it is quite evident that the Forum Leaders undergo intense coaching about how to deal with criticisms, upsets and negative comments that come from the course crowd especially at the beginning of the Forum.
Framing criticism into something the person is making up - something that is a "figment of their imagination", or something that just happens sometimes like "getting traumatized at Walmart" etc. is a similar trick.
It avoids getting into a discussion.
(And the reason to avoid discussions is that we want to use language to create possibility, as "right or wrong" is supposedly unproductive).
In a coaching context this is probably totally OK, but I do see a problem that ones tends to loose track after 3 long days of being talked at like that.
Certain patterns start to go unnoticed when the environment is constantly slanted in the same direction.
I really think it's great that you got something out of doing EST - for me the good part of Landmark was an intense introduction to Zen/Taoism, also existential philosophy. I had a whole different access to these things. Also, I realized how much of the conflicts I have with people was my fault, that there was a lot of room to move on my part I had not considered. And it brought up that I think I was waiting for the world to make me happy and did not focus enough on creating happiness and sharing happiness. OK.
I do have to take a stand for the people that didn't have the differentiation to see where Landmark was delivering something valuable, and where it was just the steam-roller that mixes Landmark advertisement into their new found "unreasonability".
People who just adopted the jargon and I couldn't talk to them afterwards because they had this aura of empty excitement and were jumping from one moment to the next without any coherence in their minds.
There were moments, especially toward the end of the Advanced Course, in which I talked to someone and they thought I was trying to enroll them into the next course.
People that tried to make me do the $6000 wisdom course and kept on "sharing the possibility" with me. Nice people, I wanted to hug them, but they were somehow playing this game... or I don't really now what they were thinking.No, I never want to see any of my friends and family in that crowd.
I do talk from "what is opening up for me as a possibility" when I get the chance though, and sometimes it does ignite a spark.
Try to take that one apart kids.