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Manipulating the room's environment
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 15, 2004 01:42AM

First, people know what is about when they come here. And they come here because they've chosen to--including those who disagree.

No one kidnaps you and chains you to your computer terminal, puts a gun to your head and yells,

'Log on to!'

Nope. We have '' on our address bars because we've chosen to come here. Its always our choice. cannot control your physical environment.

You can log off at any time. You can wear your PJ’s, scratch your ass or private parts or give a yawn any time you want, and you will not be reprimanded for doing so.

You can take an aspirin if you have a headache, trot to the can and take a leak when your bladder is full—and you don’t have to ask us for permission to do any of this.

Finally, while reading the material on this website, you can sit in the chair of your choice—you don’t have someone jammed together next to you.

And, when you've had enough of us, you can log off, and we will leave you in peace. We wont bombard you with unwanted telephone calls.

Another good thread: ‘What is Thought Reform? Lifton’s Model’--submitted by Guy, a former Landmark staff member.


Good, user friendly summaries of the work by Robert J Lifton and Dr. Margaret Singer. For homework, read Drew Kopp’s paper and then give close attention to Lifton’s concept of ‘milieu control’

Finally, all the way back in March, ‘kittypaw’ posted a link to Drew Kopp’s depth analysis of the Landmark Forum room set up and its use of social engineering, on this thread. Alert members like kittypaw are our best sources of new material.


(quote) Setting up the room, control over sound, light and environment--very interesting.


Here is an earlier thread describing various concentration problems some of our Landmark alumni reported after doing LEC---they’d [i:d22267cd2b]not [/i:d22267cd2b]had these difficulties prior to their exposure to LEC.


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Manipulating the room's environment
Posted by: dpa10 ()
Date: May 15, 2004 08:53AM

Corboy wrote:

First, people know what is about when they come here. And they come here because they've chosen to--including those who disagree.

No one kidnaps you and chains you to your computer terminal, puts a gun to your head and yells, 'Log on to!'

I agree. And I willfully chose to come here. I also chose to do TM, the Est Training and Sterling. There were also no kidnapping or guns involved.

I can also say that I got a lot out of all 3 programs. And today I am successful and have a beautiful wife and family. The only thing I still do is meditate. I have not had contact with the TM organization for over 25 years.

I have had no trouble with concentration, anxiety or some of the other disorders that were listed on your links on the last post. I am not discounting that those people had that experience, but just put me in the category of "got my money's worth" for all three.

Now, I have seen people in all 3 organizations that I mentioned above go way overboard in their involvement. I have seen people given bad advice. I have seen strange things and met stranger people.

But I also have seen strange things in college and graduate school. People having nervous breakdowns and even committing suicide. And some would suggest that the cause was the stress of college life.

So put me in the category of "getting the most out of life" wherever I go.

And when it was time to go, I left. No one tried to stop me. I guess they just didn't want me. No chains no guns.

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Manipulating the room's environment
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: May 15, 2004 09:22AM

This might be a duplicate - if so, so sorry.

While I wouldn't call it brainwashing in the Patty Hearst sense of the word, they do manipulate participants emotionally and psychologically. They come dangerously close to playing psychologist, applying a catch-all "diagnosis" (racket-playing) for all participants, all the while saying they are not a substitute for psychological counselling, mock psychological counselling, yet use very simplified techniques borrowed from random emotive therapy, new age beliefs, and a smattering of philosophies. There is just enough to sound familiar to someone who might be dabbling in any of the above, and enough to make the FL sound like an expert to those who are not at all well-read in any of it. Since they are expert salespeople, using trance and thought-stopping methods, it becomes easier to sign people up for more courses, rather than help them overcome very real problems. There was no one in my forum who "shared" that escaped without the FL saying they didn't have something to fix. Granted, many of the folks who shared were plants, but the examples they set was also a crowd-controlling method to get everyone involved. Exploiting human empathy is what works in those cases.

They also dismiss physiologic contributions to participant's problems, dismissing health problems as rackets, dismissing normal stress hormone secretions that occur in every day life, yet they exploited these same normal bodily reactions. Granted, there may be people who do "get sick" when stressed or afraid, but LEC calls that a racket, as if knowing that will cure them. But what is insidious is the way LEC also exploits physiology, what is known about deprivation, lack of sensing one's familiar surroundings (no windows, controlled air, no outside noises, smells, sense of freedom). This is milieu control and a very effective means of controlling people psychologically and allowing loss of critical thinking and conformity.

There are many messages that are implied, yet when questioned, the one inquiring is lectured about making meanings. This fucks with the mind by loosening normal, justifiable boundaries. The program gives a temporary sense of well-being because it leads a person to believe they are the fuck-up and since it's their doing, they can undo it. If that means dumping spouses, using clients\patients (LEC apparently encourages recruiting from client bases) to get ahead, then do it and stop complaining. By teaching that there is nothing wrong (or right) because either is a meaning one makes up, ethical behavior goes out the window. Yet, LEC implies they are right and everyone else is wrong. The Forum is full of this double-speak and a participant will never "win" unless they just appear to go along with the show (so what was the point?) or succumb. For someone with narcissistic tendencies, it's a field day. For someone who has been "wronged", it lets the wrong-doer off the hook. For someone who can't make decisions, LF causes further confusion.

It would be one thing if LEC showed any kind of integrity, but they don't. They could disclose the nature of their program, the sources of their ideas, an informative waiver. They could say we will be using ideas culled from RET, psychology and philosophy, and here is where you can read more, but they do not. Instead, they come off sounding like they are the original developers of the material. It's like taking the Bible out of context.

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Manipulating the room's environment
Posted by: dpa10 ()
Date: May 15, 2004 10:43AM

Sorry to hear your experience of Landmark was so negative. I'm getting that you do not believe they brainwashed you. At least you don't sound brainwashed to me.

And I agree with your assertion about originality.

"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done. There is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Of course it would be hard to footnote the source of all the ideas in the training/Forum.

Why do you feel that is necessary?

And is the course room any different than large lecture halls at universities? I have been to buisness conferences and scientific symposiums that had similar physical arangement of the rooms. (i.e crowded seats, no windows etc.)

Thanks for your thoughts on this.

p.s. sent this directly to you as more than half of my posts have not seen the light of day. Am I that threatening.

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Manipulating the room's environment
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: May 16, 2004 02:08AM

Okay - on the brainwashing, I guess we should have a definition. There are two, the first one I think is what is believed to be the true definition of the word:

1. To impose a set of usually political or religious beliefs on somebody by the use of various coercive methods of indoctrination, including destruction of the victim's prior beliefs.

2. Condition somebody to behave differently to induce somebody to do something, such as buy a new product, especially by means of constant repetition or advertising.

Encarta World English Dictionary

LEC certainly uses coercive methods to indoctrinate their participants to recruit, to make rash decisions, to destroy relationships, all of which I saw in my Forum. In my own case, (you would have to go back in the archives to read my account), a doctor who was heavily involved with LEC, using their "technology" as a therapeutic means to improve a physiologic problem, did indeed condition me to behave differently, to loosen healthy boundaries, and nearly killed me in the process (he missed the real diagnosis due to his agenda). He was basically taking courses and trying them out on me, just didn't feel the need to tell me what he was doing until he was leaving the country. Doing the Forum was like the final nail in the coffin. Did the Forum instill new political or religious beliefs? No, but that's not what it sets out to do. The goal for the forum, and the perceived goal for the participants is control.

The problem with both the doctor and LEC is with the deception, and the narcissism at personal and corporate levels. The intro night at LEC is a light-hearted fun time, nothing like the Forum. It's bait and switch. The "informed consent" is a joke. The use of trance techniques without disclosure is deceptive. You pay for one thing, but get another.

Why is it necessary to provide information? Why wouldn't it be? The reps at LEC insist their programs cannot be described, yet they could be. They choose not to. Their rooms are intentionally set up in a way to cause discomfort and disorientation, discussed here already. It is very different from a college ampitheatre where STUDENTS can get up and leave without being lectured about their integrity, resistance to coaching, etc. A student can meet with the teacher and find out what was missed, get notes from fellow students. College classrooms and campuses are not intentionally constructed to cause discomfort and disorientation. Intention is just another important word thrown around by LEC employees, but just like their concept of integrity, they don't practice what they preach.

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Manipulating the room's environment
Posted by: dpa10 ()
Date: May 16, 2004 02:37AM

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Without referencing everything there is much that I agree with on your post.

I guess I never felt that much pressure with their attempt to "process" me but then again when I was there I was a big, strapping young guy and never felt threatened.

I did notice that some of the staff members and assistance seemed to pull their shit with people easily cowed by intimidation. When they tried it with me I was back in their face in a big way.

But I still liked my training. Roger Armstron led it and I thought he did a terrific job. I could have been just one of the lucky few!

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Manipulating the room's environment
Posted by: dpa10 ()
Date: May 16, 2004 05:16AM

Hope wrote:

a doctor who was heavily involved with LEC, using their "technology" as a therapeutic means to improve a physiologic problem, did indeed condition me to behave differently, to loosen healthy boundaries, and nearly killed me in the process (he missed the real diagnosis due to his agenda). He was basically taking courses and trying them out on me, just didn't feel the need to tell me what he was doing until he was leaving the country. Doing the Forum was like the final nail in the

I saw something similar with a naturopathic doctor who was trying to help a young man with rheumatoid arthritis. A misguided experiment at best. and his wife was an MD internist. Some people take it way to far. GLad you survived it. I hope you sued him for malpracice.

that's why I mentioned in previous posts that it was just to wierd for me. I've got dozens of stories too. Some good, some bad.

But if I say I liked something people start calling me names and ask me if "I'm with them or against them" What up with that. The name calling actually amuses me.

Apologies to those whom I name called back. Others have told me the site has had glitches. Mea Culpa. Mea Culpa.

thanks Hope. Again, great post.

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Manipulating the room's environment
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: May 16, 2004 08:12AM

The thing is, DPA, neither the doctor nor (most of) the people at LEC used in-your-face tactics. The leader did do that with a few people who "shared", and these were obviously not the plants but the ones who got up and shared after the plants performed. It was more covert, sort of like the smiling nurse who injects patients with too much digoxin then claims she was only trying to help. You don't see it while it's happening; you only find out with an autopsy. My doctor did resort to verbal abuse and took measures to ensure he did not practice again in the US. Got a full refund from LEC, too.

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Manipulating the room's environment
Posted by: Ginge ()
Date: June 20, 2004 06:23PM

This site is fascinating - thanks for all the LEC stuff. It has helped me assess my own LM experiences, but questions still remain.

Having recently done the LE Forum and Advanced courses (FOOL!!), I came away after both with cold/flu like symptoms. The advanced course was 5 weeks ago and I am still coughing sporadically. On analysis, I place the blame of these illnesses on the sealed-environment and re-circulating of stale air mode of operation of the air conditioning. As a result of having to take time off work to recover from both illnesses, there is no way that I intend going near the LEC training rooms again.

At the beginning of one of the first-day sessions of the Forum, I quizzed a "helper" about the air con as the air tasted vile. After 45 minutes of running, the air con had not removed the "stale breath" taste and the feeling was one of reduced oxygen; breathing required noticably more effort to keep from feeling drained or light headed. My concern was brushed off with a flippant "no one else has complained", or some similar message. I countered by questioning if the air con was a sealed system merely processing the air in the room, or whether it exhausted stale air to the outside world and brought in new air. "It is set the way it is set for all courses". Not a particularly helpful response.

Once I had accepted that (in Landmarkian) "the air con is the way it is because it is the way it is", or in the world of reality, I realised I was not going to get a sensible answer unless I spoke to the air con equipment supplier, I took note of how it was adjusted throughout the sessions: hot, cold, on, off. The variations were noticably different to the point of needing to put on / take off a sweater. In a sealed-environment with re-circulating stale air, a prime breeding-ground for cold/flu. (At one point I even considered the possibility of the air con being a breeding ground for the Legionella bug).

The Advanced course was held in a smaller training room (equally as sparse as the Forum; same decor, same intimate chair spacing, same useless air con, but thankfully a much smaller group). I raised the same air-con questions, and got a very similar answer from a different helper. A programmed response, I guess.

Getting off the subject line a bit, right from the beginning of the Forum, I had suspicions of mind-games. Hopefully the suspicions and the suspect air-con helped in not allowing me to be totally sucked in (er, well, I did carry on to the Advanced). In 3 days I felt that I did not "get it", and frankly, at the time I was annoyed that I seemed to get nothing, but some folk appeared to have had major "breakthroughs", although the gut-spilling process was embarrassingly vile. Gut-spilling in public is not part of my make-up.

The Forum fear exercise did absolutely nothing for me. The leader guided the group deeper into fear and all I could think was that his lines breached the bounds of sensibility, and therefore credibility, and my reaction was to reject it as a load of rubbish. All credibility was lost when the "empty and meaningless" bit came up. "Yeah, just like this course!".

Anyway, I want on to the Advanced course to see if I would "get it". Well, I got a debilitating dose of cold/flu, a heavy mind***k, lighter wallet, and little else. I must have been dozing in the Forum sessions that covered rackets and stories, because I still cannot remember their definitions, and felt a bit left-out in the Advanced when rackets were again discussed.

With regard to the sleep deprivation, yes, I did notice that it was a major factor, but refused to bow to the pressure - when my body signals the need for sleep I acknowledge the need and I sleep.... and to hell with the circumstances. As for making midnight or 8 am telephone calls at weekends, NO WAY. I place a higher value on keeping the good relationships that I have.

The exercise that I found most disturbing in the advanced course was the one where the participants stand toe-to-toe and look into each other's eyes for an extended period of time. Not comfortable or natural. After that I felt totally drained; emotionally, psychologically and physically. For the rest of the day I was totally out of it - a mere observer on the course and in no-way a participant.

Towards the end of the Advanced course each participant has to state what they have "created" for themselves. Some statements were so far fetched as to be totally unbelievable. Surely a mere statement of intent is insufficient to change a person's life? It may sow the seeds of some ideas, but the effort (in time and money) that would be required by some people to see the ideas through were bordering on super-human. Surely, as the ideas become unachievable, these people would feel deep failure? Presumably leading them to go back to LM for more courses?

What is the purpose of the notes that the helpers at the back of the room seem to be constantly taking? What are the notes themselves? Why are notes constantly being taken?

Is it possible to
1. Assess one's state of immunity to the Landmark programming?
2. Assess how deeply the Landmark programming has affected a person?
My wife says I have not changed, a friend who has done the Forum says I am more approachable, am not as moody, and more in touch with my emotions.
Personally, after having had no Landmark contact (apart from a few diplomatically terminated phone calls) I feel no different as a person, but do feel conned. Is this normal/reasonable/good?

Thoughts and feedback welcome.

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Manipulating the room's environment
Posted by: hossgal ()
Date: June 23, 2004 12:41AM


Your reaction to Landmark is quite similar to mine. After the inital euphoria wore off, I was the same person, though the feeling I'd been hoodwinked grew and persisted. However, if that's the worst thing that happened to you (feeling conned), consider yourself lucky! Many of the folks who write in here have suffered the loss of jobs, loving relationships and mental health.

I can't give an opinion regarding the advanced course. I didn't get that far.
I never really gave a thought to the people in the back of the room until one of the follow-up seminar evenings. I figured they were there to answer participant's questions and record the course leader's performance for review. Well, yes, and more. They DO watch participants and note their reactions. This became clear to me when a young man (a "reviewer") sat beside me during one of the "special evenings".

His attempt to get me engaged in the process of enrollment was clumsy and laughable. Obviously the Powers at LE were trying to salvage a sceptical, resistant worker bee (me). It was no coincidence that he chose to sit next to me. He was on a mission. This manipulation was, and is, repugnant! That was the last LE event I ever attended. Later that evening I got into an argument with my seminar leader about hard-sell tactics. I proved to be 'uncoachable".

Interesting possibility -- Legionnaire's Disease in a Landmark course room! Not that I'd wish that on the unsuspecting participants, but such an outbreak of disease would certainly give LE unwelcome publicity. You're absolutely right -- in such a closed environment, the "sharing" of bugs is just as likely as it would be in a commercial airliner.

As to whether or no you've "changed" -- I'd take your wife's opinion over that of an LE grad. The LE grad has an investment in "your having gotten it", especially if that grad is one of the "true believers". Your wife knows you best.

Congratulations on escaping relatively unscathed! Your own insights on your experiences, especially in the Advanced course, can serve as both information and warnings to others.

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