Gotta totally disagree with that!
Things have progressed by light-years since Houdini was dealing with cold-reader spiritualists.
The LGAT seminar and NLP persuasion experts are now able to engineer how people make decisions in that seminar environment. They do that extremely carefully, just read their disclaimers where they talk about how everything done in the seminar is "voluntary" and not coerced.
They put that in the disclaimer due to the lawsuits where people say they were tricked and coerced!
So unfortunately, precise education is the only way to counteract the nightmare.
Gut feelings are NOT reliable, as they know how to over-ride those feelings and reprogram them from before you are even aware of it. Byron Katie does that right from the beginning, and Stever Robbins talks about Innoculations to take care of that problem.
So they make your gut feelings the very thing to draw you to them.
People wonder why those people stayed in the death lodge, and this thread is telling people why. Its not a mystery when you know the techniques in use.
The only real simple solution is to just stay away from ALL seminars that start costing hundreds and thousands of dollars. But they lure people in with a free-cheap seminar, then go to work on them. By then its too late.
So why try to move away from one of the few threads, if not the only thread where these ideas are being dissected?
Education is the key, and hopefully some of the bignames in the field will grow a conscience one day and write some books for the general public which explains what is happening.
So of course people are going to do what they think is best for them.
But why try to move away from learning the precise techniques, when the public has ZERO knowledge of them?
Eventually some writers and reporters will do investigations and the body of knowledge will grow and be easier to understand.
But its more accurate to say you actually CAN'T trust a gut-feeling with this area of covert persuasion, as they engineer those feelings in using rapport techniques. If anything, it seems one has to use their analytical mind and critical thinking to the maximum.
Its a very tough problem, no easy solutions.
I did want to make one point that I think is important.
Anyone coming fresh to this will probably find this convoluted talk of NLP and hypnotic manipulators quite overwhelming and frightening in the potential scope for scoundrels to exert control over others.
Houdini was a professional magician who became interested in exposing spiritual fakes and had the professional knowledge to see through a lot of the scams.
His considered opinion was that these scammers would never be eradicated as one of the major functions is as entertainment, and many of them are entertaining to a degree.
However in his book 'The Miracle-Mongers and their Methods' he does make the point that it is unnecessary to understand how these scams are conducted, just to recognise them and avoid the scammer is sufficient:
"The yellow thread of exposure seems to be inextricably woven into all fabrics whose strength is secrecy...."houdinis-lament
If you spot something that does not seem right to you, listen to that voice and walk away. Many of JAR's participants report feeling uncomfortable with some of his tactics but allowed his slick presentation to override those feelings.
Those feelings are the first alarm signals that something is not right, its the first sign of the yellow thread of exposure and should be taken seriously. How you can best spot a scammer is by being aware of the variety of scams, not necessarily by studying up on NLP and hypnosis.
The surest guide is the gut-level intuitive feeling that something is not right. After you walk away you can follow the yellow thread and figure out exactly what the scammer was trying to pull, if you are so inclined.