Re: Mankind project
Date: May 13, 2013 09:36AM
It's kind of a weird feeling for me when I realise that MKP is an LGAT. I've been through these forums in the past when I was reading a book called The Sedona Method. I knew about LGATs and didn't want anything to do with them. I had even firmly rebuffed the approaches of Avatar Training in 2011. So how did I end up signing up for a LGAT in 2013?
In the scheme of things, I think MKP is kind of a "stealth" LGAT, or LGAT-lite. It's not really apparent that you are going into any kind of training, because it's billed as an "initiation" process. I purposely steered clear of as many spoilers as I could beforehand. My mind raced: maybe we would end up rappelling down a cliff-face, or racing down a zipline? Maybe I would be rappelling in the nude?
As you all know, it's nothing active like that at all. It's all inner work - guided imagery, shouting, starving, sweating etc. Did I become a man during that? I remember getting handed a talisman at one point. Was that it?
One good thing that came of this experience was that it sparked in me a desire to learn what I could about it all, to put my finger on what this program was, where its processes had come from, how it sat within the context of similar trainings, and so on. It's a rich vein :)
All this LGAT stuff seems to go back to Kurt Lewin and his colleagues, who were all protegés of Jacob Moreno, the father of psychodrama and group therapy in general. Lewin comes up with T-groups, a kind of democratic, leaderless small group format for fostering attitude change and sensitivity. This morphs into encounter groups, fused out of nascent post-war individualism and the cognitive psych revolution. The human potential movement forms around them and the counterculture, and once they are commercialised and popularised, we have the start of the recognisable LGAT industry.
What has been really interesting and eye-opening to me is how the LGAT movement has honed its methodology. Whether from Est or its predecessors, there seems to be a kind of common vocabulary and almost a common parts set. That brings me to MKP.
A lot of focus is given to the NWTA weekend and how kooky/nude/damaging it is. But few scrutinise the optional "homecoming" event, which old LGAT hands would recognise as the venue where they wheel you out as free advertisements for the next crop of potential recruitees.
Thinking back now to my night, I thought it was kind of odd how we didn't just get invited, plonk ourselves down in the front row and wait our turn to shine. Noooo. There was a whole order to the proceedings (as there is for every MKP event). We got shunted out the back, where an elder prepped us for our moment. It felt a little like the imagined moment when your terrorist captors coach you on your delivery for your ransom video ;)
He asked us all questions about how we were feeling, but something didn't feel right. It felt more like smalltalk, like he didn't really care about the answers. This was not a time for exuberance. It was time for the actors to go inside themselves and find their centre. So out came the smudge stick and we called on our spirit brothers blah blah blah. Then he prepped us for what attitude to call up i.e. our integrated archetypal self. Looking back, I have to say it was a good trick! I should use it next time I have to do any public speaking.
With that, we were on. We emerged from behind a black sheet to rapturous applause. We were being loved! I remember momentarily thinking, "It's a bit too rapturous, a bit culty!" before telling my brain to shut up or I would stab it with a Q-Tip.
One by one, we spoke, from the heart, with pathos, with conviction, with salesmanship. Ugghhh. I was selling MKP! Like a good little Moonie, I was out there selling my hard-won growth, only now I had slapped a MKP sticker on it. I was an actor in a much-loved play, and my audience was about to break out in applause at the end of this soliloquy and toss me flowers.
It's the usual shit, the same LGAT playbook. If there's one thing LGATs are good at, it's producing euphoria and glowing self-reports. Catch them in that moment and you have the kind of advertising that companies could only wish for. Oh, and it's free, and they'll even bring their family and friends for you! Ugghhh x 3.
One thing that must be said is that this hot state is also when the more predatory LGATs pull you aside into an exit interview and pressure you to sign up for the next course. MKP is at least different in this respect. There has been a little pressure to come to the PIT training (Primary Integration), but that's free to initiates anyway. Compared to other LGATs, their business model is pretty low-pressure.
I'm still trying to figure out my thoughts on it all. I'm still sure MKP isn't for me - I mean, as a place for me to go for ongoing men's development and support. I can spot building blocks from the Standard LGAT Construction Set, but at the same time, it also feels like a kind of "church" community too, which all the good and bad that comes with that. It almost feels like how I imagined the Freemasons to be.