Mankind project
Posted by: Mushroomsoup ()
Date: August 28, 2006 02:36AM

Thank you for these last two articles posted. They are important to me. I have participated in MKP and this articulates very well some of my experiences. I am a particular fan of Jung, Marie Louis von Franz, Barbara Hannah and other Jungians who write very articulately on the individuation process.

By MKP having a manipulative conformist model true individuation is not encouraged. I have seen so mush destructive and abusive behavior in MKP and by MKP leaders that it is truly tragic. Other Jungian authors such as Alan B. Chinen and Jean Shinoda Bolen speak about moving beyond the Warrior (Hero) and the Patriarch (King) archetypes which are about one-sided thinking and conformity. Unfortunately MKP encourages men to read David Dieda instead who has scripted out how a real man looks like.

Mankind project
Posted by: nutrino ()
Date: August 28, 2006 10:29AM

There eventually needs to be a maturation where [b:773c0c1d68] integrative processes [/b:773c0c1d68] which are about bringing the individual into the group mind, and using the constructive aspects of the group mind to reinforce the psyche, are brought into balance with the [b:773c0c1d68] diffferentiating processes [/b:773c0c1d68] where the individual learns the confidence and internality to think and feel outside of the group.... IMO, it is the quality of the balance between individuation and integration that leads to stable, healthy, constructive adult awareness. Many, not all, LGATs overvalue and distort the integrative processes without fully understanding them... having said that, we live, or the great majority of us live in a technological economy where the eons old integrative processes have often been degraded to [b:773c0c1d68]"fandom"[/b:773c0c1d68] ... as in being a sports fan, or fascinated with certain bands or celebrities.... these excessive proccupations are [b:773c0c1d68] integrative drives [/b:773c0c1d68] that are searching for an outlet.... many an unscrupulous or opportunistic LGATeer has framed his message as the fulfillment of these integrative hungers... regrettably, modern life, especially modern corporate life, or modern anonymous urban life, offers neither high quality integrative experience, and the rather edgy, combative religiosity we often see today is a partial fulfillment of this integrative hunger without the needed cultural wholeness to really do the job, nor high quality differential experience (this is what the Hero myth is "about") so we are treated to a parade of manufactured "individuals" (think Tom Cruise) who are insubstantial without the backing of a highly professional production apparatus.... Rap stars, media "personalities" going it alone.... not likely.. :roll:

Mankind project
Posted by: ginah ()
Date: August 28, 2006 11:07PM

Self-help for women? It’s a scream
A weekend in the country getting in touch with her inner woman didn’t sound scary, but when Genevieve Fox heard the group wail, it was time to run

“You’re on the bitches’ team,” said a woman wearing a pink T-shirt and matching bandana, as she handed me my name badge (I’d given a false name). “We’ll take you to your bedroom.”
I was shown up to my six-bed dormitory. My usher invited me to remove my jewellery and watch, and to forgo make-up. After finding my “object of comfort” (teddy bears had been suggested before we came), I waited to be summoned. Ten minutes later, 30 wide-eyed women, clutching cuddly toys and Linus blankets, trooped down a flagstone staircase, in silence, and in single file, as instructed.

This isn’t reality TV. Nor is it an open prison. It’s called self-development, a Woman Within Training weekend in a country house in Dorset. I had driven there at 6pm on a Friday evening and, with indecent haste, devoured a Snickers bar before getting out of the car, not knowing whether starvation would be one of the tools used to prime me for the catharsis that the weekend is designed to unleash.

At the top of the stairs, I left my bear. I couldn’t face the infantilism. The women were like Margaret Atwood’s handmaidens: obeisant, unnerving. Trooping to the refectory reminded me of fire drills at boarding school. This time we were aged from 20 to 60 and were beginning our descent into the flames of public confessional. Thirty smiling staff members awaited us, flanking the room. Then came the pep talk. “This is not a cult,” said the Woman Within leader.

“This is not therapy.” It is a personaldevelopment programme.

According to the organisation’s website: “Woman Within Training will take you on a journey — a descent — into yourself. Through this descent you are given the opportunity to re-establish connection with the part of yourself that intuitively knows — your ageless wisdom. It provides an opportunity for you to reclaim a part of yourself that may have been lost, stolen, forgotten or fragmented.”

I had first heard about Woman Within after meeting two men who had been on Warrior Weekends, run by the international Mankind Project, a men’s self-help group, which was formed in Wisconsin, the US, in 1987 and has spawned 27 centres worldwide. Woman Within is its sister organisation.

At the centre, we were instructed first in personal-safety guidelines. We were never to leave our group and had to be accompanied by a staff member on trips to the loo. If we were suicidal, we must tell someone. If someone tried to commit suicide, an ambulance would be called. Self-harm and violence against others were off-limits. Wounds had to be covered, to prevent the spread of HIV. These guidelines seemed unnecessary. Only when the night’s first ritual was over did I see that they weren’t.

At 10.30 we filed into the ornate ballroom. Thirty-five women, all Woman Within “graduates” turned staff members, sat in a circle. We formed a circle within. It was time for the confessional. Each woman was invited to share her demons and tell us how she felt and who she wanted to be, using an identical verbal template, which began: “As a wounded animal, I am a . . . (anything from confident female to loving mother).

” You filled in the blanks. The staff went first, all 35 of them, passing a conch shell from woman to woman, then we followed.

An hour and a half later, I had “witnessed” the personal testimonies of more than 60 women. It left me reeling: incest, rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence, parental rejection, discomfort with femininity or sexuality, marital conflict, self-loathing, terminal illness: all human grief was here. But this was no Jerry Springer show. It was no kite-flying celebration of women either. It was about desperate, often very lonely, women seeking the healing power of a community of women.

“This circle is about witnessing the death of the old you and finding the new you,” said the leader, amid the sound of tears. “It is about affirmation and acceptance in a group of women and about discovering the woman within you.”

Confessional was followed by lights out. The next morning, at 7.30, we were woken by the sound of drumming, accompanied by a Native American poem sung by staff members processing along the corridors. I caught the last line: “Oh, mother, carry me, down to the sea.”

Sacred space was being created. As we arrived for breakfast, the ranks of staff broke into Bette Midler’s The Rose, an anthem of self-love. Most of the women wept into their muesli, myself (to my astonishment) included. The group dynamic was working on me. During the rest of that Saturday we joined individual workshops, witnessed by the whole group. Anyone who nodded off, as I did, was prodded awake.

It was the group wail on the Sunday morning that made me determined to flee. Lying on the floor in the theatre, with a staff member crouching behind each one of us, we were invited to give a sound to the pain we were saying goodbye to, thus making way for the new us. Silence gave way to a single murmur. Then the deep exhalations of all the women began, followed by one solitary, mournful yelp. The woman’s yelp turned into a primal scream, long and from the pit of her being. Then another woman let out a high-pitched scream. And then, suddenly, everyone was at it, screaming their heads off.

“These are healing cries,” whispered a staff member who had seen me flinch and scrunch my eyes. “I don’t care,” I thought. “I’m out of here as soon as this group wail is over.” I had to ask permission to leave and there was much genuine concern about my wellbeing. I told them that the screaming made me feel profoundly uncomfortable, that the depth of the despair on display was intolerable. They urged me to stay, assuring me that the rebuilding, “the ascent”, was about to come. Too late, in my view.

Two days later, I attended the Woman Within graduation ceremony, in a hotel in Bayswater, Central London. Most of the women turned up, looking glamorous in make-up, frocks and heels. They bounded up to each other and hugged each other. “You look great!” said an older woman to one of my dorm mates. “Oh, I feel it,” she beamed. They then stood up, one by one, and said thank you for the weekend. “I like myself for the first time,” said one, tearfully. “I’m not afraid,” said another. I was the only dissenter, sitting in the audience, declining to take part.

How, I wondered as I held the graduation rose I had been handed, would they feel in a week, a month, a year, after they had rejoined the outside communities over which they had no control? Would their new, confident, trusting selves survive the rigours of the real world? Lee Chalmers, a life coach, says that women sign up for courses such as Woman Within willingly and because they are ready to embrace change. Doing such self-development courses, she says, gives you another perspective. “When you leave you’ve gained another choice on how to view your life. You can go back to the way you used to see it, or embrace the new way.”

She adds that weekend courses share certain similarities with therapy: “But they can’t replace the therapeutic process. There’s a support that exists in therapy and a process that couldn’t exist in a single weekend. But you can look at the same issues. You’ve got to be willing to look at your life. If you don’t want to change, there is no point in going to a course about change.”

Others are more sceptical. Maurice Nissum, a consultant psychiatrist and analyst at London’s Group Analysis Practice, is particularly worried by the speed of the process. “It sounds incredibly quick, almost like a revivalist church,” he says. “The idea is that the person will be purged. But that is naive. Groups like this work on an illusion of an instant cure: if you reveal all and express all your emotions, you will be transformed. But very few people are transformed.” He argues that discovering emotional transparency can backfire. “These groups glorify the individual, then they throw you out into an uncertain world. You are supposed to be open about your emotions, but you make yourself very vulnerable. If the next person you share your insecurities with doesn’t speak your touchy-feely language, you could be left out in the cold. ”

Julia Wilson, who co-ordinates Woman Within in the UK, says that it isn’t a short-term project, but a “self-development weekend, leading to belonging to a community that offers ongoing support for women by women”.

But what alarmed me most, aside from the distress caused by being exposed to the heartbreaking stories of more than 60 women, was the power of the group to make people blurt, believe and emote without rational constraint. If that’s your bag, for £495 you can join a Woman Within weekend. As you might easily be able to guess, I won’t be there with you.

Mankind project
Posted by: ginah ()
Date: August 30, 2006 11:45PM

A true “brother”, would never ask someone he “loved” to keep secrets from the person that is their life partner.

A true “brother” would encourage a man to be honest with his life partner.

A true “brother” would never ask of his “brother” to share intimacies with him that should only be shared between a couple.

A true “brother” would never ask his “brother” to become involved with activities that are pushing the line to being homosexual espesially when that man is in a heterosexual relationship.

MKP persons have stated to me that these “activities” were created to break down the barriers that men feel about other men who are homosexuals.

I am sorry, I do not have any issues with homosexuals, I do have a problem with men encouraging my husband to participate in “intimate” activities that should only be participated in between a couple.


Certain activities should only ever be partaken of between a couple, be the couple a man and a man, a woman and a woman, or a man and a woman, or if they choose two men and one woman or one man and two women.

My premise here is that intimate activities should only be between the people that are involved with the relationship. Not some "brothers" joining in and then keeping those activities secret. This would be considered a form of cheating in eyes of most women.

Mankind project
Posted by: Brad69 ()
Date: August 31, 2006 12:01AM

Ginah, by pushing men to participate in activities they would under normal circumstances not consider, MKP is opening those participants up to make greater concessions later on. Eventually, it comes to the point where the men then do things without question. It is a well known tactic.

Once in that position, participants become more pliable and suggestible. They are then very open to coercive persuasion.

Peer pressure is a big factor in such exercises. Humiliation and shame, involving both the state of undress, and also involving being the one who is [i:fe86ba1f07]not[/i:fe86ba1f07] comfortable doing the exercise are used.

There's more to it, but I'm not going to go there. Suffice to say that the pressures and tactics applied on MKP are repeated on numerous other LGATs, in forms that parallel what MKP does.

The results are predictable and all too often they are damaging.

Mankind project
Posted by: andychee ()
Date: August 31, 2006 03:31AM

Some guys at a meeting told me about the new warriors and said I should join up. I was thinking about it but wanted to find out because they were sort of strange guys and wouldn't tell mee to much about what went on.
Anyway it was at an aa meeting.
I wouldn't go now anyway because it isn't Christain and I am and some people wrote that they run around naked in the woods doing weird things.
They have this other group called Boys to Men and it seems like parents should never send their kids there if that's what goes on. But I didn't see anything about children here. I didn't read the whole thing, though.
Does anybody know about that?

Mankind project
Posted by: ginah ()
Date: August 31, 2006 11:23PM

Some guys at a meeting told me about the new warriors and said I should join up. I was thinking about it but wanted to find out because they were sort of strange guys and wouldn't tell mee to much about what went on.
Anyway it was at an aa meeting.
I wouldn't go now anyway because it isn't Christain and I am and some people wrote that they run around naked in the woods doing weird things.
They have this other group called Boys to Men and it seems like parents should never send their kids there if that's what goes on. But I didn't see anything about children here. I didn't read the whole thing, though.
Does anybody know about that?

This group is just as "secretive" as MKP. I can't imagine ever sending my child to a camp of anykind whatsoever that would not give me details of what my child would be doing. As far as I am concerned parents who send their child to something like this are being abusive and should have the child removed from their care immediately.

As far as I am concerned this group should be shut down. I am not saying that the claims they make are not honerable claims, becuase they are, just as the claims MKP makes are honerable. But, to keep secrets from the parent (MOM) as to what takes place with the "reasons" they give is just plain stupidity and opening the doors to abuse.

You can bet that if a child goes through this that the LGAT techniques would work just as well if not better than on an adult. The child then makes a non disclosure agreement. They would never tell Mom of the abuses that they go through. (and IMHO these LGAT weekends are abuse)

The specific processes used at rites of passage are kept confidential. That is so younger members of the community do not receive the adult information before they are ready, because rites of passage are considered sacred and personal and should not be treated casually, and because rites of passage rely on a degree of theater, surprise, and spontaneous response that would be lost if participants knew in advance what was going to happen.

(And so that Mom's don't know the dangerous techniques that will be used on her child)

I understand that the Boys-to-Men Mentoring Network Training Adventure (“Training”) is a personal growth and
development course and involves known and unanticipated risks which [b:8bd14ee3c8]could result in physical or emotional injury[/b:8bd14ee3c8],
paralysis, [b:8bd14ee3c8]death[/b:8bd14ee3c8], illness, or damage to myself, to property, or to third parties. I understand that such risks simply
cannot be eliminated without jeopardizing the essential qualities of the activity. These risks include, among other things:
A. The nature of the training itself which involves:
1. Strenuous and vigorous, physical, mental, emotional, and intellectual activity such as outdoor and indoor games during day or night, role playing (e.g. enactments of past events, feelings or parts of psyche or personality) and exercises and processes which may include or result in physical, mental or emotional stress, distress and fatigue (e.g.
Facing and overcoming physical, emotional or mental obstacles to the achievement of goals);
2. [b:8bd14ee3c8]The potential for death[/b:8bd14ee3c8]; for injury to skeletal-neuro-muscular system (such as strains, fractures, ruptures, bruises,
loss of limb or loss of use of limb, paraplegia and quadriplegia), to internal organs, to cardiovascular system (such as
elevated blood pressure, elevated pulse, heart attack, aneurysm, hemorrhage or stroke), to eyes or ears (loss of sight
or hearing), to body ( such as scrapes, scratches, punctures, lacerations) and to mental health (such as depression or
traumatization relating to past psychological history); and
3. The potential for change with respect to such matters as: education, career, job or business; relationships with
family, friends, women, fellow youth, co-workers, and behavior in social, personal or school and business settings.
B. The acts or omissions of B2M who may, among other things, be ignorant of any participant’s fitness or abilities;
misjudge the weather, the elements, or the terrain; or give inadequate instructions, warnings or advice.
C. Latent or apparent defects or conditions in the equipment or property supplied by B2M or other persons or
entities as well as the use or operation of such equipment.
D. Acts of other participants in this training or other persons.

The potential for death huh? Well, don't they think that if they are working with children, that if what they do have the potential to cause death or emotional stress THAT THEY SHOULD CHANGE THEIR TACTICS. A CHILD SHOULD NEVER BE PUT IN SUCH A SITUATION UNDER THE GUISE OF GROWING. We are supposed to protect our children, not put them in situations that could harm them.

Mankind project
Posted by: Brad69 ()
Date: August 31, 2006 11:30PM

Ginah, your post is SCARY.

But let's take it beyond children. Why should the potential for death or injury exist for anyone on any course?

Surely, the life of any individual, whether a child or an adult, is sacred, and no risk involving the potential loss of a life should be considered worth taking.

That is sick!

Mankind project
Posted by: ginah ()
Date: September 01, 2006 01:18AM

Ginah, your post is SCARY.

But let's take it beyond children. Why should the potential for death or injury exist for anyone on any course?

Surely, the life of any individual, whether a child or an adult, is sacred, and no risk involving the potential loss of a life should be considered worth taking.

That is sick!

<Why should the potential for death or injury exist for anyone on any course?>

Agreed wholeheartedly, my thinking here was that children are supposed to be protected by the parents who say "I love you", not sent to something that could cause them harm.

Parents, are supposed to be the protectors of their children, not the other way around.

I do not expect children to "research" a group that has become an interest for whatever reason, the parents are supposed to do that.

Children have a trust in their parents (in general). If a parent tells them this will be good for them, they believe that. Which means that anything that takes place on the weekend the child "believes" in before they even get there.

The group might say that they give the children a "choice" to participate or not, but, a child does not always have the ability to say "NO". Peer pressure in schools and in life have already proven that.

Ha, even adults on these types of weekends can't say NO and are peer pressured into doing things they would normally never do. So how can we even think that children can make such choices?

I view my role as a parent to teach my children how to be responsible when they grow up, and how to be accepting of who they are and love themselves and to be compassionate human beings.

I do not view my role as being a parent who sends their children to something that refuses to give information about what takes place or to send my child into a reality that could potentially cause harm.

Just as when my children ask to spend the night at someones house. I do not send them without getting to know the parents first, knowing what they will be doing, and who the adults in the house will be. Even down to if my child will be in a vehicle with an adult, I make sure the adult has insurance on their vehicle.

The role of a responsible parent is to protect, love, teach their child, and giggle with them.

Mankind project
Posted by: ginah ()
Date: September 07, 2006 11:23PM

I am reading a book called "Cults in our Midst" by Margaret Singer. So far I am learing a lot. I would suggest this book to anyone who would like to learn more about what is happening in their lives.

It has a section on LGATs as well as info about the dynamics of cults. So far what I am reading puts MKP right smak dab in the middle of LGATs and cult type groups.

I find it interesting that on the MKP web site they mention that they are not a cult, (as well as the Woman Within group) but do not give any reasons why they do not consider themselves a cult.

Margaret Singer does go into how she was constantly being harassed by groups in many ways that shocks me. As well as the fact that in our country their is no real legal recourse (at least not much) for people in regards to LGATs and Cults. It seems to be a human notion of blaming the victim, and those that are "sucked into" an LGAT or Cult ARE victims.

When reading this book it reminded me of a message on one of these sites from an MKP person that "we should all be hunted down and sued" (something like that). I consider this a form of emotional threat to those of us speaking out about the harms done to us. IE: Create fear in those "complaining" and they will shut up.

I think that when society finally realizes that LGAT members and Cult members ARE victims, then we will have more legal actions that could be taken against these groups. Sadly, I think it will take someone of importance in this country (a presidential family member etc who is willing to speak up) to become involved in one of these groups before things change.

Many former members of such groups are also "afraid" to speak out, or feel ashamed that they become involved with such groups, or afraid of their decision making abilities. This is a common theme and these groups knowingly create this within their members.

So, I whole heartedly suggest this book to everyone. Even those involved in MKP or other groups that are willing to be open minded and are willing to think for themselves instead of letting someone else tell them what to think.


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