Landmark Forum predecessor EST "a faddish New Age con game"
Posted by: ajinajan ()
Date: February 16, 2016 12:18AM

Prelutsky, Burt. (February 15, 2016). "The Right Opinion: Musing About the Arts". The Patriot Post. []

The article calls the Landmark Forum Landmark Education Landmark Worldwide predecessor: "EST, a faddish New Age con game concocted by Werner Erhard".

Relevant excerpt about EST / The Forum at:


"I think I first noticed it back in the 60s and 70s when people I knew would spend a lot of money to sit through a weekend at EST, a faddish New Age con game concocted by Werner Erhard. The thing I remember best was that the gullible fools were made to sit through extremely long sessions without taking a bathroom break. I guess it was supposed to show discipline. But I suspect it ushered in the age of adult diapers.

The point of the program seemed to be that selfishness was a virtue and they should never feel guilty about anything they did or would ever do because they were great, and, besides, nobody else in the world mattered in the slightest because they were stupid, poor and had really tiny bladders.

In case you’re too young to have heard of EST or Erhard, he was born John Rosenberg. But when he got married for a second time in 1960, he signed the marriage certificate Curt Wilhelm von Savage. The little woman, whose real name was Celeste Radell, signed on as June Bryde . It seems something else the Baltimore city clerk neglected to notice was that the date was April First. Apparently, Ms. Radell also failed to realize it or she might have more appropriately assumed the alias, April Phool.

When I would ask these latent sociopaths what they had come away with from EST, aside from an aching bladder, they would struggle for words. After losing the struggle, they would say something condescending along the lines of “It was a very profound experience and you really wouldn’t understand.”"

Prelutsky, Burt. (February 15, 2016). "The Right Opinion: Musing About the Arts". The Patriot Post. []

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Re: Landmark Forum predecessor EST "a faddish New Age con game"
Posted by: bensan ()
Date: March 01, 2016 05:08AM

Some years ago I signed up for this dubious form of education. Roger Armstrong was chairing the seminar and his perplexing analogies were just beyond credibility. The question was posed that what water is to fish and air to birds, what is it that mankind can not live without. His answer was opinions and another question was about this little girl who persisted in asking her mum to pick her up. The mother told her to go and play as she was preparing a meal. After some time mum became worried as she didn't hear anything and after looking for her, she found the girl had left the house through an open door and walked onto the road. Mum rushed to her and picked her up and, so Roger proclaimed, that is how this girl achieved what she asked for in the first place. In both cases these are utterly silly conclusions since mankind can not live without either water or air and the door of the house was left open so the little girl ventured outside. In addition there was a woman who confessed to having had an abortion and she told her husband and mother about that since she wanted to start with a clean slate. Roger asked her to come to the stage and asked her how old she was when she had that done. She replied that she was 20 and to the question how old she was while on that stage, she replied she was 42. He then asked her to face him and he said just think of me as your child back then and I am asking you why did you murder me 22 years ago? That did it for me and I left this utterly outrageous seminar which achieves nothing for anyone and this small man Roger Armstrong would be better off doing some constructive work instead of destroying people's equilibrium. He wanted me to return since he claimed I had turned my back on 120 people but since I made it clear I found no value in this and wanted a refund, to which he agreed, but I never did get this refund of some $450.00. It is absolutely amazing that the New Zealand Government have forked out for public servants to attend these brainwashing seminars. Frankly it amounts to a form of pyramid selling and if you happen to be good at it then the rewards will be quite satisfactory.

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Werner Erhard's library in the 1970s
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 03, 2016 10:07PM

Werner Erhard knew what he was doing.

He crafted the "est"/Forum/Landmark racket with scrupulous attention to
word crafting.

A former volunteer described working for Erhard in his private library
and mansion in San Francisco in the 1970s.

Quote,123320,125103#msg-125103These excerpts are quoted from an essay published in
"Times They Were a-Changing: Women Remember the '60s & '70s'
edited by Kate Farrell, Linda Joy Myers & Amber Lea Starfire 2013

In the essay, "Getting It", Kate Farrell described her job as volunteer
librarian at Werner Erhard's residence in San Francisco, Franklin House, in the
1970s, back when the business was called Erhard Seminars Training.

“Getting It” by Kate Farrell pp 233-238

"“Then, suddenly, Werner was there, striding quickly across the stairs to me, tall, lean, handsome, in a black leather jacket and his trademark loose slacks, smiling broadly. Landon, his ever-faithful valet, hurried behind him.

"Embracing me like a lover, Werner said with a perfectly cultivated urbanity, “Thank you for working on my library. I love you.” He kissed me on the cheek in his typical, intimate style. He did not meet my eyes, though. Then with a turn and exit out of the front door with Landon, he was gone. I heard Landon lock the door, securing it.

"....Of course I had seen Werner before and spoken to him, but only in public settings in trainings or at a seminars. One of the first Erhard Seminars Training (est) graduates back in early 1973, I loved the four day training...

(Excerpted for brevity--Corboy)

“..Getting access to this exclusive house intrigued me. I was an opportunity to go behind the scenes and read the very books that Werner read. Little did I anticipate how different the Franklin House environment would be from excitement and fun of the seminars at the animated office....

(Excerpted for brevity--Corboy)

"The interviewer seemed 'painfully determined to convey the rules to me.

“There are standards for working in Franklin House” she said, showing me a packet of papers. The most critical is discretion.” …(sentence excerpted) “Werner would not have asked you to assist in his library if he did not trust you” she said with an earnestness that bordered on anxiety. “Please read over these documents first and sign them.”

"Scanning, I quickly signed the protocols and accepted copies in the packet that I was to review and practice. Though this was a new procedure, it seemed reasonable enough for a private residence.

(Corboy note: Excerpts for brevity. There follows a description of Farrell’s task to classify Werners books according to the Dewey Decimal system. Books were to be thus catagorized and shelved. At first, Farrell worked on one collection of books and in a basement office.)

“As time went on, I began to sense an increasing tension. House alarms went off at random times, for “testing” they said. I noticed a tented room along the side of the house that I heard was painted all black and was taboo: the meditation room."I was never to ask about it, much less enter it.

“I was told that all the library books were to be shelved exactly one-quarter inch from the shelfs’ edge and to measure the distance.

“(Farrell resumes) Over the holidays, three elegantly decorated fir trees were removed and replaced because they were dropping needles. What was at first admirable and disciplined was, to me, becoming obsessive or perhaps paranoid.

"After months alone, reading and cataloguing books, taking books home and studying them, having but not sharing my rising suspicions, I began to conclude that the lofty est training was simply a repackaged mix of scientology, Dianetics, mind control, brainwashing, psychocybernetics, with Zen discipline thrown in for a refined veneer.

“While working in the library on a sunny afternoon, I was surprised to see an older man approach me with some printed pamphlets.

“These are so precious to Werner” he said in a kindly voice. “Please preserve them in the library.”

“Certainly” I said and suggested a Princeton pamphlet file.

"The gracious gentleman left and agreed to procure Princeton files.

“When I read the printed material he gave me, I was stunned: it contained simple Dale Carnegie techniques. To me such pop culture was hardly worth the paper. But when I realized how much these superficial tips fit Werner’s actual behavior, I had to admit these tools were a clear contrivance of his and his trainers. I felt disheartened and disappointed.

“One day Landon (the faithful valet — note first paragraph - Corboy) gave me permission to locate and catalogue books on the second and third floors. I was curious to see what books might be in the upper, even more private levels of this house.

“When I reached the attic room that was Werner’s personal office, I became uneasy. Just entering such a sacrosanct place by myself was unnerving. It was all white: the shag carpet, the painted walls and attic beams, the furniture. The highest turret windows were hung with white curtains. On shelves in that room were videotapes of Werner’s public speeches for his viewing and refining---narcissistic enough. But it was the collection of specialized dictionaries that caught my attention. In a white bookcase on a sidewall were dictionaries of all types: military, medical, law, rhetoric, science, philosophy, psychology, shelves of them.

“Werner’s fixation with the exact meaning of words and the precise delivery of his own speeches showed me the mechanics of a mastermind. I saw the emperor revealed, and he had no clothes. Werner Erhard was a fabricated illusion."

“Quoted excerpts from Getting It” by Kate Farrell pp 233-238

From "Times They Were a-Changing: Women Remember the '60s & '70s'"
edited by Kate Farrell, Linda Joy Myers & Amber Lea Starfire 2013

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