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Werner Erhard's intent - Pure scam or deluded egomania?
Posted by: anonday ()
Date: May 19, 2017 08:34AM

I have a question about Werner Erhard's intent behind Landmark. I'm watching a documentary on him, and it's creepy now that I believe it intentionally brainwashes people. However, here's my thought: do you think Erhard's goal from the beginning was to start a scam he knew would trick people and make him a lot of money? Or do you think he believed his own lies and thought he really should be the leader to take people into some new era of thinking?

Either way, it's evil. But it makes me wonder: how could someone be so evil as to knowingly push such mean things onto people with the understanding that the net result is negative? For example, I can imagine a nun abusing a child in school because they feel the net outcome will be positive. The kid might have lifelong trauma from it, but it made them pay attention and get more benefits than if the nun just let the kid be "bad".

But if the nun knew slapping the kid's wrists would ultimately result in a net negative on that person's life, could she do it? Do you think nuns enjoy hurting people, or do you think it's just a consequence of necessary order?

So, that takes it back to Erhard. Did he see the physical abuse, the intentional brainwashing (I'm certain he knowingly used techniques to manipulate people to make them learn what he thought would truly help them), and the negative consequences of his seminars as just part of the process of making a real difference?

Or, did he not care about that and just want money?

Please share any documents, links, videos or other sources that can help me. Thanks so much and thank you Rick Ross for saving lives.

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Re: Werner Erhard's intent - Pure scam or deluded egomania?
Posted by: kdag ()
Date: May 19, 2017 03:14PM


I don't know how much it matters whether or not they/Warner believe that they are making you a "better" person.

They sell their courses as programs that will make you more effective in your own life, and something that will help you to fulfill your own goals. What they do, once you are in, is to try to hijack your time and money toward THEIR agenda, and try to make you into the kind of person THEY want you to be. If they have a social goal, it seems to be to get people to accept totalitarian authority, and without complaining.

Keep in mind that YOU are the customer. YOU are paying them, but they try to put the shoe on the other foot from the minute you walk in the door. They invade peoples' privacy, and try to exert authority that they don't actually have. The only authority that these people do have is to ask you to leave their premises.

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Re: Werner Erhard's intent - Pure scam or deluded egomania?
Posted by: kdag ()
Date: May 19, 2017 07:24PM

The other part if this is informed consent.

Someone else posted some time ago, (in fact there have been several posts like this), about hypnotic induction in an LGAT, and how the leader was describing what is happening in the mind during hypnosis AS he is doing this, but not informing participants that he was doing it. I had some kind of soundtrack used on me, again without any kind of consent. The effects were undesirable and unpleasant, and may have caused long-term damage.

These techniques can sometimes be used in therapeutic settings, but always with signed, informed consent AND by someone who is qualified. Landmark specifically states, on the waiver they have you sign, that they are NOT mental health professionals or doctors, and that the program IS NOT therapeutic in design, methodology or intent. In reading their waiver, one would reasonably come to the conclusion that they WOULD NOT use any such techniques.

Once again, their ultimate goal or intent doesn't matter. They are out of line on so many levels.

In some of the literature, they apparently do state that they have a couple of psychiatrists as consultants, but even then, at no point have participants established a therapeutic relationship with these people, nor have they ever signed a consent for treatment. I would assume that any psychiatrist who would recommend the use of these methods, under these circumstances, would be guilty of malpractice.

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Erhard was into manipulating people by manipulating words
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 19, 2017 08:11PM

Erhard put a lot of time and thought - and practice -- to craft his
seemingly spontaneous speech and behavior.

Someone volunteered in Erhard's private library and described what she discovered.


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Re: Werner Erhard's intent - Pure scam or deluded egomania?
Posted by: anonday ()
Date: May 24, 2017 02:04AM

kdag: thanks for your thoughts.

"I don't know how much it matters whether or not they/Warner believe that they are making you a "better" person."

If I understand you correctly, you're saying we should look at the consequences more than the intent. Whether Werner really wants to help or not, the consequences of his words and programs are so bad that everyone should stay away regardless.

I agree with that, and I would go further and say that everything Werner does is bad, including the stuff that actually helps people, because any good he does is used as advertising for the bigger problem, which ultimately looks like slavery within not only his view of life, but also his legal power over you as one of his "employees", presuming you fall for the trap of joining Landmark's team.

Your thoughts on hypnotic induction also ring true to me. The reason I still find it important to know Werner's intent is this: if the goal is to change people for the "better", then Landmark is just relatively as dangerous as Catholicism. Christianity might be OK, just like how Catholicism has Christian concepts packaged in a way to manipulate and control. Landmark takes useful concepts and uses them for their own manipulation and control. But I don't really care about the Catholic church because I don't feel like their brand of brainwashing necessarily destroys the fabric of society like Landmark can. Catholicism isn't a $500 3 day seminar. I can go to a Catholic church for free and never pay anything. I also don't think the Catholic church's primary goal is to enslave you into being one of their unpaid servants.

If Werner's goal was relatively as "benign" as the Catholic Church's then I would still avoid it but feel like he's just a delusional egomaniac. But if Werner's goal is more malicious, with the intent of tricking people into being his slaves with no desire to truly help, then he can't be convinced that his methods are bad because he already knows they are. It's like telling a murderer that murdering is bad. Most murderers already know that, but their goal isn't to help, so it doesn't matter. Werner can't be un-brainwashed because his very goal was to be a snake oil salesman. But if he's more like a heretic, a guy who genuinely wants to help, then maybe it's just a matter of ignoring and moving on.

If his real goal is to destroy people, then I feel more compelled to contact the US government to get Landmark and similar LGAT brainwashing made illegal.

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Re: Erhard was into manipulating people by manipulating words
Posted by: anonday ()
Date: May 24, 2017 02:05AM

Corboy: thanks. I've read that document several times. This question is for anyone reading: do you know where I can get more specific info about Werner's library? What specific books did he read, for example?

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Re: Erhard was into manipulating people by manipulating words
Posted by: kdag ()
Date: May 24, 2017 02:02PM


Not just the consequences vs the intent, but the overreach, and the complete lack of respect for boundaries.  Not only does Landmark, (deliberately), fail to respect boundaries as an organization, but they seem to train this into the people who go higher up in their programs.

I sincerely believe that Landmark trains people to assume authority that they don't actually have, (to a great extent by acting "as if" they do), and wield it over the lives of others.

I can't believe how easily people, including myself, fall in line and give away our power over our own lives. Something inside of us can apparently be convinced, even if we know better intellectually. They use language to great effect, but it is also the delivery, and the body language.

The domestic partner of the person who recruited me had trained beyond the ILP.   I was talking to my recruiter about boundary violations, and she told me that her partner had been told that, "Boundaries are for cattle," by a trainer at one of her out of town Landmark  marathon trainings. I don't recall the name of the program, and it may have been for staff only. The partner had also worked at Landmark as a paid staff member.

In addition, these people not only recruit from 12-step and other support  groups, but are also not above using information that you may have disclosed in support groups to gain leverage. Just by casually letting you know that they have this information,  they threaten you without overtly threatening you.
Add to this the fact that the first two days of the forum are spent deliberately tearing down peoples' self-concepts and identities. They do this with premeditation.

When I look at all of this, and compare it to everything that I have ever read about narcissists and other "Cluster B" types, it seems to me that the intent HAS to be bad.

A narcissist may or may not have the self-awareness to realize that his intent is bad, but this is a scripted program, which has been going on for forty years, into which people are aggressively, manipulatively  recruited. If you look at the level of organization involved, i don't believe that anything there is unintentional.

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Re: Erhard was into manipulating people by manipulating words
Posted by: kdag ()
Date: May 24, 2017 03:02PM


I can't really say anything about the Catholic church, as I have had little exposure.

What I do know is that corporal punishment has been used in schools, in various periods, and that this has occurred in both religious and secular schools.

Corporal punishment has also been widely used by parents, and i always assumed that any such thing done in any school was with the consent of the parents, even if tacit.

I think that most parents, and by extension, the school staff, are genuinely trying to correct the behavior of the child to basic social norms. I may not agree with it, and there is definitely coercion involved, but I don't know that it is outside the realm of "normal" discipline, (unless overly severe).

The difference I see is that,  in the case of parents and the schools to which they choose to send their kids, the authority is at least mostly  legitimate. In the case of LGATS, it is not. You are a supposedly, more or less, self-governing adult, and have paid to take a seminar. And that's all. Or at least that's what it says in the language of the consent form. Nowhere on that form do I see anything about giving them authority to discipline me, or worse.

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Re: Erhard was into manipulating people by manipulating words
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 24, 2017 10:01PM


In addition, these people not only recruit from 12-step and other support groups[/quote

If you are aware of anyone in a 12 step group recruiting for an entity such as Landmark or some other guru, such as Byron Katie, I would advise talking to the secretary who conducts the meeting. If the person seems unwilling or resistant, take your concerns further and contact the central office for the AA district in which the meeting takes place.

Be steady, thoughtful, be calm. (There is a reason why, even in the USA, the slogan

Keep Calm & Carry On has become deservedly popular)

Thoughtful members of 12 Step groups do worry about anything that could drag "outside issues" into a meeting and cause discord.

But the Prime Directive for the 12 Step tradition is that a meeting must remain
a confidential space and a safe space exempt from scamming, pickup artistry, panhandling and proselytizing for entities other than !2 Step. For example, it would be recognized as wrong for someone to abuse AA meetings by using them to recruit for a rehabilitation program covertly affiliated with Scientology.

Anyone who uses a 12 Step group to recruit subjects into something else is violating
the 12 Traditions.

Tragically, not nearly enough people are aware of the 12 traditions, though they are read at the beginning of every AA meeting.


Anyone who abuses 12 Step meetings to recruit for Landmark, for Byron Katie, for any guru or anything other than 12 Step programs violates these traditions.

The 12 Traditions were developed specifically to prevent AA from turning into an obnoxious, personality driven cult.

In AA you are free to choose your sponsor and can fire your sponsor. You can try out different meetings and stick with the one you like best.

Above all, you are free to follow a higher power of your understanding. Many atheists report that the cosmos or just simply the human family is their higher power.

You are welcome even if you have no funds.

People who are drunk or high can attend meetings so long as they are mannerly.

The guiding principle is that of anonymity, summed up as

Who you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here."

This was put in place, because addicts and alcoholics do have reason to fear stigmatization and blackmail.

One is never, but never to proslytize to anyone. Deceit is recognized as part of the disease of addiction, and people who work the 12 steps do so to relearn how
to life a life free from deceit.

"Hustling" is also recognized as part of the disease of addiction. Scheming and
hustling and gaming to recruit for an entity such as Landmark is no different
than hustling for gambling money or going "on a mission" score heroin, speed or crack.

Ditto for behaving as a pick up artist (PUA).

The essence of addiction is use of other persons as objects for your own (or Werner Erhard's) ego driven agenda.

To abuse a 12 Step environment to recruit people into guru lead groups and trainings meant to generate profit and which conceal their methods is itself an act of deceit.

One of the statements that governs 12 Step groups is "Principles Before Personalities." This contrasts with the slavish veneration of Werner Erhard and also contrasts with the authoritarian behavior of forum leaders as described on CEI.

In 12 Step groups run according to the traditions (as all of them should), leadership positions are on limited terms with regularly scheduled elections in which all members of a meeting participate and have an equal vote. This is to prevent one person from dominating and taking over a meeting as his or her personal turf.

It is the 12 Step tradition to avoid accumulation of excess money, property and prestige. Finances are open book.

[] -short form

1.) Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
2.) For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
3.) The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
4.) Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
5.) Each group has but one primary purpose to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
6.) An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
7.) Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8.) Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
9.) A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
10.) Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
11.) Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
12.) Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/25/2017 10:06AM by corboy.

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Re: Erhard was into manipulating people by manipulating words
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 25, 2017 10:43AM

"Hustling" is also recognized as part of the disease of addiction. Scheming and
hustling and gaming to recruit for an entity such as Landmark is no different
than hustling for gambling money or going "on a mission" score heroin, speed or crack.

This is just a lay person's hunch on my part, but I dare wonder if there are similarities between people who create cult empires such as Werner Erhard, and persons addicted to gambling.

Cult leaders are never still. They have to keep moving, keep the momentum going, keep conquering more and yet more people, just as gamblers need to keep cash flow going to pursue yet another dream of victory.

There's an interesting book entitled America Anonymous.

Cult leaders talk. They are spell binders. Now read this about gamblers.


Later in America Anonymous, a counselor at an inpatient treatment facility described how gambling addicts required a different approach than drug addicts and alcoholics.

The counselor noted that the addicts and alcoholics mostly wanted to isolate. Unless given a structured schedule of activities, they'd stay in their rooms, isolate and sleep.

By contrast, the gambling addicts always had a scheme going. They were thinking, planning, scheming.

The counselor said that the gambling addicts denied all access to telephones and computers. The gambling addicts were mentally and physically active; for them inactivity was painful, to be avoided at all costs.

Only by being deprived of all outlets for planning and scheming could the gambling addicts begin to face their inner demons - whatever it was that drove them to hustle and gamble.

Bucky Sinister wrote Get Up, a gritty and readable guide for people in recovery. He states that many hard core addicts need an outlet for their energies.

These are the risk taker addicts, the creatives, the ones who do not take no for an answer.

To sum it up, Bucky says that many addicts of which he was one, are hustlers. If you are a hustler, you will spend hours finding a way to scam just a few bucks for
your next drink or next hit of whatever drug you need.

You use people, you wait, you plan, you scheme.

Bucky calls this the Hustle Monkey. And if a person like this goes into recovery, they will relapse unless they find an honest, compassionate non exploitative way
to put that hustle monkey to work.

Honest work, work that respects people and respects them when they say NO.

My hunch is that cult leaders are like gamblers and perhaps other very hard core drug addicts. They have to hustle, always need a scheme going.

But the cult leader just has to conquer people, the way the gambler wants to conquer betting odds and the way the junkie or crackhead needs to get his or her next shot.

Each addict has a different life story, a different set of motives.

But they all have the same effect -- they hurt people.

And not all of them are interested in recovery.

The only realistic thing to do is find ways to warn the general public
so the general public can avoid these people, or get out of their
clutches as soon as possible.

We know plenty about the harm done by speed freaks and methamphetamine

People are dying from opiate overdoses.

But the general public does not yet know enough about
a special group of "people addicts" -- cult leaders, who are never content
but who always want more, more more.

That is where Cult Education Institute comes in.

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