What happens at an LGAT graduation / free basic intro seminar? It's creepy. (PSI Seminars)
Date: November 09, 2017 03:26PM
TL;DR: If a friend or loved one invites you to a graduation ceremony at PSI Seminars (or other LGAT), you may want to decline. It's a carefully staged hour-long session based on artificial shame, guilt, and commitment. PSI's aim is for you to make a substantial financial and time obligation based only on the emotions they want you to feel, without critical assessment.
Details: I attended a "Free PSI Basic Introductory Seminar". Everyone in attendance were either graduates of the PSI Basic program, PSI staff, or friends/family of graduates. The MC had each group stand up for applause and adoration. But you could tell who was who before that. The graduates were wide-eyed, wearing an overly enthusiastic gaze, the staff had a paternal vibe, overlooking their flock, while the guests seemed confused, waiting for an explanation.
After a short introduction, the instructor of the graduating class walked to the stage. He had the style and flair of a church preacher, cycling his content between three main goals:
1) Inspire group cohesion: He asked yes/no questions that everyone would agree with. "You're either living the life you want to live, or you're settling for less. Am I right?" or "Do you ever start something but you don't have the energy to finish it?" Everyone would agree in unison, particularly the graduates.
He would also inject jokes, often self-deprecating but in good taste. Sometimes the laugh from graduates was alarmingly loud, or robotic. "....HA!...HA!...HA!" At one point, the instructor (clearly a man with genetic baldness) said, "I promise you, we're not a cult. I shave my head on my own accord." It received genuine laughs, even from the guests.
2) Obtain and maintain a commitment: Before he described the course benefits, he asked if we ever lie to ourselves. We all did. He asked everyone if they like being lied to. No one does. Then he emphasized that that it's absurd that we lie to ourselves, knowing how it feels. He then went straight into getting the audience to promise that they'd all at "least listen with an open mind" to his presentation. He would bring up honoring commitments several more times.
3) Emphasize how the guests are loved and are special: After asking the students to describe the course in one word ("Amazing!" "Indescribable!" "Life-changing!"), he said that we must be special since our friends and family would invite us to take part in their graduation. Our friends/family love us, and they want us to be just as happy as they are.
One graduate was nearly manic when describing his success, as if he took a bump of speed or cocaine. He fumbled his words, stuttering in excitement. The instructor took control over the discussion and brought it back into focus quite quickly.
The "content" of the seminar was very thin, talking about how there are things we know we know, we know we don't know, we don't know we know, and we don't know we don't know. It mostly centered on making us commit to listen to our friends/family's experience at the seminar, laugh and agree in unison, ending with asking the guests to ask a question. "Turn to who invited you and ask 'Why do you want me to take this course?'"
As I had arrived alone and had nothing to guilt, shame, or commit to, I wasn't phased by the situation. But I could see the emotion in all the friends/family members' eyes as I left. Many were looking side-to-side, or down, as the graduate expressed their love and confidence about how good the course is.
As I left, one of the senior staff locked her eyes at me and said, "Hello, [NAME]." It was incredibly cold. It felt like she saying "You don't belong here. You need to leave."
Or possibly she was an incredibly cold and icy person. But it was creepy and I left.
I can understand why people sign up for these seminars. The graduates have infectious enthusiasm and I believe that they believe in its effectiveness. Even the instructor seemed like a good guy who believed in his product. It's very convincing, despite being toxic.
That's how they get you. They used your loved ones to guilt you into committing to the program, and once you've taken it, you believe it too (despite no evidence of its effectiveness). It's a mind virus.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/09/2017 03:43PM by SirReal.