Landmark and authenticity
Date: April 07, 2006 09:21PM
This is a little something I had post last year about the concept of authenticity among other things.
In the Harvard report (A Harvard Business School Case Study: Landmark Education Corporation: Selling a Paradigm Shift), it is claimed that:
“Philosophers whom Erhard and Landmark acknowledge as having contributed to their work, include Aristotle, Albert Camus, Jurgen Habermas, Martin Heidegger, Immanuel Kant, Plato, Jean-Paul Sartre, Socrates, Charles Taylor, and Ludwig Wittgenstein”.
This is very misguiding. Clearly, none of these philosophers have “contributed” to Landmark’s work. At most, Erhard took from these philosophers some ideas and have developed it’s so called “technology” by distorting the philosophy if not by being in total contradiction with some of the core ideas. For example, let me quote our modern philosopher Charles Taylor from his book “The ethic of authenticity” aka “The Malaise of Modernity”. In his book, Charles Taylor says about the concept of “authenticity” (chapII, p 15):
“… the culture of self-fulfillment has led many people to loose sight of concerns that transcend them … . This can even result in a sort of absurdity, as new modes of conformity arise among people who are striving to be themselves, and beyond this, new forms of dependence, as people insecure in their identities turn to all sorts of self-appointed experts and guides, shrouded with a prestige of science or some exotic spirituality”.
This excerpt tells me clearly that if Landmark took anything from Taylor’s philosophy, it is described as an “absurdity” by Taylor himself!
About “authenticity”, Charles Taylor also writes in Chap VI, p. 59 of that same book:
“… deviancy in the culture of authenticity is to be traced to the fact that this is being lived in an industrial-technological-bureaucratic society… instrumental reason is evident in a host of ways in various facets of the human-potential movement, whose dominant purpose is intended to be self-fulfillment. Very often we are offered techniques, based on supposed scientific findings, to achieve psychic integration or peace of mind. The dream of the quick fix is present here too, as elsewhere, in spite of the fact that from the very beginning, and still today, the goal of self-fulfillment has been understood as antithetical to that of mere instrumental control. A quick-fix technique for letting go is the ultimate contradiction.”
Again, this excerpt tells me that the “quick-fix” techniques proposed by Landmark’s and other self-fulfilling technologies are described by Taylor as being an “ultimate contradiction”.
Therefore, Landmark’s claim that Charles Taylor has contributed to the development of their technology is a lie. It is clear from Charles Taylor’s book that he doesn’t endorse any of Landmark’s technology. On the contrary, Charles Taylor describes this approach to authenticity a “deviant form of authenticity” or “authenticity not properly understood”. From the above excerpt, it also describes Landmark's technology as an "absurdity" and an "ultimate contradiction" for self-fullfilment.