Yes, an individual can be obsessed--and I do think that my former partner is so now with HAI. Although, to me, it's less like an "obsession" and more like an "addiction," because he seems willing to toss everyone and everything overboard if they get in the way of him feeding his "HAI habit."
That's too bad. Personally I think it's a good organization, but everything should be taken in moderation. My wife and I like what they are doing. Until and unless we see something that counterindicates that, and as we are able, we intend to help them do it.
I can only observe that most of the folks he runs with now seem similarly obsessed, so I think that's a strong reason to believe that HAI itself has cult-like tendencies--the secrecy, the symbolism (the ASL "I love you" sign), the vernacular, and the implicit encouragement to prefer HAI people over non-HAI people--that the HAI community is "safe," but the ouside world isn't.
Well, we've talked about the "secrecy" before, I see the necessity of it, and I don't see any evil intent behind it. There are a lot of people out there who have done HAI. Why is it that almost none of them have anything bad to say about it? I've looked, and found almost nothing.
The ONE fellow I did find, seems to have a problem with pretty much everything he's exposed to. For as touchy a subject as HAI addresses, as emotionally charged as that is, that seems to me to be a very good sign.
Trust me, HAI has no equivalent of the Sea Org.
Symbolism and Vernacular go with most organizations, hihi.
Now the implicit preference is something that I do see, but I see why it is that way. I do believe that the way that HAI teaches to be with others is good. Now with non-hai people, they aren't exposed to that. With a hai person, all that is already understood, and we know we are operating on the same ground rules. So it's easier with hai people. But that's the only differentiation that I'm aware of. Daydreamr and I had discussed this some time back. Now this isn't something that HAI creates, other than by the fact that they exist. Similarly, I would find it hard to talk to a non-ham about ham radio. There's terminology and non-shared experience that would be difficult to explain.
Interestingly, despite our divergence on HAI, daydreamr and I are still good friends. Because of that shared experience, I feel comfortable discussing anything with her. Even things that others would find shocking. Neither of us feels the need to "fix" the other, because we aren't broken, even though we make in some areas wildly different choices.
The connection between HAI and swinging is something that I'm looking at now. Yes, my wife and I have joined a swing club. That's not something that was promoted by HAI, or endorsed, or "pushed" in any way. But they did open our eyes to the fact that it was a real option for us.
Painting any large body of people with a broad brush is dangerous, but we are discovering that swinging is largely misunderstood by the general public. It's a lot more about social interaction, than about sex. We decided to take this path after discovering that my wife is bisexual. Post HAI, I don't have any jealousy issues over that, or any other reason to hold her back. This seems a good way to meet like-minded women. We are secure enough in our relationship that simply having sex with someone else isn't a threat.
Polyamory is something that I've always felt was right, since first exposed to the idea back in the early 70's. I just didn't know that it was "real" until recently. Discussions on a poly list led me to HAI. Why do people see love as something to withhold? A frequently used analogy is that I have multiple children, and I don't love each 1/2 strong. Polyamory, rightly done, isn't ABOUT sex, but adults in love frequently do have sex.
Rather than saying that HAI promotes these things, I would say that they don't discourage them. They encourage you to open your eyes, and really look at your options, and to make your own choices, rather than let society or anyone else choose for you.
BTW, my former partner is a lifelong ham and has recently achieved a special position in the ham organization that he had wanted for a long time. Now, he doesn't seem to even give a damn about it, and I haven't heard him talking about radio in ages--it's just HAI, HAI, HAI and sex, sex, sex. He's living in HAI workshop world, not the real world, in my opinion.
I'm still involved with CERT, Skywarn, Red Cross, Ham radio (maintaining five repeaters, and owning two, building another) plus a lot of family and family activities.
Nothing, and nobody in HAI has ever told me to discard my outside contacts, unlike scientology or other similar organizations.