LGAT and introspection?
Posted by: Savernake ()
Date: September 07, 2004 10:37PM

I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts as to whether there's any connection between introspection (or lack of it) and susceptibility to LGAT?

It's often struck me that people who get into that sort of think aren't particular introspective, and yet I've often heard that that's just the sort of person they target.

Our pal who's become involved is markedly [b:b1ab18a491]un[/b:b1ab18a491]introspective -- and it just seems to me that the flaws in this sort of thinking are fairly apparent if you just stop and think about it for a few moments.

Anyone else have any views?

(note, I posted this as a response to another message initially by mistake!)

LGAT and introspection?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 07, 2004 11:34PM

Even if a person takes just one seminar and never goes to another, thats still a clear profit of a couple hundred USD, Euros, Pounds.

If someone can be persuaded to return for yet more workshops--thats a steady profit stream.

Dont just concentrate on the mental content of these seminars. If you scroll down on the 'Large Group Awareness Training/HP Seminars thread, you will find a very informative series of posts entitled 'Manipulating the Room Environment'

It appears from various reports from former participants that it may not just be the verbal content thats's powerful; the stress, sleep deficit, peer pressure and a particular type of room set up may work to affect the human body, as well as the mind.

Its more than a matter of whether someone is introspective or not.

LGAT and introspection?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 07, 2004 11:37PM

Its more than a matter of whether someone is introspective or not.

First thing is, appeal to curiosity and shame people for being skeptical. Get them into the room and then get them to pry open their check book.

If you go the Large Group Awareness Trainings/Human Potential thread, scroll down until you find a cluster of posts entitled 'Manipulating the Room Environment'.

Read what's there. There is some information from former participants that suggests its more than just the verbal content; the entire physical and social set up of the room and the scripted social interactions all appear to work together--even if people are not introspective, they might still be affected.

LGAT and introspection?
Posted by: Savernake ()
Date: September 08, 2004 12:03AM

No no! What I actually meant was, it seems to me that it would be less likely that intorspected people would be affected, even though the things you always hear about cults say that they target more shy introspective types.

This friend of ours who has got into Landmark -- he is very outgoing and opinionated, not introspective at all. He rarely gives the impression of thinking things through at all, he's very much a bull at a gate type. He doesn't fit the stereotype, and yet seems to have swallowed their message completely.

My husband and I are much shyer, more introspective types, and yet both of us were put off just by his mania and "salespitch" type approach. My mother believes all this sort of stuff completely -- I was just reading the PSI doctrines in another post and this is completely the sort of stuff my mother used to preach to me as a child. And yet I always rejected it.

I was just wondering -- the now-Landmark friend always struck me as a real individualist, a proud non-conformist. But he seems to love the baa-sheep elements to this group (he even said that he realises now that he tried to be different because he decided early on that he "didn't fit in"). By contrast, I've always felt that I'm too easily influenced by others, that my opinions are easily moulded -- and yet this philosophy is something I have always balked at, always. My husband could say exactly the same about himself.

I realise my sample size is small so I was wondering if anyone else saw similar connections, or if my experience and that of my friend are just anomalies.

LGAT and introspection?
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: September 08, 2004 03:48AM

The first step to becoming involved in Landmark is to be invited to either a special introductory night or be invited by someone you know who is completing their Forum or other seminar. I was introduceed to Landmark via my doctor who was using his practice to recruit.

Both types of people can be recruited. In fact, LGATs like Landmark love more outgoing, persuasive types because they have the potential to persuade many more people to sign up for courses.

LGATS can then manipulate people whatever way they want, for instance, criticizing skepticism, embracing charisma to only make it a better tool, etc.

LGAT and introspection?
Posted by: Sylvia ()
Date: September 08, 2004 01:32PM


Hey Savernake,

I have read more of your posts today and have had some more thoughts on your situation.

My first post on this board was about how I have been saying no to EST and Landmark for about twenty-five years. My most recent encounter with Landmarkism started when an old childhood friend called me to try to enroll me in Landmark. She had done EST in the 1970’s and went to Landmark two years ago after her third divorce and an encounter with cancer. The realizations she had after both of those experiences scared her and she was looking for a review of her beliefs and a supportive group to join.

She didn’t tell me that she had returned to Landmark at the time and last year when she came to town to visit family and friends she didn’t try to enroll me. She was doing the Advanced Course at the time. But this year she is in the Self Expression and Leadership Program which is where participants are required to enroll new people as part of the program. They must enroll a certain number of people in an Introductory Evening before they themselves can lead an introductory evening - in other words become a certified un-paid salesperson. Of course participants are asked to start selling from day one in level one - the Forum - by calling their family and friends to tell them how wonderful it is and how much they are already learning, but not everyone complies with that idea.

In Landmark courses participants are encouraged to ‘enroll’ the people in their lives into their new way of being in general terms. Then Landmark connects that concept to getting the participants to ‘enroll’ their acquaintances in Landmark courses specifically.

Landmark people used to use much more obnoxious enrolling techniques. They must have lost some potential customers because they have toned down and have become ‘kinder and gentler’ over time. However, and this is insidious, they use the fact that they have become kinder and gentler as their latest sales tactic. My friend used this tactic on me. When I told her that when I attended an introductory evening in the early 1990’s the staff people weren’t terribly obnoxious about enrolling me. She said that she was amazed because many people had complained about it over the years and that now Landmark organization was ‘getting better’ and not using such irritating tactics on people.

So they have adjusted to what customers want and will respond to - because they are a company and they need customers. Anyway, my friend used her most possibly effective techniques AFTER I said no and told her that I would not join because I needed sleep to prevent me from becoming manic and just the stress of the long days would probably set me off too. She just kept coming at me and I just kept saying no. I also used her new language when I said that I would find a way to do ‘new possibilities in my life’ some other way that wouldn’t jeopardize my mental health. She ‘got it’ as they say. I didn’t insult her and we will continue to be friends. I am learning how to communicate with her more effectively and maintain contact by reading Steven Hassan’s book.

When my friend called me to enroll me I was needing some inspiration. I considered going to the Forum for this reason. But, I took the time to really think about it and the possible consequences. I realized that doing the Forum would stress me too much. But, I got the inspiration I needed just by my interaction with my friend. After three years of being tired and worn out I started researching new information on nutrition and how to increase my energy and manage my manic-depressive condition - which I have posted in the Recovery section here on this site. So I got what I needed, not what she wanted to sell me, which would have probably worsened my condition, or at least have distracted me from what I really needed to do which was research. I’ll talk more with my friend later, when I am ready.

But, a sales tactic is a sales tactic, whether it’s hard or soft sell. It’s still manipulative. I don’t know how much your husband’s friend has already influenced your husband, even if the friend isn’t consciously trying to sell what he is doing.

The friend has already told you the benefit he has gotten. He saw himself as an ‘outsider’ growing up and he adopted and refined that as he got older. He used it as a strength. Then, however he got to the Forum, he realized that he really wanted to be and likes being an ‘insider’. He is en-joy-ing being in a group. And what do people do when they enjoy something? They want to ‘share’ it with their friends and get them to join their new enjoyable activity and be part of their new group. They may do it for their own benefit - so that the old friend ‘speaks their new language’ - or they may do it thinking that they are helping their friend the way they were ‘helped’ - benefitted.

You can read about all of the potential disastrous results that can happen as a result here on this website. Married and other couples breaking up, friends being lost, etc. But this isn’t the only way relationships break down. Whenever one person in a couple changes and the other one doesn’t co-operate and change or accept the change of the other person, that’s what happens.

I don’t know how much influence your husband’s friend has on him, but you do. You already know that your husband ‘looks up’ to his friend so the friend is usually the more powerful person in the relationship. I would highly recommend reading Steven Hassan’s book, ‘Releasing The Bonds’, BEFORE the friend has a chance to influence him. You can save yourself the worry (stress) by informing yourself ahead of time, and when and if necessary you will know how to cut the friend off at the pass without interrupting your husband’s relationship with him - which may or may not be distressing to your husband. You’ll be able to see clearly how the friend is ‘selling’ his new-found belief system and group - whether he is ‘enrolling’ your husband in Landmark intentionally or not. You can stop the battle before it even starts.

The ‘Strategic Interaction Approach’ Steven Hassan teaches in the book involves indirect, non-confrontational communication techniques that are more effective than using rational confrontational arguments when conversing with someone who has joined a new group - or taken on a belief sytem without joining a group. It’s very interesting and can be useful in many other situations.

While I have been reading the book I have had to mentally change the word ‘cult’ whenever it appears so that I can apply what is being said to Landmark. Landmark may not be technically a cult but it is a potentially destructive group. So I have to insert LGAT when I’m reading it. For instance in the book Steven Hassan discusses how people who join a new group develop a new personality which he calls the ‘cult identity’. He talks about how to get around the new identity in order to communicate with the authentic, pre-cult identity of the person and re-connect them with the good parts of their life before they joined the new belief system (cult). In the book this step is in preparation for an intervention, but the techniques can be used to prevent the need for an intervention in the first place. I love it.

Do you remember the old cigarette ad that said ‘I would rather FIGHT than switch’? Well, a lot of people would rather SWITCH than fight. This is how people buy into new ways of behaving and believing. Sometimes they’ll do anything to avoid a confrontation. They'll 'switch teams' so to speak.

And people think only teenagers are susceptible to 'peer pressure'? Not.


LGAT and introspection?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 08, 2004 08:40PM

Before your husband's friend goes to work on him, make a commitment with your husband that you will BOTH keep each other informed about personal development groups or spiritual endeavors that either of you considers joining. This means your husband must assure you that he will not allow his friend to talk him into going to an orientation for such a group without the other person's knowledge. We're talking a non-negotiable commitment here.

Its one thing to go fishing with just the guys, or watch football at the local pub, but certain organizations have a track record for causing people to act out of character and causing stress and disruption of pre-existing relationships.

Make a deal that neither of you will ever get involved with something in which you keep secrets from each other

Two, make the commitment that you'll not get involved with something unless you [b:48bb1d1e62]both [/b:48bb1d1e62]research its background--just the way you'd check Consumer Reports before purchasing a new car or computer. Big ticket purchases should be jointly discussed and jointly researched, whether for household use or personal development.

In marriage, you have to think 'we' not just 'I'

LGAT and introspection?
Posted by: Savernake ()
Date: September 08, 2004 09:27PM

I had a long talk with hub about it last night (mostly because he became very concerned for his friend, once I explained what Landmark is like and what its origins are). I think it's going to be all right (she says, crossing fingers nervously). I described the high pressure sales technique (something neither of us likes) and he's adamant that he wants nothing to do with it. It's so lucky I looked on the web for more info -- and I never would have done that had it not been for the fact that the friend (let's call him John) was spouting psychobabble that I take personal exception to.

Hub definitely has no interest in going to this seminar. In fact, he was even considering phoning up John's parents (which I have to say struck me as a slightly odd reaction, seeing as we're all in our late 30s... but this is an old school friend, so perhaps he developed an instinct to consult with the parents whenever he thinks John might be in trouble).

I didn't [i:bc53bc1619]think [/i:bc53bc1619]it was something that would appeal to him, but you never know how clever and sophisticated these techniques have become. I never thought this was something that [i:bc53bc1619]John [/i:bc53bc1619]would join up to -- he's always been so outspoken and opinionated, the type who thinks he's right about everything and there's no way to live your life but the way he does. It amazes me that suddenly he's prepared to throw away his opinions and live his life as someone else tells him to. :?

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