I think probably that one of Robbins main Rationalizations to himself, maybe, is that he feels he is teaching people a "lesson" that they will never forget for the rest of their lives.
The "lesson" is that we are all being profoundly "influenced" by advertising, media, culture, and even the religions and philosophies we live by.
He takes people, and if they are suggestible, brainwashes them completely into the Tony Universe. When they come out on the other side, PERHAPS Robbins believes he will have taught them what he has done to them, and show them how he has basically taken control of their life and mind. Then you are allegedly supposed to take back control of your own mind.
The problem is that VERY few people are able to do this.
It took me many years to figure most of this out, and to this day Robbins is still in my brain, whether i want him there or not.
So MAYBE this is his rationalization, i don't know.
What i do know is that what he is DOING to people without their knowledge is profoundly unethical and can be very dangerous. In my experience, the only people who know what Robbins is REALLY doing are some of the most advanced sales people working for him. They know what is going on, even as they themselves are caught up in it. Some of those guys are amazingly cynical and ruthless underneath those hugs and smiles.
But i do think this is all a rationalization. Robbins started out to make himself rich and famous, and that is what it is really all about. Getting those folks to sign those contracts.
I cannot express how abhorent i find what he and his people do to regular folks.
I COULD do it myself, but i CANNOT.
My conscience stopped me from doing what they do. I couldn't do that to people who don't know what is going on.
What i really want to do is to put my arm around them and tell them, "my friend, you are being manipulated and taken for a ride".
To be able to do to people what Robbins and his people do, i would have to look at people as simple objects to be used.
I would have to hold beliefs like, "if people are dumb enough to sign contracts they cant afford, that is not my problem".
If i had no conscience, i could have been working with Robbins now, or perhaps would have broken away and had some lawsuits with him, and started my own thing, like all those other guys! ;-)
Robbins "modelled" the beliefs of the sleazy self-help seminar salesmen he started with...guess what? Those are the REAL beliefs he holds underneath.
It is very true, that once you can figure out what Robbins has DONE and is DOING to you without your knowledge, then dealing with local salespeople, even many cults, and the like is really childsplay.
But the reality is that the vast majority of Robbins followers seem to have NO idea what he is DOING TO them. They just experience euphoria, etc, without really knowing what is going on.
Just look at the COUNTLESS products and services on his website. Its all a big UPSELL. Get them to commit to a book, and then work it all the way up to hundreds of grand, or even more. Its just a big money machine.
Of course, people can take these types of techniques and use them any way they wish. The problem of course is that unethical, greedy people are the ones who will go out and abuse this stuff on people for their own gain, usually with a Holier Than Thou attitude.
As far as the wider public, i do have an interest in what I call basic Skepticism, which is really applied Critical Thinking.
This can be applied to "self-help" programs, "alternative health" areas, therapy claims, and even to evaluating the claims made by religions, cults, and various philosophies. So it seems to me it can be applied in every area.
So there is a way to think about ALL of these things, and be able to sort the wheat from the chaff.
My personal appraoch is to use the tools of Critical Thinking and analysis, which really boils down to the scientific method, applied to basically any field.
A simple overview is Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit.
Also, there are links there to www.SkepDic.com and many other interesting sites along these lines.
What Robbins is doing is an LGAT, and there is also lots of good work being done analyzing those.
I do see a set of tools a person can use to protect themselves from being exploited.
Noam Chomsky called some of his work a course in "Intellectual Self-Defense".
I call most of what i do now i call, "Psychological Self-Defense".
But of course this is a very tricky and complex area of knowledge, which gets into cognitive science, and all areas of human psychology and persuasion.
Oh the Shark has, pretty teeth dear, and he shows them pearly white....