Werner Erhard 1970sLandmark Education, the mass marathon training company founded by 1970s self-styled seminar guru Werner Erhard (a.k.a. “Jack” Rosenberg), has apparently permanently left France and shut down its branch there.

But why?

Can it be that this for-profit privately owned company, which is currently run by Erhard’s brother Harry and his sister Joan and boasts 52 offices in 21 countries and combined global revenue of more than $70 million dollars in 2004, doesn’t think Paris is profitable?

Inside the Paris ForumPerhaps the reasoning behind the departure from Paris by the controversial company formerly known as “est” (Erhard Seminars Training), was a scathing expose’ aired on France’s Channel 3 TV.

Up until recently only the French viewing audience understood just how damaging this television program might be.

However, thanks to “You Tube” the complete program about Landmark can now be seen with English subtitles (click on the links provided within this article to see each segment).

What the French investigative report accomplished was a candid view of Landmark training.

The crew of channel 3 effectively penetrated the shroud of secrecy that surrounds Landmark’s introductory seminar called the Forum, by using hidden cameras.

This provided firsthand proof to the French about what goes on within the three days of training sessions.

Alain RothIn the first segment the audience is introduced to Alain Roth, Landmark’s former French director, who leads the seminar.

Roth subjects one woman to “public humiliation” before hundreds of participants and calls her an “asshole.” After being berated by the Landmark leader for about an hour she breaks down in tears while he insults and mocks her.

Forum leader abusiveIn this segment the audience is also introduced to some of Landmark’s jargon, comprised of thought-terminating cliches such as “racket” and ”inauthentic.” Terms Roth routinely uses to dismiss anyone that asks him questions that he doesn’t really want to answer.

In the second segment a lawyer and “brainwashing expert” explains that Landmark “breaks a person” and he labels its methods ”totalitarian.”

Sophie McLeanOn balance an interview is included with Landmark’s designated spokesperson, Sophie McLean, flown in from New York.

Ms. McLean attempts to dismiss the description that her company is a “cult” or “cult-like” and that its business is somehow based upon “brainwashing.”

McLean specifically cites a report that Landmark paid a French psychiatrist Jean-Marie Abigrall to prepare.

However, despite being paid more than 45,000 Euro Dr. Abigrall is less than positive about Landmark. He laments that Landmark’s leaders lack meaningful training and calls that “shocking.” He then refuses to take a position as to whether the company is a cult or not.

During segment three unhappy Landmark customers refer to it as a ”sect,” which is the word most commonly used by Europeans to describe what Americans would call a “cult.”

One woman says she was treated “like a puppet.”

Channel 3 then interviews Jean-Pierre Brard the Deputy Mayor of Montreuil who once served as vice-president of the French Assembly committee designated to investigate and identify “sects.”

Brard says McLean is “lying” and explains that Landmark meets the criteria of a “sect” because it features a “guru who destabilizes people to enslave them” and “relinquish critical thought.”

Brard then goes on to describe Landmark as a “network of money” focused primarily on making profits.

In segment four one former student describes the long grueling hours of training, within a tightly controlled environment, which allows participants little time for critical thinking or “perspective.”

Landmark’s method of “education” is labeled “emotional abuse.”

Then an expert sociologist discusses the “structured” and “organized” seminar format that engenders “total power” for the leader. He also concludes, “the goal is to destabilize the individual.”

The ”brainwashing expert” adds that Landmark participants are systematically regressed to a “child-like state,” that affords the guru/leader a “stranglehold.”

The fifth segment reveals that much of what outsiders might perceive as spontaneous about Landmark and its students is in fact carefully rehearsed. The so-called “graduation” event at the end of a Forum is actually a “well-oiled ritual” devised for “seduction” or recruitment.

A former seven-year member of Scientology compares her “sect” to what is shown about Landmark. She observes that the two organizations have a very similar approach.

Roth is called a “manipulator” who uses a contrived vocabulary ”incomprehensible” to those outside of Landmark.

In the final sixth segment Landmark’s “volunteers” are filmed doing everything from working the phones to scrubbing the bathroom floor for free.

Channel 3 also captures firsthand how the company’s volunteers repeatedly call, some say harass, past participants to take more courses.

Hidden camera caputures inside lookNever before has what’s wrong with Landmark been so precisely captured firsthand on film.

At the end of the program it’s not hard to understand why the company gave up on France.

One French Landmark supporter interviewed by Channel 3 cries as she is confronted with the footage recording the bad behavior of her mentor Alain Roth. She then attempts to deny that anything is wrong, but even this diehard believer apparently ultimately finds the film footage undeniably disturbing.

No doubt Landmark Education will find the sharing of this revealing television program through “You Tube” disturbing as well.

It is difficult if not impossible to refute the stark evidence provided of Landmark’s inner workings when it’s captured by cameras.

During the 1970s Werner Erhard relied upon the secrecy that surrounded his seminar business to protect its practices, but now with the Internet and hidden cameras it is much harder to control information.

Erhard is now 70, certainly a wealthy man, who reportedly lives in the Cayman Islands with his long-time girlfriend.

But lately it seems he is concerned about his “legacy.”

A documentary titled ”Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard” has been making the rounds at film festivals, which is focused on Erhard’s supposed contribution to the so-called “human potential movement.”

The documentary was done with Erhard’s full cooperation and produced by his former lawyer.

Don’t expect to see any of the French footage in what might be easily labled a “puff piece,” which paints the aging guru as positively as possible.

You can also see the 2003 French documentary “Inside Landmark Forum,” by downloading it here.

Postscript: Since this article was posted all the video clips have been removed. There is no longer any Internet access to the French television program about Landmark Education. All that remains at You Tube is a clip promoting the ”documentary” titled “Transformation” about the so-called “legacy” of Werner Erhard. At You Tube it says “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.” At the Internet Archive, which formally featured the complete 2003 French documentary it states, “The item is not available due to issues with the item’s content.” Who do you suppose had “issues” with the content of this material and pressured the servers to suspend access? It seems that when some people can’t defeat the facts they resort to censorship.

Update: The video can be viewed and/or downloaded from Google Video.

Another update: Google has removed the documentary. But streaming video is now available through another site called “Daily Motion” click here. If you would rather download the documentary it’s available through Torrents click here.

Another update: “Daily Motion” also pulled the video, but now it may be viewed through the “Cult Awareness and Information Centre in Australia.” 

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40 comments untill now

  1. Mark the spark @ 2006-09-30 00:21

    Hi guys,

    First, just for the record, I’m not a Landmark “graduate” any more than I’m a scientologist (gee, am I a quick learner). I must also say that I haven’t seen that particular documentary, so I won’t go into discussing whether or not Landmark is really a cult (whatever that’s supposed to mean these days), and I do agree that, from what I know, there’s a good chance there’s some abuse going on there. But that’s not my point.

    I happen to be French [...] And I know the French anti-cult business (it IS a business) fairly well. That article says a lot that’s significant about the way that business is wrong, in my opinion.

    It was NOT the first time French journalists got into a Landmark seminar with hidden cams. It happened four or five years ago (I don’t think it’s the same doc Rick is referring to, or it has been seriously edited… and it was on another channel). But the other time, maybe they hadn’t done a good enough editing job, and Landmark came out as kind of a tough psychotherapy, but nothing more. They even showed a guy who, after being busted a little, finally called his Dad to tell him things that had been on his mind for a while, and actually the two of them almost bonded magically on the phone before our very eyes. So try as the anchorman did to have us call Land Ed a cult, not many people were convinced. I even talked about it with a couple psychologist friends, and the general opinion was that they knew LOTS of psychiatrists or licenced psychologists who were at least that abusive, and maybe not that efficient.

    So my point is : which one of the editing jobs gives the closest image of what a Landmark seminar “really is” ? Editing does a LOT to have you decide what you’re supposed to understand, believe me… But then again, I haven’t seen that one.

    So it sounds a little like someone really had something against them, but didn’t do a good enough job the first time around, and said “OK, let’s not blow it this time”. My point, again, is that, if anybody is THAT abusive, and that OBVIOUSLY abusive, it shouldn’t be that tough to make a point of it, especially with “stolen” footage. I’m very suspicious about the anti-cult “movement”‘s honesty and agenda, to put it mildly, and for very specific reasons.[...]

    My 2 cents…

  2. I was unaware that this ex-used car salesman turned Guru founded the infamous EST movement in the seventies. I know enough of EST to know that Landmark must be equally abusive. One of the great “team building/character building exercises of EST was to prevent the PAYING CUSTOMERS from going to the bathroom for hours and hours at a time. Talk about cruel. Similar to EST, Landmark also apprently brow beats, harrasses and insults PAYING CUSTOMERS. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t take no “mess” from idiots and would have walked out. I am happy my company didn’t send me on a weekend “seminar” at Landmark or I would have sued my boss and company come Monday morning. Landmark may or may not be a cult, but they have all the earmarks of one…slave labor, harrassment of ex-members to buy MORE insultive and humiliating seminars, etc. in a fashion similar to Scientology. I am happy the French have basically forced this cult-lite organization out of their country. One down, France, 1000 more to go.

  3. Mark the spark @ 2006-10-01 12:22

    Well, more precisely 171, if we are to believe the official reports… Anyway, I’m gl

  4. My wife and I completed the Landmark Forum in New York City Labor Day weekend. Using the language they teach, (they describe it as “technology”) I have made some amazing changes in my life over the past month.

    My friends are hearing a lot about my new ways of thinking. Why wouldn’t I talk about my experience of having made such leaps in personal growth in such a short period? After years of therapy on and off, I feel I accomplished more in the one intense weekend of the Landmark Forum than I did in a year of psychotherapy.

    Here’s what I believe about the Landmark Forum: it is a business, not a church. It uses some strong techniques to effect change for participants. It can make lasting, important improvements for some participants. Others are put off… some even seem to feel “ripped off.”

    The presentation is strong, but the messages are pretty straightforward: your past is your past, and unless you’ve “completed” your past, you’re doomed to keep dealing with it, getting the same results from your life over and over again. The Forum folks call it making a “clearing” for you to take action and create possibilities for your life; you could also just call it “cleaning up your baggage” or even, if you’re a person of faith, “getting right with God.” But there is no higher being in the Landmark Forum materials. Fascinatingly, there is not anything I’ve learned that is incompatible with living a faithful life. The forum’s emphasis on “integrity” and living a “complete” life, true to what you really desire, could be seen as “old wine in new bottles,” for example I recall really getting something out of Joseph Campbell’s “follow your bliss” statements from “The Power of Myth” series several years ago.

    I could go on, but the bottom line for my wife and me is that even if there’s something untoward about the management of the Landmark Education Forum organization (and I really don’t think there is) we feel we have received far more results than we ever hoped for when we signed up and paid our $500 apiece to attend. I believe the Landmark Forum helps far more people than it hurts. I believe the Forum leaders are well-trained, ethical people living lives of integrity. I have seen real, profound change in myself and in my wife, especially in the areas of fearless communication about what matters most (sex, money, family, etc).

  5. “…we feel we have received far more results than we ever hoped for when we signed up and paid our $500 apiece to attend. I believe the Landmark Forum helps far more people than it hurts. I believe the Forum leaders are well-trained, ethical people living lives of integrity..”

    Good for you. Then you will be even more likely to buy the follow-up seminars that you will soon be contacted about by the slave…er, volunteer telemarketers. Don’t forget, since you claimed to be unable to make good common sense life decisions on your own or even have valid communications with your spouse about love and finances, you NEED them to point you in the right direction…and life is big and scary. Those additional expensive training “technology” is vital for your very survival. You aren’t being ripped off, after all…as you say, the forum leaders are well-trained, ethical people living lives of integrity.

  6. Hmmm. I don’t think I claimed to be unable to make good common sense life decisions.

    Would you rule any and all attempts at self-improvement as a rip off? Therapy? Books? Psychiatrists? Exercise? Relationships? How would you decide what people should spend money and/or time on?

    If I chose to never attend another Forum event, my “very survival” would be nevertheless ensured. Would have been before going to the Forum, in fact. I wasn’t a basket case before… was living a life I didn’t hate, holding down a job, stayed married for 16 years with no major difficulties, paid the mortgage and behaved for the most part honestly.

    I decided to go to the forum based on seeing a good friend change dramatically for the better after the Forum. Went to a brief evening session and judged for myself that Landmark had something to teach that I wanted to learn.

    I just want to present that in this multifarious world of hours, it’s quite possible that Landmark Forum works well for some people and helps them make fundamental changes in their lives for the better. Obviously, from the reams and reams of criticism on this site and others, the Forum doesn’t work for some people. I get that. Just wanted to stand up for the good it is doing in my life.

    Sparky, you write well and appear intelligent. Don’t blame you for not wanting to take Forum claims at face-value, as there is indeed a bunch of chicanery going on in this world, and it seems there are quite a few people who feel Landmark is part of that. I felt it too, and continue to be aware of the yin and yang of Large Group Awareness Trainings and how they’re perceived by smart people I respect. Is someone glad they’re taking my money? Yep. Do they respect me? I have no idea. Will my current positive opinion of Landmark continue the rest of my life? Dunno. I realize that my friends and family (and my self, doubtless) will have more respect for the reality of the post-Forum Greg changes after a longer time has passed. Hard to argue one month out. Might have been duped, you never know!

    I do know that my marriage took a quantum leap in satisfaction for me, and she tells me, for my wife as well. And we feel empowered to continue ourselves with the hard work we began in the forum. So, I’ll sign off for now, at this point fully willing to spend more time & money on Landmark because of the concrete benefits to my family.

    With respect,

    gk

  7. As a Forum veteran, I’d like to make a few comments -

    For the first month or so, I felt great about my experience with the Forum. I believed that I had been uplifted and enlightened in such a way that I had more authenticity and “power” in my speaking, doing, and being.

    However, after taking a few seminars and volunteering for the group, I realized that something was really. First of all, the seminars, which were supposed to pertain to certain subjects such as health, communication, finances, etc. were more geared towards bringing guests and enrolling them in the Forum than anything else. Secondly, I found that people were using “authenticity” and “integrity” as excuses to verbally abuse others. Out of the blue, a woman launched into a tirade about what a “b****” I was and that I was “fake” and that I was too cocky about my singing talents. I had never met nor spoken with her before that incident, and I had no idea who she was. She had only observed my “shares” in a “wellness” seminar. I witnessed a woman, who had been repeatedly and brutally molested by her stepfather, get chastised by a Forum leader for not wanting to “forgive’ and “complete” with him. After all, whe wasn’t really “molested” – that was only her view of the matter. He tried to convince the woman that her father really did love her and that his deviant, sick behavior was his special way of expressing his love. Finally, I the folks who ran the center in New Jersey, where I was active, began demanding more of my time as a volunteer. They insisted that the only way I could move forward with my music career was to skip rehearsals and instead, volunteer my time making recruitment calls from the center.

    I finally got tired to the BS, the manipulation, the inauthenticity, and the harassing midnight phone calls. I realized that not ONE of the people with whom I had associated for nearly a year were truly my friends not did any of them care about my well-being. One of the seminar leaders summed it up when he ejected me from his course for laughing during a serious moment (hey, I was being AUTHENTIC) — “we got your money, you can go home now.” And I did.

    LT

  8. ajinajan @ 2006-10-08 16:26

    As of October 6, 2006, less than 2 weeks after the video clips were posted to the internet, they were removed from BOTH sites on the same day.

    It would seem that Art Schreiber, General Counsel of Landmark Education and Chairman of its Board of Directors, threatened the 2 sites with lawsuits, and the websites got scared and shutdown those sections relating to the video clips. Art Schreiber had previously been Werner Erhard’s personal attorney and served major executive roles in Erhard Seminars Training (Est) and Werner Erhard and Associates, predecessors to Landmark Education.

    This was most likely not a problem with the France 3 network staff, but rather a scared Landmark Education corporate problem.

    Landmark Education has known to use bullying legal tactics in the past, as described at
    http://www.culteducation.com/reference/landmark/landmark193.html

    Kindly,
    Aji Najan

  9. ajinajan @ 2006-10-12 16:22

    The video can be viewed and/or downloaded from Google Video, at

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5762907067305296500&hl=en

  10. venkatkumar_1981 @ 2006-10-13 00:27

    Hi all,

    I have finished the Landmark Forum and Landmark Advanced Course.
    To be frank, it helpmed me a lot in completing the relationship with my communities which i was holding for a long time.
    This one which i would have identified by reading books or listening to others and i could have did it. But it has not happened and i realized it in landmark forum. Thanks for that….

    But, The intention of all the sessions are not clear or they are authentic about their inauthenticity. They should tell clearly that we don’t market or advertise this and we want you to bring the people for our business.

    They should clearly state this point “BUSINESS”.
    They say everything is possible. If i got transformed i can transform any number of people in my community. That is my possibility and how can they say that lanmark is the only destination for the transformation.

    In any of the session if you watch closely, when guests are there the leader will ask the people to come and share. When sharing, he will ask
    “How is your life,environment and relations”, the person who came and shared will say “It is extraordinary and i accepted everyone”. Thatz it. The guests listening will be different and they will register….
    Later in the session he will talk about the intention of the session, that time he will ask “If your environment is not transformed how can you survive in this world…come on….wake up…”. This is to alter the listening of the participants….this time the participants will think of the relationship to whom they thought of bringing as guests…Thatz it….they went back to home and share with other persons something great they have found in the world….

    I did the same mistake and did all the courses. I’m not feeling bad.
    Atleast i can post this in this….will share lot about this….

  11. ajinajan @ 2006-10-13 05:32

    WARNING:

    The previous user whose post begins with:

    “October 13, 2006 at 12:27 am
    Hi all,
    I have finished the Landmark Forum and Landmark Advanced Course.”

    Is using LANDMARK EDUCATION JARGON ad nauseaum, to the point where it is impossible to understand anything he is saying. This is a common tool of cults, as a way to indoctrinate others and force people to choose to take their coursework as this will be the only way they can then understand the new and confusing language of their friends and family.

    You can find this discussed in detail by many expert psychologists, psychiatrists, and French lawmakers, at the GOOGLE VIDEO :
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5762907067305296500&hl=en

    NOTE: You should DOWNLOAD the video, and save it as a hardcopy, as well as watch the full streaming version.

  12. “ajinajan”,

    Thanks for your post explaining what the hell “venkatkumar_1981″ was rambling about. I originally thought the author was either drunk, unable to compose a post with some hint of clarity or dumb as a bag of hammers (or any combination thereof). It doesn’t surprise me that Landmark Goons are posting defensive and confusing posts here to throw people off their foul scent. Thanks for your interesting posts and links.

  13. “ajinajan”, just finished watching the video from France. It was 1 hour and 5 minutes but what a great viewing. The Forum is a snake pit of mental abuse and slavery disguised as “voluntering”. Anyone who sings its praises is a fool and a tool and their brain has been washed clean.

    Thanks again for the links. Everyone should watch this abusive cult film.

  14. Mark the spark @ 2006-10-14 06:13

    Has it not occurred to you guys that maybe “venkatkumar_1981″ is a foreigner, and that it might explain the lack of clarity of his testimonny just as well as some hypothetical Landmark maneuver ? The way I understand what he says (and English is not my mother tongue either) is that Landmark helped him achieve some welcome changes in his life, but that he feels they’re not straightforward enough with some of their methods (as if, by the way, marketing were supposed to be moral). Where exactly is the “jargon” ? It’s all bad but plain English, and besides his testimony doesn’t sound generally positive to me…

    As an smartass aside, I’d say it’s funny that you should use the expression “abusive cult film” to talk about the French documentary. What’s abusive, the cult or the film ? ;-)

    Or maybe he’s a dyslexic… Gee, he should enter Scientology and become a famous movie star (smartass aside #2).

    Marc

  15. ajinajan @ 2006-10-14 19:54

    WARNING:

    Examples of user “venkatkumar_1981″‘s obvious unintelligible LANDMARK JARGON GIBBERISH :

    1. “But, The intention of all the sessions are not clear or they are authentic about their inauthenticity.”
    WARNING: AUTHENTIC and INAUTHENTICITY are Landmark JARGON words, usually meaning “lying”. However, if one were to state during the Landmark Forum that they wish to leave, the Forum Leader might counter with, “You are being INAUTHENTIC.”

    2. “That is my possibility and how can they say that lanmark is the only destination for the transformation.”
    WARNING: POSSIBILITY and TRANSFORMATION are Landmark JARGON words, usually referring to how great your life will be if only you pay for and complete all of the Landmark Education courses and practice the coursework by volunteering for this for-profit company. (95% of their workforce is VOLUNTEER, over 7,500 volunteers and only 450 paid staff)

    3. “The guests listening will be different and they will register¦.”
    WARNING: When the word LISTENING is used as a noun, this is used as a Landmark JARGON word. For example, if one were to suggest that The Forum is NOT for them or their loved one, The Forum Leader would argue “You must alter your LISTENING and be open to the POSSIBILITY of TRANSFORMATION.”

    FOR MORE INFORMATION…
    ———————————————————
    You can find this discussed in detail by many expert psychologists, psychiatrists, and French lawmakers, at the GOOGLE VIDEO :
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5762907067305296500&hl=en

    NOTE: You should DOWNLOAD the video, and save it as a hardcopy, as well as watch the full streaming version.

  16. Mark the spark @ 2006-10-15 07:21

    I get your point, but again : where’s the jargon ? I mean, your examples are all well-known English words, and there’s nothing in this guy’s post that could be taken as a hint that they have a special meaning (and honestly, add a smiley to that thing about their being “authentic about their inauthenticity” and it even sounds like he’s making fun of their “jargon”…).

    I mean, re-read his post with an open mind, and I’m sure you’ll pretty easily agree with me that, although unclear, the basic message is “they helped me all right, but they’re far from being totally straightforward”. Doesn’t sound like unconditional endorsement to me… YOU even pointed out “how can they say that lanmark is the only destination for the transformation.” How do you understand that, if not as “plenty other people can help you achieve your goals” ? That, plus the fact that they are a BUSINESS (and it’s HE who capitalizes it), and I think he couldn’t make clearer the fact that he has mixed feelings toward them.

    Or am I just not fluent enough ?

    Marc

  17. ajinajan @ 2006-10-16 11:10

    Yes, it is clear if you can understand the gobbledygook of “venkatkumar_1981″‘s post that he has some issues with the Business side of Landmark Education.

    It is also clear that he no longer has any idea how to speak clearly and understandably without using brainwashed JARGON from THE FORUM, the same exact JARGON that WERNER ERHARD created for his ERHARD SEMINARS TRAINING coursework and WERNER ERHARD AND ASSOCIATES coursework.

    You can actually see many of the similarities in language at
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6111922724894802811&q=CENTURY+OF+THE+SELF
    in the section on Werner Erhard and Erhard Seminars Training. They use almost the exact same language, verbatim. Virtually nothing has changed.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION¦
    ”””””””””””””””””””
    You can find this discussed in detail by many expert psychologists, psychiatrists, and French lawmakers, at the GOOGLE VIDEO :
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5762907067305296500&hl=en

    NOTE: You should DOWNLOAD the video, and save it as a hardcopy, as well as watch the full streaming version.

  18. Now this is a lively and exciting exchange between “ajinajan” and “Mark(Marc?) the Spark”. Keep it going, gentlemen(?), because this is how we all learn.

  19. ajinajan @ 2006-10-16 22:37
  20. Mark the spark @ 2006-10-17 02:26

    OK, so you seem to admit this guy wasn’t trying to sell us Landmark, so the only thing that really bothers you is that he can’t write clearly (He’s not clearer when he DOES use the “jargon”) ? And we’re supposed to conclude that he jumped into their claws writing like Shakespeare and came out barely capable of writing his name ? Gee, brainwashing IS powerful ! It just begs the question “so why are these other people upper on your screen still able to write competently ?”. I’m sorry, but my hypothesis that he’s a foreigner seems to cover more ground. Or maybe it has to do with the average education level plummetting.
    Yeah, I know… I tend to love to argue, but my point is this : I happen to try to reason as the scientist I’m supposed to be, and the fact that some groups deserve being struggled against doesn’t justify abusing logic. Especially when one of usual grievances against them is their abuse of scientific terminology. That said, I HAVE downloaded the documentary and will watch it as soon as possible.

  21. ajinajan @ 2006-10-17 13:59

    NOTE: In addition to be able to view the video in clips at :
    http://www.dailymotion.com/visited/tag/landmarkeducation/search/landmark%20forum

    They can be downloaded via “BitTorrent” at :
    http://thepiratebay.org/tor/3537369/2003_Inside_Landmark_Forum.avi

  22. Marc, part of the problem is that scientists are NOT good at spotting hoaxes or frauds, EXCEPT in their own line of expertise. Therefore, I give more weight to the critical thinking of a psychiatrist (not a psychologist) on the matter of brainwashing or cultic behavior. I am an entomologist but would not be a good candidate to debunk some fool’s perpetual motion machine, although we can both agree that perpetual motion is an impossiblity and can laugh and rank on some idiot poster who would be defending/championing it here. I applaud your scientific calling and wish you success. I would also suggest you check out another favorite site of mine if you haven’t already, http://www.randi.org/

  23. Mark the spark @ 2006-10-17 23:59

    Gosh Sparky, your post could take us real far in many directions… Let’s try keeping it short. First, I’m curious about why you believe the psychiatrists have special qualifications to judge what is “brainwashing” and what is not (and I’m not making a point about “why do you think they’re better at that than psychologists ?” – I’m not defensive, I have no illusion about the state of my field at this point in history). It’s too bad Szasz has spent so much time with the scientologists (and hence, I assume, lost his credibility for you) but he has some good points about psychiatry being pseudoscience.

    Interestingly, you basically say “I’m an entomologist, so have no qualification to have any set opinion about any other field”, and THEN go about giving me a definitive statement in another field ! Which means that, even if a really competent dude (some Tesla…) came about with exactly that “impossible” design and it worked (let your imagination do that, willya ?;-)), you STILL wouldn’t acknowledge it ! Even if you saw it, used all your critical thinking to find the trick and couldn’t, you’d end up saying “OK, I can’t debunk him, but Hyman or Randi could”. Which, if you notice, shows how much belief systems are inherently a part of even serious science.
    Let me give you an example : the Hyman-Schwartz controversy (about Schwartz’s book “The Afterlife Experiments”. I have no definitive opinion about the topic, but, although I agree with some particular points made by Hyman that Schwartz takes SOME totally inconclusive data as conclusive, I still think some of them, if true, are impressive. If we are to believe Schwartz, Hyman told him that some of the feats the psychics accomplished (in what he swore was… HAD TO BE cold reading) were beyond what he could personally do (and he’s a DAMN expert !) but that, if he tried, he would probably find the trick within a year or two. And then proceeded considering that he had “debunked” Schwartz. Now I call that stretching so-called “skepticism” way too far.
    Besides, I don’t agree with even the idea of STARTING an argument (and, that way, ending it right away) with name-calling : “only an idiot could think that” – yeah, barely 150 years ago, “only an idiot could think this thing will ever fly, Mr. Wright” !
    Being open-minded DOESN’T imply believing in anything. It’s just pretending, and let’s see what comes up. And sometimes it does.

    Oh, and just for the fun of the mental drill : try to go back to Randi’s (or some other “skeptic”‘s) site and look for evidence of “cultic behavior” (first clue : that guy’s picture is EVERYWHERE !).

  24. Randi surely has a “cult following”. That I agree. I also agree that it is important to keep an open mind, just make sure your mind isn’t so far open your brain falls out.

  25. Mark the spark @ 2006-10-18 22:59

    Thanks for the advice ;-)

    Marc

  26. I have attended two programs/training sessions, conducted by landmark education, so far.
    The names of the programs are

    1) Landmark Forum (The 3-day introductory course) (Rs.5200/- in India)
    2) Seminar Series (3 hrs every week, for 10 weeks) (this is free with the first one)
    3) Advanced Course (Another 3-day course) (Rs.9100/- in India)

    I have both positive and negative opinions about this education.

    POSITIVE SIDE
    1) After doing their 3-day introductory course.
    a) My Confidence levels (in general about facing problems in life) have increased.
    b) My relationships with my parents, siblings & close friends, got better.
    c) My productivity at work got better.
    d) In general, I am more happy and satisfied about my life and willing to explore more and achieve more in life.

    2) The seminar series helped me sustain the improvements/positive changes that I got from the introductory course.

    3) I feel it is just another way of teaching, by making people go through stress / humiliation etc.

    4) They seem to be really concerned about world peace.

    NEGATIVE SIDE
    1) I don’t believe that this is good for everyone. There may be individuals who can’t tolerate certain things (especially in advanced course).

    2) Though they never directly force people to bring guests and make them register for their courses,
    Intelligently an environment is created where
    a) An Individual feels ashamed of not bringing any guest.
    b) An Individual’s achievements are measured by the number of guests he/she brings.
    c) If One doesn’t bring his/her loved ones (parents/Siblings/Spouse/Children/Best Friends), It means that he/she doesn’t care about them.
    d) All the people who dont attend their courses, are missing something in their life.

    3) In each course, there would be a time, when I had to explain, why I don’t want to register for their next course.
    (Even I had to explain, why I don’t want to be a volunteer in their organization)
    For every reason, that I give, they have a counter argument.

    4) Indirectly they keep stressing that,
    a) Attending their courses should be the first priority for anyone.
    b) This is the only way, world peace can be achieved.

    MY SUGGESTIONS
    1) There is no harm in doing their introductory course (and the follow-up seminar), It’s not a waste of time/money.
    90-95% people benefit from it.

    2) It’s up to you whether to continue doing their next courses or not, It wont harm you even if you stop after the first course.

    3) Never ask them help (they call it ‘coaching if you are confused’) in certain areas
    a) Bringing guests
    b) Registering to a new course
    c) Not able to attend their sessions.

    4) Never give reasons (For not bringing guests/not registering for a new course etc.), just say “no reason, just that I don’t want to”. That’s enough.

    Disclaimer: What ever I wrote above, is just my personal opinion, it need not be taken as truth. I don’t claim this to be the truth. I don’t claim that this is the only way to evaluate landmark education.

  27. ajinajan @ 2006-11-01 16:00
  28. You go, “ajinajan”! Yikes! You certainly have the low down on the Landmark Education cult.

  29. ajinajan @ 2006-11-05 20:03

    Interesting new blog is up on Large Group Awareness Training and Human Potential Seminars, similar to what is discussed on
    http://forum.culteducation.com/viewforum.php?f=4
    (Actually found out about it from a post from there)

    The blog is called
    The Truth about Human Potential Seminars:
    Exposing the truth about Human Potential Seminars and Large Group Awareness Training.

    Here is the address:
    http://lgattruth.blogspot.com/

  30. Thanks, friend. Keep up the excellent work of educating the public about these mind crushers. Excellent links.

  31. Hi. I’d just like to leave my 2 cents worth. I’d just like to backup ajinajan and agree that landmark does have jargon words. The words are used repeatedly throughout the course to change the way people perceive the words. This then translates to the attendants seeing the world in a totally different light because the words meaning has been reprogrammed by repeated use under its new landmark meaning.

    I attended the course about 8 years ago. It totally wreaked my life. I did things that I thought I was doing for the better – i.e. completing my past etc… I was so whacked I had a mental breakdown because the forum leader was trying to break me. He kept trying to regress me to a point in my childhood to some difficult point in my life. The thing is that I had a good childhood and had no major problems. ‘What’s wrong’ he kept repeating and I kept saying ‘nothing’ which of-course was changed to mean the word ‘everything’ with there hypnosis trick they do in the course about ‘everything is nothing and nothing is everything’ junk.

    The course sets you up into a state of promoting the course and talking about how amazing you feel because of this course. You end up calling people and telling them something about your past that they have completely forgotten about as a way of making you feel that you have progressed.

    Anyway, I it took me months to re-program my self with the true meaning of some of those words again and it still pains me to this day the scar that the course has left on me. Perhaps I should attend another of there courses to ‘complete’ with my past about the last course? lol.

  32. ajinajan @ 2006-11-08 23:36

    From a post at -
    http://forum.culteducation.com/viewforum.php?f=4 :

    From the EFF website at http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/landmark/

    Quote:
    Update: EFF is currently in discussions with Landmark regarding a resolution of it subpoena to Google. In the interim, EFF has held off on filing the motion to quash. A draft of the motion, which explains our legal arguments, is linked below.

    The draft motion can be found here: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/landmark/landmark_motion_quash_draft.pdf

    Let’s see where this leads. Meanwhile, the video is still available for downloading at http://thepiratebay.org/tor/3537369/2003_Inside_Landmark_Forum.avi

  33. “topshot” and “ajinajan”;

    Thank you both for your input on this board and the great wisdom you impart on us all. “ajinajan” as always you are a Fort Knox for wealth of information. “topshot” I can’t write for the others here, but I am very sorry about the mental torture these vicous lying thugs have put you through. Contrary to the “rave” reviews of this destructive and greedy cult found in the thread above, your post speaks volumes. I am pleased you have de-programmed yourself and won’t be buying an “advanced course in mind fornication” anytime soon.

  34. ajinajan @ 2006-11-10 23:38

    Google faces legal challenges over video service

    http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=technologyNews&storyID=2006-11-11T035024Z_01_N10391903_RTRUKOC_0_US-MEDIA-GOOGLE-VIDEO.xml&WTmodLoc=Home-C5-technologyNews-3

    Article is at Reuters and The Washington Post.

    It is most likely that Art Schreiber (chairman of the board general counsel of Landmark Education, president and initial agent of Werner Erhard and Associates, and general counsel of Erhard Seminars Training, and past personal attorney to Werner Erhard) and Landmark Education have done themselves more harm than good with all of this frivolous legal intimidation.

    First of all, exposure in the press gives Landmark a bad name, as they are most likely seen as suppressing Free Speech and intimidating small individuals through idle legal threats and intimidation.

    Second, it most likely brings MUCH more attention to the video than ever could have been focused without all this bluster, and drives possibly thousands or millions more people to want to download it and watch a copy for themselves.

    More discussion at this thread:
    http://forum.culteducation.com/viewtopic.php?t=3088&sid=61ddc6f310a0fd0d7bfdaaf9422262ab

    And of course the video is available at:
    http://thepiratebay.org/tor/3537369/2003_Inside_Landmark_Forum.avi

  35. ajinajan @ 2006-11-14 03:54
  36. [...] says it is an effective and life-changing training and development provider; others say it demonstrates many of the effective and life-changing qualities of a cult. I was going to write [...]

  37. [...] Why did Landmark Education Leave France? – Cult News [...]

  38. [...] Landmark Education: Seminars, Courses & Landmark Forum It’s not it’s a brainwashing cult: Cult News from Rick Ross Why did Landmark Education leave France? Cult Help and Information – Psychotherapy Cults I heard about it from a young friend on another [...]

  39. [...] And for some enlightening historical background, read: Why did Landmark leave France? [...]

  40. [...] having banned Landmark for being a cult, something he would no doubt do if it were so. Source: Cult News from Rick Ross Why did Landmark Education leave France? Maybe I should consider a career as myth buster? __________________ Insanity is doing the same [...]