What I’m Into, Sometimes


journalism.jpgI attended a Landmark Forum seminar last night.

It was interesting.

I think the best word to describe it is intriguing.

Believe it or not, I am intrigued by a lot of things. Anything structured and phenomenally successful like the Forum gets my attention. I am fortunate to be among many graduates that have learned how to use the technology of transformation(active thoughts).

People who have not attended the forum think the idea of ‘technology’ is ridiculous or mysterious at best. I have had very few conversations regarding my experience; it is on purpose, the more I start to explain, the more layered in bullshit my explanation becomes.

Using Landmark terminology, the language of transformation, really yields results- desired results. I learned a long time ago about visualization (eighth grade conquests) but I never consciously ‘broke it down’.

These guys are on to something.

From what I have gathered Landmark was previously called Erhard System Training. It could be described as a more intense form of ‘positive brainwashing'(if that is possible) perfected by a mysteriously brilliant figure named Werner Erhard. Erhard was a successful car salesman. I don’t want to get into him. It would require more writing than I am prepared to do.

Simply put, he embodied all the qualities of a good lawyer or huckster, depending on what side of the desk you were on or how you were positioned on it.

What compelled him to start this new exciting ‘therapy’ is beyond me. What is important to remember is the radical social changes that were occurring in the Bay Area during the sixties and early seventies. It was a destination for thousands , millions of people ‘seeking’.

Seeking and not finding.

All the while, Erhard sought and found a small fortune in the car business. He also developed a keen understanding of human nature and the ‘things’ that move us as people. He met regularly with the brilliant minds of the time. Stanford Theoretical physicists, even renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. All them were regularly invited to his beautiful Mansion in San Francisco.

I have always assumed they were tripping on acid and discussing the absurd reality that has been chosen by most of us.

These masters of quantum understanding helped fortify something Erhard already knew. Without all the mathematical jargon Erhard was able to grasp some very important fundamentals to the technology he would later bring to the modern world.

He just had to work out the kinks.

With the help of some experts- perhaps colleagues of Dr Gottliebb himself – Erhard System Training made its way from college campus parties to his central location somewhere in San Francisco.

In 1971 he held his first seminar.

There he would put the participants through a rigorous 48 hour cleansing. He believed people needed to be de-constructed before they could be useful to the new technology that he was offering them. Some of the words used to describe the experience are demeaning, humiliating, abusive , profane and authoritarian.

I would not have lasted. Simply put, I don’t and never have taken shit, from anyone; I guess thats my story and I willfully stick to it.

Anyway he successfully brought his version of self help to many people in The Bay Area and beyond. I remember mentioning EST to my mother that was her era; I am sure , as a hip adult in the seventies she had run across it. She had; after some prodding she explained “I ran across people who followed Jim Jones too… I decided to just sell Shacklee… it was easier” When it came to yelling, denying bathroom breaks and all those tactics that they infamously employed she was definitely-

“Already Always Listening”

In other words she didn’t take shit either.

Black folks have a distinctly different approach to self help, that is an intrinsic quality to our story. We are not at a point where we have everything, yet, still feel that ’emptiness’. We are still ‘locked’ in the struggle. My mother thought many of the people who were in this introductory seminar had complaints about life that were trivial and they were simply spoiled adults who where coming to terms with not having things their way all the time. As my great-aunt Lou used to say.

“Tough Titty”.

Landmark is definitely a much different version of EST. Werner Erhard sold the technology and left the country in 1991. Since then it has been modified and, like I said, provides some intriguing approaches to life that I like.

I am drawn to transforming the world around me; visualizing goals and achieving them. The forum provides a vehicle for great communicators to be better. Bad communicators to be understandable and good communicators to be great.

I like the whole idea of getting rid of right and wrong; being clear about motives and agendas. When I write my goals down now it is like a fraction. I have to break it down to the lowest common denominator and I am amazed at what I end up with – with what I really want.

If I don’t get it

Tough Titty


~ by barrymax on October 20, 2007.

10 Responses to “What I’m Into, Sometimes”

  1. I’m not really reading this, Dancy, am I? You’ve had some of the most pertinent comments on Fairlane’s site since I started coming. You’ve always taken this seriously. I just like to have a laugh. My work is so taxing that this is a pastime to let of some steam. But you really bit on this one, for real?

    Listen, Larry Rosen-Whatsit who invented this game is an Ashkenaz Kikey like me. This is the what we do best — separate suckers from their money and save the good stuff for ourselves (psychotherapy being the perfect example here). How many diplomas from Stanford did your “group leader” have exactly? Go into an average shrink’s office in West LA or on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and you’ll see plenty. You can get healthy and you can get dope, besides!

    I was wondering why Jonathan Ogden was so easy to bully at the card table. He has tons more money than I do and he’s certainly no less intelligent than I am. He justed NEEDED TO BELIEVE I’d hit my flush on the Turn when I checked it and check re-raised the River. He laid a set of 10s down to me. I didn’t show him but I had sweet fuck-all. So, when I had the stone-colds, he called me. And on it went.

    Maybe it dovetails somehow with what you wrote about being “locked” in a struggle, but I don’t think that big. I just knew he couldn’t outplay me and for some reason WOULDN’T put up a big wedge (cash plays in NL in LV)and bully me. Pocket money for him would be pretty significant for me. Had he come back at me for $15,000 or so in that hand, I’m not hesitating to throw it away and I’m not trying any moves on him again.

    Think I’m bullshitting. OK, here’s a promise. You write down an imaginary sequence of 75 flips of a fair coin, heads or tails. Then take a quarter out of your pocket, and flip it for real, writing down the results of each flip. I’ll bet my house against yours that I can guess which is the real string of flips and which is the imaginary one. And to do that requires A LOT more knowledge than inventing EST did. EST just required more start-up capital.

    I think your Mom and Aunt are onto something. Best to listen to them. I know that Landmark’s as full of shit as a Christmas goose because I know too many of its…er…graduates.

  2. This is an interesting post. I know many people, including at least one that I love and have respected tremendously, that have gone through Landmark.

    Maybe it is just me, but I just can’t get my mind around it. That said, you probably have provided the best explanation of sorts on this topic. I must say that many who go through are in some “double-super-secret-spit-swear” club that does not allow them to say anything not shrouded in mystery. I might add, shrouded in mystery that seems to imply I am a dumb ass.

    That’s just me. I am unlikely to ever do this, but I very much appreciate your perspective.

    No matter what Kelso says! (Ashkenazy Kikey- love it)

  3. Shit! Landmark sounds like the Knights of Columbus initiation I went though several years back when I was still worshiping Jeebus. Super-secret, mind-bending jumbo is just that because we can’t really escape the experiences that influence and shape our lives. That’s called brainwashing.

  4. FranIam:

    The weird thing is that not only do they do that whole secret-handshake thing but also they EVANGELIZE like crazy. One FORUM dude made the mistake of trying to recuit me by saying that “feminism has emasculated you…this will help you get laid…women don’t even let you hold the door open for them any more…” It was wrong, I know, but I couldn’t help myself from laughing until I was dizzy. He got pretty pissed off and got more emphatic about it. It was either that or get mad and cheerful is always better than mad. I said “man, you don’t know me that well, why would you assume that I’m emasculated?” He said — ON MY MOTHER’S EYES — “well, you voted for Mondale and GERALDINE!” OK, so now I’m dizzy laughing again and said “I really don’t mean to hurt your feelings but I don’t see the connection…it all sounds absurd and stupid to me…What could voting Democratic possibly have to do with masculinity?” He thinks about it for a second and says — again, no joke — “well, I guess you’re right…our ‘MEN’S TEAM LEADER’ said that the ‘MASCULINITY THING’ was a good approach with ‘SHORT GUYS.'” (my emphasis). I asked him if I could buy him a beer for the entertainment value and he accepted and we’re actually still friendly, although obviously it’s only an occasional e-mail because I’ve left the States.

    Ashkenaz Kikey? 2 things: I’ve decided to take Nas’s example and let the David Brookses of the world know that they’re NOT PART OF THIS CONVERSATION. I also like to play to the cheap seats.

  5. And because I’m such a good soul and I want your CO-ED team to succeed, I’ll warn you in advance that I’ve laid about 102 traps throughout both posts, and never lose these things, so, Pana (that’s the highest honorific we give out here, it’s like “buddy” or “bro” but even nicer because it’s not only casual, it’s also respectful) ten cuidado! O tu diras. A mi me da igual. Te toca a ti.

  6. Kelso you are the man. They would not – clearly did not, know what to make of a man like you. And I read your post, I get the Nas thing.

    You are the man Kelso. The motherfuckin’ man.

  7. If believing something makes people feel better, I say more power to them.

    The only problem I have is when people attempt to shove it down our throats.

    K- I think you’re taking Landmark more serious than Dave.

  8. FranIam: Thank you. I don’t think I’m worthy of such an accolade but if I am, maybe I should start a competitior to Landmark Forum’s Men’s Seminars! Couldn’t sell it in Panama, though. Both men and women are too evolved.

    F: Already said it. Playing to the cheap seats, buddy. You know that and so does Dave. I well understood that his take on the Forum wasn’t as an evangelist. Back when I met the guy who tried to get me to join, NEW YORK magazine was trying to get a spy for an expose. No idea if they ever did anything on it. I knew about the Forum, though, and I thought I could get Dave to bite on some of my stuff, race, ethnicity, politics, etc., but he was too sharp. Should have known better. There are no flies on you or your crew.

  9. I had to let you guys marinate.
    Kelso- Stanley Greenberg ring a bell? how about Lenny Michaels Going Places’?
    Just wondering; anyway the guy from St Louis made it big is that an Ashky- thingy or is it just good time good place and no integrity. (Jim Jones factor)
    Help me out here.
    Fran I needed to preface my post with the fact that i have been accused of not giving a fuck about anything many times. I go to church but i don’t get into it. I write but only when it suits me.
    I have something in common with Werner; an understanding of physics sans the math and I know how to sell you a car, that is , if you needed one.

  10. Lemonade out of lemons is passed down from father to son, barrymax, over 1000s of years. It takes luck to make a score but you can’t make a score without showing up and trying. Stateless and hated, we always show up and try.

    The athlete-or-entertainer meme is racist, toxic and something of a harness to be sure, but African-pan-Anglo culture is new, relatively speaking and as a first pass at lemons-out-of-lemonade “athlete-or-entertainer” is not a bad effort at all. Elsewhere on this site there’s a lot of praise for WU-TANG CLAN. Good thought. How they did it exactly how we would have done it. Those who surrendered their rights to the labels for quick lucre, not so much.

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