First, let me make my main point with a different example.
Some of the people I went to college with, who are raging Progressive-Liberals espousing Environmentalism, Multiculturalism and Political Correctness--adamantly deny that they were influenced by the ideas pushed by the University we attended (U Michigan). I hear the same denial from people who went to other schools as well. Students in academia today are thoroughly brainwashed (the brain is saturated in certain ideas and narrative, which are hooked up to the person's self-esteem through school pride)--and yet they come out of it thinking that the ideas are just self-evident, that they have "always known" them. They hold these convictions mostly as emotions, and if you challenge their emotions they feel invalidated.
They refuse to see the influence that was exerted on them. They are adamant that their experience in academia was a positive and constructive one, and they do not want to hear anything else.
But the ideas in your mind come from somewhere, and if you do not know where, you are at the mercy of others who may (and will) hijack your mind for their own agenda.
Now, to the defense of Landmark I received. This was following my prior posts Some Information about the Landmark Forum and The Landmark Forum is "Running a Racket"
Challenger: "Maybe I missed it, but have you completed the Landmark Forum yourself, or is everything you have posted on the subject second or third-hand?"
Me: "I attended a variety of Landmark events myself, researched the subject, and spoke to numerous people who have been affected by it. Thankfully, I did not "complete" the Landmark Forum, so my brain is still intact. Are you a Landmark fan?"
Challenger: "I completed the Landmark Forum and the est training many years ago and, despite various bad ideas which were offered (like the bad ideas taught in our schools and universities), I got value from it and had no permanent ill effects, nor did anyone I know who participated (and there were many). If you are going to write these hyperventilating and exaggerated posts, it would reflect some "integrity" if you disclose that you never completed the program you are posting about and have no actual first-hand knowledge of it."
Me: "I can see the ill effects in what you just wrote."
Challenger: "You should post about it."
So, you asked for it:
First of all, why the emphasis on whether you "complete" the program? This issue of completing the program is very important. A true self-help program does not require you to "complete" their program as a primary thing--the goal of a genuine self-help program would be to provide you with the tools you need to do work yourself, which is an open-ended, ongoing process. To "complete" the transformation at the Landmark Forum means something very significant--it means that your core identity has been finally transformed to comply with the cult. Like in military boot camp where they break you down and build you up again--only in the middle of that process the Landmark Forum inserts its insidious programming into you.
This comment is very typical of Landmark Drones, and very revealing: "despite various bad ideas which were offered... I got value from it and had no permanent ill effects, nor did anyone I know who participated."
The challenger said that my criticisms are "hyperventilating and exaggerated"--To which I respond: You don't catch flack unless you're over the target. But he is perfectly, totally, absolutely, 100% certain the Forum had "no permanent ill effects" on himself or the others he knew--To which I respond: Methinks thou dost protest too much.
Notice that the challenger does not dig in to a single concrete criticism I made. The criticisms have no reality him, and the "value" of the program is for him an impervious and unassailable axiom--it cannot be reached by facts, reason, or logic. It is a cult emotion.
This adamant insistence brushing aside all concrete complaints or criticisms and reasserting subjectively "but I got value from it" is how you know the Forum is installed in that person's subconscious with their tacit consent and approval.
This is the key to all cult programming--the victim's denial that he was influenced. When you have blinders installed, and you look at the world through those blinders, you don't notice the blinders and never think about where they came from. Until and unless you do.
One attendee to the Forum described to me the way in which the attendees were hypnotized - the person did not use that word, but the sequence included the whole bit with closing your eyes, don't make any sounds and don't move, listen to the soothing voice, hold it for a certain time, and then "snap out" of it when the leader claps or snaps the fingers. You cannot remember what happened when you were hypnotized. What was said during that hypnosis which the victims don't remember? I sure would like to know--but I can assure you I will not be attending the Forum to try to find out. Further, did the Forum tell people that they were going to be hypnotized? Did they ask permission to do that? Not in any report I have heard and not in any of my own observations sitting in Landmark events.
The fact that Landmark Drones get so adamantly defensive about the Forum, and counterattack the critic with personal attacks rather than substantive engagement--is an indication that they are not truly settled and okay with it. Why would you care if I criticize it if you are so sure it is good? Something inside the Landmark Drone is nagging at him, independently of me--and that is why when I criticize the Forum, he himself feels criticized. His identity, his sense of himself, is enmeshed with the cult.
This is, furthermore, the same pattern as religious dogmatism--the man of "faith" holds his bible or other book as an absolute, and unquestionable given. You can list all the facts in the world which are contrary to it, you can point out all the logical fallacies in the religious doctrine--and yet the person's "faith" is impervious to all of that. He will cling to it no matter what. Because it is held in his subconscious, tied to his own self-worth and self-concept, in a non-rational, emotional form arising from social interaction. It is the same cult psychology.
Rape denial, the victim's repression of the memory of being raped, is a known phenomenon with physical rape. Imagine how terrifying it must be to have to face the fact that you were raped. It is a traumatizing experience. The mind has automatic mechanisms for blocking and repressing such painful memories. They seem too overwhelming to process.
What about with mind-rape?
When you see that blank, robotic stare in the eyes, like a Stepford Wife, and the Landmark Drone dismisses your concrete criticisms to replace them with "I got value from the Forum"--you are looking at a victim of mind-rape. And the victim is in denial, repressing the memory of being violated.