The Landmark Forum's advocacy of "integrity" is corrupt, and its advocacy of "authenticity" is inauthentic. Their use of these words is not a support of virtue, but a stealth tactic for gaining access to a person's subconscious. The goal of the Forum, as with any cult, is to find a way in to a person--and that means finding the person's key weakness, insecurity, or vulnerability.
The primary way that the Forum does this is to nominally advocate "integrity," so that the victims will self-criticize and reveal the way in which they have been "inauthentic" or failed to follow through pursuing their dreams. One person dreamed of being loyal to a parent but wasn't; another dreamed of working hard to become a great musician, but didn't, etc. When the victim has supplied the way in which he has dreamed but not acted to pursue that dream, then the Forum has its access point. The Forum leader hammers and drills on that weakness until the person breaks down. Sometimes a formerly reserved and private person will be sobbing uncontrollably onstage in front of hundreds of people. The victim gives in to their newly discovered "need" for a solution--and the Landmark Forum is poised to inject its cult programming as that solution.
This process masquerades as "tough love"--but it is not any kind of love--it is mind rape.
In this connection, I recommend this book:
The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing by Joost Meerloo
The essence of the Landmark Forum is its enormous negation of the victim's individual judgment.
Once a victim has opened himself, once he has taken in and accepted the Landmark programming, that programming tends to be stubbornly locked in place. This programming is partly held as ideas, and those are not too difficult to refute with logic; but it is also largely held as a set of self-destroying mental-emotional habits, such as a habit of ignoring, dismissing, scoffing at facts which work against the Forum, and such as harsh cruelty toward one's own self, and by extension a harsh cruelty to others. All of which is covered with the veneer of a sweet smile and softly open eyes.
Cult programming does not get in through reasoning but through social pressure, self-flagellation, hypnosis, emotional breakdown and humiliation--through shattering the mind. Therefore using logic to escape from the programming is only partly effective. The victim tends to regard the cult mindset as "salvation" and a "solution" and a revolutionary new method of having greater integrity--which is part of its imperviousness to revision. Until and unless the victim is able to grasp and face the fact that he was manipulated and harmed by the Forum's deception, the programming will be stubbornly entrenched. It is a question of whom to trust, and the victim must first learn to have absolute and exclusive trust in his own judgment, before he can find people (outside the Forum) who are safe to form a loving bond with.
On several occasions, I spoke to certain Landmark cult victims and leaders and told them directly and in strong terms what I thought of what they were doing--that I thought the Forum it is a cult which destroys people, that it is manipulative and criminal. I always got the same response: a blithe smile, a patronizing look in their eyes, a disregard of everything I said as though it had not been said at all, and a reply, "Thank you so much for sharing, it's great that you are opening up like this. Before, you seemed so closed off and unconnected."
All of what they do is tailored to gain access to your subconscious, to get you to yield your conscious judgment, to drop your mental self-control, and to give them access to your subconscious inner core. The Forum uses the capacity for human social connection to destroy the reasoning mind. It is not "reaching out." It is not a loving bond. It is not "openness" to human connection. What they want is your openness to their corruption and evil, your willingness to surrender to their control--when they most certainly do not have your best interest at heart. Quite the opposite.
The leaders of the Forum do not themselves actually believe the content of what they espouse. Their tactics and statements are not substantive thoughts but manipulative tricks. They are methods of deceiving people.
I remarked before that the Forum is particularly infamous for destroying marriages. What is it about the Landmark Forum that causes the victims to sever from previous intimate relationships? In essence, it seems the victim suffers damage to the brain's capacity for authentic connection. The victim comes away with a sort of mental vacancy, a robotic quality, with the capacity for empathy and responsive relation to another person cut off. A large part of this comes from the merciless cruelty with which the Forum broke the person down; the victim has internalized a dialogue of harsh self-censure which is an ongoing form of self-harm, and which gets extended to others, driving them away.
One commenter (on my earlier post) mentioned that their name for the victims of the Forum was "EST-holes" (EST was the prior name of the Landmark cult). The name is apt since the hallmark of such people is their harshness, mean-spirited vitriol, negativity, fault-finding, knit-picking--and their enormous dropping of all context of positive values and virtues. Positive values and virtues are the primary enemy and target of a cult which seeks to destroy the reasoning mind in order to gain power over a person through the subconscious.
People with emotional problems or disorders are very susceptible to this, due to their psychological wounds--which the disease of the Forum takes as its point of entry.
The biggest lie in the whole Forum is its criticism of its victims that they are "running a racket." That is the exact phrase used in the Forum to criticize people, whenever they talk in a way that "makes excuses" for their "lack of integrity." Again, in a healthy, non-malicious, non-cult situation, refuting a person's excuses for not pursuing their dreams would be a proper, rational process. But that is not what this is. The process gets plausibility from the notion that you shouldn't make excuses for personal failures, you should own them and take responsibility; but in the context of the Forum, this leads not to constructive behavior, but to the propagation of the cult at the expense of its victim.
The Forum is engaged in subterfuge, using virtue to destroy virtue, using reason to destroy reason. The surface plausibility is what disarms the reasoning mind, while the Forum continually presses itself forward, drilling into the soul of the hapless victim who naively believes the Forum is interested in helping.
This method of subterfuge hijacks the language of the good and uses it to destroy the good. It is based on the good's one vulnerability--the use of words for their actual substantive meaning without realizing that a different kind of person uses the same words only for manipulative purposes, not to convey content of thought.
Any time you question or challenge or criticize the Landmark programming you are "running a racket." Well--there is definitely someone in that conversation that is "running a racket", but it is not the victim; it is the cult leader. This is an epic example of projection--of attributing one's own problem to other people.
One method employed by all cults to solidify the cult programing is ritual evangelism--getting victims to recruit others into the cult. This is a full-on mania with those infected with the Forum.
Getting a person to push ideas, actions, and institutions--as moral slogans without his own full, independent rational understanding--is a way to entrench his unthinking belief in them and devotion to them. This is another way of bringing the cult into the person's subconscious self-concept while bypassing what they think.
"We are what we habitually do," taught Aristotle. It is activism creating self-identity, entrenching beliefs as a mark of pride and as definitional to who you are as a person.
One does not have to be weak or unintelligent to fall victim to this scheme. It uses ape-level parts of the brain to have influence, and we all have those parts. But it is only the strength of the higher-order brain functions, reason and logic, including the rational processing of emotion, which can ultimately ward off such evil.
The Landmark cult is not sincere. It is playing a game, a deadly one, with people's souls. There is nothing innocent or well-intentioned about it.