Thursday, November 22, 2007

Useful information from two Ph.D.’s, a parody play, and other LGAT discussion

Some Large Group Awareness Training related news, information and postings:

Related to our prior post, Mankind Project or Dancing Naked With Other Men While Beating Cooked Chickens, in a post “Article raises questions about New Warriors Adventure” - Professor of Psychology Dr. Warren Throckmorton cites strange practices by the group including: Blindfolded walking tours in the nude; People blowing sage smoke in his face while 50 or so naked men danced around candles; Men sitting naked in a circle discussing their sexual histories while passing a wooden dildo called “The Cock”; and of course, Naked men beating cooked chickens with a hammer.

Landmark Forum and the Red Flags” is an amusing, humorous satirical parody play discussing what the writer refers to as the “Formicans”, and a character’s research through both direct experience and (wisely so) also through research on the internet about this fictional parody group.

The Cult News Network provides a link to an “Ongoing legal complaint re: Werner Erhard on Wikipedia ?” The issue is also discussed at the Cult Education Forum, under the topic: “Large Group Awareness Training, ‘Human Potential’

Echidne of the Snakes has an interesting piece called “A Guest Post on the Mankind Project.” The writer cites the Houston Press article, “Naked Men: The Mankind Project and Michael Scinto.” However, the most interesting quote from the Echidne of the Snakes post, would probably be a warning about secrecy related to Large Group Awareness Training organizations: Secrecy can be a good thing, but insisting on secrecy on this level should make us worried.”

The Post of Athens, Ohio in an article called “Conquering coercion” has some very valuable information about coercive groups, and provides a list of “Warning Signs for College Students”. In its research for the piece, The Post consulted with psychologist Dr. Paul Martin, director of the Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center. Dr. Martin was influenced by the work of Harvard-trained psychiatrist Dr. Robert Lifton, who wrote about the Eight Criteria for Thought Reform.

Dr. Doni Whitsett discussed deceptive mind control techniques and tactics often used by “destructive groups”, in an article in the Daily Trojan. Dr. Whitsett gave some advice to parents of potential victims of these deceptive practices: “Don’t be discouraged by resistance … Kids will remember your questions when they begin to doubt. Question, but don’t give advice.” This is very good advice, because through questioning and asking good points and probing into the background of some of these deceptive groups, the parents can begin to restimulate the rational skepticism of their child that may have been laying dormant as a result of harmful tactics they may have experienced.

Small Company Secrets: The MindBend experience, by Paul Burri, Goleta Valley Voice. A great little piece about a weekend “seminar” called MindBend (name changed to protect the author of the article from being sued), which is described as being similar to EST. Burri provides some excellent advice at the end of the article: Do not ever allow anyone to put you in an uncomfortable situation. Speak up and ask to have the rules changed, the setting changed or to make whatever changes are necessary to make you feel comfortable. It will keep you from agreeing to something that you might regret later.”