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Poll

Is Mark a Cult Member?

Yes.
- 55 (45.1%)
No.
- 33 (27%)
Does the Free State Project count as a cult?
- 34 (27.9%)

Total Members Voted: 46


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Author Topic: Is Mark a Cult Member?  (Read 29753 times)

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aquabanianskakid

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #60 on: October 27, 2006, 12:22:26 PM »

You weren't the only one... looks like we were drinking at about the same time. Now my head is killing me. Apparently chugging a 6 of guinness is a bad idea.
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RAnthony

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #61 on: October 27, 2006, 01:17:32 PM »

The "is the FSP a cult" was just some humor...

The best humor reveals truths in a different light.  The vote tally speaks volumes, IMHO.

THE PURPOSES AND TACTICS OF COERCIVE PERSUASION

Let's look at another 'cult' that is prevalent in society.  The cult of family.

TACTIC 1. The individual is prepared for thought reform through increased suggestibility and/or "softening up," specifically through hypnotic or other suggestibility-increasing techniques such as: A. Extended audio, visual, verbal, or tactile fixation drills; B. Excessive exact repetition of routine activities; C. Decreased sleep; D. Nutritional restriction.

New parents are subject to extreme sleep deprivation and nutritional restriction, and new routines are introduced and repeated frequently. Feeding times for a new baby occur every few hours for several months, interrupting all normal patterns of life previously known including sleeping and eating. Feeding, burping, diaper changing, etc. are all new routines which, while simple and easy to learn, must be repeated when the audio fixation drill (crying) occurs.

TACTIC 2. Using rewards and punishments, efforts are made to establish considerable control over a person's social environment, time, and sources of social support. Social isolation is promoted. Contact with family and friends is abridged, as is contact with persons who do not share group-approved attitudes. Economic and other dependence on the group is fostered. (In the forerunner to coercive persuasion, brainwashing, this was rather easy to achieve through simple imprisonment.)

New parents are frequently trapped in their own homes for months at a time, with only the new cult member for company. Former family members are excluded in favor of the new family member. Any former friends without children find themselves unable to connect to the new parent due to unfamiliarity with the new group attitude.

TACTIC 3. Disconfirming information and nonsupporting opinions are prohibited in group communication. Rules exist about permissible topics to discuss with outsiders. Communication is highly controlled. An "in-group" language is usually constructed.

A child so ugly you'd have to hang a steak around his neck to get the dog to play with him, will always be described as a "beautiful baby" in the presence of the new parent. Every new cult member (hereinafter referred to as 'the child') is a genius according to the parent, even if the child attempts to eat every object that he can get his hands on.

As for an in-group language, does the phrase 'baby talk' mean anything to you?

TACTIC 4. Frequent and intense attempts are made to cause a person to re-evaluate the most central aspects of his or her experience of self and prior conduct in negative ways. Efforts are designed to destabilize and undermine the subject's basic consciousness, reality awareness, world view, emotional control, and defense mechanisms as well as getting them to reinterpret their life's history, and adopt a new version of causality.

Every confrontation with the child causes the new parent to reflect on interactions with their parents, and to inevitably fail in comparison. Everything in the parents world is reoriented on the child and his safety, there is no other valid concern in existence. A parent can frequently be found hovering near windows and doors that provide a view of the child at sleep or at play, so strong is the concern for safety even in a house and yard known to be without serious threat.

This is caused by the fact that the genius child will attempt to eat anything he finds, and many things which the parent did not perceive as a threat previously, are in fact deadly when swallowed.

There is no life before children, once you have had children. Don't believe me? Try to remember a time without them.  If you don't have children, ask the parent sitting next to you to remember.

TACTIC 5. Intense and frequent attempts are made to undermine a person's confidence in himself and his judgment, creating a sense of powerlessness.

If the average parent was paid a nickel for every time they heard "but Johnny's parents let him do it", there wouldn't be a need for social security.  All grandparents would be rich people.  This is not to mention the tantrums, the wheedling and cajoling that goes on in addition to the citations of the superiority of other children's parents.

When the attempts to undermine the parents judgment meet with failure, disobedience on the subject simply underlines the powerlessness of the parent.

TACTIC 6. Nonphysical punishments are used such as intense humiliation, loss of privilege, social isolation, social status changes, intense guilt, anxiety, manipulation and other techniques for creating strong aversive emotional arousals, etc.

You have no clue what humiliation is until your child is dusting the supermarket floor with his backside in a screaming fit because you won't get him the cereal he wants.

This tactic is, in essence, the same as tactic two.  Imprisonment could be considered a holiday compared to colic and 4 am feedings.  Social isolation and status changes?  Gimme a break.

TACTIC 7. Certain secular psychological threats [force] are used or are present: That failure to adopt the approved attitude, belief, or consequent behavior will lead to severe punishment or dire consequence, (e.g. physical or mental illness, the reappearance of a prior physical illness, drug dependence, economic collapse, social failure, divorce, disintegration, failure to find a mate, etc.).

Fail to do your part with the child, and the other parent will make you wish you had a drug dependency to fall back on as a crutch.  All of the listed consequences can and will be used as threats by either parent to ensure the continued support of the child.

Additionally, the cult is perpetuated by the parent insisting on the need for grandchildren, which must be provided by the child as soon as it is of age to have children of it's own. All of the above tactics will be applied to the child in turn in order to ensure that the cult of family continues into the next generation...

-RAnthony
http://ranthonysteele.blogspot.com/2006/10/is-it-cult-or-just-average-family.html
« Last Edit: October 27, 2006, 10:21:58 PM by RAnthony »
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lfugal

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #62 on: October 27, 2006, 01:27:00 PM »

I am a former Amway “distributor” and I have "friends and family" who are involved with an organization similar to Landmark.  I can empathize with Ian.  I despise groups like Landmark.

That having been said, three hours of Ian ranting against Mark for being in a cult made for the worst FTL program I’ve ever heard!  The Reverend Ian was pounding his pulpit so hard I expected to hear a call to march on Washington to get the government to pass a law against Landmark!

Honestly, Ian’s anti-cult crusade doesn’t sound very libertarian.
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AlexLibman

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #63 on: October 27, 2006, 02:49:16 PM »

I was interested in them Raëlians for a while, even though I knew they were a UFO cult and that their leaders were lying about everything, including that they could clone their way out of a paper bag.  I found watching them make up their dogma as they went along very amusing, and I came to like parts of their message, especially how science can solve all mankind's problems.  To a lesser extent, I also showed interest in the Bahá'í Faith, but the Raëlian chicks are way easier!   :wink:

As long as you aren't harmed and you can leave any time you want, there's nothing wrong with checking out a weird social movement like that, even if it costs you some money that you can afford to spend.  It's an experience, like going on a roller coaster.  Sometimes weird experiences are helpful in coming to certain realizations.

[...] three hours of Ian ranting against Mark for being in a cult made for the worst FTL program I've ever heard!  [...]  Honestly, Ian's anti-cult crusade doesn't sound very libertarian.

I second this notion.  Half an hour would have been enough.   :roll:

Unlike some movements that are also political, Libertarianism doesn't (and mustn't) cover the entire stack of a person's philosophical outlook.  Islam, to make a counter-example, is full-stack philosophy: it has its form of government (Islamic Republic), its own laws, family traditions, scientific and medical ideas, economic principals, a holy book, a holy city, a holy language, calendar, diet, etc.   :?

Libertarianism is nowhere like that, it's a political movement, nothing more, nothing less.  Libertarians can pick and choose what other components of their philosophical outlook should be, as individuals.  There can be Objectivist Libertarians, Islamic Libertarians, Raëlian Libertarians, Scientologist Libertarians, Communist Libertarians, Vampire Libertarians, Libertarians that say "Ni", etc, as long as they don't force their views on other people (except perhaps their dependents).
« Last Edit: October 27, 2006, 02:53:16 PM by AlexLibman »
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Wayne

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #64 on: October 27, 2006, 05:15:35 PM »

Alright, I just finished the podcast of that show. I've got to put in a BIG rant about it, because this is just silly....

I cannot believe that I just listened to an entire 2-hour podcast (3 hours for the radio listeners--sheesh!) that was about almost nothing outside of the Landmark Forum. Even though I thought it completely unnecessary, I could have seen maybe an hour. But the WHOLE SHOW? What a waste!

And you know what, for me it's not even about Landmark. Are they a scam? Are they helpful? Who cares? The fact is, I was not convinced either way, nor was I convinced that it's even relevent. And to call it a cult??? I noticed that using the definition given, entire segments of the freedom movement (such as, yeah, the whole Free State Project thing) could be slapped with that label and handled in the SAME way as Landmark was, with the SAME arguments being valid and the SAME sort of complaints (hey, who cares if your family wants you to stay close, ditch them for the cause of freedom!) Heck, the cultish feel of the FSP--and I guess I can thank the show for identifying the uneasiness I've been feeling over it--is one of the reasons I've yet to join. Listening to that show I got the distinct feeling that about the only people who AREN'T members of some cult somewhere are those who just float through life uncommitted to anything. That tells me: the label is being used far too broadly, just to make something look worse than it is--it seems remarkably similar to calling anyone who is against affirmative action (or "illegal" immigration) a "racist".

And what was the point of it all? To save Mark because he's subscribed to a philosophy Ian hasn't? One that's so "dangerous"? The tone of this turned a little hypocritical when the whole "qualifications" issue was raised about the seminar leaders. Ignoring the controversy over some of the crap that passes as psychology, I found it almost shocking that someone who generally scorns the idea of people bowing to experts and who acknowledges that entire industries--such as the pharmaceutical industry--shouldn't be treated as the only authority on a subject, would suddenly slap an independent company for not hiring trained (and, one could almost feel the implicit "licensed", were he not a libertarian) psychologists. Unbelievable. Heaven forbid that some people might just get hurt by taking some alternative treatment not prescribed by a doctor. We clearly need to spend a whole show shooting down the treatment method!

Ian even went so far as to try to act as if Mark's explanations were just incomprehensible gibberish. I understood him perfectly well ONCE HE WAS ALLOWED TO EXPLAIN. No, I didn't buy it, but it wasn't hard to understand, really. "Life is empty and meaningless." Hard to buy, not hard to grasp. "There's what happened, and the idea of what happened." How is this difficult? The idea of perception influencing one's behavior is a topic that's been brought up on the show before, and I have a very hard time believing Ian wasn't just deliberately choosing to "not understand" what was being said, rather than actually addressing and logically defeating the concepts.

If Mark is personally receiving benefit from this, even if it does have an uncomfortable or strange core philosophy, or if it's exorbitantly priced, or (and this is what I suspect is the REAL issue) is somewhat sales-driven, I think Ian, Johnson and company should exercise some of this boundless faith in the ability of people to make their own choices about what's best for them and LET THIS GO. I've got little doubt Mark will eventually come to see it for what it is, if it truly is bad--he's not an idiot. So it takes him some time and some money before he sees it, so what? That's HIS lesson to learn, and it's certainly not going to be hastened by a bunch of shoddy arguments and unimportant point-making, backed by examples of bad experiences that in no way negate his own.

Could we please not have to go through something like this again?

-Wayne
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Paul-ish

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #65 on: October 27, 2006, 08:10:58 PM »

Haha I wouldn't call it a cult. However I would call it a money making scheme, with the goal of obtaining knowlege that can easily be obtained elswhere for free. Besides, why pay people to tell you how to live your own life. But, it is his money.

I agree. Mark will look back years from now and he will just realise he remembers nothing from the forums but how much it ended up costing him. Ian was over the top, he was sounding like a truther "I have done hours of research." lol. I don't think its a cult, its just a fat waste of time. I don't think Mark will find the magic solution and start making millions by marketing because he took this course. This kind of thing would already come with experience.

Also on the 2006-10-25 Ian was playing stupid, a lot of what Mark was saying I understood, and Ian didn't want to admit that he at least understood where they were coming from. I understood it, and see what they are trying to say. I just think a lot of what they are trying to do is change your person and who you are, which is something that can happen just as well with life experience.
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RAnthony

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #66 on: October 27, 2006, 10:18:25 PM »

I've got to put in a BIG rant about it, because this is just silly....

Best rant in the thread.  Wish it was mine.

-RAnthony
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Sam Gunn (since nobody got Admiral Naismith)

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #67 on: October 27, 2006, 10:44:55 PM »

anybody else notice that "Landmark" landed Mark?

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mr_oo3

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #68 on: October 28, 2006, 07:41:26 AM »

I liked the 2 hour cult show.  I found it very interesting.
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bsquared

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #69 on: October 28, 2006, 07:59:40 AM »

So Landmark is a cult...or it isn't a cult, who cares?  After 90 minutes of this the central question of whether the program does any good hasn't been touched.  So far it's just been cult cult cult cult and Ian knocking a biz for incentive practices he'd applaud if other businesses did them.

I couldn't agree more.  I couldn't believe the entire show was devoted to the subject.  Ian has said on more than one occasion that people who speak out against things (politicians who speak out against homosexuality for example) are probably hiding their own personal liking for the behaviiour that they're speaking out against.  All I can therefore deduce is that someone who spent an entire 3 hour show rubbishing this thing is in fact a cult member himself.  Ian's cult? FTL and the AMP Program of course.  Giving things away for free to hook people in.  Asking for voluntary donations from people who'll get no personal gain from it.  Having "in" phrases that are often repeated ("the FSP is the only chance for liberty in your lifetime" for example).

So depending on your belief system Mark's in a cult (or not).  Ian's leading a cult (or not).

As Ian would ask of a 9/11 truther...so what?  How on earth would this affect the search for liberty? It made me laugh to thing of all the times Ian scoffed at the waste of time those conspiracy theorists spend on "research" yet he admitted to spending several days doing "research" on landmark.  What's the damned point?

This show annoyed this amplifier so much I was prompted to make what is (I think) my first BBS post after listening to the show for 2 years.
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FTL_Ian

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #70 on: October 28, 2006, 11:39:51 AM »

Quote
Ian has said on more than one occasion that people who speak out against things (politicians who speak out against homosexuality for example) are probably hiding their own personal liking for the behaviiour that they're speaking out against.

Invalid comparison.  I'm not calling for a law against cults.  Following your logic, Mark and I are closet communists, since we "speak out" against communism.  When I make that observation, I'm typically referring to people calling to outlaw something, typically something sexual.

Quote
So depending on your belief system Mark's in a cult (or not).  Ian's leading a cult (or not).

As Ian would ask of a 9/11 truther...so what?  How on earth would this affect the search for liberty?

You've made the mistake of believing that FTL is soley about the search for Liberty.  While it's certainly a primary theme, it's not our sole focus.

Quote
It made me laugh to thing of all the times Ian scoffed at the waste of time those conspiracy theorists spend on "research" yet he admitted to spending several days doing "research" on landmark.  What's the damned point?

The point of doing the research was so I could rebut Mark's claims.  If I didn't know what I was talking about, he'd have claimed that they have changed, I'd have no counterclaim, and the conversation would have been over.  The point is to warn people about groups like Landmark so they don't go and blow hundreds or thousands of dollars, not to mention their time, on a bunch of new age crap that is potentially dangerous.

It was a consumer report, but many listeners were angry because their favorite host is a member/dupe.  If Mark and I had agreed on the subject and we'd just taken calls from former cult members telling their stories, I predict no one would have complained.

The backlash on this thread just tells me that the show really got people upset.  That's just more evidence of a successful program.   8)  FTL was bound to make you angry eventually!
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Rillion

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #71 on: October 28, 2006, 01:18:22 PM »

Quote
The backlash on this thread just tells me that the show really got people upset.  That's just more evidence of a successful program.
 
Not if people stop listening.  I don't want to listen to a show whose goal is to piss me off.

Quote
FTL was bound to make you angry eventually!
Oh, believe me, it's happened many times before....
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Porcupine_in_MA

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #72 on: October 28, 2006, 03:08:16 PM »

I thought it was funny as hell.  :lol:
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Cable

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #73 on: October 28, 2006, 05:34:24 PM »

I don't understand why people got so upset.  This show airs 2 hours a day, every day, and has years worth of archives, of the exact same format you enjoy.  If you really didn't enjoy this ONE NIGHT of changing things up, you just had to wait a day or could play catch up on missed shows or something.  Personally, I thought it was a very refreshing change of pace and wouldn't mind seeing a similar change-up of the routine every once in awhile.  It was also pretty entertaining to me.

That said, I did feel Ian was throwing the term cult around a bit too readily and was calling pretty simple arguments straight out of philosophy "gobble-dee-gook".  "Life is inherently empty and meaningless and is up to you to make your own meaning." is the most basic tenet of existentialism (although perhaps worded a bit differently), one of the most adhered to philosophies in modern times.  Even if you didn't encounter it in your public school experience (I did, as well as Objectivism and Libertarianism and a bunch of other ideas, and yes, I'm talking about high school), then you should have run into it several times by now while on the internet.  And besides, just because you don't understand them right away at face value doesn't inherently make them bad ideas.

The other main argument made sense also.  Bad shit can happen to you, but you don't have to associate a bunch of judgements on your character based on those experiences.  (Rape -> I'm ugly, I'm dirty, no man will ever love me, or being Introverted = I'm weak, I'm not like "normal" people, I'll never find a girlfriend, etc).  As long as you allow yourself to believe this nonsense about yourself, you will be trapped by those beliefs, and you will be unable to change yourself for the beliefs about yourself will become self-fulfilling prophecies.   

Some of it may even be somewhat rational, like my own personal limiting thought that since I'm pretty heavy I'll have a hard time finding a girlfriend because women tend to exclusively want to date, or think they want to date, athletic people, which is reinforced by 95% of the personal ads out there.  That doesn't mean I should let it stop me from trying (although I pretty much do, and I shouldn't, but hey, I'm not perfect and let myself be ruled by my emotions more than I should).

That's all Mark was claiming when he was explaining them, although I can even understand the more extreme example you posted, where literally everything only has meaning because you allow it to have meaning.  If you're raped, it's only a traumatic experience because you let it become a traumatic experience.  Just like if you lose your arms in some tragic accident, it can ruin your life only if you ALLOW it to ruin your life.  In the latter case, sure it can mean you're not going to fulfill your dream as a construction worker, but you can still do other things, even things people think they HAVE to have their arms for (like writing, they can switch to dictation and/or voice recognition software instead).

That said, in the example you gave, he was pretty aggressive about it and caused the girl to start bawling into tears, but then again I've seen the same crap happen on television with Dr. Phil, and he's got a Ph.D in clinical psychology.  (Not that I'm a fan of this guy, but people still give him their money and their time to hear what he has to say... even I bought one of his books, which seemed to be more about him saying how much the book will change my life than actual advice on how to change my life...I swear the first 100 pages almost are all talking about what the book WILL do for you... I also hate his very chastizing attitude that pervades his written and oral communication)

I also think Landmark program was designed to take advantage of human psychology to make them money as possible, and if Mark thinks they aren't making money hand over fist in these things, he's nuts.  There are self made millionaires that became that way solely by giving these sorts of seminars.  But there's almost no business that doesn't try to take as much advantage of human psychology as possible.  The world of marketing is almost exclusively that, and even game developers like me study psychology to make our games more addictive (just read some stories about how Everquest and World of Warcraft are designed to try to make you spend all your time on it, at the expense of everything else, so they can keep getting your $14 a month from you, and see how many people's relationships and friendships and other crap get destroyed that way).  In fact, WoW in particular acts very similarly to this Landmark thing, besides the evangelism being totally voluntary (but people WANT to bring other people in, so they can still spend all their lives in WoW without losing their relationships, since they'll be all doing it together, and it keeps going, and going, and going...)  I even knew a guy who was so addicted he even played it at work all day long, as much as he could get away with it, and this was in addition to playing it for 6 hours a night once he got home.

Hell, even I had that problem with Counter-Strike.  For a full year and a half I had to play the stupid game for at least 6 hours a day, every day.  I stopped dating, I skipped classes sometimes, I skimped on my studying, I'd be late to work constantly.  It was a contributing factor to me losing my scholarship and dropping out of college (though there were other factors, like having troubles meeting it's insanely high requirements and being bedridden for a month during a semester I had to have straight A's to keep it).  Now, I just have that problem with the internet :P.

Personally, I'd never go to the Landmark forum, but I'd also never attend a self-help seminar.  I have bought some of the books, though, and I found I'm not the type of person who really benefits from it, since I don't follow through on their instructions and I can't ever believe in a silver bullet, single right way to look at life, the universe, and everything enough to be devoted enough to the ideas to really get anything out of them.

That said, a few that have effected me more than others would be:

Your Money or Your Life (money management.... I now do a couple of these things, like actually examine my expenses, keep track of some things, and make a budget that I always break... hopefully some of it will stick... still it makes the most sense of anything I've read)

The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell - a self-help book written by a philosopher, this is how all self-help books should be: DENSE with ideas and information, not have a single idea they repeat in a million different ways or have exercises to stretch a book to 200+ pages, which is the current trend.  It gives you a lot to think about and consider.  I just read it this week, though, so I don't know yet how it will affect my life, if it does.

http://www.stevepavlina.com - A self-help guy who gives all his ideas away on his website (he even has a podcast), and makes his money via advertisements on his website and talks he gives (they sound more like lectures that respected industry leaders give, not seminars).  I have special interest in this guy because I got to see him transition into what he's become, because he used to be an independent game developer who became an indie game publisher, and wrote his first articles to help game developers overcome their fears and become more productive (they're still up here: http://www.dexterity.com/articles/) and then decided he was happier (and could make more money) with self-help.  He already makes six figures just with effective google ads (amongst others).  I consider a lot of his ideas, but I haven't really sat down to act on them.  Still, many of his articles are definitely worth reading.

But anyway, it seems to be giving Mark some real tangible benefits (his current wife, for example), so as long as he's not being insane about his level of time and commitment, it's not much more dangerous than any random church out there.  Just maybe slightly more expensive (although churches still try to convince you to tithe a full 10% of your income to them, and I know some people who DO that, which has to add up to a lot more than a couple grand over the span of 4 years, like Mark has).
« Last Edit: October 28, 2006, 05:41:51 PM by Cable »
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bsquared

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Re: Is Mark a Cult Member?
« Reply #74 on: October 28, 2006, 07:24:10 PM »

You've made the mistake of believing that FTL is soley about the search for Liberty.  While it's certainly a primary theme, it's not our sole focus.

Fair enough that the show isn't only about liberty.  But I still ask...so what?  so Mark is a dupe?  so what?  So an organisation exists called Landmark where siilly people doing the 00's version of holding, hands, wearing coloured robes and chanting ummmmmmm and some people fleece some other people of their money.  So what? To me the whole episode was about as pointless as the bloke the next next night who rambled on about 666 - except he made me laugh.  But I would have been bored by him if you'd let it go on all night too. 

I wasn't uspet I was bored witless.  I rarely fast forward through FTL but I did that episode. The last time I did it was probably the last time you spent a long time talking about landmark (you have done it before...an episode before you left Florida when Mark went away for a weekend with the silly folks...you and one of the guest hosts grilled Mark then too for a ridiculously long time and went over the same rubbish then). zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

And while I've never been to a landmark seminar (never even heard of 'em here in Oz) there is something to the point that people who've been through awful experiences separating the events from how they feel about the events.  I have had professional training and although we use different language we basically use the same approach: don't give the events more power over your future life than those events deserve.  For example, modern society is so puritanical about sex that sex-related crimes are seen as the worst possible things that can happen to people.  Therefore when someone is a victim of a sex-related crime they feel worse than if they've been the victim of other crimes.  I don't have anything other than anecdotal evidence from my work as a counsellor for this but I can tell you that I've counselled people who've been the victim of relatively mild sexual abuse (eg no penetration) who have attempted suicide because of how bad they felt about themselves for being a victim of that kind of crime.  That only happens because we (society) teach people that sex is basically bad and anything related to it is bad.  I'm not saying it's ok to sexually abuse someone if you stop before you penetrate them without their permission but I am saying that it's a sick old world where someone that has happened to believes they need to kill themselves because they're dirty.  Someone who was robbed or mugged wouldn't feel that way.
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