When I occasionally see someone on the internet say that the Landmark Forum ‘brainwashes’ people – usually in an anonymous post somewhere with no evidence as to what that actually means – I tend to wonder, where was I? There was nothing in my Landmark Forum but a frank conversation about what people are dealing with in their lives. If the course leaders exhort people to do something, it’s do go make a difference with people, help make the world work (see my last post).
But a blog I recently read gets more to the heart about what people can find uncomfortable about Landmark Education programmes. You see, in one Landmark course, I think it’s the Advanced Course, you do an exercise wher you really have to be with people. Like, actually look in their eyes. I would assert that for many people, this is quite scary. They say that public speaking is the number one fear of people (slightly ahead of death), which basically indicates we fear embarrassment more than death. I think the fear of public speaking is simply the fear of being with people we don’t know – lots of them.
In this blog, Ted’s Transformational Tips, Ted talks about an exercise he says is from the Landmark Forum (I actually think it was in the Advance Course, though that’s not really the point here). In it, you take on simply being with another person, looking into their eyes, not saying anything, for about five minutes.
Well, as Ted points out, not really, for many people. Many people discover how uncomfortable they are truly being with others – they feel forced to laugh nervously, or look away. But when people actually take the time to get out of our own head and be with another, I think many people get in touch with something they may have forgotten – how magnificent people can be, how moving, how powerful.
I think that for some people, hearing about such an exercise can actually be quite threatening – threatening to one’s fears, that is. I think sometimes what alarmists on the internet are most scared of is people giving up their fears. Then they might have to give up their own…