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#29591 - 05/10/02 07:25 PM Anyone here go thru something like this?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Enlightenment in Two Weekends - The est Training
by Stephen Pressman
from the book Outrageous Betrayal published by St. Martin's Press
Copyright 1993 Stephen Pressman
"In this training, you're going to find out you've been acting like assholes."
-est Trainer Stewart Emery

Two hundred fifty people sat in straight-backed chairs in the flock wallpapered ballroom at San Francisco's Jack Tar Hotel, waiting for the est training to begin. A few minutes earlier, on the mezzanine level of the hotel, a small army of cheerfully smiling est volunteers saw to it that everyone entering the ballroom had paid their $250 enrollment fee and had affixed a name tag with their first name spelled out in bold black print. Inside the ballroom, the seats were set up in three neatly arranged sections, each row of chairs facing toward the dais in ruler-straight lines. Another group of est volunteers patrolled the perimeter of the room, making sure everyone was silent and in his or her seat. A moment later a dour-faced man of medium build and short brown hair, wearing a sweater over an open-collar shirt and a name tag that said "Ron," walked to the front of the room and stepped onto the stage. Around the room, dozens of people exchanged nervous smiles and some throat-clearing coughs as they turned their attention to the man who seemed almost to be scowling at them. The est training was about to begin.
For the next two hours, Ron, using his best drill-sergeant voice, worked his way through a thirty-page recitation of the rules everyone had to agree to follow during the training. No one could move from his or her seat unless told to do so. There was to be no smoking, eating, or drinking at any time in the room. There would be one meal break during the course of the day, and the session, which began promptly at nine in the morning, might end anywhere between midnight and four o'clock the next morning. No one could leave to go to the bathroom except during short breaks announced by the trainer. Notetaking was strictly prohibited, and anyone wearing a watch had to remove it immediately and hand it over to one of the volunteer assistants stationed around the room. There was to be no talking except when the est trainer called on someone to talk, after which the person would wait until one of the assistants came over with a microphone. Ron spent several minutes showing everyone, in precise detail, how to hold the microphone, how to speak into it, and how to wait until one of the assistants retrieved it before sitting down again.
Someone in the room raised a hand and asked, after he was recognized by Ron and handed one of the microphones, what was the reason for all the rigid rules.
Training assistants were always prepared with a standard response to such questions. Anything used in the training was put there "because Werner found out that's what works," Ron and other assistants would say.
Most of Werner Erhard's customers had sat on the sidelines during the heady, mind-expanding years of the 1960s. They had not, for the most part, considered themselves part of the nation's counterculture during those tumultuous years, but rather had spent the time finishing school and beginning careers and raising families-and mainly becoming "responsible" adults. Attracting an overwhelmingly white and middle-class audience (made up of slightly more women than men), est provided hundreds of thousands of its participants with their first real adventurous taste of the exotic-sounding human potential movement. Of course, there were others who had come to est after dabbling in a variety of self-awareness programs, from Esalen and gestalt therapy to transcendental meditation and incense-tinged chanting. But they were the exceptions; the training sessions filled up mostly with newcomers to this business of transformation.
Some came to the hotel ballrooms because they wanted to find meaning in their lives. Most came because they were simply curious-because they had wives or husbands, boyfriends or girlfriends, bosses or employees, neighbors or relatives, who had already taken the training and couldn't stop gushing about this fantastic thing they had just experienced. They came because everywhere they turned, it seemed, all they kept hearing about was a handsome, smooth-talking, charismatic guy named Werner Erhard who had figured it all out and was willing to share his secrets. All it took was a credit card and the willingness to sit in a hotel ballroom chair for hours on end over the course of two weekends.
At the end of it, Werner Erhard held out the tantalizing promise of transformation, a word and a concept never precisely defined in the fuzzy syntax-twisted jargon of est. As a master salesman, he knew he didn't have to bother with simple explanations because his customers never demanded it. "I don't understand anything that's happened and I can't remember concepts at the [est] seminars or training," one est graduate remarked in the late 1970s. "But I'm able to do and handle and create so much now." Erhard never peddled logic and understanding, both of which were anathema to the est training itself. In concocting est out of a myriad of self-help, self-awareness, motivational, and psychological theories he had mastered over the years, he was interested only in convincing people they could "experience" transformation just by suspending logic and understanding, which he scornfully derided as the "booby prize" in life. Time and again he and other est trainers insulted and yelled and jeered at any est participant who insisted on "understanding" the methods and objectives of the est training.
But what was "it"? people still wanted to know before they put their money down. From est's earliest days, Erhard had come up with a pithy de>

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#29592 - 05/11/02 09:23 AM Re: Anyone here go thru something like this?
Spider-man Offline
Member

Registered: 04/27/02
Posts: 57
Loc: NY
Well, it sounds like he follows up on his promise of transformation.
But there is no note that change can be a good or bad thing.

I've encountered something similar to this, but without much of the aggression and ridicule this est thing has. Even so, I listened with half an ear, took what fitted for me and then moved on.

Personally, I excercise my personal responsibility not to put myself in a room with someone like this Erhard character.

In the cosmic test of life, what if you copy answers from the person next to you - and they're wrong? I'd rather look inside myself for answers than go looking for someone elses.


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#29593 - 05/11/02 08:20 PM Re: Anyone here go thru something like this?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
This kind of mass hysteria crap scares me, I immediately think of money grabbing charlatans. Maybe it's living in the UK and being a few years behind the USA when it comes to these things, although they are here- make no mistake about that. I have been to the States many times and driving through the south west, listening to the shit-kicking religious radio stations in the car and watching the evangelical tv in motels fills me with dread. And every exposure of some high and mighty, money grabbing grabbing preacher that is caught with their pants down scares me even more.
We're only just seeing the beginning of this phenomenum over here, and I hope we crush it it at birth.
Do the Erhards of this world genuinly believe what they preach ? Who can tell, a good liar fools us all, whether it's a prime minister, president or our all time "favourite" - our abusers. So does this make us easy fodder for them ? My guess is that it does, the same vulnerability that our abusers recognised these people feed on. The big give away for me is that they never seem to share their wonderful knowledge for free.
Sensing that some sections of society are vulnerable they work on the same mechanism that religion does, it's something to grasp. It provides a framework of reason and help. The fact is that these things can be gained for free and without the commitment and reliance that "cure all pseudo psychological theatrics / religions" require of you.
I have no real problem with religion per se, I know many deeply religious people who are very well balanced and decent folk, but I also know many non belivers who are the same.
If someone feels the need for a support structure then so be it.
Looking at the est philosophy on web sites I believe that the basis of their programe is nothing more than a bombardment of easily available self help advice gleaned from other sources, but delivered in such an overpowering way it makes a huge impact. It would be very interesting to follow some participants and see if they need "proper" help sometime after. Although it would be virtually impossible to tell if their problems were made worse by this kind of intense programe. ( I suspect it would be )
To tell people to dismiss their past is wrong, it's all we have and it's the reason we are what we are. We can look forward to a better future but the past is there, it always will be.
Have we tried to forget our past ? I have. I can't. I guess most of you out there are like me, it won't go away so I have to find ways of dealing with it, some of my abusive history has perversley made me a better and stronger person, I'm now much more self aware than I ever was. I have turned some aspects of my past on its head and gained strength from it.
Notice that use the first tense "I". I did it,I moved from victim to survivor. ok, I acknowledge the major help of intese therapy and my wife and friends, it would have been impossible without them. But they provided my support and sounding board for my ideas. Actually "telling" me how to behave, how to think, and what to do next wouldn't have worked. I was the only person who could help me. Mass programes like est don't- they indoctrinate and sublimate individual thinking. And seeing as how we / I are dealing with our individual traumas can we realistically expect a mass programe to work ?
Maybe someone will tell me it worked for them, so be it. But personally I just can't see it. I would suspect that the success' are those that just picked the bones out of the experience and had the savvy to use them to their advantage.
My personal view on any kind of group treatment is that it should be pertinent to the problem, SA victims / survivors should stick to survivors therapy groups. After all we are the experts, are we not ?
Lloydy

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#29594 - 05/11/02 10:02 PM Re: Anyone here go thru something like this?
Anonymous
Unregistered


My sister went thru the EST program during the early 1970s. She had been normal before. Afterwards she became reptillian. She had her husband and two children go thru the program,too. She told me about the guy coming on stage and saying "You're all assholes". The reason,according to him that the audience were assholes is because they failed to achieve success due to their emotions such as love,consideration of others,compassion,common decency and such. There is only winning. All else means nothing. It's 2002 now and my sister wants to kill me one moment then fuck me the next. Literally.


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#29595 - 05/12/02 07:00 PM Re: Anyone here go thru something like this?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
How scary is it that the influence of this short, intense programe can affect a complete family for nearly 40 years ?
If Joe Soap off the streets can do it, just what can governments do ?
That's fucking frightening !!

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#29596 - 05/22/02 07:00 AM Re: Anyone here go thru something like this?
Broken Offline
Member

Registered: 03/25/01
Posts: 273
Loc: Huntingtun Beach, CA, US
This isnt anything new. People will give anything to fill that gaping whole modern man has convinced himself he has. They will do abusolutely anything to do the one thing they are afraid of, taking responsibility for thier own lives.

I read this true story once about a bunch of people who were stranded on a liferaft. Even though they had plenty of provisions, everybody started panicking. After a few days, they started killing and eating each other. Less than half the people survived when they were rescued a short while later.

after i read that story, i felt sick. i felt like someone had jabbed a knife in my heart. When i was a kid, i cried when i learned about the nuclear bomb, and again when i learned about the holocaust.

I have tried to swear to myself i would never be like that, that life means more than being a cruel, savage animal. Animals dont treat the animals they eat as bad as some humans treat thier own family on a daily basis. All my life i have felt that there is this invisable rule that everyone is out for themselves. But i'd rather take the pain of being an idealist than living like that anyday. If im wrong, whats the worst that could happen? I spend my life with the delusion that human beings can be strong, noble creatures, instead of looking out for my own gratification. Big fucking loss. You cant get blood from a stone. Nothing left to lose, nothing left to take \:D


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#29597 - 05/22/02 08:07 PM Re: Anyone here go thru something like this?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
"This isnt anything new. People will give anything to fill that gaping whole modern man has convinced himself he has. They will do abusolutely anything to do the one thing they are afraid of, taking responsibility for thier own lives."

Broken
What you say here is so right, up to a point. This is just how I was, grasping at any reason for me being a fuck up except the right one, but did I know the right reason- even subconciously ? I dont think I did until I admitted to myself that what happened just maybe wasn't my fault.
And although figuring that out hasn't cured me ( I know a "cure" isn't a reality ) it has enabled me to take some responsibility for my own life.
But if you just drift along you end up expecting someone or something to come along and get you out of the pile of crap you're in.
No free lunches I guess !

Lloydy ;\)

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#29598 - 05/23/02 01:53 AM Re: Anyone here go thru something like this?
goflyakiteV Offline
Member

Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 66
Loc: n.a.
TIFOIL

THANKS FOR THIS ARTICLE ON EST,,,,I WAS THINKING ABOUT GOING TO THE ONE THEY HAVE COMING UP IN SAN FRANSISCO IN ABOUT 2 MONTHS. THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL I'M GOING NOW...SIGNED 'JUST ANOTHER ASSHOLE'...SCOT \:\) \:\)


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#29599 - 05/24/02 06:49 PM Re: Anyone here go thru something like this?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi goflyakiteV. I actually achieved good. Glad to hear it. Brings to mind the mid to late 60s,early 70s. I had hair down to my ass,hung out at all the hot spots in southern California. And here they'd come the Hari Khrishnas,the Moonies,the fake Christians. All out hell-for-leather to scoop up what they viewed as society's vulnerable detritus. I was immune,protected by..um..what is it called? Oh yeah. Hypervigilance. Researcher Nancy Etcoff would approve,I'm sure.


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#29600 - 05/25/02 01:39 AM Re: Anyone here go thru something like this?
goflyakiteV Offline
Member

Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 66
Loc: n.a.
TINFOIL........LIKE, WOW...COOL MAN. DIG IT?!

I DID GO TO A MEETING ONCE IN TEXAS CALLED, MINDSHAPERS ( MIND CONTROL )....WOW, IT WAS PURE HELL. I CAME OUT OF THERE WITH A HARD ON PASSION THAT I WAS GOING TO RULE THE WORLD. I WAS 23 THEN. AT 54, I THINK BACK AT THAT AND WISH I HAD DONE THE STUFF THEY TAUGHT. NO, TOO OLD. TOO SET IN MY BAD WAYS. 'COURSE, THERE'S ALWAYS ROOM FOR "JELLO".

THANKS TINFOIL, SLEEP WELL TONIGHT....SCOT


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