The Dangers Of Large Group Awareness Training (LGAT) II

From a post to Rick Ross: These firewalking seminars, are very dangerous seminars, in my view, for many many reasons. Dozens, if not hundreds of reasons.

Firstly, doing the Firewalk in the presence of the Super-Guru is something you can almost never take back. They have designed it as an event that will PERMANENTLY change who you are. That is its literal stated intent. They are going to put people into a Peak State, and then FUSE that with peoples most sacred and Peak Experiences from their lives, and then this gets interwoven and FUSED with the Guru. He enters the most sacred spaces in your psyche, perhaps for the rest of your life. He wants to change who you are, literally, by creating an event that is a turning point in your life, something you will never forget.

Also, the seminar is full of Embedded Commands, and he is directly Influencing your Unconscious mind. The Guru defines what “success” is for you (even though he might claim he is doing the opposite of this), he talks (or talked) about how he is not doing hypnosis, but is rather “de-hypnotizing” you. Its full of group call and responses, and yelling “YES!” to the commands of the Guru, followed by commands to “write this down”. You can just hear people on the tapes start falling into Groupthink, and begin to “follow the leader”, as each layer of these “commands” is layered in.

Its full of his “stories”, which are designed to manipulate you. He is doing Eriksonian Hypnosis on you, which is almost irresistible. He is deliberately CONFUSING you. This is very powerful psychological stuff, and its being misused for sales purposes.

At this point, the SuperGuru has hundreds of different aspects of Influence all overlaid in this seminar, from doing it for so many years, so they all hit you at once, like a Mac truck.

Of course, the Sales-pitch is that the Guru is doing all this, “for your own good”. He is “changing you to be more successful”, etc.
Who’s “good” is being served here?
Who is being served up on a platter, and for what purpose?

From where I stand right now, I see it as nothing less than an extreme psychosocial abuse of power. I can see what’s behind the design of these seminars more and more, each year I look at them.

LGAT’s are bad news, due to their extreme coercive nature.

I could imagine a type of open seminar, that could give out useful psychological info, and have open discussions, but doesn’t mess with your mind. But an LGAT is the opposite of that. It is a terrible learning environment, even as they claim it is a wonderful learning environment. Its a great environment for coercive indoctrination, not learning.

But, the Firewalking seminar is literally meant to mess with your mind, so that you are never the same person again, in certain ways. This is why if you look at what people write after these seminars, you will see its extreme short-term effects on people.
Watch what people write on that “other” forum after they get back from these seminars. Look for the distorted, grandiose thinking, and mania that has been created. Ask them questions, and you might see some very bizarre answers, that are out of touch with “reality”.

As I have said, the more I look into this stuff, the more powerful and dangerous I see it as being.

I will never allow myself for the rest of my life to “give myself away” at an LGAT seminar. I might attend some for research purposes, but I will sit near the back, and guard my psyche from these terrible manipulations. I would also NEVER do something really “extreme” there, like Firewalking. This will IMPRINT the seminar, and the FUSE the Guru into your psyche, maybe for the rest of your life.

These LGAT’s are extremely sinister and terribly powerful. They are not what they seem, and they do not do what they are advertised to do. They seem to do the opposite…

Miracles, Breakthroughs, personal transformation…

It seems to me they are all selling the same thing.

An escape from a painful reality, and Magical Thinking.

I think they are just exploiting a primal fallibility of being a human.
Look at “lotteries”. They sell the same thing.
Watch the TV ads for them. “One scratch could change your life!”.
Its a Miracle! Just buy a ticket, and all of your problems will be solved.

Existence in the modern world is a very tough thing at times, so in my view they are exploiting this human desire of ours, and telling us they can sell us a little piece of “Heaven” right here now.

Miracle = Instant Change.

Its pretty hard to sell personality modification as a slow, unsexy, persistent method of modifying your behaviors and underlying patterns, over a long period of time. Not very sexy.
Better to say, “change your whole miserable stinking life in one miraculous weekend!”.

We all seem to fantasize about an “easy way out”, and they just exploit it.

Exploiting human weakness for profit…

In my view, there is no way people should be going to these LGAT’s until they know what they are all about.
This way, they can be aware of all of the tricks, and the Trance and Ericksonian Hypnosis, Embedded Commands, NLP, the way the room is set up, the Social Influence stuff, the food and sleep deprivation, the conditioning of your peaks states and values to the Guru, the sleaze-ball commissioned salespeople, and the dozens and dozens of other techniques and aspects of the LGAT.

This way, IF a person ever “chooses” to go to one of these seminars someday, (the seminars have been running for decades, “Scarcity” is a sales tactic), then they will know what is going on. They will leave their credit cards at home, and they will NOT SIGN any contracts there. They might sit near the back, and not get too overexcited. They will not “give in” to the Guru, even thought the Guru tells you that giving into him is what you have to do to get miraculous change now.

Try an experiment. When folks get back from this seminar, you can ask them questions. You will see how “pumped up” they are, how they feel they can do anything. (for now).
Ask about what they bought there, if they signed up for other seminars. Look at their beliefs, and what they think about Tony now. (they will love him and think he is a genius).
You can observe the effects on other people. They will almost all be “manic” for quite a while.
But it wears off. The high falls away.
That’s why some people keep going back, over and over.
They want that manic high, its like some type of drug high, and they need their fix.

There is so much to learn about these things.

Learning about self-improvement is wonderful.
But these LGATS are only about that in a very minor way.
Their real purpose is being discussed in this thread, and on these types of analytical websites.

LGAT’s are a very bad way to learn things, except how to be “brainwashed” and indoctrinated unconsciously.

This “first seminar” is about bringing you “into the loop”.
And what a loop it is.
It can consume your entire life. It can costs you thousands of dollars. It can get you “hooked” into the sales cycle…
$1,000 ->$3,000 -> $5,000 -> $10,000 -> $30,000 -> $65,000 -> -> $100,000+ -> whatever you might have.

Before ever attending a Mass LGAT Seminar of this nature, one needs to educate themselves, and find out what they are trying to do to you.

But even then, many times its not enough…

People “blame themselves” for not accomplishing as much as they think they “should”, and this self-downing leads to depression, frustration, and even self-loathing.

(Step #2: find your customers pain, and then stir up their pain, and make it worse)
(Step #3: heal them with you products and services)

In my view, to want to get into Action is a good thing.
But from my point of view, we can do it in a healthier way by using ideas from Behavior Therapy, or Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
This way, we can push ourselves at times to get things done that we are Avoiding, but we can forgo shaming ourselves for not being a Superperson.

You’ll notice that Tony does not seem to teach unconditional self-acceptance. Why?

As I have said many times, most of his “psychological knowledge” seems to directly conflict with what is thought of as “healthy” currently in fields like CBT and REBT.
Why is this?

My view is that they are not so much there to “help us”, but to serve as part of the overall sales process.
Robbins does not have the disciplined training to be giving psychological advice, in my opinion.
SELLING SELLING SELLING and psychological health do not make good bedfellows.

Upon further reflection, it seems very clear to me that these types of “firewalking” LGAT’s are engineered to give people what is called a “Manic Episode”, or Hypomanic episode.
Read the critieria of a Manic and Hypomanic episode, and compare this to the psycho-emotional states of people after these types of seminars.
To push people into this so-called “Peak State”, pushing them 14 hours a day, until they might engage in an “unrestrained buying spree” and make “foolish business investments”, is the perfect state for the “customer” to be in.

I think some of the people who design and run these seminars might be Manic-Depressive, and have learned that to try and push people into having a “manic episode” is good business.
Of course, not everyone can be pushed into this state, and some people are simply hypomanic, or just get a bit “overexcited”.
But it seems clear to me.

Installing and triggering a type of Mania is the goal.

TAKEBLINDERSOFF POSTS: The LGATs provide a sense, however ephemeral, of community and spiritual bonding that many people haven’t experienced or no longer have in their lives. That these events have dark, devious undercurrents is blithely ignored by most, desperate as they are for an experience to make their life sparkle. LGATs are legal drugs, as they truly simulate the same effect as cocaine or other mania-inducing drugs. As with alcohol consumption, some people can have a drink or two or get smashed for a night, and walk away. Others become alcoholics. Legality makes addiction acceptable and puts the onus on the unsuspecting victim.

Many people with stronger internal resources simply can’t understand the extreme vulnerability of some people and how these type of events are engineered to hook you for life. And that even they could be victimized and hooked in ways they didn’t know were possible.

A friend used to practice his Haitian drumming while I visited. I found that at times, while reading a magazine or using his computer, I would drop what I was doing and go into a light trance state, just sitting there, unable to move. I thought maybe I was having some sort of weird low blood sugar attack, but then I would suddenly snap out of it. This wasn’t a typical hypoglycemic reaction. I finally figured out it was related to the drumming and he told me that some of the patterns he played were used in all night “vodoun” rites. He had no idea these patterns could so easily induce trance states and had thought it was alcohol or drugs that did it.

There is a deep spritual void in our McDonald’s culture. LGATs are filling it.

What can we do to counter?

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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