======================================================================== Cybernetics in the 3rd Millennium (C3M) --- Volume 6 Number 3, Jul. 2007 Alan B. Scrivener --- www.well.com/~abs --- mailto:abs@well.com ========================================================================

The Dark Side of Enlightenment

~ OR ~

Dispatches From the Mind Control Wars

(Part 2 of 2)

[If you haven't read part one, see the archives, listed at the end.]


Thou art God. -- Valentine Michael Smith, a human raised by Martians in "Stranger In a Strange Land" (science fiction novel, 1961) by Robert Heinlein ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0340837950/hip-20 ) It seems like everyone selling enlightenment or self-help or transformation or therapy has to decide at some point whether they're preaching a religious message or not. It has tax benefits but it invites persecution, as a "cult." The Maharishi said no, Transcendental Meditation (TM) is simply a technique, like mental floss. Bob Dobbs said yes (or somebody claiming to be him) and the rest is history. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subgenius ) Marshall Thurber said no and Terry Cole-Whitacre said yes. Grinder & Bandler said no, even though Bateson said maybe. (I'm reminded of the Buddhist joke, "Our God is so great he doesn't need to exist"). And a science fiction writer named L. Ron Hubbard said yes, this is a religion, and gave us Scientology. It should not be news that the Church of Scientology is controversial. I looked its founder up on Wikipedia, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L_Ron_Hubbard ) and expected a blur, almost like an electron orbital, of changes and counter-changes as the meme wars continue. But I found a surprisingly stable article, which included a pointer to another article about a church doctrine called "Fair Game" which allows "dirty tricks" against their critics, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Game_%28Scientology%29 ) which may or may not be repudiated, and because of it, I haven't got a bad thing to say about them Scientologists.


If you keep saying it the way it really is, eventually your word is law in the universe. -- Werner Erhard, 1978 "If God Had Meant Man to Fly, He would Have Given Him Wings Or: Up To Your Ass in Aphorisms" ( www.thedragonscave.org/archives/tdc/est/text_files/erhard_quotes2.txt ) Another guru who said no, it isn't a religion, was Werner Erhard, founder of the est training. Even back at Kresge there were people who had taken est and wanted me to do it too. A couple named Harry and Tori come to mind. I resisted because it seemed "culty" -- and I'd had a creepy experience with some Moonies in Berkeley recently. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonies ) I'd also seen a portrait of est creator Werner Erhard in a "Rock Dreams" -like book, I've forgotten the name, in which he is wearing a really sharp black Nazi SS uniform, and behind him hundreds of wizards with diplomas and hypnotized-spiral eyes blunder about. I do remember at a college leadership meeting Harry gave a presentation on the meaning of some words used by the est crowd, including "assist," "clear" and "space." It had some useful distinctions. After college I kept meeting extremely talented software people, including John G., Dan E. and Bob B., who'd taken est and recommended it. Finally Bob got my wife and I to a Special Guest Seminar in the summer of 1980, and we enrolled in "the training" as everyone called it. How was it? It was great. It was without a doubt the most entertaining four days (2 weekends) of my life. (A close second is the Six Day Event, an advanced est event which we participated in in 1981.) It did wonders for my feeling of aliveness, my integrity, my confidence and "mojo," my level of consciousness, and my willingness to admit when I'm wrong. I'd recommend it to almost anyone. Sometimes I say that est is like an oil change for your mind. But a problem occurs if go down to Jiffy Lube and get an oil change, and you like the oil change so much that you want to start working at Jiffy Lube. This is what leads to the "culty" aspects. When I took the est training I was asked to promise not to reveal what happens in it. That was 27 years ago and the original organization has dissolved and its founder vanished, so I suppose I could argue that the agreement no longer holds. But I'm going to keep it anyway. What the heck, it's more fun this way. The one thing everybody seemed to get TOTALLY hung up on was "Is it true they don't let you go to the bathroom?" I can safely say that I had more opportunities to go to the bathroom in the training than during a typical 5-hour commercial airline flight from San Diego to Chicago. I will tell you that I became a volunteer at Jiffy Lube, I mean the San Diego Est Center, in 1980. I was there making phone calls for a Special guest Seminar when we heard on the radio that John Lennon had been killed. "Well, now it's up to us," I said. One of the great things about volunteering -- they called it "assisting" -- was that we had to agree to get more out of it than we put into it. There was no building up a debt, even an emotional one, that est owed us. That was a very interesting context, and I took advantage of the opportunity to exercise my phone skills, my organizational skills and my management skills at the San Diego Est center, or "the center" as we called it. During my stint as an "assistant" I was present when scores of people signed up for -- or as we called it, "enrolled" in -- the est training. The seminar leaders told us that the moment when a person enrolled, when they signed the card, they typically experience about half of the total benefit they were going to get from the training. It was the first step on a journey. I observed that this was true in my experience. I also observed that, as predicted, whatever reason a person had for wanting to take the training -- problems with money, time, relationships, whatever -- was also the reason they COULDN'T do it, didn't have the money, or the time, or my spouse won't let me... It seems to be a rule of human nature that organizations turn against their given agendas and become obstructionist; I've written of that in other issues of C3M. It happened with the est organization of course. But what totally surprised me was that Werner Erhard -- who we all called "Werner" -- noticed and decided to do something about it. He abolished the est organization. The centers became autonomous units. The intellectual property was owned by Werner in an unincorporated sole proprietorship. I worked in the supply room at the San Diego center and had to destroy and replace dozens of types of forms, brochures and enrollment cards with new ones lacking the est origination name and logo. Some cynics in the press said this was probably all a dodge to foil the IRS, but Werner sent out a video in which he explained that most people seemed to think you could fix organizational problems with good management, but he didn't think that was true. He said you needed people who had a shared vision instead, and that was what he was working on. When I told my dad about this he was amazed and impressed (he hadn't had anything good to say about est so far). "Nobody's ever done that before," he said. Werner talked about integrity all the time. It was what est was all about it seemed. We all learned to show up on time. When Bucky Fuller decided to collaborate with Werner on a series of public "conversations" he issued a press release praising Werner's integrity. Werner and Bucky also collaborated, as did others, in the creation of the Hunger Project. They way it was explained to me was that other hunger organizations existed to provide hunger relief, but the goal of the Hunger Project was to END hunger. It was acting longer term. At one time we knew we didn't have enough food for all, but since then the "green revolution" in the 1940s-60s and general technology-driven productivity increases had resulted in enough food for all being produced. Bucky said we reached this benchmark in 1969. What remained, from a logistical point of view, was a distribution problem. But the populations of the richest Western nations had acquired "learned helplessness" on this topic. Thanks to charity scandals and dire predictions like "The Population Bomb" (book, 1968) by Paul Erlich ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000E1COTA/hip-20 ) they thought hunger was a hopeless problem. Jesus said, "There will be poor always," and Andrew Lloyd Weber put it to music. The strategy of Hunger Project, then, was to create the POLITICAL WILL to end hunger, with the assumption that once that was in place, the rest would be easy. People were asked to "enroll" in the Hunger Project with little cards a lot like the est enrollment cards. It didn't cost money, you just affirmed your personal commitment to end hunger. You were encouraged to invite others as well. Today we would call it "viral marketing." It made good sense to me. But form day one I was amazed how hostile the mainstream press -- and the left liberal press, like "Mother Jones" -- were to the organization, and what a "scandal" it was that we weren't feeding anybody. But I do believe we were saving lives. At one San Diego Hunger Project meeting they told us that in congressional offices a dozen letters on one topic was a big deal. They told us that on that date a coordinated letter writing campaign was happened across America at different Hunger Project meetings. The issue was a Reagan administration embargo of aid to Somalia because of their Soviet alignment. They had us write our local congressman, in our own words, whatever we thought of this issue, then address and stamp the envelope, and hand them in to be mailed. (I think they then passed the hat for donations to pay for the postage and supplies.) Next month someone read a newspaper clipping about the embargo being lifted. Looking back I don't think the whole goal there was to feed the Somalis -- though there's nothing wrong with that -- but instead I think it was a demo for the benefit of both the Congress and the volunteer base of the Hunger Project's growing political clout. Remember, their strategy is to overcome learned helplessness. But the media wouldn't let up. It's as if they came bursting into an architect's office and said, "You people claim to be building buildings but I don't see any cement mixers here! Why are you wasting your time on blueprints? Why aren't you pouring cement?" The only other place I witness this idiocy is in the software industry, where they ask, "Forget the spec, why aren't you writing code?" One of the memes we promoted in the Hunger Project was the analogy to smallpox. Once people thought it was impossible, but the World Health Organization (WHO) declared smallpox eradicated in 1977, and has offered a large cash reward since for a patient with the disease, with no takers. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallpox ) We also made the analogy to slavery. A century and a half ago people thought it was a necessary evil. The Hunger Project didn't usually do much advertising but they did make a television spot that shows a time-lapse of a sickly, stick-then, bloated-belly child in time-lapse, slowly dissolving into a healthy, happy kid. It fought my own internal tendency to dehumanize the starving children and reminded me that we can make a difference. I learned that the best consensus on the measure of a country's starvation level was its Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in deaths in the first year per 100,000 live births. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_mortality ) As Donella Meadows explains in "The State of the World As Seen by Its Babies" ( www.sustainabilityinstitute.org/dhm_archive/index.php?display_article=vn786imred ) (based mostly on 1998 data), IMR is directly correlated with infant -- and nursing mother -- malnutrition. The Hunger Project once set an IMR value of 50 as an arbitrary but reasonable target for all the world's nations. Below 50 a country can be said to have at least basic social and economic coherence. Above 50, a country that allows more than five percent of its babies to die can hardly be called developed. The good news, according to Wikipedia, is that: For the world, and for both Less Developed Countries (LDCs) and More Developed Countries (MDC) IMR declined significantly between 1960 and 2001. World infant mortality rate declined from 198 in 1960 to 83 in 2001. The bad news is that the world average still includes African nations as high as Angola's 187.49, contrasted with Singapore's low of 2.29. There is more to do, and the Hunger Project is still working to do it. ( www.thp.org ) I think the greatest legacy so far of the Hunger Project is the 1985 "Live Aid" concerts, believe it or not. I think the "viral marketing" of the Hunger Project laid the groundwork for it to suddenly become "hip" among rockers and their fans to fight hunger.


I AM RICH I DESERVE LARGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY MONEY FLOWS TO ME EASILY AND EFFORTLESSLY THE MORE MONEY I HAVE, THE MORE MONEY I HAVE TO GIVE I AM A MONEY MAGNET MONEY IS MY SERVANT EVERY DOLLAR I SPEND COMES BACK TO ME MULTIPLIED I CREATE BEAUTY, JOY, HEALTH, AND HAPPINESS WITH MY MONEY -- affirmation first seen framed with a lot of cash in a store window in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco Seminars seemed to move through San Diego in waves, and as I went to check them out I kept seeing the same people working at registration tables and running microphones. They were often held in the same venues -- the Community Concourse, the Scottish Rite Temple, and the Al-Bar Shrine. I told the story of one of these in C3M Volume 2 Number 11, Nov. 2003, "War Games, Money Games, New Games and Meta Games", ( www.well.com/~abs/Cyb/4.669211660910299067185320382047/c3m_0211.txt ) in which I wrote: In my late 20s I took a seminar called "Money and You" presented by enlightened business practices guru Marshall Thurber. ( www.neillqualitycollege.com/edu_marshall_thurber.php ) It was a total immersion in the methodology of simulation games. For about 14 hours a day we spent 50 minutes learning followed by a 10 minute break, and almost never got tired. Each 50 minutes was divided into about 30 minutes of playing a simulation game followed by about 20 minutes of discussion of what we'd learned. It was fabulous. One of the games we played early on Marshall called "sharks and minnows," and it was a version of the Prisoner's Dilemma. At the beginning he broke us into small groups and announced that "high score wins." Each small group played only each other within the group. We thought and acted like we were playing as individuals. I have since learned that tournaments and computer simulations have verified that a long-term winning strategy is "tit for tat," where each turn you Cooperate or Defect based on what your opponent did last time. We learned this experimentally in this exercise, with a lot of angst involved, before finally stabilizing on an all-cooperation mode. The final round was for much higher stakes, and one of our group who had never Defected before did so, and "cleaned up" on points, much to outrage of the rest of us. After the game was over, Marshall totaled the points won in each GROUP, and announced the "winner" was the group with the highest total. Many people were chagrined. We learned experientially the meaning of changing the definition of the "unit of evolution," and we remembered it much better than if we'd read it in a book. It also made it clear to me why it is so important to create an overriding context for cooperation. A few months later I was invited along with some other "Money and You" graduates to an evening of gameplay, on the occasion of Marshall's organization testing some new games for possible addition to the seminar. One stuck with me: we were broken into two large teams, and each team was briefed on the rules separately. My team was taught how to play a simple negotiating game for tokens. (Shades of the youth retreat game!) We played with each other for a while to get the hang of it, and then we were turned loose on the other team. Things went awry immediately. Nobody would play, and after a few attempts to engage them, none of them would talk to us. We spent the rest of the game attempting to engage and being snubbed. In the post-game discussions, we discovered the other team had been given elaborate protocols for communication, including the importance of introducing strangers to the tribal elders before any other communication could occur, on pain of excommunication. Of course with our totally different goals and values the two teams were unable to relate. I mentioned how Bateson once said that, from inside a culture there is no such thing as "outside the culture." This is why the Japanese viewed the first English explorers as untouchables, and why the other team in this game viewed us as unpardonably rude. I urged my wife to take "Money and You" as well, and at her graduation we met new age minister Terry Cole-Whitacre, who ended up hiring my wife for a while to do word processing (more on her later).


Fear is nature's way of making sure too many people don't get everything they want, hence stripping the planet of raw materials too quickly. People who go to seminars and come away from them thinking they no longer have fears are a real nuisance until you find out how their old fears have reconfigured themselves. Sometimes that never happens, and they get to float to the grave thinking they're groovy. Seminar people are a pain in the a##. -- Douglas Coupland, 2006 "JPod: A Novel" ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0747585873/hip-20 ) The crescendo of the waves of seminar leaders who "flibberty jibbed" their way into San Diego was Anthony "Tony" Robbins, who made his long-planned debut as a world class guru with "Fear Into Power: the Firewalk Experience." ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Robbins ) I showed up for it. Yes, I walked on hot coals. I was deep in a trance. Don't try this at home. The firewalk was Friday night bait for a weekend seminar on NLP, which I also signed up for. Some principles Tony imparted to me:
  • what any human can do, you can do - Find people to emulate. (This context also saves you from trying to jump over the moon.)
  • model the successful - Champion spelling bee winners all share a strategy: hear the word, see the spelling, feel in the gut if it is OK. Tony has applied modelling to U.S. Army sharpshooters, with great success.
  • make lots of mistakes - Starting out Tony did as many seminars as humanly possible, morning noon and night, in order to make as many mistakes as possible in a short time and thereby become really good.
  • mirror people in order to read their minds - In his seminar he broke us into pairs. One person recalled an intense emotional experience, while the other person mirrored them. When I assumed the posture and breathing of the middle-aged woman sitting across from me, I blurted out, "Your dog died!" And I was right.
  • avoid the "coffee break seminars" - You know the ones, in the break room at work: The boss is a jerk, life isn't fair, an honest guy can't get ahead, diets don't work (= "it's OK to stuff yourself"), and the opposite (or preferred) sex is evil. Ten minutes a day of that can guarantee a life of mediocrity.
I told Tony I'd been a student of Grinder and Bandler at Kresge, and he was delighted; I then asked him what happens if two people whop each know NLP try it on each other. "Oh, NLP Wars," he said, and laughed. "The most congruent one wins," he added. (Later in the business world I realized that the problem with Jedi mind-tricks, as even Jabba the Hut knew, is if you only get to meet flunkeys and hypnotize them, it doesn't really help you much in getting to "Mr. Big.") Soon Tony became renowned for the "Power Talk" infomercials, selling a cassette tape course. (I have found this course at my local library and listened to a number of them; they're great.) But "sticking his head up" made him a target for derision. In mainstream America, optimism is for idiots. Still, Tony's optimistic approach got him a successful business, a beautiful wife, and a landmark home, the Del Mar Castle. ( www.sandiegohistory.org/showcase/showcase2.htm ) Now, I don't intend to say anything critical of Tony Robbins, but I did notice a downward drift in the logical levels that NLP operates on, present in Tony's work. This is certainly a function of client demand. As John Grinder explained ( www.inspiritive.com.au/grinterv.htm ) in a 1996 interview by Chris and Jules Collingwood: One of the expectations which I personally carried at the time of discovery and development of NLP was that people interested in our work would cleanly make the distinction between NLP and applications of NLP. My hope at the time was that given this distinction, there would arise a group of committed men and women who would recognize the meta levels tools which we had either discovered (the Milton Model.....), or created (the verbal patterns of the Meta Model or Precision Model, Representational Systems....), and go out and identify and create new models of excellence to offer the world. This has not happened and is very disappointing to me. NLP is popularly represented and commonly practiced at least one logical level below what it was clearly understood to be at the time by Bandler and me. So to map it out, level 2 would be modeling any great healer. G&B did this and taught this. Tony did this and used to teach it; nowadays not so much. Level 1 would be modeling Erikson, and doing classic NLP. Tony is doing this more and teaching it less. Level 0 would be having NLP (level 1) DONE TO you, in order to lose weight, quit smoking, etc. This where most of Tony's infomercial audience is at. (It's also where a participant in the est training is.) I'm not sure what is to be done about this.


Judge only by results. -- Dr. Bronner's Bullion label ( www.drbronner.com ) I'll reiterate what I said above: it all works, and it's all better for you than broadcast commercials. Yes, there are real limits, but most of us never get anywhere near them because we're covertly "protecting" ourselves with made-up limits. A recent buddy comedy was called "What's the Worst That Could Happen?" I didn't see it, but the title made me laugh. I've long believed that there is no lower limit, just as there is no upper limit to how good it can get. Another recent movie I didn't see was "As Good As It Gets." It reminds me of something the est volunteers used to ask each other: "How good are you willing for it to be?" According to "Sister to sister: in the days of Brother to Brother, New York's wild women held their own" by Etelka Lehoczky, ( findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1589/is_2004_Oct_26/ai_n7577061 ) in The Advocate Oct. 26, 2004: "Life should be ecstasy," the writer Margaret Anderson once said to her lover Jane Heap. Heap replied, "Why limit me to ecstasy?" Or, as performance artist and musician Lori Anderson put it: Paradise is exactly like where you are right now, only much, much better. There you have it, enlightenment in a Cracker Back Jox. I similarly found NLP to work quite well every time I have had need of it. Once at a party a woman named Megan asked me to help integrate parts of her that weren't getting along. "So," I asked, "it's like this hand is one aspect of you," and I held up her left hand in front of her, "and this hand is another aspect of you," and I held up her right hand next to the left, "and you're having trouble getting them together?" "Yes," she said, and tried to bring them together, obviously resisting. I grabbed both hands and forced them together. "Wow," she said. "Now I feel completely integrated." After completing the Fear Into Power seminar with Tony Robbins I helped out a friend who had a phobia of missing buses. I was able to cure her phobia in about 15 minutes, using G&B's technique as taught by Tony. (The next day she missed a bus.) On another occasion I was able to heal a relative of mine who was having psycho-somatic nausea symptoms, using the exact same technique. It did take several hours, but the symptoms did not come back at least for the rest of the trip we were on.


Are there fluctuations in the sexual market ... perhaps tying to prices in the Stock Exchange itself, that we clean-living lot know nothing about? -- Thomas Pynchon, 1973 "Gravity's Rainbow" ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0143039946/hip-20 ) From Mesmer on down until today people have equated hypnotism with seduction. When I was a kid there were ads in the back of comic books for the "HYPNO-COIN" that said: NEW - POCKET SIZE INVENTION HELPS HYPNOTIZE IN MINUTES IT MUST WORK OR YOUR MONEY BACK The accompanying picture -- of a man's hand holding the coin while an attractive woman did a zombie walk -- made it clear what the expected use of the product was. ( www.saynotocrack.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/hypno-coin.jpg ) ( i164.photobucket.com/albums/u12/c3m_2007/hypno-coin.jpg ) So did sordid magazine articles. ( i164.photobucket.com/albums/u12/c3m_2007/1954_07jul.jpg ) When I was a teenager the sleazy classic "How To Pick Up Girls" (book, 1970) by Eric Weber came out. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0914094009/hip-20 ) A decade later I found it in a used bookstore and read it. It boiled down to, "Don't be shy, girls want to be picked up." Ah, the seventies. But I suppose it was nearly inevitable that somebody would combine seduction with NLP. Well that person is Ross Jeffries and his program is called "Speed Seduction." ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Jeffries ) This market demand for misogyny seminars has showed up on the pop culture radar, and was the subject of the Tom Cruise movie "Magnolia" (movie, 1999) directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003CWTI/hip-20 ) More recently an expose came out, "The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists" (book, 2005) by Neil Strauss, which I have not yet read. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060554738/hip-20 ) ( everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1761907 ) I first stumbled on this stuff when I was working for a dot-com in the late 1990s. My cubicle neighbor was a vivacious 20-something woman who did our corporate training. I asked her if she's heard of NLP or Speed Seduction. She hadn't. I briefly explained them. "This is why my dad tells me not to trust men," she said. I amended, "Some men." She countered, "Why do you know so much about this?" "Well," I said, stalling as I thought about my reply, and then, "I use it on my wife. If this guy has a kind of verbal aphrodisiac that makes women feel sexier, then why not use it ethically?" Not that this was true, but I thought it posed a nice dilemma. Most readers of Jeffries stuff, I suspect, do not brake for ethical dilemmas, and drive right on into Dreams of Mind Control. Among more paranoid Jeffries watchers there is the so-called "October Man Mystery Technique" which supposedly confers this Mind Control power on the user. Apparently Jeffries only shares it with friends, OR sells it at a steep price, depending on which paranoid you believe. All this folly reminds me of something I've observed among guys without dates: some of them subscribe to what I call "the Elephant Graveyard Theory of Hot Babes." According to old Hollywood movie legend, big game hunters searched for the mythical "Elephant Graveyard" where all the old elephants instinctively went to die, and the ivory from all those dead elephants could be taken. In the "Hot Babe" version of this theory, there is a PLACE where all the hot babes can be found, if only a guy could locate that place, and he will spend time, money, risk and effort in search of the place. At no time does it occur to him to ask if he is BEING THE KIND OF MAN WOMEN WANT. My experience is that if that hurdle is crossed, a guy can find women who warm to him (if not Hot Babes) at the grocery store, in jury duty or at church. This whole Speed Seduction thing seems like another Elephant Graveyard Theory to me, where a magic word-spell takes the place of the "where." But one thing that I find interesting to ponder: if there is some way to control women's minds in order to seduce them, why aren't women worried about it? Every woman I talk to thinks these guys are losers who will keep striking out no matter what seminars they take. I have never seen anyone advertise a seminar for women on how to resist seduction attempts that use NLP techniques.


The patterns delineated here have not yet been classified by a Linnaeus of human bondage. They are all, perhaps, strangely, familiar. In these pages I have confined myself to laying out only some of those I actually have seen. Words that come to mind to name them are: knots, tangles, fankles, impasses, disjunctions, whirligogs, binds. I could have remained closer to the 'raw' data in which these patterns appear. I could have distilled them further towards an abstract logico-mathematical calculus. I hope they are not so schematized that one may not refer back to the very specific experiences from which they derive; yet that they are sufficiently independent of 'content', for one to divine the final formal elegance in these webs of maya. ... A son should respect his father he should not have to be taught to respect his father It is something that is natural That's how I've brought up my son anyway. -- R. D. Laing, April 1969 "Knots" ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000OPCZCM/hip-20 ) I saw a video once of Werner Erhard talking about barriers to transformation. He said people asked him how we get ourselves into these self-destructive or self-thwarting patterns. He said he'd given it a lot of thought, and concluded that "You don't find them; they find you." The best metaphor he could come up with was meteorology. I was reminded of hurricanes, tornados and dust devils, which need precise rare conditions to form but then can wander into other airmasses and "take them over" for a while. Of course, what he was grasping towards, as so many others have (Eric Berne's "life scripts" come to mind), was the science of MEMETICS. I've mentioned before how Dawkins coined the word in "The Selfish Gene" (book, 1976). ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0192860925/hip-20 ) Even before that, Ramon Margalef, in "Perspectives in Ecological Theory" (book, 1968), ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0226505065/hip-20 ) posited the existence of a separate chain of evolution of culture, separate from genetic evolution, and a third, more primitive chain he called "metabolism" if memory serves. More recently an excellent examination of memetics, by Susan Blackmore, has appeared: "The Meme Machine" (book, 1999). ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/019286212X/hip-20 ) She goes beyond anything I've read up until now by spelling out how -- once any form of replicator is created -- the message being replicated ("memes" or "genes" or "computer viruses") and the machines replicating them ("minds" or "bodies" or "operating systems") form their own loop of coevolution. In the case at hand not only do minds modify memes, but memes modify minds. The whole dynamic takes on, quite literally, "a life of its own." This is useful in our inquiry into hypnotherapy and self-help and mind control techniques, because there may be some effects due to the cybernetics of "charismatic" communication -- seminars, tent meetings, rock concerts and even keynote addresses. We may not have to explain everything in terms of adaptive value to the gene pool, as a sociobiologist would.


"Names by themselves may be empty, but the act of naming..." -- Thomas Pynchon, 1973 "Gravity's Rainbow" ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0143039946/hip-20 ) One thing that always seems to be a marker for the descent into cults is creating and using a special slang. It easily delineates insider from outsider. One classic example is "The Farm" (in Summertown, TN), ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Farm_%28Tennessee%29 ) founded by "Stephen" (Stephen Gaskin), which grew out of his "Monday Night Class" (a free lecture in San Francisco), ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1570671818/hip-20 ) which became "The Caravan" (a bunch of hippies in RVs) which ended up in Tennessee, on "The Farm," guarded by "The Gate" with a band called "The Band" and so on... Later I was reminded of Gaskin's languaging when Microsoft introduced a new Disk Operating System (at a time when there were many) and called it "DOS," followed by a word processing program called "Word" (at a time when there were many word processors) and a windows system called "Windows" (at a time when there were many windowing systems.) In the est training and its support groups and guest seminars there was a definitely a special slang used. Early in the training the trainer says, repeatedly, "We speak a strange language, we say what we mean." Some of the "estisms" I remember are: - the training - to assist - a process - be complete - be clear (Est joke: "What's Werner's favorite color?" "Clear.") When I worked at Walt Disney World in 1976 there was similar languaging. We were not employees, we were "cast members." The customers were always "guests." The guards were called "security hosts" (and wore white spats!) Our tourist-free work areas and break areas were "backstage." Our punch-in time was the "curtain call." And the place we all worked was called simply "The World" -- I was reminded of American soldiers in Viet Nam in the 1960s, who called life back in the U.S.A. "The World."


WHISPERING SQUASH: Howdy, everybody! Ah'm the Whisperin' Squash... LONESOME BEET: And I'm the Lonesome Beet... ARTIE CHOKE: And I'm Arti Choke! And we're just a joke... W: And don't be afraid, Little People, 'cause we're just Holy-grams! CLEM [aside]: Great! L: Yeah! But what about you, Pardner? What'ch you doin' today? A: Can't be much, Lonesome. Nobody's workin'! L: Nobody 'cept us and I'm gettin' tired of standin' here with these geeks a-gawkin' at me! A: Now you keep it sweet, Beet! L: Listen here, Leafhead! I'm gonna pluck you five ways... W: Now, now, boys! Fightin's out of style! Fun's where the Fair's at--in the Future, that is! A: You can bet your roots, Toots, it's Tons o' Fun! L: And technical stimulation! C [aside]: That's what I need! W: And there's lots more of me where I come from! L: In Gov'ment inflicted simulation! A: The Future can't wait--no place to hide! L: Yep! So climb on a board... A: We're goin' inside! -- The Firesign Theater, 1971 "I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus" ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005T7IT/hip-20 ) ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Think_We%27re_All_Bozos_on_This_Bus ) And speaking of the Walt Disney Company, they are the best corporate hypnotists in living memory, if you ask me. One obvious parallel between the est organization and the Disney Corp. is how they PARK you when you show up, so that you KNOW YOU HAVE BEEN PARKED. Disney follows this always with "the voice" (one of several talented voice actors, always men, of which Jack Wagner is the most prominent example). ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Wagner_(announcer) ) And "the voice" begins the trance induction. If you fly in to the Orlando airport, you must ride from your arrival gate to the terminal on a People Mover, narrated by "the voice" of Jack Wagner. The Orange County, California rock band No Doubt came out with a song and an album named "Tragic Kingdom" (CD, 1995). ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001Y79/hip-20 ) The song "Tragic Kingdom" begins with "the voice" from the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride saying: "Remain seated please. Permanecer sentados por favor." Any Disneyland fan will respond to this anchor, and it triggers a return to the emotional trance. (That last bit always sounded to me like "Terminus centavo, por favor.") My favorite Walt Disney biography is the first one I ever read, "The Disney Version: the Life, Times, Art and Commerce of Walt Disney" (1968) by Richard Schickel, ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1566631580/hip-20 ) "widely acclaimed as the single most illuminating work on America and the movies" according to one reviewer. In it he describes Disney's unusual personnel goals and methods: ... Even the cops at Disneyland are a new breed -- generally moonlighting schoolteachers, with physical-education instructors predominant among them. Disney himself once commented: "The first year I leased out the parking concession, brought in the usual security guards -- things like that. But I soon realized my mistake. I couldn't have outside help and still get over my idea of hospitality. So now we recruit and train every one of our employees..." The aim of the staff is to keep everyone in a spending mood without ever once overtly suggesting that Disneyland is, in the last analysis, not a charitable enterprise. The trick is not to harass the visitor into spending but rather to relax him to the point where the inner guardians of his frugality are lulled into semiconsciousness. Among the best cultural critiques of Disney Corp. is "The Paradise Program: Travels Through Muzak, Hilton, Coca-Cola and other World Empires" (book of essays, 1972) by Anthony Haden-Guest, ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0688002145/hip-20 ) cousin of Christopher Guest of SNL fame and British royalty to boot. He said: Now the World is: Vacationland, which you may inhabit for days or weeks... Does it seem too ambitious? Too heavy a project to control with the precision that characterises Disney operations? Nothing is impossible, nothing. Brood upon the geometric conditioning of the Radial Plan. The Radial Plan was not invented by Disney -- Stonehenge is rumoured to have controlled psychic energies in this manner, and there is always Corbusier's LA VILE RADIEUSE -- but certainly it is Disney that has put the concept to the most startling use. Radial Planning was pioneered out at Anaheim. As was our own, otherwise untidier world, the Magic Kingdom was designed with but one entrance. This, of course, simplifies keeping out longhairs and assorted undesirables, but the Radial Plan exemplifies a subtler control pattern that this. Namely, if we enter and move clockwise, as nature inclined us to -- we are born like screws with a right-hand thread -- we can can stroll up, down, up, down, and cover a maximal area, with minimal fatigue to ourselves, and maximal profit to the Kingdom. This plan has been applied to the Theme Park in Florida, and not just the Theme Park. The satellite industrial complexes have a similar radial design as -- most tightly of all -- do the projections for EPCOT. It will lend the terrain an arresting look from the air. In ironic proximity to the cybernetic slums of the aero-space industry and the [sad] ramshackle iconography of Cape Kennedy here will lie the interlocking circles of the STUPOR MUNDI like the exposed works of a watch. After all, the antique Deist concept of God-as-the-Great-Clockmaker should allow Walt's World at least the spick-and-span eye-appeal of a Mickey Mouse watch. It's a bit like a stroll through somebody's head. Walt Disney's head. There are times when the Magic Kingdom, for instance, reminds me of that kitchen-Freud entertainment in which one describes a journey. You describe the woods, castles, boats, thereby indulging in crude self-analysis for the merriment of others. But in the Magic Kingdom, the journey has already been prepared for your. The images are safe, and clean, and bright. The mirth will be your own. Nor is this image all that esoteric. As a matter of fact Poe, that other native American fantasist, has a poem "The Haunted Palace" wherein he describes a head in Gothic castle terms. With a pedantic whimsy, not unlike Walt's own, the eyes become two luminous windows and the hair is pictured as "Banners, yellow, glorious, golden," and so on. Now, of course, Walt has a world to play with. * * * * * * Walt Disney was not a man to accept the dark side of fantasy. His dreams are clean dreams. There is a breakdown of the mechanism in Poe's "Haunted Palace," as you may recall. A hideous throng rush out forever And laugh -- but smile no more the piece ends. Disney is not about to let this happen. No hideous laughs for them. Smiles, smiles forever. Perhaps the most appropriate head of all to serve as an image for the Walt Disney World is the one they created themselves for this purpose. This was designed by Bob Moore, who is in charge of the advertising art over in Burbank, and it appears literally everywhere, from door-mats to drain-covers. It shows the World, griddled geometrically into longitude and latitude, and adorned with Mickey Mouse ears. A planetary concept that says it all. Control, control. ( www.mattlori.ca/themepark/wdwearly.htm ) As an up-to-date curriculum of a student of NLP, I would recommend getting Disney's latest DVD promoting its theme parks and the "Year of a Million Dreams" campaign, called the "Vacation Planning DVD" on the Disney web site. ( home.disney.go.com/travel ) I snagged a copy of the banner: ( i164.photobucket.com/albums/u12/c3m_2007/disney_vacation_DVD.jpg ) Your assignment is: catalog the trance induction techniques used in the DVD.


"Boom Dot Bust" [is] a mind-blowing comedy masterpiece set in the heartland town of Billville. The residents are all named Bill, and there's a long history of natural disasters and lynching politicians ("I am the mayor. Re-elect me or hang me! That's the will of Bill!"). ... It's a CD-length story, told Citizen Kane-style through a hilarious labyrinth of infomercials, talk shows, flashbacks, specialty cable channels, and a sermon from Rev. Barnstormer of the First Reformed Church of Science Fiction. -- Amazon.com review of "Boom Dot Bust" (comedy album, 1999) by The Firesign Theatre ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00001WRKQ/hip-20 ) The Firesign Theatre's mythological tale of Billville, a town that always seems to ending up hanging its mayor, serves as a reminder of America's obsession with Leader Killing. Lately I've been finding myself saying, "We need to have more compassion for our political leaders when they are driven mad by power." In an interview which was later quoted in a documentary, rock star Bono of U2 said: I'm not a hero. I'm a rock'n roller. I'm spoiled rotten. I'm paid too much for what I do. I'd do it for nothing. You know what I mean? It's like... You people -- You need heroes. The people want... The media want to create heroes. But if I agreed to the job, you'd kill me. So I'm backing out. (Bono spoke these words to Bobbie Battista of CNN at the beginning of the ZooTV tour. Quoted in "The Importance of Being Earnest: An Appreciation of U2's Dismantled Image" by Sarah Masen.) ( www.sarahmasen.com/dark/story/u2s-dismantled-image ) The jury is still out on Bono's success as an anti-hero, but it is illuminating to look at the tragic falls of nearly everyone described in this month's 'Zine: * Mesmer According to his Wikipedia entry, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesmer ) Mesmer was hounded out of his practice: In 1784, without Mesmer requesting it, King Louis XVI appointed four members of the Faculty of Medicine as commissioners to investigate animal magnetism as practiced by d'Eslon. At the request of these commissioners the King appointed five additional commissioners from the Royal Academy of Sciences. These included the chemist Antoine Lavoisier, the physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, the astronomer Jean Sylvain Bailly and the American ambassador Benjamin Franklin. The commission conducted a series of experiments aimed, not at determining whether Mesmer's treatment worked, but whether he had discovered a new physical fluid. The commission concluded that there was no evidence for such a fluid. Whatever benefit the treatment produced was attributed to "imagination." In 1785 Mesmer left Paris... His exact activities during the last twenty years of his life are largely unknown. * Reich Reich's entry in Wikipedia ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Reich ) has these passages: Reich was investigated by the FBI when he arrived in the U.S. because he was an immigrant with a communist background. The FBI released 789 pages of its files on Reich in 2000... Reich wrote in "Conspiracy. An Emotional Chain Reaction": "I would like to plead for my right to investigate natural phenomena without having guns pointed at me. I also ask for the right to be wrong without being hanged for it ... I am angry because smearing can do anything and truth can do so little to prevail, as it seems at the moment." ... On February 10, 1954, the U.S. Attorney for Maine, acting on behalf of the FDA, filed a complaint seeking a permanent injunction under Sections 301 and 302 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, to prevent interstate shipment of orgone-therapy equipment and literature. Reich refused to appear in court, apparently believing that no court was in a position to evaluate his work.... Because of Reich's failure to appear, Judge Clifford granted the injunction on March 19, 1954. His ruling ordered that all written materials that mentioned "orgone energy" including papers and pamphlets, and ten of Reich's books were to be destroyed. It further stated that additional copies of his books, including revised classics like "The Mass Psychology of Fascism," could not be published unless all references to "orgone energy" were deleted. In May 1956, Reich was arrested for technical violation of the injunction when an associate moved some orgone- therapy equipment across a state line, and Reich was charged with contempt of court. Once again, he refused to arrange a legal defense. He was brought in chains to the courthouse in Portland, Maine. Representing himself, he admitted to having violated the injunction and ... was sentenced to two years' imprisonment. On June 5, 1956, FDA officials traveled to Orgonon, Reich's ... estate near Rangeley, Maine, where they destroyed the accumulators, and on June 26, burned many of his books. On August 25, 1956 and again on March 17, 1960, [5] the remaining six tons of his books, journals and papers were burned in the 25th Street public incinerator in New York's lower east side... In March 1957, he was sent to Danbury Federal Prison... Reich died in his sleep of heart failure on November 3, 1957 in the federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, shortly before he was due to apply for parole. Not one psychiatric or established scientific journal carried an obituary. Many have found Reich's life to be tragic. New age mystic Robert Anton Wilson (who died this year) wrote a play called "Wilhelm Reich in Hell" in 1995, ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000ENV2FA/hip-20 ) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1561841080/hip-20 ) examining his tragedy. In "Psychology 5 - Humanistic Psychology" at UCSC, Dr. Michael Kahn taught us about Reich, and concluded: don't mess with the physical body, "sexual energy" and electro- magnetism (what Emerson called "the body electric"). The forces of the state-sponsored morality and reality policing will shut you right down. * Hubbard According to his Wikipedia article, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L_Ron_Hubbard ) Hubbard was embroiled in accusations of scandal. In 1967, L. Ron Hubbard further distanced himself from the controversy attached to Scientology by resigning as executive director of the church and appointing himself "Commodore" of a small fleet of Scientologist-crewed ships that spent the next eight years cruising the Mediterranean Sea. The time and manner of his death remain unclear. * Dr. Michael Dean, Gaslight Supper Club, San Diego Even Dr. Dean has had his share of problems. In the article "General Semantics and the Chicken Suit Murders - The hypnotic realities of Dr Ronald Dante and Dr Michael Dean" by John-Ivan Palmer, March '05 ( www.nthposition.com/generalsemanticsand.php ) the twisted tale is told of Dante's murderous envy of Dean. * Timothy Leary Let us not forget that Leary was framed for a pot rap and sentenced to 20 years. Sprung from jail by the Weather Underground, they got him to Algiers, where Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver kept him under house arrest, and he eventually ended up in Switzerland, where he was illegally kidnapped by Nixon's FBI and brought back to the U.S. to serve his sentence. The Carter administration let him out after having him testify before a grand jury against the people who freed him in order to discredit him with the radical left. (No one was ever prosecuted for the jailbreak.) * Werner Erhard It seems to me that Werner's story is another tragedy. After he personally -- or through trainers he recruited and trained -- delivered the est training to a claimed three-quarters of a million people, and then the Landmark Forum he founded trained a reported 880,000 more, he cashed out and fled the country in 1991 on the heels of a "Sixty Minutes" report that made him out to be a mentally unstable megalomaniac molester. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werner_Erhard ) Once, in a speech against gossip on video, Werner Erhard said "I'm clear that everyone knows everything. But there's a difference between everyone knowing everything and public information. When you gossip it can become public information." I still feel some anger about Werner's disappearance from public life from 1993 until 2004, leaving us who endorsed him to defend his good name. Ambrose Bierce, in "The Devil's Dictionary" (book, 1881), ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1595479406/hip-20 ) ( classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/abierce/bl-abierce-a.htm ) gave this definition of "absent": ABSENT, adj. Peculiarly exposed to the tooth of detraction; vilified; hopelessly in the wrong; superseded in the consideration and affection of another. In his absence Werner has made it easy for himself to be vilified with "public information." Looking for answers, I read the book "Outrageous Betrayal: The Dark Journey of Werner Erhard from Est to Exile" (1993) by Steven Pressman. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312092962/hip-20 ) Afterwards I felt like I needed a shower, because the author's approach was so sleazy. A reviewer on Amazon had a similar reaction to mine: I found the book disappointing. Pressman has clearly only told one side of a complex story, and his subjective, sensationalist style serves only to make the intelligent reader wonder what the other side of the story is. The author clearly started his "research" with the fixed outcome (i.e. "Erhard is a bad guy") in mind, and one strongly suspects that he was very selective in those he interviewed and spoke to. I know from personal experience that some of the key information in his book is simply incorrect. Several hundreds of thousands of people around the world clearly benefited from Erhard's extraordinary work -- and anyone, however skeptical, must admit that it can best be described as extraordinary. In summary, Pressman appears to be a typical journalist of the cheaper variety: never let the truth get in the way of a good story. I wonder which influential figure he will choose to attack in his next book? But because Werner has abdicated in any discourse in the public sector, only unenlightened "dirty laundry" journalism like this is available as a historical record. * Robert Allen He's doing OK these days but at one point he lost a highly-leveraged house in the Rocky Mountains to an avalanche, which insurers claimed was an "act of God," and he ended up millions in debt. Years later he'd dug out and once more became rich. * Marshall Thurber In his seminars he's told the story of how he and his closest friends and family -- acting on his advice -- lost a fortune on the Chicago Board of Trade options market when "they changed the rules." * Tony Robbins Tony has told the story in his cassette tape course "Power Talk" how he had a business manager who embezzled from him early in his seminar leader career, and he turned it into a positive and grew his business to cover the shortfall. More recently his marriage ended in divorce and he decamped from San Diego to Florida. I don't know why. He still sells seminars and life coaching on the web. ( www.tonyrobbins.com/Home/Intro.aspx ) * Terry Cole-Whitacre A close relation once worked for TCW and though she hardly ever saw Terry, she said some of the other people she dealt with had odd ethical lapses. According to the San Diego Union, ( www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060312/news_lz1j12history.html she also scrammed one day. La Jolla evangelist Terry Cole-Whittaker announced that she was shutting down her popular TV ministry and moving to Hawaii. A former Miss California, Cole-Whittaker was dubbed a "Yuppie evangelist" after she took over the La Jolla Church of Religious Science in 1977 and established a nationwide following for her ministry preaching prosperity as a divine right. But in the new millennium she is back, with a new book, "Every Saint Has a Past, Every Sinner a Future" (2001). ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1585420956/hip-20 ) * Grinder & Bandler G&B's tale is one of the most tragic of the bunch. It is also one of the most contested. While poking around in Google and Wikipedia researching NLP, I found that an unusually high number of people have been banned from posting edits to articles because of abuse on this topic. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuro-linguistic_programming ) Last time I told how Grinder lost tenure and G&B turned to seminars as a way to make money. One newsgroup poster told a tale that concluded: For a while, Bandler and Grinder thought that they could turn NLP into a product which could be promoted to the general public for a lot of money. I'm sure that they must have had the examples of L. Ron Hubbard and Werner Erhard in mind. One of the earliest "red flags" I saw in their relationship was a constant positioning for credit. It is traditional with professors and their students that the professor gets top billing in publications. But if you look through this 'Zine from last time and this, the list of books by the two alternates the order of precedence. I just took it right off of Amazon.com that way. A lot of stuff "went down" while I wasn't paying attention. Digging on the web I found ann excerpt from "The NEW YORK TRAINING INSTITUTE FOR NLP - INTERVIEW & ARTICLES - An Interview with Annà Linden: The First Lady of NPL" ( nlpcenter.com/messengr.htm ) In which she describes the unravelling of the NLP community: We held conferences annually. But the culture of NLP in the US is, unfortunately, one of camps and competition. One faction wanted a professional organization with ethics and standards. The other faction wanted an open organization which anyone could join. I was vice president for a number of years and put on four conferences. Eventually with all the politics, I got very discouraged and became less involved. In the early 90's, the organization died because of backbiting, bad feelings, and nastiness. In addition to the community breaking up, so did the team of Grinder and Bandler. Bandler went bankrupt, sued Grinder for stealing his ideas, and ultimately left Santa Cruz for London, but not before being tried for murder and having it televised on Santa Cruz TV. "Mother Jones" magazine ran an expose article, ( www.geocities.com/bandlertrial/index.html ) which began with these lurid words: The Bandler Method by Frank Clancy & Heidi Yorkshire Corine Christensen must have been terrified, for she scrawled a cryptic, pleading note before she was murdered. Her life had once been threatened by Richard Bandler, but a jury later acquitted the therapist. New Age therapist Richard Bandler believed that anyone could change with the right stimulus. Even if that stimulus was a gun. Bandler got himself into what almost sounds like a classic Minute Mystery "locked room" story: 2 men and 1 woman went into a room with a lot of cocaine and a gun; the woman was shot. Due to reasonable doubt about who the murder was, no one was punished. Two different former students of G&B told me that Richard Bandler once bragged that he could talk his way out of a murder rap. (Both asked me not to use their names!) A note to aspiring magicians out there: be careful what you wish for. Having magic so great you can beat a murder rap is a lousy goal. How about magic so great that you are never a party to violence?


The more we control our environment the less possible it is to experience novelty... -- Philip Slater, 1975 "Earthwalk" ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000I1EWOQ/hip-20 ) I've mentioned before that most of the faculty at Kresge who I hung out with left the college under unhappy circumstances. Even Gregory Bateson, who was crowned Regent by Gov. Jerry Brown, was forced to stop teaching by his health problems at the end. But one notable exception was Philip Slater, mister "leader killing" himself, who -- like Bono before him -- backed out. After I returned from my bike trip across America in 1975-76, I found out Slater was living in Santa Cruz, and I went to see him. I told him I wanted to be his student. He said he wasn't looking for students. He was going to become a playwright. And he did. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Slater ) ( www.philipslater.com/bio.htm ) I also should note that although Reich was crucified for offering an electro-magnetic form of liberation, and Leary for a chemical form, and Erhard for a seminar with cultish overtones, our society chose to embrace and hero-worship that former acid head and guru-chasing geek who offered us an ELECTRONIC form of liberation: Steve Jobs and his Apple of knowledge.


Obviously the truth is what's so. Not so obviously, it's also so what. -- Werner Erhard What are we to make of this cacophony of tragedy? I once heard a sermon from a Presbyterian minister who was raised the son of an orthodox rabbi. He read from the new testament, the gospel of John: In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God. Using his knowledge of the Greek this was translated from, he explained that the word for Word was "Logos" which also meant "knowledge learned from words." It contrasted with "Gnosis," "knowledge learned from direct communion." In the time of Jesus there were those who believed it was possible to know God through direct experience, the "Gnostics," and those who believed you had to read it in the "Good Book," or else "Hear the Word of the Lord." The gospel of John begins with a manifesto for Logos against Gnosis. There is a tendency for Gnostics to be secretive. Since you don't need to "spread the word" anyway, and each is a sort of a religion of one, why invite trouble? Timothy Leary explained in his autobiography that the history of enlightenment and "the mind's true liberation" is cyclic, and there times when the establishment's wings of Church and State are more tolerant of the Gnostics, and times when they come down harder. I've known since 9/11 that the pendulum was swinging away from the Gnostics for a while... Modern mystics like Gurdjieff, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurdjieff ) and his student Ouspensky, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._D._Ouspensky ) have preached the Gnostic-like ideas that most people are sleep-walking through life, and only a select few get to learn the truth, but must be taught in code to protect the secret. The purpose of publications is to inspire and perhaps recruit, but not to inform. But is this explanation enough? Are all these would-be messiahs victims of societal persecution?


An extreme rigor is sure to arm everything against it. -- Edmund Burke, 1780 "Speech on presenting to the House of Commons a plan for the better security of the independence of Parliament, and the economical reformation of the civil and other establishments" ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1406913901/hip-20 ) ( www.gutenberg.org/files/15198/15198-h/15198-h.htm ) Somewhere on the web -- I've lost track where -- someone was summarizing the history of NLP and talking about how Bateson retracted his endorsement of NLP because Grinder and Bandler got the context wrong. Now, that sounds kind of abstract and vague, but when you think about it that's really what happened. Erickson and the other hypno-therapists had the context of healing to work within, and it established a relationship of trust and an ethical framework. This unraveled as the uses of NLP moved downwards in respectability, to SELF-HELP, which has always seemed boorish to the upper classes, to SALES, which may seek to empower (see Zig Ziglar's approach to sales as service) but often seeks to rip-off, then to SEDUCTION and its predatory assumptions, and finally to MIND CONTROL with its sociopathic impulse. When Hollywood finally tossed off the Hayes Office censorship and adapted the rating system that allowed them to start making adolescent fantasy movies with profanity and nudity, the theme of mind control kept emerging, in movies like "Zapped!" (1982) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004TYYI/hip-20 ) and "Weird Science" (1985), ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008438V/hip-20 ) and before that in spy movies like "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00020X88Y/hip-20 ) and "The Ipcress File" (movie, 1965) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000K3C9/hip-20 ) and in horror movies like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0782009980/hip-20 ) and "The Day of the Triffids" (1962). ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00007G1SX/hip-20 ) But the horrors of Hollywood pale in comparison to one of the most shameful chapters in U.S. history, the CIA's covert mind-control experiments with LSD, torture and other tools in Project MK ULTRA. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKULTRA ) The whole horrid tale is told in "Journey Into Madness: The True Story of Secret CIA Mind Control and Medical Abuse" (book, 1989) by Gordon Thomas. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0553284134/hip-20 ) What got these guys started was the significant number of U.S. soldiers who came back from the Korean War apparently "brainwashed" by the ChiComms. They seemed to really be Communists too, joining the party and working for the Workers Revolution. Determined to find out how the trick worked, our paranoid 1950s Cold War government told the CIA to do "whatever it took" to figure out the secret of MIND CONTROL, and turned them loose. Argh. The next thing you know they had a bordello in San Francisco with one way mirrors, and colluding with the prostitutes they were dosing with LSD and secretly observing their Johns. Of course what those sneaky Chinese were doing was to use good old Operant Conditioning, as taught by the father of the behaviorists, B. F. Skinner. Each day each prisoner could get an extra helping of food if the wrote a short essay about one small thing that was wrong with America. "Surely America cannot be perfect," the interrogators would say. And so on. I dare say dog trainers would've done a better job than the CIA in figuring this one out. One guy who DID figure out how to use LSD for Mind Control was Charles Manson. He took homely young women whose parents hadn't treated them well, and gave them LSD and performed oral sex on them for dozen hour marathons. They became his slaves, willing to commit grisly murders for him. This is all narrated in "Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders" (book, 1975) by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry, ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0393322238/hip-20 ) though I suspect that what really went down was far crazier than Buglosi's bogey man tale. Not long after was the nutty tragedy of heiress Patty Hearst, who was kidnapped by revolutionaries and then became one of them. The scary moral of the Patty Hearst parable is that if an heiress born with a silver spoon in her mouth can be be brainwashed into becoming a bomb-throwing Marxist revolutionary, then none of us is safe. But as Leary pointed out in an article in Larry Flynt's "Oui" magazine and later reprinted in "Neuropolitics: The Sociobiology of Human Metamorphosis" (book of essays, 1977), ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0915238187/hip-20 ) the really scary thing is that we are pretty much all brainwashed pretty much all the time.


The researchers went on to theorize that getting power causes people to focus so keenly on the potential rewards, like money, sex, public acclaim or an extra chocolate-chip cookie -- not necessarily in that order, or frankly, any order at all, but preferably all at once -- that they become oblivious to the people around them. -- Richard Conniff, April 4, 2007 "The Rich Are More Oblivious Than You and Me" NY Times op ed piece ( www.nytimes.com/2007/04/04/opinion/04conniff.html?em&ex=1175918400&en=c379082005d0f2d9&ei=5087%0A ) In trying to make sense of all of this, I remembered that one of my friends from Kresge was a student of Grinder and Bandler's who later became a therapist. I Googled her and found her -- I'll call her Joyce M. -- and we had a couple of great phone calls bouncing around ideas. I asked her if she used NLP in her therapy. Very rarely, she told me. Sometimes a person might get stuck in some verbal loops and she might pattern break. Mostly, she told me, she wasn't looking for gimmicks to trigger some sudden change in the client, but rather worked with them to find their own resources to solve their problems. She found this way produced more lasting change. "One way I think about what I'm doing," she said, "Is that when they lose touch with their ability to heal themselves, I hold if for them for a little while." She wanted to know what I thought. I told her I thought that the thing missing from NLP was the respect for the patient. I mentioned the book "I and Thou" (1971) by Martin Buber, ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/140672730X/hip-20 ) which I've never read, but I saw it listed in the "Whole Earth Catalog" and I always liked the name, which implies a sort of "I am you" identification. She told me that thing that bothered her about G&B, and the reason she moved away from their circle, was that they seemed obsessed with power. There was that flawed metaphor again. I told her about Bateson's paper, "A Formal Approach to Explicit, Implicit, and Embodied Ideas and to Their Forms of Interaction" (1976), reprinted posthumously in "Sacred Unity: Further Steps to an Ecology of Mind" (1991) edited by Rodney E. Donaldson, ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0062501003/hip-20 ) (I didn't recall the title on the phone, but I found it later) in which he explained that around 1960: I withdrew from the field of hospital psychiatry into wider fields . . . . I must also confess that I was bored and disgusted by the ... muddle of conventional psychiatric thinking, by my colleagues' obsession with power, I remembered Bateson had told his students about how warped he found psychiatry to be in the 1950s. There was this notion that you had to control the patients in order to cure them. After the conversations, and during the writing of part one, I thought about the epistemological errors of NLP, and here is what I've come up with. If you're going to believe in "power," and seek power "over" other people by using NLP or similar techniques, I see three main problems before you: 1) Practicing NLP requires that you have control over what say, as well as how you say it. This is actually harder than it seems. Experimental cognitive scientists consistently demonstrate that what we call "consciousness" trails our behavior by a second or two, making up reasons why we do what we do but not steering it. Operationally, it can be very hard to track someone's eye movements and the sensory modes implied in their verbal communication, while mirroring them and pacing their breathing, AND ALSO managing to carry on a conversation containing an ostensive, overt meaning as well as hidden communications like embedded commands and anchoring. 2) Supposing that your execution is perfect, and the techniques you were taught are effective. Well, that means you can have WHATEVER YOU WANT, doesn't it? This places the point of failure at your ego, as it attempts to manifest your will. If you don't know what you want, or don't want it enough, or or don't think you deserve it, your -- perhaps neurotic -- self-sabotage is amplified by your abilities, and is dumped into your social environment to feed back to you in unexpected and worrisome ways. Another danger is thoughtless envy -- if you don't know what you want, it's still easy to envy those who do, and get it. 3) Of course, the greatest danger is that your tools use you. Tolkien, in "The Lord of the Rings" (myth, 1937++) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0618640150/hip-20 ) teaches that the ring of power corrupts those who use it. If power is an illusion, the corruption still is not. Another cautionary fable is King Midas, who having turned his loved ones into objects he can manipulate and own, is lost.


I'm very clear about lies. Lies persist, and the truth doesn't. -- Werner Erhard One of my readers, when I asked for input on what to write about, responded with: I definitely vote for you to address NLP. John Grinder is now submitting abstract papers to Bateson conference sessions, so he's back. (The papers aren't justifying NLP though.) Bateson wrote the intro to Structure of Magic I so Bateson is still on the hook somewhat for NLP as they use Bateson to justify themselves, also Virginia Satir and Milton Erikson. But the focus on control in NLP is so out of whack with Bateson's own warnings on the problems of conscious purpose. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_neuro-linguistic_programming ) This raises an interesting question, which is what are we to make of his new work? I read "Steps to an ecology of emergence" by Malloy, T. E., Bostic St Clair, C. & Grinder, J. (2005) in a special edition of "Cybernetics & Human Knowing: A Journal of Second-Order Cybernetics Auto Poiesis and Cyber-Semiotics" (v. 11, n. 3) devoted to "Gregory Bateson -- essays for an ecology of ideas." ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1845400321/hip-20 ) and found it to be excellent, lacking only a connection to the work of Wolfram. But still, I need more context to evaluate this new emergence. I Googled around and filled in some missing history. According to "Interview with John Grinder" (1996) ( www.inspiritive.com.au/grinterv.htm ) Grinder took a new tack in the 1980s: John Grinder began collaborating with Judith DeLozier; between between 1982-1987 they began developing the New Code of NLP, they were heavily influenced by anthropologist Gregory Bateson, and a desired to create an aesthetic and ethical framework for the use of NLP patterns. Their recode was presented in a series of seminars, titled "Turtles All the Way Down; Prerequisites to Personal Genius," transcripts were published in book by the same name. In the 1980s, Grinder ceased providing public seminars, to pursue cultural change in organizations. During this time he held few public seminars, while he continued to refine the New Code of NLP with his new partner, Carmen Bostic St Clair. They published recommendations to the NLP community to become a legitimate field of study, in their work, "Whispering in the Wind" (2001). I wonder how much that critique I gave him in 1975 influenced this? At this point I'm willing to give John Grinder the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps Bandler suffered the Bonfire of the Vanities for Grinder's sins, I don't know, but his new work seems to be coming from a good place. Stay tuned.


"In the daily newspapers, you find people talking about 'space' and today everyone knows what that means," Erhard told an interviewer in late 1988. "In the last few months, there have been four major business books talking about transformation. There's no question that a lot of the principles that we developed in our work in the '70s have found their way into the mainstream." -- William Gaddis Annotations, 2005 ( www.williamgaddis.org/bibliography.shtml ) Now don't be afraid, here in the "Nude Age," because there's a seeker born every minute. -- The Firesign Theatre, 1974 "Everything You Know Is Wrong" ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006BNDP/hip-20 ) ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everything_You_Know_Is_Wrong ) There are still people out there hanging out shingles saying they do "NLP." I get unsolicited email from several them, including Jim Accetta, ( www.trulyhumancoaching.com ) and Ellen Gifford, The Learning Path in the U.K. ( www.thelearningpath.co.uk ) I also get "spam" from a guy claiming to follow in Werner Erhard's tradition. ( laurenceplatt.home.att.net/wernererhard ) I can't vouch for any of their ethics or competence, and I'm sure you can find at least dozens more in Google.


Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. -- '60s bumper sticker If you're not going to "practice" NLP and other behavior-altering techniques, is there any point in studying them? I say yes. I leave you with these wise words from the above-quoted article by Timothy Leary on meeting Manson in Folsom: The disciplined study of advanced levels of consciousness and brain change inevitably leads to a consideration of black magic, which at Millbrook was defined as the use of neurological techniques to obtain power over others. Leri decided at that time that he would have nothing to do with black magic and deliberately refused to learn anything about satanic rituals. He was operating on the tar-baby assumption that any admission of black magic into consciousness could contaminate and make one susceptible to it. Later, after belatedly discovering that he was being hexed, vexed, perplexed, painted into pentagons, exposed to Kali death-goddess mantras and flashed by charms and jujus, he decided to learn enough about the dark arts to recognize and react--not so much for self-protection, but to defuse misguided practitioners. By the use of white magic -- neurological techniques that enable people to understand and to control their own nervous systems--he neutralized occult power moves. He became adept at sensing precisely how realities are created at the beginning of an interaction, of how realities are subsequently imposed on others and of how reality invasions can be checked. He developed dozens of simple, humorous and aesthetic protections against black-magic reality take-overs. One example is the Buddhist mudra -- or hand movement -- which means "have no fear." The thumb and index finger are joined to form a circle; the three remaining fingers are extended, as in the American OK sign. The circle thus formed can be used to focus consciousness. Through the circle, one sights the person who is projecting an unwanted reality. Then one shifts focus to one's own hand, and the person splits into two peripheral fuzzy optical blobs. And one's attention is centered on one's own ability to maneuver and control one's own consciousness. ======================================================================== newsletter archives: www.well.com/~abs/Cyb/4.669211660910299067185320382047 ======================================================================== Privacy Promise: Your email address will never be sold or given to others. You will receive only the e-Zine C3M from me, Alan Scrivener, at most once per month. It may contain commercial offers from me. To cancel the e-Zine send the subject line "unsubscribe" to me. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I receive a commission on everything you purchase from Amazon.com after following one of my links, which helps to support my research. ======================================================================== Copyright 2007 by Alan B. Scrivener