This file contains some email - with names removed - which I have written to folks about the Landmark Forum.

Person A

>Hi Ted
>You may be able to send me some more info - I will be moving to Sydney
>soon do you know about any courses there? I searched the Internet on
>Landmark Forum - couldn't find a Landmark homepage, I mean a page from
>the Landmark people themself. Would be good for them to organise one -
>or did I jsut not find it.

I know that Landmark have an office in Sydney (and Brisbane & Perth). Check the phone book when you get their - Landmark Education.

They do not advertise in any form- not web or elsewhere.
They work on the principle that if what they are doing isn't good enough to spread by word of mouth, then it isn't worth doing.

I don't know that I entirely agree with it, but they do seem to be working at close to maximum capacity most of the time.

How much more can I say ?

The forum is not like any other course I've every done, yet it shares aspects with most other courses.

It has certainly profoundly changed how I view myself and others, and has given me access to much more enjoyment in my life.

It is not easy to explain in a way that you will get, but I'll give it a short go.

The forum is about exposing aspects of being human that are so fundamental, that few of us see them (the old wood for the trees argument).

It works by dwelling in a number of distinctions, which, when applied to your own life, allow you to discover for yourself aspects of yourself you were not previously aware of.

During this process you will most likely change your view of what it is to be a human being, what it is that determines human behaviour, and what your future is.

The forum is not a set of rules, but an open ended enquiry into what is possible for human beings. What you do with it is entirely your responsibility.

I have met all manner of human beings at Landmark, most of them sharing a commitment to opening possibility in the lives of others (as distinct from determining the course of other people's lives).

Hope that helps


>Thank You for your reply. I am still a bit unsure about them
That's how most people enter the forum - like me - I didn't have much idea what it was about, just my observations of graduates, and the word of a cousin of mine saying I'd love it.

It appeared to be somewhere between Amway and Scientology. Turned out to be neither, but has some aspects of each.

>- you read a lot.
Some. Not as much as I used to.

> Whereas I am in for new ideas and I will check the phonebook in Syndey.
New ideas you will certainly find.

I suggest reading a book for some - Richard Dawlins "The Selfish Gene" - nothing to do with landmark (directly), but may assist in your contemplations after you've done it.

Trust yourself, and have a go.

Person B - several messages

Good to get your note - thanks for taking the time and effort to be straight with me, I appreciate it.

You said: >I depart for Aussie for 10 days this afternoon but I wnated to let you know
>before I go that I have withdrawn from the Landmark course. I am told I will
>lose my $100 deposit (they must need it more than me). The reason I am
>withdrawing is the seemingly hopeless administration.

The choice to withdraw is entirely yours.

I will make a few points, which you may consider at your leisure.

Landmark could have a less than perfect administration, and still have something to offer you.

Their conception of administrative excellence and yours might be based on entirely different principles.

>I wanted the deposit charged on my Visa card and provided them with the
>number. I presumed when I did that, that they would hold onto the number (or
>at the very least retain some record of the charge being sent to the Visa
>outfit) but it appears they did not.

As you said - it was your presumption.

I can explain something of the background and reality of the organisation which is landmark education.

Most of the people who deal with new registrants in the first instance are volunteers - people who have done the course, and give up their time to assist in bringing it to others. There are only two or three people on staff at Wellington, you were probably dealing with a volunteer.

Given that volunteer system, they are very strict about confidentiality, particularly with respect to finances. They definitely do not keep records of VISA numbers.

Another reason for this is that one of the fundamental tenants underlying the work they do is in respect of the power of one's word in creating the world in which one lives. The act of commiting to a course of action is a powerful one.

Going back to their need for your $100, that isn't the point.

That $100 was a commitment to a course of action. Changing that commitment has a cost ($100).

What people often find when they register for the forum is all the rationalisations and justifications as to why they shouldn't do it are in their face.

What you were about to do was, in a very real sense, unknown (as anything new must be). That unknown, when directed towards one's own identity (your own sense of who you are), is a threat, and all of your automatic and unconscious identity defence mechanisms will throw up reasons why you shouldn't do the program. This is perfectly normal, and is experienced by most people - myself included - there isn't any way around it, it comes with the territory.

My advice, if you are interested, is accept that you have all of these very good justifications for not doing it, and do it anyway. You litterally cannot know what the outcome will be (it is logically impossible).

>So, now that the balance is due, I got
>a phone call from some guy asking for the number of the Visa card so they
>could process the balance. I didnt have it on me and I was involved in other
>stuff at that moment so he said he would call back the next day. He did'nt
>and I found a letter from them reminding me of the balance being due BUT not
>mentioning what that balance was. Had the amount owing been shown I would
>have completed the form and posted it off on my way to the airport.
The balance due is $295 - the course costs $395, and has a minimum non refundable deposit of $100. This information would have been given to you by every person involved in your enrollment.
I mentioned it both in my letter, and on my web site.

They way they work is not like any standard business. Right now that may seem absurd to you, but believe me, it will make sense when and if you complete the course.

Much of what they do is designed to bring out into the open, prejudices, behaviours and opinions that you have, but are not aware that you have. Not that any of them are wrong necessarily, but simply because the lack of awareness of them means that they are running your life, whereas, when you get to be aware of them, you have a choice in their expression, and can choose not to express them at inappropriate times. When you are unaware of them, they will simply express whenever they are triggered - in many cases entirely appropriately, but in others, entirely inappropriately.

Much of the content of the forum is exploring these behaviours, how and when they were formed, and gaining a certain mastery in their discovery, and awareness of their expression.

>At that moment I decided it was all very micky mouse and that if they ran
>the accounting side of things in such a way how could they possibly have
>anything to offer me in self improvement.
Exactly! When what they did didn't meet with your expectation, you chose the safe road - which you knew. (Get out of this uncharted territory - it doesn't feel right - : a very accurate observation, but perhaps not an entirely appropriate reaction. After all, you were told that this sort of thing would occur, and that many of your assumptions about how things were, and ought to be, would be challenged - perhaps you simply didn't expect the challenges to arrise so soon.

The Forum begins the moment you register!

You will want to leave.

The only thing which can keep you there, is your will, and your own commitment to the choice you have made. (Nothing else can or will.)

>I then rang and spoke to a female explaining my concerns as detailed above.
>She went on about not keeping my credit card number in case someone misused
>it. While she was telling me this I had a mental picture of a slack outfit
>with all sorts of miscreants roaming in and out of their offices.
That's your mental picture. In one sense it is quite accurate. In another it is more inaccurate than you can possibly imagine.

As I have said, most of the work is done by volunteers. People, like and unlike us, a pure cross section of humanity, who give their time to allow the forum to happen. Without the volunteers, the forum would cost thousands of dollars, and be available to very few. As it is, it costs a few hundred, and is available to almost anyone.

Get a picture of very many people, many of who are doing this work for the first or second time, helping out. A sort of semi organised chaos, in which (quite amazingly to the outside observer) most of the time, everything gets done.

>I said I
>thought that sounded very politically correct to which she replied "we are
>politically correct". That being so I dont want a bar of the outfit as in my
>opinion advocates of political correctness are half wits.
You will meet all sorts at the forum, IQs from 80 to 200. You may have been dealing with a volunteer from the lower portion of the range, or you may simply have run into the child of a bureaucrat who is the product of the state dominated socialist system in which we live - there are lots of them - you and I are the exception rather than the rule in this world.

>I have read an awful lot of self improvement books (some many times over
>almost like reference manuals) so I am interested in this type of thing, but
>it is important what the message is and whether it fits with my ideals. I
>feel from the initial contact that I would be dissapointed. Certainly the
>business of keeping my deposit of $100 makes me wonder at the attitude of
>the principals. As I said before they must need it more than I do.

As I explained earlier, the $100 is to give consequence to commitment. The money is transferable, it is available as part of your tuition for another forum, but not as the deposit - ie - they require another $100 non refundable deposit for you to enroll in another forum, but the balance payable would be only $195.

If you pulled out of that you would have a $200 credit balance with them. I don't know of anyone who has pulled out of 4or more forums, but have met several who made it to 3.

>I presumed the course was one of positive thinking when I applied having
>spoken to you about it but now I am wondering just what it is they stand

My advice - presume nothing, listen to everything, be as critical as you can.

They stand for individual responsibility, communication, and understanding.

Above all they stand for individual freedom and fulfillment in your own life.

>Their attitude is incompatible with the type of thing I adhere to in
>business and I have no doubt that my philosophy is the correct one because I
>succeeded in business and continue to do so.

There is an assumption in there that they wish to succeed in business.

That assumption isn't valid. They exist in a business environment, but their objective is education, not business, and all of their actions are directed accordingly. They recognise that they must make a profit to succeed, and they do, but that is not their primary objective, rather it is merely something that they do in order to achieve their primary objective. The attitude is unusual, to say the least, but quite effective.

>The brief conversations I have
>had with Landmark staff make me wonder if they aren't some sort of off the
>wall religeon like Ron Hubbards outfit.

I wonder if you have actually been talking to landmark staff, or simply to volunteers. The staff are usually quite astute - in a way that you would recognise as astute, even if you couldn't figure out what they were on about.

>Anyway I thought I owed it you to explain my actions as you were
>instrumental in getting me involved with Landmark. I certainly don't hold
>them in the apparent high regard you do.

You have only had a very cursory encounter as yet.

You are, of course, entitled to any opinoin you form, and your opinions are just that - your opinions, and do not necessarily have any basis in reality, other than as sense impressions modified by the impressions, filters, and opinions which you already possessed (prior to encountering Landmark).

I hold you in high regard, from the interactions we have had over the net.

I hold Landmark in high regard, since completing the forum.

Even as late as the middle of the third day of my forum I was trying to make up my mind whether these guys were Scientology or Amway, then I experienced a paradigm shift, and understood what they had been saying for three days, and a lot more besides.

They are both scientology and amway, and a lot more besides; and at the same time they are neither of the above.

They have borrowed aspects for each, yet the matrix in which it is embedded owes more to Zen, than either of the others. Yet Zen masters have much to learn from their teachings.

I request that you re-enroll in the forum, and complete what you started.

If, at the end, having attended all sessions, including the Tuesday evening, you have not found it worthwhile, I will pay for your tuition personally (100% rebate).

It is the most powerful and significant mind shift I have ever encountered, and at the same time all the complaints you have to date are valid.

If for no other reason that to investigate that contradiction - it's worth a look.

Their other programs were equally effective, though at the time of completing my forum I didn't believe they could be, and didn't enroll - I had to pay the additional $200 when I did enroll 6 months later.

I have completed their curriculum for living (Forum, Forum In Action FIA, Advanced Course, Self Expression & Leadership Program SELP), Communication courses (Communication Access to Power CAP, and Communication Performance and Power CPP), and Introduction to Forum Leadership Program (IFLP) - 7 courses in total, over 2 years, at a cost of some $3,000. There are other programs which I may do in the future - My wife has done all but one of the courses, and my son does the Forum for Young people in January. I have spent some $7,000 directly, plus volunteered a lot of time assisting. I estimate that I recovered the cost of the programs in the first few weeks after each. I now achieve far more, in far less time, with much greater degrees of freedom and fullfilment. I really do love my life, my wife, my family, my parents, my work, my leisure; and all are aware of that love.

I am also an effective political animal.

Your choice my friend - but like the Nike ad says - Just Do It!


I said >The balance due is $295 - the course costs $395, and has a minimum
>non refundable >deposit of $100. This information would have been given
> to you by every person >involved in your enrollment.
>I mentioned it both in my letter, and on my web site.
When I went and checked, I didn't say that in my web site. It does now.

My apologies to you for that oversight - I can appreciate how that could give an innacurate opinion - the deception was not deliberate on my part, but no less real.

I own the error.

>I have been mindful of your comments re the Landmark course and I was
>waiting to hear from the "boss" who the last person I spoke to said would
>give me a call. In my mind I was waiting to see if the guy did ring, what he
>would have to say and then decide if I would attend or not. I also decided
>if he did'nt ring that I would not go. The reason for deciding that was that
>any person or organisation holding themselves out to the public at large as
>educators should at least be reliable in what they say to the public.

Agreed - I just got off the phone with the Wellington Centre manager.

>You will be interested to know that I heard from no one as promised so for
>that reason I did not attend. Obviously I could not tell you this until
>after the course had begun.

You may hear from them soon.

>In spite of your very good letter Ted I am not impressed with the outfit.
>Dont say I am afraid of new surroundings etc because all my life I have been
>a trailblazer and work on a theory which says "when the opposition zigs you
>zag." For instance in 1992 I uprooted my wife and I, and with one months
>notice had moved to Chile and set up house and a new business. This in a
>country where 99% only spoke and understood Spanish. I did this with words
>of caution echoing about my brain from all sorts of doomsayers. Our two
>years living there was a tremendous success financially and to this day we
>still have a son living there and an apartment there.

That's OK.

>You are obviously a convert to whatever they preach but you must admit one
>shoudl first be comfortable with anything before being attracted to it.

This doesn't quite follow.

I'd say that you must first find sufficient interest in what is going on to investigate it futher.

Different things interest different folks.

What I said interested you.

You made some enquiries.

Someone at Landmark stuffed up - they are human - and most are volunteers.

>I am
>a fan of the writings of Dr Wayne Dyer, you may have heard of him. If you
>have you will be the richer for it, if not go and look for some of his books
>in the local Whitcoulls under self improvement.

Nope - haven't heard of or read the guy - I'll look him out.

>I have been to many such
>courses in my time and whilst some are very much like others one still comes
>away refreshed and invigorated for a period of time afterwards.

I'm quite confident you've never been to anything like the Landmark Forum - the concepts (distinctions) they deal with are absent from your conversation.

That's not a criticism, just an observation.

I still say you'd find it a valuable challenge - don't dismiss it out of hand - you really have no idea what it is yet.

>The web page above does nothing to make me want to attend the Forum I'm
>afraid and one would need to be attracted to a bit of B & D to attend after
>reading it.

Interesting - the different interpretations we put on things.

I believe I would have been intrigued enough to look further after reading that page had I not done the Forum, but given that I have - I can only guess.

>I am curious about what you said in your earlier letter though
>"the concepts (distinctions) they deal with are absent from your
>conversation." Now without taking the course try to give me an idea of what
>you meant ?

This is a bit like explaining orgasm to someone who hasn't had sex - I might do it accurately, yet until you experience it, you'll have no idea what I said.

I'll give it a go.

Consider these two propositions:

1/ Human beings are stimulus response creatures, of complex makeup, yet in many aspects little different from Pavlov's dogs. (As B F Skinner would say - we are stimulus machines).

2/ Human beings have morality. To have morality implies that we have choice. To have choice we cannot be simply stimulus response machines.

These two propositions appear to contradict each other, yet both can be shown to be true.

From what frame of reference could both be true, yet no contradiction exist ?

The structure (design) of human beings is such that we exhibit certain behaviours which tend to characterise who we know ourselves to be, and who others recognise us to be.

Are these behaviours who we are ?

If not, then what are we ?

In the forum one embarks upon an enquiry of this nature.

The enquiry is open ended.

Some of the questions do not have a single answer - merely perspectives which are appropriate when they are appropriate (and not so at other times).

Prior to doing the forum I used to have some difficulty conversing with Zen masters, or any Budhist master for that matter. Now they make perfect sense, even if I don't always agree with them.

It is not so much a closing of the loop by gaining knowledge, as it is an opening to possibility by admission of ignorance (without losing any of the knowledge one already holds, in fact the basket of knowledge is considerably augmented - it just gets to be real small compared to the unknown).

Give me your thoughts on this lot, and I'll give you an appropriate response.

If you're not interested in going further - just say so.

I still say the forum is worth doing. It certainly was for me, and I believe you would find it challenging and useful. Like most people.

Person C

Thanks for your note.

I cannot help but laugh, your questions are so like mine.

What is a paragigm shift, except another paradigm - precisely !

You have answered your own question, you just don't see it yet.

How many times have you struggled with a concept that others around you seem to have no trouble with, then suddenly, you understand it too.

Actually doing the Forum, for most people, results in them "getting it too".

What is "it" ?

Fundamentally it is an understanding of what it means to be human.

An understanding of the commonality of humanity.

An appreciation of your own uniqueness, and your humanity; from a view you probably never experienced before.

The Forum, as you have noted, is incredibly recursive - as, it appears, is much of life.

At 15:29 14/12/96, you wrote:
> I could not print your article from AOL. Could that because it's in
>green? Or some other technical difficulty.

I'll change the colours - see if that Helps.

> I have a friend who continually encourages me to do The Forum. I found
>your article qiute informative in some respects; incredily vague in other
>more important ones. You have said, in EXACTLY the same words, what my friend
>has. I realise that there may be some redundancy, considering the amount of
>statements available; however, none of these statements has told me
>what I want to know. Namely: What can be found, other that testimonials, that
>describes, even vaguely, the theorey behind the operations of The Forum, and
>what evidence supports this theorey.

The fact about the Forum is that there is no comprehensive body of theoretical knowledge about why or how the Forum works.

Many possible explanations are available.

Landmark is ultimately pragmatic. The people who design and run the forum are very little concerned with why it works, they are concerned mainly that it works, and that it produces the desired outcomes.

Depending upon your background, I could probably construct a body of theory for you which would sound at least plausible, that something is going on - but it wouldn't actually give you any access to what the Forum has to offer.

The Forum draws very heavily on Zen. It is firmly rooted in the "wisdom of the ages", yet is very much a product of the late 20th century.

>I'm fatigued. I want to put this
>question of The Forum to rest, one way or the other.

By far the quickest way to do so is to take 3 days and a evening and "just do it".

It won't "do" anything to you that you are not entirely willing to participate in.

>Ambiguity aside, what
>FACTS can be offered that may help me to close the issue.

The FACTS are the testimonials of your friend, and myself, and the many others like us.

Do you see anything in your friend which you find desirable, that you didn't see prior to doing the Forum ? If the answer is yes - then that is FACT enough.

I'm willing to bet that you've already spent more than 72 hours evaluating the Forum - much better use of time to "just do it". Answers will come much quicker, and be more meaningful.

>What is a paradigm shift if only to another paradigm?

If you get to see this in the forum, then you will have gained much.

It is obvious from your search for "FACTS" - that you really haven't got this yet.

> Continuously Inquiring,
. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
this is your life. Have you seen it recently ?

Having a great life ;)