Landmark Forum - a cult?

I had a friend who had the opposite experience to SpudGunny's mate. We've lost touch now, but back in the early 90s he was stuck in a rut, good but tedious job, miserable commute etc. He's a really intelligent, clever bloke and was very disillusioned with how he was being sucked into the rat-race. He did a Landmark seminar in 1991 and it gave him the impetus to change his life totally. He left his job, moved, and set up his own business. It's all worked out well for him and he's now happily married with a couple of kids, sold a stake in his business for decent money and now does the fun R&D stuff.

For whatever reason that one seminar made a big difference in his life, but he's always been the sort of person to get on with things and put ideas into action so who knows, he may have made the same life for himself anyway. I think he went to one of the first seminars in the UK and from what he's said about it, there was no hard-sell to do more, or drag other people in. He certainly only did one seminar.

At the time, when he was describing the meeting, it just sounded like new-age hippy stuff overlying common sense and basic humanism, similar to happy-clappy christianity but without the doomsday death-cult stuff. However, I'd guess that for anyone searching for 'meaning' in their life whilst in an emotionally or psychologically vulnerable state it'd be like catnip.

Maybe the Landmark organisers have worked that out now and really have decided to milk it while it lasts, or maybe Landmark attracts a high proportion of vulnerable and 'searching for meaning' people which skews its representation. It'd certainly be a lot cheaper to read a book but that wouldn't offer quite the same epiphanic opportunity to the susceptible.
It is quite odd.

Having their mantra ( How to be an extraordinary person - Landmark Education | Jay B ) on your wall and managing to link Landmark in to every conversation is rather tiresome.
Maybe my friend was doing it wrong! He did have some course material he would go back and read, but nothing overt and he never mentioned Landmark unless someone remarked on the visible change in him.

That said, he's an intelligent bloke and also read other 'meaning of life' stuff by existential psychologists such as Viktor Frankl and Rollo May. I think he saw the Landmark seminar as a kick-start to a permanent life change for the better, but of course he actually got off his arse and did it, rather than just blethering on about it to all and sundry.
It does evolve and seems to follow cycles. As I mentioned it had its genesis in EST. (Wiki so usual caveats apply )Erhard Seminars Training - Wikipedia which morphed into something else before becoming Landmark.

My friend was taking more and more courses with ever increasing demands on her wallet. No poor people at Landmark. All conversation came back to it and how she wished I would go so I would get the ‘language’ I needed so we could properly ‘communicate’. I have to add that her marriage ended soon afterward and her relationships since then have been a shit show but professionally she has soared. She is at the top of game at work and it’s a highly technical field with no room for Woo.

That success had nothing to do with Landmark. She was on that trajectory before it and it couldn’t alter her progression one iota.

To be honest no-one will thank you for pointing out that they were duped. I think she’s embarrassed by the whole thing now and it doesn’t come up in conversation anymore. I’m not saying that there isn’t room for a more holistic approach to this stuff but Landmark is like the psychological equivalent of being resuscitated after a heart attack in an ER and kicked out onto the street a few hours later.

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