Friday, 12 September 2008

Q: What Exactly is the Purpose of Landmark? A: It's a Racket

Most people get sucked into debates about Landmark's brainwashing techniques. This is important because of the consequences to individuals and relationships. Yet the most important issue is often sidelined.

Landmark Education is designed to make lots of money for its owners. Nothing wrong with that perhaps, but when you are running what is basically a pyramid scheme something is very wrong.

Landmark charges high "tuition fees" for its courses. They are designed for you--the punter--to keep buying more of them. No single course is ever sufficient in itself. The result is that Landmark is reportedly earning around $70 to $80 million a year.

It has two more tricks it uses. The first is that the punter must bring along new recruits. If not, there is chastisement. The second is that punters are expected to volunteer their time on the phones and at meetings. Landmark has very few employees. This is why Landmark falls afoul of various countries' labor laws.

Landmark likes to target professionals--investment bankers, lawyers, and other financial types--because, to paraphrase John Dillinger, "That's where the money is." These are people who have been high achievers and will feel questioning about the value of what they do.

So on the one hand, there is a spiritual vacuum or malaise, and on the other, there is the cash to allay it. Landmark has identified its market targets with supreme care.

What is most surprising is how gullible these professionals are at the hands of a sophisticated organization like Landmark. Their gullibility leads them into questionable behaviors. In the French TV documentary on Landmark, a medical doctor who graduates from the Forum is shown describing how he is telling his patients to attend the Forum because that will cure their ailments.

This is a clear breach of ethics in any society or profession and should be sanctioned by the professional body.

So ask yourself, have you been approached by your lawyer or doctor or accountant or banker and asked to attend a Landmark meeting? Have you been told that it will be the best thing you could do for your life? Whether you are a client or friend or both, the one who asked you was behaving unethically at your expense.

Can you really trust the judgment of professionals who behave this way and who are so gullible, to really put your interests ahead of any other? Anyone who has been in this situation should have serious, serious doubts. Because they are putting Landmarks profits ahead of you.


GuruTruth said...

The question of the profit and where the money goes is an interesting one. The company would probably say something to the effect that it is all reinvested back into the growth of the company, emphasizing that it is "employee owned". They would also tend to de-emphasize the history and influence of Werner Erhard. However that's kind of hard to play down, when his sister is on the board of directors of the company, his brother is CEO of Landmark Education, and his former attorney is Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Anonymous said...

I started getting malicious phone calls when I signed up for the Landmark Forum. The first one might have been a week before the three day program. The caller left a message on my answering machine saying that "the FBI knows all about you, you are going to get yours."