Can someone who has not attended Landmark Forum fairly and accurately write about the ideas covered, as they are covered? Of course, after all, these are concepts that are common to similar courses, religious traditions, and the human condition most of all.
I have never attended Landmark. On a few occasions I have spoken to people who took the course, briefly shared with me what it was about, encouraged me to attend, or were thinking about attending. I’m not attempting to disparage the program or question the benefit people get out of it. Writing about the concepts covered in Landmark Forum is motivated by curiousity about similar concepts I have engaged for many years. Lastly, it’s a way to engage anyone curious about what affects and improves the human condition.
I. Orientation and Overview: How The Landmark Forum Works
Participants are given an overview—a sense of what they might expect, as well as tips and ideas for how to get the most value. The daily schedule is reviewed, and there is an opportunity to ask questions.
The stage is set for people to engage powerfully with the material, maximize the value of their participation, and produce unprecedented results in a short period of time.
Reading day one Landmark Forum Course Orientation and Overview, the thing that stands out the most is the claim to “…produce unprecedented results in a short period of time.” What does this communicate?
This statement should concern us because when it comes to human development, improving the human condition, the condition of individuals, there is no quick, lasting, fix that produces unprecedented results in a short period of time. Any program that promises to provide quick, unprecedented results, should be suspect.
Why should it be suspect? Any program that intends changing our life situation for the better has to focus on present behavior, and how we can change it to achieve desired outcomes. Positive change, lasting and sustainable, resulting in desired, wholesome, outcomes over time requires the cultivation of behaviors that are good, good for ourselves, and others. Any course or program worthy of consideration will start here. The difference between courses and traditions will be on the “How to do it,” but there are a few things to consider. They will also impose, intentionally or not, a particular view, an understanding of life. I’ll address what I believe is the view that Landmark communicates. For now I’ll focus on why behavior is the starting point.
Again, what I’m about to unfold is not, as far as I’m aware, what Landmark teaches.
There is a difference between what we wish to achieve in life, our goals, and the relationships we have with oneself, regardless of where we are with respect to goals. While we could spend a lot of time and effort discovering who we are and what troubles us, the task can be an endless journey. At this point it’s not so important. We can do a bit of cheating here, short-circuit this “discovering who we are” phase, and take a leap of faith. We can simply accept there is a complete you already, no matter the specific circumstances in your life. You’re not broken so no fixing is required. You don’t have to be made good because fundamentally you’re good as you are already.
If you can do your best to accept this, it should shift the perspective you have of yourself, others, and the world. From this reference, the focus henceforth is how to relate to all aspects of your life. It will require focusing on your behavior, producing wholesome actions, which in turn will bring forth the right conditions for a genuinely fulfilling life.
The end result should be our ability to respond naturally, in accordance to any situation, no matter the circumstance, no matter the conditions. How we do it is the question, involving both an understanding, and training.