Rackets arise out of the erroneous belief that we have free will, but I doubt Landmark teaches this.
In the Rackets segment, we discuss the idea of a racket as an unproductive way of being or acting that includes a complaint that something shouldn’t be the way it is. Often, we don’t notice that while our complaints may seem justified, even legitimate, there is a certain payoff—some advantage or benefit we are receiving that reinforces the cycle of behavior. At the same time, this way of being has steep costs, whether in our vitality, affinity, self-expression, or sense of fulfillment.
By recognizing this pattern, its costs, and how we have been keeping the pattern in place, we have the choice to interrupt the cycle and discover new ways of interacting that lead to new levels of happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment in areas that are most important to us.^1
We have learned so far that, according to Landmark, our assumptions about the world create a context, and this context will either provide us with an authentic, workable relationship with our experience of the world or not.
I suppose that Landmark might say that when we live with a context that is in conflict with what is real there will be friction and disharmony with situations. We need the false comfort of the stories we manufacture as assumptions with the world experienced become muddled and unworkable.
It can probably be said that good context should align with the reality of situations and this opens us to their natural fluidity. Situations are continually changing after all, and when we are attune to change, more options become available. Landmark calls these possibilities. We are able to move along with life’s situations without the handicap of artificial barriers we unnecessarily create. This, or course, is much easier said that done.
Other than the pressure cooker group sessions that put people on the spot so they can open up and shed away what hinders them, I haven’t seen anything that involves the kind of training that would move people away from the powerful tendencies of creating fictions out of almost every situation encountered. Maybe the one-on-one coaching is suppose to do this. Humans are master deceivers of themselves and manipulators of others and breaking this tendency takes more than talking in a group or with a therapy-like arrangement. So what is this Racket thing anyhow?
A convenient, even manipulative, set of behaviors arise as we attempt to negotiate our way through the deceptions solidified through the stories we create. From this perspective, the disconnect with what is real—what bad context creates—we want what we can’t have, and what we get is never enough, but we continue attempting believing we can have it our way. This is what Rackets amount to.
Rackets are the deceitful attempt to control what we can’t, believing that we could. We don’t like the way things are, and we develop behaviors that help us avoid and escape what is real around us. What does this say about us when we behave like this, when we engage in Rackets?
At some level, when we engage in Rackets, we deceive ourselves enough to believe that, through sheer will, we are capable of changing the way things are. But why do we believe this? Because at this level of thinking and behavior we believe that if things are not the way they should be, it must be due to our lack of will, and that a lack of personal sheer will is failing to produce for us what we most desire. Behind Rackets is the belief in the power of free will to alter situations in our life. Rackets arise out of the erroneous belief that we have free will, but I doubt Landmark teaches this.
The real Racket Landmark should be concerned with is the belief that, somehow, we can control, or at least alter, the relationship of events around us. It’s the the belief that we can mold and shape the world through sheer will. That we can create our own private realities, control outcomes, and that only our lack of belief and lack of will prevents us from getting what we desire, and this is the real Racket we should be concerned about.