Thanks for the clarification.
I think that the more confrontational style of the original est training brought people’s resistance up, and created a more emotional rather than just a cognitive or didactic interaction with the trainer. I’m sure each style worked better for some people than others. I have the impression that as the format evolved, it got less confrontational, more “est-light”. Some of that was no doubt in response to some of the media attention. I heard Werner Erhard speak a few times in person, and I read a number of articles and books about him and the training. The early television reports about the est training focused a lot on the “restrictions” on participants leaving the training room to go to the restrooms, equating that to a technique used in cult indoctrination. Werner Erhard said he was amused by that, because as he said, “I didn’t call a break because I didn’t have to pee.”
I liked the training a great deal, but I might have been more prepared for the “in-your-face” style because I had read several books before doing the training. I also took several of the follow-up courses, I “assisted” at a couple or so trainings including the one my sister took, and I enjoyed being included in the group for a few years after my initial training. I got turned off to the organization and the courses around 1987. I felt that they shot themselves in the foot by making SO much of every session of the post-training seminar programs on bringing in more people. I believe that if they had just focused more on the content, which was powerful and valuable, the people would have brought guests in all on their own. I think there must have been pressure coming from the upper management, and I felt that it was really a shame, because I would definitely have kept going if not for that.
I hadn’t heard of More To Life before, although I have had friends who’ve done the Lifespring and Actualizations courses, and more recent versions of the original est training called Landmark , The Forum, and The Six Day Training. It’s not always possible to point to particular ways that these courses have changed our lives; some people just found them to be positive “peak” experiences, or just another general “food for thought” or therapeutic undertaking. I’m glad to hear that you found your experience to be valuable to you. As they say, “Thank you for sharing.”
I had one friend comment on MBTI, equating it to astrology. I feel that MBTI is based on what I recognize as scientific, as relating to the field of psychology, rather than the astrological systems of zodiac signs, either the month-based one or the Chinese year-based one, even though I have always very strongly identified with my birth sign of Sagittarius. I don’t read the daily horoscopes. I did occasionally when I was a kid and noticed how very non-specific they are, and how seemingly interchangeable they are, but for whatever reason, I still feel a kinship with people who share my “sign”. I don’t examine the pragmatism behind it, I know there is no factual scientific basis for it, and I don’t try to claim it as any kind of objective “truth”.
One interesting note about that is something that resonated with me. I have kept diaries since the age of 12. A theme that often kept coming up was the idea of my view of the world. I commented more than once that I felt I saw the world (metaphorically) at different times through a microscope, or through a telescope, but never through what I felt was the “normal” lens that other people looked through. This theme surfaced again and again from High School days, through college, and into adulthood. In 1998 I came across a book called “Archetypes of the Zodiac”. I looked at it briefly, and in the pages about Sagittarius, it said that the goal of the Archer is to reconcile the two views of the near and the distant, in order to shoot the arrow “true”, and reach the target. I was so excited to find something that spoke to me in this way, because it felt like a validation and an explanation of a personal truth.
I think that a person doesn’t have to “believe” in a system like astrology or the Tarot, or Jungian theory, or any religious or spiritual path in order to find something within that structure or construct that has meaning for them, or that they can attach/assign meaning to. I trained to be and became a licensed massage therapist, and I was very comfortable with Western explanations of cell structures and biochemistry, organ systems, and the familiar medical terminology I had grown up with. I was very uncomfortable (to the point of frustration and tears in many classes) with my required studies of shiatsu. I never “got” it. But I have friends who have been helped by so-called “alternative” therapies like acupuncture, and I’ve been helped by chiropractic and massage myself, and I feel there has to be something useful in these therapies even if Western medical science can’t quantify what that might be.
I used to have a button that said “If you haven’t changed your mind lately, how do you know you’ve still got one?” I really liked that sentiment.
It’s very easy to get comfortable with our opinions and beliefs, and uncomfortable about any challenge to them. As I’ve posted elsewhere, we often identify our “selves” with our “beliefs”, as if they “were” us. Once we can separate our idea of “self” as different from “that which our self currently believes”, it becomes easier to entertain other thoughts, and challenges from others, to our beliefs and opinions. If we are comfortable and secure in our own selves, then we can discuss dispassionately the ideas that contradict what we have previously held to be true. It is the only way that we can learn, that we can take in new and different ideas without that being a blow to our ego. Identifying our selves with our thoughts, opinions, beliefs, blocks us, threatens us, so that we get stuck with our old ways of doing things and framing things, and we don’t grow and change with ease.
I’m brand new to Less Wrong, and very pleased that I found a topic right away that I have given a great deal of thought to already, since it’s affected me throughout my life. I grew up with a mother who was constantly critical, and stingy or withholding of praise, with the result that my sister and I, who are both in our late 40s, still converse about the negative affect that my mother had on us when it comes to making mistakes, and attempting to do new things.
I used to feel that I was being scolded because I didn’t know something I “ought to have known” in advance. I’m not referring to breaking some established rule in the family. I’m talking about being blindsided by sudden harsh words in a loud volume about something I had never heard about or considered before, something that I had had the nerve to “get wrong.” This happened often enough that I began thinking that I had better not try to do things unless I knew EVERYTHING there was to know BEFORE I took any action. This, not surprisingly, had the affect of paralyzing me into inaction, fearing the reprisals for “mistakes”, and of course, the judgment about what was right and what was wrong was based on what my mother thought about the issue, which was largely subjective.
As my sister and I got older, we began challenging my mother about her views and how she spoke to us. She was quite unhappy about being challenged by her daughters, who had once been so docile and albeit unhappily, accepting of her criticism and punishment. I did many years of therapy, starting in my early teens, I also read many books and articles about and took several courses in psychology, and did the est training (a personal growth seminar) in 1983. My sister and I both eventually came to the understanding that not only do you not have to know everything about an endeavor before embarking upon it, you CAN’T know what you need to know EXCEPT in the process of doing it. There is a reason it’s called “trial and error”. You don’t learn anything when you know how to do something and get it right the first time. You learn when you make mistakes, and you find that you need to keep working at getting it, yes, “less wrong”.
My son who is 15 now, is in his first year of High School at both his neighborhood HS and at an engineering program at a local magnet HS. His class had a project that incorporated their biology and engineering principles coursework that was due in January. They were assigned teams, and had to come up with a hemodialysis machine. There is a company that supplies the school with a synthetic blood, which is filled with a substrate, and the teacher provides a selection of components the kids have to use in their design. The team has to prove that their device filters the distillate material out of the synthetic blood.
Matthew told me that all the other teams designed a machine, and stuck to their original design, whereas he kept experimenting and coming up with different designs. His team didn’t do any of the designing, they saw that Matthew knew how to take charge, and he just delegated to them the tasks that would assist him in completing the machine. They got very concerned that he kept changing his design, but when they asked him why he was doing that, he just said “I have to get it right, and until it’s right, I won’t use the design.” He had the team present the paper explaining the machine they finally built, and he demonstrated how it worked. They got a 95%. I am very proud of him. I have worked hard on raising him without the same mistakes that my mother made (so I’ve given him a bunch of different mistakes ;) ) He has always been told that it’s not only OK to make mistakes, they are necessary stepping stones on the pathway towards accomplishment and knowledge.
I have heard that many times over the course of my adult working life. I tend to agree with it mostly, although I doubt that it applies equally to all types of work, and it may have been more true in the past than it is in today’s economy and with today’s technology. I would think that it could vary wildly between say a position such as “Office Manager” and that of “Newspaper Reporter”. The reason(s) for leaving would matter a great deal as well. Leaving a job for a much better job (better pay, more prestige, etc.) is quite different than leaving a job due to personality clash or poor work performance. There also could be a big difference depending upon the values of the employer in charge of doing the hiring. The person(s) with decision-making responsibility might place more emphasis on other traits and accomplishments, and not care terribly much that the employee left a job or jobs after a short time of being employed.