By Jonathan 2 Comments

Landmark Forum: The Aftermath

It has been more than one month since I last wrote and article for this blog. That is a very long time in the world off the internet, and it has had a couple of consequences.

The most visible is that my RSS subscribers have dropped off, back to about the level they were at before I revived this website and started my regular update schedule a few months back.

But I’m not too concerned about that. I know that if I started writing again, my subscribers will return, and then some, and that the truly loyal subscribers haven’t left. I know this because while my RSS count had dropped, my Twitter followers continued to grow even in the absence of fresh content, as did my email subscribers.

And my traffic stayed pretty steady too, which means a lot of the promotion I have been doing behind the scenes has had the intended result: long-term, steady growth.

Why am a telling you this? What does this have to do with the Landmark Forum?

Nothing. It’s totally meaningless. So is everything else on this website, everything I have ever said, thought or written.

And that’s beautiful.

I am well aware that what I just wrote will make sense to very few of you. And that’s the challenge I am faced with; how does one articulate what the Landmark Forum is to someone who has never experienced it?

The answer is that I cannot. I can give you bits a pieces, a little insight here and there, but in no way can I ever give you even a taste of what it really is.

In case you are wondering, no, I am not restricted in any way from sharing with you about my experience with the Forum. In fact I, and every other participant, was told quite clearly that I am free to share anything at all that happened in our forum, as long as I respect the privacy of other forum participants when doing so.

But telling people about what they don’t know they don’t know is difficult, if not impossible. They must experience it to learn it. The Landmark Forum puts into an experience what I can only attempt to describe with words. And attempt is the keyword here. I would fail in that attempt.

So if I can’t tell you what it is, what’s the point of this article?

I may not be able to articulate what the Landmark Forum is, but I can give you an idea of what the result of it is:

Happiness.

True, honest, immutable happiness that persists in spite of the world around you, rather than being a result of the world around you.

And that’s what I have been experiencing for the past several weeks. It why I haven’t written anything on this blog. I haven’t wanted to. I have been too busy being happy. I now know what I didn’t know I didn’t know.

An explanation is in order

The concept of Landmark Education is that they teach you what you don’t know you don’t know. But what does that mean exactly?

Imagine a pie, and imagine that the pie represents all of the knowledge in the world. Now imagine that one small slice of the pie represents everything that *you* know. Now stay with me here because this next part might turn your head inside out if you don’t read carefully.

You have that small piece of pie, and it represents what you know. In addition, because this is stuff you know, you also know that you know it. For instance, if you are reading this, you know the English language, and you know that you know the English language. You may also know what 10+10 is, that the sky is blue (the sky isn’t blue by the way, but that’s a topic for later), and that Elvis truly is dead, and you are dead certain of these things, because, you guessed it, you know that you know them.

Now imagine another slice of the pie right next to it. This slice represents everything you don’t know. So, if for instance, you do not speak Chinese, then the Chinese language would be in this slice of pie, because it is something you don’t know. Maybe you also don’t know how to build a house, or who the President of South Africa is. You’re not sure how beer is made, and you have no idea how to ride a horse. All of these are things you don’t know, and yet, you *know* that you don’t know them. You don’t know how beer is made, and yet you know it is possible to make beer because you like to drink it.

Are you still with me? We now have two slices of pie that represent the knowledge you either have, or are aware it is possible to have:

  1. Slice A: What you know you know
  2. Slice B: What you know you don’t know

So what about the rest of the pie? What does it represent? Well, if what you don’t know you don’t know, of course!

Every last one of use goes through life searching for answers to questions. What are we here for? What should I do with my life? Will I ever find love? And we are so very certain that those answers exist, and it is only a matter of time before we find them. And so we spend a lifetime taking knowledge that we know we don’t know, and making it into knowledge that we know we know.

But what if the answers really aren’t out there? What if we are on a fruitless quest to find meaning when the meanings don’t exist? What if the answer is something we don’t know that we don’t know? If it is, then how can we ever ask the right question?

Landmark Forum teaches you what you don’t know you don’t know. And when you discover what that is, you will simultaneously be shocked, and wonder why you didn’t realize something so obvious.

Armed with this newfound knowledge you will experience complete and utter joy. You will have the motivation and power to take on the world, and go after your goals. You will have better relationships with your friends, family, employer, co-workers, customers and everyone around you. You will have clarity that you did not have before. You will have freedom from guilt, and other power-robbing emotions. You will be content, and have peace of mind. And it will last.

Perhaps nothing could illustrate it better than this classic scene from the Alistair Sim version of Scrooge. Pay particular attention to what he says between 2:39 and 2:55, it is as if Scrooge actually took the Landmark Forum:

So if it’s so wonderful, and so simple, why don’t I just tell you what the big secret teaching in the Landmark Forum is?

Believe me, I am not trying to hide it from you. There is nothing stopping me from telling you, and the information is freely available on the net, even on Wikipedia if I recall. But do you remember at the end of The Wizard of Oz when Glinda tells Dorothy that she has always had the power to go back to Kansas, and that all she has to do is click her heels together three times. The Scarecrow is a bit disturbed by the development, and asks Glinda why she didn’t just tell Dorothy before. Glinda replies:

Because you wouldn’t have believed me.

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2 Comments:

  • Stephen says:

    Thanks. Your experiences are helpful to people who want the benefits without having to become an annoying sales pawn for L.E. I’ve been reading blogs of people’s experiences because I’ve had some friends bring me to introductions, etc. I’ve noticed people often repeat the same analogies, like the pie chart and not knowing Chinese, for example, not to mentioned the jargon. I’m getting the feeling that the 3 day pressure cooker atmosphere of The Forum has a lot to do with focusing pretty basic truths into more physical realizations than saying the truths in passing could do. Since it’s a very physical process, it could explain why everybody who’s recommended it to me fell so short in giving me a clear explanation of its inner workings. The marketing I find appalling and am pretty set not to invite anybody, since I don’t want to be more annoying to friends/ family than I already am. Your later post about being “guilt tripped” is alarming and I wonder if any leaders or coaches say that the benefits of The Forum “won’t work” unless one essentially becomes their gleeful grinning marketing pawn. Saying no to people or temptations is possibly one of life’s greatest skills. To say it with enthusiasm, with cheer, sending focused, present, positive energy towards the object of your “no,” as you’re saying it, might be one of the greatest lessons in refusing to be victimized by L.E. marking. Thanks again for your lively, entertaining and thorough tours through this experience, Jonathan!

    • Jonathan says:

      Nah Stephen, they are way to clever for that.

      They never, ever tell you you don’t have a choice. They make it very clear that you do, and then “guide” you into changing your mind. ;-)

      That being said, I still think the forum itself is a great experience for most. Honestly, I do. But only if you are their because you want to be there.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan