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Se utdrag från The Story of Our Lives (engelsk text)

The following is a series of excerpts from an article that appeared in the London Times Magazine in July 2000.

London Times Magazine
Vanora Bennett, July 2000

“The events in our lives have no meaning in themselves.  It is the stories we make up to explain those events that give them meaning.  But the stories can take over, becoming “rackets” or recurring complaints, behind which we hide from the full, rich, illogical, unreasonable flow of life.  Rackets, The Landmark Forum leader, David Sherman, said, kill our lives.”

“For a day and a half, we chewed this over, discussing our own rackets.  Everyone enjoyed the chat-show voyeurism of watching other people confess; more and more hankered after the chance to do their own spiritual stripteases.  Confession-minded crowds jostled at the microphones.  One by one, we described how our mother's tone of voice had always irritated us, our parents' divorce had traumatized us, our children's naughtiness drove us spare, our ex-spouse infuriated us, or our sibling's unreasonableness had stopped us speaking for two years.  Tears were met with Kleenex.  But the pent-up rage of the confessions didn't win the Landmark Forum leader's sympathy.”

“Acceptance of the idea that our miseries had somehow been our own fault brought a new kind of relief.  By the second afternoon, the exhausted groups in the cafes around the Landmark building were discussing breakthroughs they had made in establishing contact with people they hadn't got on with, or spoken to, for years.  Some were tearful, but others were euphoric at their success.  By now, no one was scared any more.  Behind the eccentric jargon, it seemed that all that was going on was the simplest of therapies.  Landmark offered a friendly setting in which to talk through your problems and a chance to leave them behind.”

“But, as we left the Sunday night finale, we were visibly happier than three days earlier.  Our marathon of soul-baring had bonded everyone in the room, as if to an enormous instant family, and left a warm afterglow of affection towards the rest of humankind.  While I didn't introduce three new converts to the cause (or even one), I , too, was oddly charmed by the experience.”

“In the end there seemed little cause for concern, and some for celebration.  Far from being natural victims, the people in my course seemed like representatives of a new Britain looking for belief.  It may be a mark of how Britain has changed that this American import appeals to a middle class with brains and earning power - but without the cultural baggage and fear of emotion that have been the conventional hallmarks of the Oxbridge-educated world.  The Landmark graduates that I saw might not have the formal higher education that would give them an instant framework in which to organize beliefs and experiences - but they were looking, and they wanted challenge rather than cosseting.”

“Smart, practical and full of initiative, they used the course to work out specific things:  how to handle divorce negotiations, or deal with a problem boss.  They responded to the Landmark message not hysterically, as if seeking the answer to a prayer, but playfully.  In their hands, it has become a well-packaged game of belief for the Internet age, with a language of its own, rules of its own, and a lot of pricey upgrades.  Players have the freedom to switch off and walk away if they get bored.  But those who play on believe the prize of transformation is within their reach.”

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