Journey to the Sore?

11 March 2009 at 11:11 pm (Uncategorized)

SABC3 featured a large slice of indigestible feel-good woo-woo this evening at 21:30.  It is called “Journey to the Core,” a weekly half-hour feature about “special” individuals who are particularly adept at fooling others about their hardships and resultant “soulfulness.” A variety of self-styled “experts” and gurus (no quotes necessary for that term) like Baruch Banai get an opportunity to wax philosophical in great gobs of solemn but nonetheless asinine goo over the “specialness” of the weekly recipient of a fondle-fest of slick ego-stroking and unalloyed ingratiation. They also get an opportunity to self-promote, but that may just be the cynic among us talking… 😉

Such programmes rile us.

Intensely.

And then some. Oh, would that we could be such solemnly wonderful people. The slings of reason thwart us so.

So, after tracking down the host website, one of us fired off the following missive to their feedback line:

I find this type of egregious and total disregard for the methods of science and rational discipline deeply insulting, as would, I think, anyone with half a brain. Such New Age nonsense, where “you can be as ignorant, stupid, vague, ridiculous, foolish, inaccurate, superstitious and open-ended as you like,” is just a substitute for religion that has crawled down a hole of its own absurdity. These foolishnesses you punt, like “dream mapping” and “spirituality” and so on, are entirely bereft of any formal rigour and are thus no more than intellectually bankrupt we-do-it-because-it-thrills-us endeavours to be indulged in at whim. The person who can reliably demonstrate the validity of “dream mapping” stands to make one million US dollars from the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). But nooo, you people will invent any excuse to avoid meeting your evidentiary obligations.

You all take the benefits of science for granted but apparently fail to realise the magnitude and the nature of the effort that produced them. Those would be the selfsame benefits that make it possible for you to spit on science as “unsatisfactory” in the first place. You should at least think about that before taking the preposterous assertions of self-appointed charlatans like Baruch Banai as gospel. You’re so engrossed with finding ever more novel ways of feeling good that you forget to think and sacrifice your critical faculties on the altar of mental lassitude. Feeling good is not enough. You also have to anticipate the future with this thing called “reason.”

You people would be a joke if your lunacy wasn’t so dangerous to the future of humanity.

Fat lot of good it will do, though.

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25 Comments

  1. mangwanya said,

    That Dr Baruch Banai is a con artist. He runs a series of “personal growth” workshops from his Insight Training Centre aimed at helping people reach their full potentials and I attended one, cynical as I am. It turned out to be an insulting traumatic brainwashing cult. But they are refusing to give me my money back!!!

  2. defollyant said,

    As long as you have learned from the experience, all is not lost. Beware of those who would promise you the moon but who have no wings.

  3. Celeste said,

    Mangwanya, I see a few fingers pointing back – one must be carefull of what one accuses another of – maybe the biggest con artist might be YOU!

  4. Tooscaredtogivemyname said,

    I attended the workshops as well. BE CAREFUL OF BARUCH BANAI!!!! Stay away from the center and stay away from him, his son, and the rest of the people involved with this place. Mangwanya, I totally agree with you. And this man must be stopped! He is ruining people’s lives!!! All under the false pretense that he means it ‘with love’. If you went through this brainwashing, go see a professional! I still have nightmares, the experience haunts me till this day. If you know anything about NLP or if you went through the army you will immediately see the brainwashing and how dangerous these people are! Seriously, STAY AWAY from these people!

  5. InGodITrust said,

    This man is still operating and destroying lives. I pray to God that he will stop him and that people’s eyes will open and see him for what he is: A cheap gold digger! He only wants your money honey….

  6. Nkonzo Mhlongo said,

    My girlfriend, is currently wanting to go, and if you guys say it is bad as you say it is, how do I stop her, on what concrete proof do I give, advice me please

  7. InGodITrust said,

    Hopefully she is religious? Recommend that she rather go to a church course – most churches have courses / programmes to enlighten ones life. Pray and ask God to help you. Good luck.

  8. CP said,

    Dr Baruch Banai, hes son and their little robots that do everything for them #$@&ing mad! I attended the course for 3 days and decided that I could not be part of such a cult. Belittling people and speaking to people like they are rubbish, has no place in my world! I could not believe the military style and the fact that we started at 6pm, finished at around 2:30am with only a 10min break! god forbid you needed the toilet in-between! I would never ever in my life recommend this course! And dont bother asking for a refund, I did, but the T&Cs say that you need to complete the course my reasoning would be that they would be bankrupt if they would offer refunds if you were not satisfied and left the course early, as I am sure that more than 90% of people do opt out during the course. Some one left the course on the 1st day and they said something along the lines that they were weak and not willing to face their demons! Dont ever waste your money and treat yourself with respect by not attending.

  9. Hopeful Being said,

    I attended this course and I think it is beautiful. They intend reversing the ugliness of this world, killing, rapes, capitalist countries, wars that leave women and children displaced and even many people just on the African continent destitute and reaching not their full potential. What is the worst that this brainwashing can do to you if you wish to call that?

  10. Nandi said,

    This Dr Banai came to work and made his presentation and make a very disturbing comment that “people who live in Deipsloot have low conscious” after that comment i just swiched off because to make such a general comment is insulting. I would NEVER attand any of his workshops

  11. Sonia said,

    As with anything in life and one of the points Dr Baruch raises is people behave to same situations differently, which talks to consciousness. I am one of the thousands that have attended this workshops and if at all have broken cults I subscribed to before being able to redeem who I am before all the conditions. Another point of interest, amongst the handful that have found it negative, considering the thousands that have found it phenomenal, again talks to how you see the world. Dr Baruch lives next to Diepsloot and if he intended to insult people from there, why would such a man see himself no different to the next and choose his residence to be next to such an area. In ending, as with anything in life, it either resonates with you or doesnt, we all choose our destiny.Wish you well with all your lifes endeavours.

  12. Cultwatcher said,

    It’s quite remarkable that people who have never studied brainwashing (or “thought reform”) are so certain that Insight and Baruch are “changing the world”. I have done so for the last four years and Large Group Awareness Trainings (which is exactly what Joyspring etc. are) have a forty year history of inflicting psychological damage to unlucky participants. Nobody in a cult believes that they’re in a cult – instead they completely dismiss all evidence that harm can come from their faultless leader and his methods and inevitably spout the New Age jargon (resonates, destiny, consciousness) that they have been indoctrinated with. The 900+ people who drank cyanide laced Koolaid in 1978 would have said exactly the same wonderful things about Jim Jones. If the ability to think critically has not been completely flushed from your system the least that you could do is to do a little bit of research on LGATs. Read chapter 8 of Dr Margaret Singer’s ” book “Cults in Our Midst”, read chapter 22 of Dr Robert Jay Lifton’s book “Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism”, get onto culteducation.com and read the tens of thousands of posts by people who have been harmed by these courses. Google Dr Michael Langone (the head of the International Cultic Studies Association) and read what he has to say about LGATs. If you are unwilling to look at this substantial evidence impartially then I’m afraid you are the very definition of brainwashed. Finally you can read “Combatting Cult Mind Control” by Steven Hassan. He was a former member of the Moonies (quite clearly a mind-controlling cult). He describes the indoctrination process that he was put through – it is almost identical to the process used by Baruch and other LGAT operators. By this stage one of the many thought terminating clichés taught to you during your training might be kicking in, giving you a reason to stop thinking and hold onto your new beliefs – try to quieten that voice and, for the first time in a while, think for yourself. Best of luck

  13. Cultwatcher said,

    I would add that Baruch’s little mantra of “everyone is different” is highly manipulative. By this he suggests that if someone doesn’t love his courses then they are different. Ironically he does not take these personal differences into account when inflicting a one-size-fits-all approach to groups of dozens of participants. The methods used by Banai have been tailored to generate euphoria in the majority of participants. There will always be people on either side of the spectrum – some of whom won’t be pushed far enough (and will have minor “breakthroughs”) and some who will be pushed too far (and will suffer breakdowns). The point is that because the majority of participants don’t suffer breakdowns he is happy – he gets paid and he suggests that this “majority benefiting” is somehow proof of the infallibility of the trainings. Thousands of people are psychologically harmed by these courses. Unless you believe in the greatest conspiracy in the history of mankind (the same complaints have been made about different LGATs from all around the world consistently for the last forty years) then you have to accept that damage is being done. Many of the people who are harmed have absolutely no history of mental illness and, most crucially, they WERE NOT MADE AWARE of the intensity of the trainings before hand. This does not allow for informed consent – another ethical black mark for Baruch and his cronies. If you believe – as I suspect you do – that it’s worth it for some people to suffer immeasurable harm just so a bigger group can be made happy then count yourself among other “the end justifies the means” characters like Hitler and Stalin. No person has the right to roll the dice with the mental health of a group of people, profit from those who enjoy it and disregard and dismiss those who are hurt. These are the actions of a cult member – a person who has lost sight of what really is of value in life.

  14. Cultwatcher said,

    And Celeste… it’s completely ludicrous thought terminating clichés like “if you’re pointing there are four fingers pointing back” which make the case for all critics of LGATs. What you have said lacks logic and substance. It proves nothing, but probably makes you feel pretty smart – the “adult” version of “I’m the rubber, you’re the glue… whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” If you’d like to engage in a mature debate on the merits and shortcomings of LGATs I’m more than willing, but save your “clever” clichés for the playground.

  15. Cultwatcher said,

    Hopeful Being. The “worst that can happen to you” now that you ask is one of the following: major depression, suicide, impulsive behaviour (quitting a job, abruptly getting married or divorced, excessive and reckless spending), psychosis, PTSD, phobias, cognitive difficulties, stress-related illnesses, or long-term hospitalisation. These are all documented “results” of LGATs, but even worse than this is what has happened to you. You have become a brainwashed graduate and course enthusiast who, I might imagine, gives up your time and effort (for no pay) to recruit other people into doing the courses. Yes, yes I know – you are changing the world and you’re making a difference. Just like every cult member in every cult that has ever existed.

    The sick part is that it’s your good nature – your desire to help people – that has been used against you to motivate all of the pro-course activities. There are hundreds of LGATs all over the world and they have been around for over forty years, yet there is not one credible scientific study that shows any lasting improvement from taking part. Why is that? There are of course many personal testimonies by satisfied graduates, but equally there are personal testimonies for the latest fat burning equipment on late night TV. There are many personal testimonies by people who are certain that their psychic is real or that homeopathy (which is just water and has never been scientifically been proven to work better than a placebo) works. The truth is that people can believe anything but that beliefs are more likely to be based on what makes them feel good than what is supported by evidence.) LGATs make people feel more confident, which leads to many people taking risks – some of which pay off and some which don’t. There is a severe survivorship bias when proudly displaying people who have taken business or personal risks that have led to a greater life. This is selective abstraction. If you had to look at the whole sample you would find people whose risky behaviour has ruined their businesses, their relationships and their reputations. These people, of course, don’t get a special spot on the Insight website.

  16. meganblom7 said,

    Wow, very interesting read. Someone nearly convinced me to attend this workshop in order to find my “inner happiness”.

    I think I will go for a good old fashioned run instead, apparently endorphins create inner happiness for free and with no brain washing.

  17. DDD O-) said,

    Worked for me….universal thinking and questioning a prerequisite 😉

  18. Lameesah Jooma said,

    OMGOD!!!!!!! I went through the same thing…was assaulted…needed medical attention…..was denied this and literally had to run for my life from 20 crazy brainwashed person who physically tried to prevent me from leaving. This happened in Johannesburg in January this year but with a different organization…..

  19. Cultwatcher said,

    Hi Lameesah. Please know that you’re not alone – I witnessed a roomful of people being manipulated by one of these frauds for days. It was abusive, and like victims of Stockholm Syndrome they loved this bully by the end. It was sickening.

  20. Warrick Renney said,

    Hi All, I am going through this right now. My wife has done the course and now after 20 years of marriage she believes that they are the way and I am a complete idiot and must “move on”. It cam about September 2014 when my wife and daughter (of only 15 at time) did the course due to her sister recommending it and how it will change my daughter forever. she was having issues related to school bullying.
    On day Three (by which time I was already saying this was total rubbish and begging my wife to stop) my Daughter was in the fetal position sobbing her eyes out saying she does not want to go back. I was not allowed to talk to her as I was negative. she was talking to the other “assistors” (enforcers) and my wife over phones where they were saying it is not about her(my daughter) it is about the group and how she is letting the group down etc. they were forcing her to go back and did in the end after I went to work.
    At that point I then separated from my wife only to reconcile to try again. I made a huge mistake as now my daughter and Wife are hooked and I am an idiot.
    Last week (2015 April 24th) my wife and daughter became completely lost to me. My wife hates me!!! She is now an enforcer (my term not theirs of course) who goes there to “support” the delegates and convince them that the Subjugation they are going through is for their own good and for the better in the long run. They are telling these poor soles that they will be better and they must finish the course and then they will see etc.
    My wife was always an incredible person who had an open heart to all but they told her she was nothing and that she needed to change. Now she is simply hateful.
    They are supposedly teaching that you must not materialistic but yet my wife thinks I must now allow her to keep our house and everything we have accumulated over 20 years and I must move out and still pay the bonds and all expenses for the house etc. This over and above the costs to keep her “in the life” she is used to. So much for becoming “a humble caring person”.
    I need to know if anyone out there is willing to join me in protesting outside of this “center of light” and thus shed some genuine “light” on this evil? I need to get this out into the media and to try and save my daughter at least. I am looking for people who will go back to 702 and share their stories about this evil and how it continues. Who would join me?

  21. Magical_Ivy said,

    Each to their own I guess. I did my workshops with Baruch more than 10 years ago and honestly I still maintain it was the best thing that I could have done for myself and the life lessons learned then are still applicable now. Admittedly, it’s not for everyone but you can’t diss the work because of that.

  22. Magical_Ivy said,

    Oh and please don’t make assumptions about me being a “groupie”, “enforcer”, etc. I’m really not involved with ITC at all anymore so I also wouldnt really call it a cult either.

  23. Eyesopen said,

    I agree with you Magical Ivy. Did not recognize the Cult? Had an awesome personal growth experience though! Take the good with the bad and work with that. I have not lost my sense of self and will decide where my boundaries lie . There are certain views that I own and will maintain, regardless of who says what! Overall it was an enlightening experience for me.

  24. Transformation_101 said,

    I attended the workshops Turning Point and Joyspring more than 15 years ago when Baruch just finished building the premises close to Diepsloot. I can commiserate with individuals seeing it as a cult and a form of large group awareness training. It is a tough workshop and a lot of introspection is necessary to transform the way you are. Yes, there is a lot of swearing, bullying, finger pointing, noise and “unnecessary” emotional negations and in the same breath, it is one of the most profound experiences of my life to date. It is 5 days to commit fully, to give it your best shot in spite of some person being in your face. It is an opportunity to deal with your life from the core of your being. This world is a mess and it is not because of a person named Baruch Banai or Large Group Awareness. If you would like to become part of the solution for a better future for the next generations, then I would recommend attending any of these type of workshops as difficult as they are. My mother, father, sister, wife have all attended the workshops and we are closer as a family because of it. If you cannot manage to step out of your own box for 5 days then this is not for you and never will be.

  25. randomrosey said,

    i attended 2 of 3 of the workshops. if you do not complete the workshop to the end of day 5 it can be easy to assume it won’t work. you need to see it to completion. At the end of the day it has changed my life for the better. if you are not willing to sit through the 5 days it is unfair to say that it doesn’t work. I am no longer a part of the centre, have not been asked or forced to stay within the organization.
    if you want to be objective about this and leave out the emotions, they do tell you from the beginning you will only reap the benefits if you fulfill the 5 days required. It is highly unfair to talk down a process that can make you a more happier person unless you managed to complete it.

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