The slippery slope of Raniere’s ESP ensnares the few; alas, look what happened to Allison Mack

ESP recruiting is person to person. Your recruiter is family, friend, or has become your “friend” to recruit you. Most of the early “modules” are about establishing rapport, sales-scripting, and being persistent until you close the sale.

Recruiters are told that the program will help people who are at a low point in their life (thus more receptive and less critical). They are also told that not everyone is ready for the message, so don’t bother recruiting those who might question it.

The five or 16=day Intensive is carefully designed to cause emotional lows and highs to make you believe you have made breakthroughs, and leave you euphoric. Yes, there is some hokey stuff about the Vanguard and preemptive defenses against accusations of cult-iness. But mostly you will feel welcomed by a group of nice people trying to improve themselves, and you. There is no hint at the entry level that ESP has always fed young sex partners to Keith Raniere, or of the more recent descent into blackmail, slavery, or branding.

So the vast majority of ESP members who don’t advance past the entry level have done nothing worse than try to get a few friends to join an overpriced life-coaching program that they perceive (probably correctly) has been helpful to them.

Note that students who don’t buy in to the program can and do leave. And trainers are experts at both persuading students to relax and believe, and at chasing out those few they can’t persuade.

Those who advance to the yellow-sash level of “coach” have received hundreds of hours of conditioning that promoting the program should be their highest value. They have also been explicitly tested to check that they are true believers. So they are not shocked when they see some evidence that ESP is a for-profit business. But there is still no hint of Vanguard’s harem, or blackmail, slavery, or branding.

Celebrities and the wealthy get special treatment. They get love-bombed at “information sessions” during recruiting, They are told that they are making exceptional progress in the Intensive. They advance to Coach and beyond quickly.

Keith Raniere has had a harem of multiple sex partners since the Consumers’ Buy Line days. But ESP members who don’t live in Knox Woods or visit regularly would not know about the harem (provided they follow instructions not to believe media reports). While there do seem to be cases of sex with minors, there are no reports of non-consensual sex. So even those who found out about the harem could excuse it.

It is fair to say that the pre-DOS version of ESP is overpriced, deceptively marketed, and designed to induce dependency rather help students achieve true independent success. It may cross the legal line into pyramid-scheme territory (although the commissions aren’t explained or kick in until higher levels). But it’s hard to view any but a small number at the very top as criminal.

DOS, however, is a very different matter. Blackmail, slavery, corporal punishment, starvation, and branding are criminal.

Sarah Edmondson, Anthony Ames, and Mark Vicente, all high-rank members for many years, had “the scales fall from their eyes” and realized that any good coming out of ESP was outweighed by DOS. They closed their centers, and eventually went public. Given Keith Raniere’s record of relentless litigation against perceived enemies, those were remarkable acts of bravery.

One could hope that others, like Kristen Kreuck, Mark Hildreth, and Grace Park, would make similar public statements.

I don’t know what to think about Allison Mack. I’m sure that DOS is the creation of Keith Raniere, and was not invented by Allison Mack. It is possible that her role in DOS has been exaggerated. Certainly Keith likes to have a “designated felon” with the official title to his creations so he can evade blame. But Allison did allow DOS to happen, rather than blowing the whistle, or even just walking quietly away.

But after years of ingeniously subtle brainwashing, and likely starvation dieting, overexercise, and sleep deprivation, there’s likely not much left of the old Allison Mack personality that Chloe Sullivan fans fell in love with.

True ESP is not meant for everyone. Keith Raniere knows for whom the bells toll.

6 thoughts on “The slippery slope of Raniere’s ESP ensnares the few; alas, look what happened to Allison Mack

  1. “I don’t know what to think about Allison Mack. I’m sure that DOS is the creation of Keith Raniere, and was not invented by Allison Mack. It is possible that her role in DOS has been exaggerated. ”

    Oh wow, HUGE backtrack. Worried you’ve got it all wrong, fed a crock of lies?

  2. “Because no one judging her can ever know her true self, and the person they judge is just their perception of her, not actually real. Even if this scenario really happened, it would be fine, because her true self would still be perfectly safe, and so she shouldn’t worry about what anyone thinks of her.”

    It is true that no one can no “the other” from their own perspective, i.e., their own consciousness. The latter is unique per individual. However, the human condition is such that his soul has been given the power of objectivity, and can know “the other” via empathy. So, we don’t need to know what Allison *truly* feels like from her own perspective. We can know via our own perspective, presuming that our faculties are performing optimally according to the criteria from which this is judged which is metaphysically determined. Her self, the “I”, will always safe even if there is physical damage and that “I” can’t be sensed by others, because she can never be other than her own consciousness.

    Anything can be made to be “not that bad” for some individual, because humans have the free will to rationalize it all away – to “don’t give a fuck”. Even pscyhopaths serving life sentences in jail for murder interviewed by psychiatrists to assess their motivations have said their victims deserved it even if all they did was “look at them funny”. That’s why there are objective standards from which to judge. If you’re always judging by your own whims you’re effectively your own “god”. But there is only one Reality; only one God. Allison would only cringe because she gives credence to the negativity and doesn’t believe them to be true about herself. Thus, if she didn’t give them such value, then she wouldn’t cringe. This is just syllogistic logic. But none of this has to do with her “true” self being safe. That is just word salad. It has to do with it being true in objective Reality. Ultimately, truth like this becomes known. Only fools would say Allison is a terrible person for being a terrible actress. There is no causal moral relationship between the two. But there is such a causal chain in the question of being the leader of a group that effectively forcefully brands women and has them engage in certain behaviors using coercive thought reform techniques. Once you step outside of the self and your behavior affects others, it becomes about more than yourself. She’ll always be able to not care about what others think or live in a group of people who “share her values” no matter how small, for reasons already stated. What is her “true” self is the crux of the issue, and that is what is affected by manipulative groups such as NXIVM.

  3. “It’s kind of incredible to realize he’s probably been setting up the idea of actively destroying her career and reputation for quite a while,”

    OMG – Wouldn’t that be something. And he found an unwitting accomplice in Frank. Or in the case of Kruek, it would appear Frank is more than eager to do Keith’s dirty work. If this is true, can you imagine how gleeful Keith must be every time he opens this site, DAMN

  4. There’s a portion where he introduces an imaginary scenario to Allison, which now seems oddly prescient (or perhaps not, given how Keith loves to hide in plain sight).

    Keith makes up a story where Allison is acting in a Shakespeare play, forgets all her lines, is booed and heckled by the angry audience, and gets forcibly pulled off the stage for being an embarrassment. The next day, the photo of her being yanked offstage is plastered across the front page of the New York Times, and the headline is “Allison Mack is a horrible actress and a terrible person!” Everywhere she goes, that front page is plastered all over the walls. Crowds follow her everywhere she travels, carrying the newspaper page, pointing at her and taunting her incessantly.

    Allison cringes just imagining this, and Keith basically says while he knows she considers this her “worst-case-scenario,” it wouldn’t actually be so bad even if it happened! Because no one judging her can ever know her true self, and the person they judge is just their perception of her, not actually real. Even if this scenario really happened, it would be fine, because her true self would still be perfectly safe, and so she shouldn’t worry about what anyone thinks of her.

    It’s kind of incredible to realize he’s probably been setting up the idea of actively destroying her career and reputation for quite a while, and totally normalizing this scenario and promising her it won’t even be a big deal when it happens, because the opinions of others can be readily dismissed if they don’t align with her own personal reality. Makes it seem likely that he’s been plotting to toss her under the bus for a looong time.

Leave a Reply