Another deeply insightful piece from Shivani. This analysis, in my opinion, captures the essence of a woman who spent 20 years with the monster and her own very wicked mother.
Lauren Salzman has earned her hard-faced rigid, blank expression and the grim anger underlying it. This ugliness and whatever she has still has materially are what Lauren has been left with for herself, after 20+ years of choosing to remain blindly stuck in her completely disambiguous rut, incapable of allowing herself any independent thoughts or actions, beyond such rudiments as brushing one’s teeth, sitting on a toilet, wiping and flushing.
Of course, Lauren the slave seemed only too willing and accepting of acquiring slaves of her own eventually. How did her supposed inherent conflicts not drive her crazy? She shows herself as both self-perceived as being worthless and hopelessly unworthy, the miserable magpie of self-denial. Yet simultaneously, out of the other side of her mouth, she cluelessly boasts of her executive self-importance, her position as a significant and prosperous member of the very organization enshrining her unworthiness.
She and all of her cohorts walked a fine line of utter insanity while pretending that theirs was a superior way of living, perpetually churning the same crock of rancid choices, like economically less-deprived girlfriends of Charles Manson, only their hero was costumed as Keith Raniere, the world’s smartest man.
Even Lauren’s court testimony was a psychological mishmash. Her concept of self-awareness never once eluded the heaviness of her self-prescribed vacuum of “growth.”
What Lauren spent her life “growing” has been her very own virus, which she received eagerly and avidly from Raniere and her mother and finally, from herself. Does she seriously think that she has accomplished a single thing, devoutly spreading her virus, trying to engender the same complete failure to others?
Now, Lauren stands a good chance of spending the rest of her life as an embittered puppet, without the eyes to see herself.
Lauren, still the dutiful parrot, unwilling or unable to see beyond her own ego, her own ambition and greed. Fantasizing about having had a special life, a special (nonexistent) lover, a special never-to-exist baby. Lauren, hungry for her pathetic position on top of the garbage heap. Now, Lauren cannot realistically continue to follow Raniere, so instead Lauren seems to be back to following her original head Daisy Duck, her hideous mother.
Lauren Salzman, the group leader, the writer of desperately meaningless psycho-babble and twisted, stupid schlock, all designed to make others point fingers of blame within and to ignore intolerable living conditions, based upon lies, deception and ultimately, self-deception. Lauren, the self-important hallucination, imagining a spiritually-advanced way of living, the proud representative of a predatory, pedophile monster.
Lauren, the advanced asshole, championing a lifestyle of complete falsehood, whitewashed with smug words, pretending to be oh-so-helpful, all of the while satisfied to ignore her own burgeoning criminality, step by step.
It seems that the only thing that stopped Lauren Salzman in her tracks was getting caught and arrested. She was fine with keeping a prettier and younger woman captive and corroborating with stealing two years of this captive’s life. Apparently, the girl had no humanity or significance to Lauren Salzman at all.
The shocking thing is that Lauren kept at it, seeing nothing wrong with the concepts or with the actions of keeping someone a prisoner. Yet does anyone hear Salzman acknowledge her own competitive jealousy about the younger, prettier woman, a woman whom Raniere found more attractive and desirable than Lauren Salzman?
Lauren can talk a semi-adequate game of “redemptive” thought as part of a plea deal, but every word out of her testimony has been full of undigested personal resentment, aimed primarily at others, for her own choices. Lauren is willing to blame Raniere now, (it’s the thing to do!) but she has stuck to her Mommy Dearest, who once again appears to be Lauren’s primary ruler and guide.
While testifying, Lauren seemed to manage to maintain her obliviousness to her own personal responsibility. Lauren had done the same number on herself for years in ESP/Nxivm/DOS. She has spent her entire life standing behind her mother in a Starbucks line, keeping her head down while Nancy Salzman gloated.
Lauren sat through court sounding like an officious fool, dipped in the absolute solidity of her own adopted illusions. Linguistic self-abnegation was treated by Lauren as if it were an actual reality. And then there was the counterforce to “balance” her cold, delusional cruelties towards herself and others.
Lauren made her income, bought her properties, kept two cars, bought herself her big ugly scarves and oversized blouses, a disgusting failure purchasing her symbols of executive success.
Here she is, the ‘chatty Cathy’ of spirituality, of self-help and growth.
“I am not worthy,” says Lauren Salzman. “I am so very worthy, though,” says Lauren Salzman. “Oh, wait a minute. I am not worthy. But that IS being worthy.”
Evidently, Lauren has never been able to be alone with herself. She has lived as an echo chamber of stunning unoriginality and it is doubtful that she has realized even this.
She is a half-alive testament to the “therapeutic” skills of her mother and of her mother’s interests. Always, Lauren appears to have looked to satisfy herself with a vacuous imitation of life. She maintained a fictional “love” relationship with Raniere for years and years and seems to resent him for all of his madness instead of taking her own self into account for sticking to him like superglue.
Her face is also a perfect example of how successful her women’s empowerment bullshit has really had made her.
“Whatever you do, evince nothing real from the self.”
It looks as though never once in Lauren’s life was she in touch with her own thoughts, and she seems to have trusted mostly that her own mind couldn’t be trusted or given room for any realistic self-expression.
During her court testimony, Lauren seemed to have transferred her bitterness and resentments, for her own nauseating decisions, onto Raniere. How convenient for Lauren, because what she said in court gave voice to how very little she has been able to even begin to change her own lifelong dynamic.
Lauren acknowledged what was required of her, by the prosecution to acknowledge, and the extremities with which she lived might make her admissions seem like a big deal.
So how has Lauren changed? She seems to have finally given herself permission to be a bitter, resentful middle-aged hag without a life to call her own. Lauren no longer has to stand behind her half-baked socially-acceptable excuses, as a leader of human growth potential. She is now what? The self-righteous and much put upon deceived victim?
Still, Lauren Salzman kept a much younger woman isolated for at least two years, a young woman whose identity papers were being held from her. Lauren was well aware that Raniere had more direct sexual interest in the young lady than he had towards Lauren herself.
Lauren knew about Raniere’s sexual involvement, not only with her captive but with her captive’s sisters.
Who would want a relationship with Lauren Salzman today? Would she put a baby of her own through what she put one of her “romantic” rivals through if the baby was too much competition for poor Lauren?
She might have to pay a little for her crimes. She might be a broken woman, as Judge Garaufis mentioned in court. It looks as though her worst punishment is going to be living with herself.