The following is an entertainment gem, a contemporary response from an a capella enthusiast to Clare Bronfman’s 2008 Defense of Keith Raniere.
As Leo Helmar reported, there was a 2008 forum thread [available on Internet Archive] about an a capella event funded by Clare Bronfman that some commenters said was meant to serve as a recruitment tool for Nxivm. The forum thread has 204 comments, debating the issue – and it features comments by Lauren Salzman, Clare Bronfman, Allison Mack and Keith Raniere.
Someone with the moniker of mwhitehouse posted a reply to Clare’s comment, taking issue with much of what Bronfman had previously posted on the thread. One of the main issues Whitehouse raised had to do with Raniere’s list of accomplishments on his website bio.
For readers’ convenience, Raniere’s listed accomplishments in 2008 included:
- He spoke in full sentences by the age of one – and was reading by the age of two.
- At the age of 11, he was an Eastern Coast Judo Champion.
- At age 12, he taught himself high school mathematics in less than a day – and taught himself three years of college mathematics by age 13.
- He plays many musical instruments and taught himself to play piano at concert-level by age 12
- He was entered in the Guinness Book of World Records for “Highest IQ” in 1989.
- He has been noted as one of top three problem-solvers in the world.
- He was a millionaire by the age of 30 a – and worth $50 million by the age of 32.
The following is M. Whitehouse’s comment with [my clarifications in bold and brackets.]
By M. Whitehouse
Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:49 pm
Seriously, I’m not trying to hit below the belt – and I think this must be relevant to the ACI [A Capella Innovations] event, if the members of NXIVM who have posted so far really believe what they’re saying!
Thank you, sincerely, members of NXIVM for the responses – but to me, quoting the “don’t believe everything you read online” proverb [by Rick Ross] seems ironic, to say the least.
For starters, Keith’s credentials that Clare listed (most of which are posted also at www.keithraniere.com) just aren’t, well, credentials. Most of them can’t even hope to be described as “facts”; they fail even the most basic tests of “rational inquiry”.
Clare wrote: “He [Raniere] is noted as one of the 3 top problem solvers in the world…”
By whom is he so “noted”? What could that possibly mean, to be one of the world’s top three problem solvers – what sort of problems, what sort of solutions? If this isn’t patently ridiculous to you, after taking classes devoted to “critical thinking,” I honestly don’t know what to say. What sort of “down to earth”, supremely “ethical” figure allows this sort of nonsense to be spouted about him by his followers, let alone friends?
Clare wrote: “Nancy Salzman served in Keith’s stead to head the international conference on bioethics for Mexico.” [Remember, Nancy is allegedly the “cult” head right under Keith.]
Then surely Nancy Salzman has published something substantive on bioethics? Or Mr. Raniere, for that matter maybe in Luis Todd’s journal? (If so, that might be a better “link” material on his website than a broken patent application on the prestigious and authoritative “FreshPatents.com”). It must have been some conference – I wonder why an actual bioethicist, or anyone involved with medical research in Mexico, or anyone with an advanced degree in science, or anyone with experience in ethics regulation (etc.) wasn’t chosen to serve as chair?
Clare wrote: “Some people who have taken Nxivm programs: [“Sheila Johnson (co-founder of black entertainment network), Sir Richard Branson, Dr. Ivan Misner… Royalty from several countries, Stephen Cooper, CEO of Enron… Members of 3 past first families of Mexico, Many prominent actors, musicians, and athletes.”] Do you really think such business people and royalty would be involved if Nxivm was a cult?”
Of course! Wealthy, eccentric people (especially those born into wealth) are precisely the sort of people most susceptible to and most pursued by cult-leader types—for obvious reasons, right?!
http://education.guardian.co.uk/student … 77,00.html
Clare wrote: “Nxivm is an ethics and critical thinking education program of international distinction and repute. It is not a ‘cult’ by any definition.”
- It’s secret “technology” is exclusive to those who’ve taken its Executive Success classes
- This trademarked “rational inquiry” process represents a set of moral/religious beliefs
- At the center of those beliefs is the notion that only those in-the-know will be able to bring about the program’s eventual goals of world peace and harmony (from it’s website: “NXIVM represents the change humanity needs in order to alter the course of history”); thus only by proselytizing new recruits can the organization realize its goals…
- It’s adherents place utterly unreasonable (see my points above) stock in their leader, who seems likely to be eccentric to the extreme of having a sort of personality disorder typical of cult leaders; for Christ’s sake [sorry], he believes he invented the one and only “psychodynamic” technology that can reverse the “primitive” rise and fall of human civilizations.
So at least it resembles a cult with respect to its exclusivity, depth of conviction, proselytizing mission, and devotion to a bizarre Messianic personality.
And hey, I wonder why, if Mr. Raniere isn’t interested in money, this “Rational Inquiry” thing is exclusive and trademarked. Doesn’t that drastically limit humanity’s ability to “rise to its noble possibility” (from the NXIVM website)? How else will we prevent the inevitable cataclysm of our civilization?! That strikes me as absolutely unethical….
I’m entirely willing to believe that this is all entirely genuine, good, community-building, etc. But I’m absolutely bewildered by the silliness of Keith Raniere’s [self-]importance and the understatements being made about NXIVM’s mission–at least, what I understand of it from www.nxivm.com .
What is Nxivm?
NXIVM and Executive Success Programs
Human evolution has clearly demonstrated tendencies that vacillate between awe-inspiring rises and cataclysmic falls. As time has passed, our capacity to excel in either extreme has increased, even on the smallest of levels. Each rise, each act of human excellence raises mankind to new heights. Each fall, each act of destruction is a mindless regression. While many have sensed a need to break away from the primitive patterning that keeps us from a path of continuous progression, few have thought it possible.NXIVM is the turning point – a remarkable development in scientific and psychodynamic understanding, education, and technology that can facilitate this transition so the pattern of humanity’s rises and falls can actually be broken and transformed. We find ourselves on this Earth with the resources, intellect, and creativity that can generate abundance for everyone – or destroy all that we have created. NXIVM represents the change humanity needs in order to alter the course of history.
NXIVM is a new ethical understanding that allows us to build an internal civilization and have it manifest in the external world. It allows us to explore our most fundamental nature and to begin to redirect our power of creation, a power that we all possess in a very human sense. It is a place where humanity can rise to its noble possibility.
The NXIVM technology is imparted through Executive Success Programs, Inc. – programs that provide the philosophical and practical foundation necessary to acquire and build the skills for success.