Flaws in Jeffery Martin's model

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6 years 6 months ago #99399 by Egor Azanov
Hi Kenneth

In the other thread you've said

Jeffery Martin and I are also friends. We have spent time together in New York, San Francisco, and Switzerland. He has been to my home for visits. I am familiar with his model of contemplative development. He is one of the most intelligent people I know, with a special gift for strategic thinking. I think his model is deeply flawed, and have told him so at length.


Could you please expand on that? He has recently made public his developmental protocol, so I believe we can freely discuss it here.

People seem to be very much better off after doing what he offers. Reliably and in a short time.

Where's the catch in your opinion?

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6 years 6 months ago #99406 by Derek
Is this the model we are talking about?

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6 years 6 months ago #99409 by Jake Yeager
Derek - That's an older model. I am not quite sure if Martin still subscribes to that or not.

His most recent model is detailed in the following paper:

Clusters of Individual Experiences form a Continuum of Persistent Non-Symbolic Experiences in Adults

My notes from the webinar that Martin gave on his developmental protocol can be found here .

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6 years 6 months ago #99411 by Doug
Jake your notes are awesome.

I'm not familiar with this guy or his work but I'm devouring it now.

Very interested to hear the thoughts around any flaws, concerns, etc.

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6 years 6 months ago #99412 by Jake Yeager
I spoke with Gary Weber about Martin's protocol yesterday. Potential issues include:
  • There were no controls for Martin's "experiments" and they have not been replicated. His studies' rigor leaves much to be desired and the results are more suggestive than anything. Nonetheless, Gary felt that the protocol was definitely worthwhile and fits with his experience and what he has found to be effective for others. I also feel that there is value to Martin's work.
  • Martin says to move on if a method does not work for you after one week of one-hour-per-day practice. Gary thinks this is too soon and recommends one month instead.
  • There was little, if any, discussion of what Martin characterizes as "ONE" in the webinar. I suspect that he bases his definition on the "Clusters" article. However, this is my assumption. The question is: are these people who are going through Martin's protocol achieving ONE or not? This could definitely be an issue if Martin is not maintaining a consistent definition of ONE. We have no way to determine whether he is because he hasn't even defined it in relation to the protocol.

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6 years 6 months ago - 6 years 6 months ago #99413 by Doug
I agree with a lot of the concerns you mentioned above Jake.
The operational rigor around the study is what concerned me the most.
The subjective nature of what is being measured is also a problem, but I'm not sure how one would address that very well.

It's interesting that they have a "sales/lead gen" landing page and seem to charge $500 - $5,000 bucks for the "course"... which feels kind of shady to me.
But the article ( nonsymbolic.org/PNSE-Article.pdf ) is clearly the work of a committed researcher.
While I do think some of the methodology is perhaps flawed - it's clear the research was undertaken with a true intention of insight.

Still..
While the research document does a great job of describing what they attempted to measure, how they attempted to do it, and how they interpreted results, they appear stop short of truly making the methodology open source. (I can't say for sure as there's a TON of text to sift through beyond that paper, but Jake - your notes are the closest thing I see to actual instruction).
If I'm right about that... it bothers me, since the thesis statement of his video seems to be about enabling more people to effectively & quickly make progress towards PNSE (his term for whatever flavor spiritual end game you may be working towards). Seems to be out of alignment.

After all they could still solicit money from people who wanted to participate WITH THEM, and ALSO share this ground breaking path with the world.
Heck write a book... sell it even... you'd be doing the world a favor.

And part of me would still fear that it's an invitation to waste time vs save it.
I heard switching methods a lot described once as "digging lots of shallow holes instead of one deep one."

Interesting though.
Last edit: 6 years 6 months ago by Doug. Reason: type-o

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6 years 6 months ago #99414 by Chris Marti
Some of us here were subjects in Martin's study, which was based on personal stories, anecdotes, for the most part and as Gary Weber said, was not all that rigorous. The amount of money Martin wants for his process makes me suspicious, especially when you can get pretty much the same thing for free. It reminds me of the Zen-based Big Mind stuff from five years ago. Remember, if something seems to good to be true it probably is.

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6 years 6 months ago #99415 by Derek
Those are indeed excellent notes, Jake.

I'm impressed by Jeffery Martin's enthusiasm but horrified by his lack of rigor. This looks like a business endeavor posing as scientific spirituality. It will only ever appeal to people whose life-situation allows them the time and the money to do a four-month course in personal development.

I wonder if what Kenneth objects to is the try-this-try-that approach. Kenneth, are you there?

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6 years 6 months ago #99425 by Derek
I think I have it now.

From the paper Jake references, here are the five clusters:

(1) Sense of self -- change from localized to non-localized sense of self
(2) Cognition -- significant reduction in, or even complete absence of, thoughts
(3) Emotion -- significant reduction in both the range and overall experience of emotion
(4) Perception -- increased focus on the present
(5) Memory -- less emphasis on personal memory and personal history

And here are the four "locations" (a word chosen to avoid saying "stages"):

(1) Initial dramatic reduction in self and thoughts
(2) Deepening of location 1, with increased sense of well-being
(3) More or less continuous compassion, joy, or love
(4) Deep interconnectness, to an extent unsuspected in location 3

And here are Kenneth's comments from awakenetwork.org/forum/kfd-public/13470-...h-of-dukkha?start=25

"If you believe that Gary is an examplar of the highest level of awakening that a human can attain, then you can accept Jeffery's model of development. Similarly, if you believe Jeffery's model is accurate, you can believe Gary is the exemplar of human contemplative development. This is not a coincidence; Jeffery's model is built on Gary's reports. Gary's claims to special status and Jeffery's model are a package and they stand or fall together."

So the flaw, in Kenneth's view, is that Jeffery's model is too much based on Gary.

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6 years 6 months ago - 6 years 6 months ago #99428 by Doug
That's helpful but I feel it must go deeper.

I don't see folks like Daniel Ingram for example getting that kind of concern, and his stuff often seems like it's coming from a focus group of one.
So - I'd imagine there's more to the concern around Jeffery's work than the sample size.
It's (per Kenneth's quote there) also likely the sample itself.

And after reading the documentation it appears (to me) it was setup to confirm not test.
So there's all sorts of alarm bells in my head about that.
Last edit: 6 years 6 months ago by Doug. Reason: type-o

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6 years 6 months ago - 6 years 6 months ago #99430 by Chris Marti
There are lost of folks, from teachers to gurus, who will take your money in return for their fast route to becoming awake. I don't begrudge dharma teachers a living wage but there is a sense of scale that should apply. And the more branding and funky new naming of the guru's process I see the more suspicious I become.
Last edit: 6 years 6 months ago by Chris Marti.

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6 years 6 months ago #99431 by Derek

Chris Marti wrote: And the more branding and funky new naming of the guru's process I see the more suspicious I become.


I am the opposite.

Whenever I hear the word enlightenment, I reach for my credit card. :D

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6 years 6 months ago #99432 by Chris Marti
I take it you're in bankruptcy, Derek?

:P

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6 years 6 months ago - 6 years 6 months ago #99435 by Kenneth Folk

Egor Azanov wrote: People seem to be very much better off after doing what he offers. Reliably and in a short time.

Where's the catch in your opinion?


Thanks for the thread, Egor. You've raised two themes:

1. What are the flaws in Jeffery Martin's model?

2. What are the pros and cons of Jeffery Martin's Finder's Course?

Let's take the second one first.

From a pragmatic point of view, the proof is in the pudding . If it works, it's good.

I've seen several videotaped testimonials from people who completed the Finders Course and are happy with the results. In other words, the course appears to deliver good value from the point of view of the participants themselves. It would be hard to imagine a more important metric for success. I haven't yet heard any negative critiques, but would be interested to hear them if and when they appear.

A related question is one of cost. Chris Marti commented upthread that the cost for the course is too high. My question would be "as compared to what?" This, for me, is a simple question of markets and individual priorities. How much should one pay for something one values? (I understand there is also a religious wrinkle having to do with a taboo against charging money for spiritual teaching, but for me this is a non-issue. There are religious taboos against everything from homosexuality to eating pork, depending on whom you ask, and I find it all ridiculous.)

From the point of view of markets, here are some things to consider:

Is a similar product or service being offered elswhere? If so, shop around. If not, expect to pay more.

How much do you want what is being offered? On a continuum extending from air on one end (I want to breathe air now and I will pay all my current and future money for it) to watching the latest episode of True Detective on television on the other (I want it, but I'll be fine wilthout it and will therefore pay only a trivial amount), the desire for spiritual awakening likely lies somewhere in the middle. One should be willing to pay accordingly.

I myself have spent many thousands of dollars on travel, retreat fees, dana, and books in my pursuit of spiritual awakening, not to mention perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars in opportunity cost (I could have gotten a law degree instead, or bought a Taco Bell franchise), so I am the last one to suggest that people should avoid spending money on spiritual instruction.

Personally, I find the infomercial-style marketing of the Finders Course cringe-worthy. But that is a different question from the simple value equation, which always distills to "will I likely benefit from this course and how much is it worth to me to find out?"
Last edit: 6 years 6 months ago by Kenneth Folk. Reason: change "it" to "to breathe air" for clarity

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6 years 6 months ago - 6 years 6 months ago #99448 by Chris Marti

I've seen several videotaped testimonials from people who completed the Finders Course and are happy with the results.


I've seen videotaped testimonials for all kinds of things; get rich quick schemes, lose weight fast schemes..... all the people in those videos were happy with their results, too.

:P
Last edit: 6 years 6 months ago by Chris Marti.

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6 years 6 months ago #99450 by Kenneth Folk

Chris Marti wrote:

I've seen several videotaped testimonials from people who completed the Finders Course and are happy with the results.


I've seen videotaped testimonials for all kinds of things; get rich quick schemes, lose weight fast schemes..... all the people in those videos were happy with their results, too.

:P


Good point.

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6 years 6 months ago #99453 by Kate Gowen
There were THOUSANDS of very happy EST customers, back in the day. Now, I suppose, there are an indeterminate number of "Landmark Forum" customers.

Ehrhardt was a master at demonstrating the P.T. Barnum principle in recent times; but megachurch Christianity still rules.

Joel Osteen's church theft opens can of worms: Jaws drop as folks do the math

"Joel Osteen recently reported the theft of $600,000 from the safe in his church, but the theft wasn’t the only information of interest revealed. After finding out that this large chunk of money was from just one weekend of Osteen’s collected church donations, jaws dropped around the nation.

According to News Max on March 18, it didn’t take long for folks on the outside to do the math. Based on Osteen’s reported amount of money in this theft, it appears his Lakewood Church takes in an estimated $32 million a year, but some say that is a very low estimate. Calculator keys were punched around the nation taking the $600,000 for Olsteen's weekend donation collection and multiplying this by the 52 weeks in a year.

Many consider this a conservative estimate of donations this church receives, as March is just an average month with no holidays for the church. The spirit of giving around the Christmas holidays has to net this church more than the average week. Then there’s Easter and other holidays, not to mention the weekdays. The amount reported taken from the church was only for their take over a weekend."

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6 years 6 months ago #99456 by Noah

Kenneth Folk wrote:
A related question is one of cost. Chris Marti commented upthread that the cost for the course is too high. My question would be "as compared to what?" This, for me, is a simple question of markets and individual priorities. How much should one pay for something one values? (I understand there is also a religious wrinkle having to do with a taboo against charging money for spiritual teaching, but for me this is a non-issue. There are religious taboos against everything from homosexuality to eating pork, depending on whom you ask, and I find it all ridiculous.)


Payment by sliding scale according to individual income seems to be a decent set up. This, of course, entails the honor code on behalf of the student. I would hope most students of meditation would be interested in providing a fair wage for personal instruction, as this relates directly to sila. The sliding scale makes the most sense when most instruction is done online because there are not other fees associated with renting space, providing cushions, transportation, etc.

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6 years 6 months ago #99457 by Noah

Kate Gowen wrote: There were THOUSANDS of very happy EST customers, back in the day. Now, I suppose, there are an indeterminate number of "Landmark Forum" customers.

Ehrhardt was a master at demonstrating the P.T. Barnum principle in recent times; but megachurch Christianity still rules.


I didn't even realize EST was thought of as a scam. My mom went to it as a teen and described huge breakthroughs, and she is usually really sensitive to scams and such.

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6 years 6 months ago #99461 by Chris Marti

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6 years 6 months ago #99462 by Noah
Haha, preaching narcissism and existentialism. Sounds like a plan!

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6 years 6 months ago - 6 years 6 months ago #99466 by Kenneth Folk

Kate Gowen wrote: There were THOUSANDS of very happy EST customers, back in the day. Now, I suppose, there are an indeterminate number of "Landmark Forum" customers.

Ehrhardt was a master at demonstrating the P.T. Barnum principle in recent times; but megachurch Christianity still rules.

Joel Osteen's church theft opens can of worms: Jaws drop as folks do the math

"Joel Osteen recently reported the theft of $600,000 from the safe in his church, but the theft wasn’t the only information of interest revealed. After finding out that this large chunk of money was from just one weekend of Osteen’s collected church donations, jaws dropped around the nation.

According to News Max on March 18, it didn’t take long for folks on the outside to do the math. Based on Osteen’s reported amount of money in this theft, it appears his Lakewood Church takes in an estimated $32 million a year, but some say that is a very low estimate. Calculator keys were punched around the nation taking the $600,000 for Olsteen's weekend donation collection and multiplying this by the 52 weeks in a year.

Many consider this a conservative estimate of donations this church receives, as March is just an average month with no holidays for the church. The spirit of giving around the Christmas holidays has to net this church more than the average week. Then there’s Easter and other holidays, not to mention the weekdays. The amount reported taken from the church was only for their take over a weekend."


Not sure what this has to do with Jeffery Martin and Finders Course. Yes, there are a lot of scam artists in the world. But introducing random scam-artist information into this thread seems a bit of a stretch. By the way, I would defend you too, if someone introduced Lizzie Borden anecdotes into a thread about Kate Gowen. :P

Technical note: please remember to supply attribution when quoting from sources. (Judging by the quotation marks, I'm guessing the paragraphs about Joel Ostein are from a news outlet.)
Last edit: 6 years 6 months ago by Kenneth Folk. Reason: typo

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6 years 6 months ago #99496 by matthew sexton
I missed the punchline, an answer to the question, why is Jeffrey Martin's model 'deeply flawed'? Is that answer somewhere else?

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6 years 6 months ago #99498 by Chris Marti
Here's a semi-antagonistic interview with Jefferey in Non-Dual Magazine:

www.nondualitymagazine.org/nonduality_ma...nt.jeffreymartin.htm

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6 years 6 months ago #99501 by Shargrol
I must be losing my taste for debate, I couldn't get past the first few exchanges. Or maybe a discussion between one person quoting scripture and someone without personal experience that did a study just isn't good pre-holiday weekend reading. :)

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