Transformation Reformers

This site is written for Landmark grads who are open to the possibility of transforming Landmark Education from what it is today into a newly open and amazing engine of transformation. To follow the flow of discussion, please read this blog from bottom up (from oldest post to newest). If you are intrigued by what you see here, please join our Yahoo group and be part of the conversation:

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Reform vs. Fix vs. Change vs. Making Wrong

One of the concerns or pitfalls that people sometimes experience upon learning of the Landmark reform conversation is that "reform" equals "fix" or "change" or "making wrong" or is otherwise out of possibility. This essays distinguishes reform as a subset of transformation, born of power and possibility.


In Landmark terms, "change" refers to going from the way it was to a new way, and because the new way is born out of the old way (in a sense contains the old), there is persistence, not possibility, not transformation. Fix, like change, includes the past and also includes the element of "making wrong," the effort to go from broken or wrong to good and whole. Transformation, unlike change or fix, begins from nothing, the clearing for possibility. In Landmark discussions of ways of being, transformation works. Change and fix do not work and are considered as tied to the past, not from possibility.

Take care not to confuse transformation, change and fix as ways of being with the use of those terms when applied to real things. Change and fix happens to real things and that is simply what's so. For example, if we have a tire that is low on air, we change it or we fix it. This does not make a flat tire wrong or tie us to the past. The tire is what it is, and we choose to change it or fix it to make it more effective.
The act of changing a tire is too mundane to be called "transformation." It is change. It is fixing. And it is the the kind of action that a person in possibility can and will take. Reform is about making things such as policies or methodologies more effective. It is not reflective of a state of mind that is tied to the past.

Specific to reforming Landmark, organizations modify policies all the time to adapt to new ideas, new realities, and new possibilities. As a practical matter with organizations, one can take what is, which is known to work, and tweak it. Modify it. Change it. Reform it. Drop it. Add to it. Landmark/EST has evolved in this way as well. The mindset may be of starting from nothing, from possibility, or from transformation, but what happens in reality is that some policies or items in the curriculum are rewritten (changed), and some are kept. Some are dropped and some are added. One could call each of these modifications a transformation or a change or a reform, and the words "change" and "reform" would be true to their standard meaning. Often, a series of small changes and additions result eventually in the transformation of an organization.

The "change" that we don't want refers to the state of mind of the actor, not to what happens in reality. In reality, things change. These are "fine" and necessary elements of making a difference. A person in possibility will often transform an organization through real changes, even if they don't use that word.

In the endeavor of this group, we are starting with Landmark as it is today and our vision, the possibilities we see for Landmark. We can be in possibility in our minds, but the subject of the endeavor, the organization, curriculum, and methodology of Landmark is what it is. The key is that we stand in possibility and that our mindset is that of transformation when we call for the specific actions to take place between where Landmark is now and where vision shows that it can be.

What "reform" adds to "change" is the concept of moving in a positive direction. "Change" means going from one state to another. "Change" does not indicate if things are changing for the worse, or for the better, for good or ill, into integrity or out of integrity. "Reform" implies that things are moving in a positive direction. Unfortunately, "reform" can imply that things are bad and need fixing, but this is not necessarily so. If one thinks of "tax reform" or "tort reform," I don't think one gets the sense of making things wrong or fixing things. Take instead from "reform" the sense of making things work well or work better ("better" is also not a Landmark usage as it is tied to the past, but just as outlined above, in reality the new tire is "better" in reality, meaning more effective at serving its function, than the flat one).

In the reform conversation, we distinguish reform as a subset of transformation, coming from possibility. We are in reality talking about positive changes and additions to what is.


Making wrong is story and "wrong" exists only in conversation. The key, as above, is our mindset. A tire that is low on air is what it is, it is not wrong. Fixing a tire does not make the tire wrong. One changes a tire from being in the possibility of getting back on the road safely and effectively, not from making the tire wrong. We will be successful in doing what we do in reform if we come from possibility and what is so, not from story or making wrong.

There are a variety of views of what is so about Landmark, and the more negative view that one holds, the easier it is to fall into the pitfall of making Landmark wrong. Landmark teaches us to take responsibility for falling into pitfalls such as making wrong, get off it, and create possibility. If we are doing our work "properly" in this endeavor, we are not making Landmark wrong. As it says in the introduction to the reformers Yahoo group, we are working to transform Landmark itself into an extraordinarily effective engine of powerful living for all. This is a stand born of power and possibility.