"Telling the truth is done in a way that is supportive, non-brutal, enlightening and comfortable. In general, people dont tell the truth because of many reasonsmostly because it is usually threatening to do so. But, if you dont get at the truthwhich means to see things the way that they really arethen you cant possibly discover the truth."
This book, Self Realization: The est and Forum Phenomena in American Society, presents a view of the content and context of est , the events that took place and a look at the distinct personality of Werner Erhard who added his personal touch to the field of consciousness-raising. The est organization underwent great change from its beginnings and even now in its present form as the Forum series remains as a subject that is still open to a wide range of vast interpretations. It has been described as an organization that has tendencies of being a "cult" to one of an educational corporation that offers a profound and revealing experience. What is a fact is that the collective experiences of over 1,400,000 human beings who have gone through either the est training or the Forum series, and each of their particular contributions that have resulted from these experiences have certainly had an impact on America and the world.
Werner Erhard, the founder of these courses, is undoubtedly the most famous ex-used-car salesman in the United States. Without any formal credentials, degrees or advanced educational training, he used his innate intelligence, intuition and insight to promote self-awareness in the United States. In the 1970s he was right for the timesin synch with the fledgling "me generation." By the time that he had retired the est training in 1984, and when he left the Forum in 1991, almost 750,000 people had undergone the courses that he had developed and marketed.
Werner created the est training from three main sources: Mind Dynamics, Scientology and Zen. Even though these sources contributed greatly to est, a lot of credit must be given to Werner Erhard for putting the elements of the est training together in a unique fashion. He transformed the subject matter of life from mere words with his stated intent to alter the belief foundation that drives the lives of every human being on the planet. In the process, he became a trailblazeralbeit subject to the arrows that every pioneer becomes a target of from detractors, pundits, "experts" and others who did not understand what was being presented. For a while, Erhard was the poster child of the awareness movement that swept America during the 1970s. Eventually, through some of his actions, but mostly through the hostile environment of the media, he succumbed to the slaughter of the relentless and vicious attacks on his character and persona.
Nevertheless, while it was vibrantly alive the est training provided one of the best and quickest opportunities available to radically alter ones life. Many competitors emerged but only est had the staying power for as long as it didand which still continues to this day under the Forum series. The importance of the est training and the Forum series, especially in the United States, is in the form of individual contributions that have transformed and enabled the people of this nation to enjoy a new level of spirituality, empowerment, perception and enhancement of their personal enlivenment and contribution.