Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

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Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby TennisPro » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:41 pm

Personally, I am tired of the people who love coming to uninformed judgements about how anyone with a story that discredits Elan's (un-researched and reckless) techniques must be so much different than the clear "winner" who is spending time bashing another survivor's personal accounts.

Because people are just people anyways, regardless of how successful you were in Elan, and/or after Elan.

If your state of "success" is so fragile that you can't continue to live your successful life without going onto websites to discredit other people's very real horror stories, then maybe you should look up the definition of "success" in the dictionary.

Have you ever given thought to the fact that, like life, everyone experiences things differently? Everyone reacts differently when put into traumatic situations? Elan was just a structure, a framework. That framework responded to every individual in a different way and believe it or not, it traumatized many.

I also think it is interesting that since I am the one stating this, I am instantly thrown into this category of "the traumatized".

Have you ever considered that I was an Elan success, in Elan, and after Elan, yet I am still honest enough (with myself) to still confront the reality of what was happening?

Have you ever thought that some people do not have to lie to themselves in order to get past Elan? Some of us are actually brave enough to study and research Elan's past and present, to gather testimonies, to search for the truth amongst all the confusion. That is how some of us cope. That is how some of "get over it", not by building and living in a castle of sand, but by confronting the truth head on.

The reason I make the assumption, because it is an assumption, that most Elan supporters live in said "castles made of sand" is because of how defensive they instantly get whenever faced with someone else's personal testimony, ones that may not conveniently fit into your vision of Elan: the saving utopia. Testimonies that portray Elan as something other than the well-wishing, good-intentioned, Rolls Royce of boarding schools, that gave everyone a hell-of-a-chance to make something of themselves.

Get real. It takes no more than to click here:, to realize that Elan had more than a few skeletons in its closet, dinosaur skeletons.

When I am faced with someone's testimony about how Elan changed their life for the better, I just think "Good for them, it helped me as well!" and I am able to accept that. But once these same people begin to rant about how other people are lying, or dwelling, or how they were clearly losers in Elan, or how they were clearly losers after Elan, etc... all that I can do is sigh.

I know a lot of people who are "over" Elan and I know for a fact, because I have a very high number of Elan people that I keep in touch with, that these people consist of both winners and losers in the eyes of the program and as they "move-on" with their life, I never see these people taking time out of their day to belittle the opinions of the thousands that Elan hurt.

We hear much more from the people Elan hurt, then the few who want to make it their job to boast about how bad they were before, and how cool they are now. And "boast" is the perfect word. Maybe you people should think about that. Perfect imitations of Elan: build yourself up by knocking others down.

Joe Ricci would be proud.
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Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:15 pm

Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby Ken Zaretzky » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:33 pm

I'm not sure who you're addressing that to but your opinion is certainly welcome. I was actually one of the very earliest residents at Elan when i was 15 (almost 40 years ago), we were called residents then, not students (When I came in, the only house was in naples and moved to Sebago shortly thereafter). I never knew Elan was a school, or boarding school until all the skakel noise started about 11 years ago. My first job was at Elan (when I was 17 till about 21) many of my experiences were terrible there, but many were good also. With the exception of people who I have, married, am related to or am the father of, almost all of the people I have loved the most in my life have been from Elan.

I won't say that people's negative experiences there are a lie or invalid (I'm the guy who had to eat cigarettes, remember?), but rather that I would like to see all the people who feel that they were hurt finally heal and get beyond it. We are all getting older and are running out of time.

I was in Maine with my wife and daughter 9 or 10 years ago and had a conversation with a long time director who I was in the program with about what we were at the beginning and I asked him this question: "So, do you think we hurt people or helped them?" and his response was "both". I would agree with that.

I think the answer to the question "Is/Was Elan good or bad ?" is yes.

I don't know what happened (other than things I have heard, which may or may not be true, I have no way of knowing) after I left Elan in the mid 1970's but I will say this about the time I was there both as a resident and as an employee. People's lives were saved at Elan. I'm not sure if mine was or if it would have turned out the same as it did either way (I don't think I'd like to find out). People were also hurt there then. I don't know if their lives were ruined or if they were just hurt.

I can't really address time after I left Elan with authority. As far as the time I was at Elan, as a resident and as an employee I will say this with absolute authority: Whether people were helped or hurt ( and there were both) at Elan, I don't think any of us (or "them" before I worked there) ever did anything with the intention of hurting anyone. We really believed that we were saving peoples lives.

With that said, ANY opinion ANYONE has is welcome here as long as it does not contain a personal attack of any kind on anybody, alive or dead. No exceptions.

And from what I can see, there was no "clear winner". There doesn't have to be. There is nothing to win or lose here. ELANALUM.COM is not about winning or losing or debating or proving anything or anyone is right or wrong or anout proving if anything is good or bad or did or didn't happen. A lot of people don't get what ELANALUM.COM is and always has been about. But this is very very different than any of the other ELAN centered places on the internet are. This isn't about Elan at all. It is about you. It is about me. It is about every one of us, not way back then, but today. It is about us right now.

What ELANALUM.COM is about is "keeping the promise" that was made starting in 1970. Sadly it was a promise that was abandoned. We have been keeping it here at ELANALUM.COM since 1999 and we are going to keep keeping it.

ALL people who went through Elan will always have friends, something to belong to, a helping hand if they need it.
This isn't a debate site. Is/Was Elan good or bad? I don't know. That just isnt what ELANALUM.COM is about.

We're going to just keep keeping the promise because it was a good promise. I promise that should be kept and one that will be kept as long as I am alive. It actually doesn't matter to me (at all) if anyone even shows up here. We are still going to keep keeping the promise.

Ken Zaretzky
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Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:08 pm
Location: Chicago Area

Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby dannyb50 » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:37 pm

Ken, I can get behind that. It is great to find a site that you don't have to justify anything. Nice just to write about my experiences at Elan.
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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:12 pm

Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby EMT » Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:31 am

I agree w/ Tennispro that Elan's program was structured as a cult. I recognized it when i was there and affirmed it before i ever sat in on a PSYCH 101 class. The program was designed for maximum effect on an individual to conform to a group standard. The standard was artificially inseminated into the group mindset by a process. And candidates for Elan were selected based upon likely susceptibility to cult concept. Biological family attachment to group organizations such as a particular church ,formerly abused children,children who abused substances as an escape mechanism were all good candidates for "thought reform." Thought reform has ALWAYS failed b/c a captive audience will always conform as a situation suits them. Not meaning total resistance will never be encountered. The thought reform is never sustained once the captive is returned to their former environment and given "free will." If this idea of brainwashing did work then the Manchurian candidate would actually exist. Many studies on the subject have been concluded out of war time captivity since the 1940's and previous. Also this strategy has failed at the US detention center at GITMO, CUBA.
I think the defining factor beyond all of the conditioning remains in our genetics! Do you respond more to punishment or reward? And how so?
Importantly, in the 1960's when the Elan model was conceived for use to experiment on our "social ills"- Doctors knew nothing about genetics. I myself am now involved in groundbreaking research by providing genetic data to researchers...
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Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby EMT » Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:38 am

Importantly, in the 1960's when the Elan model was conceived for use to experiment on our "social ills"- Doctors knew nothing about genetics. I myself am now involved in groundbreaking research by providing genetic data to researchers....and I wonder that if it were possible to study Elan Graduates genes via would we all have the AA variant on Chromosome 11 ?

Gene Position SNP Versions Eric Pondusa's Genotype
DRD2 112788669 rs6277 AA of A or G
Which means a possible lower Dopamine level and suggests through associated tests that we are better at NO GO Learning. From SPitton blog on 23andme: "Higher dopamine levels help people learn to repeat rewarding behaviors, while lower dopamine leads to better learning from bad experiences. In a game where “A” usually yields more points than “B,” people with boosted dopamine levels learn to choose A. People with decreased dopamine levels learn to avoid B.

In non-medicated test subjects, genetic variations that influence dopamine signaling in the basal ganglia also impact so-called “Go” (choose A) and “NoGo” learning (avoid B). People with two copies of the A version of a variant in the DARPP-32 gene, which increases dopamine signaling, tend to be better at Go learning than their G-version-carrying friends. Those with two copies of A at rs6277 in the DRD2 gene, which decreases dopamine signaling, tend to be better NoGo learners than people with one or two copies of the G version of this SNP.

The clock-and-button experiments Frank et al. conducted further tested the association of these two variants with Go and NoGo learning. Trials that rewarded faster responses measured Go learning. Trials that rewarded holding off on the action of button pushing measured NoGo learning. As expected, people with two As at the DARPP-32 variant tended to be better at Go learning than people with one or two Gs, and people with two As at rs6277 in the DRD2 gene were better at NoGo learning than people with AG or GG at this SNP."
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Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby EMT » Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:28 am

I suppose another take away based on my precious comments is that if you Graduated from Elan- Do you have the genetic AA allele at rs6277 in the DRD2 gene? Get tested at or another service. I like to help people understand. I've been helped by many people including Marc Rosenburg and so this is a part of my continue learning.
Did you graduate? Y/N? what is your allele at at rs6277 in the DRD2 gene on Chromosome 11 ?
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Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:09 am

Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby EMT » Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:41 am

I'll tell you that i know for a fact that i've interacted w/ Elan Graduates autonomously on my part and yours too....and some of you are NOT the great people you believe that you have become! Sanctimonious and judgemental...and on the other hand i've met some non GRAds who have seemed to learned the core lessons of ELAN... and they sometimes knew me by face.
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Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:09 am

Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby MichaelH » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:13 am

Wow, I was their from 76 to 78. I must say this is shocking. I thought our experience was fucked up, but it seem like it just deteriorated into chaos. In our time, we all really took the therapy part very serious. The education part was very good. Too bad.
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Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:02 am

Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby willow adams » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:34 pm

here's what i think. if it still haunts you after however many years ago you left, then obviously something is wrong. in other words, you were effected negatively. i know i was. and i know i feel better seeing that i wasn't the only one. to hear everyone talk, or should i say scream, during my stay, i was a freak and piece of shit whore failure. and no, i didn't graduate. here's why: they couldn't break me. i wouldn't give in. further, when i left they told my father that in no uncertain terms. he stated that he was told " we can't break her spirit." fucking right, nobody can or ever will. so, does that make me a failure? lol! no! i think it makes me a winner! and i didn't " graduate" , thank god! i didn't come out unscathed, and it haunted me, but let's get real here. after a while i let go of it. i had to. it took years and my dad dying to get it out, but i let go. it wasn't because i did it on my own. lifes circumstances let it go. my dad, the one who let it happen( and that's another story) died and and a year or so after, it ended the nightmares, ptsd, anxiety. still have insomnia, but i had that before elan.
saying people did nothing should be ashamed is not fair. not everybody has the emotional or mental or even spiritual capacity to do something after their experience. for a large portion of us, just getting out and mentally surviving was all we could handle. still, i'm glad for all that was said in this and all forums.
peace, and blessed be to all.
willow adams
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Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 1:04 pm
Location: portland oregon


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