I know it's a bit harsh to call it a cult (apart from the fact that it actually is one), but this organization works just like Scientology: it's a self-help program geared towards "helping you realize your full potential in life" and whatnot. You pay $500 or so for a weekend-long retreat where inspirational (common sense, really) messages are drilled into your head.
One of my good friends is buying all of this bullshit. He's a good kid with good values, but he's sucking it all in for some reason - he's already been to a few introductory meetings and is signed up for the retreat in a few weeks. I'm scared he won't be the same.
He tried to get me to go to one of the meetings recently, but after some research I was afraid of what would happen to me. Being free-spirited and having the capacity to make my own opinions on things is one of my favorite traits about myself, and yes, the most Aspie-like thing about myself that's remained after years of adjusting to the real world. At the same time, I'm impressionable, extremely gullible, and I always fear that something is wrong with me that I MUST fix. At various times I've thought I've had high blood pressure, ADD, or various personality disorders, while I'm really just hypersensitive to my own faults and will expand their severity in my own mind. I'm a hypochondriac who will go to great lengths to try to fix myself when I probably just have little issues that everybody has to deal with. I don't like having my faults, even imaginary ones, exposed, and then being told I need to fix them (as you can imagine, social skills training didn't sit well with me, haha).
I can't understand why anybody would subject themselves to brainwashing, furthermore PAY to be brainwashed. Freedom of expression is one of the greatest things humanity has to offer, and when you water that down, then there's very little left to appreciate. If we can't be fully ourselves then what do we do?!
Furthermore, I feel like Aspies are susceptible to being brainwashed. We are outsiders who must conform to a given set of social rules so we don't stand out so much. We have to learn proper motor skills, learn to withstand wearing uncomfortable fabrics, and put up with small talk and appropriate conversation, among many other things.
Having Asperger's often means we have enhanced abilities in other areas as well, and when we try to compensate for those areas in which we are lacking, aren't we losing something of our original talents? If a blind man suddenly gains back his vision, will his other senses start to deteriorate?
Though adjusting to NT society may mean good things in the long run, if we change too much, will we end up losing a bit of ourselves?
This scares me. Please try to hold onto your skills and viewpoints which make you an individual. I don't want to see George Orwell's fantasy happen anytime soon.