One fascinating element of this conversation is the degree to which people are motivated in their comments by the desire to protect others.
In all the thousands of words in this, one of RARB's longest threads, we saw nothing to the effect of "I think I might personally get sucked in to Nxivm against my will" or "Nxivm staff bullied me and now they need to make amends!"
At worst, you saw people saying "I came here for a discussion of technical and artistic elements by a cappella experts. Nxivm-oriented people without a cappella expertise keep pushing the conversation towards touchy-feely, hippy emotional journeys. What are they up to?"
But where people expressed the greatest concerns is in regards to future attendance by others: a person's children, a group unfamiliar with the issues discussed in this thread; high schoolers...
No matter which side of this issue one may come out on, I think there's something inspirational about an entire community looking out for one another so selflessly. Of course, I see it every year at the East Coast Summit and even at competitive events like Varsity Vocals and The Harmony Sweepstakes. But that I'm not surprised does not diminish its beauty or nobility.
None of us here are bound by the determinations of any other group or individual regarding AI. We don't share common geography (unless you count the entirety of the United States). We represent religions and philosophies of mutually exclusive beliefs. We access limited resources. In fact, as noted, many of us compete against one another regularly and directly for awards and honors or even paid performances or other aca-jobs like arranging, recording and producing.
Yet still, the base instincts of competition and self-interest are almost totally absent here.
And I don't think that people have highlighted their own good intentions. I don't think anyone's post was merely meant to demonstrate false altruism. If so, they've done a poor job pointing it out for others to applaud. This isn't presidential candidacy, baby-kissing for cameras. It's truth-seeking.
I'm not saying that everyone's logic, methods, research etc. were flawless. And of course "Poo-Gate" and "Pin the Mack" were moments of unbridled idiocy -moments that have inspired some to take actions against their own interests for what they believe to be the betterment of the community.
But I will say, exceptions aside, how proud I am to be a part of this community that cares so much for each other and for the unrelenting search for the truth.
Why would Keith Raniere want this loss-leading foray into a cappella? To access potential high net worth individuals prior to their "full" intellectual development so they can one day become paying Nxivm drones? Some certainly think so and perhaps that is, in fact, the case.
But I don't think it should be so hard to believe that a person of means might also want be a part of, and encourage a group of people attempting, by the very nature of their art, to push the boundaries of what humanity is capable of.
And after all these postings, it's obvious, even to an outsider, that a cappella also represents some of the most intelligent and caring people around.
So if you take Keith Raniere at his word (which I recognize is difficult for many in large part due to strong claims with support absent or publicly withheld due to upcoming litigation), we are precisely the people he's looking for to save humanity. Compare this community to the rest of society and it's clear that we are part of the change in the world he says he wants to foster.
You all question things way too much to be good cult members. But I'd recruit all of you as an engine of positive social change in a New York minute.
Jonathan Minkoff, Esq.
Producer Engineer Composer Singer RARB Reviewer
SingStrong- A cappella Summit in DC
March 5, 6, 7, 2010