It’s something I see a lot referred to as a cultural artifact of the 70’s, and I get the impression it was some sort of proto- Tony Robbins type thing, with some cult-like overtones. Googling only gets me a lot of pages in French (yes, even when I set preferences). Would some dopers be so kind as to tell me about it? Anyone participate? Is it still around?
That is a tough thing to Google, isn’t it?! The key turns out to be searching for “est movement.” Here’s at least one rundown on what it was all about. I freely confess that I have no idea whether any of it made any sense.
Ignore my previous post! That search produces a different “est” entirely than the one you’re asking about. Sorry about that. It’s early, yet, and the coffee hasn’t kicked in.
For more information on the movement in question, Google “Werner Erhard.” He was the founder of the movement, and you’ll get lots of hits on the search.
est is/was short for “Erhard sensitivity training”. It was one of the larger groups within the Human Potential Movement of the '70s.
Here is a page from the Skeptic’s Dictionary that goes into est in greater depth.
Although EST as a formal program is no longer around, there are a number of similar programs currently operating, and I think that many of them are derived directly from EST or run by people formerly associated with EST.
I’ve had friends that have told me about weekend-long seminars which they said were great but really couldn’t explain. After talking to them a while, it seemed to me that these were just slightly updated EST seminars. Following MsRobyn’s link, it seems like Landmark Forum, is one of them, but the name may vary. I think the one discussed by my friends was “The Forum” but I’ve heard of others.