By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
As New Times has correctly surmised, Synanon was not too trusting of government, so my role was doubly important as a "translator" and go-between with fire regulatory agencies. At that time, Synanon was a seemingly functional outfit and I was happy to see my services utilized to the safety of all concerned. Synanon was helpful to me as a person in many ways with its "games," which were generally maligned by outsiders.
For a group of people who were quite intelligent but at the edge of society norms, this was a fast and novel way to clear the air and instill thought before action. There was a certain amount of management brainwashing, but, all in all, it was recognized and at times challenged if you had the guts to "game" Charles Dederich and the staff. Games were great learning and interaction tools that became the linchpin of Synanon's success.
I left Synanon to go to Vietnam and never actively participated after that. It was getting too militant and paranoid for my taste. History showed that "power corrupts" and "absolute power corrupts absolutely!"
All in all, Synanon did a whale of a job in making dysfunctional people functional again, and I applaud its efforts to that end. New Times did a great job of reporting the highlights of its history and demise. Arrogance and disregard for the outside rules characterized its style and eventually did it in.