Apparently the people who attended the Tony Robbins program paid anywhere between $600 to $2,000. The blame for those who were burned during the fire-walking climax is being placed on them, saying that they must have been ‘out of state’, which is apparently the technical term for not having the proper mental attitude. Even some of those who were burned say that it was their own fault for not having the right frame of mind despite Robbins’s careful preparation. Some of them repeat it even after getting burned.
Paying so much money for the privilege of getting your feet burned seems to be indicative not so much of ‘being out of state’ but more of ‘being out of your mind’. I had never heard of Robbins before this or of his ‘seminars’, but this effort to demonstrate faith and deflect blame for failure from him and onto themselves seems to be cult-like behavior, similar to snake handlers and poison drinkers.
It is striking how much similarity there is to Sri Lankan fire-walking, which is the climactic event of certain Hindu and Buddhist religious festivals. The people who walk are also told to get into the right state and purify themselves by abstaining from alcohol and other pollutants, no doubt to impress the gods sufficiently with their piety so that they will be protected from burns. When some do get burned, the fault is naturally their own, not that of the gods or the priests who lead the events.
I recall that a group of skeptics a long time ago challenged this notion by drinking alcohol and horsing around just before walking on the coals, to show that frame of mind or purity of body and mind had nothing to do with it.