For any of us who at any time in our lives had been needy, "The Master" was a painful film to experience. The disturbed guru Lancaster Dodd, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, exploits those like Freddy, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who are searching for calm or serenity.
Lawyers understand these dynamics well. Those needy suffer twice, once from their own inner turmoil and then again when taken over by the manipulators seeking power, pleasure, and financial security. Among the manipulators have been Roman Catholic priests and coaches.
From conversations with lawyers and psychologists I have found out the the masters in society know exactly the vulnerable to target. They dare not attempt to take as an emotional hostage a well-put-together human being. Their victim will have the profile of a Freddy, broken early in the game. His mother wound up in an institution for the insane. His aunt opened herself to sex with him. The traumas of World War II were just side dishes of pain. He turns to the song of a hometown girl to calm him down. But, self-hating, he flees from that back into the booze. Dodd has no trouble imposing his "process" on him.
Can lawyers educate the caretakers in society to help the needy not to wind up in a master's emotional web? This would be a game-changer kind of pro bono outreach.