The World of Scientology, an ongoing Series: “Thou Shalt Take No Other God Before Me”
The official policy that is the essence of the Scientology doctrine
“There Is No Expedient to which a Man Will Not Resort to Avoid the Real Labor of Thinking.”
– Prominent 18th century English painter Joshua Reynolds
I read that quote in 1964, hanging in Thomas Edison’s West Orange, New Jersey lab during a 3rd grade class trip, and it is a key piece of wisdom that has stayed with me ever since. I think that it is particularly relevant in discussing and examining any controversial, polarizing subject, which people tend to resort to absolutes of acceptance or rejection, lazily framing something as being one-dimensional, so as not to have to invest thought in any actual examining.
Politics is one such subject, particularly at this time; “Scientology” is another. I have had my own passage through Scientology, having dedicatedly mastered and practiced much of Scientology’s “auditing” system and paradigm of counseling principles and techniques for several years. Over time, my perspective evolved, and brought me out of the strictures of the “Standard Tech Scientologist” mindset. My own conclusions are that there is so much of value in many of the principles and techniques that it isn’t wise or correct to dismiss the entire subject, and too much that is misleading and potentially damaging to accept it as it is presented and taught by its faithful adherents; in short, like any other system or paradigm, we are best served by separately examining each individual idea within it on its own individual merits, as we ourselves find them to be. My own approach, while being different from Scientology, nevertheless does incorporate those elements thereof that I find compatible with empowerment through better connecting with your own spiritual compass to accomplish your own goals, and omitting those elements that would have a person surrender or attribute self-knowledge, power or ability to any external source.
Those who have been wholly accepting or wholly rejecting of “Scientology” tend to have a viscerally hostile reaction to anything less than complete support for their own absolutist attitude, but there is also the chance for these folks, as well as the rest of us, to gain a more enlightened perspective, in accordance with the principle articulated above by Joshua Reynolds.
Interestingly, a great many of my own clients/participants in my Therapeutic Spiritual Counseling practice have been people who experienced most or all of Scientology’s “Bridge”, feel that there was much value in that experience for them, and at the same time were frustrated by the unfulfilled promises of Scientology and moved over to my approach to address and accomplish those frustrated aspirations.
It is my hope and intention to help those extreme views on the subject to accomplish a more rational and enlightened perspective, as well as to inform those who are curious about this controversial paradigm.
In 1965, L Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, was, overall, a very angry man. A number of constituents, feeling stifled under the thumb of his autocratic rule, had spun off their own directions, their own formulaic approaches to spiritually therapeutic techniques under their own banners, attracting followers, cutting into the “Church” of Scientology’s income streams, and transferring loyalties away from Hubbard. Less than a year earlier, Hubbard, grossly overestimating his considerable ability to enthrall people, made a number of obviously hyperbolic claims about himself and Scientology to a journalist writing an article for the Saturday Evening Post magazine, resulting in a broadly published article that, to Hubbard’s shock and dismay, was anything but flattering, using his own words to ridicule him in a national magazine. He was accustomed to being idolized in his own world of Scientology followers, and anticipated similar success with the rest of the world, apparently. So this was one, but hardly the only, point in Hubbard’s life in which he was, to put it delicately, in a sore mood.
It was in this state of mind that Hubbard issued “Keeping Scientology Working”, a “Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter” imposing a condition on his followers and supporters of absolute submission to his every word, projecting himself as above all others and never to be questioned, but only strictly followed, asserting that to do otherwise was foolish, evil, and/or stupid. And that Scientology, and Scientology alone, was the only hope for a world that was headed straight to oblivion, and/or hell, without it; that nothing and nobody else was of any real value in this desperate crusade to salvage mankind, to wit:
“The whole agonized future of this planet, every man, woman and child on it, and your own destiny for the next endless trillions of years depend on what you do here and now with and in Scientology.”
There is an indoctrination process embedded into the “Keeping Scientology Working” manifesto that breeds hostility and resentment toward approaching the subject open-mindedly- in fact, Hubbard redefined “open-mindedness” for Scientology followers as an insidious disease, as some sort of opposition to “heroic self sacrificing unreasonable single-minded dedication the THE cause”- oh, and “reasonableness” is also redefined similarly. Inherent in “Keeping Scientology Working” is the subliminal mantra, “a good and true Scientologist cannot be reasoned with”. These are imposed concepts that, in my opinion, need to be re-examined by Scientologists. An actual insidious disease would be an implanted hostile resistance to examining the various elements of Scientology (or, for that matter, anything else) with an open-minded and unbiased attitude.
(more to follow)