Category Archives: acknowledgments

Myth, Mysticism and Insight

 

In The Tao Of Physics, Fritjof Capra makes some interesting observations on the subject of myth in mysticism and what those of insight come to understand about such.   I had as much in mind when I wrote of constructs in the book ‘What Is Wrong With Scientology?’,  but clearly did not articulate it nearly as well.

“Indian mysticism, and Hinduism in particular, clothes its statements in the form of myths, using metaphors and symbols, poetic images, similes and allegories.  Mythical language is much less restricted by logic and common sense. It is full of magic and paradoxical situations, rich in suggestive images and never precise, and can thus convey the way in which mystics experience reality much better than factual language.  According to Ananda Coomaraswamy, ‘myth embodies the nearest approach to absolute truth that can be stated in words.’

“The rich Indian imagination has created a vast number of gods and goddesses whose incarnations and exploits are the subject of fantastic tales, collected in epics of huge dimensions.  The Hindu with deep insight knows that all these gods are creations of the mind, mythical images representing the many faces of reality. On the other hand, he or she also knows that they were not merely created to make the stories more attractive, but are essential vehicles to convey the doctrines of a philosophy rooted in mystical experience.”

If there is truth to this, what does one make of the understandings or motivations of those who insist upon literal conceptualizations of imaginative religious mythology?   Are they of deep insight themselves?  Are they actively preventing others from developing or attaining deep insight?   You might have experienced some of the cognitive dissonance (or analytical and/or intuitive enturbulance) that is concomitant with inculcation of fantastic mythologies, not as part of an acknowledged ‘mystical experience’ but instead as cold, hard, unquestionable fact.  Or perhaps you are comfortable with the security that comes with faith and belief in mythology.

Where To Plant Your Feet

 

synchronicity

Ta-sui was asked, “Buddha’s truth is everywhere; so where do you teach students to plant their feet?”

He replied, “The vast ocean lets fish leap freely; the endless sky lets birds fly freely.”

- translation by Thomas Cleary

 

Awakening – Part II

 

Reference: Awakening from scientology

Using scientology parlance, we begin by attempting to help people move above ‘know about’ on the ‘know to mystery scale.’    I have found plenty outside of scientology that explains and validates the sequence of Hubbard’s scale; illuminating the reason for the relatively high position for ‘not know.’  Thus, the Tao Te Ching – a book Hubbard once credited as offering in application all that scientology could hope to attain through its psychotherapeutic methodologies and training – teaches:

The Master leads; by emptying people’s minds

and filling their cores, by weakening their ambition

and toughening their resolve.

He helps people lose everything they know,

everything they desire, and creates confusion

in those who think that they know…

 

…The ancient Masters

didn’t try to educate the people,

but kindly taught them to not-know.

When they think that they know the answers,

people are difficult to guide.

When they know that they don’t know,

people can find their own way…

 

…Not-knowing is true knowledge.

Presuming to know is a disease.

First realize that you are sick;

then you can move toward health…

 

Notwithstanding their seeming alignment with such concepts as the know-to-mystery scale, scientologists are taught to eschew such ideas in pursuing  and exuding certainty.  And yet it was application of them that led to their own indoctrination or ‘enlightenment’ in and with scientology.  Scientologists are plied with a continual diet of tearing down all schools of thought that preceded  scientology – even those that led to its creation.  These facts necessitate that our first several chapters focus on pointing out the inconsistency, illogic, and even absurdity of some of your core scientology conditionings.  Perhaps I haven’t done it as ‘kindly’ as the Tao would prescribe.   Nonetheless, I want to make clear the purpose for doing so.  I am not doing it in order to replace your faulty stable data in order to become a new director of your destiny, but instead I hope to assist toward ‘when they know that they don’t know, people can find their own way.’   In that regard, the second reading recommendation that I make (the first being The Tao Te Ching – An English Translation by Stephen Mitchell) is a classic novel called Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.

Siddhartha is the quintessential lesson on the virtue – even necessity – of blazing one’s own path.  Even if you read it many years ago, I suggest that if you are seriously exploring the idea of moving  beyond and above scientology that you read it again.  Evaluate your scientology experience against Siddhartha’s experience.  Siddhartha sublimely demonstrates that the very act of becoming a follower or belonging  is anathema to enlightenment.   If in being introduced to new ideas and horizons one in particular seems to be the golden goose that will continue to forever lay you golden eggs, hark back to Siddhartha.  Clinging to one-stop enlightenment sources can defeat the entire purpose of the quest. Siddhartha also reminds us that when in doubt or despair it is rejuvenating to turn to and fully enjoy the  wonderment of the simple present; the Zen transcendence of doing what one is doing while doing it.

A system of thought purporting to be the ‘science of certainty’, that overtly asserts the goal and product of boiling all of creation down to simplistic blacks and whites, can be seen in the light of the wisdom from the Tao (and even scientology’s know-to-mystery scale) to potentially be the conveyor of a sort of sickness.  The resultant awareness myopia  - the death of life-promoting curiosity – is held firmly in place by ego and pride.  It requires an adopted air of superiority to automatically dismiss any ideas or information beyond one’s own ism or ology.  The certainty that one need not continue to look and to search and to find is protected and bolstered by pride in having arrived, having achieved all there is to know.

The disability (or as the Tao puts it, sickness) concomitant with such pride is described in Power vs. Force:

In our discussion of the levels of consciousness, we noted that one of the downsides of Pride is denial.  Every mind engages in denial in order to protect its “correctness” – this begets the fixity and resistance to change that prevents the average consciousness from advancing much more than five points in a lifetime.  Great leaps in levels of consciousness are always preceded by surrender of the illusion that ‘I know.’  Frequently, the only way one can reach this willingness to change is when one ‘hits bottom’, that is, by running out a course of action to its end in the defeat of a futile belief system.  Light can’t enter a closed box; the upside of catastrophe can be an opening to a higher level of awareness.  If life is viewed as a teacher, then it becomes just that.  But unless we become humble and transform them into gateways of growth and development, the painful life lessons we deal ourselves are wasted.

Bare-Faced Messiah by Russell Miller

Russell Miller’s book is finally going to be published in the U.S. apparently.  An interview with Miller was posted on Tony Ortega’s blog this morning.  I read the book last year.  I actually thought I had read it back in the eighties when it was published.  After all, I helped direct and coordinate the abusive litigation tactics that drove his U.S. publisher into dropping the project.  When I read the book, I recognized that in fact I had never read it all those years back.  It was lingering cult delusion that made me think I had.  In the eighties I had only read summaries and ‘dead agent’ packs compiled by Office of Special Affairs.  Even in the past couple years I have referred to Miller as a propagandist; that was before actually having read the book.  What I found remarkable about the thorough read I did was how balanced and even-handed Miller was about L. Ron Hubbard. It is not a wholesale condemnation.  While I don’t attest to the accuracy of all his facts, for the most part the book covers a lot of irrefutable history pretty accurately.

As Miller noted in his interview, the nature of the legal attacks upon the book, similar to the defenses in Rathbun v. Miscavige incidentally, revolve around strained (read invented) intellectual property rights theories.  If the book were inherently dishonest there would have been claims based on defamation theories.  But as we have noted previously, to Scientology the purpose of the suit is to not to win, but instead to harass.

Mr. Miller makes reference to a profanity-laced Scientology outburst about the book during the legal proceedings.  The actual quotation is interesting.  It is a quotation from the deposition of Norman F. Starkey, then executor of the estate of L. Ron Hubbard.  It appears in the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York Opinion:

2. Norman Starkey, the Executor of Hubbard’s estate who licensed plaintiff to exploit the Hubbard copyrights stated in his deposition: “That scum bag book is full of bullshit, man, and you know it. It is full of bullshit…. goddam, fucking bullshit.” (Gready Aff.Exh. A, p. 94.)

If you think that language is strong, you should have heard Miscavige’s reaction to Starkey nearly blowing millions of dollars of litigation fees on that one infantile, albeit honest, outburst.  One of the most remarkable feats in the litigation was overcoming that clear evidence that the real  Scientology complaint about Miller’s book was that it did not like the facts being aired, and not that it was suffering any harm by having copyrighted works quoted. But, again as Miller notes the U.S. legal system has some flaws, and Scientology has perfected the ruthless, if expensive, exploitation of them.

As to the man in the red sports car following Mr. Miller in Los Angeles, that in fact was the infamous Eugene M. Ingram.  Ingram made so much Scientology money by his aggressive, noisy investigative tactics that he bought himself two shiny new sports cars (a Mitsubishi 3000GT and a Lotus Esprit), one with gold-plated mag hubs.  In his inimitable style he wore loud, flashy Hawaiian shirts during his stake outs with those bright low riders.  When I reported on the flap of Ingram being so easily and regularly made because of his audacious ways, David Miscavige ordered that Ingram be encouraged to be even more loud and noticeable, ‘it’s supposed to be a noisy investigation, isn’t it?’  Incidentally, that is what ‘ensuring the orthodox practice of the scriptures’ that Scientology lawyers are paid so much to repeat interminably is all about.

I apologize publicly to Mr. Miller for my involvement in the investigative tactics designed to shudder him into silence, and the unlawful abuse of legal process to block publication in the United States and cost his publishers inordinate sums in other countries.

I encourage people to purchase his book once available and read it.  Not just because it will make me feel a bit better about my own efforts to suppress it, but because I believe it is essential reading for anyone involved with Scientology.

War on “Scientologists at War”

David Miscavige and his Scientology Inc picked yet another losing war against freedom of the press and of speech.  This one was an official complaint and proceeding launched against UK Channel Four and Roast Beef Productions for their documentary Scientologists at War.  Of course, only the finest and most expensive lawyers that could be bought in London took up the Scientology cudgel.  The results were published in the official publication of England’s official agency (Ofcom) tasked with upholding standards of fairness in media.   The Scientology case can be found at page 43 of OfComm’s latest journal.  It is an informative read.

Judge to Scientology…

Here is a balanced and accurate piece of journalism on yesterday’s proceedings in Monique Rathbun vs. David Miscavige, et al.:  The San Antonio Express News.

What Jesus Means

Here are some thoughts that may make Christmas more meaningful.

by Mohandas K. Gandhi:

My Christian friends have told me on a few occasions that because I do not accept Christ as the only son of God, it is impossible for me to understand the profound significance of his teachings.  I believe that this is an erroneous point of view, and that such an estimate is incompatible with the message that Jesus gave to the world.  For he was certainly the highest example of one who wished to give everything, asking nothing in return, and not caring what creed might happen to be professed by the recipient.  I am sure that if he were living here now among men, he would bless the lives of many who perhaps have never even heard his name, if only their lives embodied the virtues of which he was a living example on earth: the virtues of loving one’s neighbor as oneself and of doing good and charitable works among one’s fellow men.

What then does Jesus mean to me?  To me  he was one of the greatest teachers humanity has ever had.  To his believers he was God’s only-begotten Son. Could the fact that I do or do not accept this belief make Jesus have any more or less influence in my life?   Is all the grandeur of his teaching and of his doctrine to be forbidden to me?  I cannot believe so.

To me it implies a spiritual birth. My interpretation, in other words, is that in Jesus’ own life is the key to his nearness to God; that he expressed, as no other could, the spirit and will of God.  It is in this sense that I see him and recognize him as the son of God.   

What Are You Grateful For?

What is it that makes Thanksgiving such a powerful notion and valued celebration?  In studying all manner of philosophy and contemplative practice of late, I have noticed a widespread, repeating thread that might begin to answer the question.  That is, the power of the practice of gratitude.  To get an idea of how popular the idea is, try googling ‘practice of gratitude’ and explore the results.  One high-rated result is a short spot by Brene Brown (who was featured earlier on this blog) that serves as a great introduction to the subject:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Freedom From Slavery

A new friend of mine handed me a copy of a remarkable little book on Sunday.  It is called As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen.  The book contain this little, precious pearl on freedom from slavery:

It has been usual for men to think and to say, ‘Many men are slaves because one is an oppressor; let us hate the oppressor.’  Now, however, there is among an increasing few a tendency to reverse this judgment, and to say, ‘One man is an oppressor because many are slaves; let us despise the slaves.’  The truth is that oppressor and slave are cooperators in ignorance, and, while seeming to afflict each other, are in reality afflicting themselves.  A perfect Knowledge perceives the action of law in the weakness of the oppressed and the misapplied power of the oppressor; a perfect Love, seeing the suffering that both states entail, condemns neither; a perfect Compassion embraces both oppressor and oppressed.

He who has conquered weakness, and has put away all selfish thoughts, belongs neither to oppressor nor oppressed.  He is free.

Scientology: Hypnotism or Persuasion

Jefferson Hawkins began an insightful deconstruction of Scientology ethics in an interview with Tony Ortega at his Scientology Underground Bunker page.   I believe the techniques Jeff exposed had (have) broader application in the process that Scientology employs in implanting its constructs as hard-bound reality.  It is not limited to the indoctrination on ethics. I had noted this myself while spending several months of each day listening to a Hubbard lecture from the fifties and sixties.

In an early chapter of The Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra gives an accurate and concise history of the evolution of logic and thought in the West and the East.  In doing so, he necessarily mentions virtually every significant philosopher who lived and wrote over the past couple millennia. I read that after the stint of listening to dozens of Hubbard lectures given over a two decade period.   Here is my contemporaneous margin note at the end of the chapter on evolution of thought in The Tao of Physics:

‘By this point (20th Century) in history, Hubbard has invalidated and laid to waste every great thinker who made possible and contributed to his way of thinking.’

One might recognize that Hubbard’s techniques of persuasion are used far and wide in today’s society.  In politics, in business, in advertising, in self-help, in religion, you name it.  Whether one wants to label it ‘hypnotism’ or ‘how to influence people’ or ‘persuasion’, it cannot be gainsaid that the  technique of indoctrination Jeff breaks down for us was employed throughout the history of Dianetics and Scientology.  And L. Ron Hubbard was a master of it application.