Tag Archives: marty rathbun

Scientology: A Monotheistic Religion

Apparently, only one of the four traditional biblical Gospels relates inarguably that Jesus Christ was God temporarily visiting earth.  The book of Luke could and has been interpreted to say that Jesus was an extraordinary man who ascended – or was ascended – from humble beginnings to develop the message that humankind has found so inspiring for 2000 years.  Only the Gospel popularly known as that related by John was definitive about Jesus’ other-worldly provenance.  As noted by religious scholar and bestselling author Elaine Pagels in her book Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas:

“Unlike Luke, who depicts Jesus as a man raised to divine status, John, as does the hymn Paul quotes, pictures him instead as a divine being who descended to earth – temporarily – to take on human form.”

Of course it is understood that all of the Gospels were written up to a century after Jesus strode the earth, all reporting their own interpretations of words Jesus purportedly spoke and deeds he had carried out long before.  In the past one-hundred and twenty years, more significant purported Gospels have been discovered – including those of Thomas and Mary Magdalene.  Those discoveries have added to the rich diversity of opinions, interpretations, and faiths of Christianity.  That includes the idea that Jesus communicated that every human potentially had within themselves the same abilities and divinity as Jesus.

In scientology no such plurality of interpretation is open to the worshipper.   That is because scientology’s messiah made it clear himself on more than one occasion that he did not ascend from humble beginnings, or any earthly beginnings at all, to develop a message with which to lift humanity.  Instead, scientology’s author L. Ron Hubbard explicitly stated that he descended to earth in human form in order to deliver its people from evil. He was so dead serious about being taken literally – and not interpreted – that he instituted penalties for any interpretation of his words whatsoever that were tantamount to permanent spiritual death.  And if that did not shut up the purveyors of interpretations, such heretics were to be mercilessly harassed to the point of personal and familial ruin. He created a corporate structure which directed hundreds of millions of dollars toward etching his words on stainless steel plates, sealing them in titanium capsules and placing them in vaults in deep veins of granite so that those words could never be altered.

One example of those sacred words comes from Ron’s Journal 1968:

“And please for my sake, don’t forget one thing, I am your friend. I am not from this planet. I am trying to do my best to do a job to bring tolerance and humanity to this planet in a very materialistic and often cruel age.”

That was the same year that Hubbard delivered scientology’s most sacred, secret and advanced liturgy – the Class VIII Course. On the course ‘deans of scientology’ were created by learning from Hubbard that humankind could not be brought to ‘respond to reason.’   That is why he commanded the scientology deans that  “You are the people the planet obeys. You are the people who own the planet.”  Whether any dean of scientology – or the group collectively – ever lived up to those dictates, two things remain scripturally clear (and will remain so apparently forever) from Hubbard’s apex year of discovery.  Those are, a) there is only one God in scientology, and b) the adherent will believe it because that God has commanded that it will never be appreciated by appeal to reason.

Peaks and Valleys

Cult think (which includes religious, political, and self-help/positive thinking guru cliques) tends to be extremist in nature.  That includes either over-reacting to or ignoring entirely (read denial) high and low ends of the vicissitudes of life.  The highs can include all manner of self-congratulatory, hallucinatory-causation thinking.  “I thought it and it happened; I am god-like.”   The lows can include all manner of guilt, regret  and need to re-examine and even re-create oneself.  “Who am I really and who do I need to be?”

Far better I think to follow the great middle path.

Life’s peaks and valleys are as natural as the hills and dales of the landscape or the pull and repulsion of the subatomic dance making up the woof and warp of the universe.  Obsessing with owning them – positive or negative – and thus fixating on the result tends to park folks in peaks and valleys.  Meanwhile, atoms tango, breezes blow, currents flow, and life goes on.  One can choose to stagnate with rises and falls or one can choose to learn from them and evolve.

I believe that Rudyard Kipling captured the idea very well in his poem “If”, which includes this passage:

     If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

I believe that ‘If” is an effective antidote to cult thinking.  See for yourself:

 
If you can keep your head when all about you   

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

 

Clear and Beyond

The lower level scientology program up to the state of Clear is a directed form of client-centered psychotherapy.  One doctor fully trained in both client-centered therapy and scientology has astutely written that ‘directed client-centered therapy’ is an apparent oxymoron.  That may in fact be a critical entry point for the bipolar quality that seems embedded throughout scientology.  Nonetheless, the description of the end product of the scientology lower levels is nearly identical to that described as the self-actualization end product of client-centered therapy.

When a person reaches the Clear state – resembling common notions of self-actualization – he is indoctrinated into the secrets of the universe.  Fully grasping those secrets requires the adoption of a form of multiple personality disorder.  Incidentally, and not the impetus for this observation, modern mental health recognizes that certain psychotherapeutic practices can serve as a causation factor for mpd. Scientology secrets inform the individual that in fact he is not an individual at all.  Instead he is a ‘composite being’, consisting of a potential infinity of separate, distinct individuals.   Each individual member of the composite has quadrillions of years of its own experiential history that it brings to the dizzy equation.   Extraordinary, and expensive to the seeker, measures are employed to ensure the scientologist believes this universe view with utter certitude. For several tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars the advanced scientologist is invited to address and release each of his or her parasite personalities.  The process entails hundreds or thousands of individual sessions.  The process takes many years.  The individual completes this penultimate scientology advanced level when there are apparently no more personalities left but his own.

The scientologist then pays another ten to twenty thousand dollars for the privilege of determining which of the lifetimes of those now allegedly departed parasite personalities he mistook for his own.  That is what L. Ron Hubbard left behind as his legacy.

However, after completing that final scientology level himself Hubbard went back to chasing down more of what he apparently found to be an endless hoard of demonic, parasitic personalities that he continued to harbor.  Frustrated, he attempted to finally rid himself of the demons in one fell swoop and kill himself in the bargain through the application of electric shock.  He dismally failed in the assisted attempt on his own life.  Whether or not that attempt was the cause, at about the same time as his suicide mission Hubbard sustained a debilitating stroke.  He was reduced to asking others whether they could hunt down his own parasitic demons personalities for him. (see Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior)

Since Hubbard’s 1986 death scientology authorities have taken to having advanced members who have completed the full scientology program but who are still unsatisfied re-do the entire scientology program from the bottom up.  The believer is given to understand that the source of his dissatisfaction is some misapplication of scientology along the way.

For the dedicated member of this monotheistic religion that repeatedly promotes that when in doubt one should ‘do as Ron (L. Ron Hubbard) would do’, there should be little surprise that often one does not experience a happy ending.

Enemies

 

Once a close-knit ideological group initiate has bought into the proposition that it behooves him to be a member he is indoctrinated into what a member does. He then gets busy doing what a good member does in the pursuit of having the benefits of membership.

It seems that all cults have one vital type of ‘to do’ indoctrination in common.  That is, the member learns to a high level of certitude who the perceived or designated enemies of that group are and he accepts a share of responsibility for taking action against those enemies. The less rational the group the greater the importance is given to the enemy and the more overwhelmingly destructive the enemy is portrayed as.  The less the group’s principles and objectives stand on their own merit the more emphasis is put on remaining ever vigilant for signs of enemy encroachment and upon destroying perceived enemies.  Conquering the enemy can become the group’s raison d’etre.  Sometimes the highest level of ‘reason’ you will hear from some cult members is a rant about the evils of this or that nemesis as the answer to virtually any tough question.  That is a particular strain of denialism.

Irrespective of the degree of apparent effectiveness of a cult’s teachings in isolation, this enemy indoctrination feature begins a mental reversal that wipes out any potential positive and makes the member a mental prisoner and potentially dangerous.  Some groups preach that ultimate enlightenment or salvation cannot be reached absent elimination of the enemy. Some extreme cults even talk in terms of the need to ‘obliterate’ or ‘annihilate’ entire classes of people in order for themselves or humankind to survive.  Such groups clearly are of concern to family and friends of members and to society at large for obvious reasons.  It is not hard to see the negative social effects that a band of such self-righteous zealots marching to the beat of the same paranoid drum could cause.  But, ultimately the adverse effect on the cult soldier individually is more predictably certain.

Inevitably such adopted mindsets lead to the view that the individual is not in fact responsible for his own condition and its worsening or bettering.  Compare this to the simple generic principles of awareness and consciousness discussed in the previous two posts (Basics and Identification and Membership) to see how plain that fact is. In order to become motivated to dedicatedly pursue perceived enemies the group member must become convinced that those enemies are worsening conditions that adversely affect him somehow.

Indoctrination of this mindset serves as a convenient deflection or justification for many of a group’s own failures or lack of results.  More perniciously, it is the inculcation of a disease that ultimately destroys the individual member’s own determinism.   If one buys into the indoctrination that the causes of his problems of consciousness or awareness are ‘over there’ one is in for a long, painful and wheel-spinning haul.  Unfortunately, many former cult members simply continue to abide by the enemy-assignment mental machinery.   They just change the target of their wrath.  They spend years with their wheels in the mud ruminating on how their erstwhile cult and its leaders are responsible for their current travails.

On the positive side, to come to grips with these facts and how they might have poisoned one’s thinking and viewpoints opens one to an infinity of possibilities.

Identification and Membership

 

Identifying with that which arises in consciousness – as opposed to simply viewing its coming and going to, through and out of one’s own spacious awareness – is the process by which breadth of consciousness, space, process, and ability declines.  When one identifies his mind becomes the object, concept, idea, or picture rather than the spacious field through which such pass.  By identifying as a member of a particular class of people one begins to crave for and cling to that which that assumed identity craves for and clings to.  One also begins to automatically resist entire classes of objects arising in consciousness; all of those that are repelled by that with which he identifies.   All of this grasping and resistance results in persistence of dissonant energies within one’s field of awareness.

The first and most common means by which messiahs and gurus (wannabe or proclaimed; religious or secular) and their cults have entrapped, controlled, and enslaved well-meaning people by manipulation of the simple mechanics of awareness or consciousness (see Basics) is requiring the assumption of a specific identity.  Application requires one assume the identity of ‘member.’

The moment a seeker of truth assumes the identity of a designated category of person he has lost his mastery of that which arises in consciousness.  The degree he does so is the degree to which he has departed with the ability to perceive or be truth.  Once he identifies he becomes an object continually present within his own consciousness, with all its attendant baggage.  He begins to view what arises in awareness not as it is and for what it is but instead through the continuous via of the viewpoint of whatever ‘ist’ he has chosen to become.  All of the pre-determined prejudices, likes, dislikes, and judgments of his adopted ism shade and alter everything that he would otherwise view as it really is.

Self-identification breeds more identification.  It adversely influences the very process of looking.  Required membership is not only unnecessary to assisting a person increase rationality and awareness, it is injurious to it.  Becoming some-particular-body is counterproductive of the very process of self-actualization.  After some time when a cult member begins to feel entrapped he often continues so for long duration because he cannot see the source of his imprisonment.  He is certain somebody or some physical barrier is to blame. He has not yet come to realize that his jailer is himself, and his cell is self-constructed by the identity he has adopted.

Practice in viewing objects arising in and departing from consciousness (thoughts, ideas, pictures, emotions, etc) as the isolated, ephemeral, relatively miniscule and ineffectual things they are within the context of one’s potentially unlimited spacious awareness tends to help one separate out from unwanted previously assumed identities.  It allows them to pass on and out of consciousness along with all the other infinity of objects that so arise and so pass.  It also tends to expand one’s sphere of consciousness or awareness beyond limits one once considered fixed.

 

Basics

Some simple facts would appear to be:

Objects arise in consciousness.  ‘Objects’ is used in the broadest sense to include thoughts, feelings, emotions, pictures, impulses, anxieties, fears, ideas, and all of physical matter reality.

When simply viewed for what they are, objects that arise in consciousness pass through and depart from consciousness just as inexorably and as surely as they arise.

There seem to be two fundamental acts on the part of awareness (or consciousness) that make objects within it persist, become solid and have a lasting, negative effect upon awareness.

Those two acts are pining for (desiring and clinging to) and resisting that which arises in awareness.

Throughout the ages thousands upon thousands of methods and philosophies and religions have been proffered to resolve the effects of these simple facts.

Those paths have been effective to the degree that they have assisted in increasing understanding of and ability to apply the mechanics outlined above.  Those paths have served as betrayal to the degree that they have utilized knowledge of these mechanics in order to obtain conformity, loyalty and labor.

Longevity

 

Excerpt from Pancho Durango and the Zen of Fishing:

Wilson studied a couple of sea gulls fighting over a shred of dead shrimp on the surface of the bay. When the battle no longer held his interest, he turned and asked the old man, “Pancho, how old are you?”

“I am not sure.” Pancho continued to slowly reel and jerk his line, his attention thirty yards out and ten feet deep.

“How can that be?”

“I was born deep in the Copper Canyon. We did not keep records of anything, including birth.”

“Well, we know you are at least in your seventies and perhaps in your eighties.”

“Perhaps.” The conversation held less interest for Pancho than the three dimensional chess match he silently waged with fish that apparently only he could see.

“And you are strong of mind and body. “

“Some apparently believe so.”

“What is the key to longevity?”

Pancho said with no hesitation, and with as much emphasis as you’d expect from a request for another live shrimp to hook for bait, “You live as long as you have something worthwhile to give”.

“And who is the judge of that.”

“Only you of course.”

Wilson frowned as he squinted at the horizon. “So, goodness and righteousness have nothing to do with it?”

“It all depends on what you consider is good and right.”

Wilson sunk his head and smirked apathetically at the ripples beneath his feet. Once again Pancho had blithely turned a simple question into a deep philosophical riddle. Time to rebait the hook and make another cast. Always the right thing to do when you know your next question will be hit out of the park by the old man like a twenty year old on steroids.

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.

Name Calling and Labeling

 

name-calling

One thing that I have observed over the years is that name-calling and affixing derogatory labels to people usually exacerbates any perceived shortcomings in the target.  It is in the nature of people to defend themselves when under personal attack.  When it comes to using labels and name-calling to make nothing of the target, oft times the target reinforces the behavior labeled in an effort to somehow vindicate himself.

Name-calling seems to be an ingrained habit with some.  Folks might take some form of temporary satisfaction by considering themselves greater than those whom they condemn by shouting condemnatory labels. But, in the long run they are not really lessening the target nor are they increasing their own stature by doing so.  To the contrary, they wind up lessening their own integrity by defining themselves in the context of their chosen nemesis.  That fact alone makes them the effect of and thus less than their perceived enemies.

A valued teacher of mine once said ‘when you point your finger at someone, look to where your other three fingers are pointing.’

finger

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