Unfortunately, a judgmental attitude and bearing seems to have become one of the distinguishing characteristics of a Scientologist. While adopting such a view in itself could be considered stereotyping, the proclivity for sitting in judgment of others – and stereotyping them – may be the one character flaw that makes such labeling stick with Scientologists.
Labeling is a convenient form of denialism. It is something a person resorts to when that which he or she is confronting or dealing with is too complex or nuanced for easy explanation or understanding. In the case of Scientologists such denialism is all too often applied to people. It is an assignation of blame intended to bring about shame and regret in the target.
It is easy to write someone off as an “SP” or ‘suppressive person’, a ‘pts’ or ‘potential trouble source’, an ‘out-ethics type’, ‘reasonable’, ‘off Source’, or even ‘squirrel’. Once you do that, the labeled person is now ‘over there’, a ‘particle’ to be routed to some ‘terminal’ (not even a person really) for special ‘handling.’ The only way out for the labeled is conformance. In the case of Scientologists that conformance is usually demonstrated by performing labeling of others with a high degree of certainty and alacrity.
Have you ever noticed how those who can label others with a great deal of certainty and alacrity rise into the ranks of opinion leaders within Scientology culture? And how those who are hesitant to dispense and accept labeling are considered ‘reasonable’ (in a negative sense), patty cake, theetie-wheetie, or worse?
Ironically, such facile labeling is well explained as a personality defect in Scientology Level 4 training materials. It is called the computation, ‘that aberated evaluation and postulate that one must be in a certain state in order to succeed’. In this case, by labeling another it puts the labeler in a superior ‘state’ separate than that of the labeled. It makes the labeler right and the labeled wrong.
But in the long term it winds up destroying the labeler as the label, the fixed stable datum substituted for a being, makes the labeler cease to look, to inspect, to live. L. Ron Hubbard explained it this way:
The stable datum was adopted in lieu of inspection. The person ceased to inspect, he fell back from inspecting, he fell back from living. He put the datum there to substitute for his own observation and his own coping with life, and at that moment he started an accumulation of confusion. That which is not confronted and inspected tends to persist. Thus, in the absence of his own confronting, mass collects. The stable datum forbids inspection. It’s an automatic solution. It’s ‘safe.’ It solves everything. He no longer has to inspect to solve, so he never as-ises the mass. He gets caught in the middle of the mass. And it collects more and more confusion and his ability to inspect becomes less and less. The more he isn’t confronting, the less he can confront. This becomes a dwindling spiral. So the thing he has adopted to handle his environment for him is the thing which reduces his ability to handle his environment.
Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once succinctly noted what effect labeling has on the person so labeled, “Once you label me you negate me.”
To label is part of the depersonalization or dehumanization process. It is a step in marginalizing classes of people. Once you recategorize someone from some neutral category like ‘associate’, ‘neighbor’ or ‘fellow human being’ to some negative, judgmental category they become fodder for abuse. They become powerless to create any effect on the labeler and thus the labeler believes he is more ‘at cause.’
In fact, as noted above it is an hallucinatory state of cause. It is a synthetic state of ‘superiority’ that one attains by perfecting the practice of sitting in judgment. In fact, those who engage in it obsessively have judged themselves, and sentenced themselves to a bleak future.
The late, baseball great Willie Stargell once wrote, ‘Judgment traps you within the limitations of your comparisons. It inhibits freedom.’ I find Willie worthy of the final word.