Category Archives: philosophy

Truth

The single most fundamental, sweeping and powerful truth in all spiritual study, contemplation and practice was probably best summed up in a single sentence.  It is an aphorism that has been popularly attributed to the Buddha:

You are what you think.

The Bible (Proverbs) succinctly echoes the same idea:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so he is.

This concept is the common denominator upon which virtually every workable religious and spiritual philosophy throughout the ages can be reduced to.  It is the truth that religion and spiritual practice of all denominations and creeds has capitalized on in one form or another.  When it is appreciated one becomes the master of his own destiny.  One is no longer the groveling effect of circumstances outside of his or her own control.  One is no longer the victim of external conditions.

Its realization can explain popular notions of attainment of nirvana, enlightenment, the kingdom of God, or as countless popular psychology/philosophy sects since the late nineteenth century have put it, self-realization.  One reaches nirvana when one recognizes it resides within. One attains enlightenment when one sees that it is all about how one thinks.  One enters into the Kingdom of God when one recognizes that realm is within one’s own heart. One is self-realized when one realizes that one is what one thinks.

Being creatures who use the via of language to conceptualize, communicate and understand, all of us require some degree or level of explanation to appreciate the power that comes with realizing the simplicity that ‘you are what you think.’ Or, some exercises that help us transcend language based associative, identification thought habits in order to perceive the truth of it.  Thus, paths and mythology and related attention-focusing practices fueled by glimpses of this truth have abounded.  Countless explications and related practices exist to bring us to the point of recognition of the seeming magic that comes with the simple truth that you are what you think.

So powerful is the recognition of this most fundamental truth that the attempted monopolization of it has made inestimable riches for priests, ecclesiastics and gurus of every stripe.  Close inspection of any one of these proprietary routes (irrespective of the ornateness of its projected piety) invariably exposes a common fault.

The fault is fatal to the accomplishment of the truth each of the routes purports to lead to.  It is incident to the attempted monopolization of the truth.

The fault invariably comes with attempted proprietorship of the truth.

The fault is that deference to the proprietor and his creations (priests, practitioners, institutions, practices, rituals, beliefs) – whether overtly required or not – ceases or prohibits attainment or realization of the truth the proprietor capitalizes on.

Once one is led to believe that the realization’s continued operation depends on some relationship external to self, the truth no longer obtains.

Virtually any practice or ism that overtly or covertly requires continued membership, obligation, participation, or belief becomes anathema to truth and all of the salutary effects that spring from it.

Effect and Cause

Aristotelian and Newtonian two-valued, space-time logic  philosophy and science are demonstrated to be essentially of a mind construct basis by developments in quantum mechanics and the related fledgling field of science of consciousness.   Those historical three-dimensional views were popular for a couple thousand years because they proved so workable in taming the wild, creating material comforts, and suppressing and killing competitors for those comforts (fundamental motives driving the evolution of civilization).  Aristotle and Newton were not only worshipped by scientists for centuries, their theories were ruthlessly enforced on society by the predominant Western church as it considered their theories ‘proved’ that an anthropomorphic God was at the center of the universe who set the whole frenzied cosmos in motion.  Having monopolized the communication channels to God, a tremendous continually increasing fortune was at stake in promoting those views.  That binary thinking remains a mainstay of social darwinists today who preach ‘survival of the fittest’ or as Hubbard’s mentor Aleister Crowly put it ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law’ to justify their rapacity and greed.

This is not to say Aristotle and Newton were not pillars in humankind’s evolution toward greater understanding.  In fact, few compare to their contributions.  It is to say, however, wisdom and understanding like life itself continually evolve.   And that mental and spiritual philosophies grounded in limited logic are to some degree obsolete.  Just as many of Newton’s and Aristotle’s principles are defied and transcended by nuclear and quantum physics (whose breakthroughs at least 70% of our economy is based upon), so are those of the mental and spiritual philosophies based upon  their systems of thought.

In the traditional Cartesian (strict mind vs. matter view, as validated and supported by Aristotelian and Newtonian thought) construct, in the beginning there was a cause and the entire purpose of the cause was the creation of an effect; and we are all more or less the effect of the resultant infinity of cause-effect sequences.   Therapies that promise to wed one or return one to the native, original cause in all this set themselves up for lifetime income from clients/adherents.  Their ‘why traps’ are outfitted with an infinity of divining in the never-ending cause-effect sequences.  It is akin to charging a squirrel for running in a wheel for eternity when modern science has demonstrated that ‘cause’ isn’t any more important than ‘effect’ and that in ultimate reality (read beyond the traditional five animal senses) does not even necessarily precede it.

If this sounds intuitively similar to the ideas you may have experienced in studying Buddhism or the words of Lao Tzu, others have too.   Many have written about that correlation.  The most easy to follow and enjoyable to read for me has been Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics.  Any mind yet somewhat intact after years of adhering to scientology sci-fi mythology as cold, hard reality, still has the potential for seeing through the self-limiting constructs it has been persuaded to abide.  The greatest difficultly with that is getting the person to give ‘the highest purpose in the universe is the creation of an effect’ a rest for a moment. That is followed by the next greatest difficulty which is getting the person to spend a little time learning of the evolution of thought on planet earth.  The Tao of Physics, again, is a great – relatively easy to follow – place to start on that score.  There is not a single generic phenomenon (unpatentable) that Hubbard attempted to monopolize by complicating and masquerading with his inimitable, sci-fi fanasty universe view that is not explained in simple, scientifically-supported terms by Capra.

One last word of advice.  Should absorbing intellect not crippled by compliance to two-value logic prove impossible for the binary thinking scientologist, a primer may be in order.  The End of Suffering by Russell Targ and J.J. Hurtak gives a wonderful introduction to four-valued logic, the real thing Hubbard began to introduce – but ultimately eschewed in scientology – under the heading of ‘infinity logic’.

Standard Scientology

Those who obsess on the motivator (object of victimhood attachment) about how David Miscavige is scientology’s problem because he keeps revising scientology are like dogs barking up the wrong tree.  There is a plain fact they are not coming to grips with.  Scientology will forever be altered, revised, re-revised, repackaged, re-organized, and re-compiled.  People on the outside have been at it as hard as scientology organization folk are on the inside.  It is inevitable.  That is not because misunderstood words, the reactive mind or body thetans will forever keep people confused and incapable of applying one-hundred percent scientology standard technology.   Nor will it be because of the unstated (except in confidential upper level secrets), but actually held, scientology belief that humankind can’t get it because humankind is inherently incapable of understanding.  Instead, scientology will continuously be revised because there is no such thing as standard scientology technology.  Like the substance of scientology itself, what constitutes the standard is wholly a subjective matter.

That fact is obvious if one can unlock himself from identifying with L. Ron Hubbard and his work and read the latter dispassionately.  That of course is impossible for those who vow from the outset of their studies – and stick with it all the way through – to the notion that Hubbard is infallible and examination of any comparative data is potentially lethal.  When one who can objectively study scientology does so – particularly when he has tested its methods through extensive practice – something becomes patently clear. That is by conservative estimate more than ninety (90) percent of everything Hubbard wrote and uttered on scientology and dianetics was about how wrong all those who attempted to apply it were.  It is mostly a running stream of consciousness  (albeit held together by a hard core, two-valued logic and persuasively conveyed by a convincing speaker and writer) record of assigning reasons why the promises in the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health were never realized and how they might yet be.   Highlighting that statement is Dianetics’ promise of full memory restoration in 1950 and Hubbard’s last ‘breakthrough’ (OT VIII) – as his 1986 dying declaration – promising to address the reason folk are apparently inherently amnesiacs.

Exacerbating the confusion is that many of the methods Ron educates his followers on as the mechanics intentionally used to control and damage the mind are simultaneously employed by him to do precisely that to his followers.  It is diabolical in that the follower having been educated by Ron on those mental entrapment techniques would then never guess they would be used on the follower.  You wind up with the curious phenomenon of apparently sincere people devoting their lives to vehemently defending their own entrapment.

There is another reason why the obvious is nearly impossible for a scientologist to see.  If there is one skill Hubbard had that perhaps outstripped all others it was his ability to always convincingly sound right while making others wrong.  That skill was exercised as consistently and as uncannily as a falling cat’s ability to land on its feet.  From before the publication of Dianetics, Ron Hubbard proved as immovable as a mountain on being criticized, corrected, or accepting even the most rational of input and advice. Just as consistently, he rained hell on anyone with the temerity to suggest holding his theories up to objective standards.   When he said or wrote something it was communicated convincingly and in an authoritative fashion.  For the next thirty-six years he evolved his subjects by trial and error.  But, the running track of that development was memorialized in a unique voice.  While the track altered and changed everything over and over because of unworkability found with that which was at first communicated as unalterable, absolute fact, the voice of those continuous alterations could admit of no error.  The matter is exacerbated by the fact that it is a ‘research and development’ record based exclusively on subjective standards.   With no objective scrutiny allowed and no accurate, honest assignation of error possible, all manner of erroneous yet authoritative data are driven home just as forcefully as correct ones.

The continuous backfilling that constitutes the bulk of scientology writing and lecturing is apparent in scientology training packs.  The student is not instructed simply on what he should do and why.  Instead, he reads bulletin after bulletin and listens to lecture after lecture of Hubbard talking about how people have misapplied or might misapply what he discovered.   The materials are a patchwork of Hubbard writings and lectures cherry-picked from different periods of time.  They make for a mix chock-full of contradictions.  Without having one’s intellectual honesty compromised by agreeing from the outset that Hubbard is infallible and all of his words are literal Gospel (that which is required in scientology training – along with the requirement to attribute every success to Ron and every failure to pesky humans and their inherent fallibility), all of this would be as obvious as the nose on your face.

Since all scientology courses begin with a warning that if anyone states that anything Hubbard wrote is ‘historical’, ‘background’, or ‘no longer used’ he will be promptly convicted of the crime TREASON, how does one cope with the miasma of contradictions?   Scientology instructors employ a ‘technology’ that has the student convince himself there are no contradictions.  It is so effective that scientology students do not graduate a course until they attest with certitude that everything makes consistent, perfect sense.  The firmness of that idea of certainty is verified by one component of a modern lie detector (the stress testing electropsychometer).  Highlighting this culture of hypocrisy, the cognitive dissonance creating course rooms – which eliminate any questioning, thinking or doubts – are called ‘Academies’ taken from the ancient Greek sites where liberal, critical philosophical thinking was once nurtured.

The net result of all this is that scientology is destined to always incite debate and internecine strife – no matter how enlightened and wise its leadership may be.  There can never be universal consensus on what constitutes ‘standard technology’ given the voice (noted above) scientology is written in and given its inalterable injunctions that that voice may not ever be questioned, interpreted, or clarified.   In a strict organizational setting, the debate goes on inside each individual’s head (until settled by an instilled, arrogant brand of cognitive dissonance) while attempting to keep up, lock-step of course, with management’s latest pronunciamentos on what constitutes ‘standard.’   In an independent setting it is a self-righteous war of words in which nobody can establish a clearly reasoned high ground.  To gain any traction in the debate requires one to progressively retreat further toward adopting Ron’s certain, swaggering and authoritative personality.

That is why bands of scientologists, whether in or out of the official organizations, will always rally around certain, swaggering, authoritative types of personalities – and promptly disperse when that catalyst is removed.   Sadly, but just as certainly, about the closest thing scientologists are going to find to that original L. Ron Hubbard package is David Miscavige.

About the only common denominator all brands of scientology share as something resembling a standard in practice is this: does the guy stay on board and continue paying?  If you have been led to believe that any viable brand of scientology is applying some more enlightened standard you have simply been led to believe yet another lie.  Why do you think that the only allegedly ‘expanding’ independent scientology outfits feature the addition of 47 advanced levels of auditing?  It is like Miscavige inventing the existence of OT Levels IX through XV and beyond, only seven times over.   What you get is power of choice in picking the duration of your addiction.

Those who make a living by trying to convince folks otherwise are profiting by playing on misplaced hopes.  It is a different harmonic of the same game that was played on people within.

There is a silver lining in all this.  In addition to whatever any individual may feel he might have picked up of use along the way in scientology,  there are a couple of assets that probably all scientologists can recognize they possess.  First, they can realize that they were well meaning and trusting to begin with; scientology doesn’t take very well on people without those virtues. Second, they can recognize that they have had the opportunity to hone the latter virtue (trust) by surviving the most intense graduate school of psychological hard knocks.

Are Scientologists Trained to Lie?

Did you ever wonder why scientologists are so comfortable with and accomplished at issuing ‘acceptable truth’ (scientology euphemism for lie)? This may shed some light on the question. For starters, scientologists are taught from the get-go that whatever is true for the individual is true. That datum is presented by L. Ron Hubbard in such wise that usually it is taken as a tremendous validation and empowerment of the reader.  It is so universally accepted as such that it is about the last scientology stable datum a recovering scientologist is willing to question. They find it difficult to reckon that such an idea can ultimately serve as a cement ceiling to any growth beyond wherever scientology might take them.

In fact, it is the first step toward a sort of chronic self-hypnotic state that ultimately automatically converts the scientologist’s subjective world into the objective world.   To a scientologist there is no objective universe, but for the one he or she deigns to be true.*  Over time that subjective reality is thoroughly shaped and molded by the universe view of L. Ron Hubbard. Once fully converted to accepting that wholly subjective, albeit influenced by indoctrination, universe view as objective fact, a hard core scientologist can act rather insanely.  No matter how hard you try to convince him about the existence of an objective fact he will increasingly cling to his ‘reality’ (which after all to him is the only true source of objective fact) no matter how fanciful or insane that reality may be.  Ironically, that is insanity according to Hubbard’s own definition  – unable to sense and perceive that which just about everybody else is able to.

That is one reason why scientology organizations can smugly count on any scientologist in good standing to comfortably commit perjury for scientology and its leaders. Scientologists can and do perform that feat with the greatest aplomb, without the slightest sense of guilt or remorse for doing so.  I have watched lawyers become dumbfounded witnessing scientologists so perform so facilely while under oath.  Those skills are honed in scientology’s ‘Success Through Communication ‘ course that teaches one to comfortably lie as a supposed social necessity.  They are refined in lengthy, arduous witness coaching sessions with scientology legal staff (sessions that are promptly and conveniently forgotten upon command by the scientologist’s cultivated ability to create his own reality).  Connected to legal proceedings or not, the scientologist’s subjective universe view reins so supreme that he can even be unaware that he is lying through his teeth while doing so.

This state of unawareness should not be considered an acquittal for the dishonest scientologist.  That is because every scientologist at some point makes a conscious decision to enter the mindset of permanent self-deception.  It is crossing that line where conscience is consciously overridden in favor of whatever promised fruits await to award faith.  The disease that conversion process nurtures was well described more than two-hundred years ago by Thomas Paine in The Age of Reason (describing corrupt priests):

It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. 

At some point every scientologist consciously passes that threshold where he begins to preach with utter conviction – and steel-eyed intensity; a trademark of scientology – that which in his heart of hearts he knows not to be objectively true.  But, in keeping with his training and conditioning subjectivity reins and trumps reality.  As Paine notes, that becomes possible only after a lot of corrupting and prostituting of one’s own mind.  Over time as it becomes a group validated and reinforced habit then every other crime becomes justifiable.

The result examined here perhaps highlights most dramatically the fundamental betrayal of the Rogerian client-centered therapy that scientology mimics as its ‘central religious practice’ called auditing.   Carl Rogers was quite clear and evidently sincere when he wrote that the end of intelligently and compassionately applied psychotherapy has been achieved when the client discontinues the practice of lying to himself.

 

*For the metaphysically inclined, this is not to be mistaken with Kantian theories (as paralleled and validated more recently by advanced theoretical physics) that physical matter reality is to some degree potential until sensed, perceived and conceptualized.  The distinction became clear to me while reading of Immanuel Kant. That was an eye opening experience after having listened to L. Ron Hubbard for decades repeatedly denigrate Kant and bemoan how impossible it was to understand Kant. It was also interesting to read that Hubbard’s favorite historian Will Durant observed in The History of Philosophy that philosophers subsequent to Kant who could not understand Kant were lost. Durant made that statement even while leveling scientific criticisms at Kant; criticisms that science has subsequently demonstrated as invalid.  Perhaps this footnote supports the argument that Hubbard was more confused than manipulative in heading down some of the paths he did. That idea would not hold very well if one were to demonstrate a pattern of Hubbard intentionally denigrating those whose work could unlock the methods he employed.

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.

 

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.