Category Archives: Uncategorized

Purpose

 

Purpose of life might be reducible to the following simplicity:

We serve that which and those whom we care about in the best manner we see fit.

Life becomes most complicated by the arrogant who attempt to dictate to others whom, that which, and how they must serve.

Religion

Perhaps the greatest appeal of religion is its affected ecstasy activities.  Those can provide exhilarating peak experiences. Religion’s greatest benefit might be the order that it brings to its adherents’ lives. Oftentimes however that order and ecstasy only maintain longevity with forfeiture of one’s intellect and sometimes even conscience.  How seriously one regards his religion is a good indicator of how far down that road he has travelled.  When this apparent cycle goes unchecked religion can begin to dictate and even stifle lives.

The Will To Believe

William James observed that ultimately philosophy does not shape needs and wants.   Rather, needs and wants mold philosophy.  Some consider this idea counter-intuitive.  Others demean it as a convenient justification against common notions of morality.  Detractors of James argue that philosophy exists only to keep needs and wants focused in the right direction.  The argument is not without merit.  At the same time it begs the question, who determines the right direction?  It appears to be a dismissal of the view that individuals are capable of exercising free will.  It assumes people are intrinsically incapable of deciding for themselves what the right direction or correct purpose is in life. It also assumes that the proponents of a given philosophy know better.  When that attitude prevails control of thought and behavior can be considered not only acceptable but necessary.

When philosophy (religious or secular) is considered senior to free will, all manner of control mechanism comes with it, both covert and overt.  It is inevitable.  It is evident in religion and in secular circles.  The anti-religious set is not immune.  It too follows philosophies, whether organized, acknowledged, denied or not.  As much as many secular humanists like to denigrate religionists as a form of thought police, they can be just as authoritarian and intolerant as those they sharply criticize.  Sometimes they are not so easy to identify.  That is because they have adopted the language of logic and science to assume the high ground of reason from which to rail against  intuitive-based mysticism and mythology attendant to religion.  All the while, much of their ‘science’ is firmly grounded in beliefs (see e.g.,  Bill Bryson’s ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’). Ironically, one of the earliest and clearest observations of that kettle-pot legerdemain was detailed in William James’ 1896 essay “The Will To Believe.”

I think James’ observation  about what drives philosophy was insightful.  It seems that at the end of the day, one traffics in reason ( including secularism), mysticism (including religion) or a combination of both as one’s needs and wants (free will) dictate.

 

Investigation Discovery

Last year I spent a day with Investigation Discovery (ID) filmmakers outlining the story of my involvement with scientology.   They took what they considered interesting and created a one hour piece from the several hour interview.   A preview can be seen at this link, Investigation Discovery.

ID’s Crime Feed blog also features an interview with me, Crime Feed link.

Interview with Esquire.com

 

Marty Rathbun Is Scientology’s Public Enemy No. 1.  And He’s Okay with That.

Good vs. Evil

 

Choosing a side and then obsessively resisting against another side causes one mental and spiritual dissonance.  One doesn’t get relief from one’s dissonant self by changing sides and carrying on with resisting.  Agreeing to resist and then resisting is the trap.  Many a trap sells jazzed up forms of resistance.  Inspection of the salesmen on either side of most dramatic conflicts shows close parallels to those whom they invite you to resist.  Intuitive people can even perceive their similar exuded discordant wavelengths.

An easy mark for resistance recruiters is someone who has been deeply conditioned to resist.  Such folk are sitting ducks for re-enslavement by entrainment. Resisting against that which you once resisted for appeals to the denialist mind looking for return to the seeming comfortably numb stasis of two-valued thought.  It is the lazy, short-sighted condition experienced by those practicing denialism.

Both sides in denialist conflict depend upon one another for the continuation of their chosen crusade, in some cases even for their very identities.  All the while what you consider of the other side is precisely what it considers of you.  In the world of scientology this week while the post ‘Scientology’s Vortex of Hate’ was current, a prominent scientologist twittered that those interviewed in the documentary Going Clear were akin to ‘Nazis’ talking about Jews.   Meanwhile, one of those alleged ‘nazis’ publicly dropped the same ‘N’ word on scientology twice.   Two-valued logic thinking prevails: black vs. white, right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, God vs. the devil, America vs. the Nazis.

It is a game where everybody ultimately loses. Into the matrix one goes joined with and thoroughly dependent upon his nemesis for his very continued being.  One can even wind up difficult to distinguish from his enemy in terms of language and behaviors.

Transcending is often accompanied by some discomfort and some new thinking; and that requires a tad of courage.  The mechanics are similar to those employed in addiction rehabilitation.   The way out of the matrix is not paved for the pack-minded weak.  That is not to say it requires great effort.  It does require some discipline to learn the skill of letting go.

The simple minded on both extremes of the scientology ‘war’ will no doubt deal with this as denialists do with reason.  It will likely be categorized with a label convenient to stopping thought or contemplation, like ‘a call to apathy’, or ‘lack of compassion’ or ‘an apology for the enemy.’  For those perhaps capable of looking beyond the most immediate emotional impulse, and appreciating nuance and paradox, I leave you with a passage from the Tao Te Ching.

Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water.

Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard; the gentle overcomes the rigid.

Everyone knows this is true, but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the Master remains serene in the midst of sorrow.

Evil cannot enter his heart.

Because he has given up helping, he is people’s greatest help. 

True words seem paradoxical.

Scientology’s Vortex of Hate

Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard developed a complicated knack for sucking all who defied him or failed to comply with his dictates into a vortex of hate.  Virtually all of his closest associates who expressed the slightest doubt or disagreement with him were driven by Hubbard to wind up hating him with a vengeance.  A careful study of Hubbard’s history suggests the cycle was intended.  It garnered him all manner of hysterical calumny that he deftly turned into exhibits in demonstrating hate-filled ‘bias’ against  him and his creation, scientology.  And so it goes with his brainchild scientology and his successor David Miscavige.

In the early fifties Hubbard lectured to his followers that he considered that no group could survive for long absent a well-defined, hate-filled enemy.  He candidly admitted that he ‘chose’ psychiatry (generalized as ‘psychs’ to rope in virtually all mental healing arts and sciences) as scientology’s enemy out of convenience.  It worked well for a while.  Several prominent psychiatric and psychological societies worked feverishly to check or stop scientology in its tracks.  While the psychs were hard at it, scientology saw its greatest expansion, drawing close ranks to energetically fight off real (albeit largely self-created) threats to its survival.  Ironically, fifty years later scientologists came to believe as an article of religious faith that psychs are inherently evil, while psychs came to consider scientology little more than a harmless fringe cult.   Scientology sought refuge in the guise of religion and achieved a sort of immunity from the consequences of its crimes.  But it came at a cost, parking itself in time as a mid 20th Century anachronism.

As society itself evolved and hating lost its social acceptability, scientology lost its expansion-driving underdog, under-siege appeal and cohesiveness.  Its numbers have been gradually declining since the mid nineties when the last serious threat to its continued existence was overcome.   I use the term ‘last’ decidedly, notwithstanding the scientology infotainment blogs’ End of Days prophesying with the airing of ‘Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.’  While the documentary will have an effect on the size of future potential new membership it will do little to change or alter scientology’s course.  (For more on that score, see Vice.com interview.)

Over time Hubbard and scientology fine-tuned their ethics system and organizational pattern to replicate its policies of hatred creation toward anyone who doubted or questioned any aspect of Hubbard or scientology.  The cycle seemed to go:  a) someone exposed scientology abuses or criticized its practices, b) scientology harassed the person to the point of driving him into a rage causing the whistleblower to become a crusader,  c) as scientology’s smears and attacks escalated in their audacity and dishonesty, the crusader naturally clustered with others similarly situated folks for support, (scientology all the while encouraged such clustering pursuant to principals set forth in Hubbard’s recommended text The Art of War) d)  as the cluster was then attacked as an ‘anti-scientology’ group,  its members developed a hate-filled culture, took scientology’s bait and started responding in kind, d) scientology then pointed to the character of hate-filled counter attacks as proof the attackers were haters.  Ultimately, haters hate, they wind up hating each other and the groups having no purpose beyond scientology’s demise accomplish little beyond steeling up scientologists to fight yet more battles.

You can see that same cycle playing out today.  Scientology forums read more and more like scientology’s propaganda sheet ‘Freedom.’  They are replete with name calling, expressing glee at every enemy faux pas, assigning evil motives to any and every enemy utterance or move, pronouncing hyperbolic end of days scenarios for the enemy, even targeting for distrust and enmity anyone who does not exhibit its own culturally devolved standards of ridicule and hate.  Their heaping praise and kudos on those mostly closely adhering to the company line verge on cult-like.  The tone, intelligence and tolerance levels are no different than scientology’s itself.  Their leaders have become as obsessed with scientology as scientology’s leading lights are.  Their sense of right and wrong becomes nearly identical (albeit reversed in vector) to scientology’s.

Scientology’s instilled ‘ethical’ values can be summed up in two clauses:  Whatever or whoever supports and forwards scientology is good; whatever or whoever detracts from scientology is evil.

Similarly, the anti-scientologists’ creed could read:  Whatever or whoever supports and forwards scientology (or, in extreme cases, is even neutral on the subject) is evil; whatever or whoever detracts from or attacks scientology is good.

Sadly, what apparently few of the former friends of Ron and ex-scientologists grasp is that when scientology successfully sucks one into its vortex of hate, one has lost and scientology has achieved its objective.

It is relatively easy to get former scientologists to go this route since they developed such simplistic denialist thinking patterns as scientologists.  They simply reverse the target and carry on as before in the comfort of a new group of like-minded pack members.

It is a regressive cycle.  It involves segregation, devolution, and descent.   It may give one an outlet for a cheap, temporary sense of relief, purpose or importance but at the end of the day it does not achieve its purported aims.   Paradoxically, it often has the reverse effect than that intended.  It winds up fueling scientology’s drive to expand numbers, resources and influence.  That perhaps is not surprising given the fact that that was scientology’s purpose for creating the vortex of hate in the first place.  Ultimately, scientology’s gloating, self-professed conquerors in fact wind up as unwitting agents of scientology itself.

Conversely, the only effective route to individual healing and growth is greater understanding.  Not surprisingly, it is the practitioners of that process that scientology attacks with the most resources and vigor.