The following is the unedited introduction to my next book Scientology 101. It will be published when I make sufficient time to complete it.
Scientology vs. Scientologism
One idea I tried to introduce in the book What Is Wrong With Scientology? (Amazon books, 2012) was Scientology’s need for integration.
Integration is the act or process of integrating, defined by Webster’s as incorporating into a larger unit.
From the beginning of his forays into the mysteries of the human mind and spirit, the founder of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard wished his findings to be integrated into existing fields of study, including psychiatry, psychology, biology, education and the healing arts. His responses to having been so violently rejected in such established fields for the first fifteen years of his journeys were conflicted.
One response was to form what he called a social coordination network. He established its purpose as ‘to subvert the subverters’. The idea was predicated on the assumption that established fields of social betterment were zealously guarded monopolies that had subverted governments and foundations for fortunes. He felt Scientology had better answers than most of them and thus would be justified in subverting the subverters. First he encouraged Scientologists to use Scientology applications in every endeavor where they might bring improvement with them. He even defined a Scientologist as one who applied Scientology to better conditions in life. Then, an organized bureau was created to coordinate Scientologists who had set up groups that applied Scientological solutions to societal problems in a secular (non-religious) framework. They were directed to produce such success rates that accepted, established institutions in those fields would feel compelled to incorporate the proven effective methods of Scientology in their respective disciplines.
During the nineteen seventies and eighties the social coordination network made substantial headway into the fields of drug rehabilitation and education. Its subgroups Narconon (drug rehabilitation) and Applied Scholastics (education) created many groups with impressive records of results with drug addicts and students.
However, within a decade of Hubbard’s 1986 death, Scientology church management (hereinafter Scientology Inc. or corporate Scientology) had perverted the purpose and function of Applied Scholastics and Narconon so markedly as to effectively destroy the groundwork they had laid for the previous twenty years.
Once Narconon had produced some admirable statistics, rather than take rational measures to reinforce those gains, Scientology Inc. killed the goose that laid the golden eggs in two ways. First, Narconon had largely been formed and operated by former drug addicts who had come off drugs using Scientology methods. Rather than help make that fact and its results known, Scientology Inc. shamelessly took credit for Narconon’s successes, touting itself as the operator of ‘the largest and most successful’ drug salvage institution in the world. That promotion was used for two purposes, neither of which forwarded the purpose of Narconon: a) to serve as a mitigation plea against public attacks on Scientology Inc’s unrelated abuses, and b) to extract huge sums of money from Scientologists to forward Narconon as a public relations activity for Scientology (little of said funds ever were directed toward expansion of drug rehabilitation delivery).
The second way Scientology Inc. destroyed Narconon was to take a completely opposite tack when Narconon got into trouble by its own negligence. When failed products of Narconon brought complaints to media or authorities, Scientology Inc. did everything it could to distance itself from Narconon, claiming zero connection or responsibility for its operation. The public at large, possessing a good measure of common sense, couldn’t help but note the hypocrisy.
Applied Scholastics similarly lost the fruits of its decades-long production record at the hands of Scientology Inc’s two-faced, short-cut exploitation mentality. During the seventies and eighties Applied Scholastics schools delivered a wholly secular education, utilizing but one important and central methodology of L. Ron Hubbard, the technology of ‘how to study.’ In that wise, Applied Scholastics schools produced impressive, measurable and recognized results. However, again shortly after Hubbard’s 1986 death Scientology Inc. began undermining the organization’s purpose in pursuit of immediate perceived gain for itself. Scientology Inc. influenced Applied Scholastic schools to introduce ever increasing levels of Scientology indoctrination, and promoted that to existing Scientologists. Tuitions were raised, and percentages were paid to Scientology Inc. Over time the schools became parochial in nature. Eventually the schools degenerated into badly disguised preparation and recruitment pools for Scientology’s priesthood (called the Sea Organization). And as happened with Narconon, when former students publicly complained of their Applied Scholastics experiences, Scientology Inc vehemently distanced itself with a plethora of false denials.
A form of schizophrenia has apparently taken hold of Scientology Inc. It is manifested in the one personality that wants to take credit for every success in Narconon and Applied Scholastics, and at the same time wield the opposite personality that insists on distancing itself every time there is a complaint or failure. It wants to control every aspect of the use of anything written by L. Ron Hubbard – and take a healthy tithe for it – but wants to pretend it doesn’t when things don’t go the way it wishes them to.
Exacerbating the situation is Scientology Inc’s ruthless enforcement of its alleged legal right to control the application of any of L. Ron Hubbard’s ideas. It has created an aggressive, effective legal bureau to threaten and punish anyone who has the temerity to utilize the ideas of Hubbard outside of its stringent control. It has spent tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars over the past several decades using lawsuits as bludgeons to ruin people who have assayed to practice Scientology – as a religion or otherwise – outside the control of Scientology Inc.
As incompetent and discreditable as Scientology Inc’s schizoid Public Relations function has become, it has become as inversely adept at reeling Scientology practice in. It has become so uncompromising and persistent at punishing ‘unauthorized’ application that people do so at great risk to themselves financially.
The situation seems irreversible when one considers the path of Hubbard’s second solution to integration, the attacking of the original chief opponents of the sharing of his ideas, the psychs (as Scientology Inc. refers to all mental health practitioners and researchers). Scientology Inc. established an intelligence and propaganda network to bring down the establishment of those fields. Scientology Inc’s public pronouncements against the psychs are so shrill, so sensationalized, and so exaggerated as to serve the opposite purpose such opposition was originally intended to serve.
Ironically, in the fifties and sixties Scientology acted as a pioneer of sorts for the New Age movement. Since then, however, its corporate form has become a bitter enemy of anything having any connection whatsoever to traditional mental health concepts – which happens to include just about every extant New Age methodology. Scientology Inc’s attacks have thus served as an insular, flat-earth protest against any new ideas that it does not control and profit from. It has thus positioned itself as an extremist cult in the eyes of most mental health, New Age, and spiritualist practitioners, not to mention much of the public at large.
All successful applications of Scientology methodologies not only clerically (in terms of Scientology churches and missions) but secularly (including, but not limited to, education and drug rehabilitation) were originated and pioneered by individuals in those fields who decided to make application of L. Ron Hubbard’s ideas their life’s work. Since Scientology Inc. has become so combative and controlling (and disloyal and irresponsible when their own suffer setbacks) it makes it dangerous to propagate the works of L. Ron Hubbard.
Ironically , it seems that the greatest enemy to the future dissemination of Hubbard’s ideas is none other than Scientology Inc. itself. So effective has Scientology Inc. been in establishing itself as the modern Grand Inquisitor that the very word Scientology has become associated with oppression, repression, and mental captivity.
The vicious cycle is topped off by Scientology Inc.’s strict, literal policy that holds that Scientology contains all of the answers to any and all problems of people, and that conversely no other subject that speaks to the mental and spiritual health of humankind has any validity and nothing to add to the equation.
In 1969 the late, great Viktor Frankl described what Scientology Inc. has become in the year 2012 (without any reference to Scientology at all):
What is dangerous is the attempt of a man who is an expert, say, in the field of biology, to understand and explain human beings exclusively in terms of biology. The same is true for psychology and sociology as well. At the moment at which totality is claimed, biology becomes biologism, psychology becomes psychologism, and sociology becomes sociologism. In other words, at that moment science is turned into ideology. What we have to deplore, I would say, is not that scientists are specializing but that specialists are generalizing. We are familiar with that type called terrible simplificateurs. Now we become acquainted with a type I would like to call terrible generalisateurs. I mean those who cannot resist the temptation to make overgeneralized statements on the grounds of limited findings.
Scientology Inc has turned a self-styled ‘science of the mind’ into an ‘ideology of everything.’ However, Frankl’s words provide inspiration for drawing a line of demarcation, beyond which a clean slate might be established to paint a new future for application of the ideas of L. Ron Hubbard.
On the basis of Frankl’s logic I would like to introduce a distinction between the ideas of L. Ron Hubbard and the terrible generalisateurs who are members of Scientology Incorporated. Scientology Inc. is not the guardian of Scientology. Instead, it is an imposter holding the subject hostage. It has become nothing more than the creator of a new religion, Scientologism, which I contend would be unrecognizable to L. Ron Hubbard. Scientologism has become the greatest suppressor of the circulation of Scientology ideas. It bears no resemblance to the purpose, heart, and soul of the subject of Scientology.
Let us approach the subject of Scientology as a subject. Not as an ideology. Not as a trademark. Not as the esoterica of an exclusive club of misguided, intolerant zealots. Let us evolve and transcend from obsessive, compulsive isms. Let us discuss what Scientology actually is in terms that anyone can understand and apply. Let us attempt to integrate the principal, workable ideas of Scientology with other disciplines so they can be understood and perhaps even serve a purpose to humanity where they can. Let us attempt to shed a little light where there was once only darkness.