Below is a republication of a section of What Is Wrong With Scientology? that addresses my second piece of advice for future vitality of the subject of Scientology (the first was covered in the post, Integrate). Please share your thoughts about these thoughts.
Evolve or Dissolve
During my three-year hiatus from communication with any Scientologists, I worked with a man named John Kelley as a writer and editor for his alternative newspaper in Corpus Christi. John is a retired cognitive-behavioral therapist. One day I asked him to describe cognitive-behavioral psychology to me. He said that the therapist guides the patient to review his past, in order to assist him to come to realization (cognition) about his own behavior. The central idea is that a person’s behavior can only be changed for the better when the individual self-determinatively recognizes the need for it, and decides to do so himself. The therapist does not invalidate (chastise), or evaluate (tell the patient how to think about himself). Instead he simply guides the person to look, so that the patient may come to cognition. In short, John described the heart and soul of the Scientology auditing process, probably better than I had heard any corporate Scientologist attempt to do so in the past. Comparing my discussions with John to the fevered anti-psych rallies of Scientology Inc. got me to thinking about evolution.
Scientology culture has become so “creationist” in thinking as to be as intolerant and blind to the idea of evolution as the most far-out evangelical cult. After 27 years on the inside, I did not fully recognize that fact until I read Ken Wilbur’s A Brief History of Everything. Wilbur very intelligently treats the subject of how humanity, culture and civilization have evolved, and continue to. Wilbur does not write about Darwinism, fossils, apes and genetics. He writes about the changes we as thinking people go through every day, and their cumulative effects on the world community over years, and even centuries. Like Hubbard, Wilbur’s thinking goes so far outside the box he must create new constructs and even nomenclature to describe the concepts he offers. An honest study of that book would startle a Scientologist. What Wilbur discovers and shares from a philosophical perspective aligns with Scientology as closely as the quantum physicists’ discoveries noted in the last chapter. The indirect validations of Scientology in his chapters dealing with spiritual and philosophical evolution are remarkable, particularly when one sees there are no mentions of the subject, and no indication the author has any familiarity with Scientology.
Ironically, while A Brief History to me is a validation of Scientology technology, the organizations of corporate Scientology and the culture it has spawned fit squarely into Wilbur’s description of medieval times, dark ages of stunted and regressed evolution in human history. Those were the times when the church punished and tortured intellectual and scientific renegades who dared to explore outside of – and thus potentially make discoveries contrary to – church doctrine.
Comparing my experience in corporate Scientology to my experience outside of it, and measuring both of them up to accounts and evidence of how philosophy, religion, psychology, and self-help have evolved over the past 60 years, it became apparent to me that Scientology Inc. is not only ignorant of the evolution of thought on Earth, it is fighting it. It is as absurd as Don Quixote’s tilting at windmills. But it is far sadder than the story of the man from La Mancha. Quixote’s fantasy did not visit much harm upon a lot of others. Scientology Inc. is betraying its own people and the philosophy it purports to hold a monopoly on by, among other things, condemning others who are attempting to evolve.
Where did behavioral-cognitive psychology get the idea that the only effective change could come from within the patient? Certainly not from Scientology – that would be the last place targets of corporate Scientology would look for answers. Perhaps it got it from the same place Hubbard did: Eastern thought. In a 1954 lecture, aptly titled Scientology: Its General Background, Hubbard let his people in on how he developed Scientology auditing. Quoting from early Buddhist literature, he explained some of Scientology’s bedrock principles:
And that is simply this (this is from the Dhammapada): “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded upon our thoughts; it is made up of our thoughts.” Interesting, isn’t it? The next verse, you might say, is “By oneself evil is done; by oneself one suffers. By oneself evil is left undone; by oneself one is purified. Purity and impurity belong to oneself; no one can purify another.” Well, it’s just as you say: You can’t grant beingness to the preclear and overawe him; you’ve got to have him working on self-determinism or not at all, if you wanted to give that any kind of an interpretation. In other words, you’ve got to restore his ability to grant beingness or he does not become well. And we know that by test.
As covered throughout this book, those bedrock principles, which serve as the magic that Scientology can be when in well-intentioned hands, have been shattered by corporate Scientology practices which add up to the crippling of self-determinism. And during the decades it took to reverse Scientology practices so thoroughly, traditional mental health practices apparently have adopted some of the same universal truths Scientology is predicated upon. Evolution has thus left Scientology behind. That is not because evolution or the psychological arts and sciences have discriminated against Scientology. It is because the monopoly Hubbard once warned Scientologists against allowing to arise has steered Scientology against evolution. Scientology has become that which it so forcefully resisted. Meanwhile, that which it continues to resist no longer even exists. If Scientologists do not learn to evolve, their vitality will continue to dissolve.