Category Archives: psychs

Graduating Scientology

A lot of what I do has come to be characterized by my wife and me as assisting folks to graduate above Scientology.   It is somewhat of a unique notion.  In fact, the vast majority of people who devoted much time to Scientology ultimately go through the graduation process;  reconciling what they learned and gained, differentiating it from the entrapment mechanisms involved, and finding ways to integrate with society, and to evolve and transcend as a person.  As far as Scientology-understanding assistance along that route, resources have been slim.

To date there has really only been a couple of paths for Scientologists and ex-Scientologists; at least ones that are assisted by Scientologists or ex-Scientologists who understand something about the subject.  Both avenues are of the least resistance variety; the easy, least effective ways that ultimately don’t lead toward graduation.

First, one can cling to his firmly held Scientology religious beliefs and continue with the installed cognitive dissonance that entails.  He or she can be guided to pretend that it is all ‘over-there’ in the church and play the ‘I am the resurrection of the real Scientology’ game.   That ultimately leads to a sort of bitter, secluded ‘victorious Confederate soldier’ megalomania and melancholy.  Second, one can be guided to redirect the implanted Scientology need for an enemy and spend years in a state of suspended enturbulation, senselessly flailing at the church or Scientology itself.  The latter route leads to much the same state of mind and consciousness as the former.

I think both routes are infected by perhaps the most insidious virus one is inoculated with in participating in Scientology.   That is the need to have an enemy.  I have written about this before, e.g. Cults, Enemies and Shadows.  It is a decidedly ‘effect’ state of mind; a continual restimulation of a paranoia about the external ‘true’ cause of one’s travails.  It does not lead to growth, evolution and transcendence in any sense.  It is like remaining in High School year after year, failing to evolve past the angst of adolescence.

There has been a tremendous amount of research done on stages of human growth; cognitive, psychological, moral and more.   This is research done by way of learning more about biology, and observing and interviewing tens of thousands of people for over a century.   It is not ivory tower ‘psych’ chatter.   James Fowler thoroughly studied this huge body of work and spent many years observing an entirely new category of development consistent with those already done on moral, biological, and cognitive bases.  His work was on the stages of development of faith.  Please read this excerpt from his book on the subject,  Stages of Faith, concerning the observed stage of adolescence:

New expectations, qualitatively different disciplines and a host of difficult decisions are the requirements with which societies greet the now more womanly or manly adolescent. In trying to meet and fulfill these requisites youth will call on the available and personally resonant ideological resources of their environments, particularly those that are embodied in charismatic and convincing leaders.  They will seek sponsoring groups and figures and will appoint otherwise well-meaning persons as temporary enemies over against whom their identities may be clarified.  They may band together in tight cliques, overemphasizing some relatively trivial commonality as a symbol of shared identity.  In this cliquishness they can be quite cruel as they exclude those who do not share this common element.

The Scientologist and ex-Scientologist adolescent pack mentality can be graduated from.  It opens up to view a wonderful horizon of possibilities and futures.  I think first and foremost it entails getting over the implanted need for enemies.

Emotions II: Play Acting Scientologists

Scientology culture is recognizable by its collective, synthetic ‘cheerful’  or ‘enthusiastic’ emotional tone.  Scientologists learn to put on a happy face.  If they are seen without one, a fellow Scientologist considers it his duty to ‘handle’ it. And that primarily means making the person mentally deal with the life situation causing the lower emotion so that he can easily mentally cope with putting on a happy face in spite of it.  In a Scientology group one is expected to act happy.  To display any emotion less than that results in Scientologists almost instinctively interceding with a person’s psyche to remedy the perceived problem.  A Scientologist learns eventually to convincingly act happy all the time, even when he or she is feeling deep sorrow, a sense of devastating loss, or is suffering pangs of conscience.

Scientologists will bridle at the notion they are taught to play act through life.  But, the technology they are applying day in and day out is plain:

‘Force yourself to smile and you’ll soon stop frowning.  Force yourself to laugh and you’ll soon find something to laugh about.  Wax enthusiastic and you’ll very soon feel so.  A being causes his own feelings.’  – L. Ron Hubbard 25 August 1982

If you read Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior (Amazon Books, 2013) you will get a fairly comprehensive picture of the mood of the Scientology community that Ron was addressing with this bulletin, and the reasons for that tone.   That includes the mood that Ron himself was in.

I think that if you look at it objectively you cannot help but see the effects of a culture en masse adopting the stable datum that emotion is something to create like play acting.  That objective look has prompted some to reckon Scientology culture as resembling those communities depicted in the movies The Stepford Wives and The Truman Show.  How else could otherwise upstanding-seeming citizens blissfully ignore wholesale human rights violations happening at their church’s headquarters, the regular disappearing of church public figures, the forsaking of long-time associates and even family on the arbitrary order of one’s church, the countenancing of extreme methods of harassment directed at anyone who expresses the slightest disagreement with the Scientology way, etc, ad infinitum.  If you believe this only applies to the corporate church community you have got a serious case of denial – maybe even the Stepford/Truman strain.

There is another, accurate, word to describe this phenomenon of manipulating one’s own emotions.  It is called ‘acting.’

As in, act, from New Oxford American dictionary: 2. Behave in the way specified, and  5. Peform a fictional role in a play, movie, or television production.

I have news.  One must for sure act in order to attain desirable emotion, such as those concomitant with ‘happiness.’   But, Scientologists  – notwithstanding all their literalness with exact, precise definitions of terms – are given  and tend to thus dramatize the wrong definition of act.

Try, definition 1, Take action; do something.

Viktor Frankl can ‘splain better than I can:

Normally, pleasure is never the goal of human strivings but rather is, and must remain, an effect, more specifically, the side effect of attaining a goal.  Attaining the goal constitutes a reason for being happy.  In other words, if there is a reason for happiness, happiness ensues, automatically and spontaneously, as it were.  And that is why one need not pursue happiness, one need not care for it once there is a reason for it.

–          Vitkor Frankl, The Will to Meaning

For those Scientologist still sufficiently brainwashed to refuse to consider the words of a psychiatrist – even one who survived three stints in Nazi concentrations camps and demonstrably walked the walk far more realistically than any Scientologist who ever breathed – maybe the following will resonate.   It is understood in the highest halls of academia as well as the streets of Brooklyn.  You gotta work hard to ‘be’ who you wanna ‘be.’   Wake up.  Perceive. Feel. Live.

Scientology and Sociopathy

Taking Scientology as the literal package that it insists that it be taken as in the Keeping Scientology Working (KSW) series, makes a died-in-the-wool KSW Scientology group an inevitable plum for the sociopath’s picking.  Witness Scientology Inc., and Scientology Inc. Ltd.

I made a recommendation originally two years ago, several times since, and will make it again now. If you want to fully understand where I am coming from with this sociopath analysis, and have not already done so, please read The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout.

The following two facts have been repeatedly demonstrated and tested – not simply dreamed up and expressed by some authority:

1)      Sociopaths thrive in groups of well-meaning people; to them such an environment is like shooting fish in a barrel.  Well-meaning people – particularly those inclined to follow – are the first to justify or explain away sociopathic behaviors of someone else, particularly someone in a position of authority.

2)      Sociopaths thrive in highly structured, disciplined, military or para-military type groups.  Sociopaths – many being more clever than average – can easily learn to game such structured, policy-driven systems and thereby rise and game them toward the destruction of lives from a position of power.

Thus, a KSW worshiping Scientology group – which by policy is required to destroy anyone who might disagree with a continuous harmonious group chanting of Scientology mantras – makes for the perfect sociopathic storm.

I have mentioned in the past that in decompressing and moving on up a little higher from the Scientology experience it would serve one well to recognize the difference between walking the walk and talking the talk; both in oneself as well as recognizing it in others.  In a highly literal KSW environ, inevitably the guy or gal who talks the best talk rises to the top – and by its own firm policy, rules over the hearts and minds of his followers.  It is the ideal scene for a sociopath.  He or she can kill, maim, and disable to nothing but hosannas by those he intends to slaughter, provided he or she can stifle any original thought, and instead artfully spit out nothing but green on white (policy) and red on white (technology) of Scientology.

What’s Going On?

I came across an interesting passage in a book – the passage originally published in 1963 – by a prominent psychologist predicting quantum advancements in human consciousness by the marrying of religious and philosophic wisdom with rapidly evolving science. It is fifty years later and it seems Scientology is only now beginning to go through the throes of differentiating the adults (truth seeking spiritualists and values inspired scientists) from the children (flat earth religionists and reductionist-mechanistic inclined scientists).  Scientology seems, to steal a verse from U2, stuck in a moment that it can’t get out of.  From Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences, by Abraham H. Maslow:

These two groups (sophisticated theologians and sophisticated scientists) seem to be coming closer and closer together in their conception of the universe as ‘organismic’, as having some kind of unity and integration, as growing and evolving and having direction and, therefore, having some kind of ‘meaning.’ Whether or not to call this integration ‘God’ finally gets to be an arbitrary decision and a personal indulgence determined by one’s personal myths.  John Dewey, an agnostic, decided for strategic and communicative purposes to retain the word ‘God’, defining it in a naturalistic way.  Others have decided against using it also for strategic reasons.  What we wind up with is a new situation in the history of the problem in which a ‘serious’ Buddhist let us say, one who is concerned with ‘ultimate concerns’ and with Tillich’s ‘dimensions of depth’, is more co-religionist to a ‘serious’ agnostic than he is to a conventional, superficial, other-directed Buddhist for whom religion is only habit or custom, i.e., behavior.

Indeed, these ‘serious’ people are coming so close together as to suggest that they are becoming a single party of mankind, the earnest ones, the seeking, the questioning, probing ones, the ones who are not sure, the ones with a ‘tragic sense of life’, the explorers of the depths and of the heights, the ‘saving remnant.’  The other party then is made up of all the superficial, the moment-bound, the herebound ones, those who are totally absorbed with the trivial, those who are ‘plated with piety, not alloyed with it’, those who are reduced to the concrete, to the momentary, and to the immediately selfish.  Almost, we could say, we wind up with adults, on the one hand, and children, on the other. 

Scientology Perfidy

The following is an excerpt from Mark Bunker’s upcoming documentary ‘Knowledge Report’. It is an accurate vignette of the kind of perfidy that is common at the highest levels of corporate Scientology.  Recent events in the ‘independent’ field caused me to ask myself, borrowing a phrase from the immortal Yogi Berra, “Is this deja vu all over again?”

And for the rest of the story see, Miscavige Throws John Travolta Under The Bus.

Letting Go

When I write of the idea of cultivating the skill of ‘letting go’, some Scientologists react as if I am from the planet Farsec (the alleged origin point of the universe for all psychs, reference: Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior).   On the one hand this is surprising because it is precisely what one does when one experiences a spiritual ‘release’ in a Scientology session.   On the other hand, the idea of employing and refining that capability in life is looked upon as blasphemous.  It is in a way since so much in Scientology implants precisely the opposite idea in believers.

To help get the concept across I have many times recommended folk read and attempt to think with Tao Te Ching (my recommended translation, The Tao Te Ching, an English Translation by Stephen Mitchell).   A number of people have written  to or told me that they have done so, and find the idea of ‘letting go’ liberating and useful in their quests for self- actualization (equinimity attendant to becoming who one really is and attaining toward one’s full potentialities).  Still many want the ‘tech’ to it or an instruction manual of sorts.

I came across a good description of breaking ‘letting go’ down into a process on buddhanet. net.  It is below for your perusal.  I don’t know who the author is and I don’t even know what all is on buddhanet or who operates it. All that I know is that the following description of the process rings accurate in many ways and may communicate to, and be found to be useful by, some.

Letting Go from buddhanet

If we contemplate desires and listen to them, we are actually no longer attaching to them; we are just allowing them to be the way they are. Then we come to the realization that the origin of suffering, desire, can be laid aside and let go of.

How do you let go of things? This means you leave them as they are; it does not mean you annihilate them or throw them away. It is more like setting down and letting them be. Through the practice of letting go we realize that there is the origin of suffering, which is the attachment to desire, and we realize that we should let go of these three kinds of desire. Then we realize that we have let go of these desires; there is no longer any attachment to them.

When you find yourself attached, remember that ‘letting go’ is not ‘getting rid of’ or ‘throwing away’. If I’m holding onto this clock and you say, ‘Let go of it!’, that doesn’t mean ‘throw it out’. I might think that I have to throw it away because I’m attached to it, but that would just be the desire to get rid of it. We tend to think that getting rid of the object is a way of getting rid of attachment. But if I can contemplate attachment, this grasping of the clock, I realize that there is no point in getting rid of it – it’s a good clock; it keeps good time and is not heavy to carry around. The clock is not the problem. The problem is grasping the clock. So what do I do? Let it go, lay it aside – put it down gently without any kind of aversion. Then I can pick it up again, see what time it is and lay it aside when necessary.

You can apply this insight into ‘letting go’ to the desire for sense pleasures. Maybe you want to have a lot of fun. How would you lay aside that desire without any aversion? Simply recognize the desire without judging it. You can contemplate wanting to get rid of it – because you feel guilty about having such a foolish desire – but just lay it aside. Then, when you see it as it is, recognizing that it’s just desire, you are no longer attached to it.

So the way is always working with the moments of daily life. When you are feeling depressed and negative, just the moment that you refuse to indulge in that feeling is an enlightenment experience. When you see that, you need not sink into the sea of depression and despair and wallow in it. You can actually stop by learning not to give things a second thought.

You have to find this out through practice so that you will know for yourself how to let go of the origin of suffering. Can you let go of desire by wanting to let go of it? What is it that is really letting go in a given moment? You have to contemplate the experience of letting go and really examine and investigate until the insight comes. Keep with it until that insight comes: ‘Ah, letting go, yes, now I understand. Desire is being let go of.’ This does not mean that you are going to let go of desire forever but, at that one moment, you actually have let go and you have done it in full conscious awareness. There is an insight then. This is what we call insight knowledge. In Pali, we call it nanadassana or profound understanding.

I had my first insight into letting go in my first year of meditation. I figured out intellectually that you had to let go of everything and then I thought: ‘How do you let go?’ It seemed impossible to let go of anything. I kept on contemplating: ‘How do you let go?’ Then I would say, ‘You let go by letting go.’ ‘Well then, let go!’ Then I would say:

‘But have I let go yet?’ and, ‘How do you let go?’ ‘Well just let go!’ I went on like that, getting more frustrated. But eventually it became obvious what was happening. If you try to analyze letting go in detail, you get caught up in making it very complicated. It was not something that you could figure out in words any more, but something you actually did. So I just let go for a moment, just like that.

Now with personal problems and obsessions, to let go of them is just that much. It is not a matter of analyzing and endlessly making more of a problem about them, but of practicing that state of leaving things alone, letting go of them. At first, you let go but then you pick them up again because the habit of grasping is so strong. But at least you have the idea. Even when I had that insight into letting go, I let go for a moment but then I started grasping by thinking: ‘I can’t do it, I have so many bad habits!’ But don’t trust that kind of nagging, disparaging thing in yourself. It is totally untrustworthy. It is just a matter of practicing letting go. The more you begin to see how to do it, then the more you are able to sustain the state of non-attachment.

A Little Perspective

Excerpted from “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”, a 1964 essay by Richard J. Hofstadter:

“The paranoid spokesman, sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms — he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization… he does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated — if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.

“The enemy is clearly delineated: he is a perfect model of malice, a kind of amoral superman — sinister, ubiquitous, powerful, cruel, sensual, luxury-loving. Unlike the rest of us, the enemy is not caught in the toils of the vast mechanism of history, himself a victim of his past, his desires, his limitations. He wills, indeed, he manufactures, the mechanism of history, or tries to deflect the normal course of history in an evil way. He makes crises, starts runs on banks, causes depressions, manufactures disasters, and then enjoys and profits from the misery he has produced. The paranoid’s interpretation of history is distinctly personal: decisive events are not taken as part of the stream of history, but as the consequences of someone’s will. Very often, the enemy is held to possess some especially effective source of power: he controls the press; he has unlimited funds; he has a new secret for influencing the mind (brainwashing); he has a special technique for seduction (the Catholic confessional).

“It is hard to resist the conclusion that this enemy is, on many counts, the projection of the self; both the ideal and the unacceptable aspects of the self are attributed to him. The enemy may be the cosmopolitan intellectual, but the paranoid will outdo him in the apparatus of scholarship, even of pedantry. Secret organizations, set up to combat secret organizations, give the same flattery. The Ku Klux Klan imitated Catholicism to the point of donning priestly vestments, developing an elaborate ritual and an equally elaborate hierarchy. The John Birch Society emulates Communist cells and quasi-secret operation through “front” groups, and preaches a ruthless prosecution of the ideological war along lines very similar to those it finds in the Communist enemy. Spokesmen of the various fundamentalist anti-Communist “crusades” openly express their admiration for the dedication and discipline the Communist cause calls forth.”