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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Scientology and the Emperor's New Clothes

You are, undoubtedly, familiar with the fairy tale "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Hans Christian Anderson.

Plot summary from Wikipedia:
An emperor of a prosperous city who cares more about clothes than military pursuits or entertainment hires two swindlers who promise him the finest suit of clothes from the most beautiful cloth. This cloth, they tell him, is invisible to anyone who was either stupid or unfit for his position. The Emperor cannot see the (non-existent) cloth, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing stupid; his ministers do the same. When the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they dress him in mime. The Emperor then goes on a procession through the capital showing off his new "clothes". During the course of the procession, a small child cries out, "But he has nothing on!" The crowd realizes the child is telling the truth. The Emperor, however, holds his head high and continues the procession.
The point, of course, is that when people buy into some idée fixe that does not match reality, they inevitably have to choose: Deny reality or deny the fixed idea. What makes the story so odd and funny is that all the adults in the story chose to deny reality.

Scientologists will be familiar with this concept as Hubbard's "held-down seven". He compared the aberrated mind to a calculator with a stuck "7" key. No matter what you enter into that calculator, the results will be wrong, because "7" has been arbitrarily and automatically entered into every calculation.

So what does all this have to do with Scientology?

Scientologists have a very, very strong and inflexible idée fixe that alters and colors everything they see, everything they hear, everything they do. It is completely arbitrary, unproven and even uninspected, yet it is the foundation of all they believe in.

It is this:
L. Ron Hubbard created a technology that solves everything and always, always works perfectly.
There is, actually, no proof that this statement is true, but all Scientologists would agree, without hesitation, that this statement is absolute Truth.

Because reality doesn't conform to this statement, once this idée fixe has been accepted as absolute Truth, more assertions must be made and must become incorporated into a Scientologist's "reality".

If Scientology "always, always works perfectly", what do you do when it doesn't work? It can't be that Hubbard was wrong! It can't be that the technology was ineffective, or wrong! It must be someone else who is wrong. And so you get this:
If Scientology doesn't work, you haven't applied it correctly.
Ah! Now everything is OK! This is the ultimate excuse and the most amazing and perfect way to ensure that Scientology "always works perfectly".

If Scientology failed, well, by definition, it wasn't Scientology!

If Scientology succeeded, then it was Scientology!

It's the ultimate excuse for any failures in Scientology. No one can prove that Scientology works, no one can guarantee that Scientology works -- but they can redefine any failures as "not Scientology", and, well, that fixes it.

Almost.

You will still get a few people who will very carefully apply Scientology exactly as Hubbard said, and it still doesn't work. What to do? Scientology was applied exactly as Hubbard said, and the good results didn't occur!

Do we accept that Scientology is flawed? Nope! Here's what we do:
Scientology won't work on Evil People!
Perfect! If you don't get better from Scientology -- it's your fault! You are an Evil Person!

Ah! This is really nice! Now you can't complain if you don't see any results! To do so would be to confess that you are an Evil Person! Perfect!

Here is what happens: There are probably several tens of thousands of Scientologists out there, and each one of them didn't get the promised gains from Scientology. I'm not kidding here, not one single person got the promised gains from Scientology. They will inevitably claim they were "happier" after this action or "more certain" after that action, but it is absolutely true that none of them actually got the promised gains from Scientology.

Let me be very clear, here. Some people are confused about what I'm saying. I'm not saying they get no benefit, I'm saying that no one is getting what is specifically promised as abilities to be gained from each and every one of the Scientology levels. These abilities are explicitly promised by Scientology, but never delivered to anyone.

But Scientologists can't admit it! They think that every other Scientologist got the promised gains, and only they didn't. And, because they didn't get the "guaranteed" gains from Scientology, they believe they must be Evil! So they can't admit it. Since they can't talk about it, and they certainly can't tell anyone that they didn't get the gains, nobody in Scientology knows that this lack of results is universal.

No one is getting the promised gains from Scientology. They're all pretending they did and thinking that everyone else really did. And they are all hoping that the next Scientology level will be the one where they get the gains.

They are all wearing Hubbard's New Clothes! Each one is naked and pretending that their clothes are just as beautiful as the clothes every other Scientologist is pretending to wear.
-

17 comments:

  1. Not to refute what you're saying, but I'm a Scientologist and a declared SP and I got gains on pretty much everything I did on the Bridge. In fact, I got huge gains that have stayed with me throughout my lifetime. Even the things I did in Scientology that were wrong (like being forced to do the same rundown twice), I still had realizations and improvement. So there is another side to all this. In addition, I've audited a lot of people from Book One to OT and I've personally seen the gains they received as well... life-changing wins they continued to talk about for years and years. I despise Miscavige since he's an outright criminal. And I freely admit Scientology has many destructive policies that need to be canceled and abolished. As a group, the Church is out-ethics which is why they are called a cult. They have taken on the color of an enemy, which also explains why they mistreat new people, over reg, etc. They need a major reformation to get honest and straight.

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  2. When I was a staff member I used to complain about Scn incompetent management. I would even say "The Emperor has no clothes!" to make my point that I felt like I was the only one with the guts to say what I was seeing. Needless to say the end result was removal, being ostracized as a "criminal" and getting severely punished. What you say here is exactly right, and I know from personal experience that in the Scn world that if that little child in the fable would have said what he said while Emperor Miscavige was going by in a procession, he would have been dragged away and severely dealt with. The end result for the young boy would not have been as light and humorous as it was in the fairy tale.

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  3. Thanks Thoughtful,

    I appreciate what you're saying -- but what you said was exactly what I'm talking about! You had some gains while in Scientology. That's great!

    But...

    You didn't say a word about the promised gains of Scientology.

    Many methodologies, techniques, philosophies, books will provide these kinds of improvements. "I feel better." "I'm happier!" "I understand more!" Many people get very similar gains every day, from many different methodologies or just from living life and paying attention.

    But, what Scientology promises is very specific. And no one achieves those specific gains. No one.

    Take just the lowest level, Grade 0. The "Ability Gained" on Grade 0 is "Ability to communicate freely with anyone on any subject". Oh really? If there is a Scientologist with any decent ability to communicate, you will find that they were like that before Scientology. One thing most Scientologists demonstrate is a lack of ability to communicate to anyone on any subject! Yet they all pretend they "have that ability".

    Grade 1 is "Problems". Every Scientologist I know of or have ever heard of still has problems. Sometimes very serious ones!

    And so on up the Grade Chart. How many "Clears" still get sick, don't have the promised recall, still have the unpleasant reactions to things? Huge gains were promised with the attainment of Clear, but those who have "attained the state of Clear" are no different than non-Scientologists in any measurable way.

    And OT - Cause over Matter, Energy, Space and Time? Not happening. OTs are supposed to have these incredible gains and are supposed to operate at a level of causativeness beyond anything this world has ever seen. It. Isn't. Happening. At. All.

    I don't doubt you've had wins, and I don't intend any invalidation of those wins, but I know of no Scientologist who has had any of the specific, promised results of the Scientology Grade Chart.

    Bill

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  4. "L. Ron Hubbard created a technology that solves everything and always, always works perfectly."

    That's not what Scientology says. Scientology says that it may not have a perfect system, but it works. It does not claim it work perfectly.

    "There is, actually, no proof that this statement is true, but all Scientologists would agree, without hesitation, that this statement is absolute Truth."

    Nope. See - I disagree:-) Therefore your absolute statement is wrong already.

    "Because reality doesn't conform to this statement, once this idée fixe has been accepted as absolute Truth, more assertions must be made and must become incorporated into a Scientologist's "reality"."

    That's true, but this idee is not accepted as absolute Truth apart from the fanatics.

    "what do you do when it doesn't work? It can't be that Hubbard was wrong! It can't be that the technology was ineffective, or wrong! It must be someone else who is wrong. "

    If that was true, then why would they bother having a Qual division?

    " I'm not kidding here, not one single person got the promised gains from Scientology"

    Depends what they were promised and what they are looking towards.

    "But they can't admit it! They think that every other Scientologist got the promised gains, and only they didn't. "

    You are speaking maybe of such things as OT powers here, but it does not necessarily apply to more mundane outlook.

    "And, because they didn't get the "guaranteed" gains from Scientology, they believe they must be Evil!"

    I know of no Scientologist who believe such a thing. You forgot another justification. "It will be resolved with the next level". That's much more common than believing they are evil.

    "No one is getting the promised gains from Scientology. They're all pretending they did and thinking that everyone else really did. "

    Absolute statement.

    "They are all wearing Hubbard's New Clothes! Each one is naked and pretending that their clothes are just as beautiful as the clothes every other Scientologist is pretending to wear."

    I am afraid you are the one wearing the Emperor New Clothes. You make absolute statements that are absolutely true just because you say there are and for no other reason.

    "But, what Scientology promises is very specific. And no one achieves those specific gains. No one."

    Another absolute statement.

    " If there is a Scientologist with any decent ability to communicate, you will find that they were like that before Scientology. "

    Many Scientologists believe that one of the best win they got from Scientology is a better ability to communicate. Only fanatics, from both sides, believe that this must be an absolute, something absolutely perfect.

    "One thing most Scientologists demonstrate is a lack of ability to communicate to anyone on any subject! "

    They may not be able to speak very well about their involvement with critics, but when their faith are not directly involved, most Scientologists have a very good skill at communication, and one that most of the time clearly come from their understanding of the communication cycle they learned in Scientlogy.

    "And so on up the Grade Chart. How many "Clears" still get sick, don't have the promised recall, still have the unpleasant reactions to things? "

    That's an extreme example. While it is true that Scientologists may not achieve the absolute claims of Scientology, it is false to claim they can absolutely achieve nothing. Both position are extreme and fanatical.

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  5. Geez! What a long way to say you disagree!

    I love how you "disagree" but everything you say proves my point.

    Your final sum-up is exactly my point:
    "While it is true that Scientologists may not achieve the absolute claims of Scientology, it is false to claim they can absolutely achieve nothing."

    EXACTLY!

    Re-read the article. I never said there were no gains. I said -- and you said -- Scientologists do not achieve what Scientology promises.

    Thank you.

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  6. One more thing, regarding my statement that Scientology asserts and Scientologists believe: "L. Ron Hubbard created a technology that solves everything and always, always works perfectly."

    You say "That's not what Scientology says. Scientology says that it may not have a perfect system, but it works. It does not claim it work perfectly."

    Excuse me? I'm afraid that is exactly what Hubbard claims! Did you miss the whole "Class VIII Course" thing? Did you miss where Hubbard and Scientology claim that "Standard Tech" is "perfect"? Hubbard even claimed "absolute perfection" for the Flag Land Base.

    You're parroting the Scientology "shore story" that is told to new public. I'm talking about what Scientologists truly believe. They are told and do sincerely and deeply believe that Hubbard's technology is perfect and will solve everything.

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  7. Thoughtful said:
    "I despise Miscavige since he's an outright criminal."

    Scientologists don't say those things if they are still in the cult so excuse me for asking exactly what he has done to deserve this epithet?

    While you're at it, you can also be a little more clear as to explain which 'destructive policies that need to be canceled and abolished.'?

    Thank you.

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  8. It's nice to see LRH fans so talkative. They still manage to dig a hole for themselves though. Such tortuous meandering can only come from having to evade the truth all the time.

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  9. Bill -

    Thanks for posting this!

    I think some people will find some "wins" when they study or practice Scientology, but they'll probably find just as many benefits by picking up a cheaper self-help book! Looking at your situation, or your problems, in new ways can be beneficial because just viewing something from a different angle can help you understand it.

    That's why the self-help section of the bookstore is so big: because people actually find some benefits in all those books. *However*, the fact that there are so many of those books, and so many new ones year after year, is pretty much proof that even if a book/system/philosophy "helps" someone, it doesn't "fix" them or anyone else. No author, no system, no philosophy has all the answers for everyone.

    If Scientology sold itself as "this system helps some people with some of their problems", that would be one thing. But it sells itself as "Our B-grade sci-fi author leader found all the answers and his 'tech' can solve all your problems - just pay us thousands of dollars and let us record all your confessionals and if it doesn't work it's your fault and we'll declare you 'suppressive' if you leave."

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  10. General Public AYSJanuary 21, 2009 at 1:37 PM

    I'm still waiting for the answer to my questions to THOUGHTFUL.It's been a week now.

    So let me add another one -following on from the last sentence in his post:
    "They need a major reformation to get honest and straight."

    What could a major reformation consist of? I believe Bill has touched on this to some degree. Perhaps he may go along with me in thinking that to "get honest and straight" would leave scientology so bereft of it's definitive forms, ideas and structure that it would wither away. It could not maintain it's identity without Hubbards fraud, which is what is was based on in the first place.

    The most it could imagine, instead of it's place in the sun, is amongst the shadows of a bargain basement bookstore, which I should add, is about to close down.

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  11. This idea of a "major reformation" of the Church of Scientology is interesting. I've heard quite a number of people talk about "fixing" the church.

    The problem with that, and the biggest problem (in my mind) that the Church of Scientology faces today is the truth about L. Ron Hubbard.

    First, he created the whole thing. What the church has become is intrinsically built into his policies. If Miscavige hadn't pulled his coup, someone else would have -- probably just as bad, or worse. The various failures of the church, organizationally, with public relations, with OSA, with critics, are directly caused by LRH. These are his policies and dictates that the church is following!

    How much of Hubbard's works would have to be thrown out and how many sane policies would have to be implemented before the abuses stopped and couldn't start again? The mind boggles.

    Yet, if one reveres Hubbard and his works, how could you do that? Is anyone who thinks Hubbard's tech is fantastic going to do away with any of his abusive and destructive policies?

    No, I don't think any "major reformation" is going to happen, ever.

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  12. The Original Laughing ManJanuary 22, 2009 at 8:32 AM

    acta non vreba

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  13. @Original

    I assume you mean "Acta, non verba”, which translates as "Act, don’t talk."

    I also assume you're not a member of the United States Merchant Marines -- just quoting their motto.

    Um... So are you telling everyone to just stop saying anything and that everyone now needs to go out and ... something? Exactly what are you trying to say here?

    Personally, I think that those spreading the truth about Miscavige and his church are acting -- and in a very important way. Walls, razor-wire fences, guard shacks can stop protesters, but they cannot stop Truth. I would certainly never tell critics to stop talking. That is where the real battle has been fought, and where it is being won.

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  14. oooh Just Bill, you are sooo good. thanks for all you do.

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  15. Now that some time has passed, I want to mention that I find it absolutely striking that no one disputes my basic statement. People have quibbled about whether there are any gains from Scientology, but no one has claimed to have actually gained what is specifically promised in Hubbard's writings, lectures and, especially, his Grade Chart. Those abilities were promised. Those abilities, especially "OT abilities" are what Scientologists believe that Scientology delivers. The absolute truth of the matter is that Scientology does not deliver anything that Hubbard promised!

    It is very significant that Scientologists are forced to agree with this. They never saw any of those promised results. No one has.

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  16. At least for me, my strongest, longest and deepest urge has been and is to feel and be free, to be being a soul, free of "energies" that dilute it, that trap and weaken it and that encumber it with "baggage". TOTAL FREEDOM it has been called.

    Couple that with my, now diminished, ego's strongest, longest and deepest urge to be powerful, to have God like powers, to be superior and add the promise by Ron Hubbard that Scientology will have you attain both.

    It is a package EXTREMELY hard to not be seduced by it, and EXTREMELY harder to want to see evidence it does not take you there.

    It is still to me, the biggest betrayal I have ever experienced but I am EXTREMELY (repetitive use purposeful) thankful that it allowed me to experience it, to accept it, to rise above it, to prevent it from ever occurring to me again, and to discover and establish my own bridge.

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