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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Scientology Works???

People who have never had any experience with Scientology have this idea that it is all a scam and a fraud. They have read of some of the more bizarre bits of Scientology and that conclusion is unavoidable. They assume, because some of the "tech" is fraudulent, all of it is fraudulent.

This is the other side of the coin that Scientologists believe. They have experienced improvement from some of the tech, and they assume that all of the tech is good.

This makes it difficult for critics with no Scientology experience, to understand, let alone talk to, the Scientologist. And I think it is important to be able to talk to Scientologists. How else can you help them escape?

It is important to understand that some of the tech actually works for some people. You can't get anywhere trying to tell a Scientologist that "the tech doesn't work". They "know it does!"

Anyone who was roped into Scientology will tell you that it was the "workable" stuff that got them in. That's part of the trap. Which is workable, and how much, is quite subjective.

But here is one of the conundrums of Scientology: its workability. Using anecdotal evidence, it is clear that some of Scientology techniques work for some people. Further, it is clear that some of the technology is more broadly workable, and other bits have, to put it mildly, less workability.

The mystery is that Hubbard seems to have been able to produce some workable techniques at one time, but seems to wander off into strange, unworkable, bizarre stuff at other times.

Was he a genius? Or a fraud?

He couldn't be both. Or could he?

Here I get into personal opinion, but I think it explains a lot. I think he was both. I see his primary genius as his ability to attract smart people to his cause, allow them to develop techniques that actually worked, and then take credit for it all.

In the early days of Dianetics, and then Scientology, there was a tremendous amount of give-and-take. A ton of trying and failing and trying again. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of people were in contact with Hubbard, trying his techniques, reporting results, altering things, thinking up new things. They said "I tried this, it didn't work. I tried that and it did work. Have you thought about doing ...?"

Hubbard compiled it all. His notes and files are gone, but it seems quite obvious to me that he used all this work, research and inventiveness from all these people, and picked out what was reported to work. It was a "wisdom of crowds" effort. He was the catalyst, but it wasn't, really, his tech although he took full credit for all of it.

And a lot of that early stuff is pretty workable.

You see the same situation cropping up occasionally in the later tech. Other people work out some techniques that seem to work, and Hubbard took the credit and issued it over his name.

On the other hand, you also see bits of technology that seem to be solely Hubbard's case, strange things that don't seem to work on others--but pushed by Hubbard as "very important".

I think this explains why some of the Scientology techniques seem rather grounded and workable for a number of people, and other Scientology techniques are so strange and generally unworkable. Early on, Hubbard was smart enough to use the "wisdom of crowds" and was humbug enough to take all the credit. But later, when he tried to develop stuff on his own, he didn't do so well.

Both genius and fraud. I could be wrong, but that's my theory.

And, of course, this is the problem with Scientology. You can't just take some part that works for you, you have to buy the whole wagon load of stuff--workable mixed in with crap. And you're supposed to pretend it all works.

When you have a wagon load of anything mixed with crap -- it all smells like crap.

I should point out that, to my knowledge, pretty much all of the administrative policies were written solely by Hubbard. All of the "Ethics" policies were Hubbard's alone.

This explains why the administration, especially the management, of Scientology is so abusive, so paranoid, so truly unworkable and, well, horrible. Hubbard was not smart enough to listen to others on these subjects. No "wisdom of crowds" in any of that stuff. And it shows.


  1. I am no expert but I believe LRH borrowed his workable ideas such as brain-washing and hypnosis, from psychologists and other scientists, some working in Nazi Germany before WWII. I have seen sites which purport to list his sources. These stolen ideas are based on correct research and they are valid. So some tech works on some people just as hypnosis and brain-washing work on some people.

    The problem that most people have who are not still in a delusional state is what they are used for.

    I read only yesterday of one ex-Scieno who said that a year or perhaps two years after leaving Scientology she suddenly woke up, no longer hypnotised but back in the real world. Could this not be helped by some kind of reprograming? I feel escapees need more help than many of them currently get and that it might be possible to evolve corrective techniques to give them back their minds. Bad enough to waste years in Scientology without having to waste years out of it.

    1. I was involved with a New Age psychic cult which was founded by a former Scientologist auditor. I to also woke up one day and found realized that not only was I hypnotized/brainwashed, but that I was no longer under the influence of them. It then took me nearly 2 years of reframing to see what had happened to me was a form of psychological/emotinoal abuse/manipulation.

      One thing I found which helped me to break free was to talk to people about ordinary things and simple reality. Over time my minds own conditioning reasserted itself and my true personality once again emerged. The term for this is social conditioning.

      I have also used CBT and BT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Behavioral Therapy) to help get more grounded in reality. There are many a good book available to lay people as well as books geared towards the professional. Those with a higher education and stronger critical thinking skill will benefit imensely from reading the more clinical works.

  2. I find it hard to figure out exactly what it is that is supposed to work.

    The "personally, I have had many gains" seems pretty vague. Yet since some of it is apparently considered workable, it must be possible to highlight at least some of the techniques etc., even if their usefulness is subjective and only helps some people.

    Do you have any examples?

    And is any of it better than what you can find much cheaper in the self-help section at your local bookstore?

  3. Re: Gains from Scientology

    Examples? It varies from person to person, so - yes - it is very subjective.

    I have never witnessed anyone's gains from Scientology that were any different from gains from some other self-help therapies. Sure, Scientology promises miracles, but that isn't what they deliver.

  4. But what are the kind of gains that you might achieve from using Scientology?

  5. Re: What are the kind of gains from Scientology

    Hmmm. There simply are no specifics. Well, yes, the Grade Chart lists specifics, but those gains are not, as a rule, delivered.

    It comes down to this: Whatever realizations or life improvements you experience while you are a Scientologist are "gains from Scientology" -- and therefore, could be anything that people experience as realizations or life improvements.

    There really isn't anything else.

  6. I guess at a minimum, you have to say he was a high energy (I mean high output) writer. Look at how fast he pumped out SF. Or how many frigging memos and instructions and all the liek that he wrote. For someone that struggles writing a school paper or the like, I have to a little bit admire his stream of output.

  7. @ Anonymous: R.e. he was a high output writer

    In an oft-quoted 1967 letter to his third wife, Hubbard wrote, "I'm drinking lots of rum and popping pinks and greys." Perhaps these contributed to his high output.

  8. As an individual with a Masters in Clinical Psychology and who has read many a scientific journal article on hypnosis, it is clear that part of the "tech" is indeed based on principles and theories of hypnosis. Hypnosis has a proven track record, however its applications are limited. It also has the potential to be abused, as we have seen with cults like Scientology. Hypnosis can and does improve certain cognitive abilities and can help one overcome certain problems like smoking or insomnia with a degree of success. It has been proven that everyone is succeptible to being hypnotized, but the effects of hypnosis differ from individual to individual, things like dissociation and suspension of rational thought vary from individual to individual.


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