Thursday, January 24, 2008

The "New" Scientology?

L. Ron Hubbard created Scientology along with some interesting mythology and equipment. He created Scientology in 1952 as a successor of his earlier self-help system, Dianetics. His early influences included Freud, Aleister Crowley, Hinduism, Buddhism, Carl Jung, Tao Te Ching, the Dharma, and the Vedas. His writings also show Gnostic Christian influences as well. It has come out that Scientology has some rather interesting belief systems that for many years only the higher level followers knew about. This included some rather creative mythology.

This mythology includes some rather creative science fiction that is sometimes recreated in a pseudo "Christmas" pageant. There are bad guys, good guys, heroes, victims, and saviors. It has all the ingredients for a modern day myth. According to Hubbard, there are extraterrestrial dictatorships such as Helatrobus that used "implants" to brainwash and control the human population. L. Ron Hubbard's lectures and writings include accounts of complex extraterrestrial civilizations and alien interventions in human history. One finds it difficult to believe that anyone could actually believe this to be true. And yet we can observe a deep commitment of energy, money, and time to these beliefs by a reported 50 thousand or more people.

One of the "scientific" aspects to Scientology is its use of "scientific" instruments. This includes a device which is a skin galvanometer called an E-meter (electropsychometer). It is said to allow an auditor (therapist) to observe the creation or destruction of "mental mass'' by reading the needle movement. Supposedly this harmful mass is released through a particular therapeutic process unique to Scientology and this release can be measured by the electropsychometer.

One wonders what causes intelligent people to get caught up in ideologies so deeply that they can't see the contradictions that present themselves in any ideology. In the video below you will see how Tom Cruise is used to promote Scientology within the inner circle. This video was not meant to be seen outside the church. You can read in more detail about their beliefs here.

Beliefs of Scientology

It is obvious that Tom Cruise is passionate about living a life of meaning and sees Scientology as the answer for all the world's problems. If one believed that they had THE answer I could see how this would produce a particular high.

What is particularly disturbing about this video is Tom Cruise's treatment of the idea of the SP. When one begins to understand what is meant by the letters SP or Subversive Person, quite a different picture emerges. Here is what L. Ron Hubbard the creator of Scientology says about the SP

A truly Suppressive Person or group has no rights of any kind as Scientologists and actions taken against them are not punishable under Scientology Ethics Codes. — L. Ron Hubbard, HCOPL of 23 December 1965, "Ethics, Suppressive Acts, Suppression of Scientology and Scientologists"

SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed. — L. Ron Hubbard, HCOPL of 18 October 1967, "PENALTIES FOR LOWER CONDITIONS"

Suppressive acts are clearly those covert or overt acts knowingly calculated to reduce or destroy the influence or activities of Scientology or prevent case gains or continued Scientology success and activity on the part of a Scientologist. As persons or groups that would do such a thing act out of self-interest only to the detriment of others, they cannot be granted the rights ordinarily accorded rational beings." — L. Ron Hubbard, HCOPL of 5 April 1965, "HANDLING THE SUPPRESSIVE PERSON"

Looking at the development of Scientology one can get a window into how many religious organizations developed over time. Any group that develops a doctrine of outsiders eventually, when given enough power, takes the belief that the outsider is no longer subject to human rights and uses it to treat these outsiders in any manner they want. This result was seen in certain forms of Christianity and Islam, the Third Reich, Stalinists, and others throughout history.

This has got me to thinking about what types of things would we consider to be deal killers when looking at various belief systems available. What teachings would simply negate anything else the belief system or organization had to offer?

My list of deal killers are the following...

Any teaching system that uses fear or violence to justify its belief or to convince people of its being true.

Any teaching system that appeals to the ego to convince people of its being true.

Any teaching that abandons self examination and accountability.

Any teaching system that is unwilling to grow and change.

Any teaching that creates criteria for judging the relative worth of conscious beings.

I have one more video that I want to share. It made me laugh and I hope any of you reading don't take me or this video too seriously. It also won't be as funny unless you have seen the video above. This is actor Jerry O'Connell's interpretation of Tom Cruise's message...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

What is our True Nature?

When I was growing up I was taught that human nature was depraved and if left in its natural state would degenerate into total depravity. The only thing holding us from total chaos was the moral teachings of Christianity, going to church, accepting Jesus as my savior and the worship of the one true God in the form of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

As a child this created a fear in me of people who weren't Christians because supposedly they didn't have the restraints we Christians had and they could just degenerate into absolute evil at any moment. And even if they were Christians but didn't hold the specific beliefs of my particular denomination, they only had a tenuous hold on moral restraint at best.

This was explained in the doctrine of original sin. This doctrine solved the problem of why everyone on the planet needed salvation. Today some have even put a scientific spin on it and believe that original sin is within our DNA. Or you can take Eddie Izzard's approach when he talks about Original sin.

"Original sin! What a hellish idea that is. People have to go,

“Father, bless me for I have sinned, I – I did an original sin – I – I poked a badger with a spoon.”

“I’ve never heard of that one before! Five Hail Mary’s and two Hello, Dolly's.”

“Oh, all right…”

“Bless me, Father, for I have slept with my next door neighbor’s wife.”

“Heard it. I want an original sin.”

“Oh, I’m terribly sorry.”

In my observations of humanity I have suspected that the opposite is true. I find most people really want to be thought of as good people. In this short presentation by Daniel Goleman the author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, he presents evidence that we are hardwired to be helpful. We have this ability to empathize with other people through some type of common emotional connection. This is activated when we give our attention to the other person. Take a look at this presentation from him at TED.

There are a number of indications that we gain a lot of benefit from doing good deeds. This particular article called The Science of Good Deeds talks about 50 studies going on right now by The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, headed by Stephen G. Post, PhD, a professor of bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

I think I prefer to see humanity as having great potential that is built in rather than see us set up to fail. There certainly is more and more evidence that we have some pretty wonderful things built in simply waiting to be awakened.

One example of this is the professional percussionist Evelyn Glennie. She is able to hear with her body. In fact she has to because she is deaf. I will close with this video of her presenting her motivational view of life to a very appreciative audience.