Archive for the ‘l. ron hubbard’ tag
And yes, the two words in the headline are synonyms:
Through most of this video, Tom Cruise, who has come under fire in the last several years for his association with the Church of Scientology, was fairly reasonable in his discussion with Matt Lauer about the snares of Riddlin and other psychoactive drugs. Although he said it in a quite arrogant way (as he later admitted to Lauer during this 2007 interview), I agree there are way too many kids on Riddlin and way too many people taking medicines for mental/emotional problems (or presumed problems) that could be treated through healthier, more natural ways. (Quick note: Cruise mentioned more than once his knowledge of the history of psychiatry, but gave one point of evidence for that knowledge, which was his claim to know something about the practice of electric shock therapy and giving kids Riddlin without them knowing. I think anyone with a college education who took a Psychology 101 class knows about electric shock therapy and some of those archaic practices. That hardly qualifies as advanced knowledge of psychiatry.)
Near the end of the first clip from 2005, Lauer touched on something that I’m not sure Cruise grasped or adequately answered. To paraphrase, Lauer asked Cruise if it was his desire that more people know and learn about Scientology and Cruise answered, “Absolutely.” Lauer then asked how one goes about that? I think Lauer was implicitely trying to make the point that, in fact, it was difficult to know just what these folks actually believe because their doctrine is so dominated by vague and/or confusing terminology. This seems to be a symptom of many religions/idealogies, which toss around words like enlightenment, inner peace and oneness.
Here, I will focus on one in particular, that of Scientology, and attempt to make this point: if (insert religion/philosophy/cult) was truly the right and better path for us to follow, why must we be asked to pray in the direction of Mecca (would that be due East or as the bird flies, which would leave us praying to the carpet, taking into account the Earth’s circular nature?), be audited, fast, learn two languages, read numerous volumes from given religion, look inward (whatever that mean), study for a lifetime or hop on two feet while patting your head? (I exclude Christianity, or at least, the American evangelical strain, since here, one must only believe in Jesus Christ as the savior, and accordingly, one is “saved.” “Belief” is not an action, but a state of mind or thought-set that could be followed by action based on the belief, i.e. One might say: “I believe in Jesus, therefore, I will go and preach to all nations.”) But not to get bogged down …
This article describes of the basic precepts of Scientology, discusses thetans, incarnation and the universal life force, (whatever that means), which is called Theta. According to Scientology, we are thetans, all being immortal and multi-life living. Here, the origin of life is explained thusly: “All is manifestation of the universal spirit, which is all that actually exists.” But “all that actually exists” is certainly not spiritual. All that exists (planets, stars, black holes, humans, dark matter and the like) aren’t spiritual, but physical elements. How can a spirit be the equivalent to physical items, unless the physical world is set to have some sort of spiritual essence? Are planets, unbeknownst to us, actually spiritual beings similar to mythological traditions where folks worshipped the sun and trees and the sky? Though Scientology was invented in the 1950s, this notion would take a big doctrinal step backward into religious tradition indeed.
But understanding the entanglement of semantics, this is only how this source chose to word the definition of “universal spirit.” Let’s look at how Scientology itself handles these terms.
Thetan: A thetan is the person himself, not his body or his name or the physical universe, his mind or anything else. It is that which is aware of being aware; the identity which IS the individual. One does not have a thetan, something one keeps somewhere apart from oneself; he is a thetan. — www.whatisscientology.org
Theta: energy peculiar to life which acts upon material in the physical universe and animates it, mobilizes it and changes it; natural creative energy of a being which he is free to direct toward survival goals. The term comes from the Greek letter theta (), which the Greeks used to represent thought. — www.whatisscientology.org
Reactive/Analytical mind: One of these — One of these — that part which one consciously uses and is aware of — is called the analytical mind. This is the portion of the mind which thinks, observes data, remembers it and resolves problems. It has standard memory banks which contain mental image pictures, and uses the data in these banks to make decisions that promote survival.
However, two things appear to be — but are not — recorded in the standard banks: painful emotion and physical pain. In moments of intense pain, the action of the analytical mind is suspended and the second part of the mind, the reactive mind, takes over.
When a person is fully conscious, his analytical mind is fully in command. When the individual is “unconscious” in full or in part, the reactive mind cuts in, in full or in part. “Unconsciousness” could be caused by the shock of an accident, anesthetic used for an operation, the pain of an injury or the deliriums of illness. — www.whatisscientology.org
I’ll camp out here. In brief, according to the religion, one interested in becoming a follower should participate in an auditing, a process which seeks to rid the subject of the reactive mind, leaving only the clear, analytical mind. The Web site supposes a person is attacked, words are spoken to that person and various transient noises can be heard by the attacked during the incident. It makes the claim that every single noise, word and detail is remembered by the attacked in the subconscious mind, and when enough similar variables are present (Say, one here’s the same voice again, i.e. an abusive husband, coupled with the sound of water running and car horn outside, the attacked would feel unpleasant emotional pain and even physical (!) pain where the person was attacked.)
But Hubbard renders no scientific proof of this phenomenon and only claims that experiments were conducted by him. Should we just take his word for it, just like we should take Joseph Smith’s word for it that an angel appeared to him in the early-19th century and handed him golden plates which tell of Jesus walking among the Native Americans? Information about one independent test on the phenomena of reactive minds and engrams can be found here. Moreoever, unpleasant thoughts buried deep should not necessarily be done away with, for though the healthier among us don’t spend all our time dwelling on them, they serve a purpose. Those alerting variables, when triggered, signal to us that danger may be near … or not. The mentally healthy person can tell the difference.
We could go on to incarnations, the Xenu creation story and many things befitting a science fiction writer lile Hubbard, but suffice it to say that it was wise for Tom Cruise to say in the 2007 interview previously mentioned:
I’m here to entertain people. That’s who I am or that’s what I want to do. And I went, OK, certain issues and things, my humanitarian issues that’s when I’ll have a proper time and place and proper environment, that’s what we’ll talk about. Me, when I’m promoting films, that’s when I’m here, that’s what I wanna talk about.
While most elements of the aims and the creed of the church are general enough for most good-intentioned people to want to sign on board, a serious, in-person questioning of the church’s core beliefs would likely leave Cruise or any other followers clambering at vaguaries about helping humanity and achieving spiritual betterment. But how are these things achieved? By stamping out subconscious memories and fears and going through self-help sessions, which sound more like initiation procedures and/or re-education classes? One could spend hours sifting through details on the religion’s Web site, and more questions would likely surface than are answered.