Martin Luther

Commenting on Scientology, Inside and Outside the Church

Art, Part 2

For those of you who suffered through my last post, on Art, this is a follow-up in which I eat crow.

In that post, I made the point that the aesthetic which gets pumped into a work of art was something LRH never talked about, really. He talked about the mechanics and the methods of the art form, but not that aesthetic which gets inserted into a piece of art (usually) and can be perceived by the eventual audience. I made it sound as though this was a crucial omission by LRH, and I thought it was. It puzzled me that LRH would omit such a thing. But as I thought about it, it occurred to me that the one reason LRH would leave it out was if he considered it part of the message.

I thought about that for a long time, and finally realized that that was indeed why LRH had not made a big deal about it. That aesthetic may or may not be there, and may or may not represent beauty or ugliness. But it was indeed an optional component. Meaning that it couldn’t be part of his analysis of the essential elements of a piece of art. His research and conclusions were based on finding out what was common to all art and boiling down all the supposed “laws” of art into what ultimately was a simplicity of a few rules and components for art in general.

So I was wrong and I apologize to those who might have been lead astray by my musings. Occasionally I get it wrong and this was one of those times. LRH was exactly right to omit it from major mention in his writings. The aesthetic of a piece of art, as separate from the mechanical representation is indeed part of the message, not an essential part of the mechanics of art.

Paul

Art

I’m going to start this essay with some of the most basic data about art available from LRH.

ART is a word which summarizes THE QUALITY OF COMMUNICATION.

The order of importance in art is:
(1) The resultant communication
(2) The technical rendition.

HCOB 30 August 1965R Art

If you look at or listen to any work of art, there is only one thing the casual audience responds to en masse, and if this has it then you too will see it as a work of art. If it doesn’t have it, you won’t.

So what is it?

TECHNICAL EXPERTISE ITSELF ADEQUATE TO PRODUCE AN EMOTIONAL IMPACT.

And that is how good a work of art has to be to be good.

TECHNICAL EXPERTISE is composed of all the little and large bits of technique known to the skilled painter, musician, actor, any artist. He adds these things together in his basic presentation. He knows what he is doing. And how to do it. And then to this he adds his message.

And how masterly an expertise? Not very masterly. Merely adequate.

HCOB 29 July 1973 Art, More About

The return flow from the person viewing a work would be contribution. True art always elicits a contribution from those who view or hear or experience it. By contribution is meant “adding to it”.

HCOB 26 September 1977R Art And Communication

Successful works of art have a message.

HCOB 10 March 1984 Message

These are the most basic principles of art. Ron spent many years doing art and many years thinking about it in order to come up with some answers to the most fundamental questions about it. And in the above, he codified them. There is far more to know about it, and you’re welcome to track down the Art Series to read the rest of what Ron wrote on the subject. The above are the most basic data. They are not dogma; you’re free to believe whatever you like. I happen to agree with Ron on these matters.

Ron’s primary claim to fame as an artist was as a fiction writer. From time to time, he dabbled in poetry, photography, music and the like. But he was primarily a fiction writer.

Now I’m going to make an admission which will probably get me attacked by many. It is not a popular stand. And it may look like I’m attacking Ron personally. I am not. I am simply being honest.

Aside from his fiction, I am not a fan of Ron’s art. I haven’t cared for his poetry. Photography is hard to classify as “art”, and you can read more about that in the Art Series. But I’m not a fan of his photography. And I’m not a fan of his music. I’m not saying he was no good at these other things. I’m merely saying that I was not a fan of them. His fiction is excepted. I generally liked that, except for Mission Earth, which I disliked because I’m not a fan of satire.

I’ll get into why in a moment. But first, I want to discuss one more thing about art which Ron never talked about.

I, too, have spent years looking at, listening to and experiencing art. I’ve even created some art here and there, which has been well received. And one observation I’ll make about art is that into each piece of art is injected, by the artist, an aesthetic wave. It draws the audience in, as expected, and is experienced by them just as surely as the red hues in a painting and the notes in a samba. This part of the art is not created by putting pen to paper or brush to canvas. It is actually instilled into a work of art by the artist and becomes a permanent part of the work. The artist himself may be long dead when you view his work, but you will still sense this wave. It is a permanent feature (or not) in any work of art.

For example, I do calligraphy. I can do a rather poor piece of calligraphy, but if I imbue it with an aesthetic of sufficient magnitude, you will call my calligraphy brilliant and attractive. A static or thetan is always drawn, one way or another to an aesthetic, which is why it has been used often in the past when constructing theta traps. In fact, were I OT enough, I could probably simply put out an anchor point, postulate that it generate an aesthetic wave, and then watch the thetans gather round to admire it or at least satisfy their curiosity about it. One can marvel at Michelangelo’s Pieta or David, at the technique and expertise it took to carve these pieces, but if Michelangelo hadn’t infused these pieces with a deep aesthetic, I think these pieces would just be more or less artistic curiosities.

By contrast, you can find “art” which has none or very little of this in it. For whatever reasons, the original artist never imbued the work with anything. They simply created it using whatever technical expertise they had, and then went on about their business. Is it art? Yes it is. because there was enough technical expertise used to create the work. Will it be great art? No.

One might call this aesthetic wave “passion”. It has been called that before. Some of the greatest works of art ever produced by Man are those produced out of religious fervor, something this aesthetic has also been called. And so this aesthetic is mixed with other things, as is often the case. To that extent, they become part of the message of the piece. In fact, beauty may be the only message communicated by a piece. But then you have a work of art with a very shallow message. One note in what could otherwise be a symphony of lust, jealousy, joy, curiosity or suspense.

Now considering this aesthetic can be left out and you can still see an effect created in an audience for a work, is it an essential part of a work? No. Ron was exactly correct that demonstrated technical expertise is all that is necessary to produce art. But I would argue that the reaction to a work is indexed to some extent by how much aesthetic is instilled in it. The more of an aesthetic is added, the more is the reaction.

I should also note that in the higher wave bands, there is not only “high wave beauty” but also “high wave ugliness”. This depends on the shape of the waves, as they might be read on an oscilloscope. A brief discussion of this takes place in the book Scientology 8-80. So one could, theoretically, imbue a work with ugliness. I believe many of our famous artists have done exactly that. Most of them had contempt for the public and their fans, and certainly the critics, who would often cite such ugly works as the best works of their creators. Shows you how much critics know.

But you’re still waiting for the punchline, aren’t you– why I’m not a fan of much of LRH’s non-fiction art (exception: Ron’s non-fiction writings; I don’t consider them art, though they do prove his ability to write clearly). Simple. Because I believe it lacks this last component, or contains too little of it to be noticeable. I could be wrong. That is simply my perception of the mass of his non-fiction works. Perhaps he simply went after technical expertise alone, knowing well the axioms above. I do not know.

You’re free to disagree with me in your opinions of Ron’s art. This essay isn’t really about that. The reason I wrote it, though, was to try to explain why I’m not a fan of Ron’s art.

And I think I’ve done that.

Information Technology, Part 2

Having briefly covered the org board for INCOMM and some of the ramifications and guesses about it, let’s now turn to the IT part of organizations in general, and how it works. By the way, just as an aside, it’s important to note that virtually any organization aside from a Class IV/V Org would have an HCO set up the way INCOMM had it, where all the staff functions were handled in Div 1, instead of having these functions in Div 5, Qual. In an organization that builds automobile engines, you would not have significant parts of the Qualifications Division devoted to examining and correcting staff, for example. And with this sort of set-up in HCO, the main stat for HCO would no longer be something like Qualified Staff Hired (QSH). Instead, it would probably be more along the lines of Number of Staff Completions (of staff training courses, etc.), assuming there was staff a training function at all.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at where IT belongs in a regular, non-computer organization.

The other day, I saw a video by a guy on Youtube who characterized IT personnel as a**holes. Why? Because we, in essence, put people out of jobs. We make organizations more efficient, and in doing so, eliminate jobs. (Incidentally, he was an IT professional himself, not someone from outside looking in, but someone in the thick of the field.)

I would tend to disagree with our pessimistic Youtube friend, even though technically he’s right. But IT does have an image problem in organizations. I’ll use our pessimist’s example to illustrate. Someone puts in a trouble ticket for their computer to be fixed. You show up from the IT side to fix it, and the person says you can’t fix it now, because they’re busy working right now. But you can come back when the person goes to lunch. At this point, the IT person has two choices: either come back when the other person goes to lunch, or log the ticket as cancelled because the person has refused to allow you to work on the computer right now. A lot of IT people will take it upon themselves to come back later, when that person is at lunch or out of the office. But our pessimist insists that the better option is to hold the person’s feet to the fire and insist on fixing it right now or not at all. Why? Because having to come back when the person is not there makes an assumption about your time. It in effect says that their time is more valuable than yours, something which is probably not true. But more importantly, it contributes to this idea that the “computer guys” are some sort of glorified janitors for the computer systems. This is plainly not true. In fact, those “computer guys” can often, with a keystroke or two, bring down your entire organization.

Management has a similar problem with IT. Management really has no idea what you do when you’re in IT, nor how you go about doing it. They don’t understand anything about the computer systems which are typically doing more and more work for the organization. Our pessimist uses an example of sitting in a chair in the server room, staring into space when an executive walks by. The executive walks by, sees the IT person just sitting there, and immediately thinks to himself how nice it must be to have a job where you can sit there and just stare into space. He may even comment on such to the IT person. What he doesn’t understand is that the IT person isn’t just sitting there spaced out. He’s trying to figure out where the problem is and now to fix it. Management looks at the “computer guys” as a more or less necessary evil. They’re a pain in the butt, especially for being the “computer janitors”. When they’re not there, stuff doesn’t work. And when they are there, they’re always interrupting people to get their work done. There doesn’t seem to be any way around this dilemma.

Except that there is a way around the dilemma of IT. Executives, rank and file, and IT professionals must realize that IT is an executive level function. If you think about it, this is inevitably true. Would you entrust the keys to all your organizational data and the smooth functioning of your organization to the janitor? Probably not.

Here’s another corroborating datum: Let’s assume for a moment that you didn’t have a lot IT people hanging around. Let’s assume instead that, for your IT functions, you had to hire an outside firm to deal with your computer stuff. And let’s assume you had to pay this firm on the same order of magnitude as your lawyer. In that case, you wouldn’t delay your IT company’s access to your computers any longer that was really necessary. When the computer guy comes by to deal with your particular trouble ticket, you’d get out of their way right now. In this case, time is money (as the clock ticks away the dollars you’re spending on these computer guys). By the way, the above isn’t a far-fetched notion. I know of organizations which work exactly this way. They are not big enough to hire the one or two computer people who have to care for their computer systems (or at least they think they don’t think they are). So they hire outside consultants who only come in when they are called. And you likely have to get permission to call them, because they’re expensive.

So the IT functions are executive level, with all that entails. They aren’t the “janitors” for the computers (unless your janitors are paid a lot more than the ones I know). Now, where on the org board do they belong? Department 19, with the ED or COO/President? Not quite. IT reaches all the way to the Board of Directors level. Not Department 20 with all the outward facing defense-type functions. No, IT belongs in Department 21, right up there with the Founder, the Board of Directors and other lofty types. This puts it properly in the Executive Division (7), and protects it from the day-to-day interference of other divisions. Note that in the modern world, most large companies have a Board level executive of “Chief Technology Officer” (CTO) or “Chief Information Officer” (CIO). This person is the one who is ultimately responsible to the Board for the smooth and productive operations of the computers.

That’s about it for this one. I primarily wanted to make the case for where IT belongs in an organization whose specialty isn’t computers or data processing.

Information Technology, Part 1

This is the beginning of a series I wanted to do on org boards, IT (Information Technology) and INCOMM. If you’re not interested in any of these topics just skip posts with this title. These posts will be pretty much “inside baseball”, meaning that they have limited appeal, and then only for those who are especially knowledgeable in certain areas.

Some definitions first.

Information Technology (IT)
Anything related to processing of data in a computer context. Could pertain to hardware, software, networks or whatever. But it involves the input, shifting, moving, computation, or output of data on a computerized basis.
INCOMM
That arm of Church of Scientology management which had/has exclusive control over computers and the data in them at the management (and possibly local Org) level.
Operating System (OS)
That part of the software (programs) of a computer which deals directly with the hardware (disk drives, memory, printers, displays, etc.). For example, a key press at a keyboard would be transmitted to the OS, which would then send commands to the terminal display to print that character and move the cursor one space to the right. Anything which affects the hardware of a computer ultimately does so via a path which goes through the OS. Other programs function by sending commands to the OS.
Time Slicing
The process of having a computer do multiple jobs at once by “slicing” up the time of the computer to handle a part of each job during an interval. So the computer might take a “slice” of computer time to send a line to the printer, then print a message to a terminal screen, then compute some real estate formulas, then back for another line to the printer. Each task would take up a “slice” of the computer’s overall “compute time”. Early computers did one full job at a time and then went on to the next full job. Then time slicing was invented to make more equitable use of expensive computer time. Modern OSes also engage in time slicing today, but no one calls it that these days.

I’m going to start this series with quotes from some letters I had back and forth with people at INCOMM back in the early 80s. Those of you old enough to remember back that far may be aware that INCOMM was inaugurated back in the late 1970s or early 1980s to produce a raft of programs which were predicted to be useful to management. This was very early in the PC (personal computer) revolution. At this time, there was no winner in the PC manufacture race, and in fact personal computers were relatively rare. The Internet was something shared only by universities and the federal government. Ron had the idea that computers were now at a level where they could actually be configured to do effective work in the name of the organization. But a typically corporate computer setup was one where a minicomputer (smaller than a mainframe, but bigger than what would eventually be a PC) would be hooked up to “dumb terminals”. The terminals had virtually no computing power, that being vested in the minicomputer. At that time the OSes “time-sliced” to get tasks done. Undoubtedly, the first computers at INCOMM were minis, and it’s likely they would have used time slicing.

The quotes from staff at INCOMM were in response to questions I had sent them. I will not name names, but I may indicate positions they occupied on the org board. These quotes give insights into the internal structure and activities of INCOMM. I have no other specialized knowledge of INCOMM, other than some INCOMM promo put out at the time, and these letters.

In INCOMM, Qual as you know it IS in HCO. This is based on an advice. The Qual functions for staff in our Org become Dept 1A, the Department of Hatting and Enhancement. This department also has the Hats Section that is usually in Dept 1. I run this department. So HCO has 4 departments instead of three.

Div 5 in INCOMM is the “Quality Control Division”. This division examines the computer programs that are written to ensure that they work and are effective, and it examines the hardware systems to ensure that they are maintained standardly. All our products are piloted before implementation. When a pilot of a computer system is complete, it’s Qual that checks out the product for standardness, before it is implemented. Qual is responsible for the quality of the computer software and hardware systems.

In my department [Div 1A], I oversee the following functions:

  • Cramming
  • Word Clearing
  • Auditing
  • C/Sing
  • Training
  • Hatting
  • Hatting
  • Interneships
  • Medical Liaison
  • Library

The person writing that was a Class 9 auditor, for what it’s worth.

The next writer was the “Operations Secretary”, whatever that meant.

1) We do very EXTENSIVE programming.

3) We use a 16 bit microcomputer with Qume (ITT) terminals. (Actually many microcomputers.)
4) We use the computer manufacturers’ OS.
5) We have an eight Div org bd. With 3 tech divs [and] 1 qual div– the tech and qual related to computer technology. …
6) Yes, we service our own equipment.

I should stop here and note what some of the products of INCOMM were supposed to be. As mentioned above, there was a raft of programs which were supposed to be produced by INCOMM to assist management. There was a more-or-less full list of them put out in a piece of promo at the time, but the whole list isn’t really important. I will note here some of them I remember.

  • Mercury: This was an email program before email was really a “thing” on the Internet. Once implemented, staff at management level orgs were able to send “mercs” (email messages) to each other.
  • Target Nudge and Tally (TNT): To the best of my knowledge, this was a program which kept track of targets on programs and nagged staff when they weren’t done, among other things.
  • Red Arrow, Blue Arrow: I don’t recall, but I believe this program had something to do with stats.
  • Source Information Retrieval (SIR): This was the program to make any staff drool. All LRH issues in one place on the computer, and searchable.

Etc. Ultimately, INCOMM had programs which graphed stats and could give you a stat graph of any stat in any Org for any time period. I’ve see print-outs of stats which were four or five feet long and extending the whole length of an Org’s existence.

Now, I include these quotes out of letters from INCOMM personnel not because I have any brief for or against INCOMM. I include them because they say some significant things about how their org board was structured. And that’s a significant part of what I want to examine in this series.

The first thing I’ll say about INCOMM’s org board is that they probably didn’t train raw recruits in computer topics. I’m willing to bet that anyone who worked there and anyone they hired for technical positions already had some expertise in their chosen area of IT. This seems pretty obvious from the fact that the normal three departments of Qual were crammed into one department in Div 1 (HCO). I’m also willing to bet that recruiting was not a top priority for this Org, the way is was for Class IV (or V) Orgs.

Next, three Tech divs. One of the writers above said that after a program was piloted, it was sent to Quality Control (Div 5) to check for “standardness” whatever that means in this context. This means that piloting was done in Tech. If I had to guess, I would say that the three Tech divisions were divided up as: Div 4A, hardware; Div 4B, software (programming and such); Div 4C, pilots.

In a Class IV/V Org, you were building everything from scratch. Not only did you have to audit the PCs, but you had to train the auditors who audited them. Thus, you have a single Tech div with Dept 10 being Technical Services (support), Dept 11 being Training, and Dept 12 being the HGC, where auditing took place. But here in INCOMM, that wasn’t the case. You were purchasing the computers from a manufacturer, servicing them yourself (one whole division for all that). You were writing the software (definitely a whole division for that). And then you were piloting (this is actually a massive activity if done as it should be), making a whole division for that. After all that, on to Quality Control (Div 5).

What Quality Control was doing with this, I can’t say. They were checking for “standardness”, but there’s no way to know what that was. Implementation might well have been the province of Div 6. Makes sense– Div 6 in a Class IV/V Org being known as the “Distribution Division”. It’s certain this would not have been Quality Control’s job. The awareness characteristics for an Org’s Div 5 were “validity”, “enhancement” and “correction”. Validity in INCOMM may have been how closely a program was to its original design specs. Enhancement might have had something to do with new features. Correction might have had to do with bug fixes. Software production is more or less divided into four areas: Design and Specification, original software programming, fixing bugs and adding features. And in the case of software, one might also include a point about rebuilding for different hardware and other, newer languages. For languages, a program originally written, for example, in COBOL, might later be rewritten in C (a likely successor to COBOL for non-scientific applications).

In any case, that’s it for now. Just some quotes and some speculation involving what we don’t know about INCOMM’s internal structure. If you know more than I do about any of this, please comment and let me know.

In God’s Image

There’s a passage in the Christian bible that is typically translated from the original text as something like, “Man was created in God’s image”.

Christians have never really known what to make of this. Obviously, it doesn’t mean that God has two arms, two legs, two lungs and a beating heart. But if not that, what would it actually mean? Christians differ in their opinions, but for the most part they’re guessing, since on its surface, the Bible’s assertion doesn’t seem to make sense.

I’d like to advocate for the position that this section of the Bible should be taken literally.

What makes a god a god? Presumably, he can create universes. He can influence MEST, even to the point of creating and destroying it. He should even be able to create and destroy life, more or less. A god would have no specific location and could be anywhere or everywhere, at his option. Any characteristics beyond this mostly derive from the above.

While I don’t wish to be sacrilegious to Christians, let me assert that these are precisely the native characteristics of a thetan, as we understand them in Scientology. Over the nearly endless ages, we have plummeted in our capabilities and forgotten our history. Ron’s technology, as expressed in Scientology, seeks to rehabilitate the thetan’s capabilities. Once the thetan is fully rehabilitated, he is more or less what he originally was so long ago, with the exception that now he benefits from the experience gained over the almost endless eons.

In essence, there is no difference between a thetan and a god. And the above is what makes Scientology an “applied religious philosophy”. Used properly and precisely, it returns to the thetan that which he has lost, and gives him back all the characteristics which originally made him a being “in the image of God”.

Fortunately, none of this lessens the stature or role of the Christian god, and thus does not stand in opposition to his existence. In fact, from a Christian perspective, it should give one far more comprehension of one’s relationship to God and one’s ultimate role on this planet and in this
universe.

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