Tradition in Scientology
Some things in Scientology, while workable, are based on tradition. And in some cases, it might be worth revisiting whether the traditions are necessary to carry forward. Let’s take some examples.
First, if you’re familiar with the org board, you know that the Treasury Division is toward the left hand side of the org board, under the supervision of the Org Exec Sec. (Look at the org boards in the back of the admin dictionary, and you’ll see what I mean.) Having constructed quite a few org boards for various entities, I’ve never quite understood why this is. It always seemed to me more logical to keep Treasury where it is, but have it supervised by the executive in charge of the left hand side of the org board, the HCO Exec Sec. Ron never spoke of why Treasury is under the OES rather than the HES, but judging from the first org board for a Scientology org, years before the lecture Org Board and Livingness, I can only imagine that it was because at that time, it was placed under the executive in charge of what would eventually be the right hand side of the org board. (The original organization didn’t really have a left and right hand side the way we see it today.) And when the 1961 org board was converted to the final 1965 pattern, it was simply traditional to leave it under the “Organization Secretary”. But based on my experience, I’d vote to transfer the Treasury Division to be under the supervision of the HCO Secretary. This also gives the two senior executives the same number of divisions to supervise (three). Just a thought.
Second, the Sea Organization. There were several reasons for the formation of the Sea Organization. First, the time period in which the Sea Org was formed was the early stages of OT research and release. Ron had more (and dangerous) research to do on the OT levels. It needed to take place out of the way of most people. I believe he believed the material he would be researching could be potentially dangerous in the wrong hands, or if it fell into the wrong hands or into the hands of the general public. So he needed a way to be able to carry on with other activities while still doing the research. That meant surrounding himself with highly trained, competent and dedicated Scientologists for a time while he concentrated on the research. Second, Ron did not want to administer the Church forever. He wanted Scientologists to do this task themselves. And he believed such upper level managers needed to be a tough, dedicated crew of people, better trained and more competent than most.
To Ron, the answer lay on the sea. The oceans are a deadly place to be if you’re not familiar with them and all the things that go along with a seafaring existence. Putting a group of landlubbers to sea and training them for sailing would toughen them up immeasurably. Whether trained in the Tech or not, whether trained in the Admin or not, and whether OT or not, this alone would bring out the OT in these people, which is what Ron needed. He needed people who were fearless and who acted as OTs whether they really were or not.
And thus was born the Sea Project, later to become the Sea Organization (SO). It managed the other organizations on the planet and served as the custodian for upper level materials, as it does today in the Church.
One reason for the existence of the Sea Org was the need, in Ron’s words, to be fabian. Being at sea meant it was harder to track them and harder to guess what they would do next. But I believe that eventually, two things became clear. First that it was far too expensive to administer the rest of Scientology and the OT levels from ships. Ships are expensive to operate and require far more maintenance than land-based organizations. Second, the demand for OT levels and other services delivered strictly on the ships was too much for them to handle. There simply were too many customers and too few ships, and there always would be.
So ultimately the decision was made to come ashore and abandon the ships which had nurtured the beginnings of the Sea Project/Sea Org. Land-based organizations were formed, and ultimately the Flag Land Base itself, in Clearwater. But the traditions of the Sea Org remained (seafaring traditions are some of the most stubborn in existence).
There are those in the Field who hate the Sea Org and would like nothing better than to see it completely disbanded. Their reasons vary, but a lot of this feeling I think stems from a certain arrogance which has arisen as a rule of thumb in the Sea Org. This arrogance is unique to the Sea Org. Veterans of naval organizations around the world don’t seem to share this characteristic, so it is not a product of simply having been at sea. It is unique to the SO.
I, too, have seen this arrogance. But I don’t necessarily see it as a reason to simply disband the Sea Organization. My reservations about the Sea Org are more practical. I question whether such a large, semi-monastic organization is still needed. Could highly trained, highly audited and dedicated Scientologists handle the tasks of continental and international management, and custodianship and delivery of confidential materials? I think they could. I would stipulate two conditions, though. First, that those who administer other organizations be highly trained in Tech and Admin, and be highly audited themselves. This is and has always been frequently lacking in Sea Org members, but it is the origin of much of the strife originated at the hands of the Sea Org. Second, that those who embark on “missions” (still needed) be adequately trained to accomplish them using the materials already to hand and written by LRH, as they are now. The only other stipulation I might make is that the ranks of management be thinned considerably. I’m fairly certain that we don’t need near as many managers as there are at upper levels to administer the other, lower level organizations around the world. In some cases, I think continental offices could be eliminated entirely. Leave most of the management of Orgs to the staff that actually does the job on a day-to-day basis. Task upper level “management” with international strategizing and that sort of activity, and make it as light a crew as you can. Keep it sparsely populated and nimble.
Lastly on the list of traditions is the confidentiality of materials from Grade V through OT (and possibly other services). It may be countered that I’m not OT, so I’m not qualified to comment on this aspect of Scientology. If you can make that case logically, I’m willing to agree. But you’d have to make the case logically.
While I’m not OT myself, I am perhaps more aware than most about what the OT levels cover. I have done a fair amount of research on the subject, without actually reading all the materials of all the levels. And from what I’ve seen, none of the materials seem to truly warrant full confidentiality. Some of the materials of the OT levels are straight out of books and lectures from the early 1950s, which are not confidential. Further, the security strictures which are part of standard practice on the OT levels seem a bit extreme and uncalled for to me. You are forbidden to even remove a scrap of paper from areas where OT levels are trained or dealt with, for example.
The world has changed since the OT levels were originally released in the 1960s. The materials are available in the Field and are part of the public record in the proceedings of various court cases now. If you wanted to read through them, you could. I have had people I know read through some of the most potentially “damaging” of these materials unscathed, so far as I know. In fact much of the written material on OT III is written up in a story by LRH called “Revolt In The Stars”.
So the question is, other than tradition, is there currently a reason to maintain the tight confidentiality of the OT levels? Perhaps there was a perceived reason at one time. But under the present circumstances, is there any reason to keep them confidential? The same might be asked about the material on the Ls, or the material on other services currently marked “Confidential”. I’m sure each case would have to be argued separately. But in the end, I’m not convinced there’s any longer a need for all this secrecy. If you’re someone who’s been through these areas and believe otherwise, please let me know. Perhaps I’m wrong. But as it is, I would vote to remove the veil of secrecy from every piece of data and service now marked “Confidential” unless a very convincing case could be made otherwise.
(Some information, like the so-called “Clear Cognition”, warrant confidentiality for obvious reasons. C/Ses should keep such information secret even though it exists in the Field. To have it widely known would tamper with the progress of thousands or millions of people. I don’t have any objection to secrecy where the need is clear. I would only object where tradition is the only seeming reason for it.)
So there you have it. Perhaps there are other traditions in Scientology (as LRH wrote of it, not necessarily as currently practiced by the Church) which deserve reconsideration. Things like the Church’s stricture against Sea Org members having children are not included here, since this was never LRH’s intent. While it may be a tradition now, it was never meant to be so by the Founder, and as a “tradition”, can safely be discarded. In any event, if you have cases similar to the above, let me know.