Martin Luther

Commenting on Scientology, Inside and Outside the Church

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Overts and Withholds

Steve Hall recently posted a good essay about O/Ws: Lessening The Overt. Steve touches on something I’d like to shed more light on.

As I’ve said before, there is a lot of natter and HE&R in the Field, which indicates overts and withholds. Now, I’m not here to accuse anyone of anything or evaluate for anyone. I’m merely pointing out a technical fact.

But here’s something to consider. Let’s say you sit down to do an O/W write-up (as Steve suggests). You start looking around and writing down overts. You find that your overts are things like, “I didn’t tell the registrar about my tax refund”, or “I spent $1000 on replacing my roof instead of giving it to IAS”, or “I got angry with org personnel who suggested I raid my kids’ college fund for money to go to the Ideal Org program”. Do you see a pattern here?

Without doing an overt/withhold write-up, you could be walking around with these O/Ws for a long time and suffering as a result. But notice what kind of O/Ws these are. According to the Church, they might be genuine overts, but are they really? As a Church member, maybe you subscribe to whatever moral code Miscavige has forced on the Church these days. But the real question is whether that moral code is a valid moral code.

The best yardstick for determining whether something is an overt or not is The Greatest Good For The Greatest Number Of Dynamics. When doing your O/W write-up, you might consider that when looking at possible overts to write up. You might just discover that many, if not most of what you’ve been considering overts, actually weren’t overts at all.

Another point my wife brought up is this (here): Just because you have overts and/or withholds doesn’t make you a bad person. If you live in this universe and you have overts and withholds, congratulations. You’re not alone. We all have them. It’s just a fact. Though the Church may point boney, judgmental fingers at you, realize that’s not part of the Tech. An auditor in session pulling your O/Ws doesn’t care about what you did. His only concern in auditing is to get all the details, so that nothing is left to burden you later. Overt/withhold auditing (and write-ups) are only valuable to the extent they unburden you. Beyond that, no one (including you) should care.

Of course, none of this is license to go around doing bad things, willy nilly. I’m merely pointing out that having O/Ws is not necessarily a black mark on your character, and that many of your O/Ws may not, in fact, be real harmful acts.

Contradictions and Compromises

A lot of effort has gone into using early LRH material from the 50s to invalidate later material and developments.

Early LRH statement (paraphrased): organized religion is a big control operation. And yet here we are with organized religion. Do you think the irony escaped LRH?

Part of the problem here is that Scientology didn’t arrive as a nice, wrapped package with a pink bow around it. It was developed from the ground up, and today we are able to see all the pains and difficulties it went through along the way. Scientology arose through at least two eras, and the shape of those eras is important.

The first era was that of discovery and research. This era encompassed from the late 1930s through most of the 1950s. During this time period, basic principles were discovered and techniques were developed to translate those basic principles into something which could bring Man up from his present state to Operating Thetan (OT). This era yielded all the axioms, logics, prelogics and the Factors. It also yielded the roots of virtually every process in use on the Bridge today.

Another thing to emerge from the first era was the fact of Scientology as a religion. This wasn’t necessarily Ron’s idea, and he was careful to say that he was the founder of the subject of Scientology, not the religion of Scientology. The establishment of Scientology as a religion was a reasonable development. For one thing, Scientology had discovered and proven the existence of the human soul, and had mapped out many, if not most of its characteristics. This marked Scientology as not just a mental pursuit, but a spiritual one.

But beyond this, Scientology as a religion had some significant practical benefits. It meant (in the U.S. at least) that certain taxes and certain types of taxation didn’t apply to the activity. This was of benefit, since it’s axiomatic that the ability to tax something is the ability to control it (at least in the eyes of governments). And the less government oversight and control of Scientology, the less it could be twisted, perverted and shaped by the government. It also protected Scientology organizations from certain governmental dictates and certain types of scrutiny. It may be argued that, these days, it would be better if the government had that kind of ability with regard to the Church, considering what Miscavige and his ilk have done with it. But that couldn’t have been reasonably anticipated at the time. The practice of pastoral counseling, something inherent in the practice of any religion, also prevented the field of psychology, Scientology’s most direct “competitor”, from dictating how the practice of Scientology was conducted.

So while LRH may have made the point in the early 50s that organized religion was a “big control operation”, the fact remains that it had significant benefits for Scientology, and Ron never loudly objected to this development.

The second era was that of consolidation and administration. This era encompassed most of the rest of Ron’s life, from roughly the late 50s to 1986. This period was marked by the creation of the Grade Chart (Bridge) and the establishment of real Organizations and a technology to run them.

In the period between the first and second eras, various things became clear. (I’m speculating here, since I can’t read LRH’s mind, but I think I’m probably pretty close.) One of them was that, in order to significantly expand and spread its influence, Scientology needed stable organizations. Scientology already had the idea of “franchise” (what we could call “missions”). But that wasn’t the same as City Offices and a worldwide administration. Missions were owned by individuals, and free to do pretty much as they pleased. But they needed stable places where they could get personnel trained to deliver and where particularly difficult cases could be sent to have their cases “cracked”. Plus it probably became clear that certain types of auditing should not be in hands which couldn’t be directly dictated to. I’m speaking here of OT levels. Those levels should be the province of organizations controlled by the Mother Church. (While money wasn’t the only consideration here, reserving OT levels for Organizations had the added benefit of ensuring a significant additional revenue stream for Orgs.)

Another pressing need was a stable “Bridge”. Up until this time, techniques had come and gone, technologies had burned bright and faded. For a long time, Ron had searched for the one, brief procedure which would, by itself, transport someone from wog to OT. But the more research was done, the more it became clear that the journey from wog to OT was not a one-shot affair, and that there were a number of factors which needed addressing on a gradient in order to get the average human from start to finish. Ron had pleaded in the Dianetics book for someone(s) to get busy and “build a better bridge”. In the period at the end of the 50s and the beginning of the 60s, it became clear that that task must fall to LRH himself. And that the need for it was more desperate than ever.

One problem presented itself with regard to the Bridge. The 1950s were marked by experimentation and discovery. Ron encouraged auditors to alter techniques and experiment with them to see how improvements could be made. If something bad happened as a result, Ron was rather laid back about the repercussions. In his mind, you simply picked the PC back up, dusted him off, and tried the next technique. But with a pre-dictated Bridge full of “approved” processes done in an exact sequence, all with exact end phenomena (EPs), the idea of experimenting didn’t fit. The idea was to work out an exact set of processes and levels, run the processes exactly to EP, and graduate the PC out the other side with an exact result. Experimentation simply wouldn’t do in such a scenario.

So far, I’ve made it clear that, yes, there were contradictions inherent in the establishment of Scientology as a religion, the creation of Organizations and the standardization of a single Grade Chart. I can’t deny these contradictions, and neither could LRH. Ron also said that Man could not be trusted with Justice. And yet Scientology has a fully developed system of Justice (developed by LRH). Such are the compromises that must be made on a planet like Earth, in a universe like the MEST universe. Is there a better way? Perhaps, and perhaps not. But certainly LRH was unable to see it, and it’s unlikely that anyone else could come up with a better plan, either. Certainly no one ever has.

So yes, there are contradictions. You can use them to add context and improve your understanding of the development of Scientology. Or you can use them to invalidate later parts of Scientology and advocate for altering or throwing out parts of Scientology. And by their use of these contradictions, you may be able to discern who is trying to help Scientology and who is trying to harm the subject.

Scientology Wins

A commenter to another blogger’s blog recently suggested that they were tired of all the bad news, and would like to read about some good news for a change. I think that’s not a bad idea. So let me give you a win my wife and I experienced.

My wife and I met (this lifetime) while we were both students at the International Training Organization (ITO) in Los Angeles. She was from the East Coast studying through the FEBC, and I was from Los Angeles studying through the OEC. The study schedule was comparable to a Sea Org work schedule. She was quite an excellent student, getting through her courses in (unreasonable) checksheet time and tearing through the material with vigor. I was a good student, but much more laid back. She was relatively new in Scientology, but I’d gotten into Scientology a decade before and this was my third instance of being on staff. Needless to say, I’d been through the ringer a few times already.

In any case, because of various postulates we’d both made long long ago, we were attracted to each other. One thing led to another, and we ended up in bed together one night. And everything would have been okay, except that my new lover almost immediately felt pangs of conscience. She turned us into HCO the next day. I’ve teased her for years about being a squealer, but I understood and respected her choice.

Of course, this wasn’t exactly the type of activity the Sea Org staff of ITO wanted to see their outer org students engaging in. The HAS, an older woman of French Canadian birth with a naturally sour disposition, was livid with us. She was ready to have us declared. She immediately commanded that we could not associate with each other, either in or out of class, and put us both on various ethics and clean-up programs. My lover got some 2D FPRD, I got some False Data Stripping, etc. And of course, we both had to start off in quite low ethics conditions. In the meantime the HAS had to have the International Justice Chief (IJC) clean her up on the fact that we weren’t Sea Org, so the Sea Org’s 2D rules didn’t apply to us. Her plans to have us shot from guns dashed by IJC, she continued to put barriers in front of us.

But eventually it came down to this: we were ready to confront the question of possibly having a long term 2D, and the next step was a Non-Existence formula. And that’s where the big win comes in. When was the last time you heard of anyone embarking on a real live Non-Existence formula before they got married? Just doesn’t happen.

But it did with us. We discussed our backgrounds, what we wanted from the second dynamic, what we would expect of each other, etc. We covered all kinds of nooks and crannies, and did a thorough Non-Existence formula. And ultimately we got married. The HAS was thwarted, but the other students at ITO were, in the majority, rooting for us.

(If you detect some sarcasm with respect to that old HAS, your perceptions are correct. I still find it amusing how upset she was with us and how much counter-intention she leveled at us. I like to tease my wife that the only reason I married her was to p*ss off that woman.)

I’m happy to say that we’ve been married for 25 years, and for the majority of our marriage we’ve also worked together. We’ve raised a daughter and now have three granddaughters. I can’t say that Non-Existence formula was the only thing that kept us together, but it certainly helped. And it was an exactly correct application of the proper tech under the proper circumstances.

The Tech works. When in doubt (or Non-E), try it!

Improving/Altering Scientology

Some auditors, now free of the grip of the Church, have used this as a reason to “improve” or “refine” or “extend” Scientology technology. The typical line of reasoning is that technology (in general) rarely stands still, and normally continues to improve. And of course, that would apply to Scientology as well.

I have no doubt that there are areas where Scientology technology could be improved. And if anyone were qualified to improve the technology, it would be a trained auditor. I even understand the impulse. I’ve been involved in computer technology most of my life, and we all know how far that’s come in a few short decades.

But Scientology isn’t computers. In fact, Scientology technology isn’t like any other technology. No other technology even vaguely resembles Scientology. So comparisons to other technologies don’t necessarily hold up, and the same reasoning that keeps other technologies changing may not apply to Scientology.

Your “hat” as an auditor isn’t to “improve” the tech, but to apply it to the PC.

We can imagine LRH, now at Target Two, proselytizing the technology he developed here, and making improvements along the way as needed. And some day when Earth is cleared, we report to Target Three. And our first task is to study up on our “High Crimes”, the tech improvements Ron made while at Target Two.

But for now, the Tech stands as it is, workable and fully exported.

There are good reasons not to “improve” Scientology. For one thing, altering Scientology tends to fracture the group. As an example, how many divisions of the Christian faith can you name? There are two divisions of Catholicism itself. Protestantism encompasses a great many different sects. Imagine a hundred years from now, thirty different variants of Scientology, each based on different “improvements” made to Scientology technology. There would be a tremendous dilution of our movement if every PC and prospective auditor had to choose which variant of Scientology to adhere to. And that’s assuming the “improvements” made actually do improve the workability of Scientology. There are squirrels in the field who would deal in what they call “Scientology” but which is in fact not workable at all. How many more divisions to the subject would they make?

I’ve heard the “market” argument used in favor of improving the Tech. That the “market” (people getting auditing and remarking their successes) would determine which variants survived. But as you can see from existing markets, the “best” of anything isn’t necessarily the only one being sold. There are endless brands of toilet paper, bread and automobiles being sold. And what’s the best brand of cigarette? I don’t think we can rely on the “market” to select out the “best” improvements to Scientology. It sounds good in Economics 101, but the world is a little more complicated than economics professors make it out to be.

It has recently been implied (using lecture material from an early 1950s lecture by LRH) that Scientology has been stultified by the same mechanism that has stopped the true development of other sciences cold. This stratagem attempts to cast those who disagree with it as ignorant flat-earthers. While the claim may be true of other “sciences” it’s questionable whether it is wise to apply it to Scientology. Scientology isn’t just any other “science”. It exists at a level above the sciences because it reveals the basics behind them. As such, making such a claim like this is rather like saying, “We need to revisit the scientific method because it’s been hundreds of years since it’s been updated”.

Another point to consider is that, if there was ever a subject which SPs and PTSes would want to pervert, it would be Scientology. Anything done to sabotage the workability of Scientology or cast doubts on its workability would be fair game in the eyes of such people. And it’s worth observing that those people make up a full 20% of the population, including people in the Independent Field. Unworkable alterations can be subtle. They can include dropping out a command from a process, omitting a process from a level, altering the wording of an existing auditing command, etc. Nearly every decade of Scientology has seen its share of squirrels, many within Scientology, whose actions had to be cleaned up by LRH before he moved on. When LRH finally died, the responsibility to maintain the workability and purity of the Tech fell to us. And the fact that LRH had to clean things up several times before indicates we have not been diligent in our duties along these lines. So we really need to wear LRH’s hat in this now. (And consider that it never was fully LRH’s hat, but ours as well.)

It’s not a question of, “Can we improve the Tech?” It’s a question of, “Should we improve the Tech?” And the answer to that question can best be obtained by looking at the Greatest Good For The Greatest Number Of Dynamics. What happens if you don’t improve the tech? It stays workable and produces a standard result if delivered properly. What happens if you do improve the Tech? What happens not just to the PC in front of you or the PCs which will come after them? What happens to the group going forward? What will it mean to the future of Scientology? Undertaking to improve on what LRH spent decades building and refining will have repercussions beyond your sessions as an auditor.

For those who would be tempted to “improve” the Tech, I’ll let LRH explain it:

Scientology is a workable system. This does not mean it is the best possible system or a perfect system. Remember and use that definition. Scientology is a workable system.

In fifty thousand yeas of history on this planet alone, Man never evolved a workable system. It is doubtful if, in foreseeable history, he will ever evolve another. …

It has been proven that efforts by Man to find different routes came to nothing. It is also a clear fact that the route called Scientology does lead out of the labyrinth. Therefore it is a workable system, a route that can be travelled. …

Scientology, exactly and correctly followed, takes the person up and out of the mess. …

Scientology is a new thing– it is a road out.There has not been one. Not all the salesmanship in the world can make a bad route a proper route. And an awful lot of bad routes are being sold. Their end product is further slavery, more darkness, more misery.

Scientology is the only workable system Man has. It has already taken people toward higher IQ, better lives and all that. No other system has. So realize that it has no competitor.

Scientology is a workable system. It has the route taped. The search is done. Now the route only needs to be walked. …

Squirreling is today destructive of a workable system.

The above was from HCOPL Safeguarding Technology.

And for those who believe others can and should “improve” the Technology, keep the following in mind:

In all the years I have been engaged in research I have kept my comm lines wide open for research data. I once had the idea that a group could evolve truth. A third of a century has thoroughly disabused me of that idea. Willing as I was to accept suggestions and data, only a handful of suggestions (less than twenty) had long-run value and none were major or basic; and when I did accept major or basic suggestions and used them, we went astray and I repented and eventually had to “eat crow”.

On the other hand there have been thousands and thousands of suggestions and writings which, if accepted and acted upon, would have resulted in the complete destruction of all our work as well as the sanity of pcs. So I know what a group of people will do and how insane they will go in accepting unworkable “technology”. By actual record the percentages are about twenty to 100,000 that a group of human beings will dream up bad technology to destroy good technology. As we could have gotten along without suggestions, then, we had better steel ourselves to continue to do so now that we have made it. This point will, of course, be attacked as “unpopular”, “egotistical” and “undemocratic”. It very well may be. But it is also a survival point. And I don’t see that popular measures, self-abnegation and democracy have done anything for Man but push him further into the mud. Currently, popularity endorses degraded novels, self-abnegation has filled the South East Asian jungles with stone idols and corpses, and democracy has given us inflation and income tax. …

Our technology has not been discovered by a group. True, if the group had not supported me in many ways I could not have discovered it either. But it remains that if in its formative stages it was not discovered by a group, then group efforts, one can safely assume, will not add to it or successfully alter it in the future. I can only say this now that it is done. There remains, of course, group tabulation or co-ordination of what has been done, which will be valuable — only so long as it does not seek to alter basic principles and successful applications.

The contributions that were worthwhile in this period of forming the technology were help in the form of friendship, of defense, of organization, of dissemination, of application, of advices on results and of finance. These were great contributions and were, and are, appreciated. Many thousands contributed in this way and made us what we are. Discovery contribution was not however part of the broad picture.

We will not speculate here on why this was so or how I came to rise above the bank. We are dealing only in facts and the above is a fact — the group left to its own devices would not have evolved Scientology but with wild dramatization of the bank called “new ideas” would have wiped it out. Supporting this is the fact that Man has never before evolved workable mental technology and emphasizing it is the vicious technology he did evolve — psychiatry, psychology, surgery, shock treatment, whips, duress, punishment, etc, ad infinitum.

So realize that we have climbed out of the mud by whatever good luck and good sense, and refuse to sink back into it again. See that Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten above are ruthlessly followed and we will never be stopped. Relax them, get reasonable about it and we will perish. …

The common denominator of a group is the reactive bank. Thetans without banks have different responses. They only have their banks in common. They agree then only on bank principles. Person to person the bank is identical. So constructive ideas are individual and seldom get broad agreement in a human group. An individual must rise above an avid craving for agreement from a humanoid group to get anything decent done. The bank-agreement has been what has made Earth a Hell — and if you were looking for Hell and found Earth, it would certainly serve. War, famine, agony and disease has been the lot of Man. Right now the great governments of Earth have developed the means of frying every Man, Woman and Child on the planet. That is Bank. That is the result of Collective Thought Agreement. The decent, pleasant things on this planet come from individual actions and ideas that have somehow gotten by the Group Idea. For that matter, look how we ourselves are attacked by “public opinion” media. Yet there is no more ethical group on this planet than ourselves.

The above is from HCOPL Keeping Scientology Working.

I have a suggestion: How about if we just remain thankful that someone managed to develop a workable route out of the muck, and we happened to be here to take advantage of it? How about if we get ourselves up the Bridge and get trained so we can deliver the Bridge to others, rather than trying to be the smartest guy in the room and figure out how to do LRH one better?

And if you really want to improve a “science”, try physics. There’s no more stuck science in existence today. That way, maybe by the time LRH gets to Target Three, we might just be able to get to the nearest star in something under a thousand years.

Judgmentalism

I just read a blog post from an Independent Field blogger who pronounced “judgmentalism” a fault, and discouraged Scientologists from being judgmental (a recurring theme in his blog). The argument goes that being judgmental is supposedly bad because it cuts us off from the fruits of observation, closes our minds to alternative ideas, and makes us arrogant.

Lack of good judgment is part of the reason why David Miscavige is where he is today. Too many high and low ranking Scientologists failed to execute good judgment and cut him off at the knees when he first got started, and thousands of times since then. Thus, he continues to destroy the group we were all once enthusiastic members of.

Eschewing judgment blurs the lines of right and wrong. Discouraging it is a trap.

Here’s an example of how this happens and the results. Actors are typically taught to suspend judgment of the characters they play. Regardless of the innate evil or worthlessness of a character, they are encouraged to find the “good” in the character and try to explain away his flaws, while playing him in a role. Otherwise, it would be difficult for them to realistically play the role. This type of thinking then tends to become generalized in the minds of actors. Witness a quote from Gwyneth Paltrow from the UK’s Daily Mail.

“Life is complicated and long and I know people that I respect and admire and look up to who have had extramarital affairs.

“It’s like we’re flawed– we’re human beings and sometimes you make choices that other people are going to judge. That’s their problem but I think that the more I live my life, the more I learn not to judge people for what they do.”

Put aside that Hollywood is a cesspool of vice and narcissism. Put aside whether you like or dislike Gyneth Paltrow. Clearly her judgment is impaired. What if these people she likes and admires were, instead, molesting their own children? Would she still refuse to judge their actions? At what point would the suspension of judgment end? How severe would the act have to be before Paltrow again chose to judge the person committing the act? How would she make that distinction, and how would she justify the line which had been crossed? And what would be the difference if she were playing the role of the molester (or criminal or killer) in a film?

(Update A notice in yesterday’s (26 March 2014) newspaper indicated Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Coldplay (band) frontman Chris Martin are separating/divorcing. As with all Hollywood divorces, the reasons are unspecified, and until the tell-all book comes out decades from now, we won’t know, if then. But we can speculate. Anyone voting for infidelity as a significant factor?)

Judgment allows us to determine that an act is right or wrong. We use our moral and ethical codes in conjunction with our judgment in determining the goodness or badness of an act and the person who committed it. It can be argued that, using infinity-valued logic, it’s absurd to label things categorically right or wrong. Nice try. There’s also the Equation of the Optimum Solution: The Greatest Good For The Greatest Number of Dynamics. And I’m sorry, no matter what you think, infidelity is still indicative of a condition of Treason on the Second Dynamic. And this condition will invariably and inevitably pull down the condition of the other dynamics.

I’m sure David Miscavige has all kinds of “reasons” why he does things. But reasons only occur after an action takes place, as a way of justifying the action. (Look it up in LRH references.) The reasons don’t matter. The actions do. It doesn’t matter how the guy was treated as a child or how much abuse he suffered as a result of being a short person. He’s still a bona fide 2-1/2 percenter, and his actions prove it. It doesn’t even take very good judgment to make that determination.

It will also be argued that, as an auditor, you do not sit in judgment of your PC, no matter what he’s done. True. As an auditor, your job is to sit there comfortably, perceive, and get the auditing question answered.

But we’re not talking about auditing here. We’re talking about living life and deciding whether someone is worth associating with, whether a situation is worth getting into, whether a group is a good one to join. All these things require the exercise of judgment.

Suspend judgment, and you’re suddenly unable to definitively say whether someone or something is good or bad, right or wrong. It has the same practical effect as being reasonable. In fact, judgment could perhaps be defined as the inverse of reasonableness.

This tendency to eschew judging people and situations has become an epidemic in this society. The result is a lot of insanity. And the ones who most loudly proclaim the unfairness of judgmentalism are precisely the ones who most deserve to be judged. The idea that being judgmental cripples you mentally or emotionally is a ploy to get you to agree to suspending judgment. After all, you don’t want to appear to others to be rigid and blind, do you? Of course not, because what other people think of you is so important, right?

The fact is that exercising proper judgment need have no effect on whether one can properly observe or entertain new ideas. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

There is something which might be mistaken for judgmentalism, which is an entirely different phenomenon: the service facsimile. The service facsimile serves the person and comprises three things: 1. self right, 2. others wrong, and 3) sympathy for self. In Scientology circles, you see this most readily among Sea Org personnel. And it looks exactly like what you might expect. 1. “We Sea Org personnel are superior to other Scientologists.” 2. “Those other Scientologists can’t cut it/are too cowardly/too weak to be Sea Org.” 3. “Why, look at all we have to endure as Sea Org members.” Some staff have a variation of this, and oppterm with public as a result. And some Scientologists have this type of service fac with regard to wogs (non-Scientologists). These are all unfortunate, but they are handleable with the proper tech. And they are not the same as being judgmental. And any well-trained auditor should know the difference, and be able to spot a service facsimile immediately.

The fact is that most people who advocate for the suspension of judgmentalism are really saying, “Don’t judge me.” And that implicit entreaty reveals a string to be pulled. Why shouldn’t we judge you?

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