Indirect Proof Auditing Doesn’t Work: The Failure of Independent Scientology

Another reason Scientology auditing doesn’t work: if it worked, there would be tons of “independent Scientology” groups, practicing the “tech” outside of the evil cult. But they’re nowhere to be found. Auditing is thus less valuable to ex-Scientologists than many think. Those leaving today want to distance themselves from all of what they experienced in Scientology, even the allegedly good parts.

I recently posted an article showing why success stories are not sufficient to prove that Scientology auditing actually works, even though there are many people who claim to have received life-changing “wins” while using this technique.   That’s because of the nature of establishing the statistical validity of a hypothesis.  The essence of the argument is that “the plural of anecdotes is not data.”

But here’s another reason that we can be fairly confident that auditing is a relatively ineffective tool for fueling personal growth: “independent Scientology,” the practice of L. Ron Hubbard’s “tech,” should be a much bigger movement than it actually is.

Continue reading “Indirect Proof Auditing Doesn’t Work: The Failure of Independent Scientology”

Asymmetric Activism 3: Occultism Drove Scientology to Be An Asymmetric Totalitarian Target

In this post, I’ll further examine how Scientology morphed from a radical, insurgent mindset, to one of totalitarian monolith, ironically becoming the target of asymmetric tactics, rather than a practitioner. It starts with Hubbard’s embrace of the occult in pursuit of methods of control over an individual or situation. However, the natural progression never stops at one; it invariably leads to an obsession with subjugation and power over an ever-increasing group, rather than simply individuals. Motivation is key in determining the intent of a foe, more so if there’s asymmetry or incoherence in their strategy, especially if their motivations appear highly ideological-based. While financial gain and ideological dominance were part of Hubbard’s motivations, occultism was a founding ethos in Scientology, indeed a vital pillar underpinning Scientology’s abhorrent world view.

In my previous installment, I looked at how the Guardian’s Office (GO) morphed from an insurgent, proto-asymmetrical mindset to one of monolithic, highly-reactive malevolence. But as long-time Scientology watchers know, malevolence was not exclusive to the GO, nor to its more current iteration, the Office of Special Affairs (OSA). Indeed, malevolence is systemic in all facets of Scientology, given its highly retributive-based, punishment-driven amoral operating philosophy. More so, this is not in organizational terms, an organically-evolved phenomenon; it is a direct reflection of the mentality of founder L. Ron Hubbard, who deliberately incorporated methods and processes that arguably ensured malevolence was a founding principle of his “religion.”

Parsons’ and Hubbard’s dalliances with the occult are well known to Scientology historians, primarily as acolytes to English mystic and neo-pagan Aleister Crowley’s Thelema religion. Much of Crowley’s Thelema religious beliefs were perverted by these two, to the point where in a letter to another follower, Crowley essentially disavowed and damned the efforts of Hubbard and Parsons’ in attempting to create a “moon child,” during a series of occult-based events undertaken in early 1946, known as the “Babalon Working” rituals. While Parsons was in communication with Crowley during these rituals, Crowley was both encouraging Parsons as well as besmirching Parsons’ reputation to other Crowley followers. Having compiled a list of Parsons’ supposed transgressions against Thelemic practice, Crowley further stated in no uncertain terms that both Parsons and Hubbard were deranged, and that he wanted no part of any of their “discoveries.”  It’s saying something when one of the most proudly louche and ethically and morally flexible individuals of the age calls you “deranged.”

Crowley’s scorn, the beliefs of Thelema and other 19th century occult practices, such as those of Theosophist  Madam Blavatsky,  pervade much of the underlying tenets of Scientology. Crucially,

“Thelema is founded upon the idea that the 20th century marked the beginning of the Aeon of Horus, in which a new ethical code would be followed; “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”. This statement indicates that adherents, who are known as Thelemites, should seek out and follow their own true path in life, known as their True Will. The philosophy also emphasizes the ritual practice of Magick.”

In other words, as Wikipedia explains it: The fundamental principle underlying Thelema, known as the “law of Thelema”, is “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will.”

While the emphasis here appears to be on a hedonistic self-determinism, grounded in an ethically and morally elastic worldview, Hubbard corrupted this idea of amoral self-determinism into a malevolent philosophy of control and retribution; your self-determinism is fine, as long as you do it  Hubbard’s way. Scientology is the result of this nihilistically-based rejection of traditional social, cultural, and religious beliefs and norms, such as Judeo-Christian ideas of right and wrong, free will, and Enlightenment ideals of liberty, tolerance, and reasoned self-determinism.

If one compares various mainstream religious creation myths to Scientology’s, the contrast couldn’t be starker between the predominant mainstream religious narrative of a benevolent creator and the cult’s volcano tale of Xenu, the evil galactic warlord. The message is that mankind is doomed, and we as Scientologists are mankind’s only hope; Hubbard as its head is thus the ultimate arbiter of salvation, and nothing can stand in the way of our (read: Hubbard’s) “mission.” Hubbard may have indeed been a ‘seeker’ in those early days of Dianetics, a messiah to his early adherents, but it’s clear that he went from messiah to totalitarian in a short time. The “madman” of Bent Corydon’s biography was always lurking in the background; yet there was a method to his madness, in that in one of the few instances of Hubbard appropriately scaling something, he was able to scale from localized, routine control, to a totalitarian absolutism over a multinational quasi-religious crime syndicate.

The organizational parallels and cultural metaphors between Scientology and fascistic forms of control are legion. Hubbard’s megalomania is reflected throughout his many policies, pronouncements, and inflated sense of self in all he did. More so, this “my way or the highway” mentality fostered a punishment culture driven by revenge, retribution, doctrinal inflexibility and dictatorial fiat, wherein accusations of thought crimes were the main means of control. Hubbard’s Scientology was built on totalitarianism as much as fascism, and his essentially malevolent “belief system” ridden with rampant incoherencies, false dichotomies, “alternative facts,” confirmation bias and paradoxes, creating an asymmetric mental mash-up of applied evil. Hannah Arendt, writing in “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” states that a classic attribute of the Totalitarianism of the 1920s and 30s, was to “dissolve every statement of fact into a declaration of purpose.” So in Scientology’s purview,  if psychiatry is evil, it must be “confronted and destroyed;” the same with “suppressive persons” and other members of Hubbard’s paranoid pantheon.

In viewing the motivations and subsequent operations of both the GO and OSA, it is crucial to understand their actions were/are firmly grounded in ideology, as well as in the early days, a direct reflection of Hubbard’s dictatorial caprice. More so, Hubbard in keeping with his oft-stated disdain for wog taxes, government and law, he considered Scientology to be a nation-state for all intents and purposes. Scientology was to operate as its socio-political body, complete with its own organic intelligence, policy and economic oversight, as well as an internal justice system inclusive of an extensive array of behavioral modification practices and punishments, including incarceration on the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), Scientology’s internal gulag. In contextualizing Scientology as manifestly totalitarian, Arendt’s work assumes significance as a means to better understand Hubbard’s underlying premises of control, malice, and retribution, as well as the ideological motivations, intent, and operational ethos of the GO and OSA.

Crucial to Arendt’s thesis is the concept that

“political evil could not be understood as mere extensions in scale or scope of already existing precedents, but rather that they represented a completely ‘novel form of government’, one built upon terror and ideological fiction. Where older tyrannies had used terror as an instrument for attaining or sustaining power, modern totalitarian regimes exhibited little strategic rationality in their use of terror. Rather, terror was no longer a means to a political end, but an end in itself.

Three crucial traits of Scientology are embedded in Arendt’s thesis: First is “a novel form of government,” or in the case of Scientology, “new” means of self-determinism, and “applied religious philosophy;” Second, “modern totalitarian regimes exhibited little strategic rationality;” I’ve argued in earlier segments that Hubbard never understood the difference between strategy and tactics, and this  ignorance crippled his ability to deal with criticism. Lastly, “terror was no longer a means to a political end, but an end in itself;” this describes Hubbard somewhat, but essentially describes David Miscavige incarnate.

 

Spotlight on “The Big List:” The Master List of Ex-COS Members Speaking Out

This contribution by Dutch Anon Trevor Horn, who posts in various forums as TrevAnon,reveals a different side of Anonymous, one where a committed team laboriously puts together a database over the course of a decade to help show the degree of abuses that Scientology has committed.  They are aiming to compile the definitive list of all former members of the Church of Scientology who have spoken out publicly against the organization’s abuses.  

This is a far different side of Anonymous than the one most of us recognize – the protesters outside Scientology facililties with clever signs, a determined but fun attitude, and lots of caek.  But the committed activists laboring on these projects are making an ongoing difference, long after most Anons have hung up their masks. 

The “Big List” project is important but is underappreciated and understaffed.  In this post, Trevor will talk about what it does, why it matters, and how people interested can help, with a one-time perusal of the list to spot any easy additions, to becoming a project member.

Continue reading “Spotlight on “The Big List:” The Master List of Ex-COS Members Speaking Out”

Why Anecdotes Are Not Proof of Anything. Especially not Scientology Auditing

How do you prove that something like Scientology auditing “works?” I’ve had many discussions with former Scientologists who say that their lives changed for the better because of Scientology auditing, and that I should not treat it with such contempt.

I believe the stories of people who have life-changing “wins” from auditing yet, at the same time, I remain resolute in saying that auditing is not proven to be useful.  How do you resolve the apparent paradox in my view?

Continue reading “Why Anecdotes Are Not Proof of Anything. Especially not Scientology Auditing”

Strategic Activism 2: Applied Asymmetry and the Guardian’s Office

The first post in this series discussed the use of principles adapted from the military doctrine of asymmetric warfare as one possible strategy to combat Scientology. This weekend marks the 10 year anniversary of the start of the Anon’s version of asymmetrical warfare against Scientology, both in the virtual and physical spaces, and seems an appropriate place from which to assess Scientology’s use of similar asymmetrical or unconventional tactics.

Continue reading “Strategic Activism 2: Applied Asymmetry and the Guardian’s Office”

Evolution of Scientology Opposition, 1968-2018

Source: t52.org

Today marks the tenth anniversary of Anonymous’ epic protests at Scientology locations worldwide.  While headcount is hard to estimate precisely, the number of people who turned out, many in Guy Fawkes masks, was at the very least a significant fraction of cult membership globally, and may have actually exceeded the total membership of the cult, which we now estimate at around 22,000 globally. Numerous sources have covered the reasons for and the history of Anonymous’ protests far better than we could.

More importantly, the scale of Anonymous’ protests put the cult into a defensive posture from which it has never recovered. The idea that a large group could show up on Scientology’s doorstep without the cult’s OSA goon squad anticipating it and preventing it undoubtedly shook leader David Miscavige to the core. And the cult’s playbook for dealing with protestors was forever shattered.

In this post, we look at why Anonymous was such a landmark in the evolution of opposition to the cult, and we put it in the context of the evolution of cult opposition over the last 50 years. We connect the dots and take a stab at predicting the nature of cult opposition that may come next, particularly if existing opponents change strategic focus to make these next generations of opposition happen.

Continue reading “Evolution of Scientology Opposition, 1968-2018”

Hana Whitfield Interview: Was Hubbard Really Sincere About Helping People?

Scientology devotes an immense fraction of its staff to fixing substandard delivery of its services. It has more people devoted to detecting and deterring “thoughtcrime” from members whose loyalty may be wavering … and even more toiling away in a complex organization designed to ferret out and punish staff incompetence and disloyalty.

To a never-in, this smacks of a poorly designed product from an incompetent organization.  But more importantly, it suggests that Scientology “tech” may actually be deliberately and cynically designed to be impossible to succeed at, with the punishment of failure used as a retention mechanism to keep people in the cult.

Hana Whitfield, a prominent ex-Scientologist who worked personally for founder L. Ron Hubbard for many years, has contributed her perspective on whether Scientology is intentionally (and cynically) designed to fail, whether it was designed to help people but failed at that noble goal or whether Hubbard had a very different approach.  The answer will surprise you.

Continue reading “Hana Whitfield Interview: Was Hubbard Really Sincere About Helping People?”

Analytical Techniques: Don’t Overreact to Single Data Points

Last Thursday, the Los Angeles Times ran an op-ed piece by Scientology leader Miscavige’s consigliere, tax lawyer Monique (“Blinky”) Yingling.  In it, she rebuts a Times op-ed piece that ran back in November that made a case for revoking Scientology’s tax exemption.

We analyze this message — the content, the timing, the larger context of interest in the tax exemption, and we make an emotionally unsatisfying but intellectually honest decision in processing it. Continue reading “Analytical Techniques: Don’t Overreact to Single Data Points”

Strategic Activism: Fighting Scientology Asymmetrically, Part 1

In this, part one of a series on strategic activism, Dr. Jeff Wasel looks at the applicability of the theory of asymmetrical warfare in countering Scientology’s abuses. He revisits and revises some of his previous thoughts on the efficacy of OSA, as well as the current state of the church. Lastly, he looks at historical examples of the use of asymmetric warfare, as well as how the critic community at large can leverage its disruptive abilities.

Continue reading “Strategic Activism: Fighting Scientology Asymmetrically, Part 1”

New Series: Adapting Military Strategy to Guide Scientology Activism

Unorthodox military theories can often provide alternative methods in opposing Scientology. Starting this Sunday, in a series of posts on johnpcapitalist.com, I’ll explain how just one of these theories can exponentially ratchet-up the heat on the church. This theory can also provide a lens in which to view the past actions of the church against the critic movement, as well as gauging the successes of groups such as Anonymous.  Continue reading “New Series: Adapting Military Strategy to Guide Scientology Activism”