From: whatis@wookumz.gnu.ai.mit.edu (....What Is?....)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Re: My opinion on Scientology (a serious post)
Message-ID: <17114@life.ai.mit.edu>
Date: 20 Jul 91 18:56:29 GMT
References: <RBNSTEIN.91Jul19165411@bucsf.bu.edu>
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In article <RBNSTEIN.91Jul19165411@bucsf.bu.edu> rbnstein@bucsf.bu.edu (Michael Rubinstein) writes: >While I have not read "Dianetics" or attended any Scientology functions >myself, I have had an extensive involvement for half my life with >something alternately referred to as "est", "Werner Erhard's Curriculum >For Life" and "The Transformational Institute" (I think). While the >content of est and of Scientology are vastly different, there is, I >believe, a similarity of approach. I have also read the TIME article and >numerous essays by Martin Gardener (much more recent than 1950).

EST is considered a "squirrel group." Here is the definition of "squirrel" straight out of my Tech Dictionary: "Those who engage in actions altering Scientology, and offbeat practices." There is in fact an entire "EST Repair Rundown".

>This similarity I see is that the INTENSITY of the approach, and the >structure in which one is indoctrinated, is much more directly >responsible for the curative or uplifting effects of the work than the >content itself. est seemed to show a greater recognition of this; they >would often deemphasize the content and focus on the process. Werner >Erhard once said he thought it should be possible to achieve the effects >of the Training if he just sat on the stage and read the contents of the >phone book to the audience for two days straight. Fortunately he never >went that far, but you get the idea.

Thatnkfully that's particular to EST. I have never felt indoctrinated. And I worked for the San Diego org for five months! The data is in the books. If you use it and it works, then it's true to you. If you read something that you don't want to believe, you don't have to. It doesn't work on belief at all. I am a very scientific person, and I would NEVER take ANYTHING on belief!

>Another similarity is in theme. Both Dianetics and est focus >particularly on the goal of freeing oneself from being dominated by >negative experiences in one's past. But believe it or not, >"transformational" organizations like these do not have an excluisive >claim on that theme. Most of modern popular psychology is based on the >same idea. In particular, John Bradshaw has helped many people, through >his books and seminars, overcome the hidden pain of childhood that turns >people into "adult children" who perpetuate this legacy in >"dysfunctional families."

There are snippets of truth in anything. Scientology actually borrows heavily from Buddhism. It's not particularly new knowledge, it's more like LRH investigated known mental practices, found out what worked and what didn't, traced the reasons that things worked back to their sources, and started filling in correlations. Psychology has discovered that getting peole to talk about their pain helps. This sounds like they're b6owing engrams without knowing what they're doing. (In fact, gestalt psychology sound to me more like Dianetics than any other branch of psychology.)

>What sets Scientology apart is that it adds to these valid theraputic >ideals a whole host of dogma and gobbledegook and "technology" designed >to attract and comfort those who don't like the fact that REAL science >doesn't provide ALL the answers. I am disturbed by the paradoxical way >in which it embraces the ideal of "science" and yet simultaneously >despises any application of the scientific method, or even that most >basic of scientific philosophies: Occam's Razor.

How so? If you mean that Scientology doesn't seem to tolerate deviance from the core of the technology, I will quote from Ron:

"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 [preclears]. So I know what a group of peole wil 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." --"Keeping Scientology working", L. Ron Hubbard.

> I am also sickened by >the near-deification of L. Ron Hubbard (particularly typified in a huge >color insert in a recent USA Today). Do you see John Bradshaw or Leo >Buscalia (sp?) glorify themselves this way?

This put me off too, when I first noticed it. But after you realize the scope of what he's accomplished, you won't think it's so strange. After doing lots of my own investigation in Scientology, I still don't do it, but I can see why others do, and I don't think them strange for doing it.

>I think that Dianetics works for a lot of people for the same reason >that faith-healing works for so many: the placebo effect. The mind has >an incredible power to heal -- both itself and the rest of the body. >There is no empirical reason to invent metaphysical entities to explain >this, but doing so seems to help, since _strong belief_ seems to focus >the brain on the task.

This shows your misunderstanding of what Dianetics is. For someone who has never read the book, this viewpoint is not surprising. I would in fact expect it. I recommend you read Dianetics. It's only about $5 paperback, and it took me about a week to read.

>I have no problem with Scientology as a religion. People are free to >believe what they like. I am concerned, however, about the ill will it >is spreading towards legitimate science. Certainly psychiatry could use >some reforms, but the solution is NOT the total abandonement of the >scientific method. With the enormous political and economic power the >Church of Scientology has amassed, it presents a serious threat to the >very important need for a worldwide increase in social awareness and >scientific literacy.

I covered this earlier. As far as giving psychiatry any credit, in the July 14 edition of the San Diego Union, there was an article about how psychiatrists want to increase the use of shock therapy, and how the Church of Scientology was opposed to that. I wouldn't even get near a psychiatrist!

>-- >Michael Rubinstein >rbnstein@bucsf.bu.edu >DISCLAIMER: The opinions above are solely mine, and I refuse to mark >them with IMHO's. If you can't tell fact from opinion, you should be >running for office instead of reading news.


-- Steve Boswell | This opinion is distributed in the hopes that it whatis@ucsd.edu | will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY... whatis@gnu.ai.mit.edu |

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