A Theory

Finally Free posted today about an chance encounter with a Scientologist in traffic. He/she asked for suggestions for possible slogans to print on a sign that might be useful in similar situations in the future. In response to that post from I wrote the following:

"Look, Don't Listen!" If a person is still in, way in, they ain't looking. Period. They're listening to PR BS from on high.

This particular phrase is "dinged in" quite a bit, and I believe has memetic power coming from an "enemy."

Elsewhere on this here forum I opined that it takes a break in the church member's willing suspension of disbelief to make them leave.

Protest is theatre, and it occurs to me that the most effective form of protest would attempt to bring about what Bertolt Brecht called Verfremdungseffekt, or "the estrangement effect"; an artificial breaking of the audience's suspension of disbelief, forcing them to evaluate what's going on.

My theory is thus: An "enemy" presenting something the member knows to be true creates cognitive dissonance. Trying to reconcile something "true" coming from a "liar" (as all disaffected, critical enemies are known to be liars) should alienate the member enough that they do begin to look.

Thus, "Look, Don't Listen!" as a slogan. It's been a while since I read them, but there are probably a whole bunch of the old "Dianetics Jingles" that would work as well.

"How else did you justify it?" is a good retort. I'd reeeeally like to see a protester with a huge sign that just says "S/A?" Jason Beghe with a megaphone going through the list of "Famous Justifications" would be nice. Larry Anderson with a megaphone letting members know "You have a choice" would make me all giggly.

Brecht wrote, "Once the world is presented as strange, it must also arouse in the spectator the desire to alter it."

A little further explanation from the master dramatist:

The estrangement effect occurs when the thing to be understood, the thing to which attention is to be drawn, is changed from an ordinary, well-known, immediately present thing into a particular, striking, unexpected thing. In a certain sense the self-evident is made incomprehensible, although this only happens in order to make it all the more comprehensible.

I'm curious to know what you experienced protesters think of my armchair theorizing!
 

Zinjifar

Silver Meritorious Sponsor
Well, 'Look; don't listen!' has been used as a sign and, directed at Staffers, it's a good one. (Wog public would miss the point)

The big problem is that there is no 'magic bullet' to 'get people out', and, I realize you're not suggesting that there is.

As a slogan it is a good one, but, it's a two-edged one. Similar to 'thought stopping phrases' the Staffer *is* familiar with the phrase, but also has an automatic reaction to it. And that reaction is *not* to reexamine any 'stable data'.

What I mean by this is that I've been amazed to hear from many people who were in that they'd read '1984' *while* in and completely missed any Scientology parallels. Seems impossible, but, the MindFuck *does* work. At least till it doesn't.

And, yes, as 'entfremdung' it's also good; also called 'cognitive dissonance' :) But, protesting itself does that and the slogan would be the icing. For 'Staffers' the *fact* that a protest is happening is itself the message.

So, I agree with you and it would be worth using, if it's intended to be aimed at staffers and you don't get your hopes up about quick results.

Zinj
 
Well, 'Look; don't listen!' has been used as a sign and, directed at Staffers, it's a good one. (Wog public would miss the point)

Good to know!

As a slogan it is a good one, but, it's a two-edged one. Similar to 'thought stopping phrases' the Staffer *is* familiar with the phrase, but also has an automatic reaction to it. And that reaction is *not* to reexamine any 'stable data'.

The question is, then, how to break that automatic reaction? And it IS an automatic reaction. That I know firsthand. Watching the "Horse Ceremony" video posted yesterday, the conditioning on display is astounding.

What I mean by this is that I've been amazed to hear from many people who were in that they'd read '1984' *while* in and completely missed any Scientology parallels. Seems impossible, but, the MindFuck *does* work. At least till it doesn't.

I'm more-or-less one of those people. 1984 planted seeds that did not sprout until Jason Beghe and Paul Haggis publicly left.

But, protesting itself does that ...

:duh: Of course!

The genius of Anonymous (and all who protest I suppose) is that they seem to have fun. All the Rick Astley, caek and costumes take the air out of the "deadly serious game" Scientologists are playing. The wry, impish grin on the Guy Fawkes mask is emblematic of that approach.

Thanks for the reply!
 

EP - Ethics Particle

Gold Meritorious Patron
I like this!

Screwed - on quad flows? :ohmy:

How did you justify it? :nervous:

Where is YOUR spirit of play? :confused2:

See the MAA! :ohmy:

The registrar awaits! :duh:

EPs are everywhere! :D

EP
 

Lynn Fountain Campbell

Silver Meritorious Patron
At one protest, when I lovingly reminded a couple of churchies about the "not quite bright" who "cut themselves off from the fruits of observation," they had to start observing, just to prove me wrong -- and to remove themselves from the ranks of the "not quite bright." :whistling:

<3
Lynn
 

xstaffWPB

Patron
This is hard to admit, but when I was "in", I don't think ANYBODY could have said ANYTHING that would have opened my eyes to the fact that I was essentially in a brainwashing cult. The brainwashing is such that ANYTHING negative about scn is automatically not-ised (sorta like a "bouncer"). The person JUST DOESN'T WANT TO HEAR IT.

I admire the protesters and the ESMB members for revealing all the anti-scn stuff. I'm sure it contributes to at least SOME people to leaving the cult.

But then, on the other hand, if a person is willing to let DM take a swing at them and not punch the SOB back, maybe that person needs to stay "in" a while longer. No clever jingle or slogan in the world will probably change that person's mind about getting out, if a slug in the face from ol' DM won't do it. The person just hasn't suffered enough. Very sad, but seems to be true nonetheless.
 

Alanzo

Bardo Tulpa
At one protest, when I lovingly reminded a couple of churchies about the "not quite bright" who "cut themselves off from the fruits of observation," they had to start observing, just to prove me wrong -- and to remove themselves from the ranks of the "not quite bright." :whistling:

<3
Lynn

This is a really good one!

It takes the same manipulation that Hubbard used on them earlier, and gives it back - and makes them use it for their own self-interests!

Awesome, Lynn!!
 
This is hard to admit, but when I was "in", I don't think ANYBODY could have said ANYTHING that would have opened my eyes to the fact that I was essentially in a brainwashing cult. The brainwashing is such that ANYTHING negative about scn is automatically not-ised (sorta like a "bouncer"). The person JUST DOESN'T WANT TO HEAR IT.

I admire the protesters and the ESMB members for revealing all the anti-scn stuff. I'm sure it contributes to at least SOME people to leaving the cult.

But then, on the other hand, if a person is willing to let DM take a swing at them and not punch the SOB back, maybe that person needs to stay "in" a while longer. No clever jingle or slogan in the world will probably change that person's mind about getting out, if a slug in the face from ol' DM won't do it. The person just hasn't suffered enough. Very sad, but seems to be true nonetheless.

How do we break that internal feedback loop?

I suppose we could go around saying "Canceled!" to everyone. :coolwink:

I believe Brecht's techniques may hold an answer. More than mere slogans, the aim is to use what people take for granted (ideas, objects, etc.) in a surprising way.

As it so happens, he called this practice, "Epic Theatre."
 

Alanzo

Bardo Tulpa
ExStaffWPB wrote:

...The person just hasn't suffered enough...
This is very true.

I did not even see the RPF members jogging by on LRH Way until I was on the verge of personal bankruptcy from Scientology credit card debt. It was only while I was fighting reges every day, doing my best to not go any deeper into credit card debt - for months - that I began to see what was going on.

I had to have something kick in on me and make me suffer. And then it had to be completely undeniable that this suffering was coming directly from my involvement in Scientology, before I was able to look at the suffering of others in my similar situation.

And only then was I able to summon the courage necessary to destroy everything I have ever built in Scientology for 16 years, to risk losing all my friends and family, my job and all my business contacts, because I could now see that Scientology was not the group I joined.

It's a big step. And it takes *enough suffering*, just as ExStaffWPB wrote, to make it out.

The hand needs to always be extended, so that it is always available, when they have suffered enough.

And plenty have.
 
Last edited:
G

Gottabrain

Guest
At one protest, when I lovingly reminded a couple of churchies about the "not quite bright" who "cut themselves off from the fruits of observation," they had to start observing, just to prove me wrong -- and to remove themselves from the ranks of the "not quite bright." :whistling:

<3
Lynn

Good one! And a wealth of similar things can be raised from that, like:

"Is it true that Scientologists get lazy after Scn and let Hubbard do all their thinking for them?"

"I met a Scientologist before. I was impressed by his his knowledge of different philosophers and he was really worth listening to. But that was back in the 80s. None of the Scns I've met since seem very well educated or to have any background at all in different philosophies and were pretty dull. Does the current mgmt prohibit Scns from reading and studying different things?
 

La La Lou Lou

Crusader
I like the look don't listen idea, it's akin to using your opponents punch force to make him hit the deck in martial arts. Very clever.
 

Freeminds

Bitter defrocked apostate
xstaffWPB is right, that it can be very hard to break through the 'wall of bullshit'. However...

If you find yourself speaking to a present-day victim of the 'Church' of Scientology, you will often find that they have a prepared argument to use against protesters. This is something that they have been instructed to say, learned by rote within the org.

Once you have learned the pattern of their arguments - and it's pretty much the same the whole world over - it can be useful (and amusing) to recite their lines along with them.

Oh wow... OT12 super-secret mind reading ability! Gasp!

You can also use your knowledge of their lines to head off their argument, by saying, "Now, you may be thinking that <insert what they have been told to think>, but..."

In several conversations, I have used this technique to really unsettle a dyed-in-the-wool Scientologist. I also like to predict when they will break off the conversation... to further effect. Either they do so and prove that I'm totally at cause over them, or they have to stay and soak up some more entheta.

The picture of LRH as an old, unkempt man with a slack face and long hair is also a very good thing to show them, if you can.
 
xstaffWPB is right, that it can be very hard to break through the 'wall of bullshit'. However...

If you find yourself speaking to a present-day victim of the 'Church' of Scientology, you will often find that they have a prepared argument to use against protesters. This is something that they have been instructed to say, learned by rote within the org.

Once you have learned the pattern of their arguments - and it's pretty much the same the whole world over - it can be useful (and amusing) to recite their lines along with them.

Oh wow... OT12 super-secret mind reading ability! Gasp!

You can also use your knowledge of their lines to head off their argument, by saying, "Now, you may be thinking that <insert what they have been told to think>, but..."

In several conversations, I have used this technique to really unsettle a dyed-in-the-wool Scientologist. I also like to predict when they will break off the conversation... to further effect. Either they do so and prove that I'm totally at cause over them, or they have to stay and soak up some more entheta.

The picture of LRH as an old, unkempt man with a slack face and long hair is also a very good thing to show them, if you can.

This is a great observation.

On the outside, we have the freedom to think. Laterally and critically think. On the inside, thinking is rote, ruled (ironically enough) by "Now I'm Supposed To" and reaction. But not all the time. If members were so easily cowed, there'd be no need for thought-stopping exercises, heavy-ethics or heavy-qual.

It is startling to begin the rote response to a critic and have it recited back to you. Once, many years ago, I started in on the whole "what have you done to Scientology?" routine. Immediately the critic I was speaking to laid out my entire strategy for me. Took the air out of my tires, and I ran. Actually freaked me out a bit.
 

Zinjifar

Silver Meritorious Sponsor
I would imagine it's startling for a Scientologist to discover that non-Scientologists know more about Scientology than they do :)

Of course, they know how to know and have their certainty to fall back on...

Zinj
 

FinallyMe

Silver Meritorious Patron
The idea of providing cognitive dissonance by using phrases that Scn itself uses makes a lot of sense to me. I think an especially good admonition that Scn uses is "Don't take their word for it - find out for yourself." That sign, standing next to a few of the usual Anonymous signs, might make a good point to the viewers.
 
Just returned a PM with someone on this subject and something occurred to me:

Use uncommon words on protest signs.

I would wager that your average church member will be nagged by the slogan until he or she clears the misunderstood word.

Just pepper it, don't go overboard: "CONVEY NIX TO HELOTRY" is too much. "SAY NO TO HELOTRY" should work. "What is 'helotry?'" may lead to a very interesting word chain! ;-)
 
Top