Coherence of Scientology

Student of Trinity

Silver Meritorious Patron
A problem for any religion, or for any system of ideas for that matter, is just to hold together. If we think of the system as a nation state, the challenge is to prevent individual sections from seceding, or even to avoid splintering into many separate countries.

Some systems of thought are really tightly federalized, so to speak. Everything in them flows rigorously from a few basic axioms, making it essentially impossible to accept some parts of the system, without accepting the whole thing in a block. This is 'coherence'. The system holds together.

Other systems are not so coherent. A lot of them have loose bits around the edges, that people can take or leave, even if there is a central core that holds together very well. The major world religions seem like this to me, for instance. They all come in lots of flavors by now, but the differences among flavors of one religion are relatively minor, and the cores are robustly recognizable.

So how does Scientology stand, regarding coherence? Is it really a unit, whose parts all lock together tightly and inherently? Are there parts of Scientology that are kind of just tacked on to the rest? Or is most of Scientology really just a heap of unrelated components, packaged together by Hubbard and sold under one label?

I have to say that Hubbard's ridiculously long list of so-called 'Axioms' does not suggest to me a tightly coherent body of doctrine. But I'm open to argument.

Aside from the question of whether Scientology actually is coherent, I'm also interested in what Scientology says about its own coherence. Does Scientology do a lot of teaching about how it all holds together, or does it just throw out a bunch of separate Hubbard treatises, on everything from exteriorization to washing windows, and let Scientologists decide how to use it?

The reason I ask is that I've been puzzled for a long time by something in the way Scientologists speak about Scientology. I've finally put my finger on what this puzzling thing is. It's that they speak almost entirely in generalities. They hardly ever say, "Making clay models of abstract concepts helps people understand them", or "Shouting 'Be three feet back of your head!' induces an out-of-body experience." They tend to say, "the tech works" or "Scientology works." The claimed successful effect is usually expressed as a vague generality, "working" or "handling". And the claimed successful cause is expressed at the same level, "Scientology" or "the tech".

Is this vagueness perhaps deliberately inculcated in Scientologists? Are Scientologists actually trained, perhaps surreptitiously, to flee from concrete details into hazy abstractions? If so, does this training perhaps serve the purpose of preventing Scientologists from realizing that what works is not 'the tech', as such and in general, but only a handful of unrelated techniques that Commodore Hubbard assembled in convoy under his flag?

In other words, does Scientology really only trick people into believing that Scientology even exists as a coherent system of ideas?
 
Scientology is incoherent. There has been a whole thread devoted to inconsistencies and inconsistencies are often mentioned when people are
thrashing things out.

Sometimes there is what I'd call surface consistency which falls apart as soon as anyone looks at the relationship between the "facts" presented, instead of taking them as true based on Hub's say-so.

I think a fantasy system or a delusional system of belief(s) can be consistent within itself and coherent within itself but inconsistent and incoherent if it is supposed to be an explanation or theory about the real world. That's where the culties get lost. Fantasy and delusion and the certainty that they explain the real world is enough for some people. EDIT> Not that I am saying scientology has even good fantasy-consistency or coherence.

The INT EXT RD has been talked about. That is one place the incoherence takes people for a spin. They are supposedly a thetan with no location in time and space but they are having trouble with being in or out of their body. The body is something they are definitely NOT, and if they were their body then they might not have a problem with int/ext in the first place, but having gotten out of their body they are now in trouble, but why that would be....oh yeah, well there is the whole track and past lives and...where was I?, anyway, if they were IN their body, they wouldn't be in it really because that is a location in time and space, you see....well, if you do that's good, because I don't....it's incoherent.

I can make it coherent though....would you like me to?
Well, you see, dear unenlightened one, it's all about con-sid -er rations! It's not that a thetan is really having trouble being in or out of his body...that would be silly!!!! any OT knows a thetan isn't anywhere, but that doesn't stop us finding the registrar for your next end of endless INT RD.
 

Thrak

Gold Meritorious Patron
Hi Trinity, I really appreciate your participation on the board, you offer an interesting viewpoint. I won't try to answer every question but from what I know the Sea Org is basically the "Federal Govt" of the whole thing. From what I have heard there was secession to some degree in the 70's, 80s or at least the outer "missions" were doing very well at one point and Hubbo was concerned about not making enough of a cut so the SO came down on the missionaires and basically broke the back of the whole thing forcing public to go to official CofS "churches".

And in regards to generality, you are quite right which is pretty funny in that one of their characteristics of a suppressive person is that they speak in generalities and that's exactly what they do.

The one document that glues all this mess together is KSW or Keeping Scientology Working which any scio has to read over and over as it is the first page on pretty much every course you do. I don't have a link for it but I'm sure it's easy to find. In it Hubbo goes on a rant saying over and over that scn is complete as a body of work, and that anybody that wishes to change anything about it is merely "dramatizing their reactive mind" and so unwittingly trying to destroy the only hope mankind has of getting out of this terrible crisis that he is in. The language is very severe and threatening.

The infamous Tom Cruise video was recorded for a KSW event. The event was designed to re-invigorate people's dedication to scn and create a frantic environment of absolute intolerance for any deviation. You can see it did a nice job on TC.

You see and hear many odd things at a CofS and KSW is the whip that drives it and the glue that trys to stick it all together as one ugly thing.
 

HelluvaHoax!

Platinum Meritorious Sponsor with bells on
Scientology is coherent at the moment it receives money.

Everything that precedes that or follows that rapture is fully random and non-coherent.

This may sound like a joke but I can assure you it is not.

The trick in Scientology is that any tech, policy or directive can be altered, canceled or not applied in favor of a contrary tech, policy or directive. That is the actual day-to-day profile and madness of Scientology's activities.

As I have mentioned before, I seriously doubt any individual could possibly offer one piece of Hubbard tech or policy or scripture that one could not very easily find the antithesis of within Scientology.

The scripture is therefore an expedient for the gathering of cash. One can readily find holy justification for literally ANY act whether illegal, insane or worse.

Scientologists are trained to narrowly focus and therefore generally incapable of seeing the outrageous contradictions a few degrees outside of their field of view--beyond the scriptural blinders.
 
... So how does Scientology stand, regarding coherence? ...

Not very well. Parts cohere moderately well. The system as a whole is something of a shambles, although the Clearbird materials are an improvement in overall expression of the basics.


... I have to say that Hubbard's ridiculously long list of so-called 'Axioms' does not suggest to me a tightly coherent body of doctrine. But I'm open to argument. ...

No argument from me on this point. Hubbard clearly didn't know enough about axiomatic systems to create even a simple one. Few scientologists have had a background sufficient to raise a challenge to the 'axiomatic development' that Hubbard offered. However the few who had have been making that same argument for quite some time; since at least the 70s to my direct knowledge, and I suspect for long before that.

So whereas this is certainly a legitimate basis for an intellectual challenge to Hubbard's treatment & development of the subject of scientology, it is certainly not a 'new development' in the questioning of Hubbard's 'source materials'. Nor, as an argument against expression, does it truly serve as a basis for challenging the utility of the tech when used for its intended purpose of increasing spiritual awareness & insight.


Mark A. Baker
 

Telepathetic

Gold Meritorious Patron
A problem for any religion, or for any system of ideas for that matter, is just to hold together. If we think of the system as a nation state, the challenge is to prevent individual sections from seceding, or even to avoid splintering into many separate countries.

Some systems of thought are really tightly federalized, so to speak. Everything in them flows rigorously from a few basic axioms, making it essentially impossible to accept some parts of the system, without accepting the whole thing in a block. This is 'coherence'. The system holds together.

Other systems are not so coherent. A lot of them have loose bits around the edges, that people can take or leave, even if there is a central core that holds together very well. The major world religions seem like this to me, for instance. They all come in lots of flavors by now, but the differences among flavors of one religion are relatively minor, and the cores are robustly recognizable.

So how does Scientology stand, regarding coherence? Is it really a unit, whose parts all lock together tightly and inherently? Are there parts of Scientology that are kind of just tacked on to the rest? Or is most of Scientology really just a heap of unrelated components, packaged together by Hubbard and sold under one label?

I have to say that Hubbard's ridiculously long list of so-called 'Axioms' does not suggest to me a tightly coherent body of doctrine. But I'm open to argument.

Aside from the question of whether Scientology actually is coherent, I'm also interested in what Scientology says about its own coherence. Does Scientology do a lot of teaching about how it all holds together, or does it just throw out a bunch of separate Hubbard treatises, on everything from exteriorization to washing windows, and let Scientologists decide how to use it?

The reason I ask is that I've been puzzled for a long time by something in the way Scientologists speak about Scientology. I've finally put my finger on what this puzzling thing is. It's that they speak almost entirely in generalities. They hardly ever say, "Making clay models of abstract concepts helps people understand them", or "Shouting 'Be three feet back of your head!' induces an out-of-body experience." They tend to say, "the tech works" or "Scientology works." The claimed successful effect is usually expressed as a vague generality, "working" or "handling". And the claimed successful cause is expressed at the same level, "Scientology" or "the tech".

Is this vagueness perhaps deliberately inculcated in Scientologists? Are Scientologists actually trained, perhaps surreptitiously, to flee from concrete details into hazy abstractions? If so, does this training perhaps serve the purpose of preventing Scientologists from realizing that what works is not 'the tech', as such and in general, but only a handful of unrelated techniques that Commodore Hubbard assembled in convoy under his flag?

In other words, does Scientology really only trick people into believing that Scientology even exists as a coherent system of ideas?

Great questions and observations, sir:thumbsup:

You are, in my opinion, correct about Scilons and their use of "generalities." This use of generalities and incoherency is prevalent in every aspect of the cult, though not just the "tech."

The mental gymnastics that one has to go through to "tie it all together" so that it uniformly makes sense can be truly enervating at times.

It is the dichotomous nature of that place that finally got to me. I was very smart though, it only took me 27 years to eventually figure it all out.

But if you ask any Scilon they'll tell you with "certainty"(a much loved and overused word in the cult) that I simply have misunderstood words, am PTS, out ethics, have Overts and Withholds...and therefore the reason I'm an apostate now: :duh:

BTW,read Keeping Scientology Working so that you can understand where the mind fuck starts.:yes:

TP
 

Student of Trinity

Silver Meritorious Patron
I mentioned a 'nation state' just as an analogy for how a system of ideas hangs together, but I think Thrak may be onto something, in saying that Sea Org functions as Scientology's "federal government". I was trying to ask about ideology, not of organizational control. But the two questions are really inseparable.

If there were a coherent core of ideas in Scientology, then those shared common principles would be enough to guide policy objectively and consistently. But if there's no real core, just a bag of loose notions, then deciding policy is a pure power game, in which the only alternatives are anarchy and dictatorship.

Conversely, if the organization within which Scientology ideas were developed had been a functional team dedicated to a larger purpose, then the ideology that was developed might have inherited a lot of coherence. But if the organization was really just a megalomanical dictatorship, then the only common thread in the system of ideas might be the dictator's whim. I believe that's typical for the purportedly theoretical works published by dictators.
 
... So how does Scientology stand, regarding coherence? Is it really a unit, whose parts all lock together tightly and inherently? Are there parts of Scientology that are kind of just tacked on to the rest? Or is most of Scientology really just a heap of unrelated components, packaged together by Hubbard and sold under one label?

Scientology as a subject did not grow as a coherent system. In grew from the individual contributions of many as a subject intended as a simplified 'tech' for increasing human potential & spiritual insight. Such coherence as was injected into the system was as a result of Hubbard's attempt to codify & regulate the subject, which he did for a variety of conflicting purposes. Hubbard himself was not sufficiently well versed in formal reasoning to achieve a coherent & consistent development competently.

However, parts of scientology due cohere well. I'd liken scientology as to a naturally occurring crystal wherein the various parts of the crystal show some regularity of formation, but due to the random occurrence of flaws, inclusions, and differences in the matrix, the overall crystal fails to adhere to the theoretical ideal.

What is subsumed under the banner of 'scientology' consists of a variety of components; among them communication skills, techniques of introspection, principles dealing with individual responsibility, rules for organizational dynamics, etc.. Some of these components make a great deal of sense, some are completely self-serving or arbitrary. Hence the need for personal judgement and discretion in undertaking to make sense of the subject.



... I have to say that Hubbard's ridiculously long list of so-called 'Axioms' does not suggest to me a tightly coherent body of doctrine. But I'm open to argument.

Aside from the question of whether Scientology actually is coherent, I'm also interested in what Scientology says about its own coherence. Does Scientology do a lot of teaching about how it all holds together, or does it just throw out a bunch of separate Hubbard treatises, on everything from exteriorization to washing windows, and let Scientologists decide how to use it?

The reason I ask is that I've been puzzled for a long time by something in the way Scientologists speak about Scientology. I've finally put my finger on what this puzzling thing is. It's that they speak almost entirely in generalities. They hardly ever say, "Making clay models of abstract concepts helps people understand them", or "Shouting 'Be three feet back of your head!' induces an out-of-body experience." They tend to say, "the tech works" or "Scientology works." The claimed successful effect is usually expressed as a vague generality, "working" or "handling". And the claimed successful cause is expressed at the same level, "Scientology" or "the tech".

Is this vagueness perhaps deliberately inculcated in Scientologists? Are Scientologists actually trained, perhaps surreptitiously, to flee from concrete details into hazy abstractions? If so, does this training perhaps serve the purpose of preventing Scientologists from realizing that what works is not 'the tech', as such and in general, but only a handful of unrelated techniques that Commodore Hubbard assembled in convoy under his flag? ...



Too often on the discussion boards the subject is 'scientology' which is itself a 'generality'. Faulting scientologists for discussing in general terms that which is first posited as a generality is not a reasonable thing to do.
Everything which has at one point been described as part and parcel of scientology is not coherent, or self-consistent. However, much of it, especially among the more useful aspects of tech, is.

All too often those who most vehemently seek to argue the subject are among those least qualified to understand it. Too much attention is devoted to functional irrelevancies such as the absurd narrative posited in the 'upper levels'. And there is far too little recognition & comprehension of fundamental principles such as arc and the central importance of maintaining good communication and what that actually constitutes in all of a person's relationships.

The problems of meaningful discussion lie not with the internal inconsistencies of scientology, but in the disparate characteristics and knowledge of those who seek to discuss the subject.



... In other words, does Scientology really only trick people into believing that Scientology even exists as a coherent system of ideas?

Few people of any sort understand the idea of a coherent system of ideas. This certainly includes the greater body of scientologists. In my observation this was a flaw that many brought with them into their involvement in the subject. It is not something they learned as a result of involvement with scientology.


Mark A. Baker
 

uniquemand

Unbeliever
I mentioned a 'nation state' just as an analogy for how a system of ideas hangs together, but I think Thrak may be onto something, in saying that Sea Org functions as Scientology's "federal government". I was trying to ask about ideology, not of organizational control. But the two questions are really inseparable.

If there were a coherent core of ideas in Scientology, then those shared common principles would be enough to guide policy objectively and consistently. But if there's no real core, just a bag of loose notions, then deciding policy is a pure power game, in which the only alternatives are anarchy and dictatorship.

Conversely, if the organization within which Scientology ideas were developed had been a functional team dedicated to a larger purpose, then the ideology that was developed might have inherited a lot of coherence. But if the organization was really just a megalomanical dictatorship, then the only common thread in the system of ideas might be the dictator's whim. I believe that's typical for the purportedly theoretical works published by dictators.

The coherent idea in Scientology didn't appear until well after it was formed. People might say the factors are its forerunner, or that earlier ideas were similar, but modern Scientology, as of the completion of Hubbard's "Saint Hill Special Briefing Course" hinges around the concept of the goals-problem-mass. You have a goal, you encounter problems achieving it, the result is a mass of solutions, incomplete cycles of action, "engrams", upsets, charged terminals, end-words, etc.

Hubbard attempted many different methods of solution for GPMs, but none of them were found to be satisfactory, and often led to people feeling sick, having hallucinations, or simply failing to address them (or worse yet, "dramatizing" some aspect of them).

Eventually, he decided to "undercut" the whole situation by running out "implanted GPMs", or "implants". These were lists of goals and identities which were enforced upon a person either in this life, or in Hubbard's view, in previous lifetimes, perhaps even in a previous "universe". An example, in modern terms, would be Mel Gibson's character in a movie called "Conspiracy Theory". Gibson was drugged, bound, and submerged in water to frighten or reduce his consciousness, then brought out, electrocuted (sometimes) and the psychiatrist would tell him what he was supposed to believe, who he was supposed to be, what he was supposed to do. That is an example of an implant, and a dramatization of a very real program engaged in my the CIA in the 50's/60's called "MK Ultra". It was deemed unsuccessful and cancelled (ostensibly). The idea was to create agents who didn't know they were agents, and who would be triggered into action upon a predetermined cue, and either die in the effort to achieve their goal, or not be able to understand, themselves, why they did what they tried to do.

In Hubbard's cosmology, the great and powerful Xenu implanted everyone living on earth about 65-76 million years ago: we were all supposedly flash-frozen, transported to earth, planted in volcanoes, blown up with hydrogen bombs, and our poor, vulnerable and impressionable thetan was then stuck to a magnetic ribbon, taken off to "the movies", where we received the R6 implant, which continues to dominate us and our culture to this very day. Hubbard thought the reason Xenu did this was to create a "prison planet" for people, either because of overpopulation or because they were dissidents to Xenu's rule.

Implants may or may not exist on a given person's "track". A nun slapping you around and telling you that you are a "very naughty boy" might implant that self-concept in your mind. Who knows. However, Hubbard thought very specific implants had happened to all of us, and that until they were properly addressed (Clearing Course, OT II, and OT III), we could never successfully address our own, self-generated goals-problem-masses.

The whole grades approach was created as an attempt to soften up the charge a person currently has in restimulation and then dig deep to relieve anything they could access, such that they would achieve "release", and be more capable of running out the "implants", which would then allow a person to address their own "actual goals-problem masses" or AGPMs. This line was abandoned after the "implant" approach was adopted, such that the "upper bridge" of scientology became running out implants, and then focusing on handling the charge of "body thetans" who had become attached (through their own considerations and yours) to your body or to you as a "command thetan" (and sometimes vying for that command, wherein a person would then become submerged in a "cluster", and some other body thetan would be in command). The theory was/is that when the body thetans stopped being in your space, and you stopped copying their charge, you would be free of "other-determined" case, and start to be able to work on your own intentions, goals, purposes, plans, etc. However, the last part was never developed, and the implant-body thetan part was and remains largely unsuccessful, to put it mildly.

This lack of success and the damage it does to people is why that area of the "bridge" had to remain confidential. Hubbard would claim it was due to the restimulative nature of the incidents confronted on these levels, and even made up ridiculous claims about people dying of pneumonia or whatever should they become aware of this material without first doing their lower bridge and a solo course. That claim is absurd, and should have been obvious to scientologists of his time, as he had himself lectured extensively about "the Mind's Protection", wherein if charge was accessible, it could be run out, and if it wasn't accessible, it could not be triggered. The worst thing likely to happen to someone who thought about such incidents (even if they were real) would be that they would laugh at them, consider such things impossible, etc. It is "unreal" to them, because the charge from later items obscures them from view and creates a state of amnesia. If they WERE restimulated by such things, then you would simply take them in session and run out the charge.

The goals I had as a child were unrealistic, based on ignorance and lack of the ability to control my attention and intention (which is a skill... you can practice it, learn, and get better at it: you can also suffer trauma or upset and that ability can become disordered or lost over time, but it can be recovered and disorder corrected). It was my search for many years to generate an understanding which would allow freedom from GPMs, and conscious intentional living. The goals I have now are more informed, more realistic, and therefore more obtainable (they still include intentional living, address of charge where it exists, developing abilities I currently don't have, etc.). I would hope that trend continues. :)

I don't think it's as complicated as Hubbard seemed to find it, whether because
  • he didn't understand the simplicity of it,
  • because he had decided to make lots of money through selling a mystery sandwich,
  • he was batshit crazy from the start,
  • some combination of the above.
My personal opinion is that Hubbard was high on a combination of amphetamines, alcohol and possibly other substances that created terrifying visions for him, personally, sometimes, and at others made him euphoric. Over time, his ability to tell the difference between fabrications of his own mind and reality degenerated (and may have been degenerating since his childhood, either due to genetically inherited mental illness, psychogenically induced mental illness as a result of trauma or occult involvement and drug use, or due to his own "restimulation" of something that was never resolved [perhaps his failure in the Navy, thus making him dramatize being "commodore" of the "sea org"?]). Ultimately, he ended up a hermit, hiding from being served summons for his wide variety of crimes, hiding from his own people, consigning his own wife and several others to prison and fines for executing his orders, terrified of his own "bts", and taking a variety of drugs to try to stay calm. NOTS was invented to address HIS issues, rather than as a generic program. It was generalized to apply to others, but unless you are plagued by demons and compulsive thoughts, probably isn't something you need to do (and may not be a good idea, even then).

It's as simple as finding out what you are trying to do, why you are trying to do it, and what you've encountered in the effort. Discharge that, and see what happens next. I think it is likely that your goals will change once this is done, and that the "new goals" might actually be "old goals" that have now become accessible to run (and to work on in life), or they might just be new goals based on present time perception and a desire to create a certain effect in line with the purposes you support. Continuous discharge of such items, along with continuous progress towards the goals and purposes you have in present time is a normal human process. It is retarded, sometimes, or reversed (people get lost) due to new charge, particularly heavy events, the ongoing presence of an overwhelming person, place or thing. This is when a person might need some help. Some people journal about their lives to achieve release or new viewpoints, and this can be successful. Others talk to a friend, a family member, or even to a "God". Whatever works. However, when those sorts of natural approaches don't work, and time doesn't seem to make things easier (or is aggravating things), some professional help might be in order. Very few therapists have a complete understanding of how to help, and most have an eclectic package of methods that they use which may or may not apply to someone who comes to them. This is because psychology and the helping fields in general are pre-paradigmatic. There is no coherent idea binding them all together and explaining why a given technique is effective, how techniques relate to each other, when to use one and not the other, etc. It is an art, though many people insist it is a science. I hope it will one day, and soon, be a science. The coherent model may already exist, and simply not be known widely, or not have been accepted due to a lack of empirical evidence. The problem OTs seem to have is that they are misinformed about how and when to handle charge, and they are delusional about what they can and cannot affect through their intention and action (action is usually lacking or wildly off the mark).

It might be possible for people to become more OT and more Clear, but a confidential list of wrong items is not the way to do it. A generic form of address for such things was never completed within the Church, and if it were, would not be consistent with what people understand as Scientology. I think that the concept of the GPM is a good one to be familiar with, and can provide a real basis for helping people, but that the culture of the Church, the "wrong items" involved with running Hubbard's case on yourself, etc., make it untenable. That being said, your question was one of whether there was a coherent central concept to scientology, and I think this post answers that question.
 
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Student of Trinity

Silver Meritorious Patron
Thanks for the long answer. It does help to see that Scientology may have flailed around for a while — as many fine intellectual movements have done before and since — before settling on its core ideas. But I'm afraid it's still not clear to me how coherent Scientology really is.

Incoherence shows up, to me, when I find myself having to say, "No, I agree that doesn't make sense as it stands; it only makes sense if you listen through all this next layer of detail ...". What that situation means is, not that what I've already said is incoherent, but that the 'next layer of detail', which I'm planning to say next to make everything clear, is incoherent. Because if that 'next layer of detail' were coherent, it could have been summarized succinctly in a way that made sense. And I would already have given you that summary, and it would have made sense as it stood.

In other words, anytime you hit a level of explanation where you can't find a summary that makes reasonable sense on its own, or where the best summary you can give seems to beg obvious questions, then this means there's a level of detail where the ideas don't really fit together well. So they could be separated from each other, with some kept and some rejected, and there would be no loss of a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts, because at that level, there was no greater whole. That's incoherence; coherence is when that never happens.

So right now for example, the headline-news-summary of 'goal-problem-mass' makes fine sense to me as far the goals and the problems are concerned, but I find myself awfully fuzzy on this 'mass' business. I have no idea what 'mass' is, or how it somehow arises from goals and problems, or why it is bad, or what might be done about it. Is 'mass' really a coherent idea? Or is the history of repeated Scientological attempts to deal with 'mass' a symptom of the fact that it is not?
 

Petey C

Silver Meritorious Patron
You're taking an admirably rational approach to what is, in essence, an irrational (and incoherent) subject. Having grown up in a mixture of islam, catholicism and christian science with generous handfuls of buddhism, anglicanism, hinduism and various dotty religions thrown in for crunch, I have never yet met a religion that is coherent, at least in the sense that it can be demonstrated to be fully rational. There's always a strong element of the need for suspension of disbelief to achieve that wonderful state of true belief.

That said, the older religions at least have had the dubious benefit of having some of their rough edges planed off over the centuries. Not so with Scn, not that I am acknowledging it is a religion. (I think it is simply a system of beliefs.) This refinement might have the effect of reducing inherent contradictions and giving the semblance of coherence, at least until the big step of suspension of disbelief arrives, as it inevitably does. (In fact, this may be a working definition of religion: a system of beliefs that requires the adherent to suspend disbelief and make a leap of faith.)

I take a simpler view. Hubbard was a deeply flawed human being and, rejecting the rigour of commonly accepted principles of research, he produced a deeply flawed system. One doesn't expect a high level of congruence and tidy matching up in any major field of life -- eg the law -- but one does expect, in a sensible system, to have a way of balancing the needs and demands of conflicting ideas. I think this is what judgement is about. But there is no need for judgement in the Scientology world: once you accept that "the tech works" (yup, there's that generality again), you really don't have to do anything more except gasp in awe at the next Hubbard revelation, whatever it is.

So in my view, it's not coherent because it was developed by an incoherent man, and because it doesn't need to be coherent, having satisfied its raison d'etre -- say in glorifying and making money for Hubbard. I acknowledge there may be discrete sections of it which appear sound (let's say the ARC triangle theory), though I also think they too rely on wholesale acceptance of some possibly flakey principles.
 

uniquemand

Unbeliever
Thanks for the long answer. It does help to see that Scientology may have flailed around for a while — as many fine intellectual movements have done before and since — before settling on its core ideas. But I'm afraid it's still not clear to me how coherent Scientology really is.

Incoherence shows up, to me, when I find myself having to say, "No, I agree that doesn't make sense as it stands; it only makes sense if you listen through all this next layer of detail ...". What that situation means is, not that what I've already said is incoherent, but that the 'next layer of detail', which I'm planning to say next to make everything clear, is incoherent. Because if that 'next layer of detail' were coherent, it could have been summarized succinctly in a way that made sense. And I would already have given you that summary, and it would have made sense as it stood.

In other words, anytime you hit a level of explanation where you can't find a summary that makes reasonable sense on its own, or where the best summary you can give seems to beg obvious questions, then this means there's a level of detail where the ideas don't really fit together well. So they could be separated from each other, with some kept and some rejected, and there would be no loss of a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts, because at that level, there was no greater whole. That's incoherence; coherence is when that never happens.

So right now for example, the headline-news-summary of 'goal-problem-mass' makes fine sense to me as far the goals and the problems are concerned, but I find myself awfully fuzzy on this 'mass' business. I have no idea what 'mass' is, or how it somehow arises from goals and problems, or why it is bad, or what might be done about it. Is 'mass' really a coherent idea? Or is the history of repeated Scientological attempts to deal with 'mass' a symptom of the fact that it is not?

I explained my view of what I found to be coherent. Lots of posters will probably disagree with me, having found their own understanding. As to the issue of "mass", the mass in question is more of an informal term. Sort of like I open a cupboard, and a mass of belongings that was stuffed in there might come out. I'm not talking physics, I'm talking "hey, that's a large mass of charged crap you've got around that goal". Many people might not even be aware that they have goals, and be simply doing whatever thing seems right and natural, right now, to them. That's fine. When they are upset, though, because they don't feel a sense of direction or purpose, then it's "not fine". Then my question becomes "what goal or purpose do you feel you should have", or something to that effect. I, PERSONALLY, believe that they probably have some goals, submerged somewhere, or that they are not willing to think about. Maybe someone told them that goal was stupid, or impossible, or unworthy, or whatever. Maybe they tried, and became convinced that it was futile. Maybe they have never formulated a clear goal, at all, but would benefit from doing so. Who knows? You'd have to ask them.

What is the mass? Whatever it is. Typically, it's some variant of "incidents", "upsets", "failures", "emotion(s)", conflicted needs, whatever. It's something. The reason it's vague is because everyone is different. You don't know what is there, what has happened or not happened to stop them from achieving a purpose or goal, prevent or force them into some identity, etc. "Mass" is a container term, essentially.

You're taking an admirably rational approach to what is, in essence, an irrational (and incoherent) subject. Having grown up in a mixture of islam, catholicism and christian science with generous handfuls of buddhism, anglicanism, hinduism and various dotty religions thrown in for crunch, I have never yet met a religion that is coherent, at least in the sense that it can be demonstrated to be fully rational. There's always a strong element of the need for suspension of disbelief to achieve that wonderful state of true belief.

That said, the older religions at least have had the dubious benefit of having some of their rough edges planed off over the centuries. Not so with Scn, not that I am acknowledging it is a religion. (I think it is simply a system of beliefs.) This refinement might have the effect of reducing inherent contradictions and giving the semblance of coherence, at least until the big step of suspension of disbelief arrives, as it inevitably does. (In fact, this may be a working definition of religion: a system of beliefs that requires the adherent to suspend disbelief and make a leap of faith.)

I take a simpler view. Hubbard was a deeply flawed human being and, rejecting the rigour of commonly accepted principles of research, he produced a deeply flawed system. One doesn't expect a high level of congruence and tidy matching up in any major field of life -- eg the law -- but one does expect, in a sensible system, to have a way of balancing the needs and demands of conflicting ideas. I think this is what judgement is about. But there is no need for judgement in the Scientology world: once you accept that "the tech works" (yup, there's that generality again), you really don't have to do anything more except gasp in awe at the next Hubbard revelation, whatever it is.

So in my view, it's not coherent because it was developed by an incoherent man, and because it doesn't need to be coherent, having satisfied its raison d'etre -- say in glorifying and making money for Hubbard. I acknowledge there may be discrete sections of it which appear sound (let's say the ARC triangle theory), though I also think they too rely on wholesale acceptance of some possibly flakey principles.

Flawed founder is flawed, I agree. I was summing up what I took away from my studies, rather than what I think was clearly presented by Hubbard.
 
... Incoherence shows up, to me, when I find myself having to say, "No, I agree that doesn't make sense as it stands; it only makes sense if you listen through all this next layer of detail ...". What that situation means is, not that what I've already said is incoherent, but that the 'next layer of detail', which I'm planning to say next to make everything clear, is incoherent. Because if that 'next layer of detail' were coherent, it could have been summarized succinctly in a way that made sense. And I would already have given you that summary, and it would have made sense as it stood. ...

It would be nice if things were that simple. To my mind all too often they aren't, as Einstein cautioned. :)

As independent examples, both in mathematics & physics I've often found it necessary to wade through a great deal of 'layers of detail' in order to make even partial sense of some matters. In your own specialty of qm it doesn't 'make sense' at all. It simply 'is'.

The simplest underlying theme of all of scientology is the ARC triangle and its importance in communication.

To the extent that scientology as a subject coheres it is consistent with those principles. Unfortunately much of Hubbard's organizational materials & his justifications therefore are not consistent with ARC, hence much of the trouble in sorting 'wheat' from 'chaff'


Mark A. Baker

---------- Post added at 05:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:02 PM ----------

... I have no idea what 'mass' is, or how it somehow arises from goals and problems, or why it is bad, or what might be done about it. Is 'mass' really a coherent idea? ...

With regard to scientology 'mass' is essentially what you feel when you feel overwhelmed. Some 'masses' are persistent to the point of being effectively a 'permanent condition'. Others are transitory based on immediate events. It's called 'mass' because it constitutes a feeling of 'heaviness'.

Thus having 'mass' is equivalent to saying someone is feeling 'light' but in an opposite sense. Were someone said to feel 'light', you don't anticipate that he necessarily lost a few pounds.

Much of scientology is descriptive and predicated on metaphor. Hubbard was a writer. He wasn't a logician or scientist.


Mark A. Baker
 
I explained my view of what I found to be coherent. Lots of posters will probably disagree with me, having found their own understanding. As to the issue of "mass", the mass in question is more of an informal term. Sort of like I open a cupboard, and a mass of belongings that was stuffed in there might come out. I'm not talking physics, I'm talking "hey, that's a large mass of charged crap you've got around that goal". Many people might not even be aware that they have goals, and be simply doing whatever thing seems right and natural, right now, to them. That's fine. When they are upset, though, because they don't feel a sense of direction or purpose, then it's "not fine". Then my question becomes "what goal or purpose do you feel you should have", or something to that effect. I, PERSONALLY, believe that they probably have some goals, submerged somewhere, or that they are not willing to think about. Maybe someone told them that goal was stupid, or impossible, or unworthy, or whatever. Maybe they tried, and became convinced that it was futile. Maybe they have never formulated a clear goal, at all, but would benefit from doing so. Who knows? You'd have to ask them.

What is the mass? Whatever it is. Typically, it's some variant of "incidents", "upsets", "failures", "emotion(s)", conflicted needs, whatever. It's something. The reason it's vague is because everyone is different. You don't know what is there, what has happened or not happened to stop them from achieving a purpose or goal, prevent or force them into some identity, etc. "Mass" is a container term, essentially.



Flawed founder is flawed, I agree. I was summing up what I took away from my studies, rather than what I think was clearly presented by Hubbard.

Well I guess disregarding everything Hubbard wrote and just making up your own ideas about what Hubbard meant is one way of making it coherence, it may not even remotely resemble Scientology but it could be made coherent.

I suppose if you pretend Hubbard never defined Mental Mass or wrote this, you could just make up whatever you want and call it Scientology.

"... mental mass is mass. There's no doubt about that. It has
weight. Very tiny, but it has weight. And it actually has size
and shape." (Understanding the E-Meter Hubbard, 1982, p. 106.)

"... an increase of as much as thirty pounds, actually measured on
scales, has been added to, and subtracted from, a body by creating
`mental energy'." (Understanding the E-Meter Hubbard, 1982, p. 50.)
 

uniquemand

Unbeliever
Well I guess disregarding everything Hubbard wrote and just making up your own ideas about what Hubbard meant is one way of making it coherence, it may not even remotely resemble Scientology but it could be made coherent.

I suppose if you pretend Hubbard never defined Mental Mass or wrote this, you could just make up whatever you want and call it Scientology.

"... mental mass is mass. There's no doubt about that. It has
weight. Very tiny, but it has weight. And it actually has size
and shape." (Understanding the E-Meter Hubbard, 1982, p. 106.)

"... an increase of as much as thirty pounds, actually measured on
scales, has been added to, and subtracted from, a body by creating
`mental energy'." (Understanding the E-Meter Hubbard, 1982, p. 50.)

Yep, you can cherry-pick definitions to suit your purpose, too, CNCML. My point is that I found what I thought was a coherent central idea in Scientology.

Here's another definition, it may not be to your liking, but it was by the same fat guy.

"GOALS PROBLEM MASS
1: the goal (of a preclear) has been balked for eons by opposing forces. The goal pointed one way, the opposing forces point exactly opposite and against it. If you took two fire hoses and pointed them at each other, their streams would not reach each other's nozzles, but would splatter against one another in midair. If this splatter were to hang there, it would be a ball of messed-up water. Call Hose A the force the preclear has used to execute his goal. Call Hose B the force the other dynamics have used to oppose that goal. Where these two forces have perpetually met, a mental mass is created. This is the picture of any problem--force opposing force with resultant mass. Where the preclear's goal meets constant opposition, you have in the reactive mind the resultant mass caused by the two forces--goal = the force of getting it done; opposition = force opposing it getting done. This is the Goals Problem Mass. From: Clean Hands Congress"

Still not convinced that this describes all the phenomena described on the Bridge? Okay. :) http://www.lrh-books.com/mailings/congress/glossary.php

Yes, Hubbard considered GPMs to be electrical, and that each terminal (identity, beingness) had a certain mass (as in physics mass). He also considered charge to be electrical, or to have electrical effects measurable by the meter. Every sort of charge you can imagine, Hubbard considered to have some mass, and that as the person reviewed the "item" in question, it would alter the meter needle's pattern of activity as the thetan considered it. However, the term is also used very loosely, both by him and other scientologists, to mean any manifestation of charge. Charge builds up, in his theory, as one is attempting to achieve a goal. The charge can be any of the sorts addressed on the Grade Chart, or anything else (which is why you'd need correction lists that are not just a few items long).

I'm sorry if my explanation doesn't satisfy, but, it helped me put the whole subject in perspective.
 
Yep, you can cherry-pick definitions to suit your purpose, too, CNCML. My point is that I found what I thought was a coherent central idea in Scientology.

Here's another definition, it may not be to your liking, but it was by the same fat guy.

"GOALS PROBLEM MASS
1: the goal (of a preclear) has been balked for eons by opposing forces. The goal pointed one way, the opposing forces point exactly opposite and against it. If you took two fire hoses and pointed them at each other, their streams would not reach each other's nozzles, but would splatter against one another in midair. If this splatter were to hang there, it would be a ball of messed-up water. Call Hose A the force the preclear has used to execute his goal. Call Hose B the force the other dynamics have used to oppose that goal. Where these two forces have perpetually met, a mental mass is created. This is the picture of any problem--force opposing force with resultant mass. Where the preclear's goal meets constant opposition, you have in the reactive mind the resultant mass caused by the two forces--goal = the force of getting it done; opposition = force opposing it getting done. This is the Goals Problem Mass. From: Clean Hands Congress"

Still not convinced that this describes all the phenomena described on the Bridge? Okay. :) http://www.lrh-books.com/mailings/congress/glossary.php

Yes, Hubbard considered GPMs to be electrical, and that each terminal (identity, beingness) had a certain mass (as in physics mass). He also considered charge to be electrical, or to have electrical effects measurable by the meter. Every sort of charge you can imagine, Hubbard considered to have some mass, and that as the person reviewed the "item" in question, it would alter the meter needle's pattern of activity as the thetan considered it. However, the term is also used very loosely, both by him and other scientologists, to mean any manifestation of charge. Charge builds up, in his theory, as one is attempting to achieve a goal. The charge can be any of the sorts addressed on the Grade Chart, or anything else (which is why you'd need correction lists that are not just a few items long).

I'm sorry if my explanation doesn't satisfy, but, it helped me put the whole subject in perspective.

There is no need to be sorry, as long as you're able to convince yourself that it actually means something that's all that matters, if you expect others to play along with the delusion ... well that's another story.
 

uniquemand

Unbeliever
There is no need to be sorry, as long as you're able to convince yourself that it actually means something that's all that matters, if you expect others to play along with the delusion ... well that's another story.

Hmm... well, I'll bet you said the same sorts of thing when you were a scientologist. You were probably pretty convinced that anyone who didn't have your understanding was delusional, though you might have said it using different words, then.

Some people leave the Church, but it stays with them.
 
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