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Mark 'Marty' Rathbun: Standard Scientology
Those who obsess on the motivator (object of victimhood attachment) about how David Miscavige is scientology’s problem because he keeps revising scientology are like dogs barking up the wrong tree. There is a plain fact they are not coming to grips with. Scientology will forever be altered, revised, re-revised, repackaged, re-organized, and re-compiled. People on the outside have been at it as hard as scientology organization folk are on the inside. It is inevitable. That is not because misunderstood words, the reactive mind or body thetans will forever keep people confused and incapable of applying one-hundred percent scientology standard technology. Nor will it be because of the unstated (except in confidential upper level secrets), but actually held, scientology belief that humankind can’t get it because humankind is inherently incapable of understanding. Instead, scientology will continuously be revised because there is no such thing as standard scientology technology. Like the substance of scientology itself, what constitutes the standard is wholly a subjective matter.
That fact is obvious if one can unlock himself from identifying with L. Ron Hubbard and his work and read the latter dispassionately. That of course is impossible for those who vow from the outset of their studies – and stick with it all the way through – to the notion that Hubbard is infallible and examination of any comparative data is potentially lethal. When one who can objectively study scientology does so – particularly when he has tested its methods through extensive practice – something becomes patently clear. That is by conservative estimate more than ninety (90) percent of everything Hubbard wrote and uttered on scientology and dianetics was about how wrong all those who attempted to apply it were. It is mostly a running stream of consciousness (albeit held together by a hard core, two-valued logic and persuasively conveyed by a convincing speaker and writer) record of assigning reasons why the promises in the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health were never realized and how they might yet be. Highlighting that statement is Dianetics’ promise of full memory restoration in 1950 and Hubbard’s last ‘breakthrough’ (OT VIII) – as his 1986 dying declaration – promising to address the reason folk are apparently inherently amnesiacs.
Exacerbating the confusion is that many of the methods Ron educates his followers on as the mechanics intentionally used to control and damage the mind are simultaneously employed by him to do precisely that to his followers. It is diabolical in that the follower having been educated by Ron on those mental entrapment techniques would then never guess they would be used on the follower. You wind up with the curious phenomenon of apparently sincere people devoting their lives to vehemently defending their own entrapment.
There is another reason why the obvious is nearly impossible for a scientologist to see. If there is one skill Hubbard had that perhaps outstripped all others it was his ability to always convincingly sound right while making others wrong. That skill was exercised as consistently and as uncannily as a falling cat’s ability to land on its feet. From before the publication of Dianetics, Ron Hubbard proved as immovable as a mountain on being criticized, corrected, or accepting even the most rational of input and advice. Just as consistently, he rained hell on anyone with the temerity to suggest holding his theories up to objective standards. When he said or wrote something it was communicated convincingly and in an authoritative fashion. For the next thirty-six years he evolved his subjects by trial and error. But, the running track of that development was memorialized in a unique voice. While the track altered and changed everything over and over because of unworkability found with that which was at first communicated as unalterable, absolute fact, the voice of those continuous alterations could admit of no error. The matter is exacerbated by the fact that it is a ‘research and development’ record based exclusively on subjective standards. With no objective scrutiny allowed and no accurate, honest assignation of error possible, all manner of erroneous yet authoritative data are driven home just as forcefully as correct ones.
The continuous backfilling that constitutes the bulk of scientology writing and lecturing is apparent in scientology training packs. The student is not instructed simply on what he should do and why. Instead, he reads bulletin after bulletin and listens to lecture after lecture of Hubbard talking about how people have misapplied or might misapply what he discovered. The materials are a patchwork of Hubbard writings and lectures cherry-picked from different periods of time. They make for a mix chock-full of contradictions. Without having one’s intellectual honesty compromised by agreeing from the outset that Hubbard is infallible and all of his words are literal Gospel (that which is required in scientology training – along with the requirement to attribute every success to Ron and every failure to pesky humans and their inherent fallibility), all of this would be as obvious as the nose on your face.
Since all scientology courses begin with a warning that if anyone states that anything Hubbard wrote is ‘historical’, ‘background’, or ‘no longer used’ he will be promptly convicted of the crime TREASON, how does one cope with the miasma of contradictions? Scientology instructors employ a ‘technology’ that has the student convince himself there are no contradictions. It is so effective that scientology students do not graduate a course until they attest with certitude that everything makes consistent, perfect sense. The firmness of that idea of certainty is verified by one component of a modern lie detector (the stress testing electropsychometer). Highlighting this culture of hypocrisy, the cognitive dissonance creating course rooms – which eliminate any questioning, thinking or doubts – are called ‘Academies’ taken from the ancient Greek sites where liberal, critical philosophical thinking was once nurtured.
The net result of all this is that scientology is destined to always incite debate and internecine strife – no matter how enlightened and wise its leadership may be. There can never be universal consensus on what constitutes ‘standard technology’ given the voice (noted above) scientology is written in and given its inalterable injunctions that that voice may not ever be questioned, interpreted, or clarified. In a strict organizational setting, the debate goes on inside each individual’s head (until settled by an instilled, arrogant brand of cognitive dissonance) while attempting to keep up, lock-step of course, with management’s latest pronunciamentos on what constitutes ‘standard.’ In an independent setting it is a self-righteous war of words in which nobody can establish a clearly reasoned high ground. To gain any traction in the debate requires one to progressively retreat further toward adopting Ron’s certain, swaggering and authoritative personality.
That is why bands of scientologists, whether in or out of the official organizations, will always rally around certain, swaggering, authoritative types of personalities – and promptly disperse when that catalyst is removed. Sadly, but just as certainly, about the closest thing scientologists are going to find to that original L. Ron Hubbard package is David Miscavige.
About the only common denominator all brands of scientology share as something resembling a standard in practice is this: does the guy stay on board and continue paying? If you have been led to believe that any viable brand of scientology is applying some more enlightened standard you have simply been led to believe yet another lie. Why do you think that the only allegedly ‘expanding’ independent scientology outfits feature the addition of 47 advanced levels of auditing? It is like Miscavige inventing the existence of OT Levels IX through XV and beyond, only seven times over. What you get is power of choice in picking the duration of your addiction.
Those who make a living by trying to convince folks otherwise are profiting by playing on misplaced hopes. It is a different harmonic of the same game that was played on people within.
There is a silver lining in all this. In addition to whatever any individual may feel he might have picked up of use along the way in scientology, there are a couple of assets that probably all scientologists can recognize they possess. First, they can realize that they were well meaning and trusting to begin with; scientology doesn’t take very well on people without those virtues. Second, they can recognize that they have had the opportunity to hone the latter virtue (trust) by surviving the most intense graduate school of psychological hard knocks.