Gold Meritorious Patron
The first time I looked at the Grade Chart, not that long ago, I nearly fell off my chair. I have seen simpler detailed architectural diagrams for the guts of the Linux operating system kernel, one of the most complex things ever built by man.
The grade chart is so complex and daunting that it has to be the opposite of a sales program -- any "fresh meat" who looks at this thing would instantly see that it is a) likely to be expensive, really expensive, and b) the chances that you'll get to the top of any one of the paths to achieve Sooper Powerz approximately mirror the chances that you'll be playing in the NBA in a couple years.
The only value of the Grade Chart is to convince those OT VIII's and others near the top that they're extra super-special beings who form part of what the Puritans used to call "the elect," those who are extra-special in God's eyes and have been told by God that they are for sure going to heaven. And that, of course, keeps the rich whales that fund the IAS close to the cult and giving ever more money to keep the operation limping along.
I know what you mean.
But the young naive idiot I was thirty plus years ago...I saw it, and it was like, "wow".
I could attain all these abilities and be a superbeing.
I guess it's the old mountain climber thing. Some will go through anything to get to the top.
And some are "what the fuck are you doing all this work for?"
I was a newbie public who had no money. Looking back on it, the grade chart may have a lot to do with what propelled me into the Sea Org. I knew I wanted it, I knew I couldn't pay for it. I was sold on the idea I could get it without paying for all those expensive services by joining staff.
So that's what I did.
After that, the whole game changed.
But that's a different story.
Glad you're here.
I find Lulu's mountain climbing analogy closer to the truth of what I witnessed in 30+ years in the cult.
The Grade Chart was prominently displayed in the courserooms or nearby and in the registration area and I saw it used and used it to sell myself and others.
The good sales agents for Scientology became quite adept at giving presentations about the Grade Chart and its meaning to their customers. That's how "packages" developed - the Clear Package, OT package, etc.
The Abilities Gained column was regularly referred to - each ability explained with references from Ron, how vital they were, bla, bla, bla. Even on the OT levels there were lots of LRH blather that was BPI, e.g. RJ 67.
There were brochures made for each step, magazines that talked about each step in great detail, the Cl5 org mags talking about grades and ned, ASHO mag talking about Power and Solo (and the BC), AOLA mag briefing on each of the OT levels through OT5, Flag mag talking about solo nots and L's.
In other, words, the Grade Chart was a constant and had great value in the sales step, all the way along the line.
Your NBA analogy works too, though not perhaps as you intended. The fact that so few basketball players don't make the NBA, does NOT seem to be stopping thousands upon thousands of youth believing they will defy the odds and make it to the top - kind of like me in 1979 wondering if I would ever make it to the top of the bridge.
But I did make it and I can assure you that it's nothing like playing in the NBA.