Saturday, July 26, 2008

Is Scientology a Perfect System?

Luis said: Hi Grahame. I am glad to have found a pro Scientology set of opinions and perspectives. From my viewpoint, personal growth, freedom, sanity, strength and greatness requires being able to examine honestly and objectively all viewpoints available pro and con and being able to recognize and admit to the one that is being perceived as having the most truth in it, even if painful, even if it makes one, or one's viewpoint, or one's group flawed.

While the Mantra "what is true for you..." is frequently used by Scientologists to point out the intention of the Church to encourage freedom to think, it, from my experience, is neither encouraged, nor applied nor nourished, but used to “impossibilitize” the existence of mass production of blinded followers because there exists this precept.

Grahame said: I don't know what your experience is, but that is not mine. I've found Scientologists to be strong individuals who definitely think for themselves. A lot of Scientologists I know own their own businesses, you can't be successful in business if you can't think for yourself and think on your feet.

Luis said: From the moment you read Keeping Scientology working, and from the statements I have seen of Ron Hubbard claiming to have THE only valid viewpoints and technology, THE only person able to be the source of spiritual-growth-producing” data, THE only “bridge to total freedom”; THE only person capable of decoding life….the nourishing of critical thinking and examination of information presented begins to be slowly stultified.

Grahame said: What you say is not accurate. The article "Keeping Scientology Working" says that Scientology is "workable". It is a workable way to achieve spiritual improvement. That is why the article is called "Keeping Scientology Working".

There is a whole set of articles called the "Keeping Scientology Working Series." Number 4 in the series is called "Safeguarding Technology" and in it L. Ron Hubbard says, "Scientology is a workable system. This does not mean it is the best possible system or a perfect system. Remember and use that definition. Scientology is a workable system."

If a system claims to be workable then a person can figure out pretty quickly for themselves if it is or is not. If the system says do A, B and C and you will get result D, then you can test that out easily. That is what the "what is true for you" quote is all about, seeing for yourself if it works or not.

If you decide it is not a workable system then fine. Go find another religion. But if you do find that it is workable then follow it correctly, so it works.

LRH also says in the same article, "People have following the route mixed up with 'the right to have their own ideas.' Anyone is certainly entitled to have opinions and ideas ...."

Luis said: If Ron would have presented his viewpoints as HIS viewpoints and not THE viewpoints to be had, he would have been encouraging (by allowing the space) for evaluation of his precepts and, moreover, for development of the capacity for individuals to think for themselves, to be determining for themselves, even while in The Church, what is or is not true, what makes sense and what does not.

Grahame said: I covered this point in my article, Scientology: What is true for you. Briefly, LRH presented the technology as something that works and that should be exactly followed to get the results because that is what he found. He presented his opinions as merely opinions that you can take or leave. But read the whole article and the comments as it covers that and more.

The most common statement I hear from Scientologists is "This is what Ron says..." and not "This is what I think". That is, to me, an indication of the loss of the ability to establish and be faithful to ones own viewpoints.

That is why, in my opinion, the perception exists, in some people, including myself, that in talking to a Scientologist, you are most likely to get canned responses, including "what is true for you....."

Grahame says: If you are referring to talking to Scientologists about Scientology then, sure, you will probably hear "Ron says" a lot, because he's the one who wrote the materials that make up the subject. It's like talking about Christianity and saying "the bible says" or talking about General Relativity and saying "Einstein says". Of course the people taking about it will refer to those sources because they define the subject.

Also, has it never crossed your mind that someone saying "Ron says ..." may be telling you what is true for him personally?

When it comes to other subjects I don't find Scientologists saying "Ron says ...." For Example, when I am solving problems in my job, I often am working with a team to solve them. If I think we should do something I say "I think we should do blah. What do you guys think?" I go out of my way to get collaboration going because that's what I've found works in my profession.

Luis said: In my opinion, once you become a “Keeping Scientology Working Scientologist”, the conduct and intention, in any situation, becomes promoting the illusion that Scientology and Ron are flawless, pure, the greatest ever, and incapable of sinning.

Grahame says: That is your opinion and "in any situation" is a huge generality. It is certainly not my observation. Scientologists will insist that the technology is applied correctly because they have seen for themselves that applying it correctly gets desirable results and they want to help their fellow man. That's where they will be insistent.

Your insistence that we think Scientology and Ron are "flawless ..." etc., is not correct. I can only give you my own personal viewpoint and that of the Scientologists I know personally: L. Ron Hubbard was a great guy who figured out how to help us raise ourselves spiritually to new heights. He never claimed to be perfect, above others or something special. Scientology is a workable system of spiritual improvement. Ron never claimed it was perfect (see my comment earlier).

Luis said: These, of course, are my viewpoints. Regards, Luis

Grahame says: thanks for your comments.


Julia said...

Wow, thanks for the in-depth answer to all those questions! Keep up the good work! Just as a little note from myself, I am a Scientologist and have my own blog. I generally try not to give canned answers, but since the subject in my blog is Scientology, I do say "Ron says" often. Anyway, thanks again for your great response, Grahame!

luis said...

Hi Grahame.

Although I am in disagreement with some of your statements (you also generalized), I am also in agreement with others (I also did generalize).

But my intention here is just to acknowledge and thank you for posting and for your response.

One of my favorite impulses is to strongly connect. It is, to me, one of the greatest, most beneficial, and most enjoyable accomplishings, and that includes the connecting to oneself, to who one really is..

You seem to have that intent.



Kat said...

This is really interesting, Grahame. Very cool that you posted his comment and your reply to it. Thought I'd comment here with my own responses.

The concept of "what is true is what is true for you", in my opinion and experience is utterly and completely encouraged and applied in Scientolgy. Though it is also completely up to every individual Scientologist whether they are going to accept everything told to them, or evaluate it for themselves. I am sure that there are Scientologists who will give you rote answers, who feel like they like Scientology and are just kind of along for the ride. In my experience, those are not the people who are the truly "Keeping Scientology Working" Scientologists. Once a person has enough experience with Scientology to really get it, and feel that it works for them, they are more likely to question everything - not less. Although, they are probably also more likely to defend their religion, and whatever else they personally believe in, tooth and nail. These are strong people who are getting things accomplished in the world, and who know what they know, you know?

Personally, I have found that when I've just accepted something that I didn't completely agree with, I get into trouble, and it takes more processing, or training, to sort it out. I don't do that anymore. When I don't agree or don't understand, I speak up, very clearly, until I have my answer, or find one that works for me. I feel like that is my responsibility – I’d be an idiot to just be along for the ride and swallow something I didn’t like. I've never - EVER - had anyone in a Scientology organization tell me to shut up or be good or do as I'm told, when I have questions or don't agree. Completely the opposite.

I’d reply to more, but I’m out of time! Kids waking up and life goes on…