Note - This is a story I wrote in 1996 when I discovered the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup (mostly populated by critics of the movement) The story is still valid today, but since then I pretty much dissociated myself with the anti-Scientology movement because I disagree with their exaggerations and the cultish way they attack dissenters within their own rank.
Before going into the above in a more concrete way, it may be useful to explain a bit more, at the outset, some of the reasons behind this conclusion and some of my own premises for taking ultimately the decision to part with Scn. Three things came to mind along these lines: the antinomy between spirit and mechanics, the coherence of religious history, and the bet one has to take.
Antinomy between spirit and mechanics
When you think about it, the idea to 'reach' spiritual freedom through mechanical means, such as Scn processes, is absurd. Such processes are steps situated in time. So you are trying to reach *timelessness* through the mean of *time*. It doesn't make sense. Spiritual freedom, timelessness, is not something you can 'reach', because it doesn't have a 'place'. Therefore, anyone guarantying you 'heaven' if you follow certain processes is, by this definition, a fraud or at best deluded himself.
'Processes' can bring about changes in the mind, they might even create 'openings' during which one may glimpse the 'other' reality. But these changes, being brought about in the framework of *time*, will always be *temporary*, will always be superficial, as far as the spiritual level is concerned.
Consciousness can be stretched like an elastic. Using physical means, like drugs, the elastic is stretched and, sometimes, released suddenly. You then get strong, obvious, side effects. Using mental means, like Scn processes, the elastic may be stretched and, left alone, slowly shrinks back to its normal dimension. That is: over time, one gets back to its 'normal' self again. If that's all there is to it, there may be no side effects, and it may even be beneficial. But use them as a mean to sell out 'Total Freedom', and the problems start, because first these stretches have nothing to do with total freedom; second, even the results you may achieve at this level can't be maintained; and third, you are bringing in the whole ‘atavistic’ 'cult' phenomena of 'religion' (exclusive truth, means justify the end, saved/damned opposition, the lot...)
No processes in the world, be it Scn or otherwise, will ever bring a change at the spiritual level, by definition, because time and timelessness have nothing in common. Based on this assumption, one would infer that spiritual results 'achieved' through the Scn processes are thus temporary and superficial. On close examination, one discover that this is exactly what is happening, buried under a load of justifications (more rundowns, PTS, the evil outside society, etc) and under a load of useless fights, misery and suffering..
It may be bad news for many, but heaven is not for sale.
The coherence of religious history
The word 'religion' evokes first the three main religious currents: Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. These are called, by some, 'exoteric' religions, as opposed to 'esoteric' ones. 'Exoteric' religions are meant, according to this theory, for the 'masses', while esoteric schools have always been secretive down history. One of the alleged reason for this secrecy was to avoid placing powerful knowledge into wrong, ill intended, hands.
Today, however, much of the teaching of these esoteric schools seem to be available. Interestingly enough, there seems to be mainstream esoteric currents corresponding to each of the mainstream religion. Theosophy illustrates aspects of esoteric Buddhism, while Rosicrusians seem to be the correspondence for Christianity, and some aspects of Sufis the one for Islam. Esoteric teachings bear a striking similarity between them and advocate the disparition of the separation between mainstream exoteric currents. What is known as the 'New Age' movement incorporates today much of the essence of these esoteric schools.
The main contention of these teachings is that everything in the universe is following a 'plan' and that human history is part of the unfolding of this plan. In two words: three main 'outpouring' of Life, or the Divine, are now active. The first correspond to the 'life' that is to be found in the dullest matter such as stones. The second correspond to the more evolved life of the vegetable and animal kingdom. The third is a combinaison of the second outpouring with the human spirits: spirits coming down their own universe and 'merging' with the evolution of the second outpouring. All this not by accident, but according to a general purpose aiming at the development of awareness. Our presence on earth is thus somewhat akin to the gem of a plant deep inside the earth, 'sensing' the light above and ultimately blossoming up in wonder.
We have thus here the notion of 'evolution'. The human spirit incarnates with the view of learning certain important lessons. Between two lives, it 'assimilate' what it learned and come back to earth for the next stage. This goes on until the 'curriculum' is done and he is able to move on to other levels. The presentation I make here is of course an ultra simplified one.
This cosmogony is very different than the one found in Scn. For Scn, people on earth are 'abberated', degenerated spirits who are getting more and more degenerated. Instead of evolution as above, we have here the notion of a 'downward spiral', in which humanity speeds toward oblivion until ... Scn comes to its rescue! Therefore the all-importance of 'defending' Scn against which the dirty tricks played to its ‘enemies’ are really nothing.
The implications of these diametrically opposed approach are important. My intention was to leave the detailed analysis of these in a subsequent chapter. I am only bringing it here as part of one of the main reason behind my argument, and I am only going to take up a few points.
For example, in esoteric schools, nature is viewed as part of the evolution of spirit. The dim awareness present in a stone evolves until it materialize its highest aspect in such beauties as crystals. It moves then on to the vegetable kingdom in which, first, it enters through being the most rudimentary vegetable. Again, it evolves until it exemplify the highest vegetable achievement, like, say, a tree. It then moves on to the animal kingdom through the most rudimentary animal form until it reaches such stages as, for example, our companion dogs with their highly sophisticate intelligence, their high devotion, etc. At this stage, it doesn't just move on to become human, because we have here the additional phenomena of the merging of the second Life wave with the third as seen above, and I am not going into that here because the point I want to make is the following: you have here a meaningful and actually quiet beautiful and logical explanation of some part of the universe, and most importantly, a strong hint that a larger 'plan' is unfolding through nature. Whereas if you follow the Scn explanation, you get 'degraded' spirits animating the lower forms until you, as a 'thetan', end up, if you don't follow Scn, trapped within a stone.
In the same wake, the process of incarnation and time between incarnations falls, within the esoteric context, in a meaningful scheme. There can't be such setup if you follow the Scn cosmogony. If beings are on earth following a random and arbitrary downward spiral, there is no scheme to the 'between life' period and it can only be one of confusion. Indeed, the few comments you find here and there in Scn follow this line: the between life period is one where you get 'implanted', controlled and abused by some mysterious 'they' until somehow you 'pick up' a new body from one available in an hospital nursery.
This last point shows, by the way, a link between Scn and black magic. Indeed, the only reference to picking up bodies in nursery I found in esoteric books was related to some black magicians. Instead of going through the natural process as the one followed after death, which can take many years and is not very 'black magicians-friendly', some black magicians will try to prolong their life on earth by picking up a body from a nursery, pushing away the being for whom the body was since long intended.
These points suffice to show the contrast. There is a certain coherence of ‘revelation’ through time when one studies religions, exoteric but mainly esoteric. Scn doesn’t fit in the line of this. So either the whole line is a hoax or a delusion (which is actually the contention of Scn), or Scn is. I choose the later solution, because the esoteric explanation makes much more sense and Scn was unable to live up to its words.
At the beginning of my time in Scn, I thought that maybe Scn does not need such cosmogony because through the Scn processes ‘you will find all this by yourself’, which is of course better than any theory. All I found, however, was that this is simply not true. As I went from disapointment to disapointment while being in Scn, I was missing more and more the wisdom and the beauty of esoteric explanation. I also discovered something in these schools of thoughts that came out by contrast to Scn: the proselitism, pressure, urgency, and fanatism found in Scn was simply absent. Truth were stated, offered, and you were free to take them or not. This was a very enticing discovery, together with the fact that the principles I learned in these schools passed the test of time. This was not the case with Scn, and I had more and more courage to ask myself the real questions, until the moment I wondered as to why I needed courage at all simply to ask myself questions. The mind control, cultic elements of Scn was gradually coming to light.
The divergence at the theoretical level I detailed in part 4, i.e. evolution versus downward spiral is, I must admit, somewhat targeted, even if I maintain it is an important aspect. One could argue that there are also many points in common between the two approaches (exteriorization, reincarnation, law of cause and effect, responsibility, etc) and that in anyway, at the end of the day, the name of the game is the same: increased awareness to free oneself from the trap of the physical universe and from illusions created by the mind. One could argue also that Scn presents an original way to arrive at the same end, not based on old and over-used notions. For example, with the theory of overt acts/withdrawal/motivator, we find an original presentation of the Karma notion, a presentation that brings in addition a description of psychological mechanisms.
I am playing here the devil advocate to my own arguments, to show that things are not just black and white or all bad/all good. Indeed, many things in Scn warrant further examination. The problem is of course that Scn totalitarian attitude is black and white: you take the lot or you are in for bad things in your thereafter. So, when you arrived at the conclusion that, ultimately, Scn isn't worth, you are forced to kick the whole thing off.
That's exactly what is wrong with Scn: the totalitarian, intolerant, exclusive attitude. The unholy, partial, limited and ego attitude of its founder. That's what makes Scn a cult. That's what spoils the otherwise positive elements Scn could bring to society. It is my opinion that these positive elements can only be put to good use if taken out of the totalitarian framework. This would involves a clear demarcation from it and a clear recognition of the totalitarian, cultic, mechanisms at work. Sarge Gerbode (spelling not guaranteed) and its Metapsychology is doing a very good work at this level, while the Robertson (spelling not guaranteed) independent branch with its paranoid Markabian theory is only playing a variation of the same cultic setup, only without the originality, strength and genius- albeit-craziness, of LRH.
This shows that the *context* of a group, especially a group dealing with spiritual issues, is *as_important*, if not more, as its content. It is an integral part. And, in some respect, the context is much more easy to recognize than the content, where the avenues for arguing are very large. If you once have an insight into the whole structure of beliefs and truth, you would see that the moment some group or some person claims to possess the one and only 'key' to the 'Kingdom of heaven', you can spare yourself lengthy studies of what this group or person has to say, because no one has the authority to hold that key. There is no such key, there is no recipe, there is no track in the land of nowhere. That's actually the beauty of it. If Truth has to mean anything at all, it has to be unlimited, infinite. You can't just trap it in any form. Unless you admit that the form is only a partial representation of Truth, a timely one only necessary for communication, you are only creating a trap, a new and original trap maybe, but a trap, bound to be carried away by the flow of Life.
In part 3 of this series I examined this aspect from the point of view of the 'center', a Zen-like 'access' to some 'central reality', showing the illusion and incompatibility of a mechanical approach. In part 4, I tackled the issue from the 'periphery', comparing the 'cosmogony' of Scn to the one to be found in many esoteric schools. I pointed to their diametrically opposed viewpoints and the implications thereof. The difference is between, on the one hand, the proposition of a 'Plan' to the universe, and, on the other, a random 'downward spiral' in which Scn is the one and only salvation possible.
As far as I am concerned, I believe there is a sense behind the visible appearances, and I believe in the existence of a central Truth, from which all beauty and meaning arise. I think we all have our origin in it and that we are all aiming at a common goal. We are all evolving, exploring, learning, even if the appearances may seem against this proposition. Therefore, the bet I am taking is based on this heart-oriented premise as opposed to a fear-oriented one such as presented in Scn or within other cults.
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