One thing that works remarkably well in Scientology…

… the suspension of shit.

Most people are able to curtail their issues if they are motivated to do so.

You can suppress your compulsions, suspend your anger, curtail your depression and put your mental anguish on hold… if you know there is a solution up the road. Just keep walking a bit further and it will get handled. Just a mile up the road. Across that Bridge. Over on the other side. A bit further. Almost there. Just hold on for a tad longer. Etc.

I have met scores of Scientologists who have had this going, and remarkably well – for years. They have this big issue in life that they want to have handled. And they believe Scientology can handle it. They start out on the Communication course, and while they get good gains on the exercises, that pressing issue is not gone. They do the Grades. Excellent gains, but the problem remains. They become Clear. Issue still there. They embark upon the OT levels. Cool gains, but that mental burden, while thoroughly covered by hope of some future resolution, is still there. Nagging.

the-long-winding-road-207526

This suspension of shit is a real gain in the person’s life. While it is indeed temporary, it is nevertheless real. The person’s life quality can be substantially increased for years. And that is one great thing that Scientology can do for people.

But for this to work, the person must believe that the issue can be solved by Scientology. And for the person to believe, the solution must be at least as complex as the problem he is facing. Brushing the problem off with “just don’t create it” or “learn to not give a flying fuck about it” just won’t cut it – if the person cherish his problem too much. He will need a complex, substantial and “real” solution. Something scientific looking, something complex like Scientology. With steps and levels and processes, procedures, frameworks, methodology and terminology and organizations and graphs and charts, expensive and exclusive, and with lots of neat looking marketing. Yeah, that should cut it.

It’s only when the person completes or quits Scientology – and still have that issue – that the bear wakes up from hibernation and charges ferociously back into his life. This is why some people experience a great loss when they quit Scientology or when they complete the Bridge (to “Total Freedom”).

The flip side of this coin is really that suspending the mental issue with hope of resolution is an abandonment of responsibility. Instead of taking full responsibility for the problem, he assigns the resolution over to “future Scientology”. And then he’s stuck with the issue even though it is suspended.

The denial of facts

Anyone holding a strong belief be can be subject to confirmation bias – the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.

It can be seen in many discussions on Scientology here on my blog. Scientolgists faced with facts or iron-clad arguments against Scientology will defend their belief even to the point of the ridiculous.

But it takes on a more serious shade when the consequences affects every man, woman and child on this planet. Or more precisely all life on Earth. Climate change deniers continue to hold their beliefs strong in the face of avalanches of facts telling us we must do something Now in order to not wreck our world. When even the possible future President of the most powerful nation on Earth remain among the deniers of science, we could be heading for serious trouble.

climate

An article in The Guardian titled, “How climate science deniers can accept so many ‘impossible things’ all at once” highlights confirmation bias and its siblings, “conspiracist ideation” and “identity-protective cognition”. It’s worth a read. Also to help understand discussions regarding religion or belief.

Overleaf: Finally LaTeX editing online! & my revised CV

Brendan pointed me to Overleaf – an excellent tool to create high quality documents using LaTeX. It boasts automatic rendering of the output, collaborative editing and lots and lots of templates to start from. I’m crazy happy I found this. And I decided to remake my CV/résumé with one of the templates I found there. And here it is: Geir Isene’s CV.

overleaf

Check out Overleaf. It’s a real treat.

cv_geirisene

And, if you have any suggestions for improving my CV, please leave a comment.

Scientology ethics: Justifying genocide

Inspired by a discussion under my previous blog post, I came to realize a possible root cause for the unethical behavior of the Church of Scientology and within its ranks.

The unethical conduct of the Church of Scientology is well documented in books, articles and films. The unethical conduct of individual members has also gotten some attention in the media. Scientologists would have personal knowledge of falsifying statistics, embezzlement, undue pressure and duress, disregard of health, sordid treatment of children or other unsavoury acts in the name of “The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number of Dynamics”.

The self-centric world view

The self-centric world view

Let’s take a look at this central concept in L. Ron Hubbard’s “Ethics system”. First we need to understand what the “dynamics” are:

“There could be said to be eight urges (drives, impulses) in life. These we call dynamics. These are motives or motivations. We call them the eight dynamics.

The first dynamic is the urge toward existence as one’s self. Here we have individuality expressed fully. This can be called the self dynamic.

The second dynamic is the urge toward existence as a sexual or bisexual activity. This dynamic actually has two divisions. Second dynamic (a) is the sexual act itself and the second dynamic (b) is the family unit, including the rearing of children. This can be called the sex dynamic.

The third dynamic is the urge toward existence in groups of individuals. Any group or part of an entire class could be considered to be a part of the third dynamic. The school, the society, the town, the nation are each part of the third dynamic, and each one is a third dynamic. This can be called the group dynamic.

The fourth dynamic is the urge toward existence as mankind. Whereas the white race would be considered a third dynamic, all the races would be considered the fourth dynamic. This can be called the mankind dynamic.

The fifth dynamic is the urge toward existence of the animal kingdom. This includes all living things whether vegetable or animal. The fish in the sea, the beasts of the field or of the forest, grass, trees, flowers, or anything directly and intimately motivated by life. This could be called the animal dynamic.

The sixth dynamic is the urge toward existence as the physical universe. The physical universe is composed of matter, energy, space and time. In Scn we take the first letter of each of these words and coin a word, MEST. This can be called the universe dynamic.

The seventh dynamic is the urge toward existence as or of spirits. Anything spiritual, with or without identity, would come under the heading of the seventh dynamic. This can be called the spiritual dynamic.

The eighth dynamic is the urge toward existence as infinity. This is also identified as the Supreme Being. It is carefully observed here that the science of Scn does not intrude into the dynamic of the Supreme Being. This is called the eighth dynamic because the symbol of infinity “∞” stood upright makes the numeral “8 .” This can be called the infinity or God dynamic.” (Fundamentals of Thought)

Then we need to understand what Hubbard would label the most ethical action or the “optimum solution”:

“the solution which brings the greatest benefit to the greatest number of dynamics.” (Notes on the lectures)

According to Hubbard, the optimum solution in any given situation is determined not by the greatest good for the greatest number of people involved but for the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics. In one fell swoop he puts every dynamic at equal value. Your first dynamic is equally important as your family. Your family is of equal value as the whole of Mankind. Your school is as important as all life. And God is of the same value as yourself. Right there you can see a serious incompatibility with several major religions.

Most non-scientologist would balk at this and go “Objection your honor!” Most scientologists would buy into this hook, line and sinker. Because it is uttered by L. Ron Hubbard.

Putting the first dynamic on par with your family, your country, Mankind, all of life, the physical universe, all spirituality or God himself makes for a rather egotistical religion. But watch for the scientologists pitch in with comments on this blog post with “but, it’s all about you BEING your dynamics” and other esoterics to justify how this somehow, in some way could possibly be justified as sane. It should make for interesting discussions.

When Hubbard would refer to The Third Dynamic, he wouldn’t normally be talking about your soccer team, your astronomy club or your country. He would refer to Scientology. To him, Scientology was the only real Third Dynamic – on par with Mankind and God. And Scientologists are led to believe that it is so all-pervasive in its goodness that it empowered all the dynamics. This is why we see so many scientologists sacrifice their families and themselves to the greater cause of this “über-third dynamic”.

But without philosophizing too much, let’s simply put this “optimum solution” to test. In determining if some action is beneficial or harmful to a dynamic, we’ll give the action a -100% to +100% impact on that dynamic. A score of -100% would be the destruction of that dynamic, while a +100% would be a maximum positive effect (such as escaping death in gruelling situation). For any minor effect, we will use ±0.1% for convenience. The numbers are rough estimates that I am prepared to defend quite easily. In the examples below, you are in a family of 4, so you are 25% of your 2nd Dynamic.

Action 1D 2D 3D 4D 5D 6D 7D 8D Total effect
1: As a Scientology Executive, should I exploit my work force? +20 +10 +50 -0.1 ~+80% = Yup!
2: Should you protect Scientology by infiltrating the US Government? +10 +5 +50 -0.1 ~+65% = Of course you should.
3: Risk losing your job by reporting non-critical embezlement in the company? -5 -1 +1 ~-5% = Turn the blind eye.
4: You own a whaling company. Should you hunt down and kill all blue whales? +20 +10 +50 -0.1 -1 -0.1 -0.1 ~+79% = Kill-spree!
5: Risking your life (10% chance) to save a stranger from certain death? -10 -2.5 +0.1 +0.1 +0.1 +0.1 +0.1 ~-12.5% = Walk away.
6: Letting half your sailing crew die to save yourself +100 +25 -50 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 ~+75% = Go for it!
7: Letting your whole sailing crew die to save yourself +100 +25 -100 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 ~+25% = Still good. Jump the ship!
8: As a Nazi concentration camp guard, should you kill jews? +100 +25 +0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -33 ~+92% = Nothing should stop you😦

Every Nazi could make use of Hubbard’s “optimum solution” to justify genocide.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Scientology ethics is self-centric and egotistical and totally off-balance.

Before someone start objecting that some of my examples are in fact against some law, I should point out that according to Hubbard those laws would simply be contrary to the optimum solution. The laws should be removed or amended to comply with the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics.

It’s not that I would argue against the concept of the dynamics themselves, but to put them at equal value is nothing short of insane.

We’re not talking about some fringe part of Scientology, like Xenu, the OCA test, David Miscavige beating his staff or false marketing here. We are talking about the very core of Scientology – its very ethics – upon which all of auditing, study and administration hinges. We are looking at Hubbard’s “optimum solution“. In fact I think we are looking at a root cause to much of the evil perpetrated in the name of Scientology.

Freedom of Religion or Belief

It is not enough to tolerate religions or personal convictions or beliefs. We should recognize the power in beliefs and religions.

Yesterday I attended the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (#IPPFoRB) in Berlin.

ippforb

Tolerance of religions and beliefs is an important human right. Taking action to stop or limit prosecution based on faith is paramount. But I think we can take this one step further. Beyond stopping oppression of faith, passive tolerance of faith or even promotion of a tolerant society, there is recognition of the power of faith.

Religion or belief gives purpose. Purpose gives strength, and with strength can come accomplishments.

Witness the early civilizations, the building of ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, the Mayans and social structures throughout our history. Religions have given purpose, strength and accomplishments to the benefit… and detriment of many. The strength has yielded the foundations for civilizations. It has also brought oppression, even terrorism. In any case, with conviction comes strength.

Religion or Belief -> Purpose -> Strength -> Accomplishment

This we should recognize and help use for the greater good. Faith can be a basis for individual strength and strong societies. Thus faith should be applauded regardless of what the person chooses to believe in.

The diversity of this conference is amazing. More than 100 MPs from more than 60 countries. All major religions are represented. Academia, NGOs and other interested parties attend.

Having attending this conference, I am left with a couple of questions. Firstly:

How can people with directly opposing purposes honestly cooperate for Freedom of Religion or Belief?

I spoke to people at the conference who have the goal of their religion winning at the expense of others.

Answers to this question could serve also to answer how we could make anarchy work in practice.

Another impression from the conference was that several of the attendants insisted that there was absolutely no connection between religion and terrorism. I believe such a refusal to discuss such a connection is both naive and dangerous. It can obfuscate a possible cause of terrorism. The blunt refusal of a discussion is never healthy.

Then there is the question of a battle of two basic human rights. Which takes rank – the freedom of religion and belief or the freedom of speech? What’s your answer to this potential dilemma?

How to pick up girls (and gain new friends)

After coaching lots of people on this (myself included), I’ve boiled it down to four simple questions that will get you close to most people in a matter of minutes. For this to work, you need to open up yourself and reveal your own answers to these questions along the way. A free two-way flow creates good trust, knowledge of the other and a basis for friendship or beyond. Try it out on some strangers and tell me how it went. But remember, be direct, blunt even – no beating around the bush:

  1. If you were granted three wishes, what would they be?
  2. What are your 5 strongest sides?
  3. What are your 2 weakest sides?
  4. What have you done in life that has given you the worst conscience?

Get answers to these and share your own and you will both know if you have a potential friend right there.

friends