I have come to the conclusion that my view of people and of life have been seriously flawed.
During my first 25 years as a scientologist, I adopted the idea that “A being is only as valuable as he can serve others.” That a persons “Output” or “Statistics” or “Production” was the sole determinants for a person’s value as a being. I believed that if a person did not contribute actively to others, he or she is of low value. I have experienced some extreme examples of this view in other scientologists. And with this view, a whole range of human rights abuses can be fully justified.
I became “hardened” in my views despite the increased love for others achieved through my spiritual progress all those years. My passion for people increased manifold on my journey up the levels in Scientology all while the dramatization of hard policies molded my analytical views. A contrast I can now finally settle.
It started with accepting this quote from L. Ron Hubbard as true: “By my own creed, a being is only as valuable as he can serve others.” It was reinforced by Hubbard’s policies on production, exchange and statistics. It was further cemented by the command intention and push in the Church of Scientology that a person’s value is directly proportional to his time and money donated to Church projects.
I adamantly defended the idea. When someone would counter this by raising the objection of “what about someone with Down’s Syndrome”, I would handle the objection by either a) explaining it away, b) claiming the quote was taken out of context, c) that Hubbard didn’t mean it quite like that, or d) that people with Down’s Syndrome is clearly an exception to the rule… and no rule without an exception etc.
But with everything else he wrote, and especially when I was a Course Supervisor in the Church, I would state emphatically that Hubbard means what he says. Hubbard was a very capable author, and he didn’t throw around approximate statements or statements that he meant to be interpreted in the view of everything else he wrote. No, I have come to understand that Hubbard was a very precise philosopher and author. He was accurate, to-the-point and clear in his views.
I recently read through a whole blog discussion on this very quote, and can only say that the sentence says what it says: “A being is only as valuable as he can serve others.” Only… only as valuable as… Nothing else enters the equation. It is an y = ax type of expression. It is not y = ax +b. There is no other value involved (like the “b” in the last equation).
Perhaps flagging the exception of a person with Down’s Syndrome is a bit extreme, and maybe that is an exception etc. But what about a baby? We have all been one. Screaming and in diapers, completely reliant on our mom and dad, not helping much compared to any grown-up except of course for the smile and shining baby face. But if a baby’s value as a being is to be measured only by it’s ability to serve others, it would be very low compared to the captain on a ship. Still, children and women are put in the life boat first. Chivalry plays a part here. So does love, compassion and one’s affinity for life itself.
I want to make it known that I now believe that life has an intrinsic value all on its own. This is an obvious conclusion from my article “On Will”, but I wanted to share it also as a separate blog post.
I can hear the justifications and objections popping, so I will add this: Of course there are situations in life where people will and should be valued differently. Like in the business world. Just like I would have a low value as a surgeon or as an ice skater, my 2-year old would have a low value as a programmer. But a broad statement that a being is as valuable as he can serve others?
I believe you are valuable. Whoever you are. I believe you deserve compassion love and care whether you are a King or a beggar, a Wall Street executive, baby in diapers, a kid with Down’s Syndrome or a being in an old cancer-ridden body at its last breath. I will commit myself to support the value of You and to fight for life, for freedom, for compassion and for love.