Thanks to Scientology

I would like to express my gratitude to Scientology and what I have learned from my 25 years as a Scientologist. Since it is now 9 years since I left the organization and 12 years since I completed the highest Scientology level, OT 8, I can calmly reflect on what gains I got from it. There are many years since I stopped considering myself a Scientologist. I am of no religion, of no particular faith. I am somewhat anarchistic at heart, not believing in any set methods and always trying to look at simpler truths. The scientific method is perhaps the most successful of human methodology, but even that has its limitations.

Lighthouse: Dedicated to my mother, Turid Isene

Some Scientology gains are short, fleeting, impermanent. Some are more lasting, and some have grown stronger over the years. The short-lived gains are uninteresting. The lasting gains have helped me throughout my life.

Perhaps my most fundamental gain from Scientology is leaving Scientology. Graduating with a sense of simplicity and on a quest for ever more simple solutions. It has taught me to trust my own senses, to reflect on my own actions and personality and to self-correct. A self-scepticism based on a healthy doubt and interest in finding out deeper truths. I am calmer from Scientology and much better at not giving a fuck about stuff that really doesn’t matter. Life is less serious.

An interesting tidbit is that I used to have nightmares. Several times per month I would wake up from one sweating. During just a few days, when I did OT 8 back in 2006, they completely disappeared and for 12 years I’ve had none. Given that I would have no nightmares only 1 out of ten months before, the probability that it is pure luck that I didn’t have one since is less than picking out one particular particle of matter in the whole observable universe. So I can with confidence say that this was a gain specifically from OT 8.

I am currently learning how to “Lose without a loss” – to be able to lose in a situation and not carry on a loss afterwards. And I’m getting quite good at it. It’s incidentally an exercise that will ultimately help me when I die, as that is the ultimate loss in life.

Scientology is a polarizing subject. Most people who care to discuss the subject view it as a black-or-white proposition. It quickly degenerates into a good vs bad, either-or, Republicans vs Democrats, Cowboys vs Indians or US/them discussion (pun intended). I view it differently. There are good and bad in everything, and while the Church of Scientology is a fascistic cult, I have gotten invaluable gains from my years studying and applying the subject. Maybe I could have gotten the same or even better elsewhere. I wouldn’t know. I only know what I did get, and I’m grateful for that.

37 thoughts on “Thanks to Scientology

    1. Me too.

      Too bad a Scientology “me too” movement is probably not going to happen. The general culture is into “pity party” mode, and that includes many (or most) former Scientologists. I’ve even observed posters who once raved about their wins in Scientology now claim that the gains were nonexistent – or even that they were damaged.

      It seems the lure of having a group – of tribalism, that is – is still the developmental level of most individuals and cultures. But the good news, according to some theories, is that this is a necessary level in spiritual growth. As Ken Wilber put it, you can’t expect a 9-year-old to think and act like a 12-year old – yet.

      1. …Logic, Reason, and Science…. with a special integral conscience is more than an US/them or A-mere-i-can approach to ‘The Good Civilization’ ༒

  1. Thanks Geir,

    Know very little about Scientology, but I can certainly relate, and I have seen and experienced harmful religious beliefs and congregations.

    Like you I have left; left with a bittersweet feeling of freedom. Bittersweet because it was *not all bad*, and I still care deeply for friends and family who are still in “my church”…

  2. Geir: “Perhaps my most fundamental gain from Scientology is leaving Scientology.”

    I have said something very similar. I would even add that the direct experience of being in a fascistic cult was also a gain – although those who lost loved ones to the disconnection policy probably wouldn’t agree, at least not in the short run. But in the long run that too would be a valuable teaching lesson – considering the “long run” to include multiple lifetimes and the idea that we take our spiritual growth with us.

    You summed it up well with this: “It has taught me to trust my own senses, to reflect on my own actions and personality and to self-correct.”

    1. Marildi, I agree that direct experience of being in a fascist cult is a gain. I think we “gain” from all experiences. Maybe I would have, maybe I wouldn’t have learned these lessons in another way. One thing that seems crystal clear to me is that I understand how giving oneself completely to an ideology abdicates responsibility for personal decision making and actions. ~Chris PS: Good to see you.

      1. Hey, Chris! Good to see you too. Not too long ago I googled something or other and one of the results took me to an old comment thread on Geir’s. It had hundreds of comments and got caught up in reading through a lot of it! And the same thing occurred to me as has happened a couple times before – which was that we had a little community here in the cybersphere. There were both fun times and tense times in our many discussions – and all of it was grist for the mill. This is another example of getting gains from the whole spectrum of experience. And, like Scientology, it was a definite part of our journey.

        Cheers to both of you homeboys! 🙂

        1. Might one explore the meaningful differentiations and evolutionary gradients among:

          •Science
          •Scientology
          •Scientonomy
          and
          •Scientodophy
          ….

          1. Sorry for the typo!

            Might one explore the meaningful differentiations and evolutionary gradients among:

            •Science
            •Scientology
            •Scientonomy
            and
            •Scientosophy
            ….

            1. That would have to be a worthwhile endeavor, in my view, although it wouldn’t be on everybody’s path. I get the idea that it may be on yours, though, and I say more power to you!

  3. I agree with what you say about the benefits and ultimate benefit from Scientology. Having some experience dealing with and being human, I’ve come to know something about our existence. About a half million years ago, the scientific myth goes that humans experienced an explosion of development in their brain organs.

    I do not know much about that, but I do know that somehow during that development humans gained a superlative “pattern recognition” ability. The consequences of this were a double edged sword which has sinced helped and hindered our progress. While protecting us by recognizing both real and unreal danger in our environment it generally keeps us safe even when causing us to fly away from non-existent dangers. We trust our pattern recognition so strongly that we cling to that recognition even when a further analysis should cause us to abandon that recognition. This is too bad because it is the source of our sometimes falsely recognitizing patterns in the form of ideologies. It is okay to have a world view, we all do. The alternative to having a world view is death – no view at all. But any dogmatic determination to cling to an ideology at any cost is a big human mistake and has slowed humanity’s progress. Religion seems to provide that double-edged sword for humanity by both organizing our activities and thinking while crushing at the same time.

    I liked what you wrote about your most fundamental gain being from leaving Scientology. I too experienced that “win.” It was as personally powerful for me as going Clear. It has been a graduation into the life I’m living now. Every September since I finished high school, when the children go back to school and the school busses begin running, I always get a moment of pleasure from seeing them and knowing that I’ll never need to step onto another one. Ahhh! Leaving my professed dogma of Scientology beliefs behind is like that for me. Ahhh!

    1. “It was as personally powerful for me as going Clear.” I was glad to read that someone besides myself regards going Clear as a something rather than a nothing. In it’s simplest explanation, at least for me, it was a letting go of the past and certainly not unique to scn but that’s what happened.

  4. However, you may run into a problem with your brain in trying to detune it from feeling a loss while actually having one.  I’m currently studying the chemistry of this and things like this.  From my studies, the mid-brain seemingly congratulates or snubs the frontal cortex chemically when receiving more than expected, as expected, and less than expected.  Just as we have a temperature setpoint in our brains, the raising of which results in “fever.”  Our brains seem to have a “hedonic setpoint” as well.  When this setpoint is reset with expectations too high or too low, a flattened and bland landscape can be the result.  Food for thought.  Kevin McCauley, MD, <href=https://addictioneducationsociety.org/dr-kevin-mccauley-pleasure-unwoven>CLICK FOR LINK</a>

    1. On the subject of the brain, as fate would have it, I happen to be reading Ervin Laszlo’s new book *The Intelligence of the Cosmos.* Just last night I was reading a section in Chapter 1 titled “Mind beyond Brain: Evidence for a New Concept of Consciousness.” Here’s an excerpt:

      ——————————————————-

      “If mind is a real element in the real world [and is] only manifested rather than produced by the brain, it can also exist without the brain. There is evidence that mind does exist on occasion beyond the brain: surprisingly, conscious experience seems possible in the absence of a functioning brain. There are cases—the near-death experience (NDE) is the paradigm case—where consciousness persists when brain function is impaired, or even halted.

      “Thousands of observations and experiments show that people whose brain stopped working but then regained normal functioning can experience consciousness during the time they are without a functioning brain. This cannot be accounted for on the premises of the production theory: [which is] if there is no working brain, there cannot be consciousness. Yet there are cases of consciousness appearing beyond the living and working brain, and some of these cases are not easy to dismiss as mere imagination.

      “A striking NDE was recounted by a young woman named Pamela. Hers has been just one among scores of NDEs;* it is cited here to illustrate that such experiences exist, and can be documented.

      *For a more extensive sampling see Ervin Laszlo with Anthony Peake from The Immortal Mind (Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 2014).

      =========================
      Pamela died on May 29, 2010, at the age of fifty-three. But for hours she was effectively dead on the operating table nineteen years earlier. Her near-demise was induced by a surgical team attempting to remove an aneurism in her brain stem.
      After the operation, when her brain and body returned to normal functioning, Pamela described in detail what had taken place in the operating theater. She recalled among other things the music that was playing (“Hotel California” by the Eagles). She described a whole series of conversations among the medical team. She reported having watched the opening of her skull by the surgeon from a position above him and described in detail the “Midas Rex” ¬bone-cutting device and the distinct sound it made.

      About ninety minutes into the operation, she saw her body from the outside and felt herself being pulled out of it and into a tunnel of light. And she heard the bone saw activate, even though there were specially designed speakers in each of her ears that shut out all external sounds. The speakers themselves were broadcasting audible clicks in order to confirm that there was no activity in her brain stem. Moreover, she had been given a general anesthetic that should have assured that she was fully unconscious. Pamela should not have been able either to see or to hear anything.
      =======================

      “It appears that consciousness is not, or not entirely, tied to the living brain. In addition to NDEs, there are cases in which consciousness is detached from the brain in regard to its location. In these cases consciousness originates above the eyes and the head, or near the ceiling, or above the roof. These are the out-of-body experiences: OBEs.

      “There are OBEs where congenitally blind people have visual awareness. They describe their surroundings in considerable detail and with remarkable accuracy. What the blind experience is not restored eyesight, because they are aware of things that are shielded from their eyes or are beyond the range of normal eyesight. Consciousness researcher Kenneth Ring called these experiences “transcendental awareness.”

      “Visual awareness in the blind joins a growing repertory of experiences collected and researched by Stanislav Grof: “transcendental ¬experiences.” As Grof found, these beyond-the-brain and -beyond-here-and-now experiences are widespread—more widespread than anyone would have suspected even a few years ago.

      “There are also reports of ADEs, after-death experiences. Thousands of psychic mediums claim to have channeled the conscious experience of deceased people, and some of these reports are not easy to dismiss as mere imagination….”
      ———————————————————–

      The above and more can be found here: http://www.laszloinstitute.com/a-new-concept-of-consciousness/

      1. Hi marildi – I took a look at the website and the viewpoint seems to cross reference some of the Integral Theory viewpoints although I didn’t go into it that deeply.

        Since we’re talking about brains, here’s this. The two chamber right and left hemisphere human brain is generally described as analytical thinking coming from the left side and creative thinking coming from the right side. A closer link and cross referencing of the two chambers might be an evolutionary step or achieved by practice. Scientology and particularly Dianetic auditing (looking at real or imaginative past lives) might loosen up or stimulate creative thinking and in some way encourage that merging process.

        “Something happened” and Geir stopped having nightmares. Trying to dig in and determine a scientific explanation to everything doesn’t work for me. After scn I had a couple of peak experiences and maybe scn was a factor in that happening but who knows.

        1. Hi Richard,

          Good observation. Yes, Laszlo is very much an integral theory proponent.

          You also wrote: “The two chamber right and left hemisphere human brain is generally described as analytical thinking coming from the left side and creative thinking coming from the right side.”

          The last I read about that idea, it was said to be a myth. Here’s the llink to an article from just a couple months ago, with current data. https://www.verywellmind.com/left-brain-vs-right-brain-2795005

          1. p.s. Here’s an interview of Laszlo where he talks about his worldview. (And it’s one where you get to watch Lilou at the same time. 😀 )

          2. Okay. Thanks for the left brain, right brain info. It’s good to know that half of my brain isn’t idling in the parking lot while I’m balancing my checkbook. I’ll look for a different theory. I only took one biology class in college and the professor was of the firm conviction that the only reason humans are smarter than apes is because we have a larger brain to body mass ratio. I’ll continue to work on making the whole gray mass bigger.

            I didn’t look at the video yet.

            P.S. Somehow I ended up on the Integral Life e-mail mailing list and they keep sending me snippets of upcoming events and lectures. A couple of lectures were free and were interesting but to see the rest you need to become a member for $99/year. With all the other stuff to watch on youtube and the internet I might not participate that much.

            1. I remain vigilant about information overload. When I was in grammar school in the 1950s if I wanted to learn something about the world on a rainy day I’d browse my World Book Encyclopedia. In 2018 Information Overload Culture Shock, IOCS, is a factor. (I need to trademark that)

              Getting back to the topic, things were simpler before the internet. All someone needed to do back then to get all the answers to everything was become a Scientologist.

            2. Funny Scientologist joke. 😀

              But Scientology was a good stepping stone for many of us – just the right one for our level of development at the time. And I still feel that many of Hubbard’s insights and auditing procedures were ingenious – who else has developed such efficient and effective procedures as correction lists, for example? As I’ve learned about other workable teachings, I have often thought how well Scientology could complement them with regard to “baggage” getting in the way of their practice. Anyway, it’ll all come out in the cosmic wash. 🙂

  5. Might one explore the meaningful differentiations and evolutionary gradients among:

    •Science
    •Scientism
    •Scientology
    •Scientonomy
    and
    •Scientosophy
    ….

    The newly emerging comprehensive evolutionary worldview is writing the greater narrative along …Science, Religion, Philosophy, Mathematics, and ‘Artificially Engineered Intelligences’….

    1. “The newly emerging comprehensive evolutionary worldview” sounds grandiose but avoids discussion of the real world problem of overpopulation. According to Wikipedia world population in 1800 was 1 billion, in 1960 3 billion and today approaching 8 billion and continuing to rise. Whether an evolutionary worldview can overcome environmental destruction and competition for resources is debatable.

      1. The population is in fact stagnating. The number of births have been a steady 140 million since 1994. Population since then has only risen because we live longer and because of less war and less crime.

  6. If someone today asked “What is Scientology?” I think there would be different descriptions from people depending on when they participated. What’s left of scn in 2018 is quite different to what I experienced in the 1970s and early 1980s. Taking out Hubbard’s upper level mishmash of sci fi, theosophy and occultism which I didn’t pursue, I think even the lower Grade Chart which I regarded as a psychology and exploration of the mind might be almost unrecognizable to me today.

    1. Before the internet nobody knew they would be addressing Xenu and body thetans on the OT levels. With that said I don’t deny that hundreds or thousands of hours of introspection in solo auditing could produce realizations for many people. There were so many mental procedures (processes) in scn that someone might have a transformation experience or experiences anywhere on “The Bridge”.

    2. Back in my psychedelic hippy days there was a song with the lyric, “Come along with me and take a journey to the center of the mind.” haha

  7. Yes, and thank you for expressing it so well.

    A long-time friend I met in the church and who is now also out of the church made an interesting observation: he noted that at the time when first encountering scn, he was in a general state of mind of being intensely interested in the world, how it worked, thoughts and philosophical ideas about its workings.

    Hubbard, being a jealous god, didn’t want any “other practices” or “mixing practices” amongst his followers, and those that wanted to remain in the flock dutifully complied.

    Fast forward a few decades, and we are out, and have rediscovered that innate basic curiosity that we had placed into suspended animation has reactivated, with the energy it had when we were much younger men.

    I look at that freshness as a gift. Many many people who are my age have had their world views set for some time, unchanging, fossilization even occurring; it is something that makes you old.

    The world is exciting and new and filled with fantastic thinkers and ideas now. Fantastic time to be alive!

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