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This site is kept open for archival purposes. There are lots of blog posts on everything from tech stuff to Scientology on this site. It will remain open for years to come.

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Wrapping up Scientology

Aaron Smith-Levin did a second interview with me on Scientology:

I think this would wrap up my talks and interviews on Scientology for now.

I also completed my page here on Scientology. This makes it easier to give those who want me to comment, answer questions or contribute to book projects, articles or school assignments one definite page to get all my views.

The rational skeptic world view

Humans have always tried to make sense of the world we live in. We have always tried to come up with simple explanations that covers what we see. From the four elements and a flat earth inside a dome to a spherical earth and a heliocentric world view, our view of the world has evolved. But the quest has always been to come up with a complete and consistent model that will explain all of existence. Just like Newton’s classical physics. He viewed the world as clockwork obeying a complete and consistent set of physical laws. And when those laws didn’t quite fit the bill, Einstein extended this quest with his theories of relativity. His goal was to come up with a grand unifying theory that could be encompassed in an equation no longer than two inches.

Einstein’s famous discussion with Niels Bohr where the former exclaimed “God does not play dice” was his rejection of the spookiness of quantum mechanics. This branch of physics seemed to destroy the quest to unearth a model for an ultimately orderly and rational, complete and consistent world.

And despite the hints like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, the Double Slit Experiment and Bell’s theorem, some physicists still believe in a deterministic world where everything is neatly explained and codified.

Graphics by Geir Isene

Had they only looked to mathematical philosophy and seen the same quest fail there. At the start of the 20th century, there was this adventure in mathematics where the major thinkers of that field tried to codify all of mathematics into neat axioms and rules to rule’em all. But alas, Kurt Gödel shot it all down with his Incompleteness Theorems. And decidedly so. There cannot be any complex axiomatic system that is both complete and consistent. And to those who would like to believe that the universe we can observe is all that can be, mathematics is a subset of our universe. And as the universe is then a superset of mathematics, then the universe itself cannot be both consistent and complete. And that has some profound implications that I will cover in a OnePageBook sometime in the future.

Now, what prompted me to again delve into this? I was inteviewed by Aaron Smith-Levin the other day, and one of the comments on the resulting Youtube video read:

“Geir, so much of your world view hinges on the “law” a system cannot be both complete and stable, including the large conclusion that humans are spiritual beings, have you ever questioned the conclusion on systems, and if the conclusion about systems were the opposite, would you conclude you are not a spiritual being? If you were not a spiritual being, would you feel you should adapt the rational skeptic world view?”

To which I answered:

“The proof that complex axiomatic systems cannot be both consistent and complete is among the most solid mathematical achievements in human history. It’s irrefutable. So is the double slit experiment, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Bell’s theorem. There is nothing rational about refuting any of these. They all point in the direction of consciousness being non-physical. Read my OnePageBook in free will for details: https://isene.me/2017/07/17/free-will-do-you-really-have-a-choice/”

Just like the old, classical Newtonian world view was naive, I believe the modern “rational skeptic world view” to be equally naive.

As for the rest of the interview, here it is:

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.

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.