Scientology Daily Digest: Thursday, November 14, 2013

Perhaps the best news today is a long comment on Tony O’s blog from former Scientologist and now leading LGBT activist, and beloved “Auntie Kate” of so many on this blog.  Kate wrote her first long post here in many months, and said she’s feeling completely free of cancer.  Her post is worth reading.

Tony’s blog talks leads with a great explanation of Scientology ethics and features a remarkable video from Karen de la Carriere about life at Int Base.  Mike Rinder scores some pictures and over-the-top e-mails about the weekend’s events.

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Tony’s blog featured the regular weekly story from former cult marketing exec Jeff Hawkins about the Scientology “ethics” system.  Jeff does a great job explaining how Hubbard took something simple, albeit something that equated “ethics” with “making money” rather than what the rest of the world understands, then added in mechanisms to control and brainwash his followers.  I found this a great explanation.

Karen De La Carriere produced a video with an interview with Jeff Hawkins and many others, which captures some of the craziness of life at Int Base.  Mike Rinder compares life there to being in North Korea.  Also available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0kL12vtw7M#t=433

The lulz for today come from yet another piece of Super Power equipment, this time the “pain table” which appears to be a vibrating plate of spikes that one puts one’s hand onto.  It’s not nearly as cool as yesterday’s endocrine system “vomit comet” flight simulator ride, and nowhere near as bizarre as the oiliness table.

My take:  of particular interest in the ethics discussion is how the fundamental roots are in economics, putting you in a state to be punished if the organization doesn’t hit its goals by growing every single week.  And of course, no organization can grow every single week no matter what.  It just doesn’t happen.  The unreasonable goals backed up by the punishment-oriented culture, which eventually acquired such powerful tools for coercion, is why we protest.

I pointed out that this system of “ethics” used to drive production actually creates massive blowback and unintended consequences, particularly to try to bend the management goals to ones that are achievable consistently, even though they may not actually do much to improve the business.

Selected comments:

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  • Mike’s first post reveals a Facebook post from a Kool-Aid drinker gushing about how great GAT 2 will be.  Mike takes a stab at likely positioning for the release.  Worth a read just for the long jargon-ridden post by the lady talking up how magic this is.
  • Mike’s second post has a couple photos from the stage area for the events plus the new Terrace Restaurant at the renovated Oak Cove hotel.  As dedicated foodie, I will say that the décor isn’t as awful as I had expected, though I hope they’re not waiting for their Michelin stars.  I’ve eaten in neighborhood Chinese restaurants in Manhattan that are more elegant.
  • Mike’s third post highlights the hype in some recent e-mails about the events.  My favorite embodies Hubbard-like math skills: “Take that “WOW”, multiply it by infinity, and you will have about 1/1000th of a concept of what is in store for you when you get his briefing.”

The Forums (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)

Thanks again to Aeger Primo for keeping an eagle eye on things.  She notes it’s a quiet day on the forums, though a couple interesting articles pop out.

AegerPrimo started a thread on ESMB to get their perspective on Scientologists and not drinking, a theme that was brought up by some of the ex’s in response to my post looking at the power of anecdotes.  This could give more data points to think about as we try to understand the woman’s drinking behavior in the post from B. B. Broeker in the case study for analyzing anecdotes.

General Press

The Daily Fail is reporting that Tom Cruise’s sister Leanne De Vette, who was his publicist during the “crazy times,” will be deposed in the Bauer Media suit.  This ought to be fun to see how she will use her Scientology communication skills and her Hubbard-created PR skills when under oath.

  • Spackle Motion

    For some reason, my brain turns off when I read any analysis of LRH’s written works, including the most destructive policies, rules, and books. I understand Hubbard’s techniques and general motives behind his vast written control techniques but reading a well thought out analysis simultaneously scares and bores me.

    I really refuse to spend time reading the drivel and frightening control techniques as written by LRH although I really admire Jeff’s analysis and his prose. This is why I stopped reading Tony’s “up the bridge” series and prefer to focus on activism, leaks, and tasty footbullets. One can still understand the mind trap from a macro level (through the lens of understanding how all destructive cults operate)….LRH is not worth my time.

    • Snippy_X

      I feel like that too. There is so much right stuff to learn, I don’t have the patience to analyze his insanely wrong ramblings. Besides, they are toxic to me.

      • KJP in Portland

        I tried to read some years ago, but found his rambling run-ons more boring than a calculus textbook.

        • N. Graham

          I know what you mean, I could never really follow the ramblings much, I was always going “what-th” but since reading the Dianetics series here I realize you’ve got to just suspend the disbelief and go with the flow and try to follow it however you can. Although as soon as you start enjoying the lulz, the ugly reality of it rears its pointed head and THAT’S when you start shaking your head in disbelief and rambling on, much like this post of mine.
          I guess all this infectious excitement building up about Super Power has got me going crazy in anticipation at the coming of the GREATEST MONTH IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND! People will remember this time as the prelude to when the planet got cleared. And when SPs were only something you read about in history books!
          Whatever happens with GAT II and Super Power, it’s going to be fun!
          Getting too excited, gg.

        • John P.

          Actually, it’s a lot easier to take a calculus textbook because it is useful in real life. And most best-selling college calculus books are surprisingly well-written given the density and difficulty of the subject matter. There’s a big difference in readability between a good calculus text and a bad one…

          • Eclipse-girl

            I loved my Thomas edition of calc. That is still saved after 30 yrs.

        • aegerprimo

          LMFAO!

    • John P.

      I agree for the most part. The one thing that makes me keep an eye on things like going up the bridge is the hope that someday I might be able to answer a couple questions I’ve never been able to resolve satisfactorily for myself.

      The biggest one: did Hubbard invent one of the most effective mind control cults in history by accident and unknowingly or on purpose? I think Hubbard was wily and was smart in some ways but utterly clueless in others. I don’t think he was smart enough to sit down and sketch out a master plan that he then brought to fruition. I do think he was wily and clever enough to grab onto and exploit the gift that his followers practically shoved into his hands.

      I think Hubbard stumbled into the mind control aspects of the cult, much the same way as “The Third Wave” experiment in the 1970s spiraled out of control when the students in the class came up with control mechanisms faster than teacher Ron Jones could implement them. But I can’t prove it to the level of proof that I would like, and I am not sure that a massive investment of hours by qualified professionals would be able to answer that either, so I’m going to watch things casually and try not to get sucked down that particular rabbit hole.

      I agree that the focus should be on “activism, leaks and tasty footbullets,” and I hope that this blog will be able to do some useful work in predicting the future of the cult with that focus. I also agree that understanding the doctrine doesn’t help with a predictive model of the future. The actions and words from the cult today are far more important.

      • chukicita

        Unknowingly or on purpose?

        El Hub had to change things along the way – for instance, the adoption of the religion cloak was a result of and response to the FDA interest in the way Hubbard was touting medical claims for the e-meter and other Scientology products.

        There was also never a real plan for succession, and there is none today.

        I was never in, but spent too much time reading not only books like Dianetics, Science of Survival and History of Man but also Hubbard’s policy letters and bulletins (all of which were available at Univ. of South Florida’s library), as well as some of his sci fi efforts.

        There is a lot of cognitive dissonance in those millions of “skripture” words. A lot of places where Hubbard contradicts himself. I tend to think that at first this happened because he was overwhelmed by circumstances of the day and forgot that he wrote something completely opposite. Perhaps later he wrote copiously so as to have multiple ‘outs’ and excuses and reasons and explanations and so on – creating a permanent framwork so as to, ironically, never be stuck.

      • aegerprimo

        “The biggest one: did Hubbard invent one of the most effective mind control cults in history by accident and unknowingly or on purpose? I think Hubbard was wily and was smart in some ways but utterly clueless in others.”

        John P – I agree wholeheartedly, that is the BIGGEST question! I think this question is what keeps exes (like me) and never-ins (like you) so fascinated with Scientology, and LRH.

        I’ve read a lot of books, the classics such as; Messiah or Madman?, Barefaced Messiah, A Piece of Blue Sky, The Mindbenders, and many others.

        At this point in time, for me, I think LRH made up a lot as he went along, but somehow he had a knack of pulling together “information” that seemed like “scientific technology”. That is the fascination – how did he do that? How did he trick so many people for so many years, even after his death? He had a strange, uncanny, dangerous knack to trick people.

        This question is VERY fascinating!

      • Lady Squash

        John P, I love your question: “did Hubbard invent one of the most effective mind control cults in history by accident and unknowingly or on purpose?”

        I am reading “Cults in our Midst” and wondered, “How is it that so many cult leaders come up with a similar blue print for the basics on how to control people?” Is there a school they go to? Or a handbook you can send away for? Is it genetic? I wonder about these things. It puzzles and fascinates.

        I’ve worked through most of the cult-think I had adopted, but one part still sticks around. I wonder if auditing could be used in a positive way?

        I work with a Nervous Nelly and I find myself wondering if a few sessions might not release her from some of her demons. Or is this just another layer of the onion that still needs peeling?

        I was wondering if you have an opinion about that.

        I

        • John P.

          I do. That will be the subject of a long article that I’ve been working on for a few days. I hope to have it out in a week or two.

          As you know, there are no clinical studies on the effectiveness of auditing for relief of any therapeutic symptoms. There was a study done in the late 1950s or early 1960s that showed that auditing delivered exactly zero of the benefits Hubbard claimed for clear (increased IQ, etc.), but that’s not really the same thing so I am not going to take a 50-year old study as sufficient to “prove” that auditing is ineffective.

          This question is the whole reason for the lengthy discussion about anecdote versus evidence. There are many people who have been in Scientology who have reported significant “wins” after auditing, and plenty of reason to believe those wins are genuine positive, significant and permanent life changes that have occurred as a result of auditing.

          However, positive anecdotes, no matter how many, are not proof that auditing works. You have to consider those in a rigorous statistical manner against the backdrop of all cases of people who did auditing, including where auditing did nothing or possibly even made people worse.

          Given that something in excess of 90% of people drop out of Scientology after far less than six months, presumably after they had sessions of auditing, and given that some percentage of auditing sessions accomplished nothing, even for people who had previously had immense “wins,” it seems like the odds that a course of auditing makes a notable difference in the lives of a large, statistically meaningful population of all who have attempted auditing, is not likely.

          In measuring auditing in a clinically valid way, you have to do two things:

          1) come up with a “placebo” treatment that looks like auditing but really isn’t. That could be accomplished by having the e-meter, unknown to the auditor, hooked up to a computer and delivering bogus readings (i.e., randomly chosen responses instead of what the circuitry actually registered at the time), and then having the auditor deliver the response for whatever the bogus reading was as if it were true. The auditor would have to be unaware of whether the meter was giving true or bogus readings to be a valid double-blind study.

          You would also have to come up with auditing checksheets that had questions that were not “standard tech” and audit those with “true” responses, to determine whether the questions on the checksheets were the thing that produced results, or whether it was the kind of feedback that the e-meter provided that produced results.

          2) correct for the fact that, in the Church of Scientology, you have to tell the auditor and/or case supervisor what your wins were before you were allowed out of the building, and convince them that your wins were big enough. All this while the meter is running at ludicrous hourly rates. If you don’t claim that every session is mind-blowingly great, you risk “ethics” as does your auditor, and you risk having to do “case repair” auditing, running up your bill.

          So it is possible that you have a situation where the memory of a statement made under duress as a justification for a big win colors the memory of the value of the win in your life.

          So while there is no clinical evidence that auditing does not work across a statistically significant population, I think the hurdles to establishing that auditing works in a scientifically valid clinical trial means that it is very unlikely that auditing could be said to work in the clinical sense.

          That does not invalidate whether some people who come forward in these forums have had significant, life-changing “wins” (God, I hate that term, which is why I always put it in quotes). It simply says that examining those wins, no matter how valid, will not be sufficient to prove that the tech works in a general case, and it does not prove that it’s more effective than other forms of therapy whose effectiveness has been established.

          It’s possible that a clinical trial establishing effectiveness rates will show whether individuals receiving auditing who claim positive benefit do so at approximately the same rate as a placebo, or whether it is worse than a placebo treatment, which would be funny. But I don’t have a decent guess whether that is likely to turn out to be the case.

          The most reasonable statement, therefore, is that auditing is not likely to be more effective statistically than a series of placebo treatments across a general population. Thus, when considered against the cost of auditing and of other Scientology training required to do auditing “standardly” inside the “Church,” you have to conclude that there are far better ways to spend your money. As I said, that is the most reasonable guess, but it could always turn out to be worse than a placebo by a dramatic margin in a statistically significant basis.

          • Lady Squash

            John P, I appreciate the long and thoughtful response and look forward to your article.

            I should have started my question by establishing first that in my opinion the abilities promised by the Grade Chart are hype and have very little to do with reality and everything to do with making a buck.

            Yet in session, something does seem to happen. I’ll give you an example from my personal experience. I attested to Clear. And I still remember that session as if it were yesterday. I felt a tremendous relief, as if I had been reborn. And at that moment I felt, “Boy, LRH really knows what he is talking about. That was a miracle. He’s not really making this stuff up.”

            But I crashed shortly thereafter, and then the regges got hold of me and cleaned me out financially. And then life got scarey. I was broke, in debt and had a daughter to raise. It was pretty devastating.

            To add insult to injury, since I had attested publicly to the state of Clear, I felt I had to pretend everything was great or be accused of a High Crime–invalidating the State of Clear. So I kept my disappointment and fears inside and kept the happy face on and just struggled on. Things didn’t really start to turn around till I woke up and left the Church a few years ago.

            In retrospect, I understand that is what cults do. Promise you a kind of blue sky and if it doesn’t happen for you, well, it’s your fault. And all the while, they deny that is what they are doing and so on. The system is hugely corrupt. I get that.

            Still I wonder, “What if auditing was done with no hidden agenda?” I think I would have walked away, a happier person and just gotten on with my life.

            But on second thought. I may have been happier but perhaps not wiser. And without wisdom…what’s it all about? If life is all about lessons, what lesson would I have learned?

            In his seminal book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, one of Viktor Frankl’s themes was that suffering was necessary for the attainment of wisdom.

            Auditing, however, promises to dissolve suffering and to give to you amazing abilities. Without wisdom, is that a good thing? Tom Cruise comes to mind as an example. He’s a gifted actor, focused and successful but missing something I call “wisdom” or so it seems to me based on public statements he has made.

            “Something does happen” in session and it feels good afterwards (usually), I’m just not sure in the end that it is a good thing. I’m not sure.

            And what if auditing was a kind of “mental antibiotic” and could “cure” some things–some neurosis, some psychosomatic illnesses–in the hands of well-intentioned people.

            There’s much I still don’t get. But I’m working on it and appreciate your insights and really like your new blog.

          • Missionary Kid

            IMO, what happened to you was that you had some realizations in your auditing session, then had them validated by another person, and, on top of it, eventually were declared “clear.”

            It is always nice to have external validation, but the desire to conform to what their standards were (to please them?) was strong, so you faked it.

            It’s the same type of feeling that one has after a revival meeting. There is a sense of euphoria when one participates and everyone else has the same feeling of joy. Unfortunately, when one faces the rest of the world, that joy goes away because one is faced with the same problems one had before. There are people who go from one revival to another to maintain that joy, and they sacrifice the rest of their lives to it.

        • John P.

          I just realized I didn’t answer the main question. I would suggest that your friend, if she is interested in doing some self-help work, start by going to a therapist who does cognitive behavioral therapy for 3-4 months of weekly sessions, to see if that helps. If that doesn’t work, one could explore other models of therapy or just with different therapists.

          If the issue is stress, it is usually recommended to do therapy in conjunction with something that has been proven to aid relaxation from a physiological sense, such as yoga, deep breathing exercises, or self-taught meditation (you don’t need to go to classes to learn to meditate; Transcendental Meditation is considered a cult by many, though far less dangerous than Scientology). This is really quite important; many therapists recommend it as an integral part of therapy.

          Exercise in general is a very important way to release stress. It is not optional. Now that Supermodel #1 has worked her magic on me for the last year as I have trained with her for endurance events (my definition of “endurance” pales compared to hers, however), I am much more centered, calmer, and less likely to choke the living daylights out of interns who screw up at Global Capitalism HQ on projects I assign them.

        • Missionary Kid

          I was involved with a movement called Reevaluation Counseling for several years. Harvey Jackens started it after LRH kicked him out of Dianetics for being a heretic.

          I referred to it as co-counseling. Reading about it now, online, is far different than what I experienced in the 1980s. There was an element of the human liberation movement in it, but the purpose was to aid a person to discharge their feelings. They used the term engrams and other words that are from $cientology, but there was none of the redefinition of terms, pleas for money, programming people to obey, and none of the controlling of the individual. The way I saw it, it was exactly the opposite: the person was given control of their own life.

          How it was done is that you scheduled a session with another auditor for an hour. Each person talked half an hour, and the other person audited them for that time. The session started with the auditor and subject sitting, facing each other and holding their hands and looking into their eyes and asking what was going on.The auditors job was to keep the person talking about their feelings until there was no longer any charge that was attached to the incident.

          If the auditor saw that person they were listening to was avoiding a subject, they would ask them why they were doing it, but it was the person’s own decision if they wanted to deal with it. The auditor would say things like, “How did that make you feel?”

          There were several strict rules about fraternization with the person you did the co-counseling with. If you didn’t have a relationship with them before you counseled with them, you weren’t to have one after. What was said was to remain confidential. If you saw the other person outside of a session, you didn’t let on that you knew them, unless they wanted to. What was said in a session stayed in a session.

          Co-counseling with a spouse or relative was discouraged, because the preexisting relationship could interfere with the person actually listening because their own “material” (translation: experience with the other person) would interfere with their ability to listen.

          It didn’t claim to be therapy. It just was a way to talk. There was heavy emphasis on the individual finding themselves. You took what you wanted out of it.

          According to criticism of RC, it says that criticism of the founder was not allowed. It never came up. I heard a rumor later that he’d used RC to seduce women, and that is why the prohibition against involvement with a person you were co-counseling with. There was an emphasis on getting rid or sexism, racial prejudice, and other mechanisms of oppression. That was a part of the agenda, but I just stayed involved for my own personal advancement. It also had the heavy emphasis on not using drugs that $cientology had. That is a mistake, IMO.

          My opinion is that using a professional will get the best results, but for dealing with the overflow of the emotions that someone might want to deal with, it was handy.

          I’ve said elsewhere that one sister used it to deal with many of the emotions that came up because of the death of her husband. She would schedule one session after another with different people. She says she did a lot of crying, but it really helped her.

          What RC is like now, I don’t know. I can say that there were no cans.

          • John P.

            Sorry to take so long to get back to you on such a detailed post. I was not previously familiar with “Reevaluation Counseling.” This sounds like one potential scenario of what the “indie” movement could be like in a number of years — people earnestly pursuing self-help techniques that kinda, sorta work randomly some percentage of the time. I don’t think the cult is going to be able to evolve to this point, since it’s all about punishment and money, which would get in the way of actual self-help.

            Though this is a possible scenario, I’m not sure it’s the most likely one, since I don’t think independent Scientology is viable as an organization. Ultimately, reality sticks its ugly head in and too many things about Scientology practices contradict observable reality, and people leave after some point.

            The lack of growth of the “Indie 500” list in the last 18 months has to be a key indicator (2 per month added to the list during that time).

          • Missionary Kid

            There is no hope for $cientology to morph into anything like RC. The personality and history of Harvey Jackins, the founder, was different than LRH. Jackins, I found out recently, had been a Communist in the 30s and 40s. He had also been a labor organizer. Whatever his motivations, his background was radically different than LRH’s.

            The version of RC that I came in contact with had none of the veneration of Jackins that apparently took place elsewhere. His name was barely mentioned.

            I don’t know if the group I was involved with was an offshoot or not, but there was a heavy emphasis on non-personal involvement with one’s co-counselor. Jackins obviously violated this with his rumored seduction of women. Freud had pinpointed the problem with his description of the transference of feelings towards the counselor.

            Money was not the goal of the group that I came into contact with. The liberation of the humans from forms of oppression was. Co$ emphasizes conformity to the group and LRH above all else. Edit: The RC objectives sound like the goals that would come with a communist point of view. I pretty much ignored those goals. I had more personal problems that I wanted to deal with.

            There was no emphasis on taking additional classes or spending money on RC. There was, however occasional meetings of the group, which enabled people to find new co-counselors and to reemphasize the tenants of listening effectively.

          • Missionary Kid

            Note that I added an edit.

      • Spackle Motion

        I have also often wondered how one person, through thousands of pages of drivel mixed with dangerous policies, hit the destructive cult jackpot. Obviously it was a slow progression that disintegrated along with his mental health, but his personality disorders/traits were the motivators behind the development.

        He, like Lee Harvey Oswald (who was a known dolt when LRH was not), were loners/losers that wanted to stamp their names into history. Both were driven by their mental illnesses and personality disorders mixed with twisted desires in becoming the grandiose figures they believed about themselves (but sadly were never close).

        With LRH, when he found himself surrounded by sycophant robots that catered to his every need he started making the fatal mistake of believing his own hype. To further and keep his control while becoming increasingly reclusive and paranoid, he eventually created the abusive policies we all fight against today.

        • John P.

          Exactly right. As someone said, “Scientology is all about handling Hubbard’s case.”

    • Cece

      Spackle,
      I understand how all this could be (as Snippy said) toxic. It IS toxic and I would advise anyone not having to fathom this for survival – skip it! But after 40 years in, reading this drivel IS what is helping to un-do it for me. And un-doing it’s self is toxic. So for me – I try really hard to get some house keeping and repair jobs, long walks, good food to balance it out. I HAVE to get thru all this to survive and be a ‘normal’ person again. In the last 3 years of reading the blogs I have come a long way. I never could have done this alone. I appreciate all you guys that care from the earliest that left and then the Anons forward. I would still be so blind if not for the information and the support. We all may have fallen into similar traps in other ways. Just the other day I remembered the old saying I grew up with ‘Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.’ That is a lie. I believed it and became numb to the words that do hurt. That is just an example to the lies the xes have to get through. It’s all education as needed and essential to understanding. Wow – I was so judgmental and thought I was not. My 40 years was like setting up housekeeping in a deep deep well. Thanks you all. 🙂
      Yes, this weekend is going to be enlightening!

      • Spackle Motion

        Thanks for sharing your point of view. I sometimes really try to read these stories but my brain shuts off or I get too disgusted. But I’m happy to read that they serve as an important tool to others.

  • Snippy_X

    Also of note: some of the bows fell down today.

    • John P.

      It would be funny to see pictures of the fallen bows and the crews desperately struggling to repair them. If they’ve been posted, I absolutely missed them.

      Perhaps if Miscavige had ordered duct tape instead of regular Scotch tape to stick the bows to the building, they wouldn’t have this problem. I can just imagine the tantrum when he was informed of this meltdown.

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  • Cece

    John, hope you are balancing out your new work load ok.

    Something that would be really fun for us – Back in 1998 or 9 there was a big storm coming towards Clearwater. I managed to find a CAM that I could control (wait in line and then 5 mins of controling the CAM to point right at the FH and watch in real time!

    I have spent many hours in the last few weeks looking for this CAM and even e-mailed a CAM company in CW. It may have been a city CAM set up during the building of the bridge to the island west. The street (Pierce) we keep seeing (runs E&W) right into that bridge. It would be really a lot of fun to find this if anyone has a clue.

  • ThetaTomato

    John your new blog is great! I like that it is serves the function of an an aggregator of other sites, but also with your own unique take on the daily news. You are entertaining and instructional. I also look forward to more posts on your analytical techniques, such as the one on the power of anecdotes. Keep it up!

  • Snippy_X

    Proof sweating it out doesn’t work (a tune for one festive Friday)
    Avenue B – Gogol Bordello

  • aegerprimo
    • John P.

      Yep. I particularly like how I am now forbidden to come work at the local (failing) Mission and make $0.30 per hour. If I ever lost my job at Global Capitalism HQ and were in danger of becoming homeless, it would be smarter to work at Wal-Mart and make 25 times as much per hour. And no mandatory rice and beans!

      • aegerprimo

        And you know, at Wal-Mart they help their employees apply for social benefits such as food stamps, and Section-8 housing, and such.

  • Cece

    I see why these guys (my friends) die,
    They are mixed up and don’t know where home is.
    Home is in your heart.
    Hugs you all and thank you from my everything.
    Cece