Hello , I am an ex Scientologist , this blog is primarily about that but I may address other topics as the mood hits me to . I was in Scientology for 25 years and spent about 10,000 hours using the indoctrination and thought reform method "study tech " . I also spent time on staff and met hundreds of Scientologists and did hundreds of the cult practices . Many were the "ethics cycles and OW writeups " that really are an attempt to suppress or remove a person's identity and replace it with a mental pseudo clone of Ron Hubbard . To make a fanatical slave for the cult .

I looked outside the cult for answers in about January 2014 and left the cult in about March of 2014 . While in about 99% of members have no idea of the truth .

We are told we are in a mental therapy or spiritual enhancement or religion or science for helping people unlock potential . Or any of several other fronts that all pretend kind and humanitarian goals .

The truth is Scientology is a terrorist mind control cult and this blog is my attempt to understand and expose that . And try to state as clearly as possible the tools that I have found helpful in dealing with this .

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Origins of Deception In Scientology

It's been said Scientology founder Ron Hubbard was not truly the "source" of anything in Dianetics and Scientology. There's an extensive body of evidence to support the claim Hubbard plagiarized hundreds of ideas from many people, many subjects and in many ways.

Lots of good articles about plausible links to establish plagiarism by Hubbard from a variety of authors like Jon Atack exist. A simple examination of works on hypnosis and by occultists like Crowley and the book OAHSPE demonstrate a case for establishing plagiarism as a routine practice by Hubbard.

Additionally there's been a longstanding history of Hubbard taking ideas from people in his immediate vicinity and claiming them as his own. Books and policies at one point had attribution including contributions by other people but that was eventually removed and the sole source myth has been grown.

A history of having aides read books and articles has been reported. Hubbard allegedly had several associates read about various subjects and report the main points back to Hubbard in a very concise and heavily abridged version. Cliff notes type synopsis at best, sometimes oversimplifying something.

Hubbard then took the ideas he just pilfered and integrated them into Scientology. He took for example the idea that watching T.V. contributed to making people feel disconnected emotionally from life and repackaged it into his own pseudoscience fraud of Scientology. No real evidence of a scientific nature is produced of course, but it served Hubbard's purpose to discourage T.V. watching by Scientology cult members, particularly staff and Sea Org members. Why ? Because he could emphasize a kind of isolation and information control by censorship of communication he didn't create or approve. No T.V. equals no pesky alternative views coming into the cult from T.V. shows.

Another interesting example is possible. In the most frequently referenced policy in Scientology Hubbard used an idea that may have had its origins in psychotherapy. In KSW, Keeping Scientology Working, Hubbard referred to having auditors in Scientology follow his techniques exactly as Hubbard required.

Hubbard claimed the techniques are of paramount importance and no deviation is acceptable. He gave an alleged example of an auditor that reportedly got great results but had poor technique.

He explained that the auditor actually did poorly and was not being properly observed or corrected regarding errors.

Hubbard's point was there are no outstanding individuals who have talent in Scientology auditing, there is only adherence to orthodoxy and that guarantees results, nothing else.

Now, to be perfectly clear I don't believe auditing works to benefit human beings. I don't believe Hubbard was sincere in his claims in KSW. I believe he was trying to create a product of propaganda to control people via lying.

But I think I may have discovered what Hubbard meant to emulate. I recently ran into a description of studies of psychoanalysis. The study claimed an examination of various types of analysis and looked at therapists who adhered to various styles or had no model they stuck to and looked at how the therapists communicated to their patients.

The study found that loyalty to no school or philosophy of psychoanalysis was more successful than the practice in general.

It didn't matter which model a therapist used or if they even adhered to one model at all. Other factors affected the results far more.

If Hubbard ran into that study or a similar one and an aide explained it to him Hubbard could have easily seen he could reverse the findings (switching adherence to doctrine as fundamental to success rather than irrelevant as the real study found regarding psychoanalysis) and applied it to Scientology and rather than pretending it involved a study claim it was an anecdote or series of anecdotes, so it couldn't be falsified.

I think finding individual examples of ways Hubbard could plausibly have cooked up Scientology propaganda is informative, obviously for ex Scientologists seeking recovery, but furthermore to inform us how lies of a variety of types are constructed and used.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Scientology's Secret To Overcoming Criticism

Scientology cult founder Ronald Hubbard had faced quite a bit of well deserved criticism regarding himself as a liar and conman and Scientology as a fraud. He learned a basic technique many conmen have used for millennia to overcome criticism and doubts regarding both their character and their products they are selling.

I ran into an explanation of it under the name "offensive defensive technique" some years ago. The basic description I was given is that a conman in his initial presentation and sometimes subsequent presentations launches a preemptive strike against doubts and criticism. The example I was given is one from real life and recent history.

In the 1980s several NFL players were conned by unscrupulous financial investors. A common con was for a man with a nice expensive suit and nice well decorated and furnished office and a professional looking secretary would meet the NFL players one at a time and use any successful sales as references to get other clients. He would speak like a lawyer on T.V. and use terms you might hear on shows about the law and finance. But just sprinkle in just enough to seem highly educated.

Now here's the thing. The advisor would tell the player he needs to be careful with his money and do his homework because lots of people will try to take his money. This puts the idea that conmen are out there ready to rip him off which prompts the player to be wary regarding investment advisors.

The player then has the threat of being conned front and center and the advisor as a potential threat OR trusted friend is presented. It's a binary choice and it's extremely difficult to insult someone by saying "you are right, YOU might be a lowlife scumbag looking to rip me off, I better leave right now and investigate you !" It's a totally socially taboo activity to leave upon arrival as a guest and to do so because you think the host might be a criminal looking to defraud you. You need advice and the first advice this person gave you is certainly true, but here's the catch - you immediately feel like either trusting this guy regarding conning you or not trusting him and you have to immediately reject him or not.

Most people - if they don't reject the advisor - set the decision to accept him and brush aside the idea of him conning you and then support that decision by staying around to listen to him as if he's a desirable advisor. We often stick with a first impression and in this case the impression includes rejecting or accepting the advisor regarding the subject of trust is integrated into the first impression.

See, the advisor gets to set the stage to get accepted by the client and have the client see the expensive clothes, big office and secretary without knowing he has no authentic credentials as a financial advisor and no appropriate education or references and that he rented the office for just a month to impress you and that his secretary is in on the con and perhaps even his expensive car is rented.

Similarly Hubbard knew that if someone is trying or open to trying Scientology he has the best chance he will ever get to take on the subject of fraud in Scientology head on on his terms and to warn the person about "other guys" that are out to con them, but of course not him.

By getting the subject to on the spot proceed with Scientology and feel it is their own choice they also feel they decided for themselves that Scientology isn't a fraud. That's the con.

The cult expert Margaret Singer spent decades learning about cults and interviewed over four thousand cult members and wrote the book Cults In Our Midst and here are some clues that helped me understand how this works.

"Now, when you engage in cooperative activity with peers in an environment that you do not realize is artificially constructed, you do not perceive your interactions to be coerced." ( page 76 )

 "In other words, you will think that you came upon the belief and behaviors yourself." ( page 76 )

"Peer pressure is very important to this process:

If you say it in front of others, you'll do it.
Once you do it, you'll think it.
Once you think it (in an environment you do not perceive to be coercive ), you'll believe that you thought it yourself." ( page 76 )

Hubbard convinced people he didn't influence them by repeatedly bringing up other people and practices as frauds and covert attempts to persuade people. That way he could get people to think they decided he wasn't a fraud and to go back to that impression in the future whenever the subject is brought up so they consider it a settled issue and keep rejecting the possibility Hubbard and Scientology are frauds.

Additionally the offensive defensive technique has another advantage - it rapidly removes people who reject you. They immediately are put in the position of rejecting you or continuing. In the most studied and important reference in Scientology "Keeping Scientology Working" Hubbard advised to have them quit fast if they are going to quit ! That way you get two advantages. You aren't wasting time on people who won't give you money and you remove them from the Scientology organization so they aren't introducing uncertainty into the group. Having a group that is one hundred percent in agreement with your program makes obedience to authority far easier to achieve as conformity, especially unanimous conformity, strongly encourages following the leader and sticking with the crowd as well. When the whole crowd is in lockstep it seems especially seductive.

Richard Feynman. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.

Mark Twain - 
How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! 

Here are several of my most popular posts to describe Scientology.

Insidious Enslavement: Study Technology
Basic Introduction To Hypnosis In Scientology
Pissed It's Not Your Fault !
The Critical Factor
The Secret Of Scientology part 1 Control Via Contradiction
Burning Down Hell - How Commands Are Hidden, Varied And Repeated To Control You As Hypnotic Implants
Humbling Simplicity
Propaganda By Reversal Of Meaning

Scientology's Parallel In Nature - Malignant Narcissism

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Levers and Lifeblood

In leaving cults some things have been successful and some unsuccessful.  And in persisting as a cult critic some things have helped critics while others crush them.

Jon Atack has helped several hundred people to leave Scientology. Margaret Singer has interviewed over four thousand cult members.  Steven Hassan has probably helped hundreds regarding cults as well.

I could list probably a few dozen other of the most successful exit counseling experts and point out a common practice they have that leads to helping people to recognize manipulation and withdraw from harmful groups and relationships.

They often use a model of influence based on the eight criteria for thought reform by Robert Jay Lifton or one very similar like that of Margaret Singer from her book Cults In Our Midst or the BITE model by Steven Hassan. A key component in all these models is addressing what Lifton called mystical manipulation- making something normal appear magical, miraculous,  wondrous, profound.

To natives in far off jungles and remote islands planes can inspire awe. Similarly hypnotic practices used covertly can seem awesome to people unaware that a practice hundreds or thousands of years old and used by millions of people who never learn the secrets of life is being used to manipulate their minds with their own imagination and psychological nature. No magic required.

I was aware of negative behavior by Scientologists and failures of the organization for decades and even unfair treatment to a degree but needed the key component of realizing the pleasant worry free states I experienced in Scientology were not in fact proof of enlightenment and transcendence over human nature but were a kind of induced euphoria and it is created by attention fixation,  contradictions aka paradox or confusion,  mimicry,  repetition,  guided vivid imagery, sublime writing and other techniques over and over in different settings by different people from different groups and cultures with different beliefs.

I like thousands of people before me benefited from learning the basic techniques and concepts used in hypnosis and the phenomena that accompany them accurately described much of my own experience in Scientology.   Hypnosis is not a perfect practice  without flaws as a subject or good enough to be called a science,  but the metaphors for mental processes it contains have been used thousands and thousands of times to help people realize the seemingly miraculous and supernatural and sublime wonders they thought they experienced in many situations were in fact misrepresented manipulation and nothing more. No miracles or deep truths required.

The reframing of my euphoric feeling from the definition Scientology cult founder Ronald Hubbard gave it as proof of his technology to just another con, based on the psychological vulnerabilities people through trial and error discovered methods we call hypnosis to exploit, was the lever I needed to break free from his lies. Until I achieved that I kept coming back to Scientology,  thinking it had results nothing else did.

Jon Atack delivered the lever fortunately by feeding bits of information out in tiny doses in his Scientology Mythbusting articles at The Underground Bunker and his essential articles regarding Scientology manipulation Never Believe a Hypnotist and Hubbard and the Occult (All available free online).

He delivered both the most barebones description of hypnosis and influence so I could comprehend and digest it and a collection of Hubbard quotes outlining his contradictions and concepts regarding hypnosis.  Hubbard in equal turns emphasized Dianetics AND Scientology were based on hypnosis and denied it, claimed it was always occurring in auditing and indoctrination in Scientology and denied it and above all described idea and idea from the subject of hypnosis in vivid detail, despite claiming it was not in Scientology.

One thing is certain regarding anything a person says. They have to have information to say it. Hubbard described ideas from hypnosis,  probably hundreds of very specific ideas, in extreme detail over and over.  He must have KNOWN the ideas in order to be able to say them ! Given that,  he must have known about the fact that hundreds of his practices had origins or counterparts in the subject of hypnosis !

I have recently discovered that certain activities get little support by society and particularly financial support and prestige. Many people help hundreds of people to leave cults and recover and get little or no pay. Almost all who do this work have other jobs or are academics or therapists. I personally have written over three hundred posts at Mockingbird's Nest and thousands of comments and many thousands of Facebook posts and not yet received a dime for any of this. I fortunately work a full time job and am able to do this. Not everyone has this luxury.

I have been sustained by the benefit from getting my ideas out and having to more fully form them to write them for others and get feedback regarding what isn't clear or gaps in reasoning or evidence or what is left out, which I wouldn't see by just thinking about things without sharing them. That's a huge benefit. But not everything .

I recall recently seeing a comedian getting interviewed who described struggling for years. He didn't make a lot of money or get really famous for many years. He told a story about getting a minor compliment from an established comedian ,  something like you have talent or your stuff is good, that he said sustained him for a year.

Think about that. Imagine you are doing open mic nights and not getting paid and bombing maybe fifty to eighty percent of the time as you learn your craft and one night a Steven Wright or Lewis Black says you have talent or good material, and you never see them again and that moment is your boost of positive interaction you live off for a year to keep going and then perhaps you get another from Sarah Silverman or Chris Rock or you get a spot on a late night T.V. show or a comedy special or a college tour that pays several thousand dollars.  The point is all the work seems worth it for just a bit of positive encouragement,  especially from the right sources.

In writing about cults you get encouragement in different ways from different people.  I started out posting at ESMB the ex Scientologist message board about four years ago.

I got a lot of encouragement and around three or four hundred thousand views of threads I started there. Within a few months it was virtually a full time job for me.  I read books on cults and psychology and hypnosis and threw posts up like wild. Sometimes several a day.

I was initially untangling from Scientology and working out my ideas in my posts.  They were rough and almost stream of consciousness style,  think it, write it, think the thought and write it simultaneously with no editing. Rough stuff.

I  benefited from getting the ideas out and the feedback from the audience served as the editing process,  if that makes sense. Through about a year that worked quite well for me.

There of course came diminishing returns on exiting Scientology.  After throwing off literally hundreds of terms and ideas from Scientology and reframing much of life a kind of settling into a new identity and mindset occurred. I wasn't the same personality as before but I was not entirely unsure who I was anymore either. Thousands of Scientology beliefs were replaced with new and different ones, and I was getting accustomed to both the recovery process and the changes. I was getting used to having my own ideas and not Hubbard's.

I still put in a lot of work to understand cults and the larger subjects of influence and psychology but was not a wildly changing work in progress anymore.   I get changes now but they are less extreme and dramatic.

I realized that at some point what has been sustaining me after the initial year or two of exiting the cult and fiercely fighting to discover and throw off the effects of Scientology has been several things.  I have gotten encouragement and positive acknowledgement from others. Jon Atack in an email called me a serious student. Now if Jon Atack is anything he is precise. He doesn't use hyperbole or false compliments. In fact he frequently corrects minor errors in conversation or interviews.  He is a stickler for accuracy and his habits as a student are astounding. He really does a top notch job in studying a variety of subjects and is the top expert on Scientology in the world.

So when he calls someone a serious student it is a meaningful statement.

 Positive encouragement like that can sustain a person for months or years.  I have also been fortunate enough to get positive encouragement from others who have accomplished a lot regarding Scientology or cults in general like Hana Whitfield and Steven Hassan and Rick Alan Ross and Tory Christman and Chris Shelton and Daniel Shaw. To people that seriously follow Scientology or literature regarding cults these people are well known and to people who don't they are strangers,  but trust me they all have put significant time and effort into their work. They are dedicated and accomplished in their own specialties.

But now probably the best encouragement I get is from individual people one at a time. People who usually are only known to their family and friends without any celebrity whatsoever.  People who have a family member that lives and dies in Scientology as one example then tell me that my blog helped them to understand the feelings and thoughts their spouse had while in Scientology. Or people that left Scientology and had lingering unresolved issues regarding not understanding what happened to them in the Scientology course room while doing the Scientology indoctrination techniques and how they actually were harming them. Having someone tell you they are on the fence about going back in the course room then having them read a few posts and decide they will never go back is extremely rewarding.  As is having someone who was out for decades say they read everything they could but didn't get details on what happened to them until they read a post. And sometimes I must confess a post that I think is great and will get lots of feedback gets nothing and one I am not thrilled by gets enormous positive results. Sometimes it is something I just put out to answer a question or complete a thought I started somewhere else and didn't feel particularly enthused about but felt obligated to write.

You never know what will help who or how many. I know some of the people who read these posts think about starting blogs or YouTube channels or podcasts or doing interviews with people who already have those things. If you feel it is right for you I strongly encourage it. You don't know how much you could help other people.  Sometimes Scientologists attack blogs or Facebook pages and I just post links to my blog and ask them to read it. For some that results in them no longer attacking. I hope some actually read my posts, verify the information I post as in quotes from Hubbard I use and ideas from various subjects I refer to and actually leave Scientology.

That would be one of the absolute best things possible for a communication to a Scientologist to achieve. Being the lever someone uses to change course with their own freely made decision can be the lifeblood that sustains you. I know it often is for me.

Here's a collection of posts that describes the relevant ideas and subjects I reference in Levers and Lifeblood.
Insidious Enslavement: Study Technology
Basic Introduction To Hypnosis In Scientology
Pissed It's Not Your Fault !
The Critical Factor
The Secret Of Scientology part 1 Control Via Contradiction
Burning Down Hell - How Commands Are Hidden, Varied And Repeated To Control You As Hypnotic Implants
Humbling Simplicity
Propaganda By Reversal Of Meaning
Scientology's Parallel In Nature - Malignant Narcissism

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Scientologists, ex Scientologists and Watchers - Starting Out

This is the first post in a new series of blog posts on things I think every Scientologist, ex Scientologist and Scientology watcher should hear.

It's going to attempt to be a fresh starting point for anyone interested in Scientology or really any information on influence and how it affects human beings.

Starting off I think we should deal with some things that are bound to come up sooner or later and take them head on.

We are all going to have disagreements with each other from time to time and I expect this series to be no exception. In fact I hope you disagree with me and reserve the right to keep right on disagreeing the entire time I exist. There is an important reason for this.

Dissent is essential for discovering and even perceiving the truth. Even incompetent dissent.
Second, there is value at looking at the best arguments for and against a position or idea, even arguments you might never agree with.

In On Liberty  John Stuart Mill took on this issue:
Jon Atack used this quote from John Stuart Mill to describe how to take on the complex and intentionally unclear ideas in Scientology.
“There must be discussion to show how experience is to be interpreted. Wrong opinions and practices gradually yield to fact and argument; but facts and arguments, to produce any effect on the mind, must be brought before it. Very few facts are able to tell their own story, without comments to bring out their meaning. The whole strength and value, then, of human judgment depending on the one property, that it can be set right when it is wrong, reliance can be placed on it only when the means of setting it right are kept constantly at hand. In the case of any person whose judgement is really deserving of confidence, how has it become so? Because he has kept his mind open to criticism of his opinions and conduct.”John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, published in 1859

Here's an expanded excerpt to consider. 
"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error." 
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, published in 1859

"Why is it, then, that there is on the whole a preponderance among mankind of rational opinions and rational conduct? If there really is this preponderance--which there must be, unless human affairs are, and have always been, in an almost desperate state--it is owing to a quality of the human mind, the source of everything respectable in man, either as an intellectual or as a moral being, namely, that his errors are corrigible. He is capable of rectifying his mistakes by discussion and experience. Not by experience alone. There must be discussion, to show how experience is to be interpreted. Wrong opinions and practices gradually yield to fact and argument: but facts and arguments, to produce any effect on the mind, must be brought before it. Very few facts are able to tell their own story, without comments to bring out their meaning. The whole strength and value, then, of human judgment, depending on the one property, that it can be set right when it is wrong, reliance can be placed on it only when the means of setting it right are kept constantly at hand. In the case of any person whose judgment is really deserving of confidence, how has it become so? Because he has kept his mind open to criticism of his opinions and conduct. Because it has been his practice to listen to all that could be said against him; to profit by as much of it as was just, and expound to himself, and upon occasion to others, the fallacy of what was fallacious. Because he has felt, that the only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject, is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion, and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this; nor is it in the nature of human intellect to become wise in any other manner. "
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, published in 1859

Mill was clever and correct. In fact research in social psychology strongly supports his views. Good relevant evidence has been found in my opinion.
In the book Sway The Irresistible Pull Of Irrational Behavior authors (and brothers) Ori Brafman ( MBA Stanford Business School) and Rom Brafman (PhD Psychology) described experiments on dissent.

Solomon Asch did one of the most famous experiments in social psychology. In one experiment a subject was told they were being tested for visual acuity. They were placed in a group with several other people. The group was shown three straight lines of greatly varying lengths and a fourth line and asked which of the three lines the new one matched. The lines were intentionally different enough that the answer was meant to be obvious.

But there was a hidden element, as there usually is in a social psychology experiment, every person except one was an actor. The actors were all instructed to give the same answer before the actual subject responded. They all gave the same wrong answer. 

Now there were several rounds of being presented lines and answering. And when everyone else gave the same obviously wrong answer 75% of subjects ALSO gave that answer in at least one of the rounds.
Asch found unanimity gave the experiment its full persuasive power. It's hard to be a lone dissenting voice. 

He did something I have found people often do with good experiments. He repeated it with a slight variation to test an idea. He had the same set up with one crucial alteration: he had one actor give the right answer while the others gave the same wrong answer.

He found that having even one person give the true and easily observable answer made it so the test subjects felt free and confident enough to also give the correct answer, almost every single time.
The authors wrote, "The really interesting thing, though, is that the dissenting actor didn't even need to give the correct response; all it took to break the sway was for someone to give an answer that was different from the majority." (Page 155 Sway) 

To really drive home this point with evidence another clever experiment is described. Psychologist Vernon Allen conducted it. 

In this one a subject was asked to do a self-assessment survey alone. After five minutes a researcher knocked on the door and asked the subject to share the room due to a lack of space.
The new subject was of course an actor. The new subject had special extra, extra thick glasses intentionally designed to give the impression of him being nearly blind without them. Super coke bottle glasses. 

To step it up a notch the researcher and actor even had a script. The actor said, "Excuse me, but does this test  require long-distance vision ?" The researcher confirmed it and the subject responded, "I have very limited eyesight" and "I can only see up-close objects." 

They even acted out a scene of the researcher asking the coke bottles wearing actor to read an easily legible sign on the wall. The actor of course acted out straining and finding the sign impossible to make out to drive home the point that he was practically blind over long distances.

The researcher explained that he needed five people for the testing apparatus to work, so it was okay for the nearly blind seeming subject to, "Just sit in anyway, since you won't be able to see the questions, answer any way you want; randomly, maybe. I won't record your answers."

But even with the coke bottle glasses and blind as a bat routine the actor was able to affect conformity significantly. 97% of participants conformed when agreement was unanimous but it dropped to 64% with the coke bottles wearing actor even if he gave an incorrect answer as long as it was different from the majority.

That is astounding. Having three people give an incorrect answer can be countered for 33% of people even with an obviously incorrect answer from an obviously unreliable source ! 

It's truly worth considering. Imagine yourself being like 97% of us and conforming with the crowd in denying what you see before your eyes, but that one out of three of us actually will see and acknowledge the truth if anyone, no matter how unlikely or wrong or obviously unqualified simply disagrees and breaks the unanimous opinion. 

I think dissenting views shouldn't just be accepted or even suggested for important decisions that time permits careful consideration of but frankly should be required ! 

And looking at Mill's ideas makes me think the dissenting views should be the absolute best prepared and presented versions of those views possible. Put every effort into giving them the opportunity to be actually well thought out and persuasive so they take real effort to refute.
I believe that we as humans have to as John Stuart Mill described bring ideas forward to fully understand them and the arguments for and against them as well.

More evidence that dissent is actually useful is described in Sway regarding a fascinating unforseen result of a study. The study was conducted by David Kantor, a Boston-based family therapist who was trying to see how schizophrenia manifested itself in families. He had cameras set up in people's homes then poured through hours of footage of regular family life. He didn't learn much about schizophrenia but found a useful pattern that occurred over and over in family after family.

He discovered four roles people take turns assuming in families. We may assume these roles in other groups as well. It's an interesting hypothesis.
The roles are 1) the initiator, someone that comes up with an idea or starts am activity. 2) the blocker, someone that brings up reasons to not do the idea or fears if they do it or negative potential consequences.

In Sway the authors wrote, "Of course, it's easy to think of blockers as pure curmudgeons. But as we'll soon see, they play a vital role in maintaining balance within a group." (Page 158)

Initiators and blockers inevitably disagree and then 3) supporters come in. They take a side and go with the intention of the initiator or blocker. If the initiator wants to go to the movies and the blocker thinks they should not the supporter will either encourage going or not going, very clear. Last is 4) the observer, they watch and try to not take sides.
The initiators and blockers naturally bump heads. In polite discourse they disagree, in less polite situations they argue or even fight.

Initiators in this hypothesis have lots of ideas and are willing to do things, or at least come up with ideas or decisions for others. Blockers are cautious and less optimistic.

Many groups seek people with ideas, confidence and the qualities initiators hold. Groups also avoid blockers. I have even heard of people that see the key to success is to steer clear of people who are negative or unsuccessful, in some ways describing blockers as too down.

But a blocker has the tendency to give the dissenting view, even if they are wrong everything we have seen up to now should tell us we want and need to hear dissenting views. Too many yes men can inspire false or unjustified confidence.

Some managers to prevent conformity influencing the evaluations of executives and advisors instruct a group of staff to take a written proposal for a project, go home, read it and write a one page response with your impression and opinion. Don't discuss this with each other in forming your opinion.

Come back tomorrow and each of you in turn can read your response. This way we won't influence the statements of each other. Additionally if they are considering going forth another assignment is used. The staff are instructed to separately come up with a hypothetical situation. They are supposed to imagine six months in the future and that the project has failed. They are supposed to write a post mortem, an analysis of what went wrong, how and why.

By each separately brainstorming the potential failure of the project they each play the role of blocker and bring their intelligence, imagination and knowledge to the topic of what could fail. In this way potential weaknesses or obstacles can be considered.

A person with knowledge of aspects of the project that could be difficult might alert others in the meeting who could realize many things. A person could realize the project is illegal, or could realize the problems in one area will make the project unfeasible in how it impacts another area or could foresee an obstacle and practical solution to it from their expertise which if it hadn't been implemented from the beginning would result in certain failure.
The possibilities are many and give the group a better chance of using the knowledge of each other as they interact. The whole group, whether they are aware of it or not has more knowledge of potential factors that could create success and factors that could create failure. 

So, what the heck does all this have to do with Scientology ? Well, in Scientology dissent is actually discouraged so strongly it is effectively criminalized. 

In Scientology conformity to the group norms and obedience to authority intersect through high control to as Margaret Singer described take over all or nearly all of a cult member's decision making, her definition of a cult is a group that does this. 

After spending decades with behavior and even thoughts and emotions shaped to conform and obey in Scientology ex Scientologists face a significant challenge. Tolerating dissent was forbidden and unthinkable in Scientology, so moving to being tolerant or even respectful and considerate regarding differing views, ideas and lifestyles is entirely foreign to Scientology. It's not only absent, it's policed ruthlessly and treated as degraded and abberated. 

Coming from that background to discovering that embracing and requiring dissent for the full and competent use of reason is a monumental task to put it mildly. But I feel a necessary one, not only for the best reason possible but even for adequate decision making and evaluation of ideas. It's also important for people regarding social interaction.
The members of the ex Scientology community often have challenges in accepting differing opinions, as in Scientology Hubbard's ideas regulated nearly everything and now David Miscavige leads the rigid caste system and in the Sea Org and Scientology hierarchy rank determines who is seen as correct, no need to tolerate dissent because it's not permitted. 

Out in the real world different individuals hold different opinions and are free to express them. Scientology didn't prepare us for this. 

As Hubbard didn't tolerate opposing or just differing views so too does the cult made in his image. 
It's particularly difficult often for members raised in Scientology who don't have a pre cult identity to fall back on. 

They have to find who they are in a different way. Many succeed and it is not impossible.

But imagine, if you will,  always from birth being taught Hubbard was always right and any disagreements were always wrong and having that as the guiding principle for your whole life so thoroughly you never question it and neither does anyone else around you, at least not anyone you consider wise or sane. 

I have found on occasion some people raised in Scientology have tremendous challenges in accepting even slight disagreements regarding minor issues. You can express respect and agreement regarding dozens of issues but point out a slight disagreement and witness an ex Scientologist raised from birth become defensive, and even belligerent and petulant. 

They experience uncertainty and confusion in situations in which disagreement is expected to be tolerated. The induction of cognitive dissonance - a feeling of discomfort and confusion and anxiety brought on by contradictory ideas, feelings or behavior - is unbearable to someone who formerly resolved all contradictions by simply submitting to the authorities Scientology provided. That was the stable datum to resolve doubt and silence dissent and ease the emotional discomfort of cognitive dissonance. 

With that stripped away the ex Scientologist is pushed into unknown and uncomfortable territory. But I think learning how the discomfort is created and that facing dissent and understanding dissonance is better than living in submission to the will of Hubbard and Miscavige. 

It's a lesson we all could benefit from in my opinion, whether we were in Scientology or not. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Escaping Scientology - Overcoming Crushing Certainty

Scientology has such a reversal of reality that things they consider negative actually are positive often. You don't know it until after you leave and disengage from Scientology thinking to a significant extent, sometimes over decades.
A few examples, getting declared suppressive is treated as ruining your life and a disgrace while in but often leads to someone escaping Scientology because they gain contact with information from outside the cult. Leaving the Sea Org is treated as a disgrace and rock solid proof you are a degraded being by Scientologists and often a source of deep humiliation and shame for people in Scientology but often saves you from psychological and physical degradation. It also makes you ineligible for staff, which gives you a better chance to get established in an outside job. I was briefly in the Sea Org which turned out to be good in the very long run because it left me disqualified for staff so I eventually had to find steady work outside of staff and the Sea Org which lead to something crucial for me leaving Scientology. I got a job at a regular company with no Scientologists and realized I had to translate everything I was thinking into normal English to talk to people and was translating everything they said to Scientology terms to receive it.
I realized this was slowing my communication down and thought it was like growing up speaking Spanish and translating everything to English and back. I decided for efficiency at work to try to just think , speak and receive communication in English, after all thinking in Spanish or English shouldn't change the truth of what you think.
So, I started thinking in English and over several months my thinking started shifting and then my feelings started shifting and my ideas started to unravel. Things I took for granted as true for decades starting to bit by bit become uncertain. I started realizing different assumptions that were deeply held weren't supported by evidence or were in fact false.
I ended up realizing for example that an assumption I made when I was first entering Scientology was false. I assumed that a person couldn't be covertly influenced against their will by books or words over time. I thought the false dichotomy of "if someone could covertly and insidiously influence people with a book or tape then they would rapidly take over the world and enslave everyone or recruit everyone into one monolithic and inescapable group, therefore covert influence doesn't exist." The problem of course with this false dichotomy is it assumes influence must be absolutely perfect and instantly irresistible or nothing at all. In truth subtle and slight influence is all around us and usually produces effects so slight we don't notice them.
So, Scientology or other efforts to influence people have a vast number of factors that determine if they are effective, to what degree, on which people and for how long. We could go over books and experiments on social psychology, cognitive dissonance theory, propaganda analysis, logic, history, evolution and far more to explore this and realize it's incredibly complex but the truth is covert influence is possible, particularly if time permits repetition and other methods to be used on a subject over a long period.
That realization was regarding a different method of influence but it made me highly anxious for a reason I didn't understand immediately as it disrupted my long held assumptions regarding my inability to be influenced. It took a long time for that to affect my conscious thinking on Scientology. I had an uneasy feeling, a kind of wobbly and reeling feeling of not knowing if I was coming or going, like I unexpectedly lost my balance somehow and couldn't quite get it back.
I also realized people are responsible as individuals for their choices regardless of any group or philosophy or religion they belong to. I thought of this regarding something unrelated to Scientology directly.
Those two key realizations hadn't occurred in decades prior because I was at first immersed in Scientology then thinking in Scientology terms and reinforcing the indoctrination over and over thousands of times by believing the terms were true and proving each other by thinking them and since hundreds are defined by one another in webs of interconnected lies I was reinforcing all the terms over and over. Orwell described this well in the definition of double think from the appendix to 1984. It's the process of thinking of the term knowing it's true meaning, denying it, knowing its false meaning and asserting it each time it's thought of and denying or even dissociating from the truth to assert the lie, making it more automatic to think this way and more automatic to deny the truth by repetition of this thinking.
So, by thinking in Scientology terms for decades I made it almost impossible to think thoughts outside the Scientology framework of reality. It seemed absurd and difficult to comprehend and emotionally upsetting to think outside the Scientology view and physically painful, literally causing headaches to think thoughts in conflict with Scientology doctrine and terms.
Only after forcing myself to think in English for many months did something interesting happen. One day I realized something was just not right in my life, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was. I realized I had a good job, wife I love, kids I love, pretty good health and finances yet I was somehow unhappy or uneasy about...something I couldn't put my finger on.
I decided to carefully look at my life and see if there was something I wasn't handling or that could  be the cause of my unease. I at first made a mental inventory of different things, including my marriage, relationships with my kids, job and hobbies and interests and thought of Scientology. I thought that Scientology couldn't be the problem. I thought it was the easiest thing to deal with since I knew it was not the source of anything negative. I had made that mental appraisal many times before. It was automatic from doing Scientology indoctrination and ethics conditions hundreds of times.
I then did something different, something only possible because I hadn't been thinking in Scientology terms for a year or so and had discovered that subtle hidden influence was possible and I was responsible for my choices regardless of any beliefs, no matter what they were or who they came from. I realized I was assuming Scientology couldn't be the cause of anything negative and was skipping actually looking at it and had done it so subtly it was first nature and something I had done for many years.
This gave me pause and I decided to actually take a look at Scientology. After all, if I was off base I could confirm it and be reassured and move onto looking at other things. I thought it's probably nothing I will just look at Scientology to be thorough and if it's fine I can read Scientology books and listen to lectures and feel how I used to when I was doing Scientology courses all the time again.
So I reluctantly started to look for answers regarding Scientology. First just little things like neutral information on the size and image of Scientology. That showed lots of criticism, a shocking amount. But I could write that off as lies. Okay, now for information from Scientology to give me answers.
That is where the real trouble emerged or exploded. The Posse Of Lunatics story was available online. It was definitely from Scientology, so I couldn't dismiss it as lies from outsiders.
It portrayed the Sea Org as full of incompetent and bumbling criminals who rose to upper management and undetected bungled their way through the highest reaches of Scientology for decades like the Three Stooges.
But this didn't conform to Hubbard's claims. Hubbard claimed his technology was infallible and took beings into states so high no one and nothing could strike you down and further he claimed his administration technology was magic and could make an organization invincible and able to survive and succeed against any challenge.
So between his auditing and training providing perfect understanding of people and personal abilities like telepathy, telekinesis, remote viewing or astral projection and precognition and his administration technology giving the secrets to group success and the Sea Org technology giving the keys to running a planet, Scientology should have been far too capable and far too competent to get fooled by the Posse Of Lunatics, particularly as Scientology executives in the Sea Org and particularly for years.
The only plausible explanation was that the Sea Org lacked OTs because otherwise they would have easily detected and handled the Lunatics long before they became executives, probably very early in their Scientology careers.
So, by their own portrayal Scientology was painted as victims of very human beings. This meant Scientology was without OTs running the Sea Org. It was inescapable to me. That meant there must NEVER have been OTs because an army of demigods as Hubbard portrayed them couldn't possibly be defeated by humans in just a few decades, it's absurd. He must have never made OTs at all, which meant he was completely wrong because he asserted the difference between Scientology and other groups was results. If you don't get the primary result you rest your reputation on then all the claims you tie to that reputation need strong reevaluation and examination.
I realized with the claims of OTs completely invalidated that there had to be no clears too and then that throws out the reactive mind and tone scale and engrams because all these concepts are defined by and allegedly proven by one another. With no proof of the OTs or clears then Scientology and Dianetics don't have a leg to stand on. I ended up at the Underground Bunker blog  and reading the Scientology Mythbusting series by Jon Atack and several articles by him like Never Believe A Hypnotist to understand why Scientology seemed to hold results but actually is just a complex con.
I of course read a lot more with dozens of books and exchanged hundreds of comments, etc in trying to untangle from Scientology.
But without the benefit of having left the Sea Org and being forced to work outside Scientology and being forced to interact in a Scientology free environment where thinking like a normal person was obviously beneficial I possibly would never have had the slow shift to gradually having independent and critical thinking resurface, even if it was only momentarily for a thought every few months. A few key thoughts was what it took to prime me to look at Scientology then realize looking required looking and not assuming then realizing I had been assuming for a long time.
Then I made a conscious effort to not assume, because crucially I understood covert long term influence was possible, I and not Hubbard or Scientology or anything else made my decisions and I had been blindly assuming Scientology could do no wrong for decades without even seeing it.
That mindset was necessary for me to be ready to see the problems with the Posse Of Lunatics story.
That is why the prison of the mind is so insidious and pernicious and persistent. The prisoner creates it with their own thoughts and doesn't see it at all and has to take apart the exact right things in the exact right sequence to escape.
It's rigged to use your own blindspots which you create regarding yourself, so you never even see what needs to be unmocked to start your journey out.
It reminds me of what Harriet Tubman said (well Snopes actually rated this claim false, but it's a good quote regardless of who did say it) “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
It's knowing you are wrong or could be fooled that is the ultimate obstacle to overcome. Unshakable certainty and inexorable confidence are the foundation of the prison of the mind. It's that foundation that must be destroyed by the individual who is subject to influence and deception to escape the prison but it's often invisible to the person, until it's not.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Scientology Antisemitism "Jewish Bankers" conspiracy theory

Scientology founder Ron Hubbard had demonstrated significant antisemitism in his writings:

On the Jewish race:

"On further living I found that only those who sought only peace were ever butchered. The thousands of years of Jewish passivity earned them nothing but slaughter."

L. Ron Hubbard HCOPL ETHICS, THE DESIGN OF 7 December 1969
“Now it’s of peculiar interest to an Arab country that there is a company and a certain set of bankers who also finance the World Federation of Mental Health. …and we see that although the KGB and so forth seems to be associated with the World Federation of Mental Health, their other organization in action seems to go back to Jewish Bankers.”
–L. Ron Hubbard, Aides Conference, “Covert Operations”, 2 November 1969
“Furthermore, [Sigmund Freud] had a racial fixation on sex, a fixation sufficiently pronounced to cause it to infect contagiously all modern European stock.”
–L. Ron Hubbard, PAB No. 92, “A Critique of Psychoanalysis”, 10 July 1956

Originally posted by Solitary Trees

L. Ron Hubbard doesn't mention Jews and Judaism often in his lectures and writings (so far in what the editors have read) but on this occasion he seems to embrace one of the most common and widespread antisemitic myths in the world. In the rambling Aides Conference [offsite] of 2 November 1969 concerning "Covert Operations", he believes "Jewish bankers" are funding his enemies.
Note: H.E.C. = "Hubbard Explorational Company Ltd., a front group created in 1966 to provide a cover for the activities of the Sea Org. Its stated object was to 'explore oceans, seas, lakes, rivers and waters, land and buildings in any part of the world and to seek for, survey, examine and test properties of all kinds.' The vagueness was of course deliberate."
Now, some other factor entered the situation when we started functioning around in the Mediterranean area, or in Europe. Apparently they became somewhat panic stricken at the tremendous amount of money and knowhow [sic] that was flooding into England because we were there. Alright, they took action to make sure that didn't happen. Okay. We were helping out Spain and all of a sudden — not we, the old company, it was the H.E.C. [see note] And the H.E.C. at that time was doing surveys of business potential and bases for schools and activities. This is the truth. Alright. They prevented about two million quid a year from going into Spain. But we were okay till we did that. We were yakked at a little bit but nothing really happened, which I think is fascinating, nothing really happened to us — snarled at, yes, but ah no problem, and all of a sudden a lot of money was liable to come into Spain or it was beginning to come into Spain and instantly our throats were cut and then the second we pulled that out why we were okay again. But a pressure was kept up so we wouldn't do further business in Spain. We went to Greece, the ship went to Greece, and they started to put in a mission which was going to bring in a lot of money and a lot of tourists and a lot of travel tours and so forth, all kinds of things would have happened and we were doing a business survey at that time in Greece and the people in that particular areas were beginning to take hope because there was ways and means of settling it industrially, remember? When we got that going this covert operation stopped up, bang, cut our throats. Now all of a sudden we are starting to operate in Morocco and what do we find? One of these guys shows up. But the first guy that showed up in Greece was not really a reporter, he was a sort of a freelance [The Jack Lundin affair [offsite]]. He just cased the situation to see how it was happening so they could then send in some heavy artillery see. Bang, this becomes very fascinating because a lot of administrative know-how is needed by Africa, we're actually organizing donation contributions, an American foundation and it's going to work in conjunction with Morocco. We're going to show them real down to earth administration, form a pattern of it, fix it up so more money comes in and wham, one of these guys shows up. Right away he's also shown up along lines where he's got false reports, false newspaper articles, big — maybe the newspaper article is actually a photostat, but the story in the first place was false. So what has happened here, there is a common denominator to what is going on that hasn't too much to do with us: where we go it's a proven fact money follows — it's not small money, it's big money. Four times now these birds have acted. So what is this? Look, nothing happens to us after we desist. After the old H.E.C. desisted in each one of these instances and ceased to push things into the country, nothing after that happened to them. Now this company, nothing is happening to this company right up to the moment when it all of a sudden starts to form a financial channel into Morocco. So I believe there are three or fours sides to this coin. I believe it has to do with cultural degradation of the country. I don't believe they intend these countries to have their balance of payments come out right. Now it's of peculiar interest to an Arab country that there is a company and a certain set of bankers who also finance the World Federation of Mental Health. And we're running these leads down now. But one of them is Loeb Kuhn, the big Jewish investment firm. What the hell is this all about? You're here in this covert operation, we all of a sudden look up and we see that although the KGB and so forth seems to be associated with the World Federation of Mental Health, their other organization in action seems to go back to Jewish Bankers. We make no sense out of this but it's just as far as we have gone, do you follow? So they have fish to fry of some kind or another.
These "Jewish Bankers" appear similar to the enemies that Hubbard identified in Ron's Journal 67 (still part of Scientologists' training), which in turn, sound similar to "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion [offsite]":
"The Scientology religion is based exclusively upon L. Ron Hubbard's research, writings and recorded lectures —
all of which constitute the Scriptures of the religion"
With all of this action being taken against us in the last seventeen years, I found, after the southern African matter, that it was vitally necessary that I isolate who it was on this planet who was attacking us. The attacks were always of the same pattern; they always followed the same newspaper routes; they always used the same type of parliamentary member; and I thought that I had better look into this very thoroughly.
The organization, under the direction of Mary Sue, actually before I returned from southern Africa, employed several professional intelligence agents who had long and successful professional backgrounds, and they looked into this matter for us. The results of their activities, although still in progress, have told us all that we needed to know with regard to any enemy we had on this planet. Our enemies on this planet are less than twelve men. They are members of the Bank of England and other higher financial circles. They own and control newspaper chains, and they are, oddly enough, in all the mental health groups which have sprung up in the world. These chaps are very interesting fellows. They have fantastically corrupt backgrounds; illegitimate children; government graft; a very unsavory lot. And they apparently, sometime in the rather distant past, had determined on a course of action. Being in control of most of the gold supplies of the planet, they entered upon a program of bringing every government to bankruptcy and under their thumb, so that no government would be able to act politically without their permission.
MYTH #2: Jews control the banks, media, Hollywood, and even the U.S. government; Jews have a secret plot to take over the world
Where does it come from?
Anti-Semites point to “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” as proof of a Jewish conspiracy to dominate world political and economic sectors as well as media. This proven forgery, written by agents of the Russian czar in the late 19th century, claims to be the minutes of a secret meeting of Jews that details plans of Jewish leaders to rule the world. The proven forgery spread throughout the 20th century and continues to this day to promote the stereotype that the Jews own the banks and control the media.