A shadow on the heart of the Earth
Joined: 23 Feb 2009
Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Location: Near where Broken Social Scene is gonna play on October 15th, 2010
7426 White Gold Dollars
|Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:40 pm Post subject: Psychology and Scientology
|I was thinking of titling this thread "The origins" or "The source" of Scientology, so this has nothing to do with Scientology's antagonism towards psychiatry (which, after all, isn't totally unreasonable, I confess to believe).
I live in a town called Port Orchard, near Seattle, WA. Unbeknownst to me until only a few years ago, L. Ron Hubbard lived both here and in Bremerton (a ten--minute drive away) over the course of his life, and in fact while living in PO specifically he wrote a book called Excalibur, which apparently was the first out-and-out Scientological book he wrote, though it's not a public document as far as I know. So anyway, I have my own odd local reasons for interest in this group...
... and we all (or some of us) know the caricature: the evil alien overlord Xeenu rounds up tons of sentient beings and massacres them by using nuclear weapons on volcanoes, here on Earth, the attack unleashed by ships that look like jumbo jet planes. Then, the ghosts of the massacre are taken to a cinematic facility and indoctrinated with memes that lead, one day, to Christianity and so on.
So far, so bad. But though the story above is supposedly meant to be kept secret by the cult/group, it has become public, such that the c/g doesn't deny it so much as qualify it: I read, recently, that the official(ish) position of the Scientology church is that the story is something of a parable.
A parable of what? It is my semifirm conviction that much of religion is based on subconscious moral information processing on a mass scale. People who met Jesus interpreted Him as the Messiah or God because, deep down inside, knowing the condition of their world, they realized that if His plan worked, such as it was, it would lead to an epochal transformation for said world. Mohammed showed up under roughly analogous circumstances elsewhere, to analogous effect. And so on and on. (Mormonism seems to have been helped by illicit administration of pyschoactive mushrooms to early members, cloaked in the sacraments.)
Scientology is a modern religion. Its preoccupation with cinema reflects this. Now LRH apparently had a problem of some kind with amphetamine abuse, skewed his mind plenty and all, so let's say he has a genuine insight (about the religious-political potential of the film industry) that got caught up in his mania and, by the time it percolated to his conscious musings, took the form of the Xeenu narrative.
That doesn't mean the Scientology church as it has survived its founder, kept to the mutant form of his insight. But so what is the insight in question? I think there's a reason Scientology is involved with Hollywood so much. I think there's a reason J. J. Abrams, for instance, was a Scientologist but peaceably left the church. And that reason is:
The power of books is pretty impressive. The phenomenon of scripture in the past, appears nowadays in the devotion people express towards epic fantasy stories (e.g. Harry Potter or, for us, Thomas Covenant). The notion of divine revelation is of course that it is communication from heaven. Before movies, though, then, only a book could seem to people to be the communication in question.
But if God existed, why would It only communicate through a book? Or just one book, even if that book took centuries to form? The mysterious ways of the Lord could, of course, account for such. But I think that people subconsciously have gravitated towards specific books as revelation just because that's the only form of communication that has existed in the relevant way, for most of recorded history.
Nowadays, then, movies have the potential to be "scripture." Scientology is, I suspect or suppose, as such, based on the recognition that if the film industry is used in a certain way, the natural basis for attribution of scriptural authority to books can be redirected towards movies. That is, the goal of Scientology is to make a movie that captivates people just as much as the Bible or the Quran have.