Monday, December 29, 2008

Thoughtful - Post 2

Thoughful has answered to my post in which I was pondering whether what he wrote was a cut and paste or not. It turns out to be original writing and none of the known persons I thought it might be, so I am going to create a separate category to host his posts, which I will call (for now) "Reform". I may add them to other catogies too as the case may be.

I am going to quickly comment on some parts of his last post. Not for it to be a debate, nor even much of a discussion matter, but simply because, since it is posted on my blog. it is difficult for me not to read it, and once I read it, it is difficult for me not to comment on it through the same blog. Obviously, anybody who is not interested in my comments can skip them, haha :-)

Here are Thoughtful original posts so far:
Below are my comments. I only quote some excerpts, either because I answer them or because I find them of some interest for some reasons (not that I don't find what I snipped out uninteresting). check the reference above for the full text.

The comment was indeed from someone new (me) and I chose your blog because, of all the many excellent websites and blogs I've seen on the subject of Scientology and its criticism, yours is the best in my opinion.

Well, what can I say? Thanks! Strangely it evolved from (and still is in some extent) something I did only for me being able to follow up news and retrace articles afterward.

This being said, it may not be the best place for you to have a wide audience. Critics usually avoid my pages and try to convince others not to visit either, because I am critical of critics. Scientologists do likewise, because I am critical of Scientology, and also because I openly speak about Xenu. However, I do have the odd critic and the odd Scientologist peaking in here and there, and I even made a friend or two through this blog. Anyway, I am honored that you chose it to express yourself, and you are certainly welcome. If you some day feel you found a better outlet, no problem either.

My comment on your Scientology 1 & 2 blog was my first. I put the comment on two websites simultaneously.

As you essentially pointed out, nothing on this earth is ALL good or ALL bad. Scientology is a blend of both. The bad needs to be abolished. That’s all. [...]

Critics of Scientology continually ask, “If it’s so bad, why do people stay in it?” The answer is because Scientology also contains some powerfully good things that really can help people.

There’s an old phrase, “There’s good even in the worst of us” and it’s true. [...]

My point isn’t to make excuses for Scientology, it is just to point out that only condemning things is illogical [...]

Your position, as I understand it in this blog, is that both the critics who deny all rightness, and Scientologists who deny all wrongness, are alike both members of the same cult. That cult is: “I will only see what I want to see!”

Yes, though I don't see Scientology 1 and 2 as quite as something in which you can simply split out the good from the bad, but I won't get much into that, because I don't think it is the place here to open a debate on this issue. I am just doing it to clarify my position somewhat. This may be clearer through later comments I would make.

There are no WDC members today. One by one they were wiped out by Miscavige. [...]
I’m not a member of Anonymous. I’m not a member of the Church. Yet I have life-long friends on both sides. [...]

I found the primary “out ethics” (Scientology lingo for unethical practices) blocking Scientology's expansion is internal. Most of it traces back to David Miscavige. Some of it traces back to LRH.
That's where we may differ somewhat, but again I don't want to enter in a debate here, just clarify somewhat what I mean by Scientology 1 and 2. In my view, LRH himself is the "who", as he "added" concepts to his own initial tech that eventually made it cultish. You could say that Miscavige is "only" following in that delusion, but that would mean excusing the wrong he is doing. Obviously, Scientology would have taken a very different path if David Mayo would have taken command, but it appears that he too was brutally discarded by Miscavige's struggle to get in power. I believe it indeed was a definitely bad turn for Scientology.

So they would work for weeks and weeks writing their scripts as Miscavige insisted, finally sending them up to Miscavige for approval, who would then sit on them for 6-8 months without looking at them, then finally send them back as “stale” or “rejected.”
This reminds me of an incident that happened to my while I was on the GO WW. One day I was called to sit in a sort of Committee of Evidence. Well, it was not a Committee of Evidence as such, something of a much lower order but I just don't remember the name. It was the first (and only) I ever done. Together with my companions, we looked at what was presented to us and decided that the guy was not guilty. That must have been a novelty because in a typical Stalinist-like regime, if you sit in such a committee, the guy is automatically guilty and you are only supposed to "rationalize" the reason why (is my guess). Anyway, some time later we received an angry missive from Jane Kember herself canceling our findings because we did not look at classified information about the guy. Of course we were never presented with such information, nor did we have the right to access it! I found the incident completely absurd.

To save himself, he finally faked a suicide by scratching his wrists with a pocket knife. He didn’t cut himself, he just scratched himself. But knowing the rules, that got him automatically kicked off staff. And he saved his health.[...]
I am not sure why people have to resort to that, really. There I was in the middle of GO WW in the old Saint Hill Castle, and I simply told my boss that I wanted to route out. It only took persistence in my views to finally be routed out.

I must admit I had some advantage, because I had access to critical material (being in part night watch in the castle and could avail of critical information with impunity). So when people were coming to me to try and convince me that I should stay, it wouldn't take long before they started doubting themselves. That prompted the hierarchy, I guess, to promptly get rid of me.

But to get back to the point, I really don't see why people would need to fake suicide (of course most of them just blow). Persistence in wanting to be routed out should be enough.

What’s missing is integrity: a word Miscavige, being a high-school drop out, has never known the meaning of.

If a group wants to be a religion, they have to not just talk the talk, they have to walk the walk. And Scientology never really has.
What you write prompts me to envision the future of Scientology. I wrote earlier that the CoS really should reform, but they just can't because LRH has embedded Scientology 2 within the system in such a way that it is virtually inextricable from Scientology 1. The solution I now see is through a change in the leadership. Miscavige being replaced by a new management, a new approach, that would at least make an attempt at discarding the most damaging policies. I don't think this would be totally possible but at least they could reach a point where it would be acceptable by society at large, a bit like Christianity and Islam themselves did. They would be sort of the Turkey of Muslim countries rather than the Iran or Saudis of this world. Just a thought...

Other parts of Scientology amount to some of the most valuable discoveries this world has to offer. I use Scientology today in every part of my life. I use the good parts of Scientology. The parts that work. Just like I can back up the conclusion that some parts of Scientology are bad, I can back up the conclusion that some parts are incredibly good. To see those parts lost would be in my opinion the greatest tragedy the world has ever known. [...]
That would be the Freezoner approach, of sort. Again I differ somewhat personally because, even though I think the tech does indeed have many positive aspects, and I understand why Scientologists and Freezoners would swear by it, I personally do not use it anymore as such. Again let's not get in a debate on this.

Scientology has enabled me to rebuild my life from complete and utter scratch in just a few years.
I seem to observe many high ranking (and non high ranking) staff, even those who spent most of their life in the movement), relatively easily being able to re-build their life. That was my case too. Even though I dropped Universtity to join staff in which I spent five years, and thus had no job or job qualifications when I left, I was able to relatively easily make up for it and gain a position in society many would envy.

I am not sure what is the exact incidence of Scientology in that, but it certainly does not harm.

For example as I took the exams in a subject on which I had no formal studies, and in which maybe 100 on a million would be received, I mostly concentrated on clearing up technical words to prepare for it. On a technical subject, jargon makes up for at least 80% of the field. If you clear them up, not only you can fairly quickly master the field itself, you end up expressing yourself in the jargon, and sometimes it's all that is needed to pass some exams. At the end, people ended up calling me to "reserve" me before I even got the official end result myself. And yet, I don't believe I was better than anyone else, but I did know the jargon top down. I wouldn't have had the idea on my own if it wasn't from what I learned through Scientology.

I believe others may have similar stories. It also shows that although I am not really using the tech as such, some things remain. For example, I am very keen that people answer my questions in real life, and not answer aside of it. I believe this too I got from Scientology. I also posted recently about other things I found of value in Scientology. Scientology 1, that is.

And in the coming months, I intend to reveal more. Good and bad. I intend to bring insight to both sides. [...]

If I am guilty of anything, I am guilty of following LRH’s own words (which would qualify in your analogy as “Scientology 1”):
Yes - that's true, but don't forget that what I call Scientology 2 also come from LRH ;-)

I am sometimes amused to read Barbara Schwarz claiming that LRH was impostored, but, in some remote way, you could say it's true. It's as if there was one LRH who came up with the tech and all the good stuff, then there was another LRH that came up and added all kind of things on top of it with no other apparent purpose to make it impracticable and make for himself loads of enemies.

This particular blog strikes me as the best example of not necessarily maintaining a skeptical attitude, a critical attitude, or an open mind. You, Bernie, seem to have maintained sufficient personal integrity and sufficient personal belief and confidence in yourself and courage to observe and say what you see.

That’s what being a human being is really all about. Personal integrity.
Thanks again. Words can be tricky. I consider myself as skeptical, critical and open minded, but in a good way, not in the negative sense of these words. At the same time, I do take position, and not always popular ones. It does take a lot of guts to keep your views when subjected to massive abuses for daring to dissent. I especially took care not to stop being critical of Scientology too, which is sometimes a temptation when you get subjected to said abuses. I guess, you could call that integrity. At the end, I learned to let flow out all this kind of reactions, that are mostly childish and immature, and quietly concentrate on the content instead, and maybe also learn to see the truth of each side rather than were they go wrong.

For me, maintaining my personal integrity has meant giving up my marriage -- since my (now “ex”) spouse is still inside the Church; giving up my Bridge, since anyone who routes out from Int Management is automatically declared “suppressive” and barred from services; giving up my many friends since Scientologists are required to disconnect from anyone who has been so declared.

That was a high cost. I was married for the better part of two decades. Being forced to divorce my spouse while still in love because of suppressive policies (Scientology 2) was difficult. Like a baptism by fire, internal suppression within Scientology stripped me of everything I owned but two things: My observations and my personal integrity.

And so, I have “everything” whereas those without have already “lost everything.” [...]
Yes, I think this is absolutely true. That's a bit what I wrote about Cruise winning his internal bet already, no matter how well the movie would fare, because he pushed through with a film which he deeply believed in, rather than taking into account how well it may be received. Now he seems to win his external bet too, because the movie is doing pretty well, but this is only of secondary importance. There are certain things that should take priority, and when these things are things deeply felt, they will enrich us from inside, no matter what the concrete out come might be.

This I got from Eckhart Tolle, not Scientology :-) But of course they come from deep inside myself too, as I always "knew" it somehow and applied it intuitively, and as you say they can be found in Scientology 1 too, in another form.

To allow Miscavige to go on destroying the Church of Scientology is to turn my back on everything I stand for as a human being and as a Scientologist. He has single-handedly done more to poison the environment for Scientology than anyone or any agency in history. [...]

In other words, Miscavige, in his delusory state, is so surrounded by "suppressives" that he sees ALL of the most dedicated Scientologists on earth, people who have devoted their entire lives to the movement, as hostile enemies. [...]
This is what stroke me when I was able to meet Jane Kember in a private party. Of course she was the "star" of the party and would hold the bar. I think she was a relatively fine woman and in her own way quite exceptional, but she would have no other word in her mouth than "SP", and, in turn, nearly every nations got qualified as "the greatest SPs in the world". There's something about being in power and ending up corrupting your view of the world...

Don’t forget, this is the guy who kicked Mary Sue Hubbard (LRH’s wife) out of the Church... and got away with it.

And for that matter, Diana Hubbard, Ron’s eldest daughter, despises David Miscavige with all her soul. She is a virtual prisoner. There are no cell phones, no outside lines, no internet access. As far as I know, you can’t even call 911. She writes scripts and speeches for events.
Scientology was born in desperate times by a good man. He was not a perfect man. He was just a man, with as many flaws as you. [...]

Hubbard ran into problems when people tried to alter Scientology, since it doesn’t work if altered. In 1965, in a knee-jerk reaction, Hubbard froze everything with a policy letter called, “Keeping Scientology Working.” That policy made it unlawful (in Scientology) to change anything or to even to criticize Scientology.
I think this is what happened. He tried to find "solutions" to problems he was encountering, and came up with inappropriate ones that may have been seen at first to be a solution but ended up creating more problems than resolve them. And so was Scientology 2 created. That Keeping Scientology Working policy, that people read at the start of each course, is one of the most powerful indoctrination tool in Scientology. They should get rid of it, and change the mentality altogether.

When he took over, Miscavige made it 1,000 times worse, broadening the range of the policy to include virtually anything Hubbard ever wrote as inviolate. Even including things like the asinine “Team Share System.”

And so, as the culture itself actually progressed and improved, Scientology froze in a cold-war condition that no longer exists. [...]

In the 1950s, our culture was considerably more barbaric.
Senator Joseph McCarthy used innuendo to blacklist people. We tend to forget how bad things really were.
Yes and no. Look at what Bush did. He was able to lead a whole nation on the wrong path through gross lies, innuendos, blatant civil right abuses, illegal invasions and massive killings, all in spite of our modern times and the Internet at the peak of its free speech power!

I am not sure things have changed that much, and technology alone is not going to do it either. People have the fight the "beast" within themselves, and this beast is what i refer to as the cultic mindset, something that allows the Bushes of this world to have a grab on people, not speaking of cult leaders, of course... And the beast manifests itself in unpredictable way, which is why some anti-cultists can be worst than three cult members combined.

While the culture progressed, Scientology not only froze in time, starting in 1986, it began to go in reverse.

It is incredibly ironic that the philosophy that revealed what Eckhart Tolle later described as the “power of now” has itself become profoundly stuck in the past. [...]

Then we need someone sensible, to sort out the good from the bad. If Scientology is to be a church, then it has to BE a church. That means knock off the secret wars and the hostilities. It means cease dolling out $400,000 a month to degraded lawyers and private investigators hired as attack dogs. It means stop declaring as suppressive decent people who left Int Management because they did not want to receive a concussion from David Miscavige on top of all the other physical, mental and spiritual abuse. [...]
Duh... lemme see... huh, I give 25 years of dedicated service, working 110 to 120 hours a week, 7 days a week, with two vacations in 20 years... wait a second... one was for a funeral not a vacation. [...]
Haha. This reminds me of my top-model girl friend I was lucky to have for a short while, starting to count jokingly all the hours she spent with me in order to charge me high fee in response to my own joke I would charge her my high fee for some work I was doing for her as a service. I promptly made it for free :-) Off topic? Hmm... Maybe, maybe not...

Oh, by the way, the entire time I was a member of Int Management, I didn’t advance one step on the Bridge we Scientologists care so much about.
But why not? I know that as staff we had impossible targets to reach and always wanted to do more to save the world, but really, that's a mistake. If you had said that you want to get your 2 and 1/2 hours that are your daily right, even if you would not get it every day, nobody could stop you. That's what I did, even though I did not do it every day by far, but at least did something and now can say I have first hand experience in auditing and the tech, which is a very important part of being on staff or in Scientology in general.

Of course I also did have a boss in Saint Hill who wanted us to advance on the bridge and so arranged auditing hours for staff. This no doubt will be written as a positive deed on his plate in heaven, but if you never asked for it or insisted that you are entitled to it, of courses very few are going to impose it to you. I thing this is something you can't really blame on the organization.

But he left out something... he was not “a full-time staffer at Scientology’s centre on Sunset Boulevard.” For more than 15 years, he was IG MAA RTC (Inspector General Master at Arms) at Scientology’s Int Base headquarters in Gilman Hot Springs, 90 miles east on Highway 60. Chris Guider was Miscavige’s main pit bull.

He was instrumental in forcing my spouse and I to get divorced. He wrote the issue officially declaring me and dozens of others “anti-social” people; spinning, spinning, spinning phony justifications on goldenrod paper like a little spider with beady eyes. Now he’s back in Australia but still quite the tool for Miscavige, voicing the party line about Ideal Orgs -- the latest program to cheat millions from Scientologists. He’s one of the ones who redefines the phrase, “how low can you go?” [...]
Funny, I reported that article on my blog here.Maybe I am going to add that part to the article.

Then again, maybe he’s just another Miscavige victim. I don’t know. Miscavige is the correct target.
People do stupid things. Most of the time it is not because they are bad but quite on the contrary because they are good. They want to do good and don't realize the wrong they do. It does not excuse what they do, of course, but that's what humans do.

Miscavige would be the right target indeed. Not because he is Miscavige, but because he is the one at the top and responsible for the broad direction the CoS takes. Beating up people and engaging in other abuses certainly is not the way to go.

I indeed don't see a future for Scientology other than through a change of leadership, a new Obama that would bring a new direction (eh, it's still too early to say this for Obama but at least we can always dream). IMO, It has to be done with the CoS itself, because the Freezone has shown already that it is impossible to achieve this trying to build a parallel organization on the outside.

Cruise Threat - an Unreliable Source

I now read the Valkyrie article of the (trying to find, to no avail, the article where they claim Cruise called in the FBI to protect him from death threats).

If anything, it certainly confirms my first impression that this news outlet is little more than a low-level tabloid rag.

Indeed, the article falls right along the one I analyzed on Dec. 26, and the one reported by John Brown on his blog. It unilaterally covers negative to ultra negative comments, completely ignoring the fact that in reality the reviews are mixed, with some very positive ones.

It also claims that
Last week the movie was given a roasting by German critics.
It just is, likewise, not true either, as I commented on my blog back in Dec. 12, and as this excellent piece by The National details.

To me, it's really journalism of the worst kind.

I guess some people delight in this kind of reporting, but I don't think anybody who really wants to be informed should take whatever they write seriously, or at least, be extremely skeptical and cross-check the news with more serious outlets.

Update: The Tom Cruise threat article is here. Why it did not come out on a search for "Cruise", I don't know.

Threats Against Cruise - Cautions Required

The major news today is an article by the, largely reposted by other newspapers (without linking to the original article if it's online at all), about death threats supposedly made against Tom Cruise and his family, that prompted him to alert the FBI.

I really don't know what to make of this news, because so far it is only actually reported by one newspaper, and one that looks to me to be mostly a gossip rag. Furthermore, why would such a typical US news be reported by a UK newspaper? What are its sources and references?

Of course celebrities routinely receive loads of threats from all kinds of cranks, including most probably from some of the original Anonymous pranksters (not the branch that opposes Scientology), but I don't see why they should be taken more seriously than at other times.

The threats that have been made, if any, would probably be along the line of the ones I reported already on Dec. 18, and that were posted in the comments of an anti-Anonymous blog, threatening to blow a church building "on New Years Day at 12:01am GMT".

By all means, until more information become available, I think this news has to be taken with cautions.

OT: Lame Defense for the Worst Ever President in US History

I can't even start to fathom the depth of total and utter idiocy the "two most influential women in President George W. Bush's White House" (Mrs Bush and Rice?!) get into in trying to defend Bush presidency.

Mrs Bush about the shoe:
He's very quick. As you know, he's a natural athlete and ducked it.

??? a natural athlete, ducking a shoe???
"As bad as the incident is, in my view, it is a sign that Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves," she said.
??? because this is something people allowed him to do???


Condoleezza Rice:
Rice noted that while Germany was reunified in 1990, the work that made it possible was done in the 1940s
Duh?? No way. Germany was eventually re-unified because the high principles the US followed, together with inevitable results of prosperity it brought about, made the contrast intolerable.

Somebody should tell Condoleezza (that name is the only good thing I see in her), that the separation of Germany by the wall was precisely created in the 1940s. What Bush did is also not comparable to the Marshall Plan that happened after the war, because Bush was the aggressor, not the other way around, and is widely seen as such.

Or does Condoleeza really mean to say that the reunification was made possible because it was separated in the first place???

Mrs Bush:
She said her husband responded to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in a way that has kept the nation safe.
No. He fell right into Ben Laden's trap, right where he wanted him to be - to bring about a general distrust of the US and a general rally against what was until then the first power in the world, not just because of its military might, but most of all because of its abeyance to fundamental principles. Ben Laden is the winner here.

By lying to the world and engaging in sheer aggression against a sovereign nation without a shred of evidence for his lies, bombing thousands upon thousands of innocents in full view of a powerless world, Bush trashed the trust people had in that nation for ever. And that makes the world a much less safer place than it ever was.

So no, he definitely not responded to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in a way that has kept the nation safe.

It would take many Obamas to try and restore that trust, but OTOH, I think somewhere it's irreversible. Things will never be the same again, and other nations will raise to take the lead

Bush was the President who made the giant stumble.

Rice took a similar view in a separate interview, saying that claims that the Bush administration has been one of the worst ever are "ridiculous."
Yes, it's ridiculous - it's not one of the worst President ever, it definitely is the worst ever recorded in history.

Not only that. If I ever saw a world leader who deserves sentencing for crimes against Humanity, that would be the one. By very very far. I sincerely hope that once he loses his immunity, he will be held accountable for his crimes.

This lame attempt at defending Bush just makes him look even worst. They can't bring up a single thing that would actually speak for him apart for insipid and unmeasurable, almost irrelevant, generalities (supposedly fighting aids and corruption).

He "liberated millions of people in Afghanistan and Iraq from oppressive governments"? Yes, that's true, but, while nobody is blaming him for Afghanistan (after 911, there really was little other choices), the Iraq one was a major goof.

My guess is that he saw that what he did in Afghanistan was good, and thought he had an opportunity to do the same with every other oppressive governments, and so write his name in history as the great liberator of the world.

The problem is that he had to turn the US into an oppressive government itself in order to "achieve" that. He should have had the intelligence to yield to the massive protests around the world (and in the US) against the war. By then it was probably too late for him to go back, so he had to push through in spite of everything.

The consequences of this are immeasurable. It made of him indeed, together with other heartless and aggressive policy decisions he took, one of the worst President in history, and this is to put it very very mildly. I think that the title of worst President ever is fully deserved.

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