There's been much chatter about The New Yorker's piece on Scientology this week, which I will admit to not having read in full just yet (26 pages is a lot to flip through on my relatively small screen...I might actually pick up the print version for once). I found Terry Gross's rather limited interview with Lawrence Wright on the piece kind of strange, because it essentially focused on L. Ron Hubbard's apparently forged military records. Which strikes me as a bit like delving into whether or not Hitler actually went to art school.*

I've actually struggled for a while to put my finger on what makes Scientology's mythology uniquely insane in the cannon of odd things people believe in the name of religion. Because even if I couldn't articulate it exactly, I've felt that Scientology really does occupy a special place in the annals of bullshit, even above and beyond such rarefied company as a 6000-year-old planet, global flooding, angels, demons, reincarnation, telepathy, the apocalypse (Mayan or Christian version, they're both nuts), ascension to heaven, and resurrection from the dead.

And then frequent Agitator commenter "Mattocracy" just goes and nails it to the wall for me, clear as day:

"But for some reason Scientology really makes me ill... Most religions are old and were established when the natural world wasn’t really understood. At the time when most other religions were founded, people just didn’t know any better.

But Scientology was created in the age of science, even has the name rooted in the word “science” while being completely devoid of it. These fucks knew better than to believe in this shit from the get go. That just makes them much more sinister to me.

*I realize I am dangerously close to self-Godwinning this post, here, but my point isn't really to compare L. Ron with Hitler. It's just to point out that the Hubbard's bullshit about his war injuries is small potatoes compared to the decades of abuse and fraud that followed and continues to this day. Also, fuck L. Ron Hubbard.

1 comment:

RW said...

Yeah, science...

The foundation of Scientology is a thing called Dianetics, which you have to get through to get to the "upper levels" where all the space opera is. But Dianetics is founded on the principle that accumulated "engrams" (a real word that means a real thing though not as Dianetics explains it) have to be dealt with and confronted in order to overcome their adverse consequences. A Dianetic engram ("a record of a moment of pain or painful emotion"), once "cleared" from your "memory bank" (by looking at it directly and reliving the moment it was implanted) no longer has any persuasion on you. So, obviously, you get rid of your engrams and you're a New Being, totally fresh and shiny with no psychosomatic ills or abberations and a perfect memory and on and on and on.

Until Hubbard agreed to have his engram idea tested by UCLA (it would be the last time this was ever allowed). The results of which you can see right over here.

The existence of this study - now only really found on the internet - is exactly why Scientologists are told to not go on the internet and some even have programs installed that keep these things out of view. It is considered "enturbulation" - a made-up word that means "this will confuse you and stop you from obtaining real "gains" in your sessions... and "we'll just have to charge you more money to get rid of that crap too."

There's no such thing as an engram as Dianetics explains it, doing the things Dianetics (the precursor and foundation of Scientology) says it does to you.

I'd say the science speaks for itself. If you can find it.