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 .

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Alternatives To Scientology Part 1 Intelligent Disobedience

Intelligent Disobedience 

This post is to bring up for contrast and consideration several ideas. It's meant as a starting point for further study and certainly not an end. Recently I heard of the concept of intelligent disobedience.

It is interesting and possibly very relevant to both cult recovery and social interaction in general. To briefly describe the concept which has a book aptly titled Intelligent Disobedience by Ira Chaleff I will post a very small except to define the term and give a small introduction to it.

Excerpt by Ira Chaleff

Nearly daily, we find stories in the media of individuals and whole departments who went along with programs or orders that came from higher levels in- or outside their organization that defy common sense, our values as a people, or the law of the land.
No segment of our culture is immune, from politics to sports, from federal agencies to religious institutions, from the education system to law enforcement, from health care to transportation, from food production and distribution to communications, from the military to financial services, from energy to social services.
You’ve read these stories or seen them in the media and, like me, wondered, How could they have done that? The question now is How do we change this?
Change will be achieved by teaching and rewarding the skills to differentiate between programs or orders that should be embraced and those that should be questioned, examined, and at times resisted. The capacity to do this should be an integral part of risk management strategies, which exist in all sectors.
If we distill Intelligent Disobedience down to a formula, it would look something like this:
  1. Understand the mission of the organization or group, the goals of the activity of which you are a part, and the values that guide how to achieve those goals.
  1. When you receive an order that does not seem appropriate to the mission, goals, and values, clarify the order as needed, then pause to further examine the problem with it, whether that involves its safety, effectiveness, cultural sensitivity, legality, morality, or common decency.
  1. Make a conscious choice whether to comply with the order or to resist it and offer an acceptable alternative when there is one.
  1. Assume personal accountability for your choice, recognizing that if you obey the order, you are still accountable regardless of who issued the order.
Formulas give us a sense of where we are going but are not sufficient to transform deeply seated cultural patterns. Transformation requires first understanding the powerful social mechanisms that produce and reward obedience, regardless of the merit or lack of merit in what is being obeyed. Then strategies and tools for overriding these mechanisms and retaining independence of thought and action are needed.

  1. The need for Intelligent Disobedience can arise suddenly and demand a high order of poise to respond appropriately within the compressed time the situation demands.
  1. We must give our own perceptions, training, and values equal validity to the perspectives of those in authority when weighing the right course of action.
  1. There are often options other than “obey” or “disobey” that can lead to better outcomes.
  1. If we take a deep breath and pause to think, we may be able to offer alternative creative responses that satisfy the authority and better meet the need of the situation. End quote
In the Scientology cult an attitude of complete submission to Ron Hubbard was mandatory. In fact it is the theme most stressed in Dianetics and Scientology doctrine. The doctrine has millions and millions of words. Many, many phrases, words and works in Scientology stress Hubbard's infallible, Godlike, unquestionable authority. 

One is exposed to many grandiose and extreme claims of the miraculous results Hubbard's methods were supposed to produce. The claims had the intention of giving Ron Hubbard authority over his fraudulent subjects, of making those subjects seem not just valid and scientific in nature but also of a higher level and authenticity than all others. Hubbard asserted that Scientology was superior to life itself as it could handle life itself, in his words. He also claimed Dianetics was self protecting by its very nature.

He did what many totalistic cult leaders do. He claimed his doctrine was inherently true, good and superior to all other ideas to such an extent that anyone supporting it is good and anyone opposing it was evil. By first dividing people into social and antisocial he claimed the social support good actions and groups and are against harmful groups while the antisocial harm good groups and support evil ones. It seems acceptable. But Hubbard then equates the antisocial personality to his term the suppressive person. He defines the suppressive person as anyone who commits a laundry list of acts he calls crimes, high crimes and suppressive acts. He defines any opposition to Scientology or his organizations as a trait of suppressive persons and of course supporting anyone who opposes any of his groups as a suppressive person. 

By this subtle redefinition he equates Scientology and himself to good and his opponents to evil. He takes an entirely authoritarian view on himself, his followers and everything else.

Robert Jay Lifton used the term totalistic and totalism to describe groups that try to completely control their members. 

From Wikipedia

Totalism, a word first used in Thought Reform, is Lifton's term for the characteristics of ideological movements and organizations that desire total control over human behavior and thought. Lifton's usage differs from theories of totalitarianism in that it can be applied to the ideology of groups that do not wield governmental power.
In Lifton's opinion, though such attempts always fail, they follow a common pattern and cause predictable types of psychological damage in individuals and societies. He finds two common motives in totalistic movements: the fear and denial of death, channeled into violence against scapegoat groups that are made to represent a metaphorical threat to survival, and a reactionary fear of social change.
In his later work, Lifton has focused on defining the type of change to which totalism is opposed, for which he coined the term the protean self. In the book of the same title, he states that the development of a "fluid and many-sided personality" is a positive trend in modern societies, and that mental health now requires "continuous exploration and personal experiment", which requires the growth of a purely relativist society that's willing to discard and diminish previously established cultures and traditions. End quote

The groups that have this approach are often also described as authoritarian and the leaders and doctrine they follow are also described in this way. 

To sum up authoritarianism is a brief article.
What is it like working for an authoritarian?  What does it mean to be an authoritarian?
What kind of people accepted Nazi ideology and took part in the holocaust?
After the Second World War a group of American based social scientists, led by Theodor Adorno, posed this question.  It resulted in a book called the Authoritarian Personality published in 1950

Their theory focused on the individual as a cause of social evils.  Parents, they argued, bring about authoritarianism by frequently and seriously punishing and shaming their children for even minor offences.   This makes them hostile to adults and all authority figures in power.  The child does not consciously acknowledge this aggression because it simply lead to more punishment.  Also they are dependent on their parents whom they are supposed to love, which can cause great tension.
Thus, so the theory goes, those exposed to authoritarian, rather than authoritative, parenting have their repressed antagonism displaced and projected onto weaker members of society.
Authoritarians are nearly always ethnocentric in that they have a certain, simple and unshakable belief in the superiority of their own racial, cultural and ethnic group with a powerful disclaim for all those in other groups.  This can easily lead to brutality, aggression and naked open prejudice.
Whilst the idea took hold it has been criticized both because many other factors lead to the development of authoritarian thinking and behaviour but also because prejudiced behaviour is shaped by others for powerful situational factors. Social psychologist reject the fundamental attribution error concept of authoritarianism explaining every day prejudice. They believe group and situational factors are much more important in the development and maintenance of discrimination and prejudice
Yet authoritarians have been shown to avoid situations that involve any sort of ambiguity or uncertainty, are reluctant to believe that ‘good people’ possess both good and bad attributes.  However they often appear less interested in political affairs, participate less in political and community activities, and tend to prefer strong leaders.
There are a number of well-established measures of authoritarianism; the best known (and hence the most widely used) is the California F Scale which attempts to measure prejudice, rigid thinking.  There are nine factors and statements reflecting each factor:
1. Conventionalism: rigid adherence to conventional middle-class values. (‘Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn.’)
2. Authoritarian submission: uncritical acceptance of authority. (‘Young people sometimes get rebellious ideas, but as they grow up they ought to get over them and settle down.’)
3. Authoritarian aggression: a tendency to condemn anyone who violates conventional norms.  (‘A person who has bad manners, habits and breeding can hardly expect to get along with decent people.’)
4. Anti-intraception: rejection of weakness or sentimentality.  (‘The businessman and the manufacturer are much more important to society than the artist and professor.’)
5. Superstition and stereotypy: belief in mystical determinants of action and rigid, categorical thinking. (‘Some day it will probably be shown that astrology can explain a lot of things.’)
6. Power and toughness: preoccupation with dominance over others.  (‘No weakness or difficulty can hold us back if we have enough willpower.’)
7. Destructiveness and cynicism: a generalized feeling of hostility and anger. (‘Human nature being what it is, there will always be war and conflict.’)
8. Projectivity: a tendency to project inner emotions and impulses outward. (‘Most people don’t realize how much our lives are controlled by plots hatched in secret places.’)
9. Sex: exaggerated concern for proper sexual conduct. (‘Homosexuals are hardly better than criminals and ought to be severely punished.’)
There are various different related concepts to that of authoritarianism.  These include conservatism, dogmatism, and ethnocentrism.  Some focus on thinking style, others on prejudice.  Most argue that this “attitudinal syndrome” rather than a personality trait, occurs for both genetic/heredity and environmental factors.  At the core of the theories is the idea of a generalized susceptibility to experience anxiety and threat when confronted by ambiguity or uncertainty.
Thus for various reasons – a person’s ability and personality, their early life and current circumstances – some people feel inferior and insecure and fearful of lack of clarity.  Therefore to avoid uncertainty authoritarians dislike anything or anybody that advocates complexity, innovation, novelty, risk or change.  They tend to dislike conflict and decision making and subjugate their personal feelings and needs to external authorise.  They obey the rules norms, conventions and more importantly insist others do too.
So conservatives and authoritarians get obsessed by ordering and controlling their internal world and external world.  They like simplistic, rigid and inflexible duties, laws, morals, obligation and rules.  This affects everything from their choice of art to how they vote.
Closed-minded, dogmatic authoritarian people are characterized by three things:
1. A strong desire to reject all ideas opposed to their own;
2. A low degree of connectedness among various beliefs;
3. Many more complex and positive ideas about things/issues they do believe in as opposed to those they don’t believe in.
It is not a matter of intelligence but open minded people do solve questions more quickly and they seem able to synthesize information more quickly into new ideas.  That is why they seem happier with novel, difficult and strange problems.  Closed-minded people tend to get aggressive or withdraw when faced by novel ideas.  There are many questionnaires that try to assess dogmatism.These are statements from them:
In this complicated world of ours the only way we can know what’s going on is to rely on leaders or experts who can be trusted.
My blood boils whenever a person stubbornly refused to admit he’s wrong.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who are for the truth and those who are against the truth.
Most people just don’t know what’s good for them.
Of all the different philosophies which exist in this world there is probably only one which is correct.
Most of the ideas which get printed nowadays aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.
The latest work in this area is exclusively on Right-Wing Authoritariasm (RWA) because it is recognised that left wing people like Stalinists and Trotskyists can equally be authoritarian.
The idea is that RWA is made of up three attitudinal and behavioural clusters.  The first is total submission to established authorities; the second generalized aggression to all “enemies” of those authorities and the third blind adherence to established social norms and conventions. So those with strong RWA beliefs and absolutists, bullies, dogmatists, hypocrites and zealots.  They are enthusiastic advocates of punishment of all kinds and dubious about liberals and libertarianism.  They are uncritical of all they stand for being at times inconsistent and holding contradictory ideas.  These are noticeable open to criticism of holding double standards but simultaneously self-righteous and not at all humble or self-critical.
Authoritarians are found in all walks of life, though they do get attracted to jobs and religions that concur with their particular value. They can be very intolerant and particularly malicious to those who they see as outsiders. End quote

An authoritarian can have any political beliefs or none. Their approach to people is the key. The rigid hierarchical thinking with black and white categories of pure good and pure evil is essential. As is the placing of a leader or doctrine above doubt or questioning.
It's a way that has oversimplified prejudices instead of in depth detailed analysis. It's bluntly the opposite of critical thinking.

Critical thinking isn't just trying to be clever or scientific. It actually has a curriculum and is a developed subject like engineering or chemistry or medicine.

Critical thinking has been defined in several ways. Below is one example:

Critical thinking...the awakening of the intellect to the study of itself. 
Critical thinking is a rich concept that has been developing throughout the past 2500 years.  The term "critical thinking" has its roots in the mid-late 20th century.  We offer here overlapping definitions, together which form a substantive, transdisciplinary conception of critical thinking.

Critical Thinking as Defined by the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking, 1987
A statement by Michael Scriven & Richard Paul, presented at the 8th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform, Summer 1987. 
Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.

It entails the examination of those structures or elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: purpose, problem, or question-at-issue; assumptions; concepts; empirical grounding; reasoning leading to conclusions; implications and consequences; objections from alternative viewpoints; and frame of reference. Critical thinking — in being responsive to variable subject matter, issues, and purposes — is incorporated in a family of interwoven modes of thinking, among them: scientific thinking, mathematical thinking, historical thinking, anthropological thinking, economic thinking, moral thinking, and philosophical thinking. End quote 

Standards of critical thinking include the following - clarity, accuracy, precision, depth, breadth, logic, significance, fairness, relevance, completeness, validity, rationality, sufficiency, necessity, feasibility, consistency, authenticity, effectiveness, efficiency and more.

Each of those has an exact definition within critical thinking. In addition to the standards critical thinking also has at least eight elements and eight intellectual traits.  And much, much more.

Critical thinking and intelligent disobedience are quite relevant as they are in my opinion very much the diametrically opposite approaches or ideologies to Scientology and really any other totalistic or abusive relationship.

That doesn't mean they are perfect, infallible, all-inclusive or above doubt or criticism. Because they aren't. Sometimes I see articles in which a claim that logic or reason or science are perfect. That's always a flawed statement. In fact it's false.

No logic or reason or science that's made or practiced by human beings will ever be perfect or lacking errors and degrees of being in error. It's our fundamental nature. And anyone disagreeing with this in my opinion is in error on this.

Now everyone who leaves Scientology or chooses to study cults won't want or need to go as far as I may. Reading twenty or thirty books over the last two years outside of the cult isn't something everyone will choose. I had twenty five years in the cult with deep, deep indoctrination to overcome for myself. And likely will read fifty or so additional books, time permitting.

In addition to Intelligent Design, I have a very long list of recommended books including Zimbardo's Lucifer Effect, They Thought They Were Free, Escape From Freedom, Thought Reform And The Psychology Of Totalism,  Demon Haunted World, Traumatic Narcissism and several books on critical thinking, propaganda analysis, trauma and recovery, abuse and social psychology along with narcissists, sociopaths and malignant narcissists. And there will be other things to deal with that come up.

But in these short, and sometimes not quite so short, posts I hope to point toward concepts and subjects that may be helpful. I know the effort has helped me and certainly hope it helps you too.

I plan to find and share other alternatives to Scientology here as well.

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