Thursday, January 5, 2023

(19) Scientology and NXIVM - Parallels and Plagiarism

 


Scientology and NXIVM - Parallels and Plagiarism


Scientology and NXIVM - Parallels and Plagiarism



Influences on NXIVM beliefs and practices, sourced from Natalie et al (2019), rendered in the mode of W.S. Bainbridge, e.g. Bainbridge 1978. |NXIVM teachings drew upon diverse influences, including Ayn Rand ("parasites"), L. Ron Hubbard ("suppressives"), Milton Erickson's hypnosis, Isaac Asimov's science fiction, Rudolf SteinerTony Robbins, and neuro-linguistic programming. NXIVM incorporated elements of multi-level marketing and practices from judo, with colored cloth for rank and bowing.

This is the nineteenth post in a series that examines the book Scarred: The True Story Of How I Escaped The Cult That Bound My Life by Sarah Edmondson.

I recommend reading these posts in sequential order and have listed them in order to make reading them in order easy.

Unless noted otherwise, all quotes used in this series are from that book. 


Sarah Edmondson was convinced she was providing something of "value" when getting new people to enroll on courses or to continue after they had begun. 

Barbara told Sarah she received money for something of value and there is no room to evaluate the statement, just room to integrate it with her own beliefs. This shows how NXIVM is ultimately ideological and dogmatic while having a false pretense of logic and science. It's neither. 

You are supposed to believe because Keith Raniere is such a genius authority and he is such a genius authority because he gave you something to believe! It's really a circular argument. 

By that "logic" and "science" anyone saying ANYTHING is just as valid an authority as Keith Raniere and any ideas are just as valid as his.



Keith Raniere, NXIVM leader

The idea that the ideas and practices in NXIVM are life changing and of immense value is essential to the whole thing.

The members must believe this as they initially pay what is a lot of money to most people for the early indoctrination and this goes up as they get deeper into the group. They also must believe if they recruit new people and sell them courses as the easiest way to sell something is if you truly believe in it yourself! Most people are not happy with themselves if they are ripping people off or pulling a scam on them. 

So, Keith Raniere had to get the majority of people in NXIVM to genuinely believe it was a beneficial group that sold helpful products to people for the group to grow, be profitable, and sustainable.

This brings me to several points I want to emphasize as similarities between Scientology and NXIVM.

First, the indoctrination both groups deliver is misrepresented as priceless and unique. It's presented as producing miracles you can't get anywhere else as an individual and as being the only hope to make a revolutionary change and improvement in all of humanity that will save us from extinction. It is presented as the only hope for mankind. 

Second, both groups act like the "value" of the training and other services the group provides is beyond measure, so any financial price, or sacrifice of your own goals, or your relationships, or your labor or personal boundaries and comfort is not too high for the promised, assured, benefit. 

In Scientology the term "exchange" is used and Hubbard defined it a certain way. 

"Four Conditions of Exchange

REFERENCE:

Definition:

Verb: give something and receive something else in return.

Noun: an act or the action of exchanging; a short conversation or argument; the giving of money for its equivalent in the currency of another country; a building or institution used for the trading of commodities; a set of equipment that connects telephone lines during a call.


Ref: Compact Oxford English Dictionary


Derivation: Middle English eschaungen, from Anglo-Norman eschaungier, from Vulgar Latin *excamb─üre : Latin ex-, ex- + Late Latin cambre, to exchange, barter.

American Heritage Dictionary Fourth Edition


 


First consider a group which takes in money but does not deliver anything in exchange. This is called rip-off. It is the “exchange” condition of robbers, tax men, governments and other criminal elements.


Second is the condition of partial exchange. The group takes in orders or money for goods and then delivers part of it or a corrupted version of what was ordered. This is called short-changing or “running into debt” in that more and more is owed, in service or goods, by the group.


The third condition is the exchange known, legally and in business practice, as “fair exchange.” One takes in orders and money and delivers exactly what has been ordered. Most successful businesses and activities work on the basis of “fair exchange.”


The fourth condition of exchange is not common but could be called exchange in abundance. Here one does not give two for one or free service but gives something more valuable than money was received for. Example: The group has diamonds for sale; an average diamond is ordered; the group delivers a blue-white diamond above average. Also it delivers it promptly and with courtesy."

(HCO PL 10 Sep 82 – Exchange, Org Income and Staff Pay, Ronald Hubbard)

And as I quoted before, Hubbard defined his courses as literally more valuable than EVERYTHING ELSE in existence!

“If the Captain does not KNOW that Advanced Courses are the most valuable service on the planet he will not be able to understand HARD SELL. THEREFORE HE MUST REALIZE: That life insurance, houses, cars, stocks, bonds, college savings, are all transitory and impermanent and based on things not surviving, or on things that are in fact being destroyed.

Advanced Courses rehabilitate the Thetan to his OT abilities and last forever and give immortality.

‘Hard Sell’ is based on knowing and promoting in this line (TRUTH!) and not being reasonable about people who want ‘other things’ or ‘other practices’. There is nothing to compare with Advanced Courses. They are infinitely valuable and transcend time itself.” (Flag Mission Order 375, 14 August 1970, Ronald Hubbard)

And the third and final similarity I want to point out here is the lie about Both Keith Raniere and Ronald Hubbard that they "developed" the "tech" and gave it away for free!

This is really two lies from these two guys. They each stole ideas from others and repackaged them as their own.

And the second part of this lie is that they provided it for free! Keith Raniere reportedly got over a hundred million dollars from the Bronfman family alone and millions more from others! 

"If you have created value in someone's life, then of course it's right for them to pay you for what you're providing to them. When you really think about it, it's like you're giving these life-changing principles away for free-it's just that someone's paying for the cost of putting on the training. Keith gives the tech away for free!" 

(NXIVM member Barbara speaking to Sarah Edmondson, Scarred page 51)

So, Keith Raniere portrayed himself as the ultimate altruist who developed a method to improve individuals and save humanity from their worst impulses and behaviors and conveniently just gives this away for free! What a nice guy!

In reality he was given a huge fortune several times over and lived very much like a man on permanent vacation with others always picking up the bill. 

Hubbard of course similarly claimed to not be paid for his work.

He did it of course in his own exaggerated and self aggrandizing style:

“I will not always be here on guard.

The stars twinkle in the Milky Way

And the wind sighs for songs

Across the empty fields of a planet

A Galaxy away.

You won’t always be here.

But before you go,

Whisper this to your sons

And their sons —

"The work was free.

Keep it so. " L. RON HUBBARD

“THE WORK WAS FREE”

“by L. Ron Hubbard”

“I have been at work for seven years to produce a series of techniques which any well-trained auditor can use to clear people. We now have them.

I am truly sorry that this took seven years. Actually, it took more than twenty-five.

Under other "systems of research" it could not have been done. It was financed at first by my writings and expeditions. Some 15,000,000 words of fact and fiction articles ranging from political articles to westerns were consumed in a large part by this research - but it was free to act if not free from sweat.

No bullying dictator wanted it for his mass slaveries as happened to poor misguided Pavlov. No big corporation wanted it for a better Madison Avenue approach to advertising - another kind of slavery. No big RESEARCH FOUNDATION like Ford was there to interject their "America First" philosophy. These had not paid for it; therefore they didn't own it. The work stayed free. Thus it prospered. It did not wither in support of some aberrated "cause". It bloomed.

But the violence of protecting this work while continuing it took a toll nevertheless. Special interests believed it must be evil if they did not own it. Between 1950 and 1956, 2,000,000 traceable dollars were spent to halt this work. Newspaper articles, radio ads (as in Seattle from the University of Washington), bribed "patrons", financed "patients" all cost money. You hear the repercussions of this campaign even today.

Money could not stop this work by then. It was too late. If anything had been wrong with our organizations, my character, our intentions or abilities the whole advance would have crumbled. But we had no Achilles' heels. We carried on. All that has survived of this attack by the two APAs, the AMA and several universities is a clutter of rumors concerning your sanity and mine - and rumors no longer financed will some day die.

And so the work has emerged free of taint and misguided slants. It is itself. It does what it says it does. It contains no adroit curves to make one open to better believing some "ism". That makes it singular today in a world gone mad with nationalism. Buddhism, when it came to the millions, was no longer free of slant and prejudice. Taoism itself became a national jingoism far from any work of Lao-tse. Even Christianity had its "pitch". And if these great works became curved, with all the personal force of their creators, how is it that our little triumph here can still be found in a clear state?

Well, no diamonds and palaces have been accepted from rajahs, no gratuitous printing of results has been the gift of warlords, no testament had to be written 300 years after the fact.

For this we can thank Johann Gutenberg, and the invention of magnetic tape. Therefore, although we have no such stature as the Great Philosophies, I charge you with this - look to source writings, not to interpretations. Look to the original work, not offshoots.

If I have fought for a quarter of a century, most of it alone, to keep this work from serving to uphold the enslavers of man, to keep it free from some destructive "pitch" or slant, then you certainly can carry that motif a little further.

I'll not always be here on guard. The stars twinkle in the Milky Way and the wind sighs for songs across the empty fields of a planet a Galaxy away.

You won't always be here.

“But before you go, whisper this to your sons and their sons - "The work was free. Keep it so".*

(Excerpt from: 'Scientology Clear Procedure, Issue One, December, 1957, Ron Hubbard)



Ronald Hubbard, Scientology founder


There is no way to get the sheer audaciously arrogant bombastic style of Hubbard across without just letting him speak for himself. He's beyond satire. 

I wanted to use this reference to emphasize his bold faced lies. By the way, it's been reported that Hubbard had over four hundred million dollars stashed away at the time of his death! 

He had Sea Org slaves living in squalor and unspeakable conditions making pennies an hour and living in conditions unfit for man or beast to save money so he could hoard wealth for himself far beyond even what a man of his voracious appetites could spend.










Scientology and NXIVM - Parallels and Plagiarism

(18) Scientology and NXIVM - Parallels and Plagiarism

 (18) Scientology and NXIVM - Parallels and Plagiarism


Scientology and NXIVM - Parallels and Plagiarism



Influences on NXIVM beliefs and practices, sourced from Natalie et al (2019), rendered in the mode of W.S. Bainbridge, e.g. Bainbridge 1978. |NXIVM teachings drew upon diverse influences, including Ayn Rand ("parasites"), L. Ron Hubbard ("suppressives"), Milton Erickson's hypnosis, Isaac Asimov's science fiction, Rudolf SteinerTony Robbins, and neuro-linguistic programming. NXIVM incorporated elements of multi-level marketing and practices from judo, with colored cloth for rank and bowing.

This is the eighteenth post in a series that examines the book Scarred: The True Story Of How I Escaped The Cult That Bound My Life by Sarah Edmondson.

I recommend reading these posts in sequential order and have listed them in order to make reading them in order easy.

Unless noted otherwise, all quotes used in this series are from that book. 


On page 46 of Scarred Sarah Edmondson noted that fellow NXIVM member Mark Vicente told her to stick it out and decide for herself and to be a "critical thinker." 


This seems reasonable, after all we SHOULD understand our own experiences but really we don't.

And cults rely on this. 

Think about it - just by experiencing something it does not mean we understand what happened to us.


People have taken drugs and definitely not understood what happened to them! Including people who take lots of drugs or the same drug frequently for years!

And the social influence of being with a group who ALL are following the same leader and all have the same group norms is strong! Most of us will want to be accepted and approved of if we are around the same people in close proximity and in communication for days! And if you experience that and know it can occur again if you buy the next training or you dedicate yourself more to the group and work for them, with little or no pay, and move to a headquarters of the group, you can have this acceptance all the time! 

People often say "I should know my own mind!"

But that is nonsense. You are not an expert on how to build cars from driving a car or an expert on nutrition from eating or an expert on medicine from having a lot of diseases. It just doesn't work that way.


We generally don't understand our own minds as experts and A subjective experience is not sufficient to educate us on the nature of our minds or the effects various activities have on our minds. 


Cults rely on this and they define the experiences they have members go through for them. Robert Jay Lifton described this in his eight criteria for thought reform as mystical manipulation.


First I will give you an abridged description.


Dr. Robert J. Lifton's Eight Criteria for Thought Reform


1) Milieu Control.  This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large.


2) Mystical Manipulation.  There is manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but in fact were planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority or spiritual advancement or some special gift or talent that will then allow the leader to reinterpret events, scripture, and experiences as he or she wishes. 


3) Demand for Purity.  The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection.  The induction of guilt and/or shame is a powerful control device used here. 


4) Confession.  Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group.  There is no confidentiality; members' "sins," "attitudes," and "faults" are discussed and exploited by the leaders. 


5) Sacred Science.  The group's doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute.  Truth is not to be found outside the group.  The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism. 


6) Loading the Language.  The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand.  This jargon consists of thought-terminating cliches, which serve to alter members' thought processes to conform to the group's way of thinking. 


7) Doctrine over person.  Member's personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group. 


8) Dispensing of existence.  The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not.  This is usually not literal but means that those in the outside world are not saved, unenlightened, unconscious and they must be converted to the group's ideology.  If they do not join the group or are critical of the group, then they must be rejected by the  members.  Thus, the outside world loses all credibility.  In conjunction, should any member leave the group, he or she must be rejected also.  (Lifton, 1989)


Sarah Edmondson has mentioned a feature that Scientology has in common with NXIVM. She described how she was taught that people have an internal representation of others and that if a negative idea linked to a person via their internal representation then it ruins or tarnishes it forever so NXIVM requires members to not have critical remarks for other people in the group and in particular not for people high up in the group most especially Nancy Salzman and Keith Raniere.

But this rule doesn't apply to Nancy Salzman or Keith Raniere as anything they say whether negative or positive about others is seen as the truth and sacred. 

Scientology has the exact same idea as negative gossip about others is called "natter" defined as negative idle chatter in Scientology and negative remarks in general can be called "entheta" in Scientology as "theta" means spirit or spiritual then "entheta" is seen as what upsets or disturbs the spiritual but oddly Ronald Hubbard wrote thousands and thousands of negative comments about others and his rule doesn't apply to him. 

All cults seem to have this strict hierarchy of who is allowed to be critical and ultimately the leader can criticize anyone or anything but the leader is above criticism as is their behavior and doctrine. That's an essential for a cult. The inner circle is usually not to be criticized by low level members and definitely not to be criticized by outsiders. 

Interesting power struggles can occur if a low member in terms of their training in a group is a huge donor in money and A more trained and higher ranking member in the organization disagree. Ultimately the leader decides who to favor and it most often comes down to the value the leader sees in each person.

In both NXIVM and Scientology a donor who gives millions or tens of millions to the group is often favored over a long term member who has given thousands and thousands of hours of labor faithfully for years.

The fact that a member who has millions to donate is also someone who if scorned could turn around and use millions to have an enemy investigated, to put out stories of the abuses and crimes of an enemy and to pursue legal action against an enemy is also in my opinion a factor in these calculations. 

Scientology has had trouble from the rich and famous ex members who realized the group is a destructive cult that is far more than most ex members can create. Most ex members either get a job or just stay away from Scientology as they have to focus on the practical side of life and have little left to fight Scientology with. 

NXIVM as I mentioned uses suppressive in a manner quite similar to the way Scientology uses the term suppressive persons.

In several articles Hubbard defines an antisocial personality as one who harms good groups and helps harmful groups, among several other traits. This material is found in the Introduction to Scientology Ethics book which almost all new Scientologists have to be indoctrinated in and all Scientology staff and Sea Org members are indoctrinated in as part of their basic training. It is also in policy letters which staff are required to be indoctrinated in as part of their training.


Ronald Hubbard, Scientology founder


Hubbard then defines suppressive persons with a list of nearly identical features but he changes helps harmful groups to helps enemies of Scientology and he changes hurts helpful groups to hurts Scientology and Hubbard claimed that the antisocial personality and suppressive person are the same thing.

He obviously wanted the reader to connect the dots and realize that the only way this redefinition is consistent is if Scientology is a good group and people opposed to Scientology are a harmful group. If that classification is true then the statements agree and are consistent, if it's not then they can't be resolved.

Similarly Keith Raniere defined anyone who said anything negative about NXIVM as suppressive and included anyone who wouldn't pay him tribute. 

The concept of a "parasite" has been attributed to Ayn Rand but the inclusion of types I, II, and III is on the surface extremely similar to the fact that in Scientology the term potential trouble source has type I, II, and III as well. 

A comparison of the literature on these concepts is worthwhile in my opinion. 

Another notable parallel to the parasites classification is the "big being" and "degraded being" classifications used in Scientology. 


In Scientology there is the idea that "no one is truly equal."

While we can observe that traits such as strength, speed, coordination, endurance and even intelligence and artistic and musical aptitude are not exactly the same for everyone, we can also have a principle that every human being deserves equal rights under the law as a basic human right.

In Scientology the idea that more capable beings, that is "big beings" make EVERYTHING occur and that most people are "degraded beings" and essentially little more than animals robotically sleepwalking through life and just messing up everything they do is the foundation of the philosophy.

Hubbard convinced thousands of people that they are the only ones who really do anything that matters and the rest of us, the vast majority of us, are nearly mindless automatons who would be helpless without the big beings.


This resonates with the "great man" theory of history that claims that history and human survival and progress require great men to be geniuses and guide the rest of us, which Ayn Rand also embraced.

Keith Raniere in his view of parasites echoes this as well and like all cult leaders paints himself as the most intelligent person on earth and the greatest of men.


Keith Raniere, NXIVM leader


It is somehow convenient that the cult leader who emphasizes the great man theory always just sees themselves as fitting that description and never labels themselves as a worthless degraded being or parasite.  








Scientology and NXIVM - Parallels and Plagiarism



Tuesday, January 3, 2023

(17) Scientology and NXIVM - Parallels and Plagiarism

 

(17) Scientology and NXIVM - Parallels and Plagiarism

 Scientology and NXIVM - Parallels and Plagiarism



Influences on NXIVM beliefs and practices, sourced from Natalie et al (2019), rendered in the mode of W.S. Bainbridge, e.g. Bainbridge 1978. |NXIVM teachings drew upon diverse influences, including Ayn Rand ("parasites"), L. Ron Hubbard ("suppressives"), Milton Erickson's hypnosis, Isaac Asimov's science fiction, Rudolf SteinerTony Robbins, and neuro-linguistic programming. NXIVM incorporated elements of multi-level marketing and practices from judo, with colored cloth for rank and bowing.

This is the seventeenth post in a series that examines the book Scarred: The True Story Of How I Escaped The Cult That Bound My Life by Sarah Edmondson.

I recommend reading these posts in sequential order and have listed them in order to make reading them in order easy.

Unless noted otherwise, all quotes used in this series are from that book. 

"Rational Inquiry. Perfect taught, is a way for an individual to explore their inner workings, either on their own or with the support of a coach, to figure out where the inconsistencies in their beliefs lie." (Scarred page 44)

This is remarkably similar to several practices in Scientology and the one that's most obvious is called False Data Stripping.

False Data Stripping is a procedure that is done and usually has a person assigned a twin.



Ronald Hubbard, Scientology founder


The use of a coach or twin to help someone is present in both NXIVM and Scientology.

Having new members work with a twin is ingenious in that it gives them access to a person at the same or nearly same level of cultic indoctrination and they often have similar behaviors and attitudes. By encouraging or advancing the more malleable and obedient members this models submission to the authority of the group as the preferred behavior within the group. 

The False Data Stripping procedure has several steps but they inevitably lead to the new members seeing the ideas in Scientology as correct and any that conflict with the new system as false by definition. 

The EM (exploration of meaning) procedure has been described as extremely similar to auditing in Scientology by cult expert Rick Alan Ross. It is similar to the auditing used in Dianetics and has several similar concepts which can be explored in depth by comparison of the basic Dianetics DVD that has the basic procedure against the EM procedure itself.

In fact, much of the procedure looks like Dianetics with just a few terms changed. The belief that errors in thinking in the past could be linked to similar events with negative emotions or pain in them and disrupt current thinking is a fundamental to Dianetics and the idea of reexamination and experiencing the events now as a cathartic technique now is also a foundation of Dianetics. 


ESP discusses "Operating Systems" which sound quite similar to the "Engram Bank" or "Reactive Mind" and "Analytical Mind" of Dianetics and Hubbard used the computer metaphor to describe his "technology" as removing a held down seven in math calculations much as NXIVM "technology" is described as something that would remove the effects of childhood errors in thinking and "upgrade your programming."

There is a wealth of similarities just in these computer based metaphors alone.


Another notable one is that NXIVM promised to permanently remove stimulus response behavior and Dianetics also made the same promise.


In Dianetics stimulus response behavior is described as coming from the (fictional) "reactive mind" and if it's eradicated via Dianetics procedure then of course all irrational behavior is promised to disappear permanently.


Both NXIVM and Scientology notably claim to be the only group that can do this with their unique technology. 


Keith Raniere, NXIVM leader


"In my case, ESP was instantly helpful. The power of NXVIM's curriculum, which Nancy called the " tech," made it easier for me to look past the chintziness of the presentation. I wondered: if that EM, the exploration of meaning, could bring peace to one small issue in my life, could it work for more than that? I was curious and hopeful enough to keep a somewhat open mind." (Scarred page 45)


In my opinion the EM has an origin in hypnosis and Nancy Salzman quite likely never explained that in fine detail.

I am going to say a little about hypnosis here, because the experience Sarah Edmondson just described sounds remarkably similar to several descriptions I have found in my own examination of the subject and my own experience in Scientology.

In hypnotic techniques a subject may feel euphoria and be open to suggestions and become submissive to and dependent on a practitioner over time.

I recall after undergoing several Scientology techniques (that only after leaving Scientology did I discover to be hypnotic) did I too overlook the fact that the Scientology organization was a dump in a bad neighborhood and most of the staff looked like derelicts who wouldn't be able to rub two nickels together.

The fact is as I have described before most people in the West are not used to the fact that hypnosis can produce euphoria and trance states that are open to suggestions and highly vulnerable to manipulation.

We simply do not usually get this information in our education and we really should. Margaret Singer described this quite well in her book Cults In Our Midst.

Here are a few links on the subject of hypnosis and its use in Scientology.


Hypnotist Volney Mathison (inventor of the E meter) explicitly described in his book Creative Image Therapy hypnosis being used over and over for hours as a covert way to mentally enslave someone.





Here is the quote:

"At this point, nearing the end of this book, the writer reluctantly presents a negative warning. There is extant a pseudo-scientific system of something or other wherein the patient is required to create and duplicate arbitrary systems of mental images that are autocratically selected for him by the operator. Worse still, the patient is forced monotonously to perform interminably-duplicated trivial physical motions, such as touching a certain exact spot on the table, over and over and over, sometimes for hours.

Bluntly, this is a powerful and effective technique for covertly inducing hypnosis. By the duplicated command the subject is caused endlessly to duplicate mental image patterns wherein he is OBEYING the operator, explicitly, time after time after time. The subject is sooner or later reduced to such a zombie-like state that he will thereafter obey the operator's every other covert or indirect command. These covert and indirect commands are presented to the subject in the form of take-it-or-leave-it "suggestions"--to buy every book, take every expensive "course", attend every convention or conference staged by the operator. The victim at long last finds himself penniless, in debt, and much more ill and troubled than ever before.

The seizure of the intense attention of an intended victim by monotonously duplicated little acts is the technique of the rattlesnake as he fascinates a bird. The snake sways back and forth, holding the victim's gaze, causing it to look from side to side, keeping its attention captive by this duplicative technique of fascination. A "fatigue point" eventually is reached. The snake's prey is thereby immobilized, psychically and physically--and devoured."
(From 
The truth about the Fraud called Scientology)











Scientology and NXIVM - Parallels and Plagiarism