My question about L. Ron Hubbard is not really a debate and might be more suited to GQ, however I think that it will eventually fall into a debate so that is why it is here.
I don’t know much about Hubbard and only a little about Scientology. My initial thoughts were the whole thing is nuts. My suspicions were somewhat confirmed after reading the Wiki entry on Hubbard. Man, this person was absolutely out there. Lies and Fraud seemed to follow him where ever he went. I guess my questions is, for a man who seemed to project everything but the truth (he and his supporters went so far as to fabricate stories about his military career, which boggles my mind for it is so easy to verify the truth) how in the world did he end up starting a religion (if that what Scientology is, although I have my doubts. Seems more like a money making scam from initial looks. The only way to move up in the religion is to buy your way up it seems).
I will admit I could be 100% wrong in my suspicions, so I pose the question. What is Scientology, is Hubbard as much of a fraud as he appears to be and why in the world does it seem the very rich and successful of Hollywood gravate to Scientology. What is in it for them?
Well, they get a regular cleansing of them Thetans to start with. And if they pay a lot and work their ass off for the Church for a decade or two, they might get cleared to learn the Super Secret Secrets of the religion (possibly also a decoder ring) !
As for how they fool people: they exploit people with extremely low self-esteem and/or psych issues to begin with, progressively cut them off from anything or anyone that could help them get a more critical or objective evaluation of the sect, then milk the fuck out of the broken shell that remains.
Paradoxically, many of the very rich in Hollywood have crippling issues stemming from dealing with their fame, the stress of it and the notion that they didn’t “deserve” any of it, which makes them highly susceptible to this kind of woo. There’s also another end of the spectrum where people who earn millions of dollars a flick and spend basically all their life partying find themselves depressed and unhappy because “is this all there is ?”, and realizing that for all their money and “friends”, they’re still not satisfied. With nowhere to go from there. Many of us find meaning in the rat race and trying to make our lives more enjoyable, solving problems. They don’t have any problems at all, and it drives them bonkers. Why do you think so many people in show business are junkies, alcoholics or sex addicts ?
Politicians and high-end business critters get that too, for that matter - both the disillusion over material wealth, and the self-doubt. It’s stupefying how many people in positions of power employ astrologers and the like, simply because the burden of being sole responsibles for crucial decisions does funny things to their heads.
I’m thinking that the reasons people actually buy into scientology is similar to the reason that the US Government funded research for psychics and such. That is, people are always looking for an easy way out, a supernatural explanation, a way to feel superior to others, and money that is just burning a hole in their pockets.
It’s actually quite surprising that we don’t have more oddball cults out there like scientology considering how easily these things take root. I’m not a big fan of religion, but even I can see huge differences between scientology and worldwide, established religions. And no, the only difference is NOT that one is only a few decades old.
This is what I thought based on the little bit of information I have gleemed about Scientology. How can anyone and I mean anyone fall for a scam that promises some sort of knowledge, but you can only access that knowledge if you pay for it. Not only does it smell of being a “cult”, but it also seems to be incredibly classist. My thoughts are perhaps that is why the Hollywood superstars like it so much. For the most part, you or I could never be on the inside of the Scientology knowledge base because we couldn’t afford it. This by itself gives those that can a feeling of being elite. What a truly bizzare way of thinking.
I am all for the choosing of one’s religion. If that is what helps them sleep at night, well then let them knock themselves out. I just have a hard time coming to grips with the fact that wealthy, succussful individuals can be sucked into something that seems so stupid from someone on the outside looking in. (of course, Atheist probably think that of me -minus the wealth and success- because I belong to the Catholic church.)
Maybe I am extreamly niave, but how is it possible for people like Tom Cruize and John Travolta to have low self esteem? I mean they are admired by millions and are wealthy beyond belief. Now as far as psych issues, being wealthy or famous certainly isn’t going to prevent those.
I get the impression that Hubbard, for all his mendacity, actually believed some of his pronouncements. He claimed to be the reincarnation of Cecil Rhodes and of pirates, and spent many years sailing around the Mediterranean looking for caches from his past lfe (according to some of his companions). It could all have been a cover for other activities, or just an excuse for where they were sailing, but a lot of Hubbard’s actions make more sense if you assume that he really did have himself convinced that many of his beliefs were true.
As for why so many famous people bought into Scientology – Hubbard made a very deliberate push in the 1950s to recruit such well-known and popular figures. It’s documented in internal Scientology documents. There’s a special Scientology “Celebrity Center” where folks like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Chuck Mangione, Jenna Elfman, Kirstie Alley, and the like get special treatment and perks. Hubbard saw the potential recruitment value of such high-profile figures, so he cultivated them from the start. You can see the success it’s had – if all his converts had been the science fiction geeks who read his “Dianetics” in Campbell’s magazine, or frustrated housewives or college students drawn in by the initial appeal of his book Dianetics, then the odds are you never would have heard of it.
Lots of religions pass the collection plate or have tithing or things like it. Scientology is a scam, but it’s not completely different from most other religions. It’s more naked in its greed, and it looks bad compared to religion in Western society but it’s not, say, the Inquisition, and arguably it’s a bit sillier than some of the older religions. It’s not from a totally separate universe, though. (Tongue in cheek there.) It just takes things further. The bottom line is that if you need something psychologically in a desperate way and someone comes along promising that they have exactly what you need and gives you just a little evidence that they’re for real, they have a decent chance of overriding your bullshit detector. That’s how it is for Scientology or anyone else who preys on the weak or desperate, I think.
Low self esteem is not uncommon among actors. The same thing that drives some people to become talented artists (or to be Tom Cruise and John Travolta) can continue to haunt them after they are successful.
By the end he was supposedly drugged out of his mind at all times, so I can believe that, too.
Scientology is a beautiful thing. Wish I’d thought of it. Yeah the “religion” part is a steamy pile of manure, but selling bullshit to the gullible has to beat working for a living. Think I’ll invent myself a religion, too. Oakology. I’ll make you an initiate for a mere $1,000.00, payable by cash only, in small, non-sequential bills. After initiation, I’ll provide you with my special divine insight for a low low monthly fee of only $150.00, also payable in cash, in small, non-sequential bills. Other services are available for the truly devout. The more you give, the more you grow in spirit. I can teach you the secrets of the universe. Please see my holy website at www.woohooIfoundacashcowIcanmilkforever.com*
*Obviously fake url. Oakology does not really exist. Yet…
Because, by and large, humans are fucked in the head.
No, really, that’s what it boils down to. I’m sure you’ve heard of survivor’s guilt. A plane crashes. 200 dead. One survivor. That guy’s gotta be happy, right ? He’ll spend the rest of his life grateful for his luck, making every day count because he’s learned that life hangs by a thread and all that Hollywood crap, yes ?
Nope. He’ll spend the rest of his life miserable, asking himself “why did they die, and I didn’t ? I’m nobody special, there were kids and doctors and pregnant women and a nun who died on that plane WHY DIDN’T I DIE ?!”. Some people go ahead and kill themselves over this kind of stuff. No joke.
Well, like you said, John Travolta is admired by millions. He is wealthy beyond belief. People he has never met in his life want to fuck him, or kill him, or both. He walks down the street and he knows that some of the people he passes by will talk about that time they met John Travolta (the REAL John Travolta !!!) for days, months, years maybe. And as he stares at the ceiling on sleepless nights, I’m betting John Travolta thinks to himself: “Why me ? What did I do to deserve this ? There are plenty of other actors out there. They’re better actors than me, and they work at the Pancake Factory. WHY ME ?!”
If by “virgin sacrifices” you mean cooking with olive oil, or even Olive Oyl, then Premium Members* of Oakology may participate.
*Premium Membership available for additional cost. Also Extra Premium, Super Premium, Ultra Premium, and any other imaginary levels I can get people to pay more for. Oakology is all about the Benjamins. Amen.
With apologies for the snark but it does show a difference in degree but not really in kind. Even if you object that colleges allow access to knowledge that is scientifically vetted or otherwise provable I’d argue that A) many disciplines are opinion based and B) one hell of a lot of students never bother to look or understand what knowledge is revealed to them. For those kids it might as well be religion.
I don’t think it’s classist, or rather not in the sense that “only people with money can access this knowledge”. I don’t think the basic drive at work here is simply flashing one’s money. You can do that by having a gold bathtub or something. No, It’s elitist in the sense that it’s about being part of something apart and knowing things no outsider does.
Which is more or less universal - it’s why conspiracty theories work ; it’s why Skulls & Bones has such a sulfurous aura in spite of, I’m sure, the only secrets these people ever shared being masturbation techniques and stocks picks. It’s why there are secret societies, MENSA, the Guiness World Records Book, why furries are frickin’ nerds and in a broader sense, why you’re a newb while I pwn. Or roXXorz (because I’ve practiced a set of skills and/or absorbed a body of knowledges that are absolutely useless outside of a very, very small niche).
We all need to look down on somebody for something. And if there’s nothing that we *can *look people down about, we make something up arbitrarily.
Now, you’d think Hollywood actors would have plenty to look down from… but they live surrounded by other Hollywood actors. As rich, as famous. And half of them still got Thethans, the ignorant bastards smug
Right, that’s a good point. Yes, they’ve focused on the people who have the most money, but if you don’t have that much money, they are still willing to take all your money. They’re very democratic that way.