In Defense of De Indies

Those of you who know me are aware I’ve never cracked open a Scientology book, let alone stepped into an Org. The only Hubbard material I’ve read is what I’ve had to read for my job, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s more than enough Hubbard to last me a lifetime. I’ve also read most of the books on the subject, from Jon Atack’s Let’s Sell These People A Piece of Blue Sky and Russell Miller’s Bare-Faced Messiah, to the heartrending survivor accounts written by such brave folks as Amy Scobee,  Marc Headley, Nancy Many, and so many others – and I’ve gone to the footnotes and verified the material. In short, even as a “never-in,” I know more about the Cult That LRon Wrote than any sane person should.

hubbard monsterThere’s no doubt about it: Lafayette Ronald Hubbard was a narcissistic, abusive, drug-fuelled monster who created one of the most mind-bending, soul-sucking, money-grabbing organizations known to humanity. I’ve studied the “Training Routines” and seen them for the hypnotic inductions they are, and know, from my conversations with many well-trained professional psychotherapists, exactly why Scientology doesn’t work.

So, I’m certainly no fan of Scientology by any means. That said, I’m a fan of people, no matter what they believe. I also was in a cult, but that didn’t mean that I was foolish, or stupid, and it certainly didn’t mean that I was evil. It simply meant that I was mistaken – and we all make mistakes.

So it saddens me when I see ex-Scientologists or other critics of Scientology calling those still in “scum” or other insults – or worse, attacking those who have left the abusive group but still hang onto the ridiculous beliefs. I was over a decade out of my own cult (and had become a dedicated cult watcher) before I shed the web of magical thinking and faulty reasoning I had developed in my cult. Just as an ex-Jehovah’s Witness will sometimes still believe in Jesus and the Bible, not everyone who leaves an abusive religion will become an atheist. Many of those leaving Scientology will still find some value in the system they used in the cult. I might know that Hubbard’s theories were not only not his, but completely wrong, but that does not prevent someone else from knowing the opposite. We have a right to be wrong, but we do not have a right to abuse others.

If an Independent Scientologist has left the abusive organization, but still finds comfort and solace in a system that I know is total bullshit, I still have no right to abuse them, just as I have no right to abuse those who still attend their churches, synagogues and mosques, even if I don’t believe the “sky-father” they’re praying to is anything but a made-up concept. I know Scientology doesn’t work, but that doesn’t entitle me to abuse those who are mistaken about its utility. They believe it works for them, and no amount of insulting them will turn them from that belief.

compassion quoteWhen I was in my cult, people calling me names or insulting my beliefs only hardened my resolve to follow my leader farther – the theory of cognitive dissonance tells us that the more someone pushes you not to believe, the more you will believe. Calling people names and labeling them as the enemy will never work, whether or not they are in an abusive group, or have left the abusive group but still cling to the beliefs. Insults only separate; compassion and empathy are what bring people together.

So even though I hate the processes and the techniques of Scientology, I will never hate the people – at least not just because they’re Scientologists (folks like the odious Masterson brothers or the Cardone family are loathsome, not because of their beliefs but their actions). Those still in the clutches of the cult are to be viewed with pity, for the most part; I, too, was once a captured soul – what right have I to condemn someone who is still captive? Those who have come out and still practice Scientology are no longer culpable in the crimes of the cult, responsible only for their own actions – to them, I wish them luck on their path, but I will not insult them or denigrate their progress. If they’re no longer complicit in a destructive group, then their beliefs are no business of mine.

Simply put, there is no good reason to insult people – we are concerned with ending the abuses of Scientology, not punishing the people who were unlucky enough to end up in its snares.

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Mona Whatnow?

So I was debating the new CGI “tweaks” to the Old Star Trek with some friends, and one of them remarked: “why not just paint eyebrows on the Mona Lisa?”

So I did. I even gave her a touch of eyeshadow and some lipstick:

mona makeover

And then things got weirder…

Mona Lisa grouchoand then, well:

And then:

alien mona

But, worst of all:

mona lisa ginger

Ginger Mona Lisa.

Back to work, me…

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Two Songs in Uneven Meters

Something about entering large swaths of data into a spreadsheet just brings out the blues in a gal. So, for the first one, a bit of explanation: I’m currently re-reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series (trilogy? pentogy?) and for some reason got the “Old Janx Spirit” drinking song in my head.

So I decided to do my own version. The first verse is Adams’ ; the second verse my own humble expansion. The melody is (mostly) mine, taken from my admittedly foggy memory of the excellent David Dixon’s rendition in the old radio series.

It’s just your standard Orion blues song. And, as we all know, blues songs on Orion are in 7/8 time, that is, seven beats per measure.

Call it a waltz with a limp; I loves me my uneven meters.

So, then, later on, after it was really too dark to do a video, I decided to do an old song of mine that is also in a compound meter – 7/8+3/4. Talk about a waltz with a limp. And, no need to get worried – writing songs like this makes the sad, hopeless feelings they describe go away. 🙂

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Word Art!


I know I’ve been neglecting the heck out of this blog, but the Open Minds Website 2.0 is nearly ready for launch and many exciting things are happening.

But, because of the relative coolness of my boss, I’m encouraged to keep up on my own art, and, because I’ve been working with words with such precision, it was only natural that I’d start seeing words as art in themselves. So, here’s a few samples:

meltingcontrastcheeseThen I decided to try some punctuation. This guy looks like something out of South Park:

question

and as soon as I did him, I realized what word would be really fun to render – that one that all the cartoon characters say – grawlix

At one point I asked Jon what word I should try next. I should have known:influence

Then I got dark.mysterious despair

More to come. I won’t leave this in despair!

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Jeff Goldblum as ‘The Fly’

A friend of mine and I were discussing teleportation, and he said he wouldn’t want to travel that way because he knew he’d end up looking like Jeff Goldblum in ‘The Fly.’

I’ve never seen either version of the SciFi classic, but I can’t imagine that it would be that bad. I mean, how bad-looking could Jeff Goldblum get, even as a fly?

jeff-goldblum-as-the-fly

Jeff Goldblum as ‘The Fly’

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Illustrations and Good Work

I can’t tell y’all how much it really is satisfying to be doing these illios and blogs, and finding writers, introducing folks to other folks they need to meet, and getting important information to the folks who need it. I’ve connected people to needed resources, introduced activists who have needed to share information, even helped someone to safety.

And then, there’s the writing and the research. What a wide array of categories of study! Undue Influence is not just in cults, but in politics, corporate culture, schools, families, sports teams, social clubs … the patterns of coercion are all around. And I’m helping bring peoples’ attention to what we need to do if humanity is going to live together peaceably.

But it’s the art that’s the real joy! So I thought I’d share a few of the blog illios I’ve been putting up, just for the halibut.

Sorry.

Anyhoo – ART!!!

 

Some of these you might have seen before, so please forgive.

And here’s the boss’ latest, fresh off the proverbial presses:

http://openmindsfoundation.org/real-life-stories/the-unquestionable-assumption

I love my job.

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So Who Is Telling The Truth?

 

A friend of mine asked me, in these times of seemingly contradictory information, how to tell who’s speaking the truth, and who isn’t.

The answer is simple:

a-thought

All you have to do is look and see who is calling people names, and who is engaging in ad hominem attacks rather than addressing actual issues and questions. Also, it should go without saying (but sadly, it doesn’t) that you should not believe when someone says they’re being “attacked” or “slimed,” until you’ve checked out the source(s) yourself. An acquaintance of mine recently complained to me that he’d been “publicly humiliated” by the moderator of a certain forum; when I finally found the conversation he was referencing (which he was careful not to direct me to himself), I found that the “humiliation” in question was, in fact, a rather polite disagreement with something he’d said. DISAGREEMENT IS NOT AN ATTACK.

I’ve found that those who engage in the worst mud-slinging will often claim they are victims of similar treatment, and yet, no one but them seems to have seen those insults. When asked to produce evidence of these attacks upon them, they will not be able to show screencaps or links, but steadfastly maintain that they have been slandered, nonetheless. And then they’ll keep on slinging their own, “retaliatory” mud in full view. Usually, when someone’s really being “slimed,” everybody knows it and you’ve already seen it.

It also is important to note that comments by other people visiting a person’s blog or YouTube channel cannot and should not be credited to the owner of that forum – many people running discussion forums do not delete comments unless they’re obscene or threatening, which often means that comments they themselves disagree with must stay. Many moderators also feel it’s better, when someone says something rude on their blog, to let the comment stand, but ignore it, as those who are rude on discussion forums are often just looking for attention. So, when calling people out for being rude, make sure you’re calling out the right person.

And fer goshsakes, folks, let’s be nice out there. There’s no reason to sling mud or engage in name-calling. If you disagree with a statement, disagree with the statement, but don’t call the person who said it a jerk; that sort of nonsense is simply counterproductive, and in the end, only makes everyone look bad.

Rant over.

 

 

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