CONTRADICTIONS IN SCIENTOLOGY [cults and reward mechanisms]

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Sun 12 Jan 2003 - 17:43:35 GMT

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    I thought this group might enjoy a discussion carried over from alt.religion.scientology.


    On Sat, 11 Jan 2003 23:27:05 +0000, Dave Bird <> wrote:

    >In article<>, Keith Henson
    ><> writes:
    >>On Fri, 10 Jan 2003 22:37:42 -0800, "Fluffygirl" <>
    >>>"Skip Press" <> wrote in message
    >>>> Excellent, Tory, and may I add one:
    >>>> $cientology has often promoted Lafayette Ronald Hubbard as "Mankind's
    >>>> greatest friend."
    >>>> C) In fact, he was a megalomaniac intent on the enslavement of humankind
    >>>> and invented a boogeyman (Suppressive Person, in psychological terms, a
    >>>> sociopath) which was in reality an acute description of Hubbard's own
    >>>> inner nature. In truth, he was a shallow, red-headed blowhard Adolf
    >>>> Hitler wanna-be,
    >>>Well, he ~did~ come up with some very nice methods that I, and my friends,
    >>>my pcs, others, have found very life affirming. I've tried plenty of other
    >>>things and have studied psychology in college, and I have not found those
    >>>things to be as good as Scn.
    >>LRH tapped into the brain's attention reward pathways--which are an
    >>evolutionary consequence of humans being social primates and our
    >>particular mating system where status was (and is even today) a major
    >>factor in determining reproductive success.
    >>The exact same reward pathway is used by addictive drugs.
    > In one way this is profound, in another quite routine and simple.
    That's typical of revelations based on evolutionary psychology. It would seem like human motivations could not be that simple, but they are.

    > We get positive happiness when we find some small thing to
    > and achieve it, which we feel is still worthy of approval
    > (or actually gets us approval) among our peers. Cults organise a
    > Fred Karno's army which set us fantasy tasks of no practical worth
    > which we can feel good about completing, and organises a mutual
    > appreciation society where we get the approval of equally worthless
    > individuals for equally worthless acts so long as we do as we're told.

    Right. I came to understand these simple matters partly by trying to figure out how life destroying cults such as Jim Jones, the Solar Temple and Heaven's Gate had life and death power over those infected by these cult memes. (I.e., replicating information patterns in human minds.) It does not affect everyone equally, but a lot of people are totally intoxicated by attention. If you consider rock stars and their groupies, you can see why evolution favored such a trait.

    > When we're tired from doing something worthwhile then we have a
    > full-belly contentment and freedom from need. Cults organise acts
    > of mindless repetition to produce mental exhaustion and the resulting
    > contentment; some people get the same from excessive physical exercise.

    You can see where this reward mechanism comes from. Running down animals was one of the ways we fed our families in the remote past. (Projectile hunting--which favored ever larger brain size--was an even more significant driver in human evolution. See Dr. William Calvin's fine web site on this subject.)
    > These things happen in the brain by specific chemical mechanisms,
    > and recreational drugs tap into those same mechanisms directly
    > rather than through activity in the world.

    Clearly stated, thanks!

    Keith Henson

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