Re: Scientology

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Sun Jan 13 2002 - 09:12:22 GMT

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    From: Keith Henson <>
    Subject: Re: Scientology
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    At 10:38 AM 11/01/02 -0800, "Dace" <>


    >\> Its hard to understand how presumably rational people could follow this,
    > > sort of Stuff..
    > >
    > > Anne.
    >That's the mystery, alright. I've met several Scientologists, and they're
    >usually smart, caring, capable people. How do they get sucked in?
    >After Keith Henson piqued my curiosity the other day, I began digging for
    >some of the juicier details on the profound weirdness that is Scientology.
    >The best thing I've found so far is an unauthorized biography of L. Ron
    >Hubbard, available here:

    This is one of the best I have seen quickly coming up to speed on "the
    profound weirdness that is Scientology."

    But to answer the question, being "smart, caring, capable people" does not
    protect you from being sucked in any more than it keeps you from becoming a
    drug addict.

    If you think about how scientology and other cults reward people, namely
    attention, and a simulation of improving status, the high numbers of actors
    in it makes sense. After all, why did these people want to become actors
    in the first place?

    Keith Henson


    I've managed to read through Chapter 11 so far, and it's truly astonishing.
    I don't recall ever seeing such an over-the-top case of clinical narcissism.
    He also seemed to suffer from manic-depression with paranoid tendencies.
    Hubbard had the mind of a six-year old boy. He was the center of the
    universe, could do no wrong. He lied compulsively, didn't seem to grasp the
    distinction between truth and falsehood. Completely lacked empathy.
    Manipulated people without any concern for their well-being. Desperately
    wanted to be revered as a great man. In short, a classic profile of
    Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
    He believed he was the savior of the world. This delusion is commonplace
    among severe cases of pathological narcissism. But why would anyone follow
    him in this belief? How did he transmit his insanity to a large group of
    people, most of whom were otherwise normal and rational?
    Years before the introduction of memetics, Hubbard became a master in the
    art of formulating highly infectious memes. He claimed that "Dianetics,"
    little more than a recycling of Freudian theory with a bunch of gratuitous
    neologisms thrown in, was mankind's greatest breakthrough since the
    harnessing of fire! Rather than appealing to our logic, this pathological
    meme exploited our unconscious need for authority, in this case the
    authority of the all-seeing psychologist. This may sound strange today, but
    fifty years ago, psychology seemed almost magical in its ability to pierce
    the secrets of the soul. "Scientology," with its religious overtones,
    proved even more effective at exploiting our craving for authority.
    Scientology promised a sense of security, as well as relief from suffering
    and the sense of community that comes from joining a close-knit group. Most
    importantly, it provided a sense of meaning. When you join up with Ron, you
    can share in the belief that you're saving the world. In short, he conjured
    a virulent meme that began reproducing his delusion of grandeur in the minds
    of his followers. His private narcissism became the collective narcissism
    of the group. Like any cult, Scientology represents the atavistic return of
    the tribe. Instead of identifying primarily with yourself, you come to
    identify with the group and particularly with its leader. Ron himself may
    be dead, but his delusion lives on, copying itself with the recruitment of
    each new member of the cult.

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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