Letter to a Scientologist

In 1980 I was contacted by a girl named Cathy Tennberg who at that time worked at Pubs DK. She wanted me to accept one of the "amnesties" LRH used to issue in order to lure people back into Scientology. This is my answer, which should explain the philosophical disagreements that made it impossible for me to continue in Scientology.

Thanks for your letter. I surely appreciate your concern, but you must understand that I have no wish to rejoin staff or take up Scientology again. This is not a matter of temporary upsets or ARC Breaks, nor do I want to complain about bad or unfair treatment or anything like that. It is a matter of disagreement on basic philosophical issues.

To make this more specific:

1. Reality is not an agreed-upon apparancy. Reality is what it is, whether you and I agree on it or not. Things donít exist because we consider that they exist. They exist because they do. Truth does not consist of getting the as-is-ness of things or making a perfect duplicate of them. A statement is true if it correctly identifies the facts of reality; a true statement about something doesnít make that something disappear.

2. Duty is not the highest motivation. Duty is a spiritual whip. (Only when all other motivations are gone would it be necessary to evoke "duty" Ė which means that one has to do something, although one has nothing to gain from it.)

3. A manís value does not lie in the service he can render other people. A man first and foremost has a value to himself.

4. To always uphold "command intention" is to surrender oneís own personal judgment.

5. "The greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics" is a precept which gives no moral guidance. To use it, one would first have to know everything about everything across all the dynamics. As that is impossible, one would have to assume that somebody else possesses this omniscience and follow that someoneís advice (which is a nice way of surrendering to moral and spiritual dictatorship). Or else one has to judge from oneís own point of view and within oneís own range of knowledge. But then there are two alternatives:

(a) There is no conflict (or an easily solvable conflict) between what is good for you and what is good for the other dynamics, in which case there is no need to seek any "balance" across the dynamics.

(b) There is a fundamental and insoluble conflict between you and some other dynamic(s). In that case, one of the sides must be, not good, but evil. Should you then concede that your side is evil (in which case the right thing to do would be to change sides)? Or should you say the other side is evil and fight it? Well, that has to be decided. But "the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics" is a useless principle for this decision, as the whole problem is to identify what is the good, and what is the evil.

By the way, "good" and "evil" is not a graduated scale. There are complex issues where elements of "good" are mixed with elements of "evil", but that is a matter of sorting out the different elements, not a matter of measuring the "greatest good" on a graduated scale. The principle of "unobtainable absolutes" and "gradient scales" is not merely useless but destructive in moral issues. "Goodness" cannot be measured the way you measure temperature. It has to be decided issue by issue, point by point.

6. Total freedom is a totalitarian concept. Near ultimate help implies near ultimate discipline (see HCO PL 20.10.67). Behind every utopian goal there is an eternal RPF [Rehabilitation Project Force].

This may sound cryptical, so I will elaborate a bit on it. "Freedom" is an abstraction which includes a great many concrete, particular freedoms. For example, I am free to write and mail this letter. There is no postal censorship in this part of the world. If there were, I would have to fight to remove it, or send this letter by secret courier. The time in which I write this letter is my free time. I have to earn this free time by working part of the week. As long as I have usable legs, I am free to walk. All these and many other freedoms are extremely valuable. They can be expanded. They can also be contracted. If they are threatened, they must be fought for. But none of them, nor the sum of them, constitute "total freedom". Freedom of thought does not normally include telepathy. The freedom to walk can never mean the freedom to walk on clouds.

Now, to look for and strive after "total freedom" is to focus oneís attention on that which does not and cannot exist, and thus to neglect, not care about, not fight for, and surrender oneís real freedoms.

It is a sloppy metaphor to say that this universe is a "trap", or that we are "chained" to it and need to be "liberated" from it. It is also a dangerous metaphor. Trying to break the "chains" of the physical universe leaves one with no strength left to break real chains.

And it is simply not true that we are trapped in this universe. There is no way out of this trap for the simple reason that it wasnít a trap in the first place. Therefore, any sign-post that purports to point to "the way out of the trap" must either be meaningless or else point the way into a trap.

Of course it is true that Scientology is a religion in the true sense of the word. That is precisely what is wrong with it. Every religion and every utopian movement finds fault with life as it really is and tries to pull men away from it with bright promises of The Unlimited.

Buddhism urges man to give up his every desire on this earth in order to enter Nirvana or The Void. Christianity urges him to sacrifice this life for Eternal Life. Islam promises a promiscuous Paradise as a reward for those who limit their harems to four wives. Platonism tells you to turn away from the concrete good things of life in order to contemplate an Abstract Good. Marxism preaches slavery under the State for this generation to pave the way for a society of perfect freedom in a remote future. In Scientology, you deliver yourself into a billion-year bondage, renouncing the freedom you have in order to "totalize" it.

Now you see that there is hardly any point for me to write to Ron or the GO [Guardianís Office] and ask to come back into Scientology. It is tough to lose long-standing friends. But it would be much worse to stay on and base friendship and comradeship on hypocritical agreement.


PS 2009: If I had the time and the interest, I could easily write a treatise about my philosophical disagreements with this "applied philosophy". Just as a teaser: Look at the very first "axiom" of Scientology and the explanation of what a "life static" is: this is no description of life at all; it is a description of death.

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