Monday, May 14, 2007

War Is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength

I've just watched tonight's Panorama special about Scientology - now, it's fair to say that even before seeing this the very mention of the word was enough to bring me out in hives, but I have to say seeing this pushed me over the edge. It's one thing to read about their deeply sinister and repressive practices, another to see them in action. Much has been made of the video clip of reporter Jon Sweeney losing it pretty comprehensively with Scientology attack dog Tommy Davis, and to be fair it is pretty amusing; that said, anything short of punching the evil smug little shit's teeth through the back of his head qualifies as heroic restraint in my book.

The trouble with Scientology is that it's almost too easy to mock - founded by a hilariously mendacious charlatan and self-mythologiser who pretty much made up the central belief system as he went along, basing large chunks of it on his ropey science fiction output (the space-based DC-8s are the most hilarious bit, but it's all good), the paranoid secrecy and aggression shown to anyone attempting to investigate the organisation, the shameless preying on the weak and impressionable (I myself was given a Dianetics "questionnaire" by an attractive young lady in Bath a few years ago - if, having looked at it, I'd had any urge other than to wipe my arse on it, I might have been in danger of being suckered in), the rabid hatred of psychology and psychiatry - not perfect or infallible sciences by any means, but it's not hard to see Scientology's problem with them, what with their clear purpose being to clear the mind of obstructions to clear thinking; no shit, Sherlock, as they say.

Anyone who knows me will know that I have a similarly visceral aversion to pretty much any organised religion; I'm not sure this is quite the same, though. Which is not to say that the basic methods aren't the same: make unhappy and vulnerable people feel bad about themselves, claim to sympathise and that your ways, and your ways alone, can provide a key to a happier life. The difference, and it's arguably a pretty small one, is that I do (reluctantly) believe that the senior mullahs in the Islamic church, for instance, really do believe in the stated tenets of their religion. It is inconceivable to me that anyone admitted to the central "secrets" of Scientology can actually believe any of this shit, but it's my firm belief that this really isn't the point; the point is to provide the most flimsy of bases to claim "religion" status for the organisation, with all of the tax breaks and legal immunity that provides. It's gratifying that most European countries have, thus far, taken a commendably robust no-bullshit attitude to all this nonsense.

I have a hopelessly romantic and optimistic view of humanity; we really are the pinnacle of evolution (so far at least), with these great big brains of ours, but just occasionally they can lead us up blind alleys, or even more occasionally right up our own arses. Nonetheless I remain convinced that any repressive, controlling and secretive regime will eventually implode under its own pressure; you could say I adhere to Winston Smith's view rather than O'Brien's and the Party's - "a boot stamping on a human face - forever".

As a species we are better, more special and more unique than to get caught up in this evil, life-denying claptrap, and the sooner we come to that realisation the better off we'll all be. Well, apart from Tommy Davis, and Tom Cruise and John Travolta and various others, but you'll forgive me if I don't see them as part of our glorious rational future. In fact the sooner they get into their intergalactic DC8 and fuck right off, the better.

Hmmmmm. Well, I seem to have coughed up a bit of a bile-soaked furball over the last few paragraphs, but I feel better for it, and that's all that matters. Anyone wanting further Scientology information could do a lot worse than call in at Operation Clambake, or have a look at this (be prepared for some disturbing images, though), or a debunking article from 1968 - we really do never learn.


Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd add fuel to the already raging fire... My frog boyfriend's Dad is a raving Scientologist and left his wife and four kids IN THE STREET (sold the house from under their frog feet) when the children were ALL under the age of 7. HARDCORE. We rarely see the man, but I got into an argument with him at a wedding recently about the fact that he NEVER got ill because he smugly had "seen the light". he also tried to tell me that it was a complete scandal that I had even CONSIDERED taking my son Elliot to the doctors for an ear infection: and as doctors and psychiatrists are the enemies of the world according to scientologists. I told him where to stuff his raving loony ideas and we haven't heard from him since. No loss.

Anonymous said...

Nicely put, Mr Halibut.

The Black Rabbit said...

Jon Sweeney, to be fair, whether right or wrong with his views on Scientology, has made himself out to look like a complete and utter wanker in that clip, and done the Scientologists (oh cripes), no end of favours.

You want to argue a point?(without the punches I should add here). There's a very powerful way (and only one), and a giveaway weak way - Mr Sweeney's way.
His explanation was no better - the silly little man. Pathetic.You think he was 'restrained' bate?!! Come off it!

Re: Scientology - yep, they can believe what they want as far as I'm concerned, I'm not sure if they are raving lunatics, but there's nothing new in reporting that most of the populus, whether religious (in a mainstream way) or not, believe Scientologists all to be in cloud cuckoo land.
So dinna fash yersel bate, you're not alone, but we all knew that anyway.

It only becomes dangerous, or more like very sad really, in my opinion, when families are broken up etc... (as in my sister's boyfriend story).

If they continue to bumble along in their mixed-up world, not harming anyone in particular, let 'em do it. Maybe I'm just lucky not to be gullible enough, not interested enough to listen, and this last one is the most important: not feel the slightest bit threatened by them?!

One lesson lossa peeps got to learn is that an "intellectual war" between aetheists and religious types, is futile. The aetheists CANNOT win, and nope... NOR can the followers of the religion. Its an argument which will rage and rage.

The ONLY way it will ever be resolved if is when "God" (if there bleeding is one) shows himself in the next glorious coming, my chhhiiilldren. Mwah ah ah ah aaaaaaaaaah!

The ultimate example of wild goose chase, but with no goose, so no fun. (by the way, I had 3 eastern europeans reported to me the other day, chasing geese around Windsor park - now THATS fun!)

All it does, I guess, is make for the odd good book (whether arguing against mainstream religion or 'cults'),maybe the odd interesting television programme, a la Louis Theroux, but with any luck, not as bloody cringy (piss off Louis), and a hell of a lot of bilious rants.

Leave it.
Its not werf it!

electrichalibut said...

I think the barking irrationality of religion is one thing, and the very specific evils of Scientology are something else, and it's important to be clear about the difference - where the Scientologists are clever is in trying to blur the boundaries between the two.

"People can believe what they want" always sounds very reasonable, but ultimately the truth matters. Things don't fall up, however much you might believe they do. And I don't have to "feel threatened" by your belief that they do in order to point out that you are a gibbering lunatic.

Scientology poses no threat to me, but it certainly does to the gullible and weak-minded, and I mean very specifically and physically to them (follow some of the links), not just the more obvious threat to their wallets and bank balances.

The Black Rabbit said...

Maybe I just don't care about the weak and gullible.
I'm a right bastard eh?
Aw well.
Off for a dump...!

Anonymous said...

"Things don't fall up...".
That all depends on from which vantage point you observe those "things".
Therein lies your problem.
You're only seeing one viewpoint.

I'm not a scientologist.
But I do appreciate others viewpoints, whether or not I understand or agree with them.

electrichalibut said...

I don't normally respond to rampant and transparent trollery.....oh, hang on, yes I do.

Point one: which way is up depends on your viewpoint. It seems reasonable to define "up" as "in a direction opposite to the direction in which gravity acts on the object in question". Viewpoint problem taken care of. You can be in Coventry, Canberra, standing on your head, or with your head up your own arse, it's all the same.

Next, appreciating others' point of view. This is an oldie but a goodie. I can appreciate the viewpoint of someone who thinks they're Napoleon, but that doesn't change the fact that they're stark raving bonkers.

Not dismissing things until you've examined the premises on which they're based: good. Not dismissing things even after you've done this and deciding there is no basis whatsoever: evidence that your brain has melted.

Andy said...

If only all the nutters who declared themselves Jedi at the last Census would rise up and challenge the Dark and Evil Scientology Empire.

That'd be good.