Sunday, July 03, 2005

did you come to earth for evil purposes?

for years, it has been no secret that tom cruise was a follower of the cult of scientology. but at least he was kind of quiet about it. but recently he's been making a real ass of himself in public, and recently had a bit of a breakdown in a televised appearance with matt lauer. cruise made various claims that psychoanalysis is a fraud, & that "there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance" (prompting lewis black to wonder "then what's happening to you right now?"). cruise had some harsh words for brooke shields, because she took some pills to treat postpartum depression.

these comments are no surprise to anyone who knows anything about scientology, but most people don't. and one positive effect of cruise's recent tv insanity has been to draw more attention to scientologists and their wacky, zany belief system.

not that there's a lot of coverage or that it's all good. if you want to see some hackery, try this piece in the tucson citizen, where the author's search for "understanding" led her only as far as picking up the phone to call the local scientology PR HQ, and to transcribe the phone call verbatim. nice investigative work, jenny.

if jenny had made a second phone call for her story, she might have heard that tom has been increasingly bringing his faith to the job site:

War of the Worlds is hardly Cruise’s Battlefield Earth, but Steven Spielberg’s film does make one Scientology-friendly tweak to H.G. Wells’s 1898 novel of Martian attack (the aliens’ war-making infrastructure has been implanted on earth for millions of years), and it’s no wonder Cruise chose the movie as his first production to benefit from an on-site Scientology tent. “The volunteer Scientology ministers were there to help the sick and injured,” Cruise told Der Spiegel, like a battle-weary soldier extolling the Red Cross

why was it so apropos that cruise wanted a scientology tent on the set at war of the worlds? because scientologists firmly believe in battling space aliens.

At the higher levels of Scientology, adherents learn they are infested with "spiritual parasites," Alexander and other former Scientologists say. To remove them, one must submit to expensive counseling -- $20,000 and higher. Scientologists call this level "The Wall of Fire."

That's when Alexander first heard the story of Xenu. It goes something like this: 75 million years ago, the intergalactic overlord Xenu brought aliens from different planets to Earth, killed them with a hydrogen bomb and dispersed their bodies into the atmosphere. Their souls now afflict humanity with "disconnected thoughts."

"The first thing I thought was, this doesn't really apply to me," Alexander said. "But then I decided I'm here on this course, I paid a bunch of money, so I'm going to read this stuff and see if it works."

For a while, it did. From 1993 to 1996, Alexander spent up to three hours a day on "self auditing," solo counseling which he said made him feel "like you're floating on a cloud."

During these sessions, he tried to communicate with the dead aliens to get them to leave his body. Using the E-meter, Alexander would sit in a room by himself and repeat the story of Xenu over and over in his mind.

but what the hell is an e-meter?

there’s the "e-meter," a sort of low-level lie detector. The person being examined — "audited" is the official term — holds two metal cans connected by a wire to the meter. Stress affects conductivity, so the auditor searches for words or situations that jiggle the needle. Scientologists believe that those jiggles are evidence of engrams.

Auditors focus on those areas, desensitizing the person through repetition, until the needle no longer jiggles. Scientologists believe that's evidence that the engram has been released. When they’re all released, the person is considered "clear."

Scientologists pay to be audited and for many other classes and training sessions. Some news accounts estimate that Cruise, a Scientologist for decades, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on his training.

i used to play a game called "telephone" using two cans and a piece of string (back when i was 8). but i never thought to use them to clear my mind of engrams that might be blocking my mind from achieving happiness or clarity. it sounds like ghetto hypnosis to me, as it's actually relatively easy to create a trancelike state. hell, television creates a trancelike state. i'd imagine that staring at a jiggling needle would create one hell of a trance, perhaps even one that makes you feel like you're "floating on a cloud".

during early auditing sessions, an expert auditor will ask you helpful questions such as
  • Have you driven anyone insane?
  • Have you ever killed the wrong person?
  • Did you come to Earth for evil purposes?
  • Have you ever gone crazy?
  • Have you ever smothered a baby?
  • Have you ever castrated anyone?
  • Is there any question on this list I had better not ask you again?
  • Have you ever tried to make the physical universe less real?
  • Have you ever zapped anyone?
  • Have you ever had a body with a venereal disease? If so, did you spread it?

radar has more, and apparently even more only available in their print edition.

if you're unwilling to go out and buy a magazine but want some more reading, salon has a four-part series on scientology.

1 comment:

syntax said...

i knew someone who was in the religious studies program at cal state long beach several years ago, and one of his professors knew l. ron hubbard quite well - according to legend, the seed for scientology was planted when hubbard bragged about how popular his science fiction writing was becoming and said something to the effect of "why, i'll bet that i can start a religion!"

i have absolutely no reason to not believe that scientology was started on a bet.

i'm liking the animated gradient in your comments footer, btw...