Archive for December, 2012

Waiting

30 December 2012

I’ve been doing a lot of waiting lately.

And that’s not a very healthy activity to engage in.

On the Know to Mystery Scale “wait” is just above “unconscious” and below what most of us think of as the activities of living. Spiritually, it is a motionlessness, a kind of surrender.

But enough of the esoteric. I put a lot of effort into getting an interview with a company that needs people with skills and knowledge like I have. And now I am waiting for their answer. They will almost certainly say they want to hire me. I should then say, okay, let’s do it. And then I must pack up all my stuff and move to the eastern edge of the state and make a new home – a new life – there. So I have been very preoccupied with the problem of organizing my belongings so they can be moved, and how to do this on a very meager budget. My other interests seem secondary to this, and I have not been working on any other projects. However, this new focus leaves me with extra time, so I signed up for a free trial subscription to Netflix, and have been watching movies instead of researching, writing, or producing new art pieces.

As I said, waiting is not a productive way to spend time. So here I am writing about it.

I thought I would address the core theme of this experience: Work.

Work

The subject of working is front and center right now. There don’t seem to be enough jobs for everyone. Not enough money is flowing through the economy. The peace economy, that is. The war economy seems to still be rather well-funded.

In the middle of 2008, I announced my intention to leave a job I had been doing for about 20 years. And it probably would have been there for me to do for another 20 years. I wasn’t even tired of what I was doing on post. But something in the working environment had changed, and I decided I needed to get away from that environment. Maybe it was me who changed. But that doesn’t really matter.

So here we are with an interesting juxtaposition. A society that is not willing to pay everyone who needs an income to work, and a man who needs an income, but is no longer willing to work.

Valuable Final Products

So, what is work? When I was young, work consisted of things I could do to make money. I would then spend some of my money to buy things that interested me, and in my spare hours, I would work – er, play – with those things.

Later I learned a different way of thinking about work. Work is one’s contribution to the group. One is paid for one’s work depending on several factors. But the chief factor is that the appropriate group members are aware of your contributions and see them as valuable. You will be paid according to how valuable the products of your work are perceived to be. That perception of value can be changed by improving the products or by changing people’s ideas of how valuable they are. A person’s income depends on his skill in doing these two things. And the results of his efforts could be referred to as Valuable Final Products.

No one teaches us this. All they teach us is that you should get trained to do something and then find a job doing that. But that is in fact the bare minimum needed to make a living.

The Work Environment

Some work environments are easier to tolerate than others. Thus, one way to increase your income could be to learn to work in an environment that most people are not willing to work in. They don’t teach you this, either, and it has its limitations.

For example, the war environment would seem to be the most dangerous environment imaginable. Yet soldiers are not that well paid. Perhaps this is because most of what a soldier does is destroy.

Compare this to what some corporate executives make. There must be something about that working environment that is just too challenging for most people. The challenge probably has to do with the fact that such posts tend to attract criminals. So the environment near the top can be very toxic.

Is this enough?

If you fully appreciate the nuances of the Valuable Final Product, and if you include all other factors in Work Environment, then that should be enough of a theoretical framework to revive and strengthen any economy on any scale.

I specifically mentioned crime under work environment because it is a crucial factor that is not given the attention that it deserves. In Scientology organizations, as well as many other groups, a huge amount of time and energy is devoted to detecting and handling dishonesty, stealing, and similar dishonorable activities.

Most groups do not fully use Ethics, Establishment technologies, hatting or word clearing. And all these technologies are essential to prevent employees from going criminal on the job. Thus, if an average group were targeted for attack by criminals, it would eventually succumb. Several groups in the United States have.

When important groups in a society turn criminal, the whole society can quickly deteriorate into something resembling a catastrophe.

December 21st

I was very interested to find out if anything visibly significant would occur on this fabled date of a “new beginning.” The date passed relatively quietly.

Yet to say, because of this or the general dearth of helpful information, that nothing is changing would be a grave error. Not only is change inevitable, it is being actively worked for by several different groups, including my church.

We have been renovating and opening new church buildings. This gets minimal press coverage. One of our ads is playing on a video billboard in Times Square. I wonder if that will get any press coverage!

And other groups are working hard to do other things. Many are also working for positive change, or what we call improved conditions. But others work just as hard to bring us war, crime and chaos. And in many many places around the world this New Year, life for most is very very tough going.

If you are in the habit of making resolutions for the new year, why not try this on for size? That you will do something to improve conditions on this planet for those suffering the most.

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Messages from my teacher

22 December 2012

Today I started a home study course put together by my church with the very long title of: “Advanced Procedure and Axioms & Thought, Emotion and Effort Extension Course.”

The first step of the course is to read a set of issues contained in the course pack that were written by L. Ron Hubbard in September, October and November of 1951. I don’t recall studying these issues before. They are germane to our current situation, thus this article. They were originally issued as Dianetic Auditor’s Bulletins.

Danger: Black Dianetics! (September 1951)

Here LRH discusses how the discoveries of Dianetics have been misused by the unscrupulous to create robotic, crazy or deranged personalities. This includes suicidal or homicidal personalities.

He estimates that only a few people, as of 1951, have died as a result of such practices and compares this to the loss of innocent life from the use of the atom bomb over Hiroshima. There is no comparison.

And yet these abuses should be reversible in the hands of a skilled auditor, in cases where the victim survives them.

He then states:

“Efforts to influence and prevail over the minds of individuals, groups and nations have been exerted since the dawn of time. These efforts have utilized every known means of psychic and physical phenomena.”

He goes on to present a short survey of these efforts, including the reported practices of the Assassins. Though the histories recounting these practices have since fallen into question, the practices themselves are plausible and have probably been used somewhere by someone. Mind control efforts definitely include hypnotism, which is briefly discussed.

The Loophole in Guarded Rights (September 1951)

LRH begins this bulletin thus:

“Whenever phenomena become known only to a small number of unscrupulous men, these, by secrecy, can employ it to the enslavement of many. This, in a thimble, is a history of the race.”

He then discusses popular efforts to prevent this by asserting certain basic rights which an individual may lawfully defend. But there is a giant loophole in these efforts, and that has to do with mental competence (“sanity”).

If an individual can be deemed insane, all his legal protections fall away, including his right to life. This loophole can only be closed by demystifying the mind, thus preventing a small group from claiming special expertise in the subject. This is what Dianetics seeks to do.

Records of Mind Are Permanent (September 1951)

Here LRH goes over his primary discovery, which he has called the “first law” of Dianetics.

“The human organism receives and records all perceptions while under duress and in a reduced state of consciousness.”

This is why hypnotism “works” (when it does) and why trained auditors can reverse its effects.

He ends by reminding us that:

“Black Dianetics uses this mechanism to implant new compulsion.”

Effort Processing (September 1951)

In this bulletin LRH discusses why you can limit processing to addressing self-determined efforts. Effort normally results in motion, and motion is the core phenomenon of the physical universe. Thus, the most confusing and troublesome incidents for an individual involve those times when he decided to make some effort and it did not have the positive (or pro-survival) result that he expected.

A Brief Statement on Survival Processing (October 1951)

This is a technical bulletin going over the theory of Self-determinism Effort Processing.

He points out that all his experience with cases has shown that the choices made by the person himself (or herself) are the only important choices on the case. And these choices inevitably involve effort. A “bad” choice is simply one that results in destruction when a constructive result was desired. If you can get a being to recognize this and let go of that effort, its destructive results will also cease.

The Evolution of Dianetic Processing (October 1951)

Here LRH briefly recounts the history of his research, starting in 1932.

He emphasizes his discovery that even psychotherapy proved to be a false science (or practice) as were all mental practices that went before. Thus, modern researchers were not really getting any better results than the witch doctors and shamans of the past.

“…one understood for the first time that he lived in one of the darkest ages for the field of humanities and that the field of humanities had suffered markedly because of the advances in the physical sciences, which caused any scientist to tend toward a mechanistic view of humanity.”

He then describes how his own research broke out of this trap and thus began to discover phenomena that had been previously missed or overlooked. These phenomena are the main subject of his 1950 book. But that book, used alone, was somewhat ineffective at producing good auditors. He eventually realized that it had left some important points unsaid.

“The only really important thing I did, I now discover, was enormously increase, by my own attitude toward Life, the self-determinism of the preclear.”

He expressed hope that he could find a way to train others to have this attitude, and thus to become more successful in helping others.

A Brief History of Psychotherapy (November 1951)

This two-page bulletin goes over the fact that all previous efforts to improve or repair the mind have not been successful, as they have never exceeded the success rate of an individual left to his own devices (roughly 22% get better or recover with no treatment).

He ends by stating his firm belief that Dianetics can do better than this, and that for the first time in history, mankind possesses a truly workable mental technology.

Only an introduction

I hope that this discussion and these quotes may serve as a useful introduction to this subject for those who are interested. There is no substitute for careful study, and I will never try to teach this subject in my articles, but only to interest you in the subject and refer you to resources.

Basia

17 December 2012

Basia was born in Poland six days before I was born in Berkeley.

Her full name is Barbara Trzetrzelewska.

She listened to many different music styles as she grew up, and came to love Brazilian music in the early 1980s, as I did. She wrote and performed many songs in the style of Brazilian jazz.

I was aware of her because she had some hit songs in the US. But I didn’t know who she was until a fellow volunteer in Portland (Ken) clued me in. I had thought that she was younger than me and probably Brazilian. She isn’t. She’s white and almost the exact same age as I am.

What the biographies don’t mention is her approach to life and music. I only know a bit of this from an interview and her lyrics. She’s an optimist. So am I. She prefers a celebratory declarative style in music. So do I. She is a bit cynical and suspicious of popular culture and the entertainment industry. So am I. She likes running her life according to her own preferences, hopes, and dreams. So do I.

In addition to the above, she also lost her mother in the 1990s, and so did I. The loss led her to change her focus temporarily, as mine led me to do.

But now she is back and I hope we will hear much more from her before she leaves us.

Basia-official-website

My Take on Cloud Atlas

8 December 2012

Cloud Atlas is a novel that was turned into a movie by the Wachowski brothers (Matrix) with the help of another director and independent funding, including a contribution from the German government. It was all shot in Germany.

I have not read the novel. I saw the movie on the evening of Saturday December 1st in Portland. I then read the Wikipedia article on it.

The book, I get the impression, was divided up into six stories, starting with one set in the 1800s. In the movie, an “ensemble” of actors play various roles in different stories, and the stories are intermixed. You get the impression that various characters in different times and places are actually the same spiritual being, because those characters are played by the same actor. I don’t know how this is handled in the book.

The Stories

The stories start in the 1800s with a tale involving a sailing trip. We see a young man concluding a business agreement with someone in a tropical country. As they tour the plantation, the young man witnesses a whipping and faints. He is then put under the charge of a doctor who decides to slowly poison him and blame it on a tropical disease, in order to get his hands on the young man’s valuables. Meanwhile, the slave who was whipped has stowed away in the young man’s cabin, and appears – asking for his help to prove himself capable of been a free man. The young man agrees and the slave wins his freedom. At the end of the voyage, the ex-slave discovers the doctor’s plot and kills the doctor. The young man survives, reunites with his young wife, who he had been corresponding with during his voyage, and they renounce her father, who does business with slave owners, and leave to become abolitionists.

The next story, a tad unrelated to the first, is set in the early 1900s. It involves an aspiring musician who has a taste for sex with his own gender. This musician succeeds in gaining access to a failed composer and ghost-writing several pieces for him, which brings him back to fame. He then writes his own piece, which he calls the “Cloud Atlas Sextet,” and determines to promote it on his own – regardless of his agreement with the composer. When the composer tries to stop him from doing this, the musician shoots him (but doesn’t kill him) and then must hide out from the law until he finishes his piece. He then kills himself, leaving the publishing of the work to his male lover.

Following this story we have one set in the 1970s. A young woman investigative journalist runs across a plot to allow a nuclear reactor to blow up, giving nuclear power a bad name. It seems to be funded by oil interests. Everyone who helps her loses their lives. She is helped by a security officer for the nuclear power company who knew her father. They are pursued by a professional assassin, but with the help of a Latino lady he is killed.

The next story takes place in more or less the present time. A failing book publisher runs into financial luck when one of his authors notoriously kills a book critic at a party. The publisher is now pursued by thugs sent by a creditor, and goes to his brother to ask for help. His brother, in the guise of helping him, gets him locked up in a high-security old folks home. He then plans and carries out an escape with three others who also value their freedom. Their pursuers get beaten up by a bunch of soccer fans in a pub where they go to celebrate their escape. In a somewhat separate story line, we see this publisher writing about this whole adventure. He is writing what seems to be a screenplay for a movie. In this story he redeems himself in the eyes of the lover of his youth, and they reunite to live happily.

The next story happens approximately 100 years forward from the last. It is set in Korea (Seoul) and depicts an automated civilization in which bodies are manufactured and killed (then recycled into food and more bodies) at the whim of the controlling group. The slave masters seem to have won with finality. But they rule over a decaying and war-torn world, and the urge to be free has not died. One slave asserts her independence one day and is killed by her handlers in public. Another slave, seeing this, feels the need to escape. She is assisted in this by a member of the resistance movement who shows her how the system really works (the recycling of dead bodies). She agrees to broadcast an announcement for the resistance over a hacked communication channel, and thus wins public fame. She is then captured and killed, after being interrogated by an “archivist.”

The final story is set in a post-apocalyptic land where peaceful people try to protect themselves from cannibalistic marauders who ride horses. An ET, stranded on earth with a small crew, persuades one of the peaceful ones to assist her to locate an old communications station located on top of a mountain. The station, it turns out, is called Cloud Atlas. They finally locate the station and contact her planet, which then sends out a rescue ship. But meanwhile the man’s village has been attacked by the cannibals, and all killed save one little girl who successfully hid herself. With the help of the ET woman, the man and girl escape. Through this whole story, the man is plagued by a “ghost” in a top hat which tries to get him to do the wrong thing instead of the right thing. But the ET’s love and determination to survive is stronger than the ghost, and the man’s evil intentions are finally overcome.

The Ensemble

The cast of characters is lead by Tom Hanks, who plays the evil doctor in the first story and the man who helps the ET in the last story. In between he plays several other characters who struggle with their moral choices, including the criminal who kills the book critic.

Another main character is the ET woman played by Halle Berry. She also plays the young abolitionist in the first story, a daughter of the composer in the second story, and the reporter in the third story. This being, then, remains pure throughout the entire piece.

Hugo Weaving, of Matrix fame (Agent Smith), plays a string of bad guys, including the 1970’s hired assassin. He seems to be a being thoroughly caught up in the various games of power and unwilling or unable to free himself.

An oriental actress Doona Bae plays the girl who marries the young man in the first story, the Latino woman, and the slave girl in New Seoul. She is a parallel to the Halle Berry character in many ways, but more caught up in the system.

Another set of important characters are those played by the black actors Keith David and David Gyasi. These include the slave in the first story, the man who helped the reporter in the third story, and one of the ETs in the last story. Here are competent beings who have principles and are willing to live by them.

Hugh Grant also plays many roles, usually someone “successful” but with compromised principles. He plays these roles strongly, and I had difficulty knowing what to think about these characters. They achieve a kind of “freedom” for themselves by playing within the system, but they don’t seem happy; they know they have betrayed their own integrity.

Themes

My Scientologist friends told me “you have to see Cloud Atlas – it’s about past lives!” Well, it is, kind of. But I would not describe it that way. I think it uses the idea of past lives as a way to explain the continuity of human experience over extended periods of time. And this is a very valid explanation. But the film does not dwell on it.

What the film does dwell on is the continued and persistent arrogance of the “dominant” race on earth (oddly, the only race with recessive genes for skin color) to maintain power through any convenient myth that they can appropriate, but particularly the genetics myth, and what has become known as “social Darwinism.” This manifests as a teaching that society is the way it is because it was meant to be that way.

In opposition to this is the shared urge towards freedom of all people. This urge is not handled carefully or finely in this film, but rather coarsely. It deserves more contemplation than this movie gave it, yet I suppose we should be grateful that it appeared as a theme at all.

A dominant, but to me unwanted, theme in this movie was the topic of sexual confusion. We had the gay composer, his lover who played a woman in another story, and various other crossed-sex roles, such as Susan Sarandon playing a technologist in New Seoul. It is not that this topic is unworthy, but that it was used in this film as a way to make the story line even more confusing than it already was. It is quite true that the fact of past lives can indeed cause gender confusion in people. But that connection was not dealt with in this story.

Outcomes

The urge towards freedom did not win out in these stories; the urge to find a mate and reproduce did. And that, again, is genetics.

Genetics is also very involved in the various New Age teachings, and in most of the “channeled” material being presented to us.

They want us to focus on the “problem” of genetics, which I believe is a manufactured problem. Like the “problem” of Mid-East terrorists, or “global warming”. These problems have been manufactured by the power structure to keep us attached to their game. All these subjects ARE problems – for THEM! It is their genetics that are failing, their lives and property being endangered by criminal elements, and their planet – which they think they own – being threatened by cosmic shifts that they have little or no control over.

But the big problem for the rest of us, I believe, is actually freedom. This whole power game being played on this planet by what are basically a collection of criminal groups has the rest of us all caught up in activities that we would rather have no part of – be free of. War, murder, robbery are not things that suit most of us. Yet on a planet ruled by criminals, these activities become commonplace.

Routes to freedom

So, what do we desire to be free of? First and foremost, we desire freedom from these criminals and their destructive games. And this reduces to freedom from the criminal mind (as played by the “ghost” in this movie). This is something that Scientology offers us. Any spiritual practice worth the name would offer something similar. And they all do. I have attached myself to Scientology because I think it is actually delivering real freedom to beings. Because of this, I think it deserves our support. Not our blind support, but our informed support.

At this time, many of us are not in a financial position to afford professional Scientology services. But most of us could afford to buy the books and study them, and even some of the lectures. Those who have done so at least have an idea of what the subject is, and what its technologies can and can’t do. I think it is worth doing. I know of no other spiritual subject that has advanced to the point of practical application, as Scientology has. There may be something in this subject that could assist you. You will never know if you don’t study it.

Do you want a future such as the one portrayed in Cloud Atlas? This year is only 2012. We still have time to change the course of events. There is much to learn about freedom, and if you desire it you owe it to yourself to learn more about it.