Archive for the ‘Spirit’ Category

Accomplishing Things Together

14 July 2019

Mankind has evolved myriad ways to get things done in groups.

This subject impacts all of the social sciences including particularly government, business management, and community organization.

In these contexts it is often studied in amazement: How have we managed to accomplish so much against such great odds? And so those studies have for the most part resulted in theories of how and why we managed to survive as a cooperative species, or in careful listings of what worked for Boeing, or General Electric, or China.

Those studies seldom evolved any system of understanding or set of rules that was workable enough to be compelling or gain wide support. Except for Hubbard’s studies.

Extent of human experience

When Hubbard consulted the extent of human experience, he found a track so deep and vast that for most those discoveries were simply unbelievable. But in this vastness he was able to locate certain basics about how people operate and how they learn to coexist.

And so he was able to identify patterns and “laws” that can be adapted to and remain workable in almost any imaginable situation.

The basic production group

The most workable pattern for group production is one mirrored all around us and throughout history. We see this pattern in the family (particularly when both parents are present), in the village and tribe, in the production team of modern business, and in performing groups such as the one illustrated below.

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Gamelan Sekar Jaya early rehearsal in Berkeley 1980

I have mentioned this pattern in other articles. It features an “in-charge” or supervisor, often assisted by a deputy. Ideally, these two only have to work directly with a handful of other people. In the photo above, we see that the teacher (back to us) is showing one of the gendèr players a particular melody. The other players can be individually instructed, but will tend to rely on one of the better players in their group as a sub-teacher. Similarly, a more experienced drummer teaches a newer drummer, and a more experienced dancer will teach the newer dancers, though all under the watchful eye of the overall teacher. And so they eventually learn how to play an entire piece together, then another and another. And so they can at some point go out and perform a concert with a paying audience (as we did many times).

Extension to larger groups

Hubbard found that the best way to build larger groups was by using this same basic pattern. This is actually a truly ancient law. As such, it should come naturally to us; and yet we violate it all the time.

When we try to stretch this basic pattern into a very large group, like a major company or a nation, we run into one of its limitations: distance between associated group members. This has always been a challenge for people, and I suppose always will. Though I could mention all sorts of handlings that have been dreamed up – for both real and imaginary groups – the common factor in all of them seems to be to establish a strong and reliable line of communication between the central location and its remote offices.

Traditionally this was accomplished by assigning one or more people from the remote area to function as delegates, ambassadors, or traveling executives. They would then meet periodically as a council, committee, coordinating body (or some similar concept) at the central location. This was one reason (as far as I’m concerned) why representative governments developed in the years before we had more advanced communication technologies. These councils continue today as a kind of tradition; for now it’s probably just as well that they do.

Organizations like businesses have a tendency to send central people out to the remote location to “fix” situations and for other reasons. This is more typical of a top-down approach to organizing people, but that doesn’t make it unworkable. It’s just that the basic friendliness that exists when people work together in the same room or house or office or factory can break down or be neglected over longer distances. Then the corrective measure will come as a shock or be seen as an attack, rather than as a management necessity (which it usually is). So it is very important for any central office to have one person (or a small group) assigned to each remote office – no more than five or ten remote offices per person – who will then maintain a strong and friendly relationship between him or herself and each remote office.

Common mistakes

It is very important for the members of any actual group to feel that they are working together for a common purpose. For some businesses, that purpose might be to make money. And while that is needful, it is seldom sufficient motivation for most people. Most people want to feel that they are doing something that contributes to the greater community, and pushes up the chances of survival for the entire community, as well as the specific business or organization they work in. I have seen too much neglect and falseness in this respect.

Why would people err in this direction?

Lost or insufficient technology. This is the age in which certain of our technologies have raced ahead, while others have lagged behind, or been neglected or lost.

Thus we can connect two people using a complex radio relay system, but cannot guarantee them that their personal details will remain private or that the information they receive on that network will be accurate.

We can develop a myriad of new drugs for treating various conditions, but seem unable to cure people of those conditions.

We can revive numerous downtown areas, but we can’t seem to make those areas affordable for the people who work there.

In fact, there are many good technologies that would help us handle these problems that are available but not widely known about. That leads us to our other common mistake.

Letting criminals onto our communication lines. This one is always destructive, and sometimes completely fatal. It is a point abundantly supported by Hubbard’s research. And it circles back around to the first mistake: Lack of an effective technology for spotting criminals that is widely known and in use.

Though we have had ways of doing this for centuries, our results were less than perfect. It is Hubbard’s work that has pushed this subject up to a new level. And it was a criminal reaction to this advance that has been suppressing it from wider use. Where communities go ahead and learn it and use it, crime goes down and happiness goes up.

And where communities and businesses and governments gain a better control over the criminal element, beneficial technologies go into wider use, while harmful technologies decline.

Can governments be made to work?

Government is one of our biggest challenges because we give our governments the toughest jobs.

I looked over our own Constitution today (the original document for the most part) to see if I could draw a straight line from it to a more workable system. My results were inconclusive.

In a nation Law takes the place of what is usually called Policy in business. Yet how could either a business or a nation get along well if its rules of operation were constantly changing?

The only business policies we normally hear about as consumers are written by lawyers. The more basic policies get set by Boards of Directors, and you seldom hear about those. My church relies on a large volume of policy developed by our Founder over many years which is now, for the most part, unchangeable. That gives our organization stability and predictability.

Nations have their Constitutions as basic policy. Yet in all cases I know of, these have been eroded. In a lot of ways, they weren’t really comprehensive enough. And with changeable laws having to stand in for gaps in policy, nations have been rendered less stable than most of us would like.

Traditional representative government has become less workable for a number of reasons. Chief among them, as I see it, was the lack of workable data on how to detect and handle criminals. And so the justice systems of many countries have become unworkable, if not corrupt. And criminal influence in the other branches of government was allowed to occur. This must be repaired. This whole issue is barely mentioned in our own Constitution.

Furthermore, there is no mention in our Constitution of the relationship between the U.S. President and his Cabinet with the State Governors and their cabinets. This led to vital communication lines never being formally established, and extensive Federal offices existing in all major cities and state capitals, though those should all be the domains of the various states.

Further, the need for extensive duplication of laws due to the absence of enough detail in the founding documents has led to huge wastes of effort as states try to regulate things better left to the federal level, and vice versa. This has recently become a real issue in the field of drug abuse, where some states have legalized marijuana, while others have kept it illegal. At the federal level it is still an illegal substance, so a huge “crime” network still exists to produce the drug in “free” states and then transport it into areas where it remains illegal. If the Feds do not have sufficient resources to make such operations unprofitable, then the whole country basically gets more drugs at lower prices courtesy of the states that have legalized them.

Reversely, the Feds have tried to “assist” states in their educational efforts. But this is much more properly a state issue, since “illegal trafficking” of students across state borders is certainly a very minor problem.

While arguments can be made that the U.S. would do better if it operated more like a business (top-down) it is in fact not legally set up to do so, and should probably rely much more on friendly communication lines between federal and state levels than it currently does.

Further, while it would be a huge change of operating basis at this point, it would be much more appropriate for the U.S. government to treat the states as franchises, and let the states, counties, cities and towns worry about any and all ordinary contact with individual citizens – particularly in the case of taxation – and devise a way to get regular tax payments (tithes, royalties) directly from the state treasuries rather than operating the enormous and invasive system of taxation and welfare that requires direct contact with every individual in the entire country. This is a stupendously inefficient, as well as dangerous, system. It should be ended as soon as possible.

Maintaining a true group

Maintaining a true group means maintaining friendly relations between every adjacent level of that group.

Individuals should have no cause to directly deal with the Federal government except if they violate federal laws. Even the issuance of passports could probably be done by states, as are drivers licenses and ID cards. And if the basic rules of organization were followed, all those activities would probably be more pleasant experiences.

People have a lot to learn about themselves and about working in groups. And they should learn these things. It would help us all enormously.

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The Lands – One of my writing projects

2 June 2019

I introduced this project here.

This is a bit of an update.

The project was to serve as a platform for me to write about better solutions that I was aware of. It takes a hint from Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, as the writer speaks to us from the future, speaking about our present as if it were the past.

An imaginary disaster known as The Event destroys the planet’s communication and computer infrastructure, while leaving everything else intact. I got the idea from studying about the effects ionizing radiation can have on computer memory chips.

The planet recovers with the help of Tech, Policy and The Way To Happiness. I also mention things I have learned about a design system known as Permaculture, and about land use planning. I use mostly my own photographs to illustrate the articles, using the invented idea that a device exists that can help a person turn his memories into photo-realistic images.

After the Scientology TV channel went live, I began to realize that my church was pushing for a higher public awareness that answers existed to many of our most pressing social problems. I thought I could do something similar with The Lands by turning it into a novel or a screenplay. And so I set about trying to write one. So far I have writtten 19 pages of a first draft. Mostly dialog, I don’t care that much about exact settings or actions at this point. I thought I’d share here an excerpt that transcribes part of an imaginary speech given by the hero Emil to a crowd of corporate executives summoned to Washington D.C. by the Defense Department to get briefed and come up with a plan of action:

Emil: (looking around) All right, then. I’ll make a few opening remarks.

The most ancient origins of business parallel the most ancient origins of government. Almost universally, monarchs were considered chosen by God, if not gods themselves. And in the long past, monarchs, or persons like them, were the only ones granting charters to large businesses. Such businesses could grow large enough to threaten the power of the government, so the old monarchies only wanted political friends to operate such enterprises. In such a wise, the divine favor enjoyed by monarchs extended to the large enterprises they permitted to exist.

Many large corporations – and even some smaller ones – have continued to operate as if they were God’s surrogates here on earth. I hope none of you find this overly-offensive. The picture painted by history seems plain enough. So many businesses and governments down through the ages acted as if they were above any earthly laws, that their word was inviolate, and that they knew best how to run an enterprise or a nation or a planet, and should be allowed to do so.

Large businesses have become perceived by the public as modern extensions of ancient monarchies, aristocracies, and oligarchies. And from what I know about such matters, that is not an unfair assessment of the situation. Attempts to repair this situation using PR methods have only worked to the degree that the PR was sincere.

I would like to point out that a business, even a very large business, does not have to be operated in this fashion. It’s just that most still are.

Emil is trying to get some of the largest corporations and defense contractors to agree to essentially “trade swords for plowshares” and actively assist in the recovery efforts across the planet. It is only because they actually have lost the organizational advantages they enjoyed due to their extensive use of computer systems and computerized communication networks that they are willing to consider turning themselves, essentially, into a giant charity activity.

It has been a very interesting project for me, and I hope some of my friends will find it intriguing enough to share it with their friends.

Another great Kids Day

27 April 2019

This was my 2nd year attending Rancho Cordova’s Kids Day with fellow church members. We were there mainly for the parents, but we gave the kids lots of things to do, too. It’s never been easy to raise children, and our various programs can assist parents to make better choices and be more confident in an activity that – last I checked – isn’t even taught in schools.

Kids Day, on the other hand, has been happening for the past 30 years.

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I don’t know if it’s always been in this venue (Hagan Park), but it’s a lovely setting, especially at this time of year.

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The event starts late morning (to give us all time to set up) and lasts into mid-afternoon (to avoid the hottest part of the day). A lot of parents and children show up.

Rancho Cordova is one of Sacramento’s older suburban communities. Its current inhabitants are from all over the world, and have arrived here for numerous different reasons. We saw many people obviously from Pakistan or India. The Orient is also well-represented. And you can sometimes tell the Russian families, if they speak a little of their own language or have an accent. The oldest “new” suburbanites in the area are probably African-Americans who have been able to join the “middle class.”

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While members of our group took pictures, the kids enjoyed the activities we dreamed up for them.

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The “Fish Cup Game” at the CCHR booth is always a big hit.

And at the Drug Free World booth we had coloring for the younger children. This girl I took pains to photograph because at this young age she was already taking a professional attitude in her work. She drew two perfect little cartoon characters.

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Older children are invited to sign our Drug Free Pledge, and many did.

Sunburn not withstanding, it was a fine day for one and all.

Changes in the wind

14 April 2019

A flying animal has been one of the classic metaphors used by artists to convey the idea of a spirit leaving a body at death, and so I chose the image of a butterfly – just captured yesterday – to introduce this article.

butterfly-20190413-folsom

Two weeks ago, at the end of March, a young man who was born and raised in the South Central neighborhoods of Los Angeles was prevented from doing something he wanted to do.

He had planned to meet with police and other local officials the next day to discuss the problem of gang violence in his neighborhood, and what could be done about it. Nipsey had just started to become known in the broader community as a rap artist with a little different angle to his lyrics. But in his own community he was already widely known as someone who wanted to strengthen himself and everyone he met with knowledge, with love, with a sense of responsibility, and with a dream that things could get better.

In the middle part of the last century, various businesses had established themselves in the Los Angeles area and were providing good jobs. This attracted a large number of people into the neighborhoods now known as South Central. Later, those businesses fled, leaving so many families living there to their own devices. And those big corporate plants started to be replaced by unhealthy enterprises like illegal drug distributors. People there could work for the new “employers” if they were willing to take the chance of being caught by the police or being killed by someone working for a rival group.

“Gangs” were an old tradition in neighborhoods like this. Because the darker-skinned people of these communities had more to worry about than just finding jobs so their children could eat. These communities were being targeted by some social force that has always maintained a secretive identity, yet has always seemed to be present. While some activists try to simplify this problem down to “whitey,” most knew that was far from the full truth. But to most, the exact cause didn’t matter. To be dark-skinned in a white man’s world meant you needed an extra layer of spiritual and physical protection. And the gangs were one way to obtain that protection.

That the gangs came to war with each other was just an indication of how devious the evil ones of this world could be. Those wars, combined with constant harassment from the police, created more bloodshed and suffering in this community than any community anywhere could easily tolerate. And so, there were constant attempts by men and women of higher purpose to stop the violence in the neighborhoods, and seek some sort of change that would protect them better than any police, any gangs, or any large outside companies, had ever done. Yet, there was constant discouragement.

A few people in this community, however, had discovered something new. Though it came from a white man, its power was enough to turn heads. And a few learned some of this technology, and benefited from it. And so Minister Tony Muhammad, an executive with the Nation of Islam who had been given the responsibility of bringing a better life to the people of South Central, was one day introduced to Mr. Hubbard’s technologies. He began to use The Way To Happiness in the community, and it seemed to be of genuine help. And step by step, with the help of many others, Minister Tony put in place a program to end gang violence in South Central, and rebuild the community into something new and very alive.

Minister Tony was always willing to respond when violence struck. And so one day, while attempting to bring calm after a shooting had occurred, he got badly hit by a police officer, and then arrested. A young man named Ermias witnessed this, and was among those demanding Minister Tony’s immediate release. And so this young man, a genius and a dreamer, caught the spark of hope for his community that so many others had, in their turn, fought for.

He started out selling T-shirts with his brother. But he was also a self-taught mix artist and rapper. And in his songs and in his work, he tried to convey his vision on a level that his friends in the neighborhoods could understand. By 2018, and with only one major album to his credit, this young man – now in his 30’s – was nevertheless ready to take it to the next level and work with Minister Tony to elevate his community and his people. On the last day of March of this year, someone who he knew shot him dead in front of his clothing store, located near the corner of Crenshaw and Slauson.

How do I know about all this? Minister Tony came to my church last night and told us about it. And we promised our support for his work in L.A.

In the days, weeks, months and years ahead, you may hear various versions of the life and death of Nipsey Hussle, and how he helped change South Central and then the whole planet. Or, maybe you won’t. But I’m telling you right here and now, that story is real and is really important. Stay tuned.

 

What does Spirit have to do with it?

7 April 2019

With this post, I introduce a new category on this blog: Spirit.

Most people who I meet outside of my church have little or no concept of spirit beyond something like “team spirit” and similar senses. Or they may think of it as a substitute term for the soul of religious or psychological texts.

Indeed, any dictionary reflects these various meanings. Mine gives as the second definition, “the thinking, motivating, feeling part of man, often as distinguished from the body.” And the third definition, “life, will, consciousness, thought, etc., regarded as separate from matter.” It is taken from a Latin word meaning “breath.” Thus, when a body stops breathing, you may say that its spirit has left it.

Reading this, one may be tempted to ask, “Well, fine. But what difference does it make?”

In the posts I assign to this category, I will invite the reader to consider the possibility that it does, indeed, make a big difference!

In my youth I, likewise, did not see the point. Yet I, in my youth, made a simple yet perhaps quite profound observation: That a huge majority of the population of earth follow some religion. If religious concepts – including the concept of spirit – have no relevance today, why do most people still think they do?

Religious experience

One reason many people still “believe” is that many people still have “religious” experiences. These are experiences which – for lack of a better definition – are not explained by science or similar rational thinking processes. Thus, while a sudden thunderstorm may have seemed like some heavenly mandate in years long past, climatologists now understand most, if not all, weather phenomena.

While this category still encompasses a quite wide range of experiences, there are a few that are persistent, unmistakable, and if anything, better documented now than they were in the not-too-distant past. One is the experience of death (body death), obviously followed by a return of life in all documented cases. Another is the experience of being outside one’s body, whether or not clinical death occurred. Then there is the distant relative to these, past life recall.

We are not talking about anecdotal evidence here; these are carefully documented cases studied by medical doctors and similar clinical researchers. The point is, “science” is aware that these phenomena, in particular, are real. It is only that scientists, for the most part, reject a spiritual explanation for them. Religious people, on the other hand, have much less back-off in this regard, though they may display some amazing biases of their own.

The question of consciousness

While “consciousness” can be variously described, it is – most obviously – the thing or quality that leaves a body when it dies. Furthermore, in man it is the part of us that is capable of remembering and interpreting experiences, as well as inventing experiences that never happened, dreaming, and hoping for, wishing for, or working for future experiences that haven’t happened yet.

Consciousness has, as have many subjects of this kind, been approached from two main angles. The philosophic approach seeks to devise high-level explanations that will encompass – or at least shed light on – the various unexplained phenomena. And the scientific approach (typified by psychology) seeks to understand these phenomena at a more practical level, like: What can you do if someone has an experience that continues to bother them? It should be noted that “psychology” is based on the Greek psyche, from whence Latin gave us the word spirit.

The point most often made by people who think the subject of consciousness is important is that we won’t solve some of the most fundamental problems of human existence, like insanity, crime and war, until we get consciousness right. And I agree with them about that.

Having a working understanding of life

If we can get the question of consciousness answered correctly – at least for the psychologists, if not for the philosophers – it would open the door to a lot of handlings on this planet that currently seem basically impossible.

Look at all the effort that has been put into ending war, crime and insanity on this planet. Yet they all still exist, and in more threatening forms, it seems, than ever before.

Beyond that, the mystery of the origins of biological life, and of Mankind in particular, continues to elude us. And we have yet quite to figure out exactly what is holding this universe together; a problem in theoretical physics that remains unsolved.

If we had such an understanding firmly in place, how hard would it be to mend a broken marriage, a broken heart, or perhaps even a broken planet?

These articles are not being written to tell you what I think. They are being written to invite you to LOOK. The most workable set of answers – if not the only relatively complete set – that I know of has already been arrived at. Your introduction to these answers is found here: scientology.tv

I urge you to take a look!

ARC in the universe

Artwork created by CSI, 2018.