Posts Tagged ‘Scientology’

I return to The Lands

18 March 2020
dead trees along american river

About two years ago I started a blog called “The Lands” about a fictional global event that changed the planet forever, and how it was handled.

It is set, maybe, 50 years in the future.

It was an exercise for me in how things I had learned could be applied in the real world. But of course, the global emergency I depicted was entirely fictional…

I wanted to turn that blog – or at least that idea – into a work of fiction. But I didn’t particularly want to write a novel. I was getting pictures of how the story might go, so I thought: Why not write a screenplay?

I am still working on a version that could actually last an hour or longer on film. Meanwhile, I wrote some other stories to get some practice on how to use Trelby, an open-source tool for writing screenplays.

But today I found myself home for a day, because I had some sniffles. My church wants to play it very safe. They know what’s being reported about this global event…

So I thought, why not publish here the part of the story that I consider basically finished? Maybe it could provide a few of you with something to do if you, too, are stranded at home. And maybe it could point out that there might still be some hope left in this world. So here it is:

Help and Happiness

1 March 2020

I was recently encouraged by a Scientologist to write something on the subject of help.

My main reluctance in doing concept articles is that I don’t have many, or any, photos to illustrate them with. So, sorry for the lack of pictures in this first draft. Perhaps that will be rectified later.

In this little piece on the subject of help, I thought I’d structure it around The Way To Happiness, one of my favorite informational books written by LRH for the general public. This book is unique in our literature, as it doesn’t mention Dianetics or Scientology anywhere in it, yet we use it a lot and distribute it widely. The contents of the book itself are best communicated by this video: https://www.scientology.tv/documentaries/the-way-to-happiness.html

Help

Help is a word for the basic exchanges that occur among people in any society. Many forms of help are considered valuable enough to pay for, and all economies are based on the idea that the products and services offered for sale by businesses will help the people who buy them.

Other forms of help are embedded into society and its biological nature and are considered basically required forms of charity or selfless assistance. Some forms of these activities, like education, lie on the border between social necessities and social niceties and may cost money to those helped under some circumstances.

In any case, a society can’t run properly if it can’t generate enough economic support to help people, at least in the most basic ways, who can’t afford to pay.

Take Care of Yourself

This is the first precept in The Way to Happiness and is obviously a basic. If you aren’t well-fed, well-rested and basically healthy, you will be in no position to help anyone else, whether that be in the role of parent, teacher, or worker. Therefore, taking care of yourself helps everyone who you normally interact with.

This basic continues to show up throughout the book. Be Temperate is precept 2. Don’t be Promiscuous is precept 3. Set a Good Example is precept 6. Seek to Live with The Truth is precept 7. Do Not Murder is precept 8. Don’t Do Anything Illegal is precept 9. Do Not Steal is precept 13. Be Worthy of Trust is precept 14. Fulfill Your Obligations is precept 15. Be Industrious is precept 16. Be Competent is precept 17. Try Not to Do Things to Others That You Would Not Like Them to Do to You is precept 19. Try to Treat Others as You Would Want Them to Treat You is precept 20. And Flourish and Prosper is Precept 21.

If you can take care of yourself well enough, then you can create a stable platform in your own life that will enable you to help others abide by the above precepts.

Love and Help Children

This is precept 4. It is one of the most important acts of charity that most of us take upon ourselves early on in the course of our own adult lives. It is incredibly important in the activity of putting the future there. Of course it embraces many activities, but the essential concept is that those you help as your own children are not obligated to pay you back.

But the other point about this whole subject of charitable help is that those you help will tend to feel obligated to you for the help you have provided. Thus, a part of helping anyone selflessly is the action of accepting whatever they may have to offer in return as their help to you.

Honor and Help Your Parents

This is precept 5. Although many parents of the previous generation strove to remain totally financially independent into their older years, this is becoming less and less possible now, and in some places has never been possible. Their obvious first resource for help when they get old is and should be their own children. This, essentially, completes the cycle of exchange that starts when we are children. It is a necessity in a biology-based society, whether we rely totally on children to handle their own parents or dream up some sort of collective scheme (like Social Security) for accomplishing this.

Be Industrious, Be Competent

In order to accomplish the help of children and old people that we must do to sustain our society, we must earn more during our working years than we need merely to take care of ourselves. I consider this to be the foremost principle behind the concept of “profit” (economists might disagree).

This can only be accomplished through the exercise of industry and competence. In the confusion of growing up in this modern world, these basics can easily get overlooked. The grim philosophy of “every man for himself” can creep into the picture and cloud the fact that the game we are playing here on Earth consists essentially of helping each other, and that if we stop doing that, we will soon have no Earth.

As I look back on my own life now, I am amazed at how long it took for me to realize that the main reason I was working was to help my company (or similar group) be successful so that it could continue to exist and help others with its products and services. Actions that contribute to this are the ones that most likely lead to pay increases and promotions (in a sane group). And at their core they consist of industriousness and competence.

The formula for competence, by the way, is: Look, Learn and Practice. Thus all these activities are also forms of help, and are some of the most important activities to help others accomplish.

Respect the Religious Beliefs of Others

More generally, this could be seen as just learning to get along with others. The focus here is on religion because we have had so much trouble with it down through the ages. Today we have groups like “Interfaith Councils” whose sole purpose is to smooth things out between the various churches and promote an atmosphere of cooperation, especially in our charity work.

Spirit, and concepts of spirit, are also important parts of life for most people. The idea that such concepts are somehow superfluous is terribly cynical and, by observation, simply untrue.

Look at the value people place on art, beauty, and entertainment for example. These activities could be considered totally non-productive from a purely biological point of view. I often wondered about this when I was younger. Do animals need art? Then why to we need art? The answer is that most of us are aware of our spiritual nature and value it highly. Art and storytelling validates this awareness and therefore becomes a potent form of help.

Support a Government Designed and Run for All the People

This is an important precept (10) that I almost missed because it didn’t at first seem to connect with the concept of help. But there it is in the first word of the precept, “support.” To be part of a scene where Government is slowly going crazy can be a very stressful experience. This has been the case in many countries over history and seems to be creeping up on us now here in America. Luckily we have our founding documents which are very clear on the point of Happiness and what government is supposed to do. Though these documents may seem terribly outdated in many ways, they remain conceptually sound, and are worth supporting (I think) over and above any actions which mere humans may implement in their name.

The current scene here in the U.S. is a very confused scene. We have too many in government acting like criminals, listening to advice from people acting like criminals, or simply acting confused or incompetent. It is our job to put this damaged structure back together into something that will work better and be more effective than it ever has been before. I think that now that we have tools like The Way To Happiness, we could be successful at this.

Flourish and Prosper

The last two precepts in The Way To Happiness go over who the “real heroes” in society are, and why they deserve to prosper, and quite often (but not always) do. To lead a helpful, even charitable, life, does not bar one from happiness and prosperity, but rather opens the door to those valuable rewards. Though some may build temporary empires on forms of “help” that actually only harm (such as illegal drugs, human trafficking) they are often short-lived and frantic versions of real prosperity, and can never lead to real happiness.

Thus, we must measure a “help” activity not by the PR put forward to justify or defend it (or criticize it), but by the actual results it obtains. We are living though a time where these contrasts are very much in our faces. Just last night I was reminded of how “vapes” were marketed as a way to “help” people stop smoking cigarettes. Instead, they have become a more sophisticated, more easily hidden, and more readily accessible way of consuming dangerous drugs, including not only nicotine, but also THC, drugs intended for medical use, and hard drugs. So here we have an example of a technology that sold itself as “helpful” yet has exploded into one of our worst drug use epidemics in history.

True help will assist us to flourish and prosper. Value it!

I left out one of the precepts that is also key:

Do Not Harm a Person of Good Will

Such people unfailingly try to help, and are the backbone of any society.

Reader feedback on this topic will be valued and is highly encouraged!

I visit Ventura

23 February 2020

I went to Ventura yesterday with a group of Scientologists to attend the Grand Opening of Ventura Organization. That event is pictured below, in a photo provided to journalists for publicity purposes, and is otherwise covered at this church website: https://www.scientology.org/scientology-today/church-openings/grand-opening-ventura.html

ventura org grand opening

Needing to wait in line for a bathroom, I got there a bit late, and watched the proceedings from the side of this main area, located at the far right in the above photo.

Riding through the Central Valley

Wanting to get there in a minimum of time, but by car (a rented Dodge minivan), we naturally chose to rocket down the I-5. A typical stop along this freeway is pictured below.

freeway-side stop, central valley

This is a down-to-business freeway. Almost no major cities lie along this road. Fresno is to the east, on the older Route 99. To the distant west are the coastal ranges. Just before Los Angeles, these low mountain ridges turn inland, requiring a drive through a pass. The I-5 goes through Tejon Pass. The highest elevation on that pass is about 4 thousand feet, so not quite the same as crossing the Rockies!

This road is for people and goods that want a fast drive from southern California to northern California. And it really looks it. It’s an ugly road, unadorned by trees or flowers, or even many billboards. It goes “nowhere” except to the L.A. basin to the south and the Bay Area/Sacramento to the north. Of course it continues on further north; I’m just covering this section of it.

The ride south (and back, of course) takes a long time, several hours. And that is in good traffic (which we had). So we had to stop more than once in the valley. Our first stop was around 8:30 in the morning, at a little place about as far down the valley as Fresno.

fruit orchards

This area is dominated by fruit orchards, which I believe are mostly almonds (a fruit harvested for its nut, or pit). We also saw many citrus trees.

westside country store

The Westside Country Store is a somewhat famous business on I-5. But I didn’t know this at the time we stopped there, so didn’t go in.

Two hours later we were very near the Grapevine. We stopped again and I got this image of the electric transmission towers that help power Los Angeles.

electric transmission lines near Grapevine.

Right next to our parking space I spied the movement of a small animal. It turns out that this is a real gopher.

pocket gopher

We raced through the mountains, as we still had many miles to go to get out to the coast. Part of the road between I-5 and the coast is NOT freeway.

We arrive!

But the traffic was not bad, and we got to our destination around 11:30.

ventura org setting

The parking lot in this picture was reserved for special guests and event personnel. Some came in on big tour buses, which unloaded just a block away. The rest of us had to park at the fair grounds, which is up the road a bit.

I shared my spot during the proceedings with an interesting bush which I later learned is commonly called Desert Cassia. It was mad with flowers, so of course I had to take a photo.

desert cassia

As you might be able to tell from the top photo, there were a lot of people there. I met many people who I knew when I worked in Los Angeles, and recognized many more. I met Yoshikawa Wright, a stone sculptor who has an episode on our new TV channel, here: https://www.scientology.tv/series/meet-a-scientologist/yoshikawa-wright.html. We spoke briefly, as I had made a few stone pieces (alabaster) in art class in high school.

The area had been rainy, but this lifted during the event itself, then returned.

freeway daisies

Being right next to Highway 101, the stands of “freeway daisies” were much in evidence. These are more formally known as Trailing African Daisies.

trailing african daisies

We left around 4:30 in the afternoon. It took us about 5-1/2 hours to get back. That’s a lot of car riding! The sun set as we were on the pass.

Workable Management Principles

28 July 2019

What would happen if we tried to apply workable management principles (developed by L. Ron Hubbard for the Church) to business, government or our personal lives?

I have been studying a series of courses that teach me how to do just that. But I won’t go into that material too deeply, as you really need to study those courses to get the full meaning out of them. But I have returned to this theme several times, and there is no end to that in sight, as people really do need to think about how to change things so they work better.

Ideal size of a group – fractal organizing structure

In the ideal organization, every part of it is built on the same basic template: Thetan – Mind – Body – Product. The ideal production group is maybe five people or a few more. One takes the role of In-Charge (Thetan), another works on record-keeping (Mind), one or two handle most of the physical work (Body), with another making sure the Product is the correct one for that group.

A part of this concept is that the group members only have to deal with their own senior. They are friends; they get along with each other. And if anyone above their level has a problem with what they are doing, that guy has to take it up with the In-Charge. This helps limit overwhelm due to altitude (how much more powerful someone is compared to someone else).

It’s not that the workers never hear from the head honcho. He can give speeches like General Patton in that movie. But the Captain isn’t supposed to walk into a unit’s tent or barracks and directly discipline or give orders to one of the men; that’s the Sargeant’s job. Same should go for a business organization, a family or a government. So how come everyone has to turn their tax forms directly into the IRS?

This is a form of intimidation, isn’t it? That’s all that sort of management system accomplishes. And they probably do it on purpose. Big centralized organizations tend to be nervous on the subject of control. They know that people don’t really want to just willingly cooperate with the whole setup. After all, they (at the top) know it wasn’t set up to benefit the guys at the bottom. Well, that would have to change in a real organization.

businessman-little_prince

The Little Prince’s businessman (above) wouldn’t like this next idea either (or would he)?

How are you going to spend your money?

A sensible financial management system puts a trained executive between a production group and its income. The group has to plan how it is going to spend its earnings and inform this executive, who needs to be convinced that the proposed spending will help the group to produce and expand. Only then will that executive release those funds. They work together at it; it’s not like that guy wants to harm anyone (his statistic is the size of the payroll). He just wants to make sure the group is handling its finances in an ethical manner.

Now, government supposedly does this. But they don’t use a strictly trained executive, they use the legislators. Well, that’s like asking the kids how much of Dad’s pay they want to spend on pizza and cookies. So, it doesn’t work. I don’t know if you could get it to work in government. The Founding Fathers had a good idea, but they were trying to solve a different problem than we have now. As it turns out, you don’t need a monarch to have a despotism, and a democracy won’t guarantee the continued freedom of its people, either.

The U.S. system is good, but it’s not the best we can do.

The biggest gap is in understanding the criminal element and what to do about them.

Police as ethics officers

Ethics is where the rubber hits the road when it comes to improving the management of any group or activity. Everyone should know about Ethics, but someone has to make sure it gets applied properly, that honest and productive people are protected and that the real criminals of the world get put out of business. And that’s really what most people who sign up for police work hope they can accomplish. The only reason it doesn’t happen is that not enough people – and particularly the police – know about Ethics. So this is an educational job, as is much of the work that needs to be done to improve conditions.

We have some Forces here and there – some in Colombia, some in South Africa – learning this data and having success with it. They are happy about the results they are getting. That trend just needs to grow.

And maybe some day even Saint-Exupéry‘s stodgy old “businessman” can breath a sigh of relief and see a way back towards happiness.

Setting up a VM tent

15 June 2019

Word came down a couple of weeks ago that we were going to put our Volunteer Minister (VM) tent up in Old Sacramento and get some video shots there.

In the two years I’ve been in Sacramento, we’ve never set up in Old Sac before. Old Sacramento is basically a tourist destination. There are some nice restaurants right on the river, and river cruise rides offered, as well as a train ride pulled by a real steam locomotive. The place is full of gift stores, and similar shops.

The plan was to set up all three canopies, assist tables, a book display and as many information panels as possible. We planned to hand out lots of promo telling people how to connect with us via our website.

VM-day-in-old_sac-20190615-tent-08

Here’s the tent with all the info panels spread out on the ground so we could pick which ones we wanted to use.

The tent is a rugged piece of equipment, made for the church by a professional company. It’s not too hard to set up, but it helps to do it with four strong guys. It was a tiny bit breezy, so we put down the weights on the tent legs. They are a bit heavy.

All the side panels and info panels use big velcro strips, so it goes pretty fast.

VM-day-in-old_sac-20190615-tent-12

Here it is fully set up, with the train cars going by in the background. We really want people to know that something can be done about it!

Inside there’s a nice yellow glow.

VM-day-in-old_sac-20190615-tent-19

Here we have one of the volunteers giving an assist to another volunteer.

Things went fine. We made some new friends.

VM-day-in-old_sac-20190615-group-photo

 

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.

Conversation Of Our Generation

5 June 2018

About a year ago, a young man named Nick Jamell started a blog ConversationOfOurGeneration.com in an attempt to cut through the lack of clear thinking and responsible debate that he saw occurring across the internet and in public life on matters of social importance.

He was recently interviewed by Jack Spirko (at The Survival Podcast, which caught my attention because it deals with Permaculture), and he seemed like a sincere guy who really wanted to see some changes made on this planet. I offered to write a “guest blog” for him, and he graciously agreed to publish it (linked above).

I wrote a piece entitled “My Paradigm Shift Experience” which tried to convey in just a few words the depth of change a person may experience as he shifts from merely studying and discussing the human situation to becoming involved with a group that is actually doing something about it.

I might note that this shift started for me by reading a real book and interacting face-to-face with real people who were involved with the movement we all know as Scientology. I don’t know if an experience like that can be duplicated on the internet. But as this internet is now the place where so many of us connect, I hope that for many people that experience can at least start here.

Answers to Drugs

22 September 2017

Yesterday I attended a public information session concerning the increasing use of marijuana and other drugs. This session was organized by Bishop Ron Allen who heads the International Faith Based Coalition. This is an anti-drug-abuse group. He had this session video-taped for use in his outreach work.

Two of the presenters were with the Colorado National Marijuana Initiative. They were there representing the President’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.

From official websites:

A component of the Executive Office of the President, ONDCP was created by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 [which extended an act by the same name passed 2 years earlier]. The ONDCP Director is the principal advisor to the President on drug control issues. ONDCP coordinates the drug control activities and related funding of 16 Federal Departments and Agencies.

ONDCP also administers two grant programs: the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and Drug-Free Communities (DFC).

The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, provides assistance to Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States.

The National Marijuana Initiative (NMI) is one of three national initiatives within the HIDTA program.

Other presenters

Another presenter was with the California Dept. of Justice Advanced Training Center.

The first presenter, who did not sit on the panel, was the ED of Omni Youth Programs, a non-profit, non-governmental “agency” operating in Sacramento County. She is college-trained with a background in both traditional and non-traditional therapies. She is assisted at Omni by a trained Family Therapist.

She explained to the audience that Omni’s approach to drug abuse is to target correlated factors such as child and family violence. These factors are linked to drug abuse (alcohol abuse in particular) by many studies (I assume mostly done by sociologists). These factors are addressed through group training programs. Omni trains the trainers who then go out and train groups. If this training is like other methods I have heard about, it focuses on changing “undesirable” behaviors into more desirable ones. We can assume that this work is moderately beneficial, but it uses technologies that can also be applied to more sinister forms of social control, and involves no real therapy on a personal level. Measures of the effectiveness of this work were not stressed in her short talk, but the website indicates positive results in 6- and 12-month follow-up studies.

Criminalize it

The federal approach to the drug problem is to criminalize drug production (where possible), trafficking, and use. About half of all Federal prisoners are there on drug trafficking charges. This is about 100,000 people. There are only about 250 people in federal prisons for possession only, but in state prisons there are roughly 50,000 more. There were roughly 160,000 drug traffickers in state prisons in recent years.

These figures must not include many major in-country producers, as drug production figures show no sign of heading downwards. However, many of these drugs, even Meth and LSD, have significant non-US sources, and most illegal drugs are majorly produced outside of the US.

The law-based approach to drug abuse control gives a lot of people a lot of things to do, but gives no particular sign of being effective. As is the case with most lawmaking, anti-drug laws are on the books because they are demanded by popular opinion, or give the government the feeling they are “doing something,” not because they are effective at dealing with social problems.

The federal people at this event argued for a continued legal and regulatory approach to the problem, bolstered by information campaigns, which have shown some effectiveness.

If marketing is effective, why bother with criminalization?

My take would be to trash the legal approach and continue the information campaigns. This might seem hypocritical to some, but passing laws about things just doesn’t seem to work. Private corporations, which have no direct ability to make law (though they do lobby abundantly, per all reports), have grown strong on marketing alone. Marketing and propaganda can breath life into a failed idea or kill a successful one. I think the effectiveness of marketing stems from its stress on giving people reasons to do things rather than reasons to stop doing things. Starting remains more popular than stopping in this society and probably always will. The stoppers are doomed to a minority status, even if they gain control of government or industry for a time. One of the greatest paradoxes we live with today has been our success at starting wars. Wars have always been seen primarily as stops because of their destructive results, but we have become convinced that they have “constructive” purposes in society, so they are now broadly supported (at least in the US).

That wars are constructive is of course a lie. So what we have in the US is a situation where the public is being lied to broadly and believing most of it. This is a sad situation, and is the road to a totally out-ethics (self-destructive) nation, which we are rapidly becoming. Drug use is a part of this greater overall picture.

What my church is doing

Several programs sponsored by church members address these issues. They operate independently of church organizations:

Narconon handles the drug abuse problem by operating rehabilitation facilities across the planet.

The Truth About Drugs program backs up this work with drug education materials and activities.

United for Human Rights seeks to empower victims of criminal abuses by informing them of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Way to Happiness program distributes a secular moral code across the planet in about 100 languages.

That booklet is also used by Criminon, which is a criminal rehabilitation program.

Applied Scholastics seeks to improve study skills, as laid out in our Study Technology, through its international teacher training center and in schools across the planet.

Hubbard College of Administration similarly teaches our management technology.

The Volunteer Ministers are organized to assist in disaster relief, often working alongside the Red Cross and government groups. Volunteer Ministers can also get trained in all facets of Scientology so they can help friends, neighbors and strangers more effectively.

And the Citizens Commission on Human Rights seeks to put ethics in on the psychiatrist-lead mental health system.

Drugs and Psychotherapy

The connection between drugs and psychotherapy might not be apparent to some, so let me clarify: People seek therapy usually due to experiencing some “mental problem.” They quite often don’t make this move until they are acutely suffering. Traditionally the therapist talks to the person (now often called “talk therapy”) in the hopes of giving the person some helpful realizations. This sort of therapy is no longer popular; it is not covered by many forms of medical insurance, and it takes a lot of time. So if the talk therapy doesn’t work or is unavailable, drugs are resorted to. Usually some drug can be found that will alleviate the symptoms. It will do nothing about the underlying cause. That means that drugs can “hook” people, because the symptoms return if drug use stops.

So we see drug use as a result of ineffective psychotherapies, as well as lack of access to any therapy other than drugs. Drugs are seen by beginning users as therapeutic, and in the past have often been sold that way. For instance, laudanum – a strong opioid drug – started as a pain relief medicine. So did the modern forms of opium, morphine (still used), heroin and cocaine. To that list add “legitimate” drugs prescribed by psychiatrists, and we see that whole profession falling into the pit of hiding symptoms behind a drug fog, rather than treating root cause. And: As long as they continue to believe that the mind is the brain – a widely disproved misconception – they will continue to fail in their assigned role in society, if they even care what that is.

The result of the failure of psychotherapy to deliver relief where it is most desired has resulted in the current drug situation. The only real solution is to start providing a psychotherapy (or whatever you choose to call it) that really works.

None of the panelists at the event I attended suggested this.

Star Wars episodes 4, 5 and 6

3 April 2016

I never went to see Star Wars in a movie theater when it originally came out. Later, I saw parts of the earlier films (not sure how that happened), and some of the later films, complete. What with a new one recently released, and some talk of it on forums, I thought it was time to add the original three films to my collection, and watch them all the way through.

I found somewhat to my dismay that the original films are not available in digital format; newer sequences have been added (replacing the original ones) in almost all digital releases except for maybe one that is almost impossible to get a copy of. Star Wars devotees have gone so far as to reconstruct digital versions of those movies that are closer to the originals, risking copyright infringement attacks.

I settled for a modern copy – blue-ray plus DVD – from Walmart. Friday night I sat down and watched them, one after another.

Background (per Wikipedia, of course)

The first film in the series, originally entitled just “Star Wars,” was released 25 May 1977. It was created by a man named George Lucas. He was a filmmaker and had already made some other films, but had been working on the Star Wars idea for quite some time. He had always envisioned it as a series, but could only land a contract to make three films. Thus, he modified the story of the first film (the fourth in his series) so that it could stand by itself if it had to. He then sought help from other writers to develop the follow-up screenplays. His first helper was a woman named Leigh Brackett, a legendary science fiction writer who was over 60 when Lucas asked for her help. She had been married to and collaborating with Edmond Hamilton, a man 10 years her senior, since 1946. Hamilton was associated with the editor Farnsworth Wright who worked for Weird Tales magazine, was a Californian born in 1888 and had seen action in World War 1.

How these people got their inspiration for their work and story picks is not much discussed in their online biographies, yet is of interest to me.

But to continue with the background story: Lucas is a Californian from Modesto, about 10 years older than me. After he graduated USC’s School of Cinematic Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (1967) he tried to join the Air Force and then the Army. They turned him down due to disqualifications. He resorted to instructing a documentary cinematography class for the U.S. Navy. I find this fascination with the military odd and unexplained. It has been noted that many artists who began their careers in the 1960s were connected with the military.

Lucas is said to have been influenced by Joseph Campbell, a scholar in comparative religion who in turn was influenced by many noted “modern” thinkers. Lucas has characterized himself as a “Buddhist Methodist” and lives in Marin County, where there is a sizable enclave of successful people from the entertainment industry and related activities.

He ended up being the principle writer on all three of the original films, plus the prequel trilogy, produced much later.

The Story

Superficially, the movies are strictly Space Opera, Buck Rogers style, to a degree approaching camp. [Camp: banality, mediocrity, artifice, ostentation, etc. so extreme as to amuse or have a sophisticated appeal – my dictionary.]

They trace the adventures of one Luke Skywalker, a young man first unaware of his previous political connections, but sympathetic to the cause of the Rebel Alliance, a group opposed to the vicious rule of the Galactic Empire, which has developed a planet-killing weapon known as the Death Star which they hope will quell any remaining resistance. The Alliance has a plan to destroy the Death Star, and Luke ends up being key to its ultimate success.

An extensive string of major and minor additional characters fill the story with an almost unending stream of twists and turns. Ray guns are constantly being fired, space battles regularly occur, and ancient secrets are revealed, as the rebels and their antagonists chase each other through a universe (or galaxy) filled with a huge variety of beings, stars, planets and moons. Superluminal speeds are commonplace!

At the end of the first movie, the Death Star is destroyed, but the evil Darth Vader narrowly escapes the blast. This episode is now entitled “A New Hope.”

In the second episode, “The Empire Strikes Back,” Luke begins his training with Yoda as a Jedi knight, but interrupts it to go out and save his friends. During this episode Luke learns that Vader is his biological father.

The third episode, “Return of the Jedi,” first involves the group’s attempts to rescue Han Solo – a rascal but skilled pilot – from imprisonment, and ends on a moon called Endor, with a huge battle that, at the last minute, allows the rebels to destroy the second version of the Empire’s Death Star, incomplete, but functional. Luke learns that the rebel leader Princess Leia, is his twin sister. At the end there is great rejoicing as the area emerges from a long period of spiritual suppression.

According to the sequel stories, which begin 30 years after this (as all the actors from the original are now 30 years older), a new suppressive group called the First Order has emerged and attempts to gain control of the galaxy. This group is overtly inspired by the Nazis, according to writer/director J.J. Abrams, including the stories that they survived post-WWII in exile at various secret locations.

What I see as the most important theme

Superficially, this is just another epic Space Opera story. Its popularity, which has been almost unprecedented in the history of the film business, could be attributed to its central theme of good versus evil (where good always wins in the end), the skill of its story telling, and the attention paid by its creators to the details of cinematic art and technique.

But we should add a few other factors to the phenomenon of popular appeal: marketing push on the one hand, and on the other, the true depth of the human psyche.

What other films stand high on the list for popularity (by gross earnings)? Gone with the Wind, Avatar, Titanic, The Sound of Music, ET. And by franchise: Marvel (comic book superheros), Harry Potter, James Bond, Middle Earth, followed by many others involving magical powers.

Magic

To me, magic is the key theme in all these popular works.

I have been taught that at one time we were all capable of what today would be called “magic.” It can be broken down into a long list of spiritual abilities.

The appeal of stories involving magic lies, I think, in the abiding – if subconscious – question: Why don’t we have those abilities any more?

Almost all these stories address this question in a similar manner: Magic can be used for good or for evil. And because it can be used for evil, it is best left alone.

Most people, as much as they love these stories, would probably agree with this.

But is it true?

It is possible we are mistaken in some way about this. Star Wars gets as close to any popular story I know of in addressing this issue.

The Force

In Star Wars, the power of “magic” is in The Force. We are introduced to this concept in the scenes involving Luke’s Jedi training. The idea of such a Force is an ancient one, though I am by no means an expert in tracing the idea. However, its name betrays the slant of its namers. Force, in our language, is a physical phenomenon. However, the concept in one of its forms – that used by Frenchman Henri Bergson – élan vital (translated by materialists as “life force”) was translated by Bergson’s English translator as “vital impetus,” which is similar to Hubbard’s idea of a living urge, or an urge to be alive, or the simple essence of Life.

Thus, the whole Jedi concept may be purposely (or unwittingly) misleading. As a being becomes more and more disconnected from himself (or itself), and its own abilities, it will turn to material technologies to make up for its own loss of power. Its only power then becomes the threat of using those technologies on those it wishes to dominate. Those who refuse to be dominated can be exterminated, but that does not kill their love of freedom. Thus, most criminals end up concentrating on ways to substitute the love of freedom with more material attachments.

As the highest-level storytellers, we may suppose, are not interested in the spiritual freedom of their audiences, these films are not meant to help anyone achieve that, but only to “teach lessons.” And the primary lesson is that there is a Dark Side that is very powerful.

LRH has discovered that there is much more to this story than what these movies are showing us. I recommend his work for this and many other reasons.

Monkey in the Middle

1 November 2012

What is the U.S. military really up to?

My article on blogspot… is really the result of my frustration with all the confusing information being spewed out over the internet by people who all supposedly are working towards the truth!

When Gordon Duff wrote an article for Press TV, which he later posted on his own site, Veterans Today, about how the neo-Nazi-Zionist faction of the military was helping the neo-Nazi-Zionists ruin the reputation of the Obama administration so their man would be sure to get elected, I had to make a statement.

The story they are pushing is that people in the Obama administration failed to defend our ambassador in Libya even though they knew he was in danger.

Duff thinks that the group pushing this story is probably the same group responsible for the attack, and a group that wants to create major violence in several places, including the United States, in order to regain an upper hand in the affairs of earth.

What isn’t clear is why they are having such a hard time maintaining their position, though Duff has also recently published an interesting story about a “UFO War” in the Pacific that could have something to do with it.

I invite you to click through to my other blog for more data.