Posts Tagged ‘Scientology’

Death Wish

31 August 2020

References:

Lecture of 24 Nov 1953, afternoon.

Eric Metaxas interviews Mallory Millett about her death experience.

Documentary: How Video Games Changed the World

Boredom, frustration, and the desire for a new game

Most have been explaining what has been going on in our world in terms of political upheaval. Well, that’s true. But what underlies this? How is this tied in with human nature?

One answer lies in the subject of games, and how beings feel about games. Beings, down deep, love fast, hot games. Beings, down deep, are easily bored and feel suppressed by the sameness of routine, or of some sort of long drawn out struggle. Beings, down deep, like to be able to get out of a game, or end a game (for themselves) as much as they like to start games or play games. Beings, down deep, enjoy novelty and challenge and momentary flashes of beauty.

Current scene

The game of life on Earth right now is, frankly, boring to the point of inducing sleep. Years in school, followed by years in a job that really isn’t that challenging or interesting, years of striving to keep things the way they always have been, all wears thin if you’re the second, third or fourth generation playing this game. It’s time for something new, something different.

The “old fashioned” way to leave an undesirable game is to “drop the mockup” (otherwise known as dying). Dying is a bit of a game in itself, as the body sort of likes to drag it out, and all your friends and family and community really don’t enjoy the messiness and suddenness of it very much. But that’s always been the basic way to get out, to leave, to find something more fun, more interesting, more beautiful, or just different, to do.

The crime of dying

But here in a society like ours, dying is a crime. It’s illegal, and of course, killing someone else is highly illegal, and should be, since that’s ending their game without their permission. The only “legal” way to die is to get in harm’s way and hope it happens. This is the tradition of the soldier, and of the revolutionary.

When Mallory Millett told Eric Metaxas how much better she felt out of body, with all her perceptions fully turned on, without the body dragging her down, he reacted rather poorly to the whole idea. He is having fun here on Earth playing the game he’s playing. And she, giving birth to her baby, but also tired of her life and the demands it placed on her, was having absolutely no fun at all. Death, for her, was glorious, and she didn’t want to go back. But in this place at this time, you always have to go back. If your body can still support life, you’ll get a little message “it’s not your time yet” and be sent back. And if your body is beyond repair, you’ll be given the once-over to make sure you forget what you really are and what you really want, and then you will get sent back to Earth to pick up a newborn baby. You’re lucky if you get to choose which one.

Improving the game on Earth

So, going out and flinging yourself off a rooftop, or getting involved in a war or a riot, won’t do the trick. You’ll end up back here stuck in a game very much like the one you were trying to exit.

Improving the game involves, mostly, improving your ability to create games and play games. Improving your ability to become the Evel Knievel of your own life (a famous motorcycle stunt man, for any that don’t know).

This involves restoring more of your innate spiritual abilities, such as the ability to go exterior with full perceptions without dying. Unfortunately, the guys in charge down here (as well as the ones in charge up there – same guys, more or less) don’t like this. They hope that they can make you dull-headed enough to play along with their game of assembly line manufacturing and intergalactic trade (or whatever they’re doing). Well, maybe they find that fun, but why at your expense? They can get robots to do that stuff. Why try to turn you into a robot?

Truth is, those guys are stuck in an old pattern that they are probably bored with as well. In any case, they don’t have the right to impose their game on you. But if you are going to escape that fate, then you are going to have to go “up scale” until you can provide yourself with a game you like which your environment (the old guys) can tolerate, until you get around to handling their considerations about how precious their games are compared to yours.

And that’s the way to improve the game without going through the knee-jerk reaction of death. I can sympathize with the death wish, but death doesn’t work any more. Luckily for us, there is an alternative.

Personality Disorders

3 July 2020

This might serve as a starting point for anyone interested in digging into the mental health situation on Earth. It is illustrated with some of my artwork from when I was in high school.

block man

I very recently learned that “personality disorders” (the current agreed-on psychological term) are considered different from “mental disorders or illnesses.” It appears the academics started working on prying apart these concepts in the 1970s. It became codified in 1980 with the third version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (don’t ask me why they call it that!).

It is clear that someone put a lot of thought into this DSM and these distinctions. I’m not clear who exactly, but there were a lot of different working groups for different sections of the manual.

Those of us who work with CCHR have always taken a dim view of the DSM. It seemed like basically just a slick-looking method for assigning billing numbers to thousands of different possible conditions so that doctors would be sure to get their insurance payments. And it is. But the “profession” takes this stuff seriously, so perhaps there is some slight interest in real human life reflected in this book.

In any case, the distinction is pretty clear: Personality Disorders are chronic conditions that usually seem “normal” to those afflicted by them, and are very difficult to treat, while Mental Illnesses are “acute” (temporary) conditions that usually bother those they afflict, and are easier to treat.

elastic neck man, about 1980

Treatable

A “treatable” condition seems to be any condition where you can give a person a pill for it (it doesn’t even have to have any real medicine in it), and the patient gets better. Of course, there are also procedures called “therapy.” Care workers still use various psychotherapies as treatments for some conditions. A similar rule applies. People tend to “get better.”

Now, I just want to point out something. And this applies to any kind of illness, really. If a person has an unwanted condition, seeks help for it, and gets some form of help, then that really sets things up for the person to get better.

Why can’t you do the same for the conditions called Personality Disorders? Because the person doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with him!

Former patients and the anti-psych movement

When you get involved in work aimed at reforming the mental health system, you will probably run into former psychiatric patients and the anti-psychiatry movement. Not all former patients are anti-psych. And not only patients are anti-psych. There are even some psychiatrists who could be considered anti-psych!

But most of these patients have been badly abused, and this is very common in the system. Most mental health workers are trained to see any patient antagonism as a sign that the person really is crazy. This is very poor training, and it results in abuse. That can go all the way up to killing the person.

So you get all sorts of people thrust into the system who don’t want to be there. And of course, that sets them up to not get better. Particularly in cases where there was nothing really wrong in the first place. They are kept too long; they are abused. So the ones that survive come out wanting to have absolutely nothing to do with the system. A lot of them think the whole idea of “mental illness” is just a con game put over on the general public by psychiatry.

Well, some of those psychs – I am very sure of this – think it’s a con game, too, and they act that way. On the other hand, there are some people who run into problems and want some help. You have to use some sort of wording to describe what they are complaining about. So we call it “mental illness.”

Beyond that, you have the people with disordered personalities.

drawing - Andrew at a corner

Personality Disorders and crime

The most recent research available indicates that about ten percent of the population test positive for some sort of personality disorder. And while some of these are a bit disturbing, one of them stands out as the problem disorder: Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). ASPD has also been known as “the criminal mind,” and people with it have also been called “sociopaths” or “functional psychopaths.” The same article I read that gives this 10% figure (Wikipedia, Epidemiology section) also states that the figure for ASPD might be about 2.5%. Other studies, however, say it’s about three times that, at least in the U.S. (that’s possible, I suppose).

There are a few studies that have been done on criminal populations (people in prison). The results of these indicate that about half to two-thirds of people in prison test positive for ASPD. In other words, this condition is the one that makes criminals. If you read its characteristics, you’ll see why. But the point is, even 2.5% of 8 billion people is 200 million people. We only have about 10 million people locked up, so a lot of these folks are running around doing stuff.

Some people consider this one of the biggest challenges facing this planet, both today and in the long run. I tend to agree. Especially when you consider (because we know it is true) that some of these people occupy positions of power and influence in society, including in our “mental health” system!

This is the Ethics side of the situation on Earth, and I have written about it many times. Realize that we can make people who are sick and want to get better well, but they’ll just turn around and get sick again as long as we have the true generators of sickness and ill-health – the anti-socials – out of control and running all over the place. This is true of any human activity, any human technology. Cell phones, computers, automobiles, jet planes, tall buildings, guns, missiles, bombs and soy sauce. Any of these activities or technologies will eventually become ruined and useless if we leave the anti-socials free to run around messing things up.

The psych response to the problem

This is the other point I want to make. Personality disorders, and ASPD in particular, are very difficult to treat. Basically, they are impossible to treat in the current system. Yet they are absolutely the most important disorders to treat! So we see the psych-run “mental health” system dumping their hat (shirking their responsibility to do their jobs) because they don’t know how to do the most important part, which is to handle ASPD, or if they do, they don’t think they can make good money doing it.

There is a whole movement to get people with mental health problems out of jails and into the mental health system. Well, that’s great, but what is the mental health system going to do with them? They don’t know how to treat personality disorders! So you might as well keep them in prison until someone figures this out.

My church’s position on crime

One of the main goals of our religion is to abolish crime on this planet. Hubbard was able to solve some criminal cases before 1950. But he didn’t want the church involved with prisons, governments and all that. He did, however, figure out a lot of good ways to change dishonest people into honest people. Church volunteers (and some paid staff) deliver these programs to prisoners all over the world, with excellent results. So we know this is a treatable problem.

The anti-social personality has infected all aspects of life with his lies and invalidation. To truly free ourselves from that influence, massive reforms in education, government, the criminal justice system, as well as business, law and medicine, would be needed. We stand ready to assist with this in any way we can.

The Human Condition

12 June 2020

I’m reading too much.

The main thing that bothers me about it is that when I read I tend to eat more. When I work on electronics projects I don’t eat as much.

But I thought it was important to get an idea of what is on the minds of the thinkers and dreamers of the world, and so I read.

Writers of the Future Online Workshop

In an attempt to keep the momentum going for the Writers (and Illustrators) of the Future Contest, the contest organizers decided to create an online version of the workshop that they give to the (mostly) young writers who usually (but not this year) participate in the annual awards ceremony in Hollywood in April.

I know someone connected with the contest and they told me about the free workshop, so I took it. Today I “graduated” the workshop.

It’s a somewhat unsettling story, should you choose to read it. Very short, and not framed as a real story, but as a one-way conversation.

New Ideas, Old Ideas

The various articles and videos I read and watched today started with a “google” search (I don’t use Google, currently using SwissCows) for some subject that was bothering me the day before.

One of the first videos I came up with was set in a little county library auditorium in Minnesota full of retired white people being lectured to by a black woman from nearby Macalester College about the impact of integration on educational outcomes for people of color.

The next video I watched (don’t hold me to this exact sequence) was given years earlier to a group of very educated people at the University of California Berkeley by a woman named Nell Painter about the long and convoluted history of the word “Caucasian.” The Caucasians were a light-skinned group of people used as sex slaves in both Europe and Persia until political changes gradually closed those trade routes around the 1700s.

After watching that, I was attracted to a paid add on YouTube’s website about “understanding the human condition.” This led me to a recently-crafted website out of Australia featuring a biologist by the name of Jeremy Griffith who has been working on promoting his theory since 1983. To be brief, Griffith believes that the development of consciousness in Man made possible by a greatly enhanced nervous system, led people to question the validity of their inherited instincts. This, he said, has led to a psychological pathology (psychosis) that can only be resolved through new understandings brought to us by recent research in the field of biology.

It is an enormously hopeful viewpoint, and in many ways quite true, though various theoretical details, clearly, are incorrect. Griffith looks forward to a future in which the current political clashes between the Left and the Right will resolve, and people will begin to live in peace and harmony, free of the psychosis that they had to endure in order to become civilized animals.

Next, after doing some cooking and checking my emails, I found a wide variety of articles being suggested to me by Pocket (a kind of news service used by the Firefox browser) of interest.

Foreign Policy magazine was writing about a new type of multinational corporation that is successfully evading Western attempts to prevent corporate abuse of power in the developing world (where corrupt practices are often endemic).

A whole series of writings was offered on the subject of “abolition,” in this case, the abolition of the prison system of “crime prevention.” Of course, I am painfully aware (I had a pen pal who was a prisoner when I was a teenager in high school) that prisons are not there to prevent crime. Neither are the police. They are there to keep the poor in their place, for lack of a kinder way to state it. They should be there to deter real crime. But real crime is too crazy for most police or justice systems to confront.

These articles included a review of what happened in Camden New Jersey after they disbanded and then re-created their police department in 2013. I am currently studying a lecture series given by Mr. Hubbard in Camden in 1953. We also have a very strong Truth About Drugs activist, Michael DeLeon, who grew up in Camden. (Camden is directly across from Philadelphia.)

Then I stopped by an article from The Atlantic about how we started measuring everything we did as humans using money (or “cost”) around the time of the Civil War. It didn’t attach this trend to the sudden increase of influence in the U.S. of foreign bankers (and their accounting systems) around that time. But I do. It was described as the creeping advance of capitalism in America, which is the Left’s way to say the same thing.

Then I read an article by science writer Tim Requarth entitled: Why Do So Many Researchers Still Treat Race as a Scientific Concept? It is essentially a review of a recent book by journalist Angela Saini. In the book and the article, it went over certain fundamentals of “race” that I would summarize this way: The human genome has something on the order of 50,000 genes, depending on exactly how you count them. Of these, 4 or 5 were recently found to be involved with the shape of the nose. Probably that many, or fewer, determine skin pigmentation. Humans are 99.5% genetically identical, and out of the genes that are different, only a handful have anything to do with outward appearance. Therefore, there is absolutely no valid scientific reason to connect race (outward appearance) with genetics, biology or medical outcomes.

The only valid-sounding exception I have ever heard involves the fact that the rate of Vitamin D production in the body is somewhat related to density of skin pigmentation. But you can’t tell that by asking for a “race” label. You have to look at the individual. There is also the example of sickle cell diseases. However, you have to get tested for it. Though it seems to have been an adaptation to survive malaria in Africa, it could be passed on to anyone through genetics.

Though many interesting “disorders” have been linked to gene expression, most of them are quite rare.

What really makes people sick

In my acquired understanding of the human condition, sickness exists as a spectrum of disorders starting just below the level of perfect, radiant health all the way down to, and including, death. You can even postulate human conditions lower than death, since the personality survives death, and thus can get some very strange ideas about “life.”

Though it may be an over-simplification to state that all these disorders are caused, basically, by the same thing, it is a simplification worth considering. That one thing is “suppression.”

Suppression could be defined here as life’s own desire to end its involvement in the game of life.

trapped

That’s a sloppy definition but will serve for this discussion.

Suppression has many vectors of attack. One includes pathogens (germs). Another involves self-defeating personal attitudes. And another involves attempts by others to lessen you or your ability to survive.

These can interact. Thus, the ill-wishes of another, acted out in your vicinity, can make you sick. If there is a pathogen in your environment, you become more likely to fall victim to it if you are under suppression. This explains a lot.

This is why I object to the MDs telling me that I can only “stay well” by wearing a mask and gloves. It’s not that this advice is totally ridiculous. It’s only that this broader concept of sickness has been known about since 1950, and was fully backed up by workable technologies (or “treatments”) by 1965. Yet MDs (and most others) continue to talk and act like Hubbard never existed, never discovered what he discovered, never taught his students to use it, and never tried to tell the world about it. He did!

In this way, I share my exasperation with Jeremy Griffith. You can see it in all his videos. He has been roundly reviled in his own country for his utopian dream of a better world. Well, since when was that something to revile people over? Why shouldn’t we all dream for better times? Just because they are hard to attain doesn’t mean they aren’t worth dreaming of.

Likewise, if “the Left” were to embrace the finding that the personality never dies, they would discover behind that some truths that bind all people to each other and to their environments, and to a shared future. They would begin to understand why human rights are so longed-for yet so difficult to make real. They might start to make some wiser decisions and some wiser proposals. We have already tried, I am told, offering our ideas to the Right. Though this may be an ongoing effort, I see no sign of progress, really, at this point.

In the context of the eternal personality, the “importance” of outward appearance dies a swift death. The concept of YOLO becomes painfully hilarious. The theories of psychiatry, of course, completely shatter. And the true range of future possibilities becomes vast. I invite my patient readers to consider the possibility that it could be so…

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Things went fine. We made some new friends.

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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.

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.