The Dim-Post

November 18, 2013

Very good sentences

Filed under: books,religion — danylmc @ 3:37 pm

I’ve been reading Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear, a history of Scientology:

Every church or mission maintains an office for the day Hubbard returns. A pen and a yellow legal pad await him at each of his desks. His personal bathrooms have toothbrushes and identical sets of Thom McAn sandals beside the shower. On Gold Base, his modest original house was razed and replaced with a $10 million mansion. A full-time staff attends the empty residence, regularly laundering the founder’s clothes and keeping the house ready for his white-glove inspection. His vehicles are still in the garage, gassed up, with the keys in the ignition. On his nightstand is a Louis L’Amour novel, with a bookmark placed midway through. The dining table is set for one.

Meanwhile, in Wellington, the VUW library has an impressive collection of Hubbard’s books, all hardback with high quality paper and glossy full-color prints. I assume they were donated by the Church of Scientology. Each book has many small cards tucked inside it in between the pages urging the reader to contact the Church directly. I’m guessing a member of the Church pops in from time to time to replace them.

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29 Comments »

  1. Scientology was apparently largely copied from Aleister Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis, which was in turn cribbed from Freemasonry. You probably knew that.

    Comment by richdrich — November 18, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

  2. I wonder which Louis L’Amour novel it is ?

    Comment by Brent Jackson — November 18, 2013 @ 4:12 pm

  3. Tip for the VUW library: you don’t actually have to put donated books in the collection. That shelf space costs money…

    Comment by Psycho Milt — November 18, 2013 @ 7:30 pm

  4. Wellington City Library still holds a book written by Nicolae Ceacescu’s brother and donated by the Romanian embassy in the 1980s.

    Comment by Hugh — November 18, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

  5. With Tom Cruise as a devoted disciple it is a wonder that Alan hasn,t already returned to cash in on the fame and fortune.

    Comment by bosun — November 18, 2013 @ 8:30 pm

  6. I read Dianetics when I became interested in Scientology back in the 90s while trying to overcome morning sickness. Any possible appeal of this religion came to a rather sudden end when I the book explained that having an orgasim while pregnant would harm the baby (obviously it was ok if you were the male partner).

    Comment by K — November 19, 2013 @ 8:25 am

  7. I read Dianetics when I became interested in Scientology back in the 90s while trying to overcome morning sickness.

    It’s been known for a while that Buddhism cures the clap.

    Comment by Gregor W — November 19, 2013 @ 9:49 am

  8. It’s been known for a while that Buddhism cures the clap.

    Even the one-handed version?

    Comment by Joe W — November 19, 2013 @ 9:52 am

  9. Each book has many small cards tucked inside it in between the pages urging the reader to contact the Church directly.

    But do they put the same cards inside DVD copies of Battlefield Earth and After Earth?

    Comment by Auto_Immune — November 19, 2013 @ 10:41 am

  10. 5. @bosun

    I did not know that L. Ron and Allan were related…?

    Comment by PPCM — November 19, 2013 @ 3:11 pm

  11. Lawrence Wright’s book should be in the fiction section: plenty of imagination there. When L, Ron Hubbbard was supervising the religious work of the church directly, an office was maintained for him in every Church of Scientology. Today such offices continue to be maintained simply out of respect for him. That’s all.

    Comment by Zinnia Andrews — November 19, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

  12. This post made me look up L. Ron Hubbard. His assessment as a commanding officer is a doozy! As a full on 19th century Naval buff I have read my fair share of dusty Victorian reports on the suitability (or otherwise) of officers to command one of HM’s ships. Take it from me, being assessed as “…”lacking in the essential qualities of judgment, leadership and cooperation…” is basically Navy talk for “who the hell gave this crazy guy a ship????”.

    But the thing I object to most is L. Ron Hubbard’s thoroughly objectionable made up words. They are terrible. “Dianetics” and “scientology” has none of the mirthful charm of Mr. Carolls “chortle” and “scientology” holds out none of the starchy promise of “Pastafarianism”. And let’s not start on the majestic imprimatur of the landships committee’s “tank”, which if not a made up word is still at least probably the best re-purposing of a word in the English language in the past two centuries.

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 20, 2013 @ 7:37 am

  13. Sanctuary, your fetishisation of the 19th century navy, a thoroughly hierarchical organisation created to serve a parasitic ruling class that enforced its tyranny with violence and bullying, is truly digusting to me, and a sure sign of your underlying authoritarian tendencies.

    Comment by Hugh — November 20, 2013 @ 7:48 am

  14. Never argue with an expert about their hobby Hugh, it just makes them think your comments are born in ignorance and stated with the certitude of the stupid.

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 20, 2013 @ 8:04 am

  15. 1) Your expertise is self-proclaimed.
    2) My hobby is politics, does that mean you shouldn’t argue with me about it?
    3) Are you saying the 19th century navy wasn’t a hierarchical institution designed to prop up an aristocratic elite?
    4) You’ve denounced people for far less.

    Comment by Hugh — November 20, 2013 @ 8:40 am

  16. “Today such offices continue to be maintained simply out of respect for him. That’s all.”

    Do we have our own Scientology astroturfer here?

    Comment by Chris Bull — November 20, 2013 @ 8:53 am

  17. we all know of Nelson’s famous “England expects” signal at Trafalgar. What is less known is Nelson only made one more signal to his fleet after that, around anchoring after the action, and thereafter left decisions trivial and large about the prosecution of the general engagement in the safe hands of his famous “band of brothers”. In other words, Nelson ran the most decentralised fleet imaginable, where his commanders where trusted to make good decisions and play what was in front of them and where it thought unnecessary, impractical and undesirable to have a centralised command structure in a fast-evolving combat situation where agile organisation is required to make quick decisions.

    Now, Nelson’s famous signal was made possible by Sir Home Riggs Popham’s recent invention of the first scientific flag signalling system, and in that lay the seeds of the application of scientific principles and technological “solutions” to general steam-powered fleet evolutions that led to the RN’s abysmal performance at Jutland 111 years after Trafalgar. The Victorian rejection of scientific analysis of actual combat in favour of authoritarian responses which reinforced existing class hierarchies whilst at the same time embracing technological innovations as justification for increasing centralisation, combined with a mystical nationalistic belief in the ability of sheer willpower to overcome complex problems and sophisticated weapons saw the elevation of Nelson to the status of a proto-God genius-hero stripped of unpalatable context and a Navy that was technologically equipped with ships able to fight on into the age of the atomic bomb but with a leadership structure unsuitable for warfare in the 18th century, let alone the 20th. This combination of social stasis, authoritarian decadence, nationalistic ferment and rapid technological innovation was common across all of Europe and provides the context for the reasons why the Great War was such a catastrophe.

    Studying this interplay of factors is not, as you would contend, indicative of authoritarian tendencies, but rather one which can still provide timely lessons and warning as to the perils of the centralisation of power to a tiny and remote elite, and an the obsession with technological solutions to human problems.

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 20, 2013 @ 8:54 am

  18. Sanc, you’re missing the big picture. The Navy existed to defend the British Empire and serve the interests of the British bourgeoisie. The British Empire was an aristocratic, imperialist and racist institution.

    The fact that it may have had an egalitarian internal culture is besides the point.

    You have in the past advocated that New Zealand disband its professional military and use a volunteer militia for self defense. Why do you feel that the UK in the 19th century couldn’t have done the same thing?

    Comment by Hugh — November 20, 2013 @ 8:58 am

  19. I read Dianetics when I became interested in Scientology back in the 90s while trying to overcome morning sickness. Any possible appeal of this religion came to a rather sudden end when I the book explained that having an orgasim while pregnant would harm the baby (obviously it was ok if you were the male partner).

    Yeah. People tend to focus on the Xenu, sci-fi stuff, but the core tenets of Scientology seem more focused on (stuff like) Hubbard’s very weird ideas about pregnancy: he felt that most mother’s attempt to abort their children dozens of times, using coathangers etc, and that these events imprint themselves on the foetus and cause psychological problems later in life. His books are pretty strange: he writes in an endearing mixture of 1950s slang and pseudo-scientific gibberish. ‘This one dame had an engram blocking her thetan and willickers it knocked her on her kaboodle!’

    Comment by danylmc — November 20, 2013 @ 9:22 am

  20. I am missing your point Hugh because you don’t have one. By your logic, Sir ian Kershaw must have tendencies towards being a Nazi, a rather odd conclusion.

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 20, 2013 @ 9:45 am

  21. ban hugh, ban sanctuary

    Comment by Trouble Man — November 20, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

  22. As I say Sanc, you’ve denounced people for similarly trivial reasons.

    Comment by Hugh — November 21, 2013 @ 8:25 am

  23. Anyway, getting back on topic – Lawrence Wright is a finalist for the Nonfiction National Book Award in the USA. here is an interview from NPR with him from last January.

    http://www.npr.org/2013/01/24/170010096/going-clear-a-new-book-delves-into-scientology?utm_content=socialflow&utm_campaign=nprfacebook&utm_source=npr&utm_medium=facebook

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 21, 2013 @ 9:52 am

  24. Hugh and Sanc are clearly ‘plants’ placed here by the Church of Scientology to distract us from the awful truth with their playfully flirtatious Beatrice-and-Benedickishness. The pair of them have got some serious thetan engrams going on. Probably.

    Comment by Higgs Boatswain — November 21, 2013 @ 2:24 pm

  25. Hey, I don’t many platforms for my hobby. my friends long ago learnt not to bring the topic up and the trapped canary committed suicide. Any port in a storm will do.

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 21, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

  26. You should just find one of those Richard O’Brien fan forums, Sanc.

    Comment by Hugh — November 21, 2013 @ 10:54 pm

  27. Oh don’t be such a crashing bore Hugh, it’s Friday! Time for an ale or two, after the seeing off of troublesome work.

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 22, 2013 @ 7:23 am

  28. We can’t all be as happy go lucky and easygoing as you, Sanc

    Comment by Hugh — November 22, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

  29. :(

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 22, 2013 @ 5:02 pm


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