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How to study Scientology

2009-11-08

The article “How to study Scientology” (Ability Magazine, Feb 1959) may very well be my second favorite piece by L. Ron Hubbard. It forms a basis for the study of the subject, ensuring personal integrity is maintained as one embarks upon the adventure of self. I only wish the article was in the beginning of every course offered. And yes, before even the policy “Keeping Scientology Working”.

Let’s dive into the issue a bit. In the first paragraph, LRH states:

He should, before he starts to discuss, criticize or attempt to improve on the data presented to him, find out for himself whether or not the mechanics of Scientology are as stated, and whether or not it does what has been proposed for it.

In the article, Ron stresses how important it is for the student of Scientology to really find out for himself what is true for him – and not accept anything because “authority said so”. He goes on:

There are two ways Man ordinarily accepts things, neither of them very good. One is to accept a statement because Authority says it is true and must be accepted, and the other is by preponderance of agreement amongst other people.

The stress is on your own personal observations and your own personal integrity; Daring to observe, daring to make up your own mind and draw your own conclusions:

Data is your data only so long as you have evaluated it. It is your data by authority or it is your data. If it is your data by authority, somebody has forced it upon you, and at best it is little more than a light aberration. Of course, if you asked a question of a man whom you thought knew his business and he gave you his answer, that datum was not forced upon you. But if you went away from him believing from then on that such a datum existed without taking the trouble to investigate the answer for yourself—without comparing it to the known universe—you were falling short of completing the cycle of learning.

The first sentence in the paragraph above could be a real wake-up call for some people. If you accept data without personal inspection, you become aberrated. If you accept Scientology without making sure it is true for you, you will become more aberrated. I have done seminars to scientologists on this issue and have gotten a few “Oh, shit!” on this point.

LRH gives several examples in the article of accepting data without personal inspection and how awry that may go. There is no shortage of invitation for personal integrity in this article:

Any quarrel you may have with theory is something that only you can resolve. Is the theory correct, or isn’t it correct? Only you can answer that; it cannot be answered for you.

And Ron continues his challenge of authoritarianism:

Authoritarianism is little more than a form of hypnotism. Learning is forced under threat of some form of punishment.

This sounds like the present Church of Scientology. Quite opposite to what Ron asks of a student of Scientology:

You are asked to examine the subject of Scientology on a critical basis—a very critical basis.

Most scientologists I have asked to read the sentence above goes into some kind of confusion right there. No need to be confused as critical thinking is of course needed to uphold your personal integrity.

So then we ask you to look at Scientology, study it, question it, and use it as we present it and you will have discovered something for yourself. And in so doing you might well discover a lot more.

And you should of course be able to reject any part of Scientology you do not find is correct upon thorough examination:

When you have applied it as it should be, and applied as it is taught at the school, and still find it unworkable, it is your privilege to question it and, if you like, reject it.

If you are true to yourself, you cannot help doing good.

Cross-posted to scnforum.org for discussion.

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