People who have never had any experience with Scientology have this idea that it is all a scam and a fraud. They have read of some of the more bizarre bits of Scientology and that conclusion is unavoidable. They assume, because some of the “tech” is fraudulent, all of it is fraudulent.
This is the other side of the coin that Scientologists believe. They have experienced improvement from some of the tech, and they assume that all of the tech is good.
This makes it difficult for critics with no Scientology experience, to understand, let alone talk to, the Scientologist. And I think it is important to be able to talk to Scientologists. How else can you help them escape?
It is important to understand that some of the tech actually works for some people. You can’t get anywhere trying to tell a Scientologist that “the tech doesn’t work”. They “know it does!”
Anyone who was roped into Scientology will tell you that it was the “workable” stuff that got them in. That’s part of the trap. Which is workable, and how much, is quite subjective.
But here is one of the conundrums of Scientology: its workability. Using anecdotal evidence, it is clear that some of Scientology techniques work for some people. Further, it is clear that some of the technology is more broadly workable, and other bits have, to put it mildly, less workability.
The mystery is that Hubbard seems to have been able to produce some workable techniques at one time, but seems to wander off into strange, unworkable, bizarre stuff at other times.
Was he a genius? Or a fraud?
He couldn’t be both. Or could he?
Here I get into personal opinion, but I think it explains a lot. I think he was both. I see his primary genius as his ability to attract smart people to his cause, allow them to develop techniques that actually worked, and then take credit for it all.
In the early days of Dianetics, and then Scientology, there was a tremendous amount of give-and-take. A ton of trying and failing and trying again. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of people were in contact with Hubbard, trying his techniques, reporting results, altering things, thinking up new things. They said “I tried this, it didn’t work. I tried that and it did work. Have you thought about doing …?”
Hubbard compiled it all. His notes and files are gone, but it seems quite obvious to me that he used all this work, research and inventiveness from all these people, and picked out what was reported to work. It was a “wisdom of crowds” effort. He was the catalyst, but it wasn’t, really, his tech although he took full credit for all of it.
And a lot of that early stuff is pretty workable.
You see the same situation cropping up occasionally in the later tech. Other people work out some techniques that seem to work, and Hubbard took the credit and issued it over his name.
On the other hand, you also see bits of technology that seem to be solely Hubbard’s case, strange things that don’t seem to work on others–but pushed by Hubbard as “very important”.
I think this explains why some of the Scientology techniques seem rather grounded and workable for a number of people, and other Scientology techniques are so strange and generally unworkable. Early on, Hubbard was smart enough to use the “wisdom of crowds” and was humbug enough to take all the credit. But later, when he tried to develop stuff on his own, he didn’t do so well.
Both genius and fraud. I could be wrong, but that’s my theory.
And, of course, this is the problem with Scientology. You can’t just take some part that works for you, you have to buy the whole wagon load of stuff–workable mixed in with crap. And you’re supposed to pretend it all works.
When you have a wagon load of anything mixed with crap — it all smells like crap.
I should point out that, to my knowledge, pretty much all of the administrative policies were written solely by Hubbard. All of the “Ethics” policies were Hubbard’s alone.
This explains why the administration, especially the management, of Scientology is so abusive, so paranoid, so truly unworkable and, well, horrible. Hubbard was not smart enough to listen to others on these subjects. No “wisdom of crowds” in any of that stuff. And it shows.