There is a marketing phrase, “selling the invisible”, used to describe the challenge faced by advertising to sell potential customers on the “sizzle” instead of (or in addition to) the steak.
But that’s not what I’m referring to when it comes to Scientology’s selling of the invisible.
What I’m referring to is the amazing marketing success of L. Ron Hubbard and his Dianetics/Scientology organization in selling something that may not exist at all.
I don’t want to get into an argument about the validity of Scientology, since that is a matter of belief, I only want to point out this amazing fact: There is, and never has been, any actual, valid evidence that Hubbard’s “Reactive Mind” exists. It cannot be detected by any physical means. It cannot be measured, weighed or tested.
And yet Hubbard sold it quite lucratively for many, many years and his Church of Scientology continues to sell it to this day.
Hubbard said, “You have this very, very evil, horrible thing attached to you that is the cause of all your problems. You can’t see it. No one has ever seen it or detected it, but it is there and it is very evil. Pay my organization a lot of money and we will get rid of it for you.”
And then, after tens thousands of dollars and many months, or even years, of “auditing”, the Scientology organization declares: “We did it! Your Reactive Mind is now gone! Congratulations! You are ‘Clear’!”
What is the difference between having something you can’t detect at all and not having it? Apparently, tens of thousands of dollars.
Whether it is true or not, the miraculous thing is, how the heck do they sell that? This truly is the ultimate in “selling the invisible”.
I have spoken to many “Clears” after they have left Scientology and have recovered from the Scientology thought control, and every single one of them has confessed that they felt no significant difference after they were “declared Clear”.
And yet, most of them were happy to continue on “up the Bridge”. I know I was.
“But,” as they say on TV, “that’s not all!”
After Scientology has gotten rid of this invisible, undetectable thing, what else is there?
Amazingly, but not surprisingly, it turns out there are a lot more invisible, undetectable things that you need to get rid of.
Sure, there is no physical evidence that these things exist. Sure, there is no way to measure, test or validate their existence — but they are there and only Scientology can get rid of them — if you give them much more money and spend much more time getting auditing.
And quite a number of people buy that.
And, after much, much money — now hundreds of thousands of dollars — and many years, Scientology finally declares, “We did it! All those bad things are now gone! Congratulations! You are ‘OT VII’!”
And all these “OT VIIs” and “OT VIIIs” look and act just like everyone else. They aren’t demonstrating any amazing successes or powers. They aren’t demonstrating great changes. Again, I’ve talked to a number of “OT VIIs” after they have left Scientology and they confess that things aren’t that different.
Even current True Believers only claim vague gains, “My life has changed,” “I’m better,” — the kind of “improvements” reported by any and all religions and self-improvement technologies.
What do you want to bet that, if David Miscavige decides to create some OT levels above OT VIII, that it involves some newly discovered, undetectable, invisible things that only Miscavige knows about and you just have to get rid of?
Hubbard, and Scientology, do an amazing and, some would say, an impossible job of selling invisible things. There is no evidence that any of these things exist. There is no evidence that these things have been removed. And there is no indication that the “removal” of these things made any noticeable difference. And yet the Church of Scientology rakes in millions and millions selling these invisible, undetectable “results”.
There are, I am sure, many sales people who would love to know how to do that. It is a truly amazing sales miracle.