if you require a basic intro on scientology and it's founder L.R. Hubbard, before launching into this more esoteric critique, you might want to peruse some of the references given below.
The central ideological paradigm of Scientology is a sci-fi version of gnostic mythological cosmology and soteriology, simplified, vulgarized and technicized. 'Ye shall be like Gods' in a modern context. Anyone with even a scarce knowledge of comparative religions would have a good laugh reading Hubbard's non-fiction 'work'. I sometimes imagine Eliade or Corbin reading 'Dianetics' and the rest, choking in laughter and swapping dirty jokes, completely exposing Hubbard's amateurish plagiarisms.
Actually Hubbard wouldn't have been able to do anything if he hadn't delved into Crowley's magick and intensified everything he found elsewhere (Tibetan tulpas, Evans-Wentz, David Neel, Gnosticism, Sci-fi, Freud, hypnosis,..) with a personal streak of paranoia. His life trajectory, out-topping Gurdjieff, Rasputin, Crowley, Ichazo, and Idries Shah, is certainly something to ponder on.
In ideological respect, Hubbard was (I think common sense is sufficient - no need for textual analysis or something similar) an original eclectic.'Dianetics' being nothing but a 'do it yourself' incredibly simplified psychoanalysis (plus a few extra sources, particularly regarding vocabulary), has achieved 'quantum leap' with another simplified device, a lie detector for dummies. But- for a complete gnosis, psychology has to be complemented by cosmology and soteriology. Hence, a neo-Gnostic mumbo-jumbo, 'History of Man'. Of course, with sci-fi flavor and unleashed fantasy (body thetans as modern variant of medieval succubi/incubi paranoia). His 'methods' proceed from the 'theoretical' reason. I'm willing to grant him originality in developing particular minutia of his mindbending procedure. Also, his pecuniary enthusiasm founded on the famous Barnum saying commands respect (a tad cynical, I'd say.)
For all the innumerable scandals and all-too-visible mumbo-jumbo, the Church of Scientology is still alive and well. I sometimes ask myself: can this be a grim precursor of New Age religions to be? The Church of Scientology is more than a cult; it is virtually the only sci-fi based and "technologically" (in this context it doesn't matter that the E-Meter is primitive ) oriented "religion" in post WW2 era. They are a quasi-gnostic Mafia, armed with paranoia and receptiveness towards new technologies. Others, from Shirley Maclaine, Reiki etc. are just impotent and give or take, old fashioned ( "try to concentrate, please", "healing the earth",..). Briefly: Hubbardites are "tuned" with modern age-technology, power, greed, instant salvation, atheism, secret society mystique and appeal, ..."Ye shall be Gods".
|Selected Scientology Links
There are literally hundreds of thousands of scientology links on the Web (when putting up this page (Feb 2000) I typed the query "scientology" into Alta Vista, which came back with a tad over half a million hits!). The following is intended as only a small selection.
Scientology Home Page - the official web site for the Scientology organisation
The Church of Scientology - the best most unbiased coverage you will find - includes annoitated list of links to pro-, anti-, and unbiased scientology sites and pages - part of the Religious Movements at the University of Virginia Web site
Scientology - basically sympathetic, without actually believing. - by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Bare-Faced Messiah, by Russell Miller - complete text of the famous critical biography of L. Ron Hubbard is available for reading on-line or download
Articles on Scientology by others - superb list of annoitated links exposing scientology - by Karin Spaink, who's courageous site was blocked by the Scientology censor program.
Possible origins for Dianetics and Scientology by Jon Atack - shows where Hubbard got all his scientology ideas
Hubbard and the Occult - Jon Atack - a very interesting article that shows how Hubbard was very much influenced by Aleister Crowley's ideas.