A Silent Atheist Inside Scientology VI

0

The Way to Happiness

In this post in the series on Scientology we take a look at a booklet on morality that was also written by LRH. From it we may learn more on the thinking beneath Scientology and learn how this is just another way for Scientology to insert itself into the classrooms.

Certificate for Hailaga having completed the Way to Happiness course.
One could off-course question the value of a certificate you must print yourself.

Entirely separate yet still listed as one of the Pastoral works of Scientology is the foundation of The Way To Happiness. This ‘foundation’ is entirely focussed on the distribution of the ‘book’ (80p., 21 full-page drawings) The Way To Happiness.

This booklet describes itself as: “This may be the first nonreligious moral code based wholly on common sense. It was written by L. Ron Hubbard as an individual work and is not part of any religious doctrine. Any reprinting or individual distribution of it does not infer connection with or sponsorship of any religious organization. It is therefore admissible for government departments and employees to distribute it as a nonreligious activity.”

The booklet is available in pdf form in English but it can be ordered in a dozen languages. Even better, teachers can get free teaching packages which include 40 free copies of the booklet. The downloadable example zip-folder includes a word-dictionary (so you don’t need to doubt what is meant), a questionnaire for the teacher and for the pupil, a problem-solution exercise, a worksheet, an essay form and both the black-grey and colour version of a student certificate form to be printed and filled out by the teacher.

Dutch disclaimer on TWTH website
Dutch version of the website tells teachers that their request will be treated with discretion.

When choosing the Dutch version of the site an additional comment is visible: ‘on ordering this package for my pupils the foundation commits to discretion and won’t disclose my identity to third parties’. One could question why a teacher would not want to be found out regarding certain the materials he/she teaches to 12-year olds. Surely this ‘non-religious’ moral code ‘is admissible for government departments and employees’ right?

Before addressing the often disturbing moral code that is conveyed in this booklet let’s address its so called non-religious nature and appropriateness in [public] schools:

Precept 18 tells children to respect the religions of others.

“Man, since the dawn of the species, has taken great consolation and joy in his religions. Even the ‘mechanist’ and ‘materialist’ of today sound much like the priests of old as they spread their dogma. Men without faith are a pretty sorry lot. They can even be given something to have faith in. But when they have religious beliefs, respect them. The way to happiness can become contentious when one fails to respect the religious beliefs of others.”

To say that ‘Men without faith are a pretty sorry lot’ does mean you are advocating religion above non-religion. By this alone the booklet should be disqualified from government departments and schools admission. To ‘help’ us understand what is being said a little better, the dictionary is quite useful:

” ‘Priests of old’ refers to such persons in past times, who, firmly convinced that they alone knew the truth about the world and religion, enforced their beliefs on others.”

So basically ‘priests of old = bad’, ‘priests of now=good’.

“mechanism: the view that all life is only matter in motion and can be totally explained by physical laws. Advanced by Leucippus and Democritus (460 b.c. to 370 b.c.) who may have gotten it from Egyptian mythology. Upholders of this philosophy felt they had to neglect religion because they could not reduce it to mathematics. They were attacked by religious interests and in their turn attacked religions. Robert Boyle (1627-1691), who developed Boyle’s Law in physics, refuted it by raising the question as to whether or not nature might have designs such as matter in motion.”

In one big swoop all the science being taught in school is disqualified as ‘some Egyptian mythology’ that was since ‘refuted’ by a scientist. If Robert Boyle made such a clean sweep of materialism however, the institute of creation science did forget to mention it on their biography of the man.
It is clear that under state-church separation this booklet should not enter in the curriculum of a public school. Now let us take a look at why it is also ill-advised to let LRH’s “non-Scientologic” ethics enter into a catholic school.

Let’s take a look at the precepts and their sub-divisions:

  • 1. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
  • 1-1. Get care when you are ill.
  • 1-2. Keep your body clean.
  • 1-3. Preserve your teeth.
  • 1-4. Eat properly.
  • 1-5. Get rest.
  • 2. BE TEMPERATE.
    • 2-1. Do not take harmful drugs.
    • 2-2. Do not take alcohol to excess.
  • 3. DON’T BE PROMISCUOUS.
    • 3-1. Be faithful to your sexual partner
  • 4. LOVE AND HELP CHILDREN.
  • 5. HONOR AND HELP YOUR PARENTS.
  • Up to this point there is little objectionable or original to what is prescribed. Then follows:

    • 6. SET A GOOD EXAMPLE.
    “If one conducts his life to keep these recommendations, one is setting a good example.”

    Again nothing too bad, right? Although it assumes absolute morality is indeed found within these ‘recommendations’. Then suddenly:

    “Others around you cannot help but be influenced by this, no matter what they say. Anyone trying to discourage you is trying to do so because they factually mean you harm or are seeking to serve their own ends. Down deep, they will respect you. Your own survival chances will be bettered in the long run since others, influenced, will become less of a threat.”

    Wait a second! Did Hubbard just tell children that anyone that may seem to ‘prevent’ kids from doing what the booklet says means to do them harm, that others are basically a threat and that the booklet is the way to earn their respect?!

    • 7. SEEK TO LIVE WITH THE TRUTH
    “False data can cause one to make stupid mistakes.” “False data can come from many sources: academic, social, professional. Many want you to believe things just to suit their own ends. What is true is what is true for you. No one has any right to force data off on you and command you to believe it or else. If it is not true for you, it isn’t true. Think your own way through things, accept what is true for you, discard the rest. There is nothing unhappier than one who tries to live in a chaos of lies.”

    Hubbard is forcing a very disturbing version of ‘Truth’ on the children. On a side-note: The equating of information with ‘Data’ is something that lives throughout Scientology. It contributes to obfuscate the distinction of ‘facts’ and their interpretation. The first source of ‘lies’ proposed is ‘academic’, stimulating the children to distrust anything coming from scientific research. They also have to distrust anything their social environment says and what comes from professionals. Truth is not defined as the thing that best fits all the facts (all the data) but as a very personal conviction you hold.

    “Sorry Leonard, you did real poorly on that math test. I gave you an F.”
    “Oh I think I did okay, I personally believe you should really change that to a B+.”
    • 7-1. Do not tell harmful lies
    • 7-2. Do not bear false witness
    “it is called ‘perjury’: it has heavy penalties.”

    How unimpressive of a ‘morality’ book that it doesn’t stress the moral wrongness of an action but rather the consequences of the vertical enforcement.

    • 8. DO NOT MURDER
    “There is a considerable difference between these two words ‘kill’ and ‘murder.'”
    “‘Murder’ is another thing entirely.”
    “Murder justly bears the highest priority in social prevention and retaliation.”

    Not too surprising really. I guess in the morality of Scientology capital punishment is a valid moral precept. However this isn’t universally accepted or necessarily ‘common sense’ as claimed on the cover of the ‘book’.

    • 9. DON’T DO ANYTHING ILLEGAL.
    “The way to happiness does not include the fear of being found out.”

    Only at ‘9’ and already things are becoming redundant. Really, you couldn’t have included ‘murder’ in this precept? Again, a morality book should not dispense with advice based on the fact that people more moral than you will punish you for it.

    • 10. SUPPORT A GOVERNMENT DESIGNED AND RUN FOR ALL THE PEOPLE.

    I don’t disagree necessarily but seriously, ‘state-organisation-tips’ posed as an absolute moral precept?

    • 11. DO NOT HARM A PERSON OF GOOD WILL.
    “…one is apt to overlook the fact that people of good will are the ones that keep the world going and Man alive upon this Earth. Yet such can be attacked and strong measures should be advocated and taken to defend them and keep them from harm, for your own survival and that of your family and friends depends upon them.”

    The principle states a negative (do not…) but the subtext is more composed as a positive statement: “harm people of bad will” while aligning ‘good’ with ‘your family and friends’ and ‘bad’ with ‘those wanting to harm them’. This is not morality, it is simple tribalism devoid of justification. Since precept 6 already stated that anyone preventing you from following these precepts is wanting to harm you, these precepts now basically allow violence upon anyone not supporting this booklet. Well done LRH! Very moral!

    • 12. SAFEGUARD AND IMPROVE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
    • 12-1. Be of good appearance.
    “Encourage people around you to look good by complimenting them when they do or even gently helping them with their problems when they don’t.”

    Yup, you can now ‘objectively’ give people unsolicited advice on how to dress better when you find the colour of their shirt repugnant.

      • 12-2. Take care of your own area
      • 12-3. Help take care of the planet.

      Okay, I actually found this one very advanced for its time, I thought. However it has nothing to do with reducing waste and reducing CO2 emissions but everything to do with keeping rich peoples gardens nice with the use of forced labour:

      “In some countries, old people, the unemployed do not just sit around and go to pieces: they are used to care for the gardens and parks and forests, to pick up the litter and add some beauty to the world. There is no lack of resources to take care of the planet.”
      • 13. DO NOT STEAL.
      • 14. BE WORTHY OF TRUST.
      • 14-1. Keep your word once given.
    • 15. FULFILL YOUR OBLIGATIONS.
    • 17. BE COMPETENT.
      • 17-1. Look.
      • 17-2. Learn.

      The section ‘learn’ is easily the biggest section of the book. This might have something to do with Scientology’s focus on courses. In any case here it contains super creepy sections:

      “The test of any ‘truth’ is whether it is true for you. If, when one has gotten the body of data, cleared up any misunderstood words in it and looked over the scene, it still doesn’t seem true, then it isn’t true so far as you are concerned. Reject it.”

      Here we see the truth-relativism of earlier repeated. The following part is really disturbing:

      “The insane cannot learn. Driven by hidden evil intentions or crushed beyond the ability to reason, facts and truth and reality are far beyond them. They personify false data.”

      Scientology has a thing about psychiatry and mental disability. To say that anyone personifies ‘false data’ is tantamount to saying someone should be ‘removed’ or ‘deleted’. Or as the Nazi’s put it ‘evacuated’.
      This übermenschen-idea is repeated in the next section:

        • 17-3. Practice
        “Trying to live in a high-speed world with low-speed people is not very safe.”

        Scientologist picketing some psychiatry congress.
        Scientologists picketing some psychiatry congress with boards saying: ‘psychiatry kills’

        • 18. RESPECT THE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OF OTHERS.

        This section contains the part already discussed. To hammer home that this is NOT a secular morality:

        “The opinions of authorities ebb and flow: just now the philosophies of ‘mechanism’ and ‘materialism’-dating as far back as Ancient Egypt and Greece-are the fad: they seek to assert that all is matter and overlook that, neat as their explanations of evolution may be, they still do not rule out additional factors that might be at work, that might be merely using such things as evolution.”

        “Faith” and “belief” do not necessarily surrender to logic: they cannot even be declared to be illogical. They can be things quite apart.”

        That Hubbard and thus Scientology are not supporters of evolution is also suggested by the dictionary:

        ” evolutionary: related to a very ancient theory that all plants and animals developed from simpler forms and were shaped by their surroundings rather than being planned or created.”

        I repeat that this invalidates this booklet to any use in public service and furthermore stress that the claims to ‘non-religiousness’ are manifestly untrue and deceitful.

        • 19. TRY NOT TO DO THINGS TO OTHERS THAT YOU WOULD NOT LIKE THEM TO DO TO YOU.
        • 20. TRY TO TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WOULD WANT THEM TO TREAT YOU.
        • 21. FLOURISH AND PROSPER.

        Precept 20 is such a glaring mathematical equivalent of the one preceding it that, together with the totally meaningless precept 21, I actually suspected that ’21’ had some kind of numerological significant meaning to Scientology; For the number of precepts seems so artificially inflated at the end. I haven’t found any corroborating evidence for this intuition so can’t rule in its favour.

        As significant as the booklet is, as instructional are the accompanying documents. A questionnaire for the teacher asks if the students exhibit more moral behaviour after the lessons. Which is just invoking ‘confirmation bias’.
        The questionnaire for the pupils then again sounds eerily like an Scientologic auditing-session on paper:

        “What is right conduct?”
        “What is wrong conduct?”
        “Describe a problem you have.”

        It is the same vague, abrupt and probing style and seems either to reflect the hours of auditing the author has had or is actually trying to familiarize and precondition the children with this style of questioning. I can’t speculate to which, if any, it is, nor do I want to for the implications are too disheartening.

        Image of the booklet as distributed at the Church of Scientology in Brussels.
        French version of the booklet, featuring the Belgian flag, distributed at the Church of Scientology in Brussels.

        Although the material from ‘The Way To Happiness’ does not promote Scientology directly it does introduce pupils to Scientology’s most important figure, L. Ron Hubbard. It also brings teachers into contact with Scientology which may lead to further exposure at scientology centres either in context of TWTH or in context of anti-drug campaigns. Most of the content of TWTH is benign and brings neither originality nor advanced argumentation to the table. Where TWTH diverts from main-stream its teachings are particularly disturbing and uniquely aligned with opinions held within Scientology.

        All in all it is just a very good example of the resources Scientology will spend on trying to infiltrate within the education systems around the world and the dishonesty with which they will proceed to do it.

        In the next post in this series we revisit the different press-releases reporting on the way Scientology integrates and infiltrates into the corporate, legal and political realm.

        Live Long and Prosper
        Hailaga

        0

        Leave a Reply

        Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *