The Way to Happiness
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.
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.
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:
So basically ‘priests of old = bad’, ‘priests of now=good’.
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.
- 2-1. Do not take harmful drugs.
- 2-2. Do not take alcohol to excess.
- 3-1. Be faithful to your sexual partner
Up to this point there is little objectionable or original to what is prescribed. Then follows:
- 6. SET A GOOD EXAMPLE.
Again nothing too bad, right? Although it assumes absolute morality is indeed found within these ‘recommendations’. Then suddenly:
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
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.
“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
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
“‘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.
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.
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.
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:
- 13. DO NOT STEAL.
- 14. BE WORTHY OF TRUST.
- 14-1. Keep your word once given.
- 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:
Here we see the truth-relativism of earlier repeated. The following part is really disturbing:
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
- 18. RESPECT THE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OF OTHERS.
This section contains the part already discussed. To hammer home that this is NOT a secular morality:
“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:
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 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.
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.