Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Science of Ology - Pt 1

“Space Opera as theology” or OT III, as they say in the business. It sounds a bit strange, but that’s what L. Ron Hubbard, one of the greatest pulp fiction writers of all time, called it.

At this point, some may take issue. I will extol you however, to put your thoughts of scientology aside for a moment (we’ll get back to that) and see the man for what he was in the early days. Let’s face it, “Battlefield Earth” was one of the greatest classic sci-fi novels of the 20th century and there’s very little denying it. If you’re a sci-fi fan like me though, you’ll also have read much of his contemporaries; John Wyndham, H. Beam Piper, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, E. E. Doc Smith, Phillip Jose Farmer, Larry Niven, Gerry Pournelle (together or separately), Patrick Tilley, Stanislaw Lem, Arthur C. Clarke, Michael Morecock and many more besides. You’ve probably also read some that have succeeded in matching that brilliance since; Ben Bova, Peter F. Hamilton, Gentry Lee, Timothy Zahn, etc, but ol’ Ron, he had it over all of them.

It all started - as the rumour goes - with a conversation with another author. Some say it was Phil, some say it was Bob, but most agree that it was one of that distinguished bunch above that forged the way for Science Fiction. The topic was the making of money and how much a “best seller” helps in that pursuit. As the rumour goes, Ron was of the opinion that although a best seller helped, if you wanted to make real money you needed to start a religion. Just look at the tax benefits! The rumour mill being what it is however, also says that the other party disagreed and money was laid on the table and a bet was made that he couldn’t start a religion and make more money than he could with a best seller.

Whether the rumour is true or not hardly matters. The evidence would suggest that Ron’s idea was sound enough and if the purported $5 bet actually took place, whoever it was lost their money, big time.

And so it was that “Dianetics” was born. A bigger load of clap trap you’ll never read, and I don’t care what you may think of the Bible or the Koran, Dianetics takes the biscuit, with icing. If there was an “Iced Vovo” award for stupidity that takes the biscuit, I’d vote for Dianetics. But as if that wasn’t enough, Dianetics grew and evolved. For those that have read Dawkins “The God Delusion” and can be bothered looking into the history of this, you’ll definitely find evidence of his “memetic evolution” here. Scientology is what Dianetics eventually became, and scientology is what it remains today.

Now it’s time to take a little look at OT III (pure Scientology that incorporates Dianetics) and to have a little poke at what it is these guys believe. The image below is authenticated by the church of Scientology to be in L. Ron Hubbards own hand. Believe it or not, this document is the underpinning of Scientology’s entire theology and is what the likes of Tom Cruise and John Travolta actually believe. So, meet Xenu:



Transcript:
Data (1) (1)
The head of the Galactic
Confederation (76 planets around
larger stars visible from here)
(founded 95,000,000 yrs ago, very space opera)
solved overpopulation (250 billion
or so per planet) -- 178 billion
average) by mass implanting.
He caused people to be brought to
Teegeeack (Earth) and put an H Bomb
on the principal volcanoes (Incident 2)
and then the Pacific area ones
were taken in boxes to Hawaii
and the Atlantic Area ones to
Las Palmas and there "packaged."
His name was Xenu. He used
renegades. Various misleading
data by means of circuits etc.
were placed in the implants.
When through with his crime Loyal Officers
(to the people) captured him
after 6 years of battle
and put him in an electronic
mountain trap where he still
is. "They" are gone. The place (Confed.)
has since been a desert.

Now you have to admit, that’s a pretty good start for a huge space opera. This is real “George Lucas eat your heart out” stuff if he ever gets rolling with it.

But this is no ordinary story. What he meant by “packaged” is that the soles of those unfortunates that Xenu slaughtered here on Earth, now inhabit us. Body Thetans (BT’s) is what they’re called and nasty is what they are. But not to worry because for a fee ($100,000 or more), that most charitable of organisations, The Church Of Scientology, will help you exorcise them, one at a time (yep, there’s a separate fee for each one and they tell you how many you’ve got).

Is it any wonder then that Tom Cruise jumps around on Oprah’s couch like a fool and giggles incessantly like a raving lunatic the rest of the time. But how does John Travolta manage to stay so calm, cool and collected with all that crap in his head? It’s a conundrum and no mistake.

Now it’s because of all this money and charging that’s involved that the poor buggers no longer enjoy the tax advantages of most religions. When you charge your members to join, then charge them separately at each “level” to be subjected to a peculiar brain washing process, then I guess you can probably expect your government to take a dim view if you don’t pay up on time. And so it was that a ship called “The Enchanter” was purchased (in 1967 I believe) and set sail with Ron on board so he could escape an investigation into his activities by the British authorities. It was also chased at various times by the CIA and the FBI, but they never caught it.

It still exists today though and houses a special group of scientologists called “Sea Org” where you can go to be a slave and learn about scientology all at the same time, but more about that next time…

7 Comments:

Dikkii said...

Some say it was Phil, some say it was Bob, but most agree that it was one of that distinguished bunch above that forged the way for Science Fiction.

Part of me wants to say that it was Wells and Verne who really did the job, but I think that you're right. Hubbard was of this golden period where sci-fi really got traction. But I think that you forgot Ray Bradbury.

The rumour mill being what it is however, also says that the other party disagreed and money was laid on the table and a bet was made that he couldn’t start a religion and make more money than he could with a best seller.

And you know, it's not Xenu or Thetans that interests me the most about Scientology. It's that little story. Was there an actual bet?

A bigger load of clap trap you’ll never read, and I don’t care what you may think of the Bible or the Koran, Dianetics takes the biscuit, with icing.

Ramen!

Hey, have you read SWIFT this week? It's revealing in itself. The Germans have been most suspicious of Scientology for some time.

Great post, Plonka. I can hardly wait for part 2.

Plonka said...

And Huxley and Orwell... There were to many to list. But as you say, there was definitely a "golden period" and those guys took the idea and forged ahead with it. So many "classics" were born during that era.

Was there an actual bet?

It wouldn't surprise me at all. Is as good a reason as any to invent a religion.

Thanks for the link, more ammo...:)

tina said...

Freaking weird! I posted an early video of an interview with Hubbard but it's really long. It's just all too weird for me!

Plonka said...

Tina:

Yep, weird is what it is alraight. What gets me is that when you look at that document you'll see ("very space opera"), yet they still manage to believe it's all true. Silly humans...;)

Romulus Crowe said...

You know, L. Ron taught us an important lesson with his scientology stuff.

You can convince people of absolutely anything at all. There is no limit. The Flying Spaghetti Monster will soon have its own vatican.

Sometimes I wonder how we managed to escape the process of natural selection. Evolution must be shaking its head in disbelief.

perthworst said...

Is Battlefield Earth actually good? I've only heard that he was a terrible writer with an even crappier religion. Is he really up there with wyndham et al?

Plonka said...

Perthworst: Thanks for dropping by...:)

Personally I love a good space opera and Hubbard was certainly up there with the best in my opinion and was a multiple best seller in his day, "Battlefield Earth" being the biggest (I think).

That said, the fiction he wrote after scientology was complete crap for the most part.

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