OLD QUESTIONS…NEW ANSWERS? 04
Old Answers: Last of three IVy Excerpts
In the introduction to this new series which I’m calling “Old Friend Questions..New Answers?”, I undertook to look at some basic questions about how Scientology delivered on some of its basic promises. That post posed the questions and concluded by saying that I had already written on matters relevant to the questions and would follow that first post with a “reprint” of an article published back in the early 2000s, before adding some new material.
I have divided the old article into three excerpts for ease of reading. And I have left the text alone except for relatively minor punctuation corrections.
In the title of the old article, quoted below, the words “Inside Scientology” reference the name of the first part of the book under review, A Piece of Blue Sky, the 1990 edition; I was using that name as the jumping-off point for my article. I should probably also explain that “IVy on the Wall” was the name of the regular column I wrote for the journal. [I’d wanted to call it “IVy off the Wall” but another’s superior judgment prevailed, sad to say.] And in those years, I did live in the USA, although no longer.
IVy on the Wall
by Ken Urquhart, USA
Outside “Inside Scientology”, Chapter Five in a consideration of A Piece of Blue Sky, the 1990 book by Jon Atack
[Third of three excerpts from the Chapter]
Whose wants are we focusing on?
It was during the late ’70s and ’80s that Jon Atack entered the quicksand of Scientology as practiced by its organizations as they existed then. In this period, all of the above nonsense factors were raging in full dramatization.
Into this mess came Jon. What did he want? For himself, he says: “What I wanted from Scientology was emotional equilibrium so I could win my girlfriend back, make a successful career in the arts, and concentrate on achieving Enlightenment.”
I don’t see anything wrong or difficult or strange about this. I couldn’t have guaranteed Jon that his ex-girl-friend would agree to be won back. But I could have happily committed to helping him to achieve emotional equilibrium, to make a successful career, and to achieve Enlightenment. So could any practicing Scientologist then who actually practiced Scientology – or does so today. So could have – and would have – L. Ron Hubbard himself if Jon had asked him personally and directly.
We would all have said, or say today, “Sure, Jon, no problem! That’s what we’re here for! This is my fee. When do you want to start?” And we could be doing something for Jon whether using “standard” Scientology or something derived from it or from something else.
The Scientologists Jon involved himself with were too busy being good Scientologists to pay any attention to his real needs and wants. They made him cooperate with their needs and wants. That was their way of pleasing their bosses and the little Hitlers – and what they perceived LRH to be. Everyone leaned on everyone else to produce their “statistics”. Jon was statistics fodder. His actual needs and wants were not important as long as he could be made to subjugate them “for the greatest good of the greatest number”, a nebulous but vital component of Scientology life which manifests itself in “up statistics”.
Who is friend to whom?
Unfortunately, Jon allowed himself to be swept up into the nonsense. LRH’s self-promotion had dazzled him as it has so many. He, Jon, compromised his own integrity enough to achieve disappointment and frustration but not enough to suppress his own feelings in the end. The Scientologists took him up the OT levels unprepared for any of them, and they took him for a lot of his money. It is no surprise he wrote his exposé. In their own ethics terms, they were in Enemy to him and they created an enemy out of him. Worse, having invited him to trust them and then by behaving as enemy to him, they betrayed his trust: this they themselves call Treason.
What might have been…
Jon had felt that, as a therapy, Scientology might have a world-changing impact. So did we all! Even though we didn’t regard it as a “therapy”, I don’t think Jon or we were wrong about its potential.
LRH, and we, all together, forced Scientology to become something other than it really is. Perhaps the Axioms of Scientology are the purest summation of what it really is.
We don’t know what Scientology’s impact would have been had we let Scientology agree with its own axioms.
That we couldn’t let it be what it is was probably inevitable. No single human intelligence could envision and design something as revolutionary as Scientology claimed to be [especially here on Planet Earth] – and made serious attempts to be – without including fatal flaws in the vision and design.
That a person on Earth, L. Ron Hubbard, conceived of the possibility of such a vision and such a design and did so much to make it a reality in spite of its and his own flaws is in itself a triumph, and a worthy one. He did his best to make it be real and he fell foul of his own imperfections. But he tried. He tried! His trying embraced things he was right to do, and things he should never have tried to do.
He tried, and he failed. He “failed” in that he didn’t fully succeed. But in trying he achieved more than the victims of the failure will be able to understand – for a while. And in failing, he caused a lot of damage.
One day at Saint Hill in 1965, as LRH was C/Sing the first Power Processing sessions and training the Power auditors, he got up from his desk, which was loaded with case folders; he had had a tough day. Some auditors were misbehaving in the chair; some cases were being difficult. At that time, many of the pcs receiving Power were executives from large Scientology organizations. LRH was learning things about the ways in which they regarded themselves and life. I had gone into his office to tell him it was time for his dinner. He seemed tired, almost dispirited. As I helped him on with his jacket, he looked at me wryly, and said quietly, with a little grin, “I am mending the world with broken tools”.
Poor fellow; he could never publicly acknowledge that a part of himself was broken. Broken or not, he was never little or cowardly. His size and his courage lent terrible power to his weakness.
Has anyone come close to opening a door so wide, such as the one LRH opened for us in his strength and courage?
What does it take to heal the wounds he caused in his broken way of opening that door?
* * * * * *
Eleven chapters of this IVy series on A Piece of Blue Sky (there are twelve altogether, with the final chapter yet to be written) are available at:
and the IVy website is here: http://home8.inet.tele.dk/ivy/%20
The 2013 edition of A Piece of Blue Sky is offered on Amazon UK:
and the original of 1990:
For amazon.com, the respective links are:
N.B. These links are not ‘affiliate’ links and I will in no way profit from any purchase using them.
“Outside ‘Inside Scientology’” is reproduced by kind permission of the IVy publisher, Antony Phillips. Thank you, Antony.
© Kenneth G. Urquhart, 2001, 2018