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The Row Boat
"Had we but world enough, and time..." *
Religious Causes7/28/2006 09:53:14
The other day I had a few hours to pass in Hollywood so I set myself to having an interesting time exploring the Scientologists' establishment there. Of course there is the tremendous Celebrity Center (so that celebrities can come and be themselves), but I didn't both trying to get anywhere in that. So first I tried the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition on Hollywood Blvd. and they wouldn't let me get too far. The ladies with foreign accents at the door seemed none to eager for me to be on a tour, saying that none were scheduled for hours even though I saw groups go with my own eyes. Then I stood in the bookstore for a while looking at the offerings and they informed me that all these things are available at the library down the street. After a while they said that the problem was the dress code, and my paint-stained shirt just wouldn't do. I offered to change. Then this woman changed the subject, asking if I believe in mental illness, gave a short programmed lecture, and then sent me along to another museum of theirs a few blocks away on Sunset, at the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), where there was an exhibit called Psychiatry: An Industry of Death.
So I went over there with my big backpack and looked and their pamphlets and breezed through this really slick exhibit filled with nice lighting and flat screen displays all about the worldwide conspiracy of psychiatrists who are apparently responsible for most of the worst ills of the modern world including Nazism, terrorism, and school violence (no motive given). Really the whole thing was outrageous in tone and filled with misleading stuff but carried also shreds of important and underrepresented truth about the abuses of psychiatric methods in the last century. In the sixties, the CCHR worked to restrict the indiscriminate use of dangerous therapies like electroshock and lobotomy. Now they are working on the genuine problem of over-prescription of psychiatric drugs to children. I have to be glad that someone is doing this work, though I'm not sure how comfortable I am with these folks doing it.
Putting two and two together, the anti-psychiatry campaign fits well into the Scientologist theology. The religion is founded on Hubbard's Dianetics, a self-help book soaked in a psychology that draws from Freudianism and eastern philosophy. An array of "religious technology" is used by Scientologists to combat mental imbalance. As a result, psychiatric therapies are a direct competitor, so there are definite religious reasons, practical ones aside, why mainstream approaches should be villified.
It may be that we can welcome some of their work (against harmful practices in the drug industry, for instance), yet not go for their motivations. There are so many cases like this in encounters with religious groups, all the half-veiled alliances that American religio-political culture is filled with. Can we trust each other at all to be working for the common good?
Mainly it was an amzing thing to see that I certainly recommend.
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re: Religious Causes - 7/30/2006 23:35:48
...There are so many cases like this in encounters with religious groups, all the half-veiled alliances that American religio-political culture is filled with. Can we trust each other at all to be working for the common good?...
I don't think so, most of the time.
I remember reading about some of the "faith-based initiatives" federal money going to Rev. Moon's affiliates' teachings on sex ed. (getting kids to drink each other's spit out of cups, presumably as a lesson in the complications or 'grossness' of fluids transmission): Bad Moon on the rise.
I overall prefer Steve Martin's Mind Head group to Scientology.
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