L. Ron Hubbard for Real – Part 2: The Andy Warhol of Pop Religion


The “endless joy” Independent Scientologists have in quoting one of the world’s greatest plagiarists

In a recent email was a post sent to me from the prolific Marty Rathbun. He is doing a great job helping people blow corporate Scientology by exposing its abuses and human rights violations. From his public forum he has done wonderful work helping victims of Scientology atrocities. The problem I have with Marty is philosophical, not his repentant heart. By promoting Hubbard and the tech as inerrant and making believe the horrors in Scientology originated with the successor, Miscavige, Marty takes people only half the way to understanding the possible risks and dangers of the cult.

I was chagrined when Rathbun quoted Hubbard’s theta/mest theory (mest; an acronym for matter, energy, space, and time) in his post “The Indie 500 and the Tipping Point.” The mystical idea proposed by Rathbun and fellow Independent Steve Hall is that a certain number of Independent Scientologists will be able to overturn the despotic enthetan, (evil spirit) David Miscavige with their magnanimous “élan vital.” Once Miscavige is removed, then Scientology will return to the panacea it once was. This theory is much like Hubbard’s theory in New Era Dianetics for Operating Thetans (NOTs) bulletin #49 which states that by exorcizing body thetans (body spirits) in “torrents” Scientology will create a sociological impact upon earth and bring peace. Both theories are incredibly hilarious and inane.

Independent Scientologists seem to get a never ending joy in quoting L. Ron Hubbard. They send me his articles and quotes as if they are a new revelation. However, my clients and ex-Scientology friends who have sought advice to complex problems from senior Independent Scientology counselors often left quite miffed by hearing a Hubbard axiom or a simple reductive term thrown at them as a solution.

Andy Warhol and L. Ron Hubbard:

Andy Warhol
L. Ron Hubbard

To me, Hubbard is the Andy Warhol of religion. Andy Warhol’s pop art depended upon his penchant for acquisitioning others’ work and packaging it in a slick, commercial way. The result clouded copyrights, originality, and denigrated art. Hubbard’s religion and solutions to man’s ills are akin to high gloss pop art. A Warhol print of a Campbell’s soup can sells for a small fortune. You can buy the real thing at a grocery store for 75 cents. Much the same could be said for Hubbard’s work. You can go to the library and collect the writings of the masters and for a couple of dollars in late fees walk away with the original classical information. Today’s society seems to be mesmerized by all things pop and glossy. Hubbard knew this well and Miscavige seems to understand it even better. He repackages old Hubbard tapes in bright plastic cartons that you can find on the internet for free and charges outrageous prices for them. He sells students shiny soup cans used with the E-meter for as much as $320! Not quite in Warhol’s league, but he is close.

Hubbard, the plagiarist, borrowed and renamed terms from world religions, famous and infamous philosophers, plus well known and lesser known scientists. He went so far as to plagiarize the bible by writing a pop version of the Ten Commandments in the booklet “The Way to Happiness.” He did have a gift for systemizing older schools of psychology, like Freud, but made no significant contribution or breakthroughs of his own. Briefly, Hubbard borrowed prenatal influence from Dr. Sadgar and Crowley, survival theory from Schopenhauer, the dynamics from Hinduism and the theta/mest theory from Hinduism and Gnosis, ethics from Crowley and Greek philosophers, and the axioms and logics from von Neumann and Morgenstern’s game theory. He stole the study tech outright from Scientologist and teacher, Charles Brenner, then excommunicated him. There are many articles online that trace the actual authors of knowledge that Hubbard sourced from, for example, “The Hubbard is Bare.” He also had a gift for packaging his acquisitions in cool trappings and like Warhol charged exorbitant prices.

One of my clients keeps asking me to be patient about upbraiding Independent and ex-Scientologists for their linear cliché thinking and practices. He reminds me, “You have been out of Scientology for thirty years, most of us only a year or two. Relax!”

But it is extremely hard for me to be patient when every client that has comes to me for help has had a major blunder committed on their case causing them further pain and suffering. It doesn’t seem to matter whether they came from Flag, the Free Zone, an Independent or a church Class XII. Each top Independent or Scientology practitioner seems to have narrow and rote thinking drilled deeply into their psyche. It goes back to the reductive logic and thought process that cults require. The irony and sad fact is that they don’t really know and understand Scientology in and of itself.

Instead of actually talking to the person and asking thoughtful and heartfelt questions, shortsighted systemized Scientology is offered by orgs and Independent auditors alike. Most of the major case errors that others missed were uncovered in my preliminary interview. Accurate and caring interviewing would have revealed; spousal abuse, sexual abuse, childhood beatings, drug psychosis, attempted suicides or suicidal ideation, unresolved trauma and loss, illnesses, and cult abuse. Despite these miseries auditors often run Scientology advanced levels resulting in further physiological maladies, memory loss, illness, and life failures.

The narrow road that Scientology insists upon has dangers in counseling and in life. Even the way a Scientology session is started is so constricting as to be jocular. The session rudiments quickly slide from the present to the past and miss the point of why fully handling current life disturbances are so important. When someone has a problem it needs to be resolved. If you don’t, then you have done nothing for the person. A recent example of this was a client who had an inability to organize at work; his desk was a mess, he had long term unresolved communication problems with his partners and was overwhelmed by wearing too many hats. He was put on objectives at the org. The client screamed inside, “What does touching the wall have to do with my hell at work?” The org and Independent counselor didn’t break down his problem into the contributing factors and handle them one by one. It took many hours to do so, but once we did this, he stopped agonizing over his job and it changed his life.

The simple solutions, the robotic quotations, reductive logic, and rote counseling offered in the narrow road to “Keeping Scientology Working” can be very dangerous. It really isn’t a laughing matter, nor does it really end by saying it is only philosophical differences. Independents have the freedom of choice to reach for broader spectrums. It’s a good idea to read ancient wisdom, not pop psychology and new age derivative. If Hubbard’s simple quote seems appropriate for a given situation, use it by all means, you might get lucky. It could have come from a valid source. But wouldn’t it be a good idea to know where it came from originally? There is security in knowing pertinent philosophies upon which to draw from. The wider road is best for life’s sake. I think there are more nutrients inside a real can of soup than Warhol’s picture of one.

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