Anyone who has been poking around on this blog or the static web site it replaced knows I was once involved with Scientology. An old-time friend of mine, who also dabbled a bit in Scientology many years ago, recently asked me what I felt I got from OT3, whether it was worth it, and whether it really resulted in becoming super-human.
First… a quick disclaimer. Everything in this post is my personal opinion. If it sounds like I’m being careful with my words, it’s because the Church knows where I live. I am not currently an active member of the Church nor do I approve of the current management. On the other hand, I also don’t side with those who criticize the system out of ignorance. What I say below is almost certain to piss people off on both sides of the fence. Feel free to comment on this post but realize that I’ll be a bit stricter than usual on what I decide to let through the filter.
Back to the question at hand: Can Clear and OT3 really turn you into a super-human?
My reply was that the super-human stuff is partly bullshit and partly a clever play on words. The official “end-phenomenon” of OT3 is “freedom from overwhelm” which, to me, simply means someone who can take responsibility for their own life and no longer plays the victim every time something bad happens to them. You’d think that’s something that would come naturally with maturity but, sadly, that’s not the case with most people. I don’t think Scientology is necessarily the only way to achieve that state. But for anyone who really does it (as opposed to just claiming the title), I would expect to see some variation of the published result.
Clear simply means control over your own mental pictures. In other words, you don’t have things happening to you from inside your mind that you don’t understand. I think that’s achievable by other means as well but a real Clear should exhibit that ability. Neither of those states are necessarily “super-human” — maybe just “human no longer stuck in their own self-created mud pit”. But these so-called “gains” are both a blessing and a curse. The downside of “freedom from overwhelm” is apparent whenever things don’t go as planned (and there’s no guarantee everything will always go your way even once you’ve reached OT3). In those cases… just when the simplest solution would seem to be blaming someone else and playing the victim, you realize internally what a crock of shit that really is and that facing the problem head-on is your only real choice.
So no… OT3 doesn’t make you a super-human any more than going to the gym three times a week will result in the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound. It might clear up some mysteries and make you more responsible for your life, though… which is something most of us should consider a good thing.
As I pondered my friend’s question, I thought of an interesting analogy that involves a “PC” (which, ironically, is the abbreviation for both Personal Computer and Preclear, the name used within Scientology to refer to any person who hasn’t yet been declared Clear). The analogy isn’t perfect but it’s surprisingly close.
Think of the brain/mind/soul (pick one or more, as you see fit) as a personal computer. There are many people in the world who, when faced with a computer for the first time, will refuse to turn it on for fear they might break something. Some will turn it on but won’t know what to do with it once it’s running. Some might get as far as checking email and maybe browsing sports scores. Only a select few will actually learn to program the thing and even fewer than that will ever get beyond the rudimentary Excel or Visual Basic examples that they found in some “Dummies” book.
Early Scientology processing such as rudiments, life repair, objectives, etc. are like an adult education course in how to turn the computer on and do a few basic things with it. Most people will stop there. That’s fine… at that point they’re already ahead of most of their peers.
Dianetics is like learning to install and run a good anti-virus program. You end up unearthing all sorts of places where the system wasn’t quite firing on all cylinders due to things that shouldn’t have been installed in the first place. Once the cruft is discovered and deleted, you’re left with a clean machine. It won’t be any faster than it was when it was brand new… but it will no longer be sluggish, giving you incorrect results, and constantly crashing, either. Of course, that doesn’t mean the machine is suddenly going to be everything you ever wanted but at least it won’t be prevented from functioning as designed.
Clear is just the end result of Dianetic auditing. As you learn more about the mechanisms used by the various “viruses” in your mental computer, you reach a point where they start to unravel all by themselves. That’s because the whole mechanism of subconscious pictures being used to override your conscious processes becomes more obvious and, once you can recognize the mechanism, it suddently loses it’s mysterious power. Engrams, by themselves, have no power other than what you unknowingly allow them to have — just like computer viruses can’t do anything unless they can trick the user into executing them. The whole faulty mechanism was held in place by the fact that you’ve never stopped to closely examine it. Once you do, of course, it’s no longer subconscious and thus no longer effective as a subconscious defense mechanism.
Grades 0 through IV are like learning to program — actually, more like learning how to debug programs. As you learn how the mind works and how the Universe is put together, the new, broader insight helps you solve a lot of problems that you didn’t even know you had. The Grades are more about learning to function whereas Dianetics is more about cleaning out the cobwebs. Traditionally, Dianetics was done first, then the Grades, then a special series of courses to bring one to Clear. Recently, at least within the Church, they’re doing the Grades first and then Dianetics, the latter being continued until Clear is finally reached. That makes more sense to me, actually… even though I was trained at a time when the two were reversed.
Making the jump from Clear to OT3 is like installing Linux and compiling the kernel and all the utility programs from source code. You don’t really know everything there is to know yet, but it’s all right there for you to look at should you ever be interested. And you become more confident that if anything were to go wrong, you could jump in and fix things without relying on anyone else. That still doesn’t mean there won’t be bugs and it doesn’t mean the system won’t crash from time-to-time. It just means that when you encounter a bug or experience a crash, you’re much better equipped to handle it on your own. That’s why by the time you reach OT3, you end up auditing yourself (known as “solo auditing”). The questions you pose to yourself are answered so quickly that the time to communicate verbally with another person would simply slow things down. I have my own opinions about the OT3 level in general but that will have to wait for another post.
Like I said earlier, this isn’t a perfect analogy but it’s probably good enough. I’m sure Scientology isn’t the only system that can bring one to a similar state. I’m not even sure it’s the best system, given the high prices and insane management. And unless you’re a big fan of Science Fiction, the OT levels may not appeal to you at all. But I’m fairly sure decent results can be obtained if we’re talking about a well-trained practitioner. I’m not sure the full result can be realized inside a formal Scientology organization any more because the current draconian atmosphere certainly must have a stifling effect on what an auditor is allowed to do or say. It’s also not clear to me that the Church is even turning out well-trained practitioners in the same sense as they were before the overhaul of the top management. It might be possible to find someone outside the Church with their head screwed on straight. Heaven knows, there have been enough highly-trained auditors kicked out for one reason or another over the years and many of them probably still practice.
The other thing to remember is to manage your expectations. Just as the world’s fastest computer still can’t jump off the desk and dance, a cannibal who reached the state of Clear is still just a cannibal. Once you’ve cleared the cobwebs out of the system, it’s still your responsibility to figure out what you want to do with your life and get on with it. Scientology doesn’t offer much help in that area but if, as an OT, you can’t manage a simple Google search, you need to start again from the beginning.
The bottom line is that I feel having gone through the process was worth it for me. I would probably not think so if I had been forced to pay the ridiculous prices the Church charges these days, especially for the upper levels, but it’s pretty hard to mess up the basics so if you can work out a deal that doesn’t drive you broke in the process, why not. Just know that there are countless paths to self improvement that all lead to pretty much the same place. It’s more important to find a system that resonates with your own personal goals and beliefs. For Science Fiction nerds who feel they need a guided tour of their own minds, Scientology can be interesting. First check out whether there are any independent practitioners in your area. And if you decide to frequent a Scientology organization, think twice before you sign any billion-year contracts.