& the Scale of Political Philosophies
“There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
On the other hand: “Very simple ideas lie within the reach only of complex minds” – Remy de Gourmont
I’ve been working on writing down a comprehensive description of what I know about the evolution of the Church of Scientology, separating it into two basic epochs: Scientology 1.0.0, 1947 to 1980, and Scientology 2.0.0, 1981 to the present. The first is the developmental stage, which includes the discoveries and processes. The second is the institutional and self-protection stage. (They overlap greatly, of course, but that’s how I am choosing to do it because 1.0 was run mainly by L. Ron Hubbard and 2.0 is run today by Mr. David Miscavige, the two main personalities involved.)
I say that I’ve been “working” on it because it’s a really difficult business, organising a multitude of facts that have been gathering dust in my head over the years, and transforming the resulting reams of information into these little “blogs”. It’s difficult not only because I’m not an historian, professional researcher, or even a writer, but because I constantly find myself battling the defining pitfall of our time: the tendency to oversimplify, stereotype, and make two-dimensional every issue that would benefit from intelligence, nuance, and insight. I guess I’m human after all.
To illustrate what I mean, consider the so-called “political spectrum,” also known as the “Left-Right political spectrum,” which I’d like to discuss in this article. This is a huge oversimplification that has been popularised by the mainstream media for a long time and has effectively killed any chance of having an important debate: what makes for good government?
What I’m saying is, it’s become very difficult to argue and debate complex topics, let alone complex and controversial ones, in these crazy times. I guess it was never easy at any time, to be sure, but today, wow, it’s nigh on impossible.
So. What I’m going to do with this article is describe “binary thinking” versus “gradient scale thinking”, also known as infinity-valued logic in Scientology 1.0.0, as the necessary groundwork to be laid out before going on to build arguments about other matters; the kind of thinking I think is necessary to get at all the complex and thorny issues that we think about. I hope those readers who are familiar with this way of thinking will bear with me.For those who aren’t, I hope you may find this interesting, maybe even useful.
The Two-Pole Universe
Scientology 1.0.0 is chock full of extraordinarily simple, but extremely useful, ideas. Because all vastly complex systems can be boiled down to fundamentals, it does not mean that these fundamentals are in themselves what one is grappling with in the real world, but rather the combinations of them, resulting in a pastiche of realities so varied and multitudinous as to render the impossibility of God profoundly ridiculous (there! that’s a mouthful for you).
As the whole is too great for the minds of men, we must perforce render it manageable by isolating and observing its constituent parts, and then, by means of various and mysterious mental operations, try to stitch them all back together in some kind of manageable way. The earliest records of describing this process date back to the Vedas, from which a great part of Scientology 1.0.0 has been derived.
One of the simplest ideas discussed in Scientology 1.0.0 is the two-pole universe. At its most reduced, this universe, the physical universe, of course, can be represented by the number, or symbol, 2. You could say that the eighth dynamic is represented by the symbol ∞ , the seventh dynamic the symbol 0, and the sixth dynamic, the dynamic of matter, energy, space, and time, by 2. (For more information on the dynamics, see article, The Eight Dynamics, a Map of the Self). This universe would start with 2, go to 3, and then right on out to a number so large that it would take very close to an eternity to write it all out (perhaps on an infinitely large blackboard). Fellows like Stephen Hawking say that this happened with such rapidity that it made a noise like a big bang. I don’t know, maybe so.
In Scientology 1.0.0, it all started with a viewpoint and then a dimension point, symbolised by a “0” and a “1” (I get into this in the article, Scientology 1.0.0 – continued). I guess this could be argued like that whole business of eggs and chickens, but even so, after you get two such dimension points, you get space because what you’ve got is something that has two sides, an up and a down, or a back and a front. Next, there comes into being a third dimension point. You now have a particle that must have an inside and an outside. This is why, at its most elemental, this universe is a two-pole universe. Of course, one particle is not where it stops; you get a second one, and a third one, and a fourth one: tetrahedrons, then octahedrons, so on and so on, filling up the whole show and-bang! Or whatever.
Anyway, this isn’t supposed to be a discussion about cosmogenesis but about basics, such as these two poles. It’s a two-pole universe: binary as in 1 and 0, something and nothing, on and off, or there and not there, and as dichotomies such as yes and no, up and down, black and white, left and right, and so on and so on. For purposes of discussion, the most important thing is right and wrong, which is called “two-valued logic.”
Logic: reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity. From, Greek –logikos.
In ancient times, there might have been just one-valued logic. That is to say, the gods decided everything; all was Fate, all was Destiny (I don’t know how true that is) but one can discover that Aristotle (384—322 B.C.) figured out a better way to look at things, which was two-valued logic: right and wrong, or yes and no. It appears that around this time, in the West at any rate, humans, themselves, are beginning to be recognised as having some actual agency (although they always did and knew it too, more or less), perhaps even having a real say in their own affairs (imagine that!). Eventually, at some point, especially with the rise of computer engineering, came the idea of three-valued logic: right, maybe, and wrong; progress!
The thing is, however it has been laid out, however it’s been thought of, what has been actually working for man the whole time, that is to say, when and where he has been successful, is by means of something far, far more complex: infinity-valued logic.
Dianetics lays this out quite clearly, and Scientology 1.0.0 runs with it all the way down the field this way: Gradient scales are necessary to the evaluation of problems and their data. It’d sure be a great thing, in my estimation, if this was taught in schools, starting with classes for children of about eight years old.1 It would certainly help, in the long run, to avoid all the pitfalls and inevitable violence of two-valued logic, such as our endlessly stupid and useless left-right political “spectrum”.
The left-right political spectrum, our ubiquitous and simplistic way of viewing the political landscape, where the heck did that nonsense come from?
One theory is that it came from the Romans. A long time ago, Rome, at some point, apparently having beaten all its neighbours into submission, had time on its hands. So, being a warrior culture, it lacked the imagination to come up with anything better to do with its leisure than watch sports. So they wasted their time at the chariot races, the more manly version of our spectator sports, social media, Netflix and Amazon Prime. At the hippodrome in Byzantium, there were two basic factions in those races: the Blues and the Greens. Originally, there were also the Reds and the Whites, but they got absorbed by the other two, and so the stage was set for trouble (apparently, the fewer the teams, the fewer the choices, the more feverishly fervent the fans became). The Blues and the Greens were supported and backed by rich families with state power, so the games had a strong political flavour. So intense was the rivalry between these two “teams,” political in nature as they were, that the population had a fine old time killing each other over whose team was better. On one occasion, something close to 30,000 people wound up dead arguing over this. Good times! Good times! (Roman style.)
Another theory is that it came from the French in the 18th century, while the United States was itself just getting organised after its own revolution. The French Revolution, needless to say, was a total disaster, and in my opinion, the place has never really recovered from it. The terms “left” and “right” come from the seating arrangements in their assembly after 1789; the left side of the room represented the commoners, and the right represented the aristocracy. Lord! Not only is setting up your government on the questionable ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau a recipe for tragical failure, but these people set up their government based on caste, which was the problem they were apparently trying to solve in the first place! So much for revolutions, in the 18th century French manner, anyhow.
Nothing set up on just two poles works for very long, if at all. Examples of this arrangement are: workers/owners, unions/management, commoners/aristocrats, Blues/Greens, Left/Right, Democrats/Republicans. I mean, if you’ve got to set up your game to be in opposition with itself, it might work for a while, but then, eventually, it’ll fall apart. Maybe by means of a (shudder) French style revolution.
So, what is infinity-valued logic? It’s the type of thinking, albeit unrecognised, that actually got us where we are. Which means that we can’t keep making this two-pole mistake if we expect to continue on to develop a more advanced state of civilisation. Certainly, we’ll go backwards if we don’t work this out.
At least all the times when he was mostly successful, man was unaware that he was using infinity-valued logic. Two-valued logic, and three-valued logic (for instance, left-centre-right) are observations of what man thought he was doing, not actually what he was doing. Like so many observations throughout history, it’s the observations that improve, not the phenomena being observed. When those improved observations are implemented, improved technologies are the result. Technology is completely dependent on how accurately any phenomenon is being observed.
Take, for instance, when the world was flat. Well, it was never really flat, probably, it’s just that was how it looked to people. Until we started working with the theory that it was round, we couldn’t navigate in open oceans very well and often made landfall far from where we wanted to go. Other examples, four hundred years ago people thought sickness was caused by miasmas and that mice appeared spontaneously in hay. Now, we have programmes to keep people clean and to breed animals so that labs can do experiments on them.
Before all the actually accurate observations of the past couple thousand years or so, everything was caused by the vagaries of the gods, and all things were either right or wrong, yes or no, there or not there, because that’s how it seemed.
Thinking and reasoning, that is to say, logic, is in fact a complex operation of weighing numerous factors, ratios, and odds that range from an absolute theoretical “no” or “wrong” through a vast number of shades to an absolute theoretical “yes” or “right”. If one can work with this scale more or less successfully, and arrive at a satisfactory “mostly yes” or “mostly no,” depending on the equation involved, then one is correct. If done poorly, then one is incorrect. That’s it. It turns out that what we are is, in fact, a race of successful approximators! But when we slide into two-valued logic, we face failure because life just isn’t that absolute. Or simplistic.
Speaking of overly simple, let’s return to the political “spectrum” used to such poor effect by practically the whole world.
What is the “left”? It depends on who you ask, but in the United States, it is generally recognised as being the Democratic Party, whose platform was in favour of more government in order to support workers’ rights programmes and that helped the poor and minorities, and thus, by protecting them, protected what they thought was the “true” life blood of the “Republic”. The “right”? That would be the Republican party, whose platform was in favour of less government, support of owners’ rights, and programmes that helped industry, the middle-classes, and thus, by protecting them, protected what they thought was the ‘true’ life blood of the “Republic”. (Actually, both parties have been pushing for more and more government since at least the 1940s.)
These two parties, despite piling on ever larger government programmes and all the parasite-filled bureaucracies needed to run them, lumbered along more or less successfully for awhile because, in fact, both ways of doing things were thought to be needed to keep things running, and so they used to talk to and with one another (“across the aisle” discussion, I think it was called). However, over the past century, especially since 1933, both parties have been talking less and less, and the people of the country have prospered, when they have prospered, rather more despite the efforts of this ridiculously simplistic two-party system than because of it.
As time has gone on and the two parties have become more and more alien to their original design, the electorate, meanwhile, has become more and more entrenched in their party affiliations. “Up the Blues and down with the Greens!” cries one group. “Down with the Blues and up with the Greens!” shouts the other. Snore.
Nowadays, the rhetoric is “the Democrats (the “Lefties”) are a bunch of filthy Marxists!” and “the Republicans are a lot of evil Nazis!”2 Got a match, anyone?
Who knows how this is going to turn out, but in the meantime, it is high-time that more people in the West switch to infinity-valued thinking and stop fooling around with this dualistic fallacy.
What’s needed is an actual political scale, one that is provably useful for discussing what would be, or could be, good government. Unfortunately, this is impossible without a philosophic view.
Over the past couple of centuries or so, philosophy has fallen into abuse and disuse. When I first came to the United States, I wanted to discuss philosophy with people I met, and I discovered that it was a subject that, if studied, apparently rendered students unemployable, except as, maybe, fry cooks and dishwashers. Because their education had not consisted of anything useful, such as majoring in business, law, medicine, or, best of all, larceny, the philosophy major, apparently, was no longer in demand by the market.
A new paradigm
When you look up “political spectrum”, you find the usual left-right-centre diagram, or you get all sorts of diagrams in terms of circles or squares plotting out things like “Plutocratic Nationalist” and “archy vs. anarchy”. Nothing in these diagrams indicates one ideology or philosophy as being more workable than another; they’re all somehow just a matter of preference or something. Bits of one side work as well as bits of the other, with the “centre” somehow being a synthesis of the two. It’s ridiculous and confusing. Its only obvious use is to indicate who’s in which camp: “I’m a Blue and you’re a Green.” Well, scrub all that, I say.
What’s needed instead is a hierarchical scale that goes from one type of government at the bottom to another type at the top, with ascending steps from bottom to top that reflect the types of government that best suit the conditions that people find themselves in.
How about one where at the bottom of the scale you’d have collectivism and therefore a necessarily large and highly centralised government, and at the top you’d have individualism with its distributed networks and a consequently small government, as government would be mostly a matter of protecting those networks rather than getting involved in them. I suppose below the bottom rung you could have Mad Max like chaos and whatnot, and above the top rung you could have some sort of benign anarchy (no government), by means of some fantastic, nearly magical honour system. (The first being entirely possible in today’s political climate, while the latter would be much harder to attain, but what, really, should we be shooting for3).
Individualism, the ideal of the sovereign individual, would be the philosophy behind this scale.
Individualism: the habit or principle of being independent and self-reliant. Also: a social theory favouring freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control.
Collectivism: the practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it. And: the ownership of land and the means of production by the people or the state (emphasis mine).
The scale would go from the top, with systems that favour individualism, down to systems of government that rely on collectivist psychology.
It might look like this (“state” being the term I’m using for political philosophy):
State Level 5: A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives and that has an elected or nominated president. The representatives of the people would have limited terms of office from which they could be turned out at any time if they were not seen to be doing their jobs. There would be no professional politicians. The disenfranchised amongst the population would be cared for in a multitude of ways by the private sector. Taxes would be low.
State Level 4: A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives and that has an elected or nominated president. Similar to state level 5, but in this case, the representatives of said people would have relative autonomy during their term (or terms) in office and only answer for their actions at election time. This level would be the level of professional politicians. Because taxes are usually much higher, the disenfranchised would be cared for by means of “non-profits” (un-taxed companies operating in the private sector).
State Level 3: Next down would be a partially socialist system of government (socialist lite) achieved by democratic means. By socialism, it is meant: a political and economic theory of social organisation that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. At this level, socialism is not extreme. There would be a private sector, but it would be closely monitored by the state in order to pay for welfare programs. Taxes would begin to exceed 50%.
State Level 2: This would be a mid-level socialist state that may or may not have been elected at first but would hold power permanently afterwards. There would be a semi-private sector (usually controlled by the elite who are propping up the government), but most commerce would ultimately be state controlled and heavily taxed. Political correctness is becoming a serious “social issue.” Eventually, under such a government, unproductive (disenfranchised) members of the population would be either ignored, put to work, or liquidated (0% unemployment). Taxes generally exceed 80%.
State Level 1: Finally, a fully socialist state (socialism hard-core). It is usually based on the theory of social organisation in which all property is owned by the community and each person “contributes and receives according to their ability and needs.” This level would be controlled by one party (the private sector having fully merged with the public sector) and have a “president, or commissar, for life”. Actually, there would be no private sector because the state would own everything. The disenfranchised (including the politically incorrect), those that survive, will be put to work in labour camps or institutionalised. Taxes are either at 100% or non-existent, depending on how one wishes to look at it.
You could say it would go, in terms of the tone scale (see article, Space, Emotion and Well-Being):
Level 5 – tone 3.0 – Republic
Level 4 – tone 2.5 – Democracy
Level 3 – tone 2.0 – Social Democracy
Level 2 – tone 1.5 – Fascism
Level 1 – tone 1.1 – Communism
These terms have become so mangled and misused that I skipped using them but I will continue to use the tone scale because that’s what I hope will make sense (eventually).
As I said, the top level favours individualism, the next less so, and so on down to a fully collectivist society.
By the way, there is something peculiar about level 2 and level 1, fascism and communism. When they come into contact with one another, their attention fixates. The fascist fixates all his attention on the communists and vice versa, to the exclusion of all else. Sort of what happens when you put a cobra and a mongoose in a pit together. This is what happened to the United States with the USSR after WWII. As the only tool usually available to fascists and communists is force, they will inevitably fight. The US and the USSR had nukes (“mutually assured destruction”), though, so to fight they used other countries and had what were called proxy wars.
Despite this phenomenon, and because level 1 states go extinct so much faster than level 2 states, certain thinkers with political and economic clout are building a hybrid 1.5 state here in the U.S., a kind of cross between the two, sort of like what China did in the 1980s (in fact, exactly what China built; the so-called “China model” is the dream of today’s globalists), and that has worked so well for them. What these dangerous fools don’t realise is just how poor levels 2 and 1 are at communication and innovation.
Communication is vital to maintaining a high-tech civilisation and communication channels suffer very badly at level 2 and worse at level 1. As to innovation, it is vital if a civilisation is going to update and modify itself to survive and flourish in the long term. So far as I know, China hasn’t invented anything at all in centuries. What they’ve been successful at is ripping off Western technology. To avoid becoming like China, the U.S. only needs to get back control of its currency, start making important things at home again, and trade with China mostly for things that aren’t vital. (Of course it probably ain’t that simple, I’m just saying.)
How the scale works (going down):
The 3.0 state: The elected representatives have direct feedback, critical and otherwise, from their constituents and would retain office only by consensus of the governed (the union of the people). A fairly high level of communication between the people and their representatives would obtain. Because there would be a lot of seemingly random action at this level, it would appear to be sort of “messy” (Brrr! goes everyone at Level 3 and down). Also, because there would be greater caution regarding change, the government works more slowly.
The 2.5 state: Feedback from the people generally only occurs at election time, although, unlike 3.0, only half the population will usually bother to vote. This system favours career politicians, and career politicians favour a less involved electorate. Being that the government is being run by professional politicians, they are easily “captured” by the private sector because of the need for heavy campaign contributions necessary to hold office. This business of buying the state generates the problem known as “crony capitalism.” Because people can see this, those already clamouring for the and 2.0 state, or the 1.0 state, are blaming all their problems on “capitalism”.
The 2.0 state: As “the people” are beginning to be viewed as a nuisance, and because louder voices demanding more government and better leadership shout down quieter voices hoping for a 3.0 state, a more powerful semi-centralised system of state is “required.” This system needs professional holders-of-office, is heavily dependent on entrenched bureaucrats, and therefore needs much more “support” from elites in the private sector (which is, in fact, taking over). There would be limited critical feedback allowed from the people, even at election time. “Elections” would be loud, garish, and meaningless. This level of government is more pro-active and can “get things done” more quickly than 3.0 (“thank goodness,” say people at this level, perhaps not realising they are, in fact, setting the stage for the 1.5 state). The phenomenon known as the “tyranny of the masses” manifests.
The 1.5 state: This type of state is usually maintained by means of a heavily armed police (both secret and not so secret) and a dedicated, loyal military (and “alert” citizens happy to report on the activities of those they have come to resent). There would be a more or less permanent head of state (or a changing head but one who is always controlled by “special interests” or a hidden elite) and a very centralised administration supporting him/her. Any critical feedback from the people would be considered “un-patriotic”, even, possibly, treasonous. There would be a rising need for prisons, especially those to hold the politically undesirable. Government “work” would happen even more quickly than the 2.0 level. The tyranny of the masses, having been used to arrive at this level from 2.0, is no longer in play as all feedback from the people is regulated.
The 1.1 state: The government is fully centralised and all actual power would be in the hands of just one person, a “president for life,” perhaps, or some kind of commissar. It would have an administration, but one willing to provide only minimal, very, very cautious, critical feedback, if any (members of the administration often disappearing). This level would also, quite naturally, require an all-powerful secret police, an obedient military, and a vast network of citizen spies. Because of the vital need for “unity”4 at this level, any critical feedback from the people would necessarily be considered sedition. Also, this level would be very “un-messy” because all dissenting voices, if there are any left, would be silenced. Government work would get done lightning fast; whole policies, often sweeping, often created to respond to “emergencies,” get implemented practically overnight (now, that’s efficient government, alright and then millions die).
In terms of public outlook, people of a more cheerful or conservative bent would support the 3.0 state. “We’re doing pretty well. Let’s not change anything too much.” People more disinterested in politics would tend to prefer the 2.5 state, “oh, let’s leave it to the professionals; they know what they’re doing.” People who are more antagonistic towards the world and “other people” will support the 2.0 state. “Damn all those rich people, or immigrants, or _____ (fill in the blank), they’ll take our piece of the pie if we let ‘em!” People more angry and hostile (fearful towards strangers, disgusted by other cultures or countries) prefer the 1.5 state “If we don’t get rid of those (jews, blacks, whites, rich people, people who disagree with our culture, or _____ (fill in the blank) we’re done for!” And people, tending to be even more fearful but filled with venom and resentment, really get on board with the 1.1 state. “Down with the rich! Up with the proletariat!.” Fearful people, especially those who make loud claims of victimhood, real or imagined, push hard to get a 1.1 state. The 2.0, 1.5, and 1.1 states will eventually, over time, cause a great deal of apathy in the people, and inevitably and invariably, you’ll finally get anarchy and chaos, such as happened after the fall of Rome in A.D. 500–800.5
The scale (going up):
Now, if a society is climbing its way out of an anarchic, Mad Max (Viking) sort of existence, one could expect it to rise up by first organising something like a 1.1 state. So, as you can see, this could be a useful scale, not only for how civilisations collapse, but also for how they rise.
One of the great idiocies of the West, particularly of the United States, because one would have hoped we would have known better, is thinking it can “bring democracy” to anarchic, chaotic countries like Afghanistan or other 1.5 countries like Iraq. By means of coercion too: at the point of a gun! It takes generations of laying the groundwork before a society can attain a 3.0 state, let alone the shoddy 2.5 or, even, the comparatively crappy 2.0 state (shoddy and crappy from the 3.0 perspective, that is). The United States, by the way, is in such confusion right now that it has all the levels operating in one sector or another, in one way or another, which may turn out to be a good thing.6
The political philosophy scale was originally laid out and included in a body of work in the mid 1940’s as part of what would become Scientology 1.0.0.
So, that is how we ought to be discussing politics, in my humble opinion, anyway. Or something along these lines; not this dualistic, binary, and illogical left-right thing.
And the same infinity-valued logic should be brought to bear on all subjects, including religion, science, and Scientology 2.0, which is my main point.
Going forward, I hope that as soon as anyone sees that an important subject is being discussed in terms of absolutes, or generalities (where generalities don’t apply, science, for instance, is the study of general phenomena)), or “us versus them”, they will recognise it as the kind of binary thinking (two-valued logic) that tears down civilisation, not as anything constructive. We should always try to turn the conversation into one that has nuance, degrees, ratios, gradient scales, and, when specific cases are discussed, actual evidence displayed or cited.
This would be particularly important while viewing mass media propaganda or listening to the utterances of pundits, “experts,” celebrities, and professional politicians that populate our screens these days.
The thing to also be aware of is that black and white thinking is often engaged in by people who are upset. Upset people cannot perceive accurately, so they have to be “lifted up” out of their misery before any useful conversation can take place with them. (A great book about this is by Jonathan Haidt titled, The Righteous Mind.) Handle the upset by getting them to describe what it is and talk about it until they feel better. Then get into the subject with infinity-valued thinking, asking that they try and think about things this way too.
Okay, so there it is. It is my hope that by the time I get on with discussing Scientology 2.0, the reader will have all this in mind, this infinity-valued way of looking at the world.
1 Per Jean Piaget’s observation of stages of human development, from ages seven to eleven, children can begin to think logically as they are no longer merely egocentric. During this stage, children become more aware of logic and concepts that were previously foreign to them.
2 This name-calling is unfortunate not only because it is stupid and rude, but also because it trivialises not only the lives of the millions upon millions of people killed in the name of both of these ideologies, Marxism and Fascism, but also the countless lives of the men and women (and children) who died fighting against them.
3 A “benign anarchy” would require the population to be in a very high state of development indeed, the full realisation of the sovereign individual. It’s not impossible, though, but it could take a long time to get there.
4 The 1.1 state substitutes “unity” for “union,” by the way. The individualist should always worry when a politician spews words like unity, diversity, equity, inclusivity, or multicultural. These are collectivist terms and are some of the watchwords for a civilisation that is shutting down.
5 The U.S.S.R. collapsed after about 67 years of operating at 1.1 (even after being propped up by the West almost the whole time). Interestingly it is doing much better today and has managed to climb the ranks to become a cross between a 1.5 and a 2.0 state.
6 This is because of the original plan to have the states be in a state of union rather than a nation state. It is this that could save it yet.