My last article was awhile ago, back in the pre-Covid days of yore, March (2020) I think. Since then 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 being the developmental stage, the discoveries and the creation of the processes, the therapies. The second being the institutional and self-protection, legal, 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 who left the field, more or less, by 1980 and 2.0 is run today by David Miscavige, who stepped into (rather than onto) the arena around 1981; these being the two main personalities involved so far.)
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” (eventually). Difficult not only because I am decidedly not an historian or professional researcher or even a writer, but because one, that is to say I, find I must always skirt the edge of the defining pitfall of our times: the apparent demand to oversimplify, stereotype, make two-dimensional, every issue that would better be served with delicacy, nuance and insight.
Take the so-called “political spectrum”, which is usually discussed as the “Left/Right” political spectrum, which I will get into presently. This is a massive over-simplification of politics that has been popularised by the mainstream media over decades and which has effectively destroyed any possibility of having the vital discussion: what exactly constitutes good government.
What I’m saying is, it’s become really hard to argue and debate complex topics, let alone complex and controversial ones, in these confused 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 lay out “binary thinking” versus “gradient scale logic”, also known as infinity-valued logic, as 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 complex and thorny issues. For those readers that are familiar with this way of thinking I hope you will bear with me (or just skip it), for those who aren’t, I hope you may find this interesting, maybe even useful.
The Two-Pole Universe
“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)
Scientology 1.0.0 is chock full of mind-bogglingly simple ideas. Because all vastly complex systems can be boiled down to fundamentals 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 (that’s a mouthful.) As the whole is too great for the mind of Man to study he must perforce render it manageable by isolating and observing its constituent parts and then, by means of various mental operations, try to stitch them back together in some manageable way. The earliest records of describing this process date back to the Vedas from which a great deal 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 in terms of the Dynamics, 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, 2. You’d think it would be the symbol 1 (because it would begin with one dimension point, what physicists call a “particle”) but it wouldn’t be as I will explain in a second. So, this universe would start with one dimension point then go to two dimension points then three and so on 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 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 guess this could be argued like the whole business of eggs and chickens but after you get a dimension point you get space because what you’ve got is a particle now, which perforce must have an inside and an outside. This is why, at it’s most elemental, this universe is a two-pole universe. Of course one particle is not where it stops, as I mentioned, 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 in dichotomies such as yes and no and up and down, black and white, left and right and so on and so on. The most important, for purposes of discussion, is right and wrong which is called, “two-valued logic”.
In ancient times there was just one-valued logic. That is to say, the gods decided everything, all was Fate, all was Destiny (the bad old days); whole swaths of the world still think this way. Then came Aristotle who saw that there was another way to look at things which was two-valued logic: right and wrong. It appears that around this time, in the West at any rate, humans are beginning to be recognised as having some agency, perhaps actually having a 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, what has been 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.
Infinity-valued logic. Dianetics lays this out quite clearly and Scientology 1.0.0 runs with it all the way down the field. It’d sure be a great thing, in my estimation, if infinity-valued logic was taught in schools starting with classes for children of about eight years old *. It’d sure help in the long run avoiding all the pitfalls and inevitable violence of two-valued logic such as our increasingly useless left/right political “spectrum”.
Where the heck did that nonsense come from, our ubiquitous left and right way of viewing the political landscape? One theory is it came from the Romans. A long time ago Rome, at some point, apparently had pretty much beaten all its neighbours into submission and so, being a warrior culture, didn’t have much to do afterwards. So they defaulted to watching spectacles, their version of Social Media, Netflix and Amazon Prime. A favourite pass-time were chariot races. 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 Blues and the Greens and so the stage was set for trouble. So intense became the rivalry between these two poles, political in nature as they were, that the population had a fine old time killing each other over whose team was better. One time something close to 30,000 people wound up dead arguing over this. Good times, good times!
Another theory is, 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 country has never really properly recovered from it. The terms Left and Right come from the seating arrangements in their assembly after 1789, the Left represented the commoner and the Right represented the aristocracy. Lordy! Not only is setting up your philosophy on just two poles a recipe for disaster, 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 revolution.
Nothing set up like this 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 your up your game to be in opposition with itself, it might work for a while but then, eventually, it’ll fall apart maybe even result in violent conflict!
So, what is infinity-valued logic? It’s the type of thinking that actually got us where we are: in an advanced state of civilisation and technology where we cannot afford to keep making this bi-polar, dualistic error. One-valued logic, two-valued logic and three-valued logic are observations of what Man thought he was doing, not actually what he was doing, at least all the times when he was mostly successful. Like so many observations through history, it’s the observation that improved not the phenomena being observed. Then technology is developed based on those observations as technology is completely dependent on how accurately any phenomena is being observed in the first place.
Like when the world was flat. Well, it was never really flat (probably) but that’s how it looked to people. Also, four hundred years ago people thought sickness was caused by miasmas and that mice appeared spontaneously in hay. So, everything was caused by the vagaries of the gods or everything was either right or wrong because that’s how it seemed by means of primitive observance.
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 does this more or less successfully and arrives at a satisfactory “yes”, or “no”, depending on the equation involved, then one is right. If done poorly, then one is wrong. That’s it. Turns out that what we are is in fact a race of successful approximators! (Or, as a good friend of mine pointed out, guessers.) But when we slide into two-valued logic we face failure because life just isn’t that simple, or that absolute. (Remember, these fundamentals are for use in building up to mental facsimiles that, hopefully, approximate the real world, they are not in themselves representative of reality.)
Speaking of overly simple, let’s return to the political “spectrum” used to such poor effect by half the world.
What is the Left? Depends on who you ask but in the United States it is generally recognised as being the Democratic Party who’s platform was in favour of government programs that helped the poor, minorities and the working classes and thus, by protecting them, protected what they thought was the true life blood of the “Republic”. The Right is the Republican party that favoured less government, supported individual responsibility and would rather rely on the private sector, private business, to increase prosperity which in its turn protected the true life blood of the “Republic”. These two parties, this two-party system, lumbered along more or less successfully for awhile because, in fact, both ways of doing things is what is needed to keep things running and they used to talk to and with one another (“across the aisle” discussion, it was called). However, over the past century, especially the past 87 years (since 1933), neither party has done much of either 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, have become more entrenched in their party affiliations: “up the Blues and down with the Greens!” cries one faction. “Down with the Blues and up with the Greens!” shouts the other. Snore!
Only now the rhetoric is “the Democrats (the “Lefties”) are a bunch of filthy Marxists!” and “the Republicans (the “Righties”) are a gaggle of evil Nazis!” †. Got a match, anyone?
Who knows how this is going to turn out but in the meanwhile it is high time that more people in the West learn infinity-valued thinking and stop fooling around with this dualistic fallacy.
What’s needed is an actual political spectrum, one that is provably useful for discussing what would be, could be, good government.
Unfortunately this is impossible without the philosophic view.
Over the past century or so, philosophy has fallen into disuse. When I first came to the United States I would want to discuss philosophy with people I met and rapidly discovered that it was a subject that was thought best left to fry cooks and dishwashers, two jobs considered to be the kind left to people who had no real value. Possibly because their education had not consisted of anything useful, such as majoring in business, law, medicine or, most of all, larceny. The United States is a country peculiarly obsessed with quantity valuations, rather than qualities, which is what philosophy is mostly concerned with (science deals with quantities). Not that Europeans are any better in the philosophy department, they’ve produced some of the most baffling philosophers, after all, God bless ‘em.
Well, as I said, to get to the bottom of the matter what is required is the philosophic view, a complex operation indeed, but here goes.
When you look up “political spectrum” you get all sorts of diagrams in terms of circles or squares plotting out things like “Plutocratic Nationalist” and “Archy vs, anarchy”. Well, scrub all that, I say. What’s needed instead is an hierarchical scale that goes from one form of organising groups at the bottom to another form at the top with ascending steps from bottom to top that reflects the type of government best suited to the conditions that people find themselves in and that condition as based on a workable philosophy of organisation.
I propose that at the bottom of the scale you’d have collectivism, and therefore a necessarily highly centralised and large government, and at the top you’d have individualism with an accordant diffused and smaller government as governmental control would be widely distributed amongst the governed. (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, by means of some method of fantastic, nearly telepathic cooperation. The first being highly possible in today’s reality while the latter would be much harder to attain ‡).
Individualism 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.
The scale would go from the top, systems that favour individualism, down into systems of government that rely on collectivism.
It might look like this:
State Level 1: A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president. The representatives of the people would have limited terms of office from which offices they could be turned out of at any time, if not being seen to do 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. Taxation: 5 – 10%
State Level 2: A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president. Similar to the above but in this case the representatives of said people would have relative autonomy during their term(s) in office and only answer for their actions at election time. This level would be the level of professional politicians. The disenfranchised would be cared for by means of non-profits operating in the private sector. Taxation: 10 – 35%.
State Level 3: Next down would be a partially socialist system of government achieved by democratic means. (By socialism it is meant: a political and economic theory of social organisation which 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. Taxation: 35 – 55%
State Level 4: Next 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 but all commerce would ultimately be state controlled and heavily taxed. Unproductive (disenfranchised) members of the population would be either ignored, put to work or liquidated (0% unemployment). Taxation: 55 – 85%.
State Level 5: Then finally a fully socialist state. 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, always by one party, and a “president for life”. There would be no private sector but also no taxation because the state would already own everything. The disenfranchised, those that survive, will be put to work or institutionalised. Taxation: 100%.
You could say it would go:
but these terms have become so mangled and misused that I skipped using them.
As I said, the top level favours individualism, the next less so and so on down to a full collectivist mentality.
Further, in terms of implementation:
Level 1: The elected representatives would have direct feedback, critical and otherwise, from their constituents and would retain office only by consensus of the governed. A 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).
Level 2: Feedback from the people would mostly occur at election time. Because of this, this system would tend to favour career politicians.
Level 3: As “community” is a generality and therefore always unwieldy and, also, because the usually fewer louder voices shout down the more numerous quieter voices, this requires a more powerful semi-centralised system of state. This system would need career politicians and professional holders-of-office, would be heavily dependent on an entrenched bureaucracy and there would be limited critical feedback from the people, even at election time. This level is a lot less rambunctious, or “messy”, than Level 1 (“thank goodness”, says people at this level).
Level 4: 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. There would be a permanent head of state, a centralised administration supporting him/her (her: coming soon to a country near you) and critical feedback from the people, whatever small amount there would be, would be considered “un-patriotic”, even treasonous.
Level 5: Would in actual fact need to be so centralised that all power would have to be in the hands of just one person, a “president for life”, perhaps, in order to maintain control. They too would have a centralised administration but only one willing to provide minimal, very minimal, critical administrative information. This level would also require a vast secret police and an obedient military. Because of the vital need for “unity” at level 5, any critical feedback from the people would necessarily be considered sedition. This level would be very “un-messy” because all dissenting voices, if there are any, would be silent.
Unity at Level 5 substitutes for union at Level 1.
In terms of emotion, people of a more cheerful or conservative bent would support Level 1, “let’s make things even better!”. People more disinterested in politics would tend to prefer Level 2, “oh, let’s leave it to the professionals, they know what they’re doing”. People more antagonistic about the world and “other people” would support Level 3, “darn all those rich people, they’ll take our piece of the pie if we let ‘em!”. People more hateful and hostile (fearful) towards other peoples or countries prefer Level 4, “If we don’t get rid of those (jews, blacks, communists, privileged whites, fill in the blank) we’re done for!”. And people tending to be fearful (but still hostile) like Level 5, “down with the privileged, up with the proletariat!”. Fearful peoples, especially those who make loud claims to victim-hood, real or imagined, push hard to get a Level 5 state. Levels 3, 4 and 5 will eventually, over time, cause a great deal of apathy in the people and inevitably and invariably you’ll eventually get anarchy and chaos such as happened in the U.S.S.R. in the 1980s and 90s §.
If a society is climbing its way out of an anarchic, Mad Max, sort of existence one could expect it to rise up by first organising something like a Level 5 State so you see, this could be a useful scale in figuring out where things are and where they might go.
One of the great idiocies of the West, particularly of the United States, because one would have hoped it would know better, is thinking it can “bring Democracy” to anarchic, chaotic countries like Afghanistan, or Level 4 countries like Iraq. And at the point of a gun to boot! (Or at the point of a boot, by gum!) It takes years and years of groundwork before a society can attain a Level 5 State let alone a Level 2. 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, at the same time! It is rocketing around all levels except Level 1, the one it was originally designed for but has never obtained. Yet.
Anyway, this was all laid out in the mid 1940’s in what would become Scientology 1.0.0 (but was not actually published until the late 60s).
So, that is how we ought to be discussing politics, in my humble view, or something like it; not this dualistic, binary and nonsensical left/right silliness.
And the same infinity-valued logic should be brought to bare on all subjects including religion, science and Scientology 2.0, 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 **) and “us versus them’, binary thinking, dualistic, two-valued logic, we should always try to turn the conversation into one that has nuance, specific cases with evidence and degrees and ratios.
The thing also to be aware of is that black and white thinking is engaged in by people who are upset. Probably at first it might be effective to inquire as to what the upset really is and lift the interlocutor up into a brighter frame of mind. A great book about this is by Jonathan Haidt titled, “The Righteous Mind”, I highly recommend it. Handle the upset by getting them to describe it and talk about it until they feel better, then get into the subject with infinity-valued thinking.
Okay, so there it is. It is my hope that by the time I ever get on with discussing Scientology 2.0 that the reader will have all this in mind, this infinity-valued way of thinking.
* 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 conservation, topics previously foreign to them.
† This name calling is unfortunate not just because it is stupid and rude but, more seriously, because it trivialises not only the lives of the millions upon millions of dead produced by both these ideologies but the countless lives of men and women and children that died fighting them.
‡ A “benign anarchy” would require the population to be in a very high state of development indeed. It’s not impossible though, given that the human body, for instance, functions at this level of operation.
§ The U.S.S.R. collapsed after about 67 years of operating at Level 5. Interestingly it is doing much better today and has managed to climb the ranks to a Level 4. This may sound like I’m being facetious but I assure you I am not.
** Science is the study of generalities. Specific cases are the realm of jurisprudence, art and religion. Science is the study of what’s usually true and can be measured as so with general metrics.