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Scientology Vs Psychotherapy – Long Live South Park

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Scientology vs. Psychotherapy is truly one of US pop culture’s most delicious ironies. Stealing a phrase from Mark Russell referring to Democrats and Republicans, this really is a case of the “Brain Washed leading the Brain Dead.” In politics however, it is hard to determine who is which. In the war of these two dominant US pop religions, Scientology and Psychotherapy, it is clear that the, uh well, perhaps it is not too clear which is which here either. Both could be as easily the brain dead or the brain washed and likely each is both. Clearly the brain disorders of scientology and psychotherapy are equally pseudo-scientific responses to the death of God that has been troubling the West since Nietzsche made that proclamation just prior to the 20th century.

The death of God in the West is an historical fact. But it is not at all a statement about the existence of God. Whether or not God exists is a mystery beyond human certainty. But the death of God is a factual certainty about Western culture. By the beginning of the 20th century, God was nowhere to be found in any advanced thought outside of theology and, to a lesser degree, philosophy. God is nowhere a part of any legitimate science. Simultaneously the beginning of the 20th century marked a period of genocide like nothing the West could ever have imagined. This is exactly why Nietzsche’s proclamation was so trenchant.

Nietzsche warned us that the death of God was the beginning of a period of nihilism that would sweep across Europe. And it did just that: from the mass killing of the Armenian genocide through the horrors of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot, no less than 100 million human beings had been systematically annihilated in the name of the post-god religions. Our 21st century lunatic ululating murderers seem pretty tame by the standards of the 20th century. Of course, the 21st century is young, and Islamo-fascism is just beginning to build momentum, so who knows. Maybe Wahabist stupidity may turn out to be the genocidal equal of Marxism or Nazism. When God is dead, perhaps not actually anything is possible but wholesale genocide seems certain.

Nevertheless, I find sheer pleasure in the conflict between psychobabble and Thetan babble. Both scientology and psychotherapy, like communism and for that matter PC feminism, are post-god religions. Thetans Thetans everywhere and not a drop of sense. Thychotherapy and Thientology. Yes it is the new Yahweh Superego vs. the new evil Prophet Xenu. But lest one thinks this comparison specious, merely remember both varieties of babble refer to the influence of past lives on present lives. Freud and his followers, in numerous works, ground the Oedipus complex in the pre-historic Primal Scene. Yes indeedy, when man was young, according to Freud et al, the sons got together murdered and ate the Primal Father in order to have primal Mom and her daughters. And this remains the source of our difficult object relations around Mommy and Daddy.

As Freud writes in The Ego and the Id, we inherit past unconscious memories. In L. Ronny land there is the Xenu incident and various other horrible events from our past, the memory of which we genetically inherit, and for all but the most enlightened Thetans, like all but the most enlightened psycho-therapized, these memories remain submerged in, yet again, the Scientologist’s version of the UNCONSCIOUS. Ooo ooo ooo, ghostly weirdness everywhere.

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About carmine

  • When I saw the title of your article, the dems vs. repubs analogy popped immediately into my mind. All I have to say about rightousness of any clan is that, sure, they may have some workable ideas but the volume of ideas as a whole to believe in doesn’t cut it for me.

    We are a world of information and ideas. Just pick out the parts that one’s own mind machine needs to function. You don’t need to shove in all the parts of a phylosophy to figure it out.

    They are all looking for the same thing anyway.

  • Scientology vs. Psychiatry is summarized at http://www.drexun.org (link from the homepage).

    David M Barrington

  • Joe

    Psychotherapy may have had its start w/ Freud… But it has long since parted ways w/ his antiquated theory that is scientifically unproveable. Today’s psychotherapist is well-versed in theory that is more scientifically based and can back up their methods, and less Freudian mumbo-jumbo.

  • Joe and David
    First, the scientology website is exactly that scientology propaganda.

    Second, the “We’re not really Freudians anymore” line is also just propaganda. Perhaps a few books would help. Whores of the Court, by Hagan; The Cult of Personality by Annie Murphy Paul; also the recent article demonstrating the arbitrariness of the DSM in the New Yorker or any of the works by Thomas Szas. The superstition of the scientology is almost forgivable; the obscene rigidity of the psychotherapeutic community is not. Please give me the evidence with replicated studies that any particular psychotherapeutic intervention is better than any other, including scientology. Both are fraudulent, but the universities subsidize much of the psychobabblers, whereas only Hollywood subsidizes Thetanology. Please check out this web site from Psychology Today.

  • Dr Carmine, this is both thoughtful and funny. Outstanding work, sir- best thing I’ve seen from you yet.

  • D

    It is very limiting and closed-minded to dismiss any theory/perspective that one disagrees with. Scientology and psychotherapy are different paradigms. Although limited to their unique perspectives, they have their own ways to view, define, and understand the world around us. There is no one right way. And there is no need to self-righteously shut one or the other down. Everyone has the right to subscribe to whatever theory, religion, political party, sexual orientation, etc. that they feel most inclined to without judgment, shame, or ridicule.

  • nugget

    D- who are you talking to?

  • D. This sort of relativism is actually dangerous as well as contradictory. Psychotherapists can and commonly do take people’s children as well as incarcerate people. Scientologists have a battery of vicious lawyers on their payroll to crush any and all opponents whenever they can. So, let me ask you a rhetorical question: If any opinion is as good as any other opinion, as you suggest, and in my opinion your opinion is wrong, does that make me right and wrong and you right and wrong simultaneously? Pretty sure it does. That is the contradiction all rigid relativists fall into. Guess what, some opinions are just plain wrong. For example contradictory opinions are clearly wrong. I contend your opinion is both.

  • D

    I didn’t know psychotherapists were so powerful that they’re taking children and incarcerating people. I was under the impression that social workers working for the govt (DCFS) did the former upon evaluating the welfare of the child. As for incarceration, there’s this thing called the judicial system made up of judges and juries that put people in jail, after reviewing evidence presented by lawyers. Nowhere in there do I see the evil therapist.

    As for the right to one’s opinion, I agree. We’re both right, we’re both wrong. It’s just a matter of perspective.

  • Luis Ferrer

    I’ve been an active scientologist 10 years ago. Never heard about Xenu and all that crap; never read it in any Scientology book and no one told me about it. I do respect Scientology because is useful – all i learned, i used it.

  • Do you think man will ever transcend the need for a God outside ourselves to tell us right and wrong?

  • Well, I personally don’t need a god or any other imaginary bogeyman to tell me right from wrong and there are many other “grown up” humans who also don’t need all these fairystories dressed up as creation myths.

    Must be some hope for us then, right?

  • Sister Ray,
    I recently read a great book on this topic written by a neuro-physiologist, so he is a real scientist. The book is The God Gene. His premise is we are hardwired for spirituality but we develop some awful religions around this at times. The point is I think we develop the ethical systems and then use some religion and a concommitant god to validate it. We need moral systems to survive in a community, and our genetic predispostion to god/spituality is how we ultimately try to make our moral systems “true” and thus enforcable. God says so; I can feel that; I will kill you if you do not; or I can simply deem you “mentally ill” which also relegates you to an outlaw. Please check out Thomas Szas’s web site if you get a chance you can find it on my blog at stoppseudoscience.blogspot.com. There are many moral enforcers beyond the cops and the priests, psychologist are some of the worse, since they pretend they have scientific mystical insights. In a word we are biologically hardwired for gods and we ought to do our best to worship some life embracing ones rather than the life negating ones we seem so prone to. It is for this reason I so respected the late Pope John-Paul. Yes I am an atheist but that certainly does not make it hard to find brilliance in brilliant theology.

  • Wow…you’ve really given me something to think about. Thanks.

  • bb

    Scientology is a litigious, paramilitary quasi-fascist business, a brainwashing cult of psycho-terror, and the treatment it is (hopefully) getting in Germany and many other countries is what the Nazies SHOULD have gotten in the early 30’s. Their claim “likening themselves to Jews being persecuted during the Nazi era”, is absolutely cynical and disgusting.

    As in numerus previous cases, scientologists are urged (and coersed) by their military superiors, to write/phone the press or net over and over again in order to give an impression of some vast following, which of course does not really exist- the supposed 8 million followers they claim? 200,000 at the most would be more likely.
    The web is full of fascinating and accurate info about this most lying of cults- and guess what- that info is NOT to be found within the cult’s own propaganda sites; Most scientologists don’t know jack about the real history and facts regarding their group or dead paranoid Leader. Not only are they convinced that all critical writings about Scn. are part of a Cosmic Conspiracy trillions (thats right!) of years old, they actually are not allowed to come in any contact with the evil originators of said criticism- the SP’s- (thats short for “Suppresive Person”)- the “anti social personality”, best recognized by the mere fact that he or she are anti Scientology. Scientologists that do communicate with an SP are dealt with by the “Ethics officer” or “Master at arms” , are “handled” at their OWN expense by a self created “Justice System” that would make any decent person’s skin crawl, and could face Ex-communication by the “Church”, their own family and former buddies. Worse, that would be for them the equivalent of banishment from any chance of spiritual freedom.

    One should be aware of the belief system they espouse. In their unbelievably high priced “services”, the (at one time) secretive higher levels, and in his over-the-counter Scientology books and tape recordings- Hubbard talks about aliens and “galactic civilizations” constantly- he gets into great detail about the subject. It’s ludicrous. The sheer quantity and depth of the idiocy found in Hubbard’s writing is way beyond the scope of this letter. The net provides ample examples and proof to anybody who is not already a brainwashed fanatic.

    ALL (new) scientologists are lied to by their “more advanced” colleagues regarding this and other ridiculous “scientific” claims, and are led to believe that they can for the time being, avoid making a personal decision about the subject. This goes on until THEY TOO have been brainwashed, at which point they will treat the totality of L.R.Hubbard’s writing and opinions as absolute truth, NO ifs and buts. Any scientologist saying otherwise is lying: He knows the truth- NO ONE may go up the “Bridge To Total Freedom” with any other opinions than those of the “Source”, Hubbard. The True Believer lies to himself too, but that is what being brainwashed is all about, and where the biggest betrayal takes form.

    Do you suppose I would have wasted my time writing this
    letter had I (and thousands of others who HAVE BEEN THERE) not
    felt very strongly about this? Just hope your that your own kids don’t fall into such a scam. Thanks.

    By someone who is too scared to sign his name. (Like so many others.)

  • bb
    Wow. I have heard this sort of thing before, and I believe you. I only hope others like you have the courage to let the truth be known. And yes, from what I have heard from other past scientologists, your fears are justified. But even anonymously the reality should be told.

  • T

    Carmine..great article. I believe the topic of a godless society is worthy of a second article. I hope you are interested in producing such a piece.

    As for me, I am not an atheist. I have come to find my strength through great physical illness. And along that journey, I discovered a truth. I didn’t expect it, but I cannot deny it. I hope everyone comes to terms with their beliefs. But, I larger hope would be that we make an effort to expose those who wish to deceive and harm.

  • T.
    Atheism is often misrepresented as a faith in the non-existence of God. That is not the sort of atheism I embrace. Rather, I am an atheist who accepts that as a human being I have unavoidable and periodic mystical experiences of the infinitude of the universe and a periodic awsome feeling that I, as a smidgen among smidgens, somehow fit within this awsome infinitude. I am, I know, going to be alright regardless of how it all goes, including my death and the death of all I love. This is mysticsm, yes, but it is not at all evidence that there is some entity I would call “God”. For all I know this is an innate emotion like any other emotion. It is not evidence that my emotion correlates to anything real at all. The point is “God” is a name that only names human desires and human confusion, and human hopefullness. “God” however simply does not name anything beyond us humans. But does this mean we see all there is? Of course not. Does this mean our brains, grand as they seem to us, can grasp that which is beyond our grasp. Well that is a contradiction. So I leave it to say all God talk is really just people talk. And most God talk is generally used to harm or exclude those people who do different sorts of God talk. After all most atheists do a heck of a lot of God talk while bashing the theists. So, my variety of atheism simply means God talk is really just empty words, and what is, is, and if it is something one might actually name, that is beyond us. So, even if we periodically feel the nudge of mysticism that feeling gives us no more evidence that “God” refers to anything other than our hopefulness or desire to claim a right over others who call their hopefulness by the innumerable names of God talk: Jesus, Muhammed, Zeus, Yaweh, Om, Isis, Zagreus, Agdistus, Heroin, Money, Atheism, etc. etc. etc.

  • aa

    bb – DITTO!!

  • flash321

    In the article the author states:Yes it is the new Yahweh Superego vs. the new evil Prophet Xenu.
    Xenu is not a prophet of Scientology. He is considered to something similar to Satan. He is supposed to be locked in a mountain surrounded by a forcefield that is run by an eternal battery. It’s things like this that shows me that the author hasn’t done his homework. If this part is wrong then what else is?

  • jdcarmine

    Flash321, And that helps your argument that scientology is not a competing religion with psychotherapy? Exactly how?