A structured analysis is a technique that police detectives, FBI agents, CIA Analysts, and others use to investigate something without letting emotions, biases, and other human frailties get in the way of a correct result.
Tools like “Brainstorming” (Divergent Thinking), “Weighted Rankings”, “Hypothesis Testing” are all laid out in The Thinker’s Toolkit, and thoroughly explained, with very helpful exercises on how to apply them to various situations in your life.
It’s not an easy book. A lot of these tools will make your head hurt as you try to learn them. But they all help you to become a better thinker.
Hypothesis Testing is one Thinker’s Tool that has really helped me as Alanzo, a guy who has observed and written about Scientology for the last 14 years – after having been involved in Scientology for the previous 16.
In those 30 years, I have found only two things unshakeably true:
- The battlefield surrounding Scientology is constantly changing.
- No single person has enough information to be totally certain about anything, no matter how confident they seem when they pronounce it. (Except Tony Ortega 🙂 )
It’s an environment where lots of money and many interests are at stake. Players emerge and go away, change their names, switch sides, “decompress”, and disappear and re-appear again as someone else.
And because Scientologists have been trained to coordinate with each other secretly to harm critics of Scientology, per long standing tech and policy by L Ron Hubbard, there are always a lot of conspiracy theories going around attempting to understand the hidden causes for what is happening.
A conspiracy is defined as a secret plan by a group of individuals to do something unlawful or harmful.
Conspiracies happen all the time, especially on the Scientology battlefield, by critics, Exes, Indies, and Scientologists. The very environment requires you to work with others secretly and to keep what you are trying to achieve a secret and not blasted out all over the Internet.
A conspiracy theory, then, is a theory that a group of individuals are operating in coordination with each other, and keeping it a secret, to achieve a result. Since human beings are social animals and operate in coordination with each other all the time, conspiracies are all around you.
So labeling any particular hypothesis as a “conspiracy theory”, then pronouncing that because the hypothesis fits the label of “conspiracy theory” it is therefore false, is completely illogical and stupid. Just because a hypothesis involves a conspiracy does not make it false.
The idea that Scientologists work together secretly to harm somebody or secretly do something illegal is a conspiracy theory AND IT IS THE WHOLE REASON THAT ALL CRITICISM OF SCIENTOLOGY ON THE INTERNET EXISTS.
So having a hypothesis that fits the label of “conspiracy theory” is NOT insane, or even a mistake.
Because no one has all the information, and very little is what it seems on the Post Scientology Internet, the actual mistake is to have only ONE theory, and then to become certain about it.
Yet this is a common human mistake that we all tend to make, on and off the Scientology Battlefield, and it is the reason that structured analysis tools like Hypothesis Testing exist.
Despite what L Ron Hubbard told you, you should never think in 100% certainties.
Black and white thinking is the practice of thinking in certainties, and certainties are fatally flawed because they shut out all other probabilities.
If you really want to get to the truth about something, you should think in probabilities, or degrees of likelihood, and always work with multiple different explanations, or hypotheses.
This means that no matter how emotionally satisfying it might be to declare that “L RON HUBBARD WAS INSANE!” or “DAVID MISCAVIGE IS A PSYCHOPATH!”, or to thoroughly vanquish your particular enemy as an “OSA Agent”, never forget the possibility that you are wrong, and always allow multiple other explanations to exist for the observable behavior that you are trying to understand.
This is a hard fought lesson that I have learned the hard way, and I do have the scars to prove it.
After 30 years of watching this, I can tell you that particular patterns of behavior recur on the post-Scientology Internet, over and over:
- People leave the Church, become “independents”, then become rabidly militant critics of Scientology, then mild critics of Scientology, then drop the whole subject and quietly fade away.
- Former OSA Agents leave and set the skills they learned while working for OSA toward attacking their former employer.
- Critics have epiphanies about all the ways that they were lied to and tricked by L Ron Hubbard and then blog or video or publish books about their realizations for others as if they were the first person to ever realize it. Other critics and Exes read their writings and praise them for their cognitions – all in the effort to help each other get their lives back after the mind-fuck of Scientology.
- Generational waves form of people leaving the Church, and each generation selects their own leaders to whom they look for how to think about what is happening on the Scientology battlefield, and whom they praise as “the most effective critics at bringing down the cult ever!”
- Critics disagree and fight with each other in an attempt to explain things, or to attain hero status and generational leadership by doing more than anyone else to “bring down the Cult”. (Meanwhile, the Cult still stands.)
- And some longtime critics repeatedly spend a huge portion of their time telling other critics which critics are insane or mentally damaged and should never be listened to. These critics go on years-long, sometimes decades-long, crusades to discredit, defriend, and isolate other critics, and to make sure no one else will support them. They use guilt by association, and insanity by association, and other 50’s style, dead-agent and discrediting techniques on other critics repeatedly.
There are many different hypotheses for why each of the above patterns repeat themselves on the Post-Scientology Internet, each with its own probability of being true.
The mistake is believing that you can be certain that any one hypothesis is the only possibility, and in believing that there is no possibility that you are wrong.
All you can do is make sure that you consider multiple different hypotheses, and never eliminate any possibility because it’s just not emotionally satisfying enough.
Then behave accordingly.
In the meantime, get and read the book above and learn how to apply Hypothesis Testing to your pet OSA Agent.
Most of the time, it doesn’t matter WHY someone is behaving any particular way – only that they are.