Consonance & Dissonance in Scientology

Masterful shot from Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master”

The human mind wants to think about things – especially important things – as either ALL GOOD, or ALL BAD.

Not both.

A mixture of good and bad in the mind gives you a feeling of dissonance – disharmony, conflict, chaos.

Thinking about things as ALL GOOD, or ALL BAD, gives you a feeling of consonance – consistency, harmony, peace.

Feelings of consonance are much more tolerable to you than feelings of dissonance. So the mind always tries to get away from dissonance and create consonance. Your mind will reduce dissonance by ignoring, or explaining away, thoughts and ideas that don’t fit your existing belief system.

That’s why, if you are a Scientologist, then thinking that Scientology is ALL GOOD, and thinking that anti-Scientology is ALL BAD gives you a feeling of consonance.

Too often, though, if you are an Ex-Scientologist who has self-identified as an anti-Scientologist, and you think that anti-Scientology is ALL GOOD and Scientology is ALL BAD, then I think you are making a huge mistake.

That’s like being stuck in a simplistic cartoon.

But some Ex-Scientologists live like this, even after getting themselves out of Scientology, every day.

Consonance and Dissonance as an Ex-Scientologist
If you are an Ex-Scientologist, and have gained the wisdom and the courage to get yourself out of Scientology, you know what it’s like to live in a simplistic cartoon. As an Ex, I think you would have fully graduated from that. There is no reason to ever live in that kind of simplistic cartoon again.

The truth about Scientology, as with almost all other things in life, is dissonant: It is both the good and the bad mixed together.

So in order to maintain the truth about Scientology in your mind you have to be able to tolerate a feeling of dissonance for a while. You have to tolerate a feeling of things being both true and false, both good and bad, at the same time.

You can’t understand something that is complex and dissonant by thinking about it in simplistic ways. Your thinking has to match the complexity of the situation you are thinking about for it to be adequate to understand it.

A feeling of consonance can be achieved, even amongst the dissonant wreckage of Scientology. It takes an effort to think about things in nuanced ways, to think in ways more complicated than ALL GOOD or ALL BAD. It takes a complexity of thought that matches the complexity of all your experiences in Scientology – all the good ones and all the bad ones.

As with any skill, this way of thinking requires learning, effort, and practice.

This skill is a very desirable one to work on after Scientology.