Lawrence Wright’s Questionable Metaphor – A “Prison of Belief”

Lawrence Wright and Alex Gibney – 2 Never-in Critics of Scientology Who Dare to Point Out Other Peoples’ “Prisons of Belief”

While it is true that anyone’s beliefs can become a kind of “prison”, continually prompting behaviors that keep you working against your own self-interests, this metaphor of Lawrence Wright’s only goes so far to explain anyone’s behaviors.

There is a point at which this metaphor becomes an exercise in thought-stopping: A person accepts it as an explanation for why Scientologists do what they do in the way that Larry and other anti-Scientologists describe, and that’s all you need to know. It seems to explain everything when, in fact, it explains very little.

One of the most important things an Ex can do after Scientology is study real science and real philosophy to find the ways that L Ron Hubbard corrupted these things in Scientology.

In my study of real philosophy, I had to study epistemology – the real subject of “knowing how to know”. Epistemology is concerned with the difference between knowledge, fact, and belief. It’s a major rabbit hole, but unlike some others, a very valuable one to go down after Scientology.

In short, knowledge comes from facts.

Belief is everything else for a human being.

For instance, you pull a thermometer out of your butt and it reads 98.6 degrees F. That’s a fact. And that is knowledge of what your body temperature is right now.

Now, looking at the thermometer, you think, “My temperature is normal”.

THAT is a belief.

Or “the sun set at 6:25 pm last night” is a fact.

“The sun will rise tomorrow” is a belief.

Most people have not done this deep dive into identifying knowledge, belief, and fact, nor thought about these things very much, and so most people can listen to an atheist claim that he “has no beliefs” and never realize what a completely idiotic statement that is – and what a “prison of belief” of its own that statement represents.

There is no human being alive who has no beliefs.

L Ron Hubbard really screwed up a Scientologist’s thinking about what is knowledge and what is belief, but most people’s thinking was not very educated on this subject to begin with.

Almost all of existence for a human being is belief. If you have not come to this conclusion yet, you will very likely get lost in thinking that you have THE TRUTH when you most certainly do not.

Believing that you have the truth when you most certainly do not is the root cause of getting stuck in the Scientology mindset AND the Anti-Scientology mindset, and is the most common “prison of belief” for human beings. It happens to all kinds of people who never had anything to do with Scientology – including never-in critics of Scientology like Lawrence Wright and Alex Gibney.

So Scientologists aren’t the only ones stuck in a “prison of belief”. From many different philosophical perspectives, we are all stuck in a “prison of belief” – especially if your belief system keeps you so distracted from your own self-interests that you can not see that you are using questionable metaphors to explain things without realizing you are doing so.

After getting myself out of the anti-Scientology belief system, I would say that anti-Scientology is an even bigger “prison of belief” than Scientology was for most Exes. It is much more adolescent and self-destructive when compared to Scientology’s belief system, especially if – like the overwhelming majority of Scientologists –  you were never abused and Scientology was something that assisted you on your spiritual path in any way – even to become an atheist.

So Lawrence Wright’s metaphor can be questioned by Ex-Scientologists.

And should be.


6 Responses to Lawrence Wright’s Questionable Metaphor – A “Prison of Belief”

  1. statpush September 4, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    The term “Prison of Belief” seems to be used to describe SOMEONE ELSE’S beliefs, but rarely your own.

  2. Gib September 4, 2017 at 7:39 pm #

    ok, so maybe Lawrence Wright should have named his book The Prison of Scientology,

    afterall, according to Hubbard, Scientology is the study of knowledge or knowing how to know. But, after being involved for 20+ years and observing many clears and so called OT’s in action, why none exist, LOL

    I pretty much came to the conclusion that the study of scientology as presented by Hubbard was none other than a study of his beliefs, especially when one does the OT levels up to OT8. So, I’d call scientology really Hubbardology, and ology from greek meaning studing of. LOL

    I have a new book title for Wright, it is The Prison of Hubbardology.

    I’m gonna write Wright and make him right in his error of book title. LOL

    • Thetaclear September 4, 2017 at 8:55 pm #

      “….afterall, according to Hubbard, Scientology is the study of knowledge or knowing how to know. But, after being involved for 20+ years and observing many clears and so called OT’s in action, why none exist, LOL”

      Seriously Gib, you REALLY need a “Tone-40” acknowledgment on that origination of yours, because you just keep repeating it ad nauseum, 🙂

  3. Thetaclear September 4, 2017 at 8:50 pm #

    “There is a point at which this metaphor becomes an exercise in thought-stopping: A person accepts it as an explanation for why Scientologists do what they do in the way that Larry and other anti-Scientologists describe, and that’s all you need to know. It seems to explain everything when, in fact, it explains very little.”

    For me their “explanation” of why people practice Scientology, is sort of like saying, “People sometimes do bad things because they are angry at something or at somebody”. My immediate response to that is, “Is that right? What else is new?”

    “One of the most important things an Ex can do after Scientology is study real science and real philosophy to find the ways that L Ron Hubbard corrupted these things in Scientology.”

    You know, that’s EXACTLY what I did. In my particular case, I already had a science background, but I rekindled the discipline that I had abandoned as regards to the use of scientific methodology to evaluate things in life, instead of just following that which supported my confirmation bias. Philosophy – especially its history – and history of religions, was incredibly helpful to me, particularly in being able to recognize the workability and truth in other methods of psychotherapy, spiritual healing, and philosophical concepts about life.

    IMHO, the only “Prison of Belief” is belief itself; the lack of application of “Critical Thinking” to knowledge and data. But this phenomenon is rather prevalent in society. We see it manifested at practically every known religion, and even in the day-to-day living, as when someone remain in a very destructive relationship because of the belief that his/her partner (or friend or family connection) is “actually a ‘good’ person inside”. Or when someone hold on to specific religious values or ideas ONLY to secure “Salvation” or a “Place in Heaven”, when conduct should only be dictated by integrity and the greater good for the sake of itself.

    “I am not intelligent enough to have a better job”; “I am not handsome enough to have the woman/man I like”; “Christ will punish me if I divorce him/her”; “I will burn in hell for my same-sex preferences”; “I need to be stern and strict with my kids as the ‘correct’ way to ‘secure’ their future”; “Only the Democrats/Republicans can lead this country to what it once was”; “Women should dedicate themselves to their kids and leave men to do the work”; “I know that I will succeed because ‘God’ loves me” (without doing the steps needed for success); etc, etc, etc, and on and on…….. are many examples of “Prisons of Belief”.

    We humans are prone to become our OWN wardens. We are the ones who get ourselves into a prison of belief, and it is US who hold the key to that prison entrapping us. And that key has a very specific name : “RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OWN ACTIONS”.

    That who place the blame on someone or something has already lost the battle even before beginning it; whatever the “battle” that he/she might be fighting.

    The anti-Scientologists are misplacing blame. They assign other-authorship to the consequences that they brought upon themselves by their own errors in critical thinking, and by their own weaknesses in moral principles and integrity in general. Blaming Scientology for any real or imaginary bad effect in our lives, is refusing to recognize and accept the valuable lessons learned from our experiences as Scientologists, and that it was US as INDIVIDUALS the ones who made all the decisions regarding Scn in the first place, and thus, it is senseless to look for “other causes”.

    The Aftermath, is but another example of the “Prison of Belief”.

  4. Zane X September 5, 2017 at 4:12 pm #

    Nobody appears to have noticed this, but my suspicion concerning the motives of Alex Gibney in adapting “Going Clear” is that it was to salvage his reputation following the disastrous public relations flap in response to “We Steal Secrets” which portrayed Julian Assange in such a negative light that even many of Assange’s harshest critics thought it was a total snow job and character assassination. Gibney essentially portrayed Assange as a borderline terrorist whose hacking shenanigans in the 1980s breaking into NASA systems may have directly caused the Challenger disaster in 1986, among other incidents, which is totally ridiculous. When he and a few others were arrested in Australia under pressure from the US, the Feds didn’t even accuse him or anyone of having that kind of capability for the simple reason that there is literally no way for a hacker to cause any such catastrophe, not even indirectly. NASA and military systems simply don’t work that way. But a few “journalists” (not tabloid, but mainstream) ignored the facts and spread such rumors.

    A few years after that, John Markoff and Katie Hafner of the NY Times, inspired by the anti-Assange agitprop in Australia, alleged that another notorious hacker named Kevin Mitnick had the capability to launch ICBMs against Russia by whistling into a pay phone, which the Feds decided to conveniently use as a justification to taking away Mitnick’s right to use a telephone after he was arrested, which federal judges accepted, even though it was total BS and a pathetically lame rehash of the plot of a 1983 movie called “WarGames”. The courts granted the Justice Dept extraordinary measures of detention and solitary confinement against Mitnick (who was never formally charged of any crime during his years long detention) that wouldn’t be used again until years later when 9/11 happened and the Patriot Act was introduced. The Mitnick case was in fact used as the basis for the post-9/11 laws which granted the Feds the power to indefinitely detain American citizens on American soil without having to file any charges. It didn’t help his case that Mitnick had Israeli citizenship and had planned to abscond to Israel just before the Feds found and arrested him in North Carolina.

    In 2000 both Markoff and Hafner all but admitted that they had fabricated the “WarGames” allegations against Mitnick, but blamed the Feds for actually believing their BS. They never formally apologized and NY Times never even acknowledged that any errors had been made.

    Anyone who still buys into the idea of “fair and balanced” media should watch the last season of “The Wire”. Gibney and Wright are cut from the same cloth as the Scott Templeton character.

    What I found surprising was how Marty Rathbun allowed himself to be snowed by Gibney and Wright based on their previous work, and he admits he was impressed by Lawrence Wright’s “The Looming Tower” which is 99% based on the testimony of a single FBI agent. The reason it got great reviews? Because it trashes the CIA (not based on evidence presented, but because of his own unverified speculations), which always sells, even when the evidence doesn’t support the conclusions.

    Then again Rathbun in a deposition a few years back compared Miscavige to Hitler, Stalin and … Ayatollah Khomeini. Which is just plain stupid. Whatever anyone wants to conclude about Khomeini and the Iran regime, he wasn’t anything like Hitler or Stalin, and Iran isn’t anything like Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia, and Islam isn’t like Nazism, to say nothing of the ridiculousness in lumping Miscavige in with the likes of Hitler and Stain. I mean, WTF?

    But I guess the anti-Scientology BS and stupid ass comparisons to Nazism and Stalinism became too crazy even for Rathbun.

  5. Zane X September 5, 2017 at 4:28 pm #

    A little off topic but if you know anything about how refunds/repayments are being handled now or can found out, might be worth an article or two because I keep getting asked by those leaving or planning to leave how they can get their money back because they’re always worried that they’ll not only be declared for bringing up the issue, let alone filing an official request, but that they’ll be forced as a result to hire a lawyer.

    I have no idea what to tell them because Treasury was always an area that I could never get any info out of and the few times I did try to help some publics out by reaching out to Treasury when I was on staff I almost got my ass Comm Eved for just asking questions.

    Apparently its still easier to find out what the hell David Miscavige had for lunch than it is to get anyone working in Treasury to give you the time of day, and I mean that literally because it seems like you get yourself Comm Eved just for asking a staff member in Treasury what time it happens to be. I’ve also noticed a trend recently in non-SO Class V orgs having non-SO Treasury staff replaced by SO.

    I’ve always figured you can get your money back without having to eventually seek legal recourse so long as the repayment cash is less than a certain amount like $100K, but I could be wrong. Refunds, however, seem to be a nightmare to get even for petty amounts.

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