In the last post, I introduced the idea of the “tribal mind”.
The tribal mind is made up of the thoughts and behaviors necessary to keep your tribe alive.
In this Part 2, I will show that this concept of the tribal mind isn’t just something I pulled out of thin air. It is something that has been identified and documented in human behavior by social scientists for decades, and which has been recently detailed in a very profound book for any Ex-Scientologist to read.
If there is one thing that I would like to accomplish by presenting this information, it is to take some of the guilt and shame off of an Ex-Scientologist for having joined a cult.
Once you begin to think with the information here, and other information generated in the field of social science, you will be able to better understand what happened to you when you identified so strongly with L Ron Hubbard that you called yourself a Scientologist.
You may have gone so far as to devote your whole life to Scientology.
As you will see, almost all human beings join tribes every day. Very few have the stigma placed on them for having become a “brainwashed cult member”, though.
After reading this, I hope that Ex-Scientologists realize that:
You weren’t stupid. You weren’t weak.
You were human.
So, back to the story:
Once I’d spotted that my own thinking was tribal, I was no longer consumed by my tribe’s survival.
Once my tribal mind clicked off, I could finally see that Scientology was no longer improving my life, or the planet for that matter, and that with mounds of credit card debt and the continued pressure to go into more debt and just declare bankruptcy, I would need to get away from Scientology completely.
It was the same when I finally realized that generating daily mounds of disgust for the things that Scientology did, which would never be addressed by law enforcement, and which actually had a legal right to exist in the US, was worse than a waste of time. It was corrosive to my soul.
For me, waking up from the tribal thinking of Scientology and Ex-Scientology was a huge relief.
That relief did not last long, though.
It was not until I read this book, and learned about the tribal mind, that I had a way to explain this to other Exes. This is probably the 10th time that I have referred to this book, and I have an idea that very few Exes have ever read it.
So once again, I’m going to put it here:
Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist who wrote the book “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion” has a lot to say about this behavior of Ex-Scientologists and other human beings. His book is one of the most profound studies of the phenomena of the tribal mind that I have ever read.
Here he calls it the hive mind of a bee:
…”Morality binds and blinds. The central metaphor of these four chapters is that human beings are 90 percent chimp and 10 percent bee. Human nature was produced by natural selection working at two levels simultaneously. Individuals compete with individuals within every group, and we are the descendants of primates who excelled at that competition. This gives us the ugly side of our nature, the one that is usually featured in books about our evolutionary origins. We are indeed selfish hypocrites so skilled at putting on a show of virtue that we fool even ourselves.’
‘But human nature was also shaped as groups competed with other groups. As Darwin said long ago, the most cohesive and cooperative groups generally beat the groups of selfish individualists. Darwin’s ideas about group selection fell out of favor in the 1960s, but recent discoveries are putting his ideas back into play, and the implications are profound. We’re not always selfish hypocrites. We also have the ability, under special circumstances, to shut down our petty selves and become like cells in a larger body, or like bees in a hive, working for the good of the group. These experiences are often among the most cherished of our lives, although our hivishness can blind us to other moral concerns. Our bee-like nature facilitates altruism, heroism, war, and genocide.’
‘Once you see our righteous minds as primate minds with a hivish overlay, you get a whole new perspective on morality, politics, and religion. I’ll show that our “higher nature” allows us to be profoundly altruistic, but that altruism is mostly aimed at members of our own groups. I’ll show that religion is (probably) an evolutionary adaptation for binding groups together and helping them to create communities with a shared morality. It is not a virus or a parasite, as some scientists (the “New Atheists”) have argued in recent years. And I’ll use this perspective to explain why some people are conservative, others are liberal (or progressive), and still others become libertarians. People bind themselves into political teams that share moral narratives. Once they accept a particular narrative, they become blind to alternative moral worlds.”
The hive mind, or what I am calling the tribal mind, simply clicks on. You know what your tribe needs, and like a bee, you become your hive. You forget you are your own individual self. The goals of the tribe become your own personal goals. You no longer work for your own self-interests. No matter the hardship on yourself personally, including killing and dying, you feel a part of something larger than yourself, and find fundamental meaning in your life, by working only for the interests of your tribe.
Once you are in it, you are “binded and blinded”. You are binded by your own tribe’s morality, and you are blinded to the morality of everyone else – especially the virtues and values of the tribe’s enemies – even if those virtues and values used to be your own.
As I’ve written, this is why the whole “cruelty vs kindness crusade” that I was trying to use was never going to work. Because once the tribal mind clicks on, there is no telling anyone that they are being cruel to their “enemies”.
Of course they are being cruel to their enemies!
But the enemies of the Scientologist tribe, and the Anti-Scientologist tribe, are not like ISIS or Nazi Germany – those are just the emotions that flow through you while you are stuck in your tribal mind.
When you, as an Anti-Scientologist fight the Scientologists, you are feeling the same feelings as fighting fascism during world war II and working to free people from the concentration camps. But, just as Godwin’s law warns, this level of EVIL is objectively non-existent. You are simply and completely deluded by your tribal mind and the superior moral integrity you feel from The Righteous Fight!
Queue scenes of:
Sparta vs Athens
The War of the Roses
Pick whatever war you want in western civilization where your fellow human beings are destroying huge swaths of humanity, destroying everything anyone has ever built for each other, and committing the most heinous acts possible in human experience.
That’s the tribal mind – at its worst.
That mind, that tribal mind, must never be exploited. And it has been – both in Scientology by L Ron Hubbard, and in Ex-Scientology by others.
Always try to remember: The overwhelming majority of Scientologists are good people. And the overwhelming majority of Anti-Scientologists are good people, too. You just can’t cool out and see that in each other because you are “binded and blinded”.
Remember, evil is a relative quantity. It is not absolute.
In fact, evil would never exist unless you yourself assigned it.
End of Part 2.
This is all very interesting, I’m sure, for some people – like me – but for very few others.
And so since this blog is about life after Scientology, the important part here is the damage an Ex-Scientologist can do to himself when he clicks off his tribal mind of “Scientologist”, forgets all about who he was and what good and beneficial things he learned and accomplished as a Scientologist, and clicks on his tribal mind of “Anti-Scientologist”.
Part 3: Never Go Full Anti
Part 4: Embrace Your Inner Scientologist
Part 1: Critical Thinking on Scientology and Ex-Scientology
Part 2: Binded and Blinded By the Tribal Mind