The weekly show where I answer questions viewers leave in the comments section of my Q&A videos or send to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) In the ethics system described in Scientology with the eight dynamics (self, family, group, mankind, etc) why are the higher dynamics more valued in Scientology and the 1st and 2nd disregarded when all dynamics are important for survival? Hence, the church forces violation of its own ethics system. Is there a name or label for this ethical system and from where did L. Ron steal it?
(2) In your recent podcast with Jon Atack, it really struck me when you mentioned kids being brought up to be obedient vs. “thoughtfully rebellious,” or whatever term it was that you used. I was raised Christian (lots of rules, took 40 years to completely get out), was of course taught to be polite, I think am generally considered to be a nice person…and this is a serious problem. Though most people would probably view me as a strong, independent sort, I’ve come to recognize that — because I’m generally surrounded by kind people — I don’t have much capacity to deal with strong, unwanted pressure. It seems that if someone is willing to go outside the norms of typical polite behavior, they have a degree of control over the more polite people — because we are trained to be pleasers.
I had a brief experience that brought this realization home, and it was such a small, stupid thing (nothing like what you guys dealt with in Scientology): I was at the mall and fell prey to a super-aggressive salesmen at one of the kiosks. I paused politely and reached for a little “free sample” he proffered, he grabbed my arm, pulled me in, and I was trapped there with a hard sell for 15 minutes. He just kept after me with question / benefits / sales / special deals, one after another after another. I was incredibly uncomfortable, but I couldn’t figure out how to extricate myself. I almost bought an expensive “Special deal just for you!” from him just to escape. Fortunately I deflected, resisted, insisted 10+ times that I would check the reviews online *myself*, made my 30th excuse, and finally left.
After the experience, I was so angry — not at him, but at myself: Why did I put up with it when I was so uncomfortable? Why wasn’t I able to be stronger and just leave like I wanted to? I really hope it’s a lesson learned, and that I’ll do better next time I’m facing unusual pressure, whether in a sales situation or otherwise. But I always recall this experience when you talk about people being convinced to join Scientology or give money or etc. If I was so susceptible with this minor thing, how would I do if someone were pressuring me even harder? Probably not very well, I’m thinking.
You’ve mentioned how you would hard-sell people into Scientology, and how the church practices extreme sales techniques both in recruiting and on both its own members — and of course these techniques are used in the wider world, too. Could you sometime explore proactive ways to resist pressure, from your own experience? Do you think it simply comes down to a willingness to be rude? Are there other techniques to learning resistance — perhaps without going so far as to subject oneself to “bull-baiting”?
(3) I was reading the comments on a recent post over on Mike Rinder’s blog, L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Hypnotic Operator. There was an interesting discussion about how sympathy and empathy are seen in Scientology and how that differs from the world outside. I’d be interested in your take on that and how it impacts relationships between Scientologists. I believe that people form deep bonds when they are immersed in a dangerous or destructive environment. I’m sure that’s true in Scientology but I wonder if this control and change of the language impacts that.
(4) I have a question about Scientology that came up after your Critical Q&A #145 that I just watched. It was about people and disabilities. I took a bullet thru my knee in Vietnam in ’69 which took out my kneecap and left me somewhat disabled. According to Scientology, did I want this bullet to hit me or pull it in or whatever they call it? I am curious as I have noticed some strange happenings at my local VFW and American Legion with people wanting to talk about PTSD and Narconon. I know it is a Scientology run thing and I want to help protect my fellow brothers. Knowing what they think about my wound would help me to deal with it.
(5) Are all, or most, independent Scientologists are what has been termed ‘Hubbard apologists’?
(6) Hey Chris I’ve been dying to know: why does Scientology write hand written letters by mail rather than type? I could never read the writing and just plain odd. Thanks
(7) You have to comment on the Scientology Super Bowl ad.
(8) Does the church of Scientology keep emergency supplies for staff and sea org members? If there was a natural disaster would there be basic supplies such as food, water and first aid supplies available?