I was talking to an ex-Scientologist, one who has undergone extensive security checking in L Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, as I have. He said something to me that was quite profound. He said it in the context of a discussion about Buddhism’s First Noble Truth, widely translated in English as “All life is suffering.”
We had been discussing this for a while. My take on this is that I do not agree with it. While there certainly is suffering in life, there is also a tremendous amount of pleasure. I simply do not agree that “All Life is Suffering”. We were discussing the different translations of “suffering” and the many related concepts that Buddhists have used to explain this principle for 2500 years and over so many different languages and cultures.
That’s when he said it.
He said, “Suffering comes from expectations.”
That hit me like a stroke of lightening. He went on, “For example, you expect your father to be a certain way, and when he is not that way, it causes all kinds of conflicts, arguing, criticism, hostility and general suffering in life.” I sat and thought about that.
Here’s the definition from The Free Online Dictionary
1.a. To look forward to the probable occurrence or appearance of: expecting a telephone call; b. To consider likely or certain: expect to see them soon.2.To consider reasonable or due: We expect an apology.3. To consider obligatory; require: The school expects its pupils to be on time. 4. Informal To presume; suppose
1. the act or state of expecting or the state of being expected2. (usually plural) something looked forward to, whether feared or hoped for3. an attitude of expectancy or hope; anticipation to regard something with expectation
I see expectations now as the silent causal genesis of so much human perception. An expectation will sit there in the mind as an unspoken premise from which we view what we experience. When we look at things, we expect to see it. Often a person is not even aware that he has an expectation for what he is viewing, and whether what he is viewing is meeting that expectation. I think that unmet expectations most often express themselves as frustration, hostility, and criticism.
This is when I started thinking about Scientology and Hubbard’s “technology” for the “true” cause of criticism.
…”In view of these mechanisms, when the burden became too great man was driven to another mechanism—the effort to lessen the size and pressure of the overt. He or she could only do this by attempting to reduce the size and repute of the terminal. Hence, not-isness. Hence when a man or a woman has done an overt act there usually follows an effort to reduce the goodness or importance of the target of the overt. Hence the husband who betrays his wife must then state that the wife was no good in some way. Thus the wife who betrayed her husband had to reduce the husband to reduce the overt. This works on all dynamics. In this light most criticism is justification of having done an overt.’
“This does not say that all things are right and that no criticism anywhere is ever merited. Man is not happy. He is faced with total destruction unless we toughen up our postulates. And the overt act mechanism is simply a sordid game condition man has slipped into without knowing where he was going. So there are rightnesses and wrongnesses in conduct and society and life at large, but random, carping 1.1 criticism when not borne out in fact is only an effort to reduce the size of the target of the overt so that one can live (he hopes) with the overt. Of course to criticise unjustly and lower repute is itself an overt act and so this mechanism is not in fact workable.“… –L Ron Hubbard Justification” HCO BULLETIN OF 21 JANUARY AD10
“Show me any person who is critical of us and I’ll show you crimes and intended crimes that would stand a magistrate’s hair on end.” – L. Ron Hubbard, Hubbard Communications Office Bulletin, 4 April 1965
“Now, get this as a technical fact, not a hopeful idea. Every time we have investigated the background of a critic of Scientology, we have found crimes for which that person or group could be imprisoned under existing law. We do not find critics of Scientology who do not have criminal pasts.“– L. Ron Hubbard, Hubbard Communications Office Bulletin, 5 November 1967, “Critics of Scientology”
While there may be one or two instances when a criticism stems from having committed overts to something, and the person feels he has to reduce the target of the overt to feel better about what he has done, I believe that this is an extremely rare occurrence in human behavior. Even when overts are relevant, discussing what the critic expected to experience is much more productive than continually asking the critic, “What are your crimes?” or ignoring the criticism and proceeding as if the person is a criminal, as Hubbard tells Scientologists to do. This Hubbard “tech” demonizes all criticism, and the critics who express it, and leaves the unmet expectation completely unaddressed.
While there can be many sources, or causes, to any one thing, and NOT just a “single source”, I now see very clearly that the main source of criticism is not overts and withholds. It is unmet expectations. Look at the newly energized Independent Scientologist movement and their continual target of criticism: David Miscavige. Is that river of criticism caused by their own overts on David Miscavige? Or is it based upon the expectations Independent Scientologists have for a leader of the Church of Scientology that Miscavige so dismally and continually violates?
A better question to ask the Scientology critic, or an independent Scientologist, is “When it comes to the criticism of _________, what expectations did you have that ________ did not live up to?” And then, of course, asking “Where did you get those expectations?” would also be very revelatory to one and all.
Ask those questions, and you will finally get somewhere. Leave the critic’s expectations ignored and unaddressed, while accusing these people of being low-toned criminals instead, and you will get what the Church has today – a world full of critics and decades of escalating and unchecked brutality and criminality on the part of the Church of Scientology.
As Hubbard taught, operating on a wrong why will make things worse. Even though Hubbard’s view of the causes of criticism permeates the mindset of Scientologists, it is important to question this fundamental principle that Hubbard built into the technology and philosophy of Scientology.
Was he manipulating Scientologists for his own ends, or was he just wrong?