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Cultural differences – what this really means for the CofS

Some Confront Required :(

I have been working for weeks on how to communicate something I have observed about the Church of Scientology and I am grateful to Jim Logan for prodding me to complete this article which concerns Data Series 40, The Ideal Org.

Let me start by saying that the cultural benchmarks of one culture can look like False Data to another culture.

INTRODUCTION

I try to write so as to follow the Second Rule for Happy Living: Cause only those effects that can be easily experienced by others. On some topics, this can be a problem especially when the audience has radically different cultural backgrounds.

With that as a reference, you might understand that there may be varying responses to the rest of this article. What is true for some may be indigestible and repellent to many.

CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY CULTURE  -  THEN VS NOW

In the early years of Scientology, staff and executives were a mixture of individuals with extensive corporate and life experience and people who were right out of school. There were many in the early days who were able to look at church practices and see things that ran counter to the best practices of daily life and business success.  Some of these people were able to influence LRH, but most of these people eventually left the church.

At the current time, there are those who have literally grown up in Scientology or in the closed society of the Sea Org. Their only point of reference is LRH policy and “Command Intention” as expressed by church management. These people who have never enjoyed success in the outside world may have difficulty understanding how those high salaries, corporate perks and fantastic bonuses actually come about. It is not magic, only good business sense and ethical treatment of customers and employees.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE IDEAL ORG?

Ron may have postulated an “Ideal Org” where man knew he could go free, but his top down model for managing the Church has morphed that ideal into something more like a trireme.  Everyone is expected to move at a tempo that is set from above and SO staff are essentially chained to their oars until they are discarded.

trireme2The trireme was the most fearsome fighting ship of its time. but it succeeded at a terrible cost in terms of human suffering.

It should be noted that originally the oarsmen of these ships were Greek citizens who volunteered to serve.

300px-Trireme_cut-fr.svg

It didn’t take long before the oarsmen consisted of  conscripted slaves and criminals.

The captain and the elite officers traveled in style and the crew below decks lived in misery until they were discarded.

The behavior of David Miscavige is much like the leader who rides a massive palanquin to attend conferences on relieving human suffering. He wants the benefits of prosperity and does not understand that human suffering and spiritual freedom are diametrically opposed. One does not get spiritual freedom by trafficking in human suffering.

If you have never worked in a prospering non-scientology organization, it may seem unreal that these organizations often get people to produce miracles and work Sea Org hours merely by suggesting that you will not get to work on the next exciting project if you fail to meet deadlines.

Working on exciting projects meant getting bonuses, trips to far off places, and getting praise and a tee shirt at the conclusion of the project. It could also mean a promotion and a chance to lead the next effort to “save the world through technology”. All of this was heady stuff and many of us worked years at a pace that would kill a sane person.

When these non-Scn organizations were prospering, they picked creative people and gave us all the carrots we could earn. We applied the stick to our backs with great relish so that we could enjoy the freedom to create and we prospered accordingly.

When the bean counters eventually took over, the carrots were rationed, many reports were required, and management tried to exploit the original entrepreneurial spirit while withholding the original rewards. This was not so terrible because we would all jump ship and find a new organization to join.

That is not an option in the Church of Scientology. Until now.

When the church is being run by people who have had no life outside of Scientology, it is not unreasonable to expect they will know little of practical management. The only way they manage is to apply more duress to the staff in order to meet increasingly unreal targets. Since  much of upper management is no longer on post, it suggests that the current operating model is crumbling.

THE FUTURE

It may be that the current C of S culture is seeing it’s last days. It is certainly time for a cultural shift.

The best companies I knew took employees and customers up with them as they succeeded and the word of mouth advertising was unbelievably good.

There is a lesson to be learned there.

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4 Comments

Larry  on December 13th, 2009

I like the “and a tee shirt” comment. Much of what I do involves corporate participation (money or skills) and the tee shirt thing has become a joke but I like the tee shirts. :)

I am looking forward to a culture where Scientologists talk to each other about what’s on their mind instead of being hesitant and unsure of each other. :°)

Larry

lunamoth  on December 13th, 2009

Well, that’s a little piece of truth I’d never looked at before. Thank you for that.

Your metaphor of the trireme is much more elegant than the one I’ve been using, which is “How To Cook a Frog.” You may be familiar with it, Old Auditor, as you clearly have more than your share of insight.

Simply put, if you try to put a frog into a pot of hot water with the intention of cooking him, he will jump out. But if you put him into a pot of water at a comfortable temperature, he will stay there even as you gradually increase the temperature of the water to the point where he is cooked.

Joe Howard  on December 14th, 2009

Damn insightful post. The most extreme bout of cognitive dissonance I experienced in my last years in the SO was when I compared the stats of Int Scn with Tony Robbins’ self-help-unleash-the-giant-within empire and found that Tony was making a LOT more dough. Tony, with his smattering of LRH tech that he purloined and rewrote, had stats that were going up, up, up during the 1990s while Int Scn with everything it had was going down, down, down the entire time.

Jim Logan  on December 14th, 2009

Old Auditor,
I’ve seen and been a part of various orgs and units that were flourishing and prospering using the model and guide of LRH policy. I think I’m getting more of what you are trying to describe here. I’m also considering the dearth of real leadership, i.e. the management between the Goal Maker and the True Group.

In any case, this whole game is far from over and it looks like recently there is a wonderful resurgence of purpose and that is really, really, really good news a a positive for the future we create.

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