RELIGST 2QQ3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Reactive Mind, Dianetics, Ambivalence

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Published on 25 Sep 2018
Fair game: secrecy, security, and church of scientology in cold war America; Hugh B. Urban
- Church of scientology has emerged as one of the wealthiest, powerful and controversial
religious movements over the last 50 years
- They’ve had conflicts with IRS, FBI, FDA regarding its status as a religious organization
and the number of possible criminal activities its engaged in
- Scientology has received little attention from religious scholars for various reasons:
Founder (Ron Hubbard) and church have layers of secrecy and security leading it
to be known as one of the least understood religious movements
Principle of “Fair game” meant that members were able to use any means
necessary to defeat its enemies; people who didn’t agree or were trying to take
them down
- Article will show how the religion works and how it seems to mirror FBI’s tactics of
secrecy, concealment , information control and espionage during the cold war
Culture of secrecy, security and religion in Cold War America
- Problem of religious secrecy is very under-theorized and talked about from social and
political context
- Concern with secrecy, censorship and control of information become intense and
obsessive during decades of cold war, especially after 1949 when soviet union
denotated an atomic bomb
- U.S. and soviet union had mutual paranoia about each other’s military power which led
to large networks of secrets, espionage, and counter-espionage; fear of communist
infiltration extended to citizens and they tried to distinguish between those who were
truly patriotic and those who might be “spies”
- After WW2, there was also increase in religious involvement and soon became
intertwined with politics as one of the measures of patriotism was to be Christian.
Christianity was not only a means of countering communist menace but also a way to
treat mental health as more people became anxious about what was happening
- This strong reliance on Christianity meant other religious movements were investigated
and brought under deep scrutiny by the FBI
- Like money, the more one’s capital grows, the more elaborate become the mechanisms
to hide it and on the other side the tactics to find it, regulate it and tax it. The interplay
between the church and government was like a vicious loop of escalating secrecy and
counter-secrecy which quickly grew into a state of mutual paranoia
Hubbard and the birth of scientology
- Many mixed feelings about Ron Hubbard. After the war, he became an author of science
fiction, fantasy, and adventure stories and by 1948 he became obsessed with the human
mind; science he called “Dianetics” meaning “through the mind. This was seen as a
radical breakthrough
His belief was that the mind is made up of the “analytical” and “reactive” mind.
The reactive mind is made up of a variety of memory traces of pain, unconscious
or emotional loss which he calls ‘enegrams.’ They can cause problems so through
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