Scientology is a cult whose primary concerns are money and power, power inasmuch as it advances monetary income. I have long despised Scientology after having read Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’s views on psychology and psychiatry and after having become acquainted with the entire demagogic aspect of the pseudo-psychological and space-age religious cult.
There are several theories which attempt to explain Hubbard’s and thus Scientology’s irrational and vitriolic campaign against psychiatry. One theory posits that after Hubbard had been diagnosed as psychologically unsound by Naval psychiatrists and thus discharged from the Navy he nurtured a desire for revenge. Another conceives that Hubbard developed a dislike of psychiatry after the APA rejected his book Dianetics essentially calling it a hoax and a potentially dangerous fraud; the Scientific American review being a perfect example.
Both of these events actually occurred, however, it remains unknown whether either are the cause for Hubbard’s latter vilification of psychiatry. I will not now go into the debates surrounding these theories.
What is important is that, like all religions, Scientology has conjured up it’s own illusory scapegoat upon which to cast it’s “sins of all humanity” and around which to organize a demagogic assembly of religious fanatics, Tom Cruise being an illustrative case in point.
Throughout the entirety of human history religions have incorporated scapegoat’s, in ancient Greece – as elsewhere and even before – a shamanistic priestly class protected the ancient society from plagues, famines and virtually anything that would serve detriment to the society by performing certain religious ceremonies, chiefly among them, human or animal sacrifice or the expelling of a pharmakos, which translates to scapegoat. Such a ceremonial ritual has been part and parcel of religions over the centuries and is still firmly established in modernity, fundamentalist Christians demonizing homosexuals and abortion doctors, Muslim extremists vilifying Jews and Scientologists fashioning psychiatry and psychiatrists as their own personal pharmakos.
It is informative to read the pamphlets and, essentially, the screeds Scientology offers regarding their views on psychiatry. It is most remarkable in light of the fact that it is indisputable, and generally conceded by any serious Scientologist that Hubbard was, at the very least, influenced by the psychiatry of his day, Freudian psychoanalysis. In my analysis Hubbard was not merely influenced by Freud, in fact, he completely usurped an elementary conception of the Freudian theory of the mind; the elementary conception being a testament to the general ignorance of Hubbard, a science fiction author by trade. I will not go into great detail regarding Hubbard’s expropriation of Freudian theory, although I could further elucidate the general points which follow.
Hubbard writes that “the mind has three major divisions,” which are the analytical, the reactive and the somatic mind. Without going into great detail this conception is in effect a spurious conception of the Freudian theory of the mental apparatus which is composed of what is unconscious, preconscious and conscious, otherwise know as the Id, Super-ego and Ego. The Scientology somatic mind is a poor counterfeit of the Freudian id, they both consist of basic impulses, the basis of the psyche and the lowest manifestation of the mind. Dianetics, Hubbard’s book which laid the foundation for the cult, is essentially pseudo-psychology based on a tenuous understanding of Freudian theory and occult, science fiction voodoo (the latter being Hubbard’s area of expertise).
After Dianetics had been rejected from all respectable psychiatric and medical associations Hubbard began to write negatively about psychiatry. In his short book Scientology The Fundamentals of Thought Hubbard begins the book by attacking psychology, in particular Wilhelm Wundt, on the second page of the first chapter. Hubbard writes: “This man conceived that man was an animal without soul and based all of this work on the principle that there is no psyche.” He then writes of Wundtian psychology by saying: “It taught that man was an animal. It taught that man could not be bettered.” Hubbard is correct on one ground, that Wundt and Wundtian psychology views “man” – the human species – as an animal; specifically, as a highly cognitively developed and socially evolved animal, and correctly so.
It may or may not be true that Wundt himself objected to the supernatural notion of souls, although, if he did he did so with logical validity and parsimony. However, it is certainly true that, while psychology may not outright reject the conception of a soul, the field of psychology does not even consider the soul and, again, rightly so. Psychology is a science and science is guided by scientific naturalism, the supernatural has no place within a legitimate scientific field. However, Hubbard’s claim that Wundtian psychology “taught that man could not be bettered” is simply diametrically opposed to reality. One need only open a psychology text book or visit with any psychologist to know this is a blatant and nefarious lie, demonstrably so. One of the major components of psychology, clinical psychology, is literally built upon the premise that “man” can be “bettered.” Clinical psychology’s explicit intent and pursuit is the remediation of psychological disorders; that is why it exists.
Hubbard writes far more disturbing falsifications and ad hominems regarding psychiatry and psychiatrists, in fact, Scientology has an entire website and magazine dedicated to the sole purpose of fashioning psychiatry as its pharmakos. Hubbard, when he later incorporated into the self-help, pseudo-psychological voodoo that is Dianetics the space-age religious aspect, he fashioned into his dogma - among other tenets which include intergalactic space aliens (Xenu, not to be confused with Xena), UFO’s, volcanoes wired with thetans (souls) and nuclear bombs, etcetera - intergalactic psychiatrists who were themselves the source of great evil and mischief, essentially, the Christian equivalent of Satan or the Norse equivalent of Loki.
Scientology can be criticized on a plethora of grounds, some more compelling and more demanding of direct action than their views and castigation of psychiatry. However, this particular subject has long been for me a source of exasperation. Clearly Scientology is a demagogic assembly of religious fanatics propagating a campaign of distortion and vindictiveness. Scientology is a cult of aggressive greed and avarice and belligerent, even violent, psychological terrorism.