Friday, February 18, 2011

An Introduction To Scientology DVD Review

In what is supposedly his only filmed interview, L. Ron Hubbard rants against psychology and psychiatry, and claims that Scientology raises people's I.Q.

Step aside, Andy Kaufman. The real sly comedic prankster is of course L. Ron Hubbard. He put one over on a lot of people (even Tom Cruise!). What a goof. He was a mediocre (at best) science fiction writer who, as the story goes, made a bet with a much better science fiction writer (Robert Heinlein) that he could get rich by creating a pseudo-religion. What a lark! What a cad! And the best part? He won the bet. And he's still winning, even from beyond the grave.
Fortunately he left the DVD-watching public this comedic gem. All of his best material is here - his rant against psychology, his racist remarks about Asian culture, his claim that Scientology raises people's I.Q. So sit back and listen to the master of mischief.


The first topic broached is how L. Ron Hubbard came up with the idea for Scientology. He talks about how people in Asia had reached "the lowest states of degradation." And he began to wonder, "What depths can man fall to?" Then he answered his own question by creating Scientology.

L. Ron Hubbard puts down philosophers, accusing them of spending their lives in "ivory towers." He also says that philosophers don't know anything about science or math, but that he himself did study these things in college. He also claims to have studied primitive cultures and then decided that they needed a hand. He says, "The real work here is to put man in a mental condition where he can solve his own problems." The goal of Scientology is to put people "in a position where they can confront their own problems and solve their own problems, and so bring them up by their own bootstraps" (well, sure, that and several thousand dollars worth of courses and purification ceremonies).

No Crazy Folks, Please

He doesn't want to help everyone, of course. He says, "The insane and so forth - somebody else can have them. They've already failed." Wow. He says an "auditor" (a practitioner of Scientology) has to have "very good moral fiber" - they won't take anyone with any bad background. He doesn't expand on just what he means by that. But he does say that Scientology only helps the able-bodied, sane, non-neurotic types, and that they're the only ones who should be helped.

About psychology L. Ron Hubbard has this to say, "Psychology is 1870-something - 1879 - decided that men were all animals." What? About psychiatry, he has this bit of brilliance: "Psychiatry has to do with the insane. And we have nothing to do with the insane whatsoever." Aww, no crazy people can join Scientology? That's hilarious. "The insane - well, they're insane," says the insightful L. Ron Hubbard.

And what exactly is Scientology? L. offers this definition: "Scientology means knowledge or truth, study of." He says, "The overall training of an auditor compares to the same number of class hours in college of about twelve years." Twelve years of class hours? That is a mighty long time to be in college, L. But it's worth it, because as one studies Scientology, one's I.Q. is raised.

Brain Is Brain
L. Ron Hubbard says that intelligence is arbitrary, and that one's brain has nothing to do with intelligence. He says, "Brain is brain. What it does, I'm never quite sure." Clearly.

"Processing is the principle of making an individual look at his own existence." Does that sound similar to psychoanalysis? L. Ron gets a bit flustered and says, "Don't associate Scientology with such people. That's terrible. That's bad manners, you know? That business about sex and all that sort of thing."

L. Ron Hubbard claims that a person "actually can exist independent of his body. This is one of the more interesting discoveries in Scientology." It sure is. And it makes getting right up front at a Bruce Springsteen concert a whole lot easier. He also says that Scientology has proved that there is life after death. But he doesn't go into it.

Mind And Spirit And Avoiding Medical Bills

He says a person's mind is "a record of his experience." "Man has an automobile accident. He has a picture of an automobile accident. He has all the sensations of having been hurt in the automobile accident. It takes him a long time to recover because he's still wearing the automobile accident. If you said, 'Hey, why don't you take this automobile accident and throw it away,' why, all of a sudden he recovers from the automobile accident. Naturally." Naturally. Folks, don't try this at home.

So that's the mind. And the spirit? L. Ron says, "You ask somebody, 'What is a spirit?' You might as well ask, 'How are you?' You get the same response." So apparently the spirit is I'm-all-right-how-are-you. Good to know.

Only Interview With L. Ron Hubbard

An Introduction To Scientology is hailed as the only filmed interview that L. Ron Hubbard ever granted. It was shot in 1966. The interviewer is shown only twice in the same frame as L. Ron Hubbard, and both times his back is to the camera, so there is no way of knowing what the guy was actually saying. At one point in the interview, L. Ron Hubbard stands up and moves over to the spot where the second camera would have to be to get the shots of the interviewer. Only, there is no camera there. That means all of that shots of the interviewer asking questions were filmed at another time. How sly!

About the press, L. Ron Hubbard says, "Most press is motivated by vested interests, as anyone knows. And they merely say what they're told to say." Exactly like this interview, exactly like this DVD. One last thing: in the interview, he claims to have never made any money from Scientology.

And that's that. Apparently L. Ron Hubbard never made another film after the hilarious An Introduction To Scientology. And that's a shame, because the world needs a clown and a prankster, especially in these uncertain times.

(Note: I originally posted this review on May 25, 2010.)

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