gary williams

Tom Cruise vs Nathaniel Branden

35 posts in this topic

Gary,

Just so that you will not get the impression that you are being snubbed, I have decided to include this little note here.

Nathaniel Branden is travelling and will only return after January. I have no idea if he does much internet activity on his travels.

I do not know him personally. How his membership here came about was that Barbara drew his attention to my last post on the Psychology forum of SoloHQ before it closed. Nathaniel sent me a very touching and gracious e-mail thanking me. This was my very first contact with him and I was a bit wowed.

I wrote him back and invited him to look at this forum, since I had set up the Branden Corner and would not tolerate the Branden bashing that goes on elsewhere. I explained that he was absolutely free to do as he wished, that I would not pester him to post, and that posting or not would not affect the pro-Branden work I intend to do with the Branden Corner. Essentially, what NB finds good for NB is good for me.

I do not want to guess whether or not he will answer your question. I am sufficiently honored to have him on board. Knowing that he is here is a pretty good assumption that he reads this site - and that is a really good thing. If he does not answer your question, I have no doubt that it will NOT be from an intention to snub you, but from reasons of his own.

The Scientology war against psychology is interesting in its own right, so I will go into that in another post - or better: why don't you give us some of your own impressions first? Maybe open a new thread?

Michael

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Gary,

Nathaniel finally answered this post, however he is still having a bit of a problem understanding this freeware package. So he asked me to put his answer in the proper place. (He even hoped his request would not be misconstrued as exploitation of child labor. Dayaamm! :D )

The answer to you from Nathaniel Branden is given below.

Michael

(Edit - I deleted his post here in mine. We finally worked out some bugs and his answer is in his own post below.)

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I, too, recall some of the things about Scientology that Nathaniel mentioned. When I was at UCLA, Hubbard's book, "Dianetics," had just come out and was all the rage. I read it, and was horrified by its nonsense. But then, Fabian Socialism and logical positivism were also all the rage at UCLA.

During the days of NBI, I regularly received phone calls from Scientologists insisting that their ideas and Objectivism had a great deal in common, though I was never able to discover what the common characteristics might be. And invariably, when I expressed my skepticism, the callers became hostile -- although they did invite me to come to their headquarters to get "cleared." Sadly, I'm not cleared. (And I'm still waiting to get "It" at EST, although I attended a two-weekend seminar. )

Barbara

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Dear Gary,

I do not know Tom Cruise and have read very little about him. But I have formed the impression that he makes irresponsible and misguided assertions about psychology and psychiatry.

As to Scientology, I have not read anything on that subject in nearly 40 years, but everything I read left a very bad impression on me. When Nathaniel Branden Institute was operating, we had a "Book Club" department where we recommended and offered for sale books we thought would be of value to Objectivists. One such book included a chapter highly critical of Scientology. I received a threatening letter from someone allegedly in the Scientology hierarchy, saying that if I did not withdraw support for this book, seriously unpleasant things would befall me. I think I was intended to interpret this as life-threatening. I did not withdraw support for the book and that was the end of that.

Years later a friend of mine rose quite high in the Scientology world, tried to convert me, later broke free of it when he decided it was a dangerous racket, and left me with the conclusion that Scientology was bad news.

Over the years, I heard more negative reports. One person conveyed he was placing his life in danger by telling me some of the things he reported.

I hope this this is of some value to you.

Cordially,

Nathaniel Branden

www.nathanielbranden.net

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Whoa! Big Dog in the house!

Welcome, Nathaniel.

So, Scientology seems to me like one of those dog and pony show things, where it is being "sold". Baffle the natives with B.S. And now, it is the luxurious and costly discipline of the stars.

Now, it kind of freaked me on one level, because at the time ('70's) I was reading almost nothing other than science fiction (or, as Harlan Ellison renamed it, "speculative fiction"). I'd read collections where you'd have, say, Asimov, Koontz, others, and maybe Hubbard. He was a good writer.

I had no idea what he was about when "Dianetics" came out; I never associated anything with L. Ron other than sci-fi. I read that book, and it seemed pushy, but shallow. Certainly not as good as his short stories.

I always have some suspicion whenever there is a heavy financial barrier-to-entry for systems. I don't mind paying dues, but there is a limit.

Nathaniel, if you ever want to research cult phenomena, the best place is a very good man named Rick Ross. www.rickross.com

I suppose that almost anything in the range of human improvement bears the risk of being labelled "cult," but in the end hucksterism will define one thing from another.

I would also say that Scientology borrowed (rather than overtly stole) from a number of other places, just like EST/Landmark did. I remember asking you about that, if you had any encounters with Werner E.

Things like this are patchwork systems, replete with smoke and mirrors.

Best,

rde

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Rich directed us (actually Dr. Branden) to the site www.rickross.com, saying that

I suppose that almost anything in the range of human improvement bears the risk of being labelled "cult," but in the end hucksterism will define one thing from another.

So, I went there. He has a search option, so I typed in "objectivism". I got one hit; an article by Ray Jenkins entitled "Ayn Rand after a century: Who was she - and why?"

The opening line is:

The author of 'The Fountainhead' and 'Atlas Shrugged' simply won't go away - but she should.

He goes on to say:

This outcome pretty well settles the enduring question of whether Ayn Rand was an important writer, or whether she was simply the goddess of a great American cult whose erstwhile members include such powerful men as Alan Greenspan. Whatever her status as a writer, as a charismatic spell-caster, Rand ranks up there with Rasputin and Aimee Semple McPherson.

If this is the opinion of Rand that Ross thinks belongs on his website, why should I think that what he says about other "cults" is of any value?

Thanks,

Glenn

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Actually, Rick's site is more of a clearing house. For the longest time, there wasn't anything at all about Ayn Rand there.

But it is a good resource. He is also an expert witness, and cult deprogrammer.

Look up one of the mainstream cults, and you'll see it's very strong.

I don't think many people outside of the movement even know enough to say what about O'ism, really...

best,

r

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It's been a long time, but I read quite a bit about Scientology years ago. The most hostile but informative site on Scientology I found is called "Operation Clambake" at the following address:

http://www.xenu.net

It is still up and is run by a guy from Norway named Andreas Heldal-Lund.

There is a Wikipedia article about this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Clambake

Here is a very funny quote from the article:

The term "clambake" comes from a meal made by heating clams over hot stones or open furnaces. The term "clam" as an insulting slang word for Scientologists is derived from a passage in L. Ron Hubbard's A History of Man. In this passage, Hubbard asserts humans evolved from clams, and certain human psychological problems descend from difficulties these clams experienced. Some Scientologists criticize the use of this word, seeing it as hate speech.

Michael

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To all,

Pardon the delay in response. I have been under the weather (really, really, under the weather) and have not been keeping up with my Objectivist friends like I should. My utmost apologies!

Mr. Nathanial Branden,

Thank you for your response. (Big thrill, Nathanial Branden responded to one of my posts!!!) (Breath, Gary, Breath!!!!)

Sir, your response is what I expect from a leader in Objectivism. Basically, your response is......"I really don't care what Tom Cruise or Scientology think. I don't think about them. Their's is not thinking." If I may interpret your words correctly. (Oh, please correct me if I am wrong. More input by you is always welcome, (and needed) on internet forums.)

Ms. Barbara Branden,

The pleasure of your response is always a sweet delight. Intellect and beauty are always a killer combination.

Am I gushing?

Oh, well! You have experience with these people and I hope you will give us more detail into your experiences with them. My main concern is the cult of personality that comes with Mr. Cruise. His fame will recruit more people into the insanity and the un-reason of Scientology. I would like to see more influential people lead the "needy" toward Objectivism.

Can you help?

MSK,

Have I told you lately how much I love you? Oh, and that hottie chick of yours, Katdaddy?

gw

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Gary,

That was quite a gush. Thank you!

That's a nice relaxed time thing you got going. I imagine the Brandens should be answering you back in about a year or so...

:D

So tell the truth. Under the weather... what does that mean? (Really, really, under the weather...) Was about hurricanes or were you tom-catting after the born again of the female persuasion?

:D

Welcome back, friend.

Michael

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Amigo,

I did say I loved you.

Of course I meant that in a man-ly "man-ly" way!

That's a nice relaxed time thing you got going. I imagine the Brandens should be answering you back in about a year or so...  

Of course you know the Brandens are at my beck and call! (Did I say that out loud?)

Man, I actually conversed with someone named Branden. Bliss, Bliss, Bliss!!!

Of course, Barbara is much hotter that Nat! (But that is just my opinion!)

Under the weather?

Scared the piss outta me, bubba!

All I can say is "if you have a sore throat?" "Do not ignore it!"

By the way, you need to be on TV. Let's figure a way to get it done.

It is time to take Objectivism "Uptown!"

"MSK" - The voice of Objectivism? Hmmm...I like the sound of that!

gw

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That bunch of posts was sort of interesting, so since I don't a have life tonight, I will tell you a story. My husband, Jay Loveless, who died in 1993 in Pleasanton, Ca. knew Ron Hubbard back in his "sowing wild oats" days in New York City. Jay was a minor player in the Actor's Studio bunch and described Ron Hubbard as a hanger on who was always trying to get the attention of men and women who had no respect for him and spurned him at every turn. He was thought to be a very poor writer. Later, Jay was genuinely surprised and dismayed to see Dianetics take off the way it did. His final word on L. Ron Hubbard was "pathological liar."

Dr. Branden was way more diplomatic in his response, but ... no excuse and too late to think one up. I will just let that stand.

Mary Lee

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"Dianetics"? Oh. All these years I thought it was "Diuretics" as it was referenced in an Emilio Estevez movie. ("Repo Man.")

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede
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It's been a long time, but I read quite a bit about Scientology years ago. The most hostile but informative site on Scientology I found is called "Operation Clambake" at the following address:

http://www.xenu.net

It is still up and is run by a guy from Norway named Andreas Heldal-Lund.

There is a Wikipedia article about this site: http://en.wikipedia....ration_Clambake

Here is a very funny quote from the article:

The term "clambake" comes from a meal made by heating clams over hot stones or open furnaces. The term "clam" as an insulting slang word for Scientologists is derived from a passage in L. Ron Hubbard's A History of Man. In this passage, Hubbard asserts humans evolved from clams, and certain human psychological problems descend from difficulties these clams experienced. Some Scientologists criticize the use of this word, seeing it as hate speech.

Michael

Excellent CLAM UP cannot be heard over the dunes at night. Geez, EST, my my Barbara those two week "seminars", how well I remember.

Adam

Post Script: Michael the new voice of the voiceless objectivists. Get the big "O" now!

Edited by Selene
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This is one of the treads I missed. It was fun to look at it.

Barbara; You are clear enough for me.

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One of my favorite authors is Roger Zelazny.

Zelazny and L. Ron Hubbard were good friends (both were successful sci-fi writers), and as the story goes: Zelazny and Hubbard had a discussion about creating a science-based religion. Hubbard wrote his book in response to the discussion, then began creating a movement out of it. Zelazny found the whole thing appalling considering it was based on a simple discussion, perhaps even a small bet.

Their friendship ended because of it. But hey, who needs close friends when you can have closer sycophants.

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I have been told that in on L Ron Hubbard novel one of characters says something like if if you really want to get rich start a religion. Hubbard decided to live his novels in his life.

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The short version, containing the publicly verifiable facts...

http://www.sonic.net/~yronwode/arcane-archive.org/religion/thelema/philosophy/oto-and-l-ron-hubbard-jack-parsons-1.php

Seriously, Jack Parsons was in fact a rocket fuel chemist, affiliated with

Cal Tech and the nascent Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He is honored

for his contributions to the US space program by having a small lunar

crater named after him. He was also a central member of the old Southern

California Agape' Lodge (not to be confused with the modern Agape' Grand

Lodge), with Wilfred Smith as Master. The earliest regular performances

of the Gnostic Mass occurred at Agape' Lodge.

Parsons was interested in bringing together the Wiccan and Thelemic

currents, and in directly confronting the dominant Christian worldview

and institutions. He identified himself at times as Belarion the Antichrist,

and wrote a manifesto under this name which still makes stirring reading.

Parsons is perhaps best known for his "Liber 49", or "Book of Babalon",

a "received" work (similar to Crowley's Class A material) which identifies

itself as a fourth chapter of Liber AL, the Book of the Law. In 49, Parsons

was instructed to perform specific Enochian workings to invoke a physical

manifestation of Babalon; as near as can be made out from his diaries, he

seriously and unaccountably misunderstood these instructions, and performed

the wrong ritual. His fortunes declined from then until his death.

L. Ron Hubbard was a latecoming member of the Agape' Lodge community,

although it appears that he was never formally initiated into OTO.

Accounts vary widely, but it seems that Hubbard did in fact depart under

strained circumstances with Parsons' (ex-)girlfriend and a considerable

sum of cash. Later Hubbard claimed he had been sent into Agape' Lodge

to investigate Parsons on behalf of US Navy Intelligence, who wondered

what a critical cold-war scientist was doing with his spare time.

Parsons died in a mercury fulminate explosion in his home laboratory. Rumors

persist that this was murder rather than an accident, the most common theory

being that the US Government considered Parsons insane and were afraid of the

security risk he posed.

A fuller version detailing alleged Scientology practices is here, if you are interested.

(Although a forewarning: the references to Crowley and Parsons as "black magicians" suggest the article's author took Crowley's self promoting PR a bit too seriously: and his description of "magical masturbation" is merely speculation: only OTO members have any firm knowledge of their rituals.)

http://www.factnet.org/Scientology/lrhoccult.htm

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Gary,

Perhaps the most enlightening and revealing book about L. Ron Hubbard and his religion of scientolgy is the unauthorized biography of Hubbard, The Bare-Faced Messiah, by Russell Miller. The book was originally published in Great Britain around 1985 and was immediately the subject of threats and lawsuits from the Church of Scientology's lawyers. Although unsuccessful in blocking its publication in Britain, their legal action threats caused its American publisher, Henry Holt, to remove or modify certain passages in the book when it was published in the U.S. in 1987.

Even with these modifications, the book's heavily documented depiction of Hubbard is devastating. It shows that the entire "official" biography from the Church of Scientology appears to be the product of Hubbard's own highly active imagination. The real story of Hubbard's life and how he invented Dianetics (nee Scientology) is much more interesting than anything that Hubbard wrote about himself. It is definately one of the most fascinating biographical depictions of sociopathy that I have ever read. Hubbard was the living personification of the "P.T. Barnum effect" ("A sucker is born every minute!").

Although the book is now out of print, a complete copy can be read or downloaded at:

http://www.clambake.org/archive/books/bfm/bfmconte.htm

Incidentally, the term "clambake" is a dig used by opponents or past victims of scientology, and is a mock of Hubbard's hilarious acount of why humans cry when upset. It seems that many millions of years ago, the earlist ancestor of man was a clam that had the ability to pump water through its eyes (called a "Boo Hoo," by Hubbard). This was the first creature to climb out of the oceans and crawl on land, whereupon it was viciously attacked by seagulls. An emprinted memory of these traumatic attacks remains in humans and manifests when they are emotionally upset: they cry. Hubbard does not explain how the seagulls got up on dry land before the Boo Hoos.

Like all religions, scientology writings advocate altruism and absolute devotion and defence of church teachings. However, they have been known to fiercely attack those who criticize their religion, particularly former believers and investigative journalists. Hubbard wrote a manual on the "ethics of scientology." In it, he declared all former members of the Church who publically criticize it to be "Suppressives," and to be considered as "Fair Game" for retribution (usually in the form of law suits or other forms of harrassment).

Oh, I forgot about Jack Parsons, another eccentric and onetime close associate of L. Ron. Apparently, he was not a degreed chemist, altough he was knowledgeable enough in that field to convince many around him that he was an academically-trained chemist.

His relationship with L. Ron Hubbard is fully discussed in the above-listed book, The Bare-Faced Messiah. A book review about a new biography about Jack Parsons, with a lot of interesting material, ia at Reason Online at: http://www.reason.com/news/show/32190.html

Edited by Jerry Biggers
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Jerry,

Thank you for the reference to Bare-Faced Messiah. I've started in on it, and it's fascinating.

The "Boo Hoo" business is a reminder that, long after recapitulationism was ruled out as a scientific account of evolution, it's become a favorite among the cranks.

Robert Campbell

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Jerry,

Thank you for the reference to Bare-Faced Messiah. I've started in on it, and it's fascinating.

The "Boo Hoo" business is a reminder that, long after recapitulationism was ruled out as a scientific account of evolution, it's become a favorite among the cranks.

Robert Campbell

Somehow, I don't think that the reputation of recapitulationism as an explanatory factor in evolution was improved much by Hubbard's "Boo Hoo" theory!

It's been awhile since I read The Bare-Faced Messiah, but it is clear that Russell Miller did a prodigious amount of research into Hubbard's life. As wild and crazy as the postulates of scientology are, they are almost matched by the account that Miller gives of Hubbard's actual life. My conclusion after reading this book is that Hubbard was a highly intelligent, extremely energetic (manic?), and imaginative writer who never let ethics get in the way of a "good yarn" (his term), Maybe for sheer mischief or to see just how far he could get, he was probably surprised himself that so many people would take his new religion seriously. And how far some of his followers were ready to go to advance it.

I have this fantasy of Hubbard, sitting on his yacht, downing a number of beers, and typing furiously away (he was reputed to be an extremely fast typist), and thinking to himself, "I can't believe I got away with that last yarn! But they ate it up! Now let's see just what fanciful ridiculous b.s. I can think up here this time!"

Miller's account of apparently serious, but ill-fated, attempts by scientologists to influence or gain control of several African countries (in the 1970s) through conversion of their respective leaders, is quite fascinating. Also, his account of how scientologists infiltrated the I.R.S. in order to get access to government records on the Church's finances.

I am not surprised that a number of entertainment celebrities (e.g., Cruise, Travolta, Anne Archer, etc.) have bought into scientology. Critical thinking and common sense do not seem to be needed to be successful in that field. However, I am surprised that a small but significant number of business and technology leaders claim to be devotees of scientology. I would have thought that that would not be a place where success and fanciful nonsense could coexist. But perhaps it is still possible to believe "six impossible things before breakfast" and not be "wiped-out by reality," (as someone else once said about the fate of those who attempt to fake reality).

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It's been awhile since I read The Bare-Faced Messiah, but it is clear that Russell Miller did a prodigious amount of research into Hubbard's life. As wild and crazy as the postulates of scientology are, they are almost matched by the account that Miller gives of Hubbard's actual life. My conclusion after reading this book is that Hubbard was a highly intelligent, extremely energetic (manic?), and imaginative writer who never let ethics get in the way of a "good yarn" (his term), Maybe for sheer mischief or to see just how far he could get, he was probably surprised himself that so many people would take his new religion seriously. And how far some of his followers were ready to go to advance it.

Having read the portion of the book which relates to Parsons, and therefore with material that I'm already familiar with from other sources, my impression is that it is indeed heavily researched in matters relating directly to Hubbard, but only sketchily researched in ancillary matters (quick point of evidence being his use of the terms "black magic" and "black magicians" in relation to Crowley and Parsons--which is based on nothing more than the fact that Crowley used the terms for the purpose of getting publicity and shocking people, and was seriously believed by the popular press of the time--but otherwise has nothing to do with what Crowley, the OTO and Parsons were actually doing).

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Jeff,

O.K., I'll bite (even though this is somewhat diverging from the topic of this thread, which is Hubbard and scientology). What exactly are you alluding to by downplaying the references to 'black magic' and claiming that it "... has nothing to do with what Crowley, the OTO, and Parsons were actually doing" (emphasis added). Are you saying that they were not involved in promoting or practicing something that they called "black magic," or to use Crowley's term, "magick"?

I do not know enough about Parsons to form any conclusions, other than he is reputed to have made some actual contributions in the development of rocket propellants., but I do not see any comparable contributions to science (or anything else) that were made by Crowley or Hubbard, neither of which can be taken seriously in any philosophical or literary sense. Psychologically, they may serve as "ideal types," exemplifying sociopathy and other character disorders.

Edited by Jerry Biggers
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Jeff,

Having read a couple of fair-to-middlin' articles on Aleister Crowley (and remained ignorant of Jack Parsons until he came up on this thread), I'm also curious.

What, in your opinion, were Messrs. Crowley and Parsons and OTO really about?

Robert Campbell

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