The truth about “Look, don’t listen”

A while back, in an Independent declaration called “A Letter from Garcia”* (PDF from Marty’s site), Luis Garcia quoted the L. Ron Hubbard phrase “Look, don’t listen,” as coming from Keeping Scientology Working, the policy that is at the core of Scientology beliefs. “Look, don’t listen” has become a rallying cry among Independents on Marty Rathbun’s blog.

Too bad Luis Garcia got it completely wrong.

The phrase “Look, don’t listen” does not actually appear in KSW, and while that may sound like nitpicking, it’s actually a very important point. Scientologists are all about “duplicating” (knowing/ memorizing) LRH’s tech, and there is a ban on “verbal tech” – it is against the rules to tell someone about a policy; instead, one must physically show them the written LRH reference. So it surprised me that such a pro-LRH group would repeatedly cite “Look, don’t listen” as coming from KSW.

Ever the optimist, I tried pointing this out on Marty’s blog. Naturally, Marty censored my comment and ignored my email.

So I figured I may as well set the record straight, because the true meaning of “Look, don’t listen” is actually pretty telling about the Scientology mindset. Put on your tin foil hats and let’s get started!

LOOK DON’T LISTEN is actually the name of a Scientology policy (HCO PL 16 March 1972 Issue I), which is part of the Establishment Officer series. The job of the Establishment Officer (“Esto”) is to establish the organization. He or she makes sure an organization and its staff have everything needed to produce products – training, supplies, a desk, a working phone, etc. – and that those products get produced.

Basically, an Esto is a cross between a troubleshooter and an ass-kicker. If there’s some problem keeping you from pulling your weight – whether it’s that you’re out of paper clips or that you’re a lazy, incompetent twit – it’s the Esto’s job to find the cause and solve it. Back in my Admin Tech days, I regarded Estos as a force for good – but I was in the business world, not the looking-glass world of a religious Scientology org.

Anyway, here’s some of what Hubbard has to say in LOOK DON’T LISTEN:

“An Establishment Officer who stands around or sits around just talking to people or seniors [people of higher rank] is dev-t [developed traffic, a waste of time and resources].

“If these people knew what was wrong the stats would be in Power. So if they aren’t, why gab?

“A GOOD ESTO LOOKS…. THE SCENE IS RIGHT BEFORE ONE’S EYES. [Statistic] graphs are rising or they are level or falling… Products are appearing or they are not… None of these things are verbal.

“You start listening and you get PR [Public Relations], problems, distractions, 3rd partying, etc., etc. An Esto gets into a cycle of: Outpoint [problem], handle, outpoint, handle, outpoint, handle. He hasn’t looked and he hasn’t found a why. So the scene will get worse.

“You can’t know what’s happening in a kitchen by talking to a cook. Because he’s not cooking just then. You can’t know how good the food is without tasting it.

“To adjust a scene you have to LOOK AT IT.” — LRH

So what LOOK DON’T LISTEN really says is that if a person isn’t getting his job done, don’t ask why and don’t listen to what he has to say. Just look at the stats, look at the production, look at what’s going on, and you will find your answers.

One could see this as a little Draconian (“Why have you written so few letters this week?” “Well, my wife of 38 years just died in a freak sewing accident, and I’m a little depressed.” “GET OVER IT AND START WRITING! WE HAVE A PLANET TO SALVAGE!”). But the policy does make sense, especially if you’re not overly concerned with the feelings and morale of your employees: If the job isn’t getting done, then it isn’t getting done, and that’s that.

Ronald Reagan espoused a more compassionate version of this policy, but while LRH stretched it out to three pages, Reagan said it in three words: “Trust, but verify.”

So that’s the origin of “Look, Don’t Listen” — not exactly the fodder for a battle cry, although I do see the point. Indies will say that if you listen to the Church of $cientology, you will hear them say that Scientology is stronger than ever. But if you look, you’ll see empty Churches, low completions (when they are even published), and more negative press than the Church has ever known.

That said, even Independent Scientologists are only willing to look so far. Marty often talks about the crimes of David Miscavige. One need only LOOK at the actual Scientology policies written by L. Ron Hubabrd to see that Dave learned his evil ways from L. Ron Hubbard. How quick they are to forget the horrors carried out under LRH’s iron rule! Sadly, most Scientologists are satisfied merely to LISTEN to what their leaders have to say and ignore the uncomfortable truths. Why move out of their comfort zone?

The fact is that Scientologists are trained to LOOK – but only inwards, never outwards.


* The title “Letter to Garcia” is inspired by the short book “Message to Garcia” by Elbert Hubbard (no relation), which is popular among Scientologists. You can read the text here. The gist is that a man named Capt. Rowan was told to take a letter from President McKinley to Garcia, leader of the Cuban rebels. Rowan didn’t ask for a plan; he simply took the letter, snuck into Cuba, made his way past hostile troops to cross the island, and delivered his message in four days. This devotion to duty fits in with Scientology’s “Make it go right” philosophy: Don’t ask questions, don’t wonder how, just find a way to get the damn thing done, no matter what it takes.

8 responses to “The truth about “Look, don’t listen”

  1. lurker(not the mostly)

    The mindset of the martyites remind me of a talk given by a con man (reformed in prison and doing his penance by talking to groups about avoiding cons)…

    He talked about how there were suckers lists, people who had fallen for a con before , because they are likely to keep falling for them… Someone asked him, if these people were stupid. The con man said no, they were all a little different, but a trait they seemed to share was an inability to admit they were conned, which made them susceptible to being conned again… He was saying that EVEN if you pointed out to them that they had been conned, and how it happened, a portion of these people would deny it ever happened…
    How the heck can you look, when your eyes are sealed shut…
    People KNOW that the phrase isnt in KSW (heck I knew it, because I just read KSW the other day), but if its not convenient, they will not recognize it…
    This is the part that kind of gets me, I have a lot of sympathy for those who have fallen into cults, or gotten ripped off… But if they keep falling for the same scam, refuse to listen… At what point do they have to take responsibility for their willful blindness?

    • For some reason this makes me think of placebo research, which is really an interesting topic.

      Apparently a good number of people can get relief from a placebo even if they know it’s a placebo because they know that placebo’s can be effective in some cases.

  2. Haven’t we all had the fantasy of hitting the lottery or the door-bell ringing and low and behold its the folks from Publisher’s Clearing House with humongous check for 20 million clams made out to you?? That’s why we tell ourselves “if its to good to be true, then it is” !!!
    But, like the faithful $cientologist, there or those of us who will consistently turn in the applications for Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes and play the lottery once a week because “someones gotta win it” and “you gotta play to win” ..IMHO, its that same attitude that keeps $cientology rolling along, “if I just get over the next hump, then I will be FREE!!”

    And that brings up a few issues I have with these folks.:

    (1) $cientologists, both indies and those still stuck in the corporate “church” always speak of “FREEDOM” be it “SPIRITUAL FREEDOM” or “FREEDOM from the shackles of every day life” .
    my question is; what is this FREEDOM they incessantly talk about?? I mean We fucking live in America the “LAND OF THE FREE” Damn-it ! we are, as a people about the most free you can be, really we are!!Just look around you, what is the fucking gripe???
    (2) $cientologists incessantly yap about “HELPING” or we are here to “HELP”….for the life of me, I can’t figure out what the fuck they want to “HELP” with!!! Really, I have been following this abortion for 5 years and these knuckle-heads (again, both indies and corporate) haven’t “HELPED” anyone do anything except possibly helped them get further into DEBT!!! I guess you could say that they have helped someone into a certain type of “financial freedom” yuk yuk.

    So what is this “FREEDOM” and “HELP” of which they speak???
    I do not see it, and haven’t seen it for the past five years!!
    So can I get a little “HELP” here?????


    • Oh, Johnny, you have so much to learn! Don’t you know that we live on a prison planet, and this beautiful life we all enjoy is just a TRAP designed to keep us from realizing our true nature and our true abilities? Is life here on Teegeeack – sorry, Earth – really enough for you, or would you rather be a true SUPERMAN?

      ML, CW

      • johnnyd.(one

        Ah, yep!!
        I’m kinda diggin it right here Cali old friend, I mean I wish all the best to those who wish,..*check that* BELIEVE, they have a future beyond this WONDERFUL life here on Teegeeack, all the best to those who plan on meeting up with Big-Daddy Ron on the Space Station Two, or what ever the fuck they call it!?! I hope all their dreams and “Postulates” come true. But I COULD NOT BE MORE HAPPIER than i am Right Here, Right Now as T.D. would say.
        If a rational and logical person were to look at $cientology from the beginning (dienetics) to the end (OT VIII) would see that it is nothing but a GINORMOUS *FAIRY TALE*, and the product of an over active imagination……I have said all-along that ANY & ALL of the process of dienetics & $cientology have been discussed and /or taught in a dozen other practices both theoretical and practical in ANY study of Self Help &/OR Mental Health. There is NOTHING, ZIPPY,ZERO,NADA new from the garbage LRH made his followers PAY for!! its all been done before accept the other folks GOT IT RIGHT…( ok the whole clay table, and ash-tray communication poo-poo was NEVER done by the masters) Marty is swimming in an ocean of lies and is bringing a *handful* of dumb-dumbs with him…like I said …IMHO they truly believe that “you have to pay to play, and you can’t WIN if you don’t play”…
        So Cali, should we make the best of what we have here, in our back-yards and enjoy life as we want to and meant to?? or should we split-up our families, drain our bank accounts, kill our un-born children and worship a 4.5ft midget named “Davey”????
        oh shit,… what is AS/Sing ??? god-damnit!! I keep seeing these made up fucking bull-shit words and I am sure they mean nothing profound, but why cant the $cientologists say what it is? with-out MAKING-UP bullshit words???
        okay my rant is over, so sorry…I really hope I hurt no-ones feelings with my yak about the CO$!!!

  3. Scientologists are well trained to Look and not Listen. This is why within a Scientology organization or group, departures from the technology are easily spotted.

    The issue with Look Don’t Listen is that before they are trained to Look, they are told what not to look for and trained what is impossible to look for because it CAN NOT EXIST. Do not look for Scientology’s flaws, do not question Scientology’s workability, do not question LRH as described by the Church of Scientology.

    In fact, Scientology trains the people to know that any thought in those directions is an Evil Purpose and to be avoided. So with the world reduced to a very small place, it isn’t hard to direct that gaze at their fellow friends.

    Technically, the Esto Series and the Eval Series would reveal all of Scientology’s flaws – the actual body of information is fairly sound – not brilliant – but fairly sound in this regard.

    So we have to ask why they never saw Scientology for what it was. The answer is, it was never in their sight and not allowed to be by them, and their seniors. But it was deeper than that, they didn’t stand there and think “It couldn’t be Scientology, could it?”

    It would be easy enough to save the world from an Asteroid – but only if we are looking for it. And the last place A scio will ever look for the problem is with the technology itself – that question does not even come to mind.

    Caliwog, have you ever asked yourself how many blow jobs your mother gave to goats? None I hope. A crude example. My point though is that you have never thought of that question ever before and it would never have crossed your mind unless it was suggested.

    But to further my point at this exact time of reading you have not actually asked yourself to talk to your mother to find out how many goats in fact she has actually given Blow Jobs to – why not? Pick up the phone.

    Because it is so silly and outlandish that it is outside of your realm of capability to even conceive that it could be true – I mean you didn’t even give it a moments thought did you. SERIOUSLY. YOU MOTHER GAVE GOATS BJs!!! Just ask her.

    So when you say to the Scientologist “But LRH fucking lied about his military record and it’s all bullshit” you might as well just ask the, to ask their mother if she ever fucked a few goats.

    This is the same wall when we talk to Scios about the unworkability of Scientology – proof, references – you name it, they will not look at it because it is so absurd.

    I have a video of your mother blowing goats off Caliwog. Do you want to see it? you still don’t think I have that video. I am pulling your leg, right? I said it to make a point right? I mean, I might as well say Obama is an alien from Pluto, right?

    Welcome to the world of sitting a Scientologist down and telling him Scientology does not work – I have almost as much chance of convincing Caliwog his mother gave goats blow jobs as I am to convince the top RTC and Int staff that Scientology does not work.

    You have to realize the depth of brainwashing that is really going on here.

    Look Don’t Listen is a fairly sound interpretation of obvious office management made awful complicated, but it never occurred to the guy in the office that the company never actually existed, there was no product, and the computers didn’t have any software or hardware in them. So when you ask him to look…you are often wasting your time, he already knows there is a product to be had, there are chairs, walls, company logos, books, tapes, millions of customers – and then some loon tells him to look don;t listen because the company does not actually exist!

    Yes, he is going to look at you strangely and know you are an idiot for making him look at something that is all around him.

    Welcome to Marty’s world – surrounded by chaos and failure – and you are crazy enough to lay the blame on Scientology? That is madness.

    Honestly, nothing beats in life saying you were once this brainwashed and then came out of it completely.

    And yet, despite the proof that you DONT KNOW UNTIL YOU FIND OUT, Caliwog is still going to insist his mother never gave a Blowjob to anybody – and the sad truth is, he will never know until he actually asks and looks into it – but because it is impossible to have happened in Caliwogs mind, the question will never be asked.

    But Caliwog wants Scientologists to ask themselves the impossible. So I ask you caliwog, do you really understand what a Scientologist actually thinks like? Ask your mother if she ever gave a goat a BJ and then I will grant that you have an inklings of what you are asking Scientologists to actually do.

    Not as easy as you make it sound despite the torrents of proof you have, you have missed the point – it is not about proof. It required no proof to believe in it, and it requires no proof to leave it either.

  4. I just want to update everybody that Caliwog still has not asked his mother this vital question. And will not do it.

    But if she saw her giving a goat a BJ, she would probably believe it.

    But Caliwog will not open the video I have of it. Because it can’t be real.

    The reason KAren is questioning Scientology is not because of the proof…she has been in possession of that for years read it over and over – it is because she witnessed something she can not write-off.

    A dead corpse that used to be her son.

    And that is not the proof that Scientology does not work. It is the proof that Scientology doesn’t work for HER. So expect her to still push it on others, be gentle when confronted with Scios, but don;t think for a minute this will change her mind Scientology works.

    She is probably too old, like my mother, to not be a Scientologist. If she were younger, perhaps Karen would find an alternative technology to live life well, and this will often result in a departure from Scientology.

    I am proud to say I and some few others I have met were willing to view, accept and know Scientology was false before we found a better way – and that is a darn scary time period, filled with fear and genuine anxiety. But we made it through once we accepted that we did not need an alternative technology – and then we were truly free from all brainwashing and bullshit.

    Marty wants to avoid people having this moment, he wants them to be drawn into his circle and use the fear to keep them in Scientology.

    As long as fewer enter compared to the ratio of those who leave and never go back to it, we will win against Scientology.

    You will never destroy Scientology, but it will be vanquished to a special interest group in years to come with few members and be virtually non-existent.

    Just keep at those protests showing fine examples of Scientology not working and eventually, some of these people will see how it correlates to their own life – no father, no mother, no free time, no pets, no love, always yelling, always screaming, always giving every cent, eating beans…keep showing what it DOES.

    Showing what it DOES is better than proof it does not work – there is a subtle difference.

    This is one of the reasons why we prop up Democracy – there are many workable systems, we just want to show this is the best – we all know Communism fails not because we have any proof – we just see and are shown information that shows it is worse than what we have.

    Show them the results of Scientology over and over because C of S is hiding the results from it’s own members.

    And they will continue to leave – in droves.

    We all know someone who left because we stood up. Stand the hell up. Go to a protest. Let them see you. Let them view you as a success or a failure – but show them whatever you do that Scientology DIDN’T WORK and they might also see that too in themselves.

    Like I said, it takes no proof to get them in, and no proof to get them to leave, just the feeling it isn’t for them or not right with them somehow, anyhow.

    but people like Marty ma

  5. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a
    coworker who had been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me breakfast because I discovered it for him.
    .. lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this issue here on your web site.

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