A while back, Marty Rathbun published an entry criticizing David Miscavige for what he called push-button McScientology. The “document” he reveals is another alleged transcript from a half-decade-old speech, but let’s give Marty the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s accurate, if outdated. Anyway, it refers to DM wanting to install menu-driven audio-visual (A/V) kiosks at Scientology churches to introduce people to the subject, rather than hear about it from live people. The idea is that people can get instant Scientology answers to whatever issue they face, all at the push of a button.
Marty accuses David Miscavige of trying to eliminate the human factor from Scientology dissemination, and he’s correct. But from what I know about Scientology, I think DM’s video idea plays right into what Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard would have wanted.
Despite its reliance on cheap labor, very little of the manpower that runs Scientology is used to actually teach Scientology. While “auditing” (counseling) is done with another person – and eventually on one’s own – much of Scientology study consists of taking courses, which are delivered in Scientology course rooms.
Course rooms don’t have teachers; they have “supervisors” – and they aren’t allowed to teach. They can only steer “students” to LRH policies or dictionaries, look at their clay demos (Scientologists build models out of clay to show they understand concepts), and test them on what they have studied, but the actual information they are learning is supposed to come exclusively from tapes or writings – never from the Supervisor’s mouth. That way, there is no room for interpretation; students learn exactly what LRH wanted them to learn. And they are further conditioned to credit no one but LRH for delivering that information.
Matter of fact, explaining LRH’s “technology” is a sin — a major one. Christians, Jews and Muslims are free to sit up all night and debate the meaning of Bible or Koran passages, but not Scientologists! They are only allowed to show each other written references. Telling someone about a policy or bulletin is considered “verbal tech” and is a major sin. From the Admin Dictionary:
“VERBAL TECH: about the most ghastly thing to have around is verbal tech which means tech without reference to an HCOB [official Scientology bulletin] and direct handling out of the actual material.”
Here’s some of what the Ol’ Fraud Hisself had to say about verbal tech (sorry to shout, but LRH wrote the first policy all in caps):
“ANY PERSON FOUND TO BE USING VERBAL TECH SHALL BE SUBJECT TO A COURT OF ETHICS.
“THE CHARGES ARE: GIVING OUT DATA WHICH IS CONTRARY TO HCO BULLETINS OR POLICY LETTERS, OR OBSTRUCTING THEIR USE OR APPLICATION, CORRUPTING THEIR INTENT, ALTERING THEIR CONTENT IN ANY WAY, INTERPRETING THEM VERBALLY OR OTHERWISE FOR ANOTHER, OR PRETENDING TO QUOTE THEM WITHOUT SHOWING THE ACTUAL ISSUE.
“ANY ONE OF THESE CATEGORIES CONSTITUTES VERBAL TECH AND IS ACTIONABLE PER THE ABOVE.” — HCOB/HCOPL 15 Feb 1979, VERBAL TECH: PENALTIES
“The worst thing would be to pretend to have a course but have missing materials and Supervisors giving verbal advice or tech.” — HCOB 27 June 1971, SUPERVISOR TWO-WAY COMM EXPLAINED
“If it isn’t written it isn’t true.” — HCOB 9 Feb 1979, HOW TO DEFEAT VERBAL TECH
Now, in the real world, one way to see if a student understands a concept is to have him explain it in his own words. But in Scientology, that’s a major no-no. Know what the Scientologese word for “learn” is? It’s “duplicate.” Now you know why.
It gets better: Not only can supervisors not actually teach the work, but students may not discuss it with each other. Most course room “study” is done on one’s own, but students must occasionally work together, a process known as “twinning.” Since Scientology is all about isolation, it’s no surprise that Hubbard wrote a long policy dictating the rules of twinning, including a warning that students must not exchange opinions about the material:
“The issues on verbal tech, HCOB 9 Feb 79 HOW TO DEFEAT VERBAL TECH and HCOB 15 Feb 79 VERBAL TECH PENALTIES, should be well-known in the course room.
“Even so, students, particularly when they are new, sometimes get into an exchange of verbal data or opinion while they are twinning. A Supervisor must be on the alert for this and step in to handle at once when he observes it happening. He … always refers the students to the above mentioned HCOBs on verbal tech.” — HCOB 21 August 1979, TWINNING
This is why I think Hubbard would have loved the idea of an all-A/V org – it’s the perfect way to wipe out the scourge of “verbal tech.” Even the best trained Scientologist can’t be expected to remember everything about the Tech – hell, not even Hubbard could keep it all straight. So why risk missing out on a chance to provide the right answer and sign up a new Scientologist?
The idea of A/V dissemination is not new. Remember, Hubbard was obsessed with making films – a fact David Miscavige would know, as he was one of Hubbard’s favorite cameramen. But at the time Hubbard was alive, reproducing films was an expensive and time-consuming process. Video was still in its infancy, and quality was not good.
Today, we have the ability to instantly broadcast HD-quality video to any place in the world from a central server, providing perfect quality with total control over the message – exactly what LRH wanted. If LRH was alive today, he might well give David Miscavige a gold star, a written commendation, and a pat on his little head for his A/V kiosk concept.