Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Netwars and religion

Cannoneer raised the question of what lessons could be learned from the Anonymous versus Scientology debacle.

One idea I responded with was the issue of identity. Anonymous, is in essence an entity, and a title, with no concrete identity [1]. Scientology's modus operandi is to attack groups and identities. Identity is something that can be targeted. With no identity, Scientology have nothing to attack. Lack of identity could be seen as a form of strategic retreat. Anonymous have taken Scientology into an environment where their tools and strategies cannot work. Scientologists then have to compete with Anonymous on an ideological level.

This to me is the interesting part of the strategy and somewhat ironic. In network vernacular Scientology is a group that has built its power by isolating nodes through cult persuasion techniques and then making those nodes part of their ideological network. Scientology as an ideological network can add strings of isolated nodes to its networks, but when confronted by a mass of connected nodes from a stronger ideological network their ideology fails to work at a group level.

Anonymous could reverse engineer the process and collapse the scientology network on a long enough time scale. Anonymous could isolate nodes within the Scientology network, reverse engineer the persuasion process, and reintegrate the nodes into another network.

Apart from identity and the destruction of networks something that comes to mind is how would you destroy a religion? Or to narrow that thought how would you destroy Scientology. Or I could reword that and say how could you majorly disrupt Scientology? One way could be to play on their preconceived beliefs and create an uprising of the Scientologist underlings against their super-rich leaders. Similar to a soviet revolutionary uprising that John Boyd outlines in 'Patterns of Conflict' briefing but with a xenu twist. With enough agitation propaganda, mixed with beliefs from the religion that the entire ingroup believes, you could play them off against each other and destroy them from within. E.g. you could take photos, or manipulated photos of leaders in scientology and create the idea that they are unhappy, sad, angry etc. This is something that goes against Scientology concept of the Tone scale. By furthering upsetting, and creating anger in higher up Scientologists and then showing this to the lower underlings, the more the higher ups look "spiritually dead" according to the tone scale.

Alternatively, you could screw with the belief system and create contradictions which puts them in a position where they are forced to drop the belief. Take the example of auditing. AgitProp could frame it in such a way as to make it sound like psychology. Scientologists don't particularly like psychiatrists and psychologists. If you were to frame scientologist techniques as psychology and psychiatry in a clever manner then it might be possible to create divisions of belief.


1. Though some groups affiliated with the haphazard group are using real names and can be traced in their online communities.


Adrian said...

I've been thinking about this. I worry that Anonymous' campaign against Scientology will backfire. Despite their goals of bringing scientologists back into reality, it could end up raising barriers between scientologists and others, trapping them in the cult. Also with the free PR Scientology gets, it could boost recruitment. I might put up a blog post on this if it continues to trouble me. Also I thought this post didn't deserve to be commentless!

M├╝nzenberg said...

Thanks for the comment Adrian. Your thinking may be correct. You should do up a post on it.

Two thoughts from your two points about raising barriers and free PR.

Firstly, there is a social psychological phenomenon, that I can't remember the term at the moment, but it is simple enough, where reactions and behaviours are often matched by the intensity of the first action. So if group A becomes angry with group B then group B may produce a reaction of anger equalling in intensity to that of group A. So you have Anonymous who is pushing hard against individuals to leave scientology. It is then possible that these individuals may match that original action and push hard back against Anonymous.

Secondly, I blogged the other day about the psychology of rumors that brought up the dilemma that is faced by mythbusters and urban legend debunkers. By debunking myths in a public manner then on a psychological level the mythbusters are adding somewhat to the truthfulness of the original narrative. There are probably small groups of neutral individuals out there who believe scientology over Anonymous based on Anonymous debunking their myths.

I'm surprised Scientology hasn't capitilized on the celebrities it has in its ranks. Celebrities are a form of authority in this day and age, they would be powerful propaganda platforms.

Lisa M said...

Yeah it can be really confusing. There website doesn't match with what the critics say, and seems genuine. Their literature appeals to a person's good nature, and they seem to have good goals in mind. This, im afraid to say is a clever marketing scam and what you actually find in scientology is not what is printed on the glossy leaflets.

I have studied scientology for many years, and have changed opinion ranging from harmless physcobabble to dangerous vicious cult. The more you research the worse it gets. I find the books from ex-scientologists, and the documents surrounding Ron Hubbard the most telling of the organisation.

Scientologists hold different beliefs depending on how long they have been inside the Church.

Scientologists believe:
o Man has a immortal soul called a thetan.
o You have a primitive reactive mind which is the source of much of man's problems, which collects "engrams" from traumatic times or when you are unconscience.
o A lot of physical illnesses/problems are physcosomatic caused by "Engrams".
o You can 'audit' engrams out and this will solve your issues and clear up your health. They also believe it makes you a more intelligent, aware and reasoned individual.
o Reincarnation and the ability to know these past lives and get to more engrams this way.
o Paying lots of money to scientology for there tech, courses, and auditing.
o Getting more people into scientology.

If they have got to OTIII, then the belief changes slightly.
o The universe is quadrillions years old.
o Xenu the Interglatic Space Lord ruled a confederation of overpopulated planets.
o Xenu took a load of these aliens from each planet and brought them to earth.
o They were then exploded in volcanoes 75 million yrs ago.
o Their souls were then caught on ribbons and taken to implant stations, where Xenu brainwashed & confused them so they wouldn't leave the planet. This includes implanting all the world religions.
o These Alien souls called Body Thetans have attached to humans, and are infact the real cause of your problems and why you get and retain engrams…
o You audit these body thetans out by auditing there engrams and taking them back to the Xenu incidents I & II.
o People have jaw aches from when they were a clam in human evolution….hence the name of the main critical site

You can read about this in a neutral site. wikipedia

Scientology may be a religion, as you cannot trounce on people's beliefs, there are entitled to it no matter how strange, even Xenu.

Originally it was set up as therapy, not religion. Ron changed it to religion as a means to escape the law, escape taxes, and so as to appeal more to the masses. It worked…dianetics was failing at the time scientology was created.

However, the Church of Scientology, the organisation is most definitely a money making scam, and a dangerous cult.

If they told you about Xenu upfront, how many people would join? This is where it crosses over to a cult:
They lie to people to gain adherents, they lie to keep them.
They lie to the media, they lie to governments.
They use hard sell techniques, and create social dependancy through social control aka mind control.
They prevent scientologists from looking at the facts about scientology
They charge through the roof for what they sell.
They aren't credited by the scientific community
They hound and harass critics.

And much much more, this is what makes it a cult, not their beliefs.

This is what one critic thinks of scientology:
" The Church of Scientology is a vicious and dangerous cult that masquerades as a religion. Its purpose is to make money. It practices a variety of mind-control techniques on people lured into its midst to gain control over their money and their lives. Its aim is to take from them every penny that they have and can ever borrow and to also enslave them to further its wicked ends.

It was started in the 1950s by a science fiction writer named L. Ron Hubbard in fulfilment to his declared aim to start a religion to make money. It is an offshoot to a method of psychotherapy he concocted from various sources which he named "Dianetics". Dianetics is a form of regression therapy. It was then further expanded to appear more like a religion in order to enjoy tax benefits. He called it "Scientology".

Scientology is a confused concoction of crackpot, dangerously applied psychotherapy, oversimplified, idiotic and inapplicable rules and ideas and science-fiction drivel that is presented to its members (at the "advanced" levels) as profound spiritual truth. "

Go here to see some video clips of scientologists in action:

It can cost someone upto and beyond $380,000 to get to the top in scientology, and this may take decades.

They also hound critics trying to discredit and ruin them in any way (even if illegally), pressuring with lawyers, etc in order to stop any criticism rather than tackling the points raised by the critic. The campaign against critics is a well documented one.

You can find much information out on the web, including even whole books written by ex-members:
(free to read, just click on 'em)

Ron Hubbard may have died rich, but he also died in a terrible state of health, taking physciatric drugs - despite telling everyone else that scientology fixes all your ills, and that physciatry is evil and wrong.

Here is a site that looks at cults in general:

And others

This is a description of what a cult is and does, I think scientology hits practically every single one.

There is much documented evidence that has come from court trials, government investigations and the accounts of ex-members. It all points to scientology being a cult. So if you find critics maybe not a trustworthy source of info for any reason, then just look at all the stuff below.

This is a formal study of dianetics, the only one. It concludes dianetics doesn't do what it says it does.

Now as if I hadn't given enough links, and probably bored the pants of you, here is a list of all websites relating to scientology

It is actually a great shame, all these people got into scientology wanting to improve themselves and others. What they got was the total opposite.