26 September 2016
Take a look at how it was great when it all began (I was a regular Lenin fan), and what remains of those grand hopes that we were going to work out how to save all the movements for human liberation? Possibly only this: Nietzsche's old saw about "battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster". Replicated in Marx's "the ruling ideas of society are the ideas of the ruling class", and L. Ron Hubbard's (!!!) "if you fight an enemy and do not defeat it, you will assume its valence" - i.e. "turn into it".
I think we can boil down all we've usefully learned here to groupthink and tribe-against-tribe logic is the enemy, even if you're the good guys. This is all the more important in the social media era when it's the work of mere seconds to assemble a lynch mob to harass the bad guys into silence or suicide. It is our nature, having grown up in class society, to behave like this. The plus side of this is that reflexivity, humility, and opening to non-ego motivations of action are the only defence, and we must learn them and teach them to each other. And by "ego" we mean the collective ego of being the Good Guys, as well. Tony Cliff was wrong - the only way to actually overcome our enemy is to be asymmetrical to them.
Here are some very recent materials on the subject:
Embrace Your Inner Scientologist
Something I Said
08 September 2016
I hope this finds you, Monique and your kid well. To introduce myself, I've been a watcher of the wacky world of Scientology since the early 1990s; on one hand I found some of the ideas plausible enough at one stage to dabble with a "Free Zone" group at one stage, but on the other hand I was very active in the initial phase of Project Chanology in 2008/9 and I've never had any illusions that the Church itself is a totalitarian organisation which is either an oversized abusive relationship or a mini-North Korea.
I've watched your progress with interest since 2009 since you emerged from your career as "enforcer" for Scientology's dictator David Miscavige, to your career as a spokesperson for the "Independent Scientology" movement, to your eventual break with the Indie community. I must say I have not been 100% sure what to make of your current phase of seeking to transcend the Scio/anti-Scio fight altogether. However, I must say that anyone who is extremely surprised by your family's decision to exit your lawsuit against Miscavige, or your critical reviews of Ron Miscavige and Louis Theroux's recent anti-Scientology works, has clearly not been paying attention to your regular blog posts over the last few years where you ponder the futility of getting involved in an endless fight with something (example). Very Zen, quite convincing. I totally understand why you are doing your best to end your involvement with the whole subject.
In this regard, I have been most distressed by some of the wild abuse recently thrown at you by anti-Scientology activists (let's say "Scientology critics" to be polite); not just the "TRAITOR, WHORE, JUDAS" stuff from the lunatic fringe, but the slightly more sophisticated stuff which suggests that, when you criticise Ron's book or Theroux's film for distorting the facts in the service of a good story, you are now "agreeing with David Miscavige" and are therefore no doubt in his pay once more.
There's another movement where telling the truth as one sees it gets a wave of abuse for "forwarding enemy lines" or accusations of being in the pay of the bad guys. It's called the Church of Scientology. In fact, it's a major hallmark of any toxic group that sticking with the group's story is more important than the truth. The story of Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby clearly shows that "you are attached to what you attack"; or, as Nietzsche would have put it, if you battle monsters you risk becoming one yourself.
I think that Tony Ortega's "Underground Bunker" has done good service over the years exposing Scientology abuses, and I read it every day (not the comments, though...). But I've always thought he has an issue with you personally, for some reason, even at the time when you were working closely together. Now, it seems, he seems relieved to be able to "release the hounds" in your direction. One thing I find extremely interesting was that when he reviewed your book Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior, his main criticism was that you were "self-alibi'ing", to some degree - refusing to admit your share of moral responsibility for the abuses conducted by the Church while you were its enforcer. Now, at the end of your review of the Theroux movie, you note that the movie's depiction of Miscavige's abusive behaviour is actually closer to your own of the time. Ortega's response? "Good on Marty for 'fessing up"? No, you are now chided for agreeing with Miscavige, "forwarding enemy lines"! You really are damned if you do and damned if you don't.
(Interesting, parenthetically, that you criticise Ron Miscavige for trying to whitewash his own responsibilities for his son's development and behaviour in his memoir - which, in turn, is taken by the Bunkeroos as proof that you are now a traitor-judas-whore in the pay of Darth Midget. The acceptability of the argument seems to be based on whether the person making it is on the "good guys" or "bad guys" list at the time - a sure sign of toxic mob mentality.)
However, Ortega's insinuations and apparent interest in putting you down personally are nothing compared to the mob mentality whipped up in his comments section. Let me emphasise that honestly I don't blame Tony for this. This is a pretty standard feature of all groups or communities which band together against a common enemy. Groupthink and mob mentality are occupational hazards.
The Sci-critical satirist Jeffrey Augustine rightly compares the Church to the Stalinist USSR and North Korea. In the 1930s, the followers of Leon Trotsky were expelled from the global Communist movement for opposing Stalin's increasing tyranny. But sadly, history shows that the various Trotskyist movements globally often ended up becoming just as internally oppressive as the official Communist Parties they were supposed to oppose. The British "post-Trotskyist" radical Tony Cliff explained it like this: "if a man is locked in a room fighting a mad dog for long enough, eventually you won't be able to tell the difference".
The proper analogy to the Trotskyists, of course, would not be Ortega's bunker (who might be more like anti-Commie witchhunters) but the Independent Scientology movement, who of course cast you out a few years ago once you noticed that they were in fact building their own little scale-model replicas of the official Church's oppressive apparatus. And not just the fanatical "Milestone Two" mob, either. The critic who goes by the name "Alanzo" suggests that Mike Rinder and Karen de la Carriere - two ex-Scientologists whom I have the utmost respect for - ran something of an informal "Indie OSA" back in the day. I really crave to hear more details about this.
I certainly don't begrudge Tony Ortega of making a living by being a professional Scientology critic. That organisation needs to have its shenanigans dragged into daylight at all times and - despite my distress at his animus towards you - he does that job well. But I also suspect he rather likes being the Fearless Leader of an angry mob and has
The Bunker and the rest of the Scientology-critic community really has to check itself before it wrecks itself. We should all take a good look at ourselves and be honest if we see ourselves starting to act like OSA agents or Squirrel Busters. There is no need for paid Scientology agents infiltrating and destroying Scientology-critical movements when the natural process of groupthink/mob mentality will often lead to critics taking on those roles themselves, free of charge.
Once again, Mark, good luck to you and your family in whatever you choose to do in the future. Sufi masters say that the true sign of a beloved of God is that 1000 trustworthy witnesses will all declare him to be a lost heretic, so being "shot at by all sides" is probably a sign that you're on the right path.
19 May 2016
10 May 2016
Aleister Crowley, the Great Beast 666 his own self, died penniless in a boarding house on the south coast of England on 1 December 1947. There is an urban legend that his last words were something along the lines of "No, no! It can't end like this!"
Two of his more infamous disciples fared little better. John Whiteside "Jack" Parsons blew himself up (probably accidentally) at his home laboratory on June 17 1952. A slightly more trustworthy hadith suggests that his last words were "I wasn't done." His magickal brother, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, on the other hand, died living as a recluse and a fugitive in a trailer on a rach in remote California on January 17 1986. Very strong traditions (for example from his attendant Steve "Sarge" Pfauth) suggest that Hubbard - although he had amassed a personal fortune estimated around $400 million, was worshipped as a spiritual leader by thousands, doted on by celebrities, even created his own goddamn paramilitary force and a machine of oppression which outlives him and wrecks people's lives to this day - repeatedly commented in his last days that his own had life ended in failure. Certainly failure to exercise his own demons - which was, underneath all the grifting, no doubt the true motivation behind Scientology.
The classical scholar and reactionary racist politician Enoch Powell is credited as saying "all political careers end in failure". Do all magickal careers do so as well? Or all artistic careers? Or anything at all where we try to change the world? Hazrat-e-Pir Dr Javad Nurbakhsh (ya haqq) commented to the effect that most people who set out on the Sufi path fail because they started with the wrong motivation. What is the wrong motivation? Virtually anything. Because all motivations come from the Self (I want spooky powers! I want social status! I want to conquer my inner demons! etc etc etc), and the Sufi path is all about transcendence of the Self and annihilation in the Absolute. If God or the Machine Elves or "Bob" or whoever wants you to die penniless, burned to a crisp or on the run from most of the governments of the globe, who are you to say otherwise, pinkboy. (Why, certainly, should you expect a happy ending to your character's arc when Aleppo is burning and the oceans are rising, etc etc.)
It's getting close to the 10th year anniversary of this blog, and I have to question whether the Chaos Marxist project, itself, ends in failure. Successes? I met some nice people and got some nice zines in the mail. Some friendly Discordians made a "greatest hits" package of the earlier stuff. Some of the stuff is literally true and still useful - although I don't think "I" really wrote that stuff, in the same sense that ibn Arabi maintained that The Bezels of Wisdom were written by Prophet Muhammad himself. The real stuff is always a transmission from Universe Central. To some degree, also, the world has caught up - since Anonymous became a real thing, the post-1968 toy-town Marxist groups are splitting and falling to pieces, and the "Lacanian left" (the good ones, like Jodi Dean not that racist fucker Zizek) have finally managed to start taking the subjective factor in ideology seriously. (There is a whole book to be written on the similarities between Lacan's approach and what a Sufi master or a Zen Buddhist teacher do, "holding space" for the ego to confront itself and what Gurdjieff called "the real horror of the situation").
But I never managed to start my own community or lineage or wherever. There is no Chaos Marxist current, community, party or international. I have allies; but it's just me, like it's always been. And certainly I never hit upon the Magickal Key that would unlock every puzzle of the movements for global liberation, peace and happiness, etc. Because that's what I was going for. Really big magick. But that was ego. It wasn't just enough that the world be saved, but that I, or at least ideas which originated in this particular brain-pan, should save it. And - hopefully - not be so messed-up on a personal basis any more. Or it wouldn't matter that I'm socially anxious and crippled by toxic shame, if I was freakin' Noam Chomsky crossed with Kate Bush crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer or whatever.
But here I am, still pursued by nightmares, still afraid of, and unable to love, my brothers who don't know the law.. The ideas have ceased to come - the new ideas, at least, the old stuff is still perfectly valid and useful. The God Hercules has left me, that had loved me well, to use another metaphor. Perhaps the illusion was that doing something good would make me good, or at least be able to make me believe in my own right to exist. But you can only get that in a real community, and perhaps I can never be part of a community which would have me as a member.