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The Transcendental Future

March 2, 2011

Reading an interesting book: The Time Paradox by Phillip Zimbardo and John Boyd.  It’s an in-depth examination of how our attitudes towards time – past, present and future – affect how we live our lives. It is a worthwhile read. Doesn’t have much to do with our discussion of the Church of Scientology – however…

I was reading a chapter on something called the transcendental future. Simply put, it has to do with people’s beliefs about what will happen to them and the world after they die. For instance, Christians believe they will go to Heaven if they are good, devout, and pious. So this affects how they live their lives.  Transcendent futures are usually unprovable, often improbable. But they are believed, and that is what matters. And no one reports back as to whether it’s really true or not.

Belief in a transcendental future can have both good and evil results.  Certainly, the Christian belief in an afterlife has inspired great works of art and architecture, great acts of charity and compassion and courage.

But a transcendental future can also be used to manipulate people.  “If you contribute money to the Church, you’ll go to heaven,” and so forth.

The most notorious example is suicide bombers. Most people think that they are either crazy or ignorant. No, they have been convinced that if they detonate themselves, before the first drop of their martyr blood hits the ground, they will be seated at the right hand of Allah. And they will have secured a place there for their entire family. Powerful imagery. Powerful motivation.

People’s Temple, Heaven’s Gate, Solar Temple, Kamikaze pilots, Christian martyrs – people can literally be convinced to off themselves for a transcendental future.

But short of suicide, people can be convinced to endure hardship, crushing poverty and degradation, oppression, exorbitant tithing, enormous self-sacrifice, all for the sake of their transcendent future.

Scientology, of course, has its own version of “transcendental future.”

Scientologists believe that somehow, somewhere in the future, they will achieve complete freedom and ability as a spiritual being.  The Church uses this endlessly – talking about “your Eternity.” If you continue in the Church and do what they say, and continue your “Bridge progress,” and make the sacrifices they demand, then somewhere up the line, somewhere in a vague future time, your “Eternity” will be secured.  Reminds me of the Tom Cruise bit in the Knight and Day trailer: “With us, your survival will be up here; without us, down here. With us, here – without us, here. With us – without us.”

Add to this, particularly for staff and Sea Org members, “a Cleared Planet.” People will endure a lot of sleepless nights, long hours, arduous work, poverty, threats and even abuse if they buy the dream.

And Scientologists don’t want to give this up. Even Scientologists who have given up on the Bridge still sadly talk about “going OT next lifetime.” One of the worst, most unforgivable things you can do to a Scientologist is to challenge that transcendental future in any way. They cling to it desperately.

And that’s a key reason they don’t listen to you. Oh, they’re listening all right, but they block out anything that challenges that transcendental future. They carefully remember and hoard any gains or wins they have had, and stack them up as proof that the transcendental future is real. They forget the losses, the failures. They don’t listen to naysayers. They carefully block out any contrary information from the Church itself, and invent reasons why the Church actions and announcements are “OK’ and “make sense.”

They strive to convince themselves that they and their fellow Scientologists and OTs really are superior, that they really do have spiritual ability no one else has, that their lives are not as mundane and confused and ordinary as everyone else’s. They shut out any reports of OTs committing criminal acts, going crazy or even committing suicide, or explain it all away. They try to convince themselves that contributing to Ideal Orgs really does move us closer to a Clear Planet. They try to convince themselves that Scientology really is expanding, and shut out anything they actually observe to the contrary. Like the number of Clears actually being produced. Or the total Clears since 1950.

Because to doubt the transcendental future is to doubt all the self sacrifice, all the time spent, all the money spent, the fractured families, the abuse.

And this is why the Church hammers you about “your Eternity.” While doing nothing to deliver any real spiritual ability to anyone or take any actions that would make even the slightest concrete progress towards a “Clear Planet.”

Because they know the power of a transcendental future.

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43 Comments
  1. March 2, 2011 3:08 am

    When we publish the wins of those who are going clear and OT outside church walls, we leverage that belief in a transcendental future by showing that a more direct path exists.

    A win like this (possiblyhelpfuladvice.com/?p=1625) can rehabilitate failed purposes and give hope where none existed before.

    • brendon permalink
      March 2, 2011 4:00 pm

      David-

      While my initital reaction to your post was about you seemingly using the very thing Jeff isolates as a useful tool in controlling people, ultimately I can’t complain about those who feel they are benefitting from your auditing. It’s their life. Good for them and for you for providing what they believe they need outside of the Church’s crazy environment.

      But for someone like me who is an external observor, it sounds like they’ve just swapped one big box of nothing for another box of nothing. The reported “gains” are not even describeable according to your PC – and that is implied to suggest their immensity rather than perhaps their chimerical nature. (But look how much gain – actual movement forward – was made when he started looking on the internet!)

      Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Not really. I doubt your efforts will ever result in creating the similar pox on society that the organized Church became. So that being the case, you will never have any quibble from me.

      Sincere regards.

      • lurker permalink
        March 3, 2011 3:20 pm

        I agree David, and it was part of my reply on Jeffs last post about isolating, or controling the message, so you can control the person.

        I really worry sometimes that people who have been beaten up so much by this cult, will fall into the open arms of someone who will in turn, ask for money, and discourage them from reading all sources, and deciding for themselves what is best for them.

        I am not a scientologist, but I am a Christian and see in my religion certainly some of the same, thought stopping, “your either in or your out”, don’t listen to them (their unbelievers, or natterers, haters, etc).. I still believe in God, but I don’t put my faith in any “minister” who says he can make me rich, happy, healthy with never a care in the world if I follow HIS path there..

        I don’t like it that some people keep talking about gains (while they charge others for getting there) and then the gains are nebulous… ” I feel great!” ” I am more able to get along with my spouse.” Those kinds of gains can be gotten with reading a book on marriage, or taking a vacation.

        I guess where I come down on this is, ” Tell EXACTLY what kind of “gain” a person gets for a level, and prove it, or don’t promise it at all..

        I was watching Toris video yesterday where she said that she thought, from listening to others, that OT7 was supposed to allow her to heal people, and when she got on it, it wasn’t about that at all!… Thats bait and switch, and just not fair.

        Sorry if this went over the line Jeff, I am trying to not offend anyone, it just gets frustating to feel (and I would be happy to be proven wrong) that people at the most fragile time of their life might be getting sold another bill of goods.

  2. Lady Lancelot permalink
    March 2, 2011 3:16 am

    Nice post. This “eternity” issue has bugged me for years. I have never been able to wrap my wits around it. It made no sense. I believe I am a spiritual being and that I am immortal. If this is so, how is Bridge progress guarenteeing my immortality. It is already a fact. Do you have an answer for this from the Church’s view point? Because I don’t get it.
    Also, I just want to thank you for including “going crazy” as one of the things that does happen to OTs sometimes, along with suicide and criminal activity. I know first hand that this is true.
    I suspect that the mortality rate among Scientologists is higher and an earlier age than the general population. I suspect this from observation. But actual statistic do not seem to be available.
    I learned some valuable things in Scientology. I don’t think it is all bad, but I think it should come with a Black Box warning. It could be dangerous to your health, your finances and your peace of mind.
    Those things can be proven. On the other hand, it just might secure your eternity. That can not be proven. You decide.

    • Synthia permalink
      March 2, 2011 4:04 am

      Lady Lancelot,

      “I believe I am a spiritual being and that I am immortal. If this is so, how is Bridge progress guaranteeing my immortality. It is already a fact. Do you have an answer for this from the Church’s view point?”

      What a great question!

      What the church and LRH are pushing is the idea that though of course you are immortal, you are in danger of spending that immortal eternity in a nightmarish case state akin to the hellfire and brimstone gnashing of teeth in hades. What state are you going to be in for that eternity?

      That all depends on what you do now, with and in Scientology.

      In many, many references and lectures LRH gives grim scenarios for you when you die. You will be implanted and unless you get through at least Clear (though I think later that was revised to be OT 5) you will not make it. “Only Clears and OTs will survive this planet.” LRH

      What the hell does that mean?

      Fear mongering. Mind control.

      Nice guru.

      • gOD permalink
        March 2, 2011 8:11 am

        “Only Clears and OTs will survive this planet.” LRH

        We all know Clears can’t survive this planet. They are in danger:)
        (unless they go through the Wall of Fire)
        (but than, there is the second Wall of Fire…)

    • Caliwog permalink
      March 2, 2011 5:31 pm

      Lady, I believe the idea is that even though you are immortal, without Scn, you won’t get to enjoy it. Your body will die, you’ll get zapped in an implant station and sent right back to do the same thing all over again.

      Think of what a horrible trap that is. The joy of seeing new places for the first time. The pleasure and surprise of reading new books. The adventure of raising your first child. The excitement of your first kiss. How awful that us poor wogs have to endure all that over and over and over again!!!

      ML,
      Caliwog

  3. plainoldthetan permalink
    March 2, 2011 5:06 am

    The Church may talk about “your eternity” in an effort to leverage your transcendental future for their profit. However, as so many of us have come to realize, when someone from the Church uses the phrase “your eternity” that person is really saying “the Church’s eternity”.

    Since the Bridge ends at OT8 and probably will never expand beyond that, then there’s only one operation the Church can really try to sustain. It’s not “your voyage of adventure and enhancement and growth in your future”. But it certainly is “the Church’s voyage of adventure and profit and theft into your future”.

  4. sherrymk permalink
    March 2, 2011 5:31 am

    And once again, Jeff, kudos to you. Another excellent analysis causing us all to “think for ourselves”. You should have been in marketing….

  5. sherrymk permalink
    March 2, 2011 5:34 am

    P.S. Maybe it IS time to revisit that “Bridge to Nowhere”? Given the recent Bill Franks revelation, I think the timing is pretty darn good.

    • lunamoth permalink
      March 2, 2011 7:08 am

      Ah, Bridge to Nowhere, I remember it well…

      Which Bill Franks revelation are you referring to, Sher?

      lunamoth

      • March 4, 2011 3:02 pm

        lunamoth –

        There is a discussion of Bill Franks’ revelation on the Scientology Forum:

        Bill Franks Story of LRH

      • lunamoth permalink
        March 4, 2011 6:41 pm

        Thanks, Alanzo!

        Well, I just read it. Holy shit.

        lunamoth

  6. routeplanner permalink
    March 2, 2011 9:31 am

    Most of us are convinced our reality is THE reality, no room for uncertainty, even when dealing with age-old philosophical conundrums.

    Keeping the Ego in check is a task for all of us

    http://www.newstatesman.com/200304210018

  7. March 2, 2011 9:50 am

    “Because to doubt the transcendental future is to doubt all the self sacrifice, all the time spent, all the money spent, the fractured families, the abuse.”

    I think the HCOB “You can be right” can explain that very well. And Co$ knows that very good too.

  8. Aeolus permalink
    March 2, 2011 2:31 pm

    One conclusion I’ve come to after diving headfirst into Scientology and only coming up for air a couple of decades later, is that no organization can give you enlightenment. They can provide administrative support, camaraderie, information, even access to and training in specific techniques, and it is legitimate to charge for these things. But enlightenment? Priceless, and you have to do it yourself.

    The Indian philosopher Krishnamurti was constantly being pressured to become the leader of a movement. He steadfastly refused,on the grounds that no one finds their true path by following another.

  9. spyglass permalink
    March 2, 2011 3:26 pm

    LRH also said Personal Integrity is more important than anything and that the Dynamics must be balanced. Anybody following those two principles alone would avoid a lot of the trouble you mention.

    One could imply that anybody who espouses life after death is doing it to manipulate others and people should just accept that they are a just a brain in a meat-body. I don’t think that is true. Just because an idea has been used in the past to suppress and control people doesn’t mean that the idea is false.

    • Jeff permalink*
      March 2, 2011 5:36 pm

      Spyglass, I don’t believe anyone suggested that the idea of life after death is false because it has been used to manipulate. Certainly I didn’t. Straw man argument?

      • spyglass permalink
        March 2, 2011 7:24 pm

        I didn’t say that you did, but it would be easy to go to that conclusion based on your article. Aren’t you saying that any Scientologist who has case gain or spiritual gain is deluded and should be ignored because they are talking about the “transcendental future?”

        Or do you think case gain from processing and training is real?

        If case gain can be real and somebody tells us you to avail yourself of it or you will be sorry, there’s a grain of truth in what they are saying.

        I don’t care about all the Church talk about eternity, etc. That’s just PR and regging. Scientology is the study of the subject itself, not what Scientologists say about it, in the Church or out.

      • Jeff permalink*
        March 2, 2011 8:03 pm

        Spyglass, no, I didn’t say that. You persist in putting words in my mouth and putting forward straw man arguments. I usually say what I mean and mean what I say. Re-read the article.

  10. Tara permalink
    March 2, 2011 4:12 pm

    And if the Bridge is the only way to that transcendental future, what excuses do people (particularly staff) use to justify why they personally do not deserve that future? Why is “everyone else” more important that yourself?
    Do Catholics feel everyone else is more important than themselves when it comes to heaven? OMG I’ve got to ensure all these other people get to heaven and not me? Some feel that by helping others they ensure heaven for themselves. But that’s not LRH’s tech. He didn’t say you could get to the highest levels of OT by only helping others. It’s the CofM mixing the two concepts to justify the means.
    Nice trick. 😉

    • Synthia permalink
      March 2, 2011 5:46 pm

      Profoundly brilliant observation. Thank you!

    • lurker permalink
      March 3, 2011 3:24 pm

      lol, I guess thats one good thing about the Christian religion, WE all get to go.. (we get a lot of guilt, and other stuff thrown on us, and this life isn’t promised to be great, but the next life is going to be a Party!)..

    • Valkov permalink
      March 9, 2011 10:24 am

      That’s right Tara. I believe LRH said you wouldn’t be able to help others much if you didn’t help yourself.

      It goes back to a principle from very old teachings. If you are standing on a ladder without taking the next step up, you are blocking the way for everyone behind and below you on that ladder.

      Another way he expressed it is, “Are you a friend of yours?”

  11. Idle Org permalink
    March 2, 2011 5:19 pm

    One particularly financially successful OT8/Foundation E/D from my local org is still totally stuck in the cult despite numerous attempts by public to awaken him (myself included).

    He overtly turns a blind eye. Nowadays I’d bet he won’t even have a comm cycle with anyone who “sits on the sidelines and complains”.

    For he needs to be right about the 1.5 million dollars he’s donated to the Idle Org.

    He needs to be right about all the people he has had one-on-one dinner’s with to extract big donations from them.

    He needs to be right about the hundreds of thousands he’s spent on himself and his wife along their Bridge journey.

    And he needs to be right about trancending into Scientology heaven, where he will sit at the right hand of LRH on “Target Two”.

    • Synthia permalink
      March 2, 2011 5:49 pm

      This is a scenario of many. There are several people from my org that could fit this description with ease. What a trap.

    • lurker permalink
      March 3, 2011 3:28 pm

      Con men, grifters, predatory lenders, and even telemarketers have what they call “suckers lists”…. People who fall for everything, because they can’t begin to believe they were ever conned in the first place. This guy is ripe for one of those..

      Suckers are usually not stupid people either. They often have a lot of pride though, which doesn’t allow them to admit , even to themself, that they made a mistake. They just keep throwing good money after bad..

  12. freespirit permalink
    March 2, 2011 9:15 pm

    Another abuse of the transcendental future is evident in the Sea Org and the “Billion Year” contract , the “We come back” et al was pointed out to me by someone who is a non-Scientologist. He said the whole thing sat wrongly with him because if you look at it – if every one just “comes back”, then what they do now- this lifetime (and any subsequent one) is DISPENSABLE. THEY are dispensable. There is no real value to any person other than what they produce here and now for the organization. Their personal values, beliefs and belongings are all transitory and not worth preserving. Because they will just keep coming back. So taking that thought further, one can then see why the maltreatment is justified.

    • Cowboy Poet permalink
      March 3, 2011 12:08 pm

      Exactly.
      And therein lies the justification or reasoning for disconnection and a host of other crazy things (ad naseum). Things that hitherto were of value in this society.
      It’s the bedrock for the reinvention of morality.

      • Idle Org permalink
        March 3, 2011 7:27 pm

        Geez Cowboy,

        You even make good poetry when you’re not trying!

        Spot on.

        🙂

      • lunamoth permalink
        March 4, 2011 12:23 am

        Yes, morality gets a bad rap in scientology, doesn’t it? I remember “realizing” while on my ethics specialist course that “ethics” was sane and “morality” was a bunch of old computations that may have made sense once but to which one needn’t feel any obligation to adhere. Interesting now that I look back on it, because I ALSO know that an overt is a transgression by a being against his/her own moral code. So WTF? Makes sense only in the context of this having been a golden age of crap course.

        A complete lack of respect for morality is endemic within the cult. There is no respect observed for the individual’s moral code, nor for the community’s, and often not even respect on the parts of staff members for their own personal moral code when it conflicts with “command intention.” Morality is used, abused, twisted, manipulate and ignored within the cult, but it is not observed.

        Oddly, the c of s seems to pride itself on being a completely amoral organization, though they carefully avoid any appearance of that truth when dealing with the public.

    • Valkov permalink
      March 9, 2011 10:41 am

      I look at this another way, though, as do many Buddhists, that there is some “carryover” from life to life.

      The world you come back to will be the world you are already creating by your actions in this life. If you live only once, in that sense it doesn’t matter what you do in this life because there is no penalty, no justice. You just die and that’s it’s, you have gotten away with whatever you got away with. It doesn’t matter, then, that you exploit nature pollute the atmosphere oceans and rivers or make a fortune selling weapons to both sides in wars you keep fostering, exploit and enslave and impoverish others while enriching yourself, because it will never “catch up to you” in any way.

      It’s a different story if I not only have to live with my own conscience in this life but also in the next ones, but also the people I abuse and wrong now will also becoming back, and what will their attitudes towards me be then? The husband or wife you cheat on will also becoming back, so will the kids you hooked on drugs when you were a dealer….. well, you get the idea. “What goes around, comes around.”

  13. ex-so permalink
    March 4, 2011 12:12 am

    I recently watched a film called The Secret. In it I have found the best explanation of God so far. I highly recommend this film. If anything is going to “Clear the Planet, the ideas conveyed in this film are able will do the job.

  14. Stein permalink
    March 4, 2011 2:12 pm

    MHO – The promise of a hereafter is used to justify actions and explain away injustice.

    Would we rush to war if we believed this time on earth was it? Would we send our young to die or be maimed? If people go hungry or abused, we comfort ourselves with the belief they will have it better in the next life/heaven. I could go on.

    In short, I’ve grown to admire atheists. Too many people “do the right thing” because their actions will be rewarded by entry to heaven (whatever their version is). An atheist does it because it is the right thing to do.

  15. March 4, 2011 3:09 pm

    Great post, Jeff.

    Once again.

    You are a transcendent inspiration. Maybe one day, if I praise you enough, I can be more like you.

    Than all the Independent Scientologists will love me, my blog will finally get the recognition and Internet traffic it deserves, and I can land a book deal, or sell a screenplay that makes everyone worship only me.

    A man can dream, can’t he?

    Alanzo

  16. Just Me permalink
    March 5, 2011 11:43 am

    I wish I really KNEW what happens after death and could PROVE to my own satisfaction what that is like. But I can’t.

    Nonetheless, like many people, including some who post here, I have ideas, hypotheses, hopes, and subjective reality (some of them competing with each other) about death and its possible aftermath for sentient beings, based on my own experiences and my own interpretations of those events. Still, none of those things translate for me into proof.

    So if I cannot know something, why force an explicit “knowing” of it?

    At the end of the day, ambiguity — the big mystery — is a comfortable conclusion for me.

    Just Me

    • lunamoth permalink
      March 5, 2011 5:14 pm

      Perfect, Just Me..

      Having recently dealt with death on a very personal level, I’ve had to confront this issue of not knowing head-on. What I found is that I don’t need to know, don’t need facts or an argument for my beliefs that is convincing to others or which cannot be controverted. That’s only necessary when having to prove something to others and I don’t need to prove anything to anybody.

      All I personally require is to be able to hold my own beliefs, whatever they happen to be right now, this minute. I don’t have to hold the same beliefs tomorrow in order to be consistent or right. I don’t have to lay those beliefs out for the inspection and evaluation of others. I don’t have to hold beliefs which fit into or agree with those of a “ism” or an “ology.” My beliefs don’t have to match
      those of another member of some group I belong to.

      As in many things, I am finding that an open mind is much more comfortable than the pinching, confining and constricting ligatures of a closed but “certain” mind.

      • John Doe permalink
        March 6, 2011 4:48 pm

        Amen, Lunamoth!

      • Mary Jo permalink
        March 6, 2011 6:44 pm

        Lunamoth,
        I just love it when you speak MY mind!

      • Another Layer permalink
        March 9, 2011 12:44 am

        Just Me and Lunamoth,
        Wonderful posts – made my day!

        Jeff,
        I read and re-read your article, and it speaks volumes (and volumes and volumes) about the blindingly illogical fear that underlies the manufactured concept of “loss of eternity,” and the shiny fool’s gold of any pretended solutions. Truly boggling to have grabbed for that ring for so many years! Grrr.

  17. March 6, 2011 7:23 pm

    Jeff,

    Your blog articles are like false data stripping to Scientology’s limiting viewpoints.

    I’m reminded suddenly of your past writings, when you wrote all the spiritual themed main articles for years for the Advance (or was it the Auditor) magazine.

    And I read a couple 1974 vintage Advance Mags, and your brother Kim, I saw was listed in the magazine credits.

    It’d be interesting, not here, but if you detail at some time, your years, your Advance articles, more, and your views now about them.

    All your years in Dissem Flag Bureaux in the 1970s and 1980s, I myself enjoyed those chapters of your “Counterfeit Dreams”, maybe since the Clearwater Dissem spaces I was familiar with, and when I was the Admin Course sup for outer org trainees, we trained all the dissem personnel who apprenticed and loved apprenticing in Dissem Flag Bureaux.

    Your latest articles today I find more interesting, than your Advance articles on spiritual themes, and people who’ve lived a couple decades in Scientology and read your old Advance articles, I think should have a read of your articles on your blog here.

    I’d say you someday might consider gathering up all your years of published writings in a volume or two, showing the whole context and evolution of your writings.

    This article above, I think is one of your best.

    Chuck

  18. March 6, 2011 8:07 pm

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/culture/3806/what%E2%80%99s_the_problem_with_a_good_placebo_

    to me, for instance, Listing and Nulling procedures, where the patient (preclear) answers the therapist (auditor) giving answers to the Listing Question, answers which the patient (preclear) is allowed and validated for the answer, whichever answer the patient (preclear) gives which makes the patient (preclear) happy, is a perfect example of a Quiz given by a teacher for which the students ALWAYS get 100% A+ grades.

    The whole lineup of questions asked by the therapists (auditors) of the patients (Scientology preclears), are just like a win win “test” or “quiz” into one’s mental history and one’s mental thoughts. ALL answers are validated by the therapist (auditor) as being correct and the patient (preclear) is made sure he feels good about his answers.

    It’s almost a setup win win and only win situation, if done properly.

    Listing and Nulling of the same listing questions, I remember “correcting lists” while on the RPF, and it’s also an automatic win win situation, since the patient (preclear) will always have gained more insight, more vocabulary, and more ability, at time and his life passes, so that his “new” answers to the same old Listing Questions, result in a NEW answer that even MORE pleases the patient (preclear) today when asked the Listing Question.

    Scientology’s questions asked by the therapists (auditors) are automatically given the A + validation, by the therapists (auditors).

    The whole Scientology therapist training and therapy delivery centers (orgs, missions) are rigged to validate the answers the patients (preclears) give in answer to all the questions.

    It’s simple really, it’s talk therapy, with a win win ending, if done right, since the patient is allowed to create their own history, create their own past lives histories. (And the upper levels are exorcism again a win win, the patient is always validated for exorcising “body thetans” no matter what.)

    In Harriet Whitehead’s “Renunciation and Reformulation”, 1987, Cornell Univ Press, her chapter 3 titled “The Puzzle of Religious and Psychotherapeutic Revelation” Harriet writes:

    “In developing his own mental theories and therapeutic methods, Hubbard worked on the basis of assumptions that have been part of depth therapy since Freud. One assumption is that given incentive and the right sort of probing, the patient can be made to reveal critical experiences of the past which have helped to bring about the unhappy condition of the present. ”

    Scientology lays on top of so much of what people do and find satisfying.

    I think it is placebo, and talk therapy, and it’s upper levels exorcism of dead space alien souls, “works” at the same percentage that like this placebo article above states.

    Chuck

  19. carol permalink
    March 14, 2011 4:24 pm

    Jeff, wow great article and says it all. I have found myself asking over and over, why won’t these people see? I got it…thanks for the article.I can see where for many, it gives them an answer.

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