Sunday, April 05, 2015

the only way to make any real money is to have a religion!


salon |  In America, salvation is big business, and he who dies with the most souls wins. Plenty of lives are wrecked along the way, but no matter. When consumer capitalism meets religious yearning, the sky’s the limit of what can you can get away with. That’s the subtext of Alex Gibney’s latest film, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and screened on HBO on March 29.

L. Ron Hubbard, or LRH, as he liked to style himself, was an American of unprepossessing origins in search of meaning and money. Possibly he found the first, and is just now cavorting with intergalactic spirits in the sky. Most definitely he found the second, riding a rocket ship of wacked-out ambition to create what is now essentially a tax-free shell company with $3 billion in assets and real estate holdings on six continents.

Gibney doesn’t give us LRH as a madman, or even a simple huckster. The penny-a-word pulp fiction writer could have just been another loser who couldn’t manage to finish college and whose less-than-stellar naval service went awry when he inadvertently used a Mexican island for target practice and was deemed unfit for command. Going Clear traces the young man’s early perambulations through California occultism and various hare-brained moneymaking schemes to the Jersey Shore, where he washed up exhausted and plagued by anxiety. Another man might have just given up. But not LRH.

Instead, he marshaled a smattering of knowledge from various strains of psychological and philosophical esoterica to gin up a mental health self-help system he named Dianetics, which he introduced in a hugely successful book in 1950. For a while it seemed like LRH had finally found his pot of gold, but alas, the Dianetics fad faded like the hula-hoop craze, its foundations disintegrating into debt and disorder.

Then came the epiphany, shared with his second wife Sara Northrup, who appears in the film as the shell-shocked survivor of LRH’s dreams. “The only way to make any real money,” he told her, “was to have a religion.”

5 comments:

Vic78 said...

I'm going to celebrate Easter by going to the strip club.

arnach said...

So why, CNu, at least three decades after pointing out LRH's project, did you decide to join an existing old-line religion rather than starting one of your own?

CNu said...

Because I didn't know enough to properly serve the faithful, that has changed.....,

Constructive_Feedback said...

Brother CNu:

If religion is opium then THE PERPETUAL CHASE FOR "SOCIAL JUSTICE" inside of America, which causes the Americanized Negro to pervert his culture, consciousness and standards that he claims to make him "unique" from the White Male Imperialist is like "Heroin with a chaser of Crack" for good measure, as it is a far more effective scheme to disarm the Negro and take his valuables, while he says "Thank You For Allowing Me To Find My Purpose In Life".

CNu said...

Feed, your coinage "Americanized Negro" is redundant. The Negro is the quintessential American, period. Negro culture is American culture, period. It is quintessentially American to seek to overcome the constraints of social exclusion. From the founding American hoodlums who overcame British exclusion and resource appropriation, to the young protesters who overcame Jim Crow exclusion and resource appropriation.

Now that we are all of us faced with economic contraction and the inevitable in-group/out-group political antics of your killer-ape species here on the deck of the Titanic, it will be interesting to see whether and how Americans either hang-together or divide themselves up into their respective little identity bands and hang together.