11 November 2006

The Portuguese scientoligist

When I stay at home for too long I get gloomy, restless, push sanity for kicks. Annoyingly, the cd player skips. Luckily there are lots of records. But not as many as it felt like there was a few weeks ago. So the mint tea here is really good and in the evenings they have tunes I have not been listening to all week. Downstairs is dark and cosy, upstairs I get internet from an unwittingly generous neighbour.

I have noticed a something in over the last few weeks, people sometimes treat friendships as investments. Being passing air in the city makes people pull up their coats and walk on. Does the wind ever get lonely? Perhaps its the temperature of the wind that makes a difference, too hot or too cold people will shield themselves from it's flames and claws.

Yesterday, like most evening these days, I went to dance tango. Recently my life can be painted in few colours, tango for the night, programming and theorising for the now diminishing light of day, and sometimes a dash of eating here or there in the twilight. But last night I met an unusual character, a young dark haired Portuguese scientoligist. She moved to Copenhagen to study scientology - I was so dumbstruck that all I could do was say, ok, and smile to keep the nerves at bay. She asked, with a big smile, if I knew what that was, "Sure, Tom Cruise is a scientologist, right?", I reply. She nods enthusiastically and tells me the centre for scientology in Europe is in Copenhagen. I am saved by some music. I still hold out hope that it was a joke - can someone really be serious like that?


Andy said...

When I was in Copenhagen there were many Scientologists hanging around with funny electronic gadgets. The gadgets seemed to measure skin conductance, but they were sold as measuring some crazy theta thing. A pair who accosted me told me after a few moments that I was a Suppressed Person and off I went.

I was stopped in Gothenburg city centre once, though I didn't know by whom. It appeared to be a charity of some kind. They led me into a tent, again unmarked, and showed me a set of poster displays on all the work they were doing on helping homeless people and people with drug addictions. The lady I was talking to seemed kind. Eventually we stopped by a little pile of what looked like self-help books and I noticed the name Hubbard. Alarm bells. Thereafter I was given a grilling about what personal problems I had, and whether I'd like to buy one of the books. I played the skint student card and escaped with a free leaflet.

The basic premise, that using scientific results could make us all better people, seems viable enough. I'm not sure I believe it, but I can see why people would. What I don't get is why anyone would trust Hubbard's interpretation of the science, nor why all the knowledge should remain static over time - that seems a tad unscientific to me. Also eventually they always get around to these silly ThetaBuster 3000 gadgets or whatever they're called. It rapidly gets ridiculous!

So anyway, I posted because I would love to meet a solitary Scientologist, away from the pressure of their peers, and see how things went. I know it's unlikely I'd be able to convince someone that their beliefs were Wrong. Who knows what social support they get with Scientiology is like, how nice the people are, what their lives were like before they found this support. I'm just intrigued if it would feel like talking to a devout religious person, or someone who was pretending.

Lucas Dixon said...

My experience of the scientologist in Copenhagen was a little like a couple of other times I met mormons. There is a strange, and in my view, forced intensity about their beliefs. It is like they try to lean over you when they talk about their belief. But the times I've met them outside their evangelising salesmanship, they were otherwise ok. If never completely there.

I still haven't figured out if I should make a serious inquiry into unwinding their beliefs. The problem is that I cannot decide if it should be my responsibility to do so, I don't know how to do it, and I don't know if I'd want to bother. However, I do feel that such narrow minded beliefs are bad for everyone, although care is needed in their disassembly, so I guess challenging it is everyones responsibility all the time, but so is the way that it is challenged... sigh.