From: Bob Minton <email@example.com>
Subject: LMT Literati Contest Entry - Scientologist: David Aden
Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2000 18:46:32 -0500
Organization: Lisa McPherson Trust, a Scientology watchdog group
Street address removed for privacy by LMT
Control, Freedom and Responsibility
A Scientologist’s View
Copyright © 2000 by David Aden
The following represents my views, as a Scientologist, on Control, Freedom and Responsibility. Perhaps more important, it represents how those concepts have impacted on and shaped my view of my life, my family and the world around me.
Although I doubt that any other Scientologist views these subjects in the exactly same way I do – or has had the same experience with them – I believe that my understanding of these concepts is, in some ways, typical of Scientologists in general.
In particular, the concepts of Control, Freedom and Responsibility are important to me and, I believe, they are important concepts to most Scientologists. I believe they are concepts that Scientologists think about and consider on a regular basis, not as some philosophical question with no application, but as practical pieces of the business of living. Having an interest in these subjects is nothing new or unique to Scientologists – obviously many people down through the ages have contemplated these subjects, debated these subjects and written extensively on them.
What I think L. Ron Hubbard has helped to do through his writings on these subjects is provide definitions and an understanding of these important concepts that can be applied to daily life. That can server as a starting point for understanding life better and coming to a personal experience of what these concepts mean in my unique life. I’d like to examine in this paper is what these terms mean to me personally, as a Scientologist, and from that platform to the larger community of Scientologists around the world.
Probably the first thing to do is to help understand these topics is to begin with some definitions that are generally known to Scientologists of any duration.
1. “When we say control, we simply mean willingness to start, stop and change.” (Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary by L. Ron Hubbard)
1. “The absence of barriers.” (Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary by L. Ron Hubbard)
1. “The area or sphere of influence the individual can rationally affect around other people, life, mest and the general environment.” (Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary by L. Ron Hubbard)
Again, these definitions form a starting point for discussions about these important philosophic subjects.
“Control” tends to be an “overloaded” term. In other words, it connotes several possible definitions and often times can include a pejorative implication. Of the three terms, “control”, “freedom” and “responsibility” that form the basis of this essay, it is perhaps the most “charged” and probably therefore deserves some examination. I think it is therefore important to spend some time looking at what “control” means to different people different circumstances.
In matters physical, control is a necessary and often highly admired quality. For example, the highly skilled profession athlete, such as Scientologist Keith Code, is at least in part respected because of his ability to control high-speed racing bikes in a way that makes that control seem natural or even simple. His ability and grace while controlling his bike separates him from other riders and is widely admired.
In the arts, control is also admired. Pianists such as Scientologist Chick Chorea have a remarkable command of their instrument – they are able to envision music and translate those thoughts and ideas into into the highly controlled physical motions that result in the music we hear and appreciate as aesthetic. His level of artistry is actually a combination of two things: 1) a remarkable musical and aesthetic sense and 2) the physical discipline and control to implement and communicate his aesthetic. There are likely many people who can envision music or dream of producing it but, lacking the physical control and skill, are unable to actually render it. Artistry, it would seem, involves and depends to a large degree on the ability to control the materials of the art.
In more work-a-day ways, control is also a respected attribute. A good friend of mine is a framer, that is, he builds the wood frames upon which walls and ceilings are constructed for new or existing homes. He has been working at his trade for 20 or 30 years and is a master at it. Things that might take others days or weeks, he might do in hours. What defines his mastery is both the knowledge of his tools and the “raw materials” of his trade as well as the control he commands over those tools and raw materials. He is able to design, cut and put into place a frame faster than an inexperienced framer can decide what to build. In short, a distinguishing characteristic that separates him from an inexperienced or untrained framer is his ability to control the materials of his trade. And, like the racing bike driver or the pianist, a remarkable aspect of his work is his ability to make it all seem so easy.
That is the positive side of control. There is little doubt in such matters that control is an admired, or even necessary skill. However, in matters personal or interpersonal, control is viewed in different ways; in some contexts it is viewed as a positive thing, in other contexts it is viewed as a negative.
For example, most of us have experienced being in a grocery store line and watching a child go completely “out of control.” He (or she) has spotted some desired piece of candy or trinket that has been placed temptingly near the register by the store and demands it of his mother. Although I’ve never personally seen a full blown tantrum personally, I have had someone tell me they actually saw a child lie on the floor, kick, scream and demand to get a piece of candy.
Usually, the child’s parent is either mortally embarrassed, desiring nothing more than to leave the store immediately. Or, the parent overreacts by themselves going “out of control”, getting angry with the child or – worse yet – hitting him or her.
In those cases when we see such a child, most everyone within earshot is seen to be shaking their heads, saddened or maddened at how “out of control” the child is. Often, it gets so bad that the opinion of the bystanders of the quality of the parents is affected by the extent to which the child is out of control. Many bystanders may wonder what parent himself or herself is doing that could be so wrong as to result in a child displaying no self-restraing whatsoever.
In this case, “control” is viewed as a positive thing – or perhaps more accurately, a lack of “control” (both self-control on the part of the child and control of the child by the parent) is viewed as an incredible negative.
Another example of a positive view of control in a personal situation is when we see someone who exhibits control in circumstances of extreme fear, loss or upset. For example, the soldier caught in a particularly tight situation who yet maintains control and is able to perform his (or her) duties or rises to the occasion and helps a wounded comrade to safety is highly respected.
In that case, we understand that the most accepted reaction on the part of the solder would be to react with tremendous fear, even panic. The fact that the solder has been able to maintain calm, has been able to control himself, and proceed with his duties is highly respected.
Similar things happen off the battlefield in civilian life. For example, the fireman who quells his own sense of fear to save someone in a burning building has exhibited, quite in addition to courage, an ability to control his or her own emotions and apply that control to help another human during a period of extreme stress.
However, we sometimes get into an ambiguous view of control when we talk about incidents involving grief or great loss. For example, the wife who looses her husband at an early age and yet is able to control herself at the funeral and reception is admired for her strength of character and ability to control herself and her emotions.
However, if that same wife never expressed grief over the loss of her husband, there are some who begin to wonder if something is wrong. Is she suppressing the loss? Is she covering up? Is she not facing the very real loss? In short, has control become a bad thing?
And these are legitimate questions. It is possible for someone to experience a loss but only bury it, never expressing the grief that is there. In some way, we sense that that is not a good thing. In other words, excessive “control” of her emotions is viewed as a negative.
While the above situation describes a “gray zone”, there are cases in which “control” has a more pronounced negative implication. For example, the high school or college sports coach who continually yells at his players, who demands exacting adherence to his demands is most often viewed as a tyrant and an abusive figure. (Ironically, however, if the coach is a winning coach, the view of him as a tyrant is often moderated or even overlooked.) In this case, “control” may be viewed as a negative.
A more extreme case, of course is the political dictator who aims to control everyone and everything around him. In that case, there is very little positive one can say about such a person or their actions. For example, witness the reaction of people around the world to the Ayatollah. Quite in addition to what people thought of him because of the actions against Americans, the impression from the news media was that he was bent on controlling every aspect of life in his country. This was a country that had been on the route to modernization and apparently had at least some elements of what might be considered a “middle class” beginning to emerge including educated professionals, was squelched, at least according to reports, suppressing the culture back to an older time. In this case, his heavy handed control is viewed as an example of the kind of tyrant he was and is one of the charges leveled against him in the court of public opinion. In this case, “control” is seen as a profound negative.
In recent years as the Iranian regime has shifted somewhat, we are beginning to hear about loosening control of everyday life and the population is apparently looking for additional loosening of control.
The presence of distasteful (or even hated) control was one of the arguments used against the Soviet Union and other Communist countries during the Cold War. The Berlin wall represented that bad control in a hauntingly real and solid way. It stopped any possibility of motion from one side to another. It was a symbol of the control the communist government exerted over their people.
Not too long ago, I took a cab from Washington Reagan National Airport to my home and the driver was a Russian. In his native land, he was a musician, well known for his playing of an indigenous Russian instrument and also taught music, yet here he was driving a cab in the United States. I was curious as to how Russians viewed Americans during the Cold War because I knew that part of American thought was that our country was better, that our lives were better and that we needed to protect our lifestyle against possible incursion from the “Soviet menace.” When I asked him if Russians viewed Americans in the same way, i.e. that they felt their lives and style of government was better and worth fighting for, he told me in no uncertain terms that during that time Russia was a “giant prison.”
In other words, Russians were NOT in control of their lives, that the Russian government was inflicting hated or unwanted control on its people and there was no doubt about whether this man liked that form of government.
In short, “control” can be a highly controversial subject. In some circumstances it is a highly regarded, highly respected “commodity”. In other circumstances it is hated and viewed with disdain.
Freedom, like control, has various connotations in various circumstances, but attitudes towards it are generally more uniformly positive than the attitudes one finds with regards to control.
We have all seen people, like Nelson Mandella, fight for the freedom of his fellow countryman and that is uniformly viewed as good. (Except, of course, by those who oppose freedom in South Africa. It is remarkable how many times through history, groups have specialized in fighting against those who even proclaim the possibility of greater freedom. As a Scientologist, I have certainly seen instances in which the mere idea that Scientology might provide a greater freedom has appeared to drive some people into rabid bouts of antagonism.)
But we have also heard comments that a particular child “has been given too much freedom”. What does that mean? If freedom is a good thing, how could someone have too much of it?
Returning to the child creating a scene at the grocery store described above, it is likely that some people watching that child may comment that the child’s parents have likely given that child “too much freedom” or that he “needs some control” in his life.
Because of this line of reasoning, I believe some people have mistakenly jumped to the conclusion that “control” and “freedom” are opposites, i.e. that “control” is the antithesis of freedom. Yet, this doesn’t really hold up.
For example, in the case of the skilled athlete, his control over his sport is also equated with a freedom. For example, the highly skilled skier has a freedom to do and experience things that lesser skiers (such as me!) can’t do or experience. In fact, it’s not unusual for skiers to talk about their sense of freedom when skiing particularly well or fast. Yet that sense of freedom depends on their ability to control what they are doing.
The same is often true of artists. Master pianists have a freedom of expression in their art that mere mortals are not able to experience. Their accomplished control makes that freedom possible.
So, “control” and “freedom” are not, in my opinion, properly characterized as opposites.
In many cases, of course, people are trying to achieve freedom from an oppressive control and this may contribute to the mistaken notion that freedom and control are opposites but in the preponderance of cases, freedom and control may actually coexist.
Perhaps this is because in fact, freedom can take many forms.
For most, it is considered in purely physical forms – for example freedom from some physical universe restraint, hardship or condition. But is this ultimately freedom?
What of the person, stranded on a desert island who does not lack for food, water or shelter. There are no real physical hardships from which they must be freed, yet they are imprisoned and likely do not feel free.
According to Mohandas Ghandi, freedom is a state of mind, not a physical condition:
“The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. He frees himself and shows that way to others. Freedom and slavery are mental states.” (From “Non-Violence in Peace and War”)
But what does this mean in practice?
Does this mean we should not fight for the right of those wrongly imprisoned to their physical freedom? Obviously not. Yet simply setting a person free from prison does not mean they will feel or consider themselves completely free. As Ghandi pointed out, freedom is more a state of mind than a state of the body.
Like the previous two terms, “responsibility” can cause mixed reactions. In most cases, “responsibility” is a highly regarded attribute when viewed in others.
When we see someone “take responsibility” for the world around them by helping others, we usually admire them. For example, the many Scientologist housewives who volunteers their time to help inner city children learn to read and study. Likely these women have many other duties and responsibilities, such as the sports and school activities of their own children or their commitment to their local PTA’s, yet they spend their valuable time to help teach children they previously did not know and would not otherwise encounter, to read and get ahead in school.
In fact, such a group of individual Scientologists have built several organizations that have helped children around the country. They have “taken responsibility” for the world around them, even though that piece of the world apparently does not directly involve them.
Such people are obviously worthy of our admiration and are, in fact, admired by all but the most craven.
Responsibility is also highly valued in the workplace. Those employees who go out of their way to take responsibility for work that needs to get done or problems that arise are usually fantastically appreciated and often find themselves promoted! In my own line of work, I have seen a willingness to take responsibility for a project and see it through to a completion be almost more highly valued than advanced technical skill – and I work in a technical field!
Yet, despite the high esteem in which responsibility is held, it is sometimes bandied about almost as a curse.
During a political season, for example, candidates often bitterly accuse their opponents of being responsible for one horrible condition or another. In this case, responsibility has degraded into blame and finger pointing. A key point to note about this is that very rarely does such blame resolve anything. It may make headlines for a candidate, it can even sometime incite people to some kind of action or dramatic change of opinion, but it rarely seems to result in an improved situation.
It is also possible to throw responsibility at oneself as blame. It is common, for example, for someone who experiences a great loss or grief to blame themselves for the tragedy. But does this result in any improvement in the situation? Not likely.
Ironically, entire philosophies and views of life can grow up around the idea of blaming someone else for one’s condition or state. This is often the case in extremist groups who are bent on some particular view – they throw responsibility (as blame) at some other individual or group for reasons that just don’t make sense to the outside world.
The bigotry of the KKK is an example of this. To the outside, rational observer, it makes little to no sense for members of the KKK to blame their condition on blacks, Jews or any other group they happen to be attacking or demonizing at the moment.
In most cases, groups such as this – or the extreme anti-religious – end up as either a footnote in history or the devils in a period of history that later generations vow never to repeat. Such was obviously the case with the rabidly anti-religious Nazis.
It would seem almost axiomatic that those individuals who chronically blame others for their conditions -- whose lives revolve around blaming others – live miserable lives themselves and rarely are remembered for any positive contribution to the cultures in which they live. Usually, the clearer vision of history places them in their proper slot. It is only unfortunate that before they run their course, it is possible for them to spread upset and discord.
On a more mundane level, responsibility is often thrown at children when they are growing up in a way that can only upset or confuse. For example, we have probably all seen or experienced times when a child has broken a new toy, or upset some part of a household while playing or in their exuberance. In those cases, parents can often be heard to insist that their children “take responsibility!” for what they have done.
But to the child, what does that mean exactly? For most, it probably means they are in trouble, that they have to stop playing, that they have been bad or that their parents are mad. It would not be too surprising to find some children deciding that they want nothing to do with responsibility – that it is only a bad thing.
That attitude is likely reinforced when they hear their father complaining that he has been given more responsibility at work and will now have to work Saturdays as well as late evenings. Here again, responsibility has become a bad thing. It is keeping Daddy away from home. It is causing Daddy to work too hard. It is obviously making him upset.
Interestingly, in the case in which someone “gets more responsibility” at work that they don’t want, this seems to have an effect on their sense of freedom. They are no longer free to spend weekends at home doing things they would rather be doing. So, is “responsibility” an opposite to “freedom”?
And what of its relationship to “control”? The worker who is handed more responsibility that he doesn’t want likely does not feel as “in control” of his life. The time he’d choose to spend doing something else has been taken away by his sense of duty to fulfill his responsibility at work. So, is “responsibility” an opposite of “control”? Or does responsibility lead to greater control?
CONTROL, RESPONSIBILITY AND....
To a Scientologist, control and responsibility considered by themselves are incomplete: there is an element missing. That missing element is Knowledge. L. Ron Hubbard defines knowledge as:
1) “By knowledge we mean assured belief, that which is known information, instruction; enlightenment, learning; practical skill. By knowledge we mean data, factors and whatever can be thought about or perceived.” (Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary by L. Ron Hubbard)
Taken together, Knowledge, Responsibility and Control form a valuable triangle that helps clarify the meaning of each and provides a way to increase an individual’s, group’s or society’s ability. This triangle also has, in my opinion, an intimate relationship with the concept of Freedom – both how we pursue freedom and what it means.
We’ll examine the meaning and value of the triangle composed of Knowledge, Responsibility and Control which in parlance common to Scientologists is referred to as the “KRC triangle.” The KRC triangle is thought of by Scientologists as a conceptual unity which demonstrates certain characteristics. It also, in my opinion, helps to clarify some of the seeming contradictions discussed above with regards to Control and Responsibility. To get there, though, we should examine the definition of “knowledge” as understood by Scientologists.
Knowledge comes from the Middle English knowleche which means “fact of knowing, acquaintance” which goes back to the Old English cnawan which means “to be familiar with, understand.” Mr. Hubbard further defines it as “Knowledge is a total certainty and understanding of data and this can include objects, actions, spaces or areas, time and forms.” (Taken from Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter of 25 July 1987, “Knowledge, Definition Of” as contained in the Organization Executive Course, Volume 0).
Knowledge, in essence, is understanding with the addition of certainty of the data and the ability to think with and use the data in the real world. This translates to an ability to make decisions and get things done.
And, like the other factors discussed in this paper, knowledge is viewed as both a positive and a negative at different times and in different circumstances.
By and large, knowledge is an admired quality. The highly trained professional who is an expert in his field is generally viewed with respect or even awe. Those who have a great deal of knowledge usually pride themselves on having that knowledge and the skills and ability it gives them.
For example, I once met an individual on a plane flight who claimed (and I have no reason to dispute him) to be one of the country’s leading experts on water management, specifically waste water management. Obviously, this is a rather rarified profession with a rather small group of individuals in its “inner circle.” Nonetheless, it is a profession that affects millions of people. The quality of the water we drink, bathe in or swim in is determined to a large extent by the relatively small group of experts, including this gentleman, who are today determining the course of our country’s water policy for the next forty or fifty years.
It was obvious in talking with this individual that he was very proud of his achievements in the area of water management and proud as well of his stature within the scientific community. Yet, he also made it clear that he lacked something because his life was almost entirely devoted to the pursuit of his profession, leaving little time for anything else. On the one hand, he was proud of the his great knowledge about his profession; on the other hand he was obviously ambivalent about what the pursuit of that knowledge had meant for his life as a whole.
As parents, we are almost continually harping to our children the need to do well in school and learn a lot. We explain the benefits to them of getting an education now and how that might affect them later in life. We even spend fantastic amounts of money to get our children educated – whether by paying for them to attend private schools or through the taxes we pay to support public education (or both) – or when we send them to college. Education, the importance of, has been a recurring theme of recent political contests with each side often claiming to be the best person to ensure quality education.
In the business world, knowledge is obviously a highly prized commodity. The computer programmer who has great knowledge about how to program computers is usually highly respected and often highly paid. Perhaps even clearer is the case of a stock broker who is expected to have great knowledge about the markets and their likely course. The broker who demonstrates tremendous knowledge about the markets by making correct decisions is rewarded by garnering more money for clients and thereby for himself or herself.
Yet, there seem to be limitations to the value placed on knowledge. In some cases, people don’t want to have knowledge about the world around them. “I don’t even want to know about it!” is a not uncommon catch phrase that captures the essential idea that the someone does not want to know about something going on. We see sometimes in the case of a politician who does not want to know about criminal or unethical activities in his vicinity for fear he might have to do something about it.
We sometimes hear this in the workplace in which employees “don’t want to know” what is being done in some other branch of the company or by their boss, they only “want to do my job and get my paycheck.” In this case, it is almost as if knowledge was painful or caused a problem. In Scientology organizations, of course, there is a careful system of communication and justice which helps to ensure that everyone is kept informed as to what is going on in diverse sections of the Church.
In other cases, people are only interested in a version of knowledge that matches their own ideas – in other words, they are more interested in partial knowledge or a slanted knowledge than in accurate knowledge of a particular area or idea. For example, in the recent Presidential election, it is probably safe to assume that both candidates are interested in a version of the knowledge of how many people voted for them in Florida – the version that would cause them to be President. This seems particularly true since it is likely that from a practical standpoint, it is impossible to get a totally accurate version of how many votes were cast for either candidate. However, both candidates seem to be very interested in a version of knowledge that matches what they would like to occur!
THE KNOWLEDGE-RESPONSIBILITY-CONTROL (KRC) TRIANGLE
The KRC triangle mentioned above helps to unify and clarify the concepts of Control and Responsibility discussed earlier and it relates intimately to the subject of freedom as we will discuss later.
A triangle is a geometric shape consisting of three interconnected points. Let’s suppose we constructed such a triangle from metal and the points were a fixed distance from one another. If that triangle was lying on our kitchen table and we picked it up, all three points would rise as one because of their connection.
And so it is with the KRC triangle. If we raise one corner of the triangle, the other corners of the triangle tend to rise as well. If we think of Knowledge, Responsibility and Control as a scale with an infinite number of possible values, this idea becomes even clearer.
Responsibility is not an absolute – an individual may have more or less responsibility in various areas of his life. And that level or responsibility may even vary from day to day.
Neither is control an absolute. The piano player who gives a masterful, critic- and crowd-pleasing concert on Friday might may do only “okay” on Saturday night. This may be due to many things, but it is possible that his level of control of the same instrument, playing the same piece of music may vary from one evening to another.
Knowledge is certainly not an absolute. Individuals obviously vary widely in their knowledge of specific subjects, but even a single individual may vary in what they know about a subject from day to day. For example, someone may have gotten a particularly good night sleep and have eaten very well and be able to zip through her work quickly and easily, remembering all the key things that need to get done. On another day, she may be somewhat under the weather and just not up for the challenge of the day and find herself forgetting simple details and processes. Moreover, knowledge varies over time. In most cases, people continue to learn more throughout their lives, thereby expanding their base of knowledge.
So it is possible and even likely that the three corners of the KRC triangle will vary in each individual from time to time. But one of the beauties of the triangle is that by understanding their relationship it is possible to cause all of the corners of the triangle to rise.
Practical examples of this abound.
For instance, in the example cited above in which a politician “doesn’t want to know” about some possible corruption, it is probably not the knowledge he is objecting to but the responsibility that that knowledge would create. He knows that once he has knowledge of some corruption, he’d then have a responsibility to do something about it – and that responsibility would demand that he do something about it. In other words, he would need to control it. In this case, the politician does NOT want to raise the knowledge corner of the KRC triangle as he instinctively seems to know that raising his knowledge would also cause his responsibility and need for control to raise.
The positive side of this is that if you want to increase your ability to take responsibility for and control of something, you can achieve this by raising your knowledge of that thing. For example, if you’d like to increase your ability to take responsibility for and control of a musical instrument, you can simply spend time raising your knowledge of that instrument.
We often see this kind of phenomenon when someone is exposed to a greater knowledge of a problem in society, thereby increasing their sense of responsibility and encouraging them to attempt to do something about it, i.e. to help control or change the problem. The work being done by Scientologists to help resolve the problems of illiteracy and drugs in inner city children is an example of this. Having learned something about the problem and a solution to the problem (in this case, the Study Technology as developed by L. Ron Hubbard), those individuals began to feel a sense of responsibility for the problem and have initiated actions to help change it.
This same principle works when we start with the Responsibility corner of the KRC triangle. I experienced this in a very simple way when just a teenager. For one of my first jobs, I helped a library in Chicago move from one location to another. My first job was a simple one – make the boxes that would be used by others to pack the books. Having been given that responsibility, I set out to learn something about the process of making the boxes and as I learned more, my ability to control the boxes increased dramatically. I got very good at it. Within a couple of days I’d made so many boxes that a rather large basement storage room was filled to capacity with empty boxes.
The result? I was promoted from box making to box packing, was given a raise and got out of the basement!
The above is a simple example, but the concept applies in other areas and Scientologists as a group are quite well known for demonstrating this principle. Practically the first impulses of most Scientologists when given a new responsibility, whether at work or at home, is to spend time finding out as much as possible about the new area of responsibility as possible with the intention of being able to do something positive about it.
The effects of attempting to override the principle that each corner of the KRC triangle rises together is particularly evident if Responsibility is raised but Knowledge and Control are artificially held down.
For example, suppose a general in a military operation is given responsibility for an entire sector of the conflict, but is cut off from the main operations and is unable to communicate with his subordinates. In that case, he has little to no knowledge of what is happening and certainly has no control over it. Chances are, the general will become quite frantic, even desperate. He knows he is responsible for the lives of the men under him yet there is nothing he can do about it. This is likely to be very hard on the him – no matter the outcome of the conflict – but certainly will have a huge impact should things go badly and he was unable to help.
To raise the KRC triangle, we can also start with the Control corner. In this case, when a person is given the opportunity to control something, their sense of responsibility and, somewhat remarkably, their knowledge of that also rises.
For example, when my wife and I first took my younger son for a drive after he got his driver’s permit, I found a nice open (and empty parking lot) and gave him the wheel. He was in control of the car for the first extended period of time ever. Since we have a standard shift transmission, the ride was a bit rough at first, but he began to learn how to start up in first gear. In other words, his knowledge of the car was increasing. He’d been given control and his knowledge grew. As he drove around the parking lot, my wife and I at first told him exactly where to go and what to do; when to start, when to stop, when to turn. But as he got more comfortable with driving, he began to decide himself where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do.
In other words, his responsibility was rising.
As we taught him how to drive, we jockeyed these three factors back and forth. We’d give him a little more data (knowledge) about what to do and his control and responsibility increased proportionately. Then we’d let him decide where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do (i.e. we gave him responsibility) and his knowledge of what he could do in the car increased as did his control.
This principle of allowing someone to control something as a way to help them learn more about it (and take more responsibility for it) can be almost magical. In some cases, giving someone control of something can be a valid and very effective way to teach. There are limits to this, of course. You wouldn’t want to give someone control of a 747 jet airplane as a way to teach them how to fly it. And, in fact, that approach would violate the principle of raising each corner of the KRC triangle proportionately because you would be dramatically increasing the person’s control without giving them any knowledge or allowing them to really take responsibility for their actions.
This factor of control is an important one to remember when trying to train someone. If you do nothing but give someone more and more and more knowledge about a subject without ever letting them get their hands on the materials associated with the subject to actually control something, you are bound to limit the benefits of your training. We can see this sometimes with people who spend years and years studying a subject without ever actually getting involved in controlling anything having to do with that subject. In these cases, those people, although highly “educated” may be completely incompetent.
Interestingly most people, who are good at learning new skills, will almost instinctively jockey back and forth between these three factors – increasing their knowledge, increasing their control and increasing their level of responsibility.
So, we see that if pursued as a strategy for tackling a new area, the KRC triangle can be used to increase knowledge, responsibility and control for that area.
Of course, this triangle also works in a negative direction – when one corner of the triangle is depressed, the others tend to follow suit. For example, some groups or individuals of questionable intention espouse, as a philosophic view of life, that people are not responsible for their own condition. To the extent that such people convince others not to take responsibility for their own condition, it will be seen that the targeted person’s control over his life diminishes. What’s perhaps more frightening is that the targeted person’s understanding and knowledge of their own life also diminishes. The targeted person tends to find themselves in confusing situations more frequently and generally seems to understand less and less about the course of their own lives. Ironically, the targeted person may become so confused that their memory (knowledge) of their own past becomes scrambled.
This can sometimes be seen in individuals who have experienced a great loss,
say for example a husband who has lost his wife. I had an elderly family
member who, after his wife died, withdrew from all responsibilities. Soon,
he began to loose control of aspects of his life, eventually loosing almost
all control of his body. He also began to loose his memory and skills and
this downward spiral continued until he took an interest in at least one
aspect of his life and then began to control something in his environment.
>From there, he began to take more responsibility for his environment. His
While there were many things occurring in his life, it is interesting to note that the path of his decline and eventual return followed a path of falling, then rising KRC.
But what does this have to do with freedom? And, to the point, what does this have to do with the attributes of Scientologists and the Church of Scientology towards the world at large?
KRC AND FREEDOM
Freedom is not a corner of the KRC triangle, but as a Scientologist I believe that freedom both precedes the KRC triangle and proceeds from it. Let’s examine this a bit further and then discuss how this relates to the larger issue of the Church as a whole.
One of the fundamental beliefs of the Church, which is widely shared by individual Scientologists, is that every person is a unique individual. Each person has their own likes, dislikes, preferences, ideas about how things should be, tastes in music and art, skills, strengths, abilities, etc. At a fundamental level no two individuals are the same. That diversity of viewpoint and outlook is one of the things that makes life so interesting and worth living. In the end, the discovery of who another person is through communication, interaction or by working to help them, can open entire new ways of looking at the world.
But this also means that different individuals, because they ARE different, will choose different aspects of life to enjoy and get involved in. My personal preferences are diverse, but have at various times focused on things like music and technology -- hence my work in the high tech arena. These personal preferences hang over into the things I do for enjoyment and the ways I might spend my off-time. For example, I have a particular interest in classical music and a great source of enjoyment to me is listening to a piece of classical music while following along with a full score of the work. I hear new things in the music, am stimulated to think musically in new ways and those new ways of thinking about music sometime hang over into, and benefit, other areas of my life.
In other words, because of my freedom of choice, I choose in my life to apply the KRC triangle to a set of studies and interests that are unique to me.
My business partner also has an interest in music, but his pursuit of music has taken a different turn. In the course of that, he has studied (gained Knowledge about) electronic means for recording music and has become skilled (increased his ability to control) in working with a variety of electronic equipment about which I know almost nothing. As a result, he has taken Responsibility for producing songs and art in a way that I have not.
My business partner and I are probably typical Scientologists in the “atypicalness” of interests, hobbies and pursuits. By that I mean to emphasize that the community of Scientologists is a unique and diversified group that chooses in highly varied and sometimes startling ways to apply the KRC triangle in myriad fields of knowledge.
As an example of this, I met a minister of the Church of Scientology earlier this year at a reception. We had a pleasant conversation about kids, our general work and the coming summer.
After the conversation, a friend of mine, himself a dentist asked me if I knew anything about the guy I’d been speaking to. I’d seen him around over a period of years, but didn’t really know much about him. My friend said that he is actually quite a famous mountain climber – very well known in some communities in the world. He had, apparently, climbed some of the most well-known and dangerous mountains in the world. My friend related a story about an expedition the gentleman had, I believe, lead. The expedition was delayed when coming down the mountain. The delay occurred because an ice storm had encased a ladder that had been attached to the mountain in thick, nearly impenetrable ice. In order to use the ladder, the man I’d been speaking to had to spend hours hacking away the ice to get down to the ladder itself – likely a painfully slow process hanging from the side of a mountain.
Because of the delay caused by the necessity to remove the ice, the fellow’s team was late in going down a particular, narrow mini-valley. This “valley” was only several yards across – perhaps more properly called a long “chute” – and was a common path used by teams descending the mountain. Apparently that chute was known for its avalanches and because teams on the mountain normally knew when other teams were scheduled to enter this chute, they would delay to allow the team in front of them to successfully pass through the chute before entering at the top.
However, the fellow’s team was a day or two late because of the ice-encased ladder so a subsequent team entered the chute while the fellow and his team were still in it. An avalanche was accidentally started by the team near the top of the chut. At about the time the avalanche came roaring down the chute, the fellow I’d been talking to was ahead of the rest of his team and looked back to see the wall of snow approaching him. His teammates above him on the mountain happened to be near a large boulder when the avalanche approached and were able to scramble to safety.
The fellow, however, was not so lucky – there was no place to hide to avoid the oncoming rush.
In an instant, he formulated a solution. He ran up the far wall of the chute as high as he could, then ran back down, letting his momentum propel him up as high as possible on the opposite wall. He ran back and forth like this a couple of time, gaining momentum each time until he finally was able to run up one side quite high and as he reached the apex, he pulled out his climbing axes and buried them near the top of the “chute” and held on for dear life.
The avalanche rushed past under his feet.
There are very few in the world who have the level of skill necessary to climb such mountains, let alone to be able to, on the spur of the moment, devise an incredibly clever solution to a seemingly impenetrable problem.
This individual Scientologist had obviously exercised his freedom of choice to increase his KRC for the subject of mountain climbing sufficiently to be able to excel at it.
But this example also demonstrates the second half of how KRC relates to freedom – that freedom proceeds from it.
This fellow had obviously mastered the skills of mountain climbing to a sufficiently high degree – in other words he had managed to raise his KRC to a high enough degree – that he was now FREE to act in the field of mountain climbing in a way that few people would be able to operate.
We can see the same kind of thing in the field of the arts. Pianists, such as Chick Chorea, who through hard practice and diligent study have raised their KRC for their instruments and the subject of music eventually experience a rarified level of freedom known only to a few.
And while top notch pianists and remarkable mountain climbers may be extreme examples, the same principle holds true for people from all walks of life. In my own profession, I spent several months studying and working with a very particular aspect of computer program development. I wrote several programs related to this area of software development and came, eventually, to quite thoroughly understand how the area worked and how it could be applied in a variety of circumstances.
Interestingly, that particular area of computer programming strikes me now as quite simple and I am able to apply it easily and, in some cases cleverly. In other words, I am free to operate in that particular environment and with that particular technology. I actually now feel that it is a trivial issue – an area of no great complexity or difficulty. At least until I try to explain it to others who have NOT spent time raising their KRC with the area and then I remember that my KRC for the area was raised over a period of time. My level of freedom in the area is totally different than it was before I spent time raising my KRC for it.
If I did not have an elevated KRC for that area, I’d likely feel somewhat trapped by it. I wouldn’t be free to operate in that area at all. But by raising my KRC, I actually became more free.
We can see a similar thing in the opposite direction – those groups and individuals, such as rabidly anti-religious groups – that dedicate themselves to lowering their own Knowledge, Responsibility and Control and the Knowledge, Responsibility and Control of those around them end up feeling nothing but trapped. They often believe, and even voice, that everyone is against them (in other words that they cannot operate freely in the world and they end up with their lives totally enveloped by their own hatreds and prejudices.
Anti-religious fanatics are not the only such victims of suppressed Knowledge, Responsibility and Control – there have been many throughout history.
SCIENTOLOGY, KRC AND FREEDOM
The subject of Scientology, Knowledge, Responsibility, Control and Freedom could probably occupy a large book – both covering the basics beliefs of the church and examples of how the Church and Scientologists have applied the KRC triangle to achieve greater freedom in their personal lives as well as in the lives of those around them. But hopefully the above brief explanation of how one Scientologist views the subjects of Control, Freedom, Responsibility (and Knowledge) helps to at least point the way to a better understanding of how Scientologists in general view these subjects.
The Church of Scientology is composed of an ever-growing number of completely unique individuals, each of whom have exercised their freedom of choice to pursue their own interests and purposes by applying the KRC triangle to their lives, their families and to the world around them.
And as Scientologists – and the Church as a whole – have raised the three points of the KRC triangle, so has their level and sense of freedom.
Are there differences of opinion in the swirl of activity represented by the many and growing number of Scientologists around the world? Of course – that is the nature of individuals! But by applying the principles of Knowledge, Responsibility and Control, Scientologists are able to help themselves – and others – to understand and relish those differences and come to a better understanding of not only themselves but the world around them and to experience a new level of Freedom.