From: Bob Minton <email@example.com>
Subject: LMT Literati Contest Entry - Scientologist: Mary DeMoss
Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2000 18:46:21 -0500
Organization: Lisa McPherson Trust, a Scientology watchdog group
(Mary's original essay was received at 12:14 PM on November 30, fourteen minutes after the contest deadline, as a Word attachment. Further, a corrected entry, again as a Word attachment, was received at 1:03 PM on November 30, 63 minutes after the contest deadline. However, we accepted Mary's essay happily, in spite of these disqualifying issues.)
Control, Freedom and Responsibility
Copyright © 2000 by Mary DeMoss
Today's newspapers, television and cinema are filled with human stories that break our hearts, ignite our rage and dull us into unfeeling apathy. A respected politician pulls the trigger on himself to escape his own demons before the world finds him out. Infants are discarded in dumpsters and children are abused by their own parents or quietly neglected until they themselves brutally murder the mothers who no longer knew how to slay the dragons that possessed them. Boys carry out fantasies of violent mass murder that leave a nation grieving. Teenagers overdose on popular club drugs in an effort to substitute a drug high for true self-esteem that would give them wings to reach their highest aspirations. One race is pitted against another, by megalomaniac leaders, who have never embraced the human race. And the globe is covered in the blood of men who have slaughtered entire civilizations in the name of one God or another.
How did man, created in the image of God, come to this bleak point in his history?
And if he is to survive at all, how does he rehabilitate himself back to an image worthy of the Supreme Being?
We are living in a world today where basic principles are constantly redefined. Innate Freedoms are now defined by the state and the state has to decide how you can achieve that freedom. Everyone has the right 'to be happy'. Driving a car down the highway at 200 miles per hour might make you happy but it is certainly no longer a right. This right is so mired down in legal rulings and legislation issues that one is not really free to be happy. We no longer trust the individual to serve himself without destroying another. Our responsibility for the whole has degraded down to a 'me' society. And even that has been lost to 'nothing to do with me' until many go through life hoping no one will notice them. He is content to live a smaller life within the confines of 'the system'. He agrees to limited freedoms because he is not able to take on the massive responsibility needed to turn a culture around. His freedoms are defined by the system because he agrees to the tenants of that system.
But whom does that system represent? Usually a code of conduct or justice is enacted to stop any further decline of a society. The rules are made to regulate those who have already failed to take responsibility for their own actions. Thus we have laws that only honest men follow. Criminals continue to find ways to 'beat the system'. The outcome of the system that seeks to take responsibility away from the individual by enforcing a code is less freedom. And man has fought this outcome. America was formed by the men of countries whose laws strangled their freedoms to the point of revolution. More profound than that, the crossroads for mans search for the ultimate freedom has always been religion.
America is no longer the wild frontier it once was. Based on a Constitution written to safeguard the freedoms it was founded on, America has evolved. From it's inception by stately men who disagreed with their own slavery by kings and crosses, to the black slave trade which refused the basic human rights of an entire race based on color, to the arms race threatening slavery of the entire world based on political science. With each passing era, the onus of responsibility has slipped out of the control of the individual until it lies today in the form of government. America has an enormous government to rule its people. What lack of responsibility led to the need for this massive bureaucracy? A nation founded on freedom has found itself having to govern the people in it with more law and order every year. With an innate yearning for freedom, many object to the control of one's life falling further into the hands of government. Conspiracy theories abound. War and revolution spring up worldwide. Man is always seeking to blame one another or some system for his lack of freedom and power of choice. But again, he is placing responsibility outside himself. It is not the system that is responsible for the massive control exerted by government. It is not the dogma of our many political and religious systems that are to blame for our troubles. The blame is not outside ourselves. Mans inhumanity to his own kind led him to this place. How can he restore his brotherhood with man?
Today, one mans happiness might result in another man's funeral. The evil impulses within him have overridden mans sensibility to a point where law and justice are the last words on right and wrong. And even these are no deterrent to those who have given in to the little voice inside so many times that it is all he hears anymore. If only he could fight it.
A man is happily married to a woman who has raised his children well. But the voice inside tells him he is nothing without a young girl on his arm. The impulse overcomes him and he finds himself in a shady motel beside the highway on the morning of his wedding anniversary with a girl he has known since last night. Social standing, wealth, education; these are no defense against what ails man. No matter how hard he tries to disguise it, the struggle is the same one man to the next.
A brilliant artist at the height of his career just wants to be happy. He wants to know that he has made it. So he celebrates. But the voice inside says he should celebrate with alcohol. This leads to parties laced with white powder and soon he doesn't know the difference between mainlining heroin and a job well done. Either way he is celebrating. But he is trapped. He doesn't know himself anymore and the impulse to destroy his life is tangled up with every success. As his balance of power shifts from native state to drug induced reality, this man can no longer trust himself or his own decisions. Why?
The addict knows he wants to quit. The criminal finds a way to get caught. The adulterer falls on bended knee seeking forgiveness. But without any real rehabilitation, what does he do? Time and again we see the dreadful outcome. Feeling that he is not worthy of his fellows, he individuates from them. The adulterer leaves his wife. The criminal kills his victim. The addict loses his house and job and ends up on the street where no one will notice he has failed. Look around you and see that this is the condition of our own race. We are failing ourselves and failing each other. These problems are not happening to a select few. They are the problems of man. We all suffer as a race until these ills are cured. If you still think 'it has nothing to do with me', read on.
Drugs play a major role in the condition of our society today. No one can escape the effects of a drug-ravaged culture. And those who might have been able to do something about it are more and more likely to have been destroyed by the bio-chemical effects of drugs. Who will be left to lead these nations?
Is it worth it to salvage the addict? Drugs are a hard knock. They have been used to enslave man for centuries. Opium was the drug of choice when China was conquered by the ___________. Vietnam created more individual addicts than it did individual freedom. And the growing trend in America to drug our society as a whole starting now from infancy is wrong-headed. Drugs do not restore individual accountability. They do just the opposite. They shackle the society with the idea that nothing can be done. You are born incapable and it is not your fault. You have a chemical imbalance. You are not responsible for your actions. Drugs are far more destructive than government laws that arrest the decline of society. They take responsibility completely away from the individual and assist the further decline of society. Ask anyone who has tried them. Escape will be their mantra. Who will reach through the thick fog of chemical insanity and pull these addicts back to a state of clear thinking?
Criminality is the result of a decayed sense of decency and self-respect. On Earth, this decay is an epidemic with more than one million state and federal prisoners in the United States alone. The violent crime rates have tripled over the last three decades, and some fifty billion is spent on enforcement, prosecution and incarceration. The moral crisis is exposed with more than half the American college students casually admitting to having cheated on entrance exams, and a full seventy-six percent of all medical and law students casually admitting the same. The academic youth of the nation's high-schools are just as casually admitting they will lie to achieve a financial objective, pad expense accounts and insurance claims. Grimmer figures include the fact the nations most violent quarter lies in the 15-19 year olds, who, on any given school day, pack more than a hundred thousand handguns to kill forty of their classmates. There is no question that we must combat immorality. But how?
The institutions we have erected to handle our decayed society are failing. "Steel-door justice" and "get tough on crime" are a fallacy decried by those working within the prison system. "If we continue with our vengeful attitude toward criminals (poor minorities, the mentally ill, those with nothing to lose)," wrote Prison Life editor, Richard Stratton, "the violence will only get worse until there is an all-out war between the haves and have-nots." Penal institutions are where the criminal is molded. Knowing all this, our governments continue to enact justice that just doesn't work. The real cause of immorality is never addressed. The criminal became so because he could not trust his own intentions anymore. He has betrayed himself and broken the one true contract he ever made: the contract he made with himself. Punishment does not restore his self-respect, but teaches him that he is not worthy of trust. We have not had sufficient knowledge of ourselves to truly rehabilitate our criminal brethren. What man will have enough compassion to rehabilitate the criminal without punishment?
It is no wonder that life on earth is described by the chaos we read in the papers. The whittling away of personal responsibility and the need for some substitute that would ensure survival has resulted in the world we see around us today. The complex legal systems, the imposing governments, the legions of troops and the vast array of religious organizations are a testament to the fact that man does not understand himself. He has questions. He seeks answers. The state of man today dictates that none of his efforts, in place today, have resulted in the ultimate freedom he seeks. This is not in question. Every nation that exists today is engaged in the solution to man's trouble. They believe implicitly that their politics or their religion will save mankind. It would be a major realization if the leaders of the world today could notice just that one point. We are one race. We are all engaged in the struggle to survive. We have fought each other, created nations with borders and further individuated ourselves down to the lowest common denominator; self-preservation or survival. While man is still here surviving, he has certainly lost sight of how well he could survive. How free is he?
The quest for freedom; what is it?
To understand that, we must first understand ourselves. "Know thyself" is a worn out cliché, but is still the ultimate adventure. Is man an animal, or is he something more? All religions hold in common the idea that we are spirits. The system used to fully understand that concept is all that differs from religion to religion. What is a spirit? How does he end up here on Earth? What is this union between the physical and the spiritual? That is man. He is engaged in survival, but to what degree? The picture we have painted thus far would show us that we are not surviving well. And while it appears that some are more capable than others, even our best suffer the slings and arrows of life. How much freedom are we capable of?
Let us start back at the basic theory that man is created in the image of God. God is presumed to be a superior force of life who then created all other life. He is all knowing and all-powerful. If he were to play you at a game of chess, he would surely win. In fact, dying is considered by most to be the will of God who has ultimately decided your fate. He always wins. Imagine yourself created in that image. Capable of unlimited tasks, able to create every illusion you ever conceived. Living life without regret and able to win in every situation. What would the world be like if you were in complete control?
Ah, there's the rub. What would it be like?
If man were wholly good and fully responsible for the life and happiness of every other living creature, down to the tiniest particle of life, we can assume that life would be paradise, a true Eden. He could wield all the power in the world, make perfect decisions without hesitation and smoothly execute every plan. Every single thing he caused would have a known effect and he would gladly accept responsibility for that effect because he knowingly caused it. He would have complete control over himself, his family, his fellows and the world. He would have total freedom to move about and play any game he wanted. He would be king of all that he surveys.
Then let us imagine that one day his control was faulty. He miscalculated. He caused the destruction of millions of men. This is not the outcome he anticipated and he grapples to understand how this could have happened. He denies that he created that effect. That is not what he set out to do. And he refuses to take responsibility for his actions. After all, he didn't mean to do it. And we see that he denies himself full responsibility. He could not have caused that, so he assigns the cause to something else. The other guy did it. Blame him. Suddenly his kingdom is in jeopardy because he can not control this other fellow. He starts to build walls around the kingdom to protect his people from possible attack. He becomes the unwilling effect of this other guy. Instead of being free to roam about the land, he and his people are only safe within the walled kingdom.
Soon he finds himself engaged in what used to be a game and is now a deadly serious activity of survival. His family is worried that he will no longer be able to take care of even them. He decides that family is too much responsibility and so he gives away that piece of the game too. He will not be responsible for them. Whatever happens, it is beyond his control. He is free of them. Freedom now means he no longer has to be responsible for anything that happens to anybody else but himself.
At last he realizes that he can control only himself. He knows he can not control anybody else. He lives in fear of what others might do to him. He is sure that if he can just get by he will surely have survived. But it is a long way from the freedom he once knew when he was responsible for the whole shebang. And the world is against him because he has gone from being the cause of every detail to being the effect of absolutely everything else that happens to him. He is no longer masterminding the next move, but rather a pawn in someone else's game.
How a man falls away from total freedom could be considered the secret of the universe. It would surely cause quite a stir to hear that someone had that answer. For if he knew the secret of life, he could begin the task of rehabilitating the human spirit. Or could he?
One man could not possibly save the world complete. With an Earth population of nearly 6 billion, it would take an army. And an army is built of individuals. Where would you find enough individuals who were still interested in taking responsibility for anyone other than themselves?
Here we face an interesting problem. As mentioned before, the only man who could know total freedom would be one who was wholly good and accepted full responsibility for every action in the universe. A tall order. Today we look around and find men wholly obsessed with themselves. They are motivated by money. They seek power and have no idea how to use it. Punishment is their form of education and we all suffer a little more for it.
Greed, power and punishment; the route to slavery. Slavery is the opposite of freedom. With an inability to control anyone but himself, man finds himself in a pickle. Low responsibility reduces ones power of choice. When one is forced into decision he is of course not taking responsibility for that action. Without power of choice, man is reduced to a slave. When he is forced to work without taking responsibility, we can see that the product of his work will be poor. You have seen any child happily set the table for a make-believe tea party. She pays attention to every detail down to making sure you pick up the make-believe spoon you dropped on the floor. The plates are covered with cookies, the teapot is centered just so. The chairs are painstakingly set with just the right guest in each one. Now force her to set the table for dinner against her will and see what shattered china pieces land upon your floor. Forks are dumped into the middle of the table and only her glass arrives for the meal. She takes no responsibility for the activity and does it out of fear of punishment. And should that punishment arrive, she will surely know that she should never have set the table in the first place. Here we have the beginning of the criminal society described before. No responsibility creates slavery creates no responsibility and we have the dwindling spiral of society today.
The person who is unwilling to create an effect because it might be bad, restrains himself because he conceives he might harm another. The man who leaves his family, does so because he no longer believes he can be trusted to make the right decisions. In an effort to spare them from his inability to control life, he leaves them. He obviously has a concept of good and right or he could not understand bad and wrong.
Restoring to a person his willingness to work and to control his environment is the true solution to slavery.
But we do not find this rehabilitation of willingness applied in our society today. The slave state is created everyday by those who know no other way to obtain their objectives. A man would like his wife to cook for him but he has not worked in a month and there is no money to buy her the dress she had been wanting. She loses the desire to make his favorite meals and eventually cooks only out of fear of the beating she will take if she doesn't. She is a slave.
An employer runs his business with an iron fist. He barks out orders and can't remember the names of those who serve him. Profits are down and he needs to boost production. He has mistreated his staff and cheated them out of their bonuses for years. Now he needs them to save the ship. He will not find a willing employee putting in long hours and making things go right. He will find they are punching out early and taking vacation right when he needs them most. And when he goes to fire them, he will find they have already sold out to the competition. Those who have stayed despite threats, pay cuts and demotions will have no pride in themselves. They are slaves.
But what about the master who rules with whips? His future is grim. He is the true enemy of man. You will find he is motivated only by money. His greed stems from his plunge down the spiral from duty and responsibility to money and mayhem. Greed is the lowest motivation for life and anyone who would sacrifice his own freedom to dive down into the pit of despair will not be there for you when you try to restore a little of that freedom for yourself. In fact he will do everything in his power to stop you. Why?
The impulse to destroy is not native to man. Anyone engaged in an effort to destroy himself, his family, his group or mankind would be pitied if his actions were not so dangerous. You can be sure that the man bent on destruction is in bad shape. He has lost any recognition of himself as cause. He is the victim of what horrors, we know not. Trying desperately to defend himself against others who would do him in, he closes his eyes in fear and lashes out at anything that moves. He is not responsible for the outcome because he was just trying to defend himself. From that point forward he is on alert. Everyone and everything is out to get him. His eyes are still closed and he loses his power of reason. Everybody must be shot in order to preserve his own life. WE can see that he is still engaged in the ultimate game of survival, but he is no longer creating in order to achieve that survival. His survival depends upon your destruction.
It is a sad sight for the rest of mankind to watch this madman operate. He is completely justified in his activities. At all cost he must survive. But he is not actually aware of his environment. With his eyes closed, he is fighting imaginary demons. The rest of the world watches on in silent horror. They cannot see his enemy. It is like watching a movie where the man hears some noise outside his door, picks up his revolver, slowly opens the door and shoots blindly down the hall at nothing in particular. When the dust settles we see that it was the cat who just came through the window that set off this fevered assault. And he kicks the cat for making him feel such fear. After all, it's not his responsibility. He is not the source of his own actions. It must be the cat who made him pull the trigger. And he doesn't give it a second thought. That is his world, full of danger at every corner, justified in taking action against any potential upset to his survival.
What leads this man into his madness?
Simply put, he has crimes. And as we discussed earlier, the criminal has really only broken his contract with himself. While he does effect those around him, it is nothing compared to the sabotage he brings upon himself. The constant fear of being found out, the looking suspiciously around every corner, the inability to trust his fellow man, for fear any one of them may be an agent to expose him. He has no real friends because he cannot open him self up to anyone. Partly because he knows that he could harm them. He certainly will not be there for you in time of need. He is out for himself. He must keep continual vigil for the next attempt to find him out. Therefor he is easily side tracked. He will not be able to complete his tasks because every little whisper could be a deadly plot requiring his attention. He is completely unable to control even his own actions because he is haunted by impulses to destroy. The rest of the world wishes he would just have one sane moment so that he could see that life is bearable. They would gladly help him if he would only help himself. Sadly, he cannot afford to accept this help. Is this man free?
He is a long way from our described hero who acts with precision judgement, without hesitation and smoothly executes his well-laid plans. The hero is not living in fear of some long gone incident of danger. His eyes are open and he can clearly see the world around him. He lives in the present moment and acts with honor at all times. In short, he has nothing to hide. He is free to reach out into any area of life without fear of repercussion. He is free to make new friends, to speak openly about his deepest thoughts and to give of himself to help a comrade in need.
Innocently, he passes you in a crowded room while trying to get to the door. He runs into you and knocks you over. He looks to see that you are okay and tries to pick you up off the floor with a smile. You start crying. Suddenly, he feels that he should not have run into you. He feels guilt. But man doesn't like to lose so he tells you he is sorry and starts crying himself. Now it's your turn to feel badly that you made him feel so bad about knocking you over on the way to the door. What just happened?
Guilt. Guilt is the trap that ensures slavery. Punishment is the form it takes.
When you are punished, you feel badly that you where there in the first place. So what do you do? You stop being there. Communication is cut in an effort to make sure no one knows you are there. The child who receives a spanking for breaking your plate will be very quiet at the dinner table from there on out. She will hardly make a peep and will excuse herself at the moment she is done. There will be no family discussions around that table. You will also find that the person who uses punishment to control is surrounded by cowed individuals who are afraid to speak up.
The biggest abusers of guilt are those who use it to ensure you never expose them. The man engaged in evil activities is always in fear of being exposed. He threatens you with future punishment (blackmail) if you speak to anyone about his secrets. He will try and get you to commit some petty crime yourself in order to keep you under control. He will also try and degrade you in some way. He will make less of you and your abilities in an attempt to lessen the guilt of his own conscience. When you hear yourself disparaged, know that that person has crimes he does not want you to find out about. He will threaten you with total destruction before he will allow you to expose him. But this monster has his own weakness.
He is afraid. He is so riddled with transgressions against God and his fellow man that he is sure he will be punished. He is afraid that he will be punished in the same manner that he would punish others who have wronged him. The man who stands in the way of any human being seeking greater understanding of life and himself is the man you should instantly confront with his crimes. Fear of being found out is only the first rung on the steep ladder out of the mire for this man. He will have to take responsibility for his crimes and that is almost too much for him to bear. If he will attempt it, it will be because he has some concept of his own goodness. When he believes that he is capable of helping someone else, he will allow himself the pleasure of some small amount of freedom. And he should hope that someone will show him the compassion he himself was incapable of. For he will have a long road out of the desperate situation he finds himself in. There will be no one there to punish him. For he was the only one who did himself in. It will be hard for him to accept responsibility for the many harmful effects he created but once he gets the hang of it, he will shed his own shackles. Proving to this man that he can be helped is the secret to his rehabilitation. And the man who proves this to him will have one stellar quality. He will believe more in this madman than anyone has ever allowed him to believe in himself.
Where will he find a human being capable of this kind of compassion?
The population of man is left with few who possess this quality. These few will have one thing in common. They will bee able to see the condition of this Earth and they will feel the need to take some action. They are capable of taking full responsibility for the suffering and savage world they see around them. And for those still capable of helping, who will agree to suffer the inevitable attack from those who live in fear of living in the light? The family of the addict is the first to be slandered by the addict himself when help is offered. He denies he has a problem. He is comfortable with his choices. He forgets what it was like to be free of drugs. The criminal seeks revenge on those who minister justice in order to keep the group safe from his attacks. He is always justified in his actions. He has forgotten the pride he once felt in an honest day's work. And so it is with man. Struggling to survive day to day, he expects less of the civilization in which he lives. He expects less of himself. And he forgets his own greatness and ability. He forgets what it is like to be truly free. Those who would reach out and gently call his attention to this lower condition will be fought. To what lengths should one go to wake his fellows up? How many attacks can he withstand before he gives up and walks away saying, "It's not my problem anymore"? If he is true in ambition, he will withstand the full assault. He will maintain constant willingness to fight for mankind. He will be willing to pay the price of freedom.
These few will not an army make, however. They will need to bring others up to a point where they can see for themselves that something went wrong. They will need to have millions of people who are free enough to take responsibility for those who cannot see their self-made prisons. How in the world will a handful of men open the eyes of their fellows so that they can be free?
Control, freedom and responsibility. These are the keys to rehabilitating the human spirit. One who can restore a person's ability to control his life and thus be responsible for it, will offer man his freedom.
In order to bring the people of Earth back to a state where they will want to take responsibility, you would have to solve the problems of mankind. There would have to be some answer to the epidemics of drugs, criminality and insanity. For we can see that man is a slave when he is unable to control these elements of life. These are star high goals and these are the aims of a stellar group of people.
The Aims Of Scientology
This does not invalidate past efforts of man to slow the dwindling route of destruction. All religions have that goal in common. Scientology offers more than common sense morals and faith in the human spirit. It enhances all religions by offering a means by which to attain those goals. Man can have good communion with his maker when his hands are clean and his heart is good.
Rehabilitating control over life restores one's ability to take responsibility for the actions he causes and the effects of those actions. That renewed responsibility brings man closer and closer to total freedom until one day he is back to native state. A spiritual being created in the image of God and worthy of a place beside him for all eternity.