“They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”
Today in 1954 the first Church of Scientology opened in Los Angeles. I don’t really have a lot to say about Scientology at the moment, as I’m not desirous at this particular stage of my life for any conflict with Scientologists. I do know that their founder, along with that fop Jack Parsons, quite possibly helped open up a rift into the space-time continuum and unleashed a whole bunch of interdimensional creatures into the Earth’s atmosphere. (But to be fair, I read about that in the 1995 graphic novel anthology The Big Book Of Conspiracies, published by Factoid Books a.k.a. DC Comics. It might not really be true.)
Now, I did read the book that was the predecessor of Dianetics many years ago, having bought it at a thrift store. Written in the 50’s or 60’s, it actually had a lot of useful information. It’s just that over 2/3s into the book, it started talking about the “non-believers,” and…
But this, I find, is a very standard situation with a number of otherwise helpful books on spirituality, psychology, life-advice, and so on. For example, the other day I read this certain book on self-empowerment. It was very radical…and very helpful. However, at the very end of the book it went into this screed about how alpha males are persecuted by society and how women try to control and ruin their lives and etc. etc. etc. —
Now: there was NOTHING in this book along those lines until the very end—and it really did make me feel as if I committed a “transgressive” act simply by reading it. Because it didn’t seem to be a book written for me. As a female, it’s obvious that I’m already so empowered and powerful and Western Civilization-destroying and all that. By reading this chap’s book, it gave me an unfair advantage that I might use to further my biological gender’s schemes of male enslavement. So I did feel a little guilty about the entire thing.
And the only reason I really mention this is that just yesterday, I was watching a series of self-empowerment/psychology videos on YouTube and they were so super-helpful…and then about 5 videos in, they suddenly became about how women were trying to control men and ruin their lives. But it wasn’t just about that—the vid-maker also managed to tie it all in to the New World Order and Bible prophecy and etc.
Again: there was NOTHING in those earlier videos that suggested to me WHATSOEVER the sudden “turn” these videos would take. But the effect was quite jarring.
I’ll give one more example: there was a synchromysticism blog I used to follow. Brilliant work, and very much in the same wheelhouse of what I was interested in. After several years, its author decided that it would focus on how homosexuals and transgender people are evil. In fact, he announced this in a post in which he specifically credited Donald Trump being elected for finally giving him the “courage” to speak openly about how much he hates the LGBTQ community. He would no longer be “oppressed” from saying how he really felt.
And I’ll be perfectly honest with you—the sum total of all this is, I start to feel a little unsafe.
Which then…of course…goes back to the books and videos on self-empowerment…written by people…who don’t want me to be empowered…which I read anyway…expressly against their wishes…so I can get empowered.
What a comedy it all is.
Today is also the anniversary of the first WikiLeaks drop of documents to the public. I want to get on the bad side of WikiLeaks even less than I want to get on the bad side of Scientologists.
So I got nuthin’.
Going back to my earlier point—a number of the books I’ve read about self-empowerment reference “human nature” and/or evolutionary biology (and my mother actually focused on evolutionary biology in her PhD program, which probably explains a lot). Basically: that there are certain predictable ways humans act as the result of primal hard-wired DNA-triggers. And, as regards the majority of human beings on this planet, I do believe this is the case.
Now: there are also humans who are evolved/evolving past all this hard-wired stuff. But they are not in the majority. And that, in order for me to successfully survive and perhaps even (long-shot) thrive in this society, I need to keep in mind that the way my particular brain is wired is atypical for this society.
For example, the topic of gender and sexuality (not the same thing but for the purposes of this post I’m lumping them together): I understand, from an evolutionary biological standpoint, the differences between most (key word: most) men & women and why they often act the way the do and express themselves the way they do and even dress & style themselves the way do. I get it! I really do. And this, in fact, has placed me in areas of conflict with some feminists etc. in the past. And even though I identify more as gender non-conforming, I can readily see how I might also piss off some of “my own kind” in this regard as well.
At the end of the day, while I may understand the role evolutionary biology plays—I’m largely not wired that way myself. Oh, I’ve clearly observed the ebbs and flows of hormones in my body; “baby-making time!” and all that. I’ve tracked the stages of my “cycle” with my moods, my desires, even how I dress…I “get” it. But my brain—or my soul, however you want to think of it as—is at odds with my hormones. And then from being at odds with my hormones, it becomes at odds with the accepted behavior of Society itself.
And then I have to ask myself…these books and videos, and things I consume intellectually…am I being “drawn” to them intellectually because they are subconsciously “coded” male? And that nasty “surprise” at the end…is that really a surprise at all? Or was it all there in front of me the entire time?
Lastly: one more observation. Many of these books, essays, and videos that appeal to the idea of evolutionary biology as a justification for male dominance…they often also complain about how starting families and having children “destroys” their lives and saps them of their vital male essence. “Don’t have children.”
I suggest that if this is one’s point of view, then the appeal to evolutionary biology has been rendered invalid; it misses the whole goddamn point of evolutionary biology!!!
Unless…one’s goal is to be a type of cult leader with all the women on the farm getting pregnant with your seed and being assisted with the child-rearing by the beta males as in any gentle mammalian community. Which brings to mind Charlie Manson…who studied Scientology.
See, I just knew I’d bring it all back to the beginning if I kept spit-balling enough!
For something completely different, here is a minty-fresh trailer for the new 4k restoration of the classic 1987 horror-comedy Evil Dead II (one of my all-time faves):
And here’s the trailer for the TV adaptation of the classic comic book Doom Patrol:
Have a good Monday, and be sure to curb your dogma & durb your catma.