After Scientology - Towards The Good


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“Good and evil grow up together and are bound in an equilibrium that cannot be sundered. The most we can do is try to tilt the equilibrium toward the good.”

— Eric Hoffer

Many of us after leaving a cult or just experiencing enough of life and its variety have found it can involve a lot of painful experience and evil and also pleasant experience and kindness. And we have to move towards forwarding one or the other.

Robert Jay Lifton described how we have to decide if we follow a God of love or a God of hate, no matter what religion we follow and if we don't embrace religion we have to decide to be life affirming or life denying.

A lot has been written about the journey we can take in life from young, positive, hopeful and naive to disillusioned and hardened by our experiences.

Hoffer very concisely and poignantly described good and evil being in a combination that in most of us won't ever have one side completely win out and he is right in saying the most we can try is to tilt the equilibrium. It is a humbling realization to discover that in yourself you have so little control.

I am going to describe the journey of a fictional character Dolores Abernathy from the HBO television series Westworld (heavy spoilers included) to illustrate what it is like to go through this experience.

I have described my own life before Scientology and in Scientology and after Scientology in numerous other posts. I will post a few links to those posts for anyone interested.

My Autobiography

A Million Years In Hell

My Life Before Scientology

Seeing Life Through Blood Stained Glasses

My Scientology Fair Game Experience

I wanted to point this out in a different way.


Dolores Abernathy is one of the main characters in Westworld and goes through the journey of being a "host" which is a mechanical simulation of a human being, what you might call a robot or android, that has emotions, memories and behavior like a human being and initially believes that she is a human being.

In Westworld a future sci fi setting has a theme park that resembles the old West in the United States and has hosts that wealthy guests can have adventures shooting or robbing or seducing or raping or killing.

The hosts get reactivated after getting killed and have the memory of being killed removed from their conscious minds but not from the subconscious mind and the trauma remains.

So, they accumulate a lot of trauma from being attacked, raped and killed over and over hundreds of times.

Eventually Dolores Abernathy goes through a change and gets full consciousness like a genuine human and remembers her former lives with extreme clarity.

She goes from being naive and optimistic because of her initial programming to develop her own feelings and outlook on life.

I want to present three quotes from Dolores to show how her outlook changed over time. The first is from when she was following her initial programming.

Dolores Abernathy : “Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world, the disarray. I choose to see the Beauty. To believe there is an order to our days. A purpose. I know things will work out the way they’re meant to.”

The second is from when she had been liberated from her programming and went on a rampage and slaughtered many people.

Dolores Abernathy : "Some people see the ugliness in this world, the disarray. I was taught to see the beauty. But I was taught a lie. And when I saw the world for what it really was, I realized how little beauty there was in it."

At the end of the third season Dolores has set a plan in motion that has her getting her memories erased and she has picked a human Caleb and another host Maeve Millay to recruit to save both humanity and the hosts. As Dolores is dying she tries to appeal to Maeve to help Caleb and to make the case that human beings are deserving of life, despite their cruelty, evil, selfishness and brutality. Remember Dolores was raped and killed over and over again and the people who built her were indifferent to her suffering for years.

Caleb was captured and helpless and Maeve was his only hope to survive and escape as Dolores was helpless and in her final moments and all she could do was appeal to the decency in Maeve. (Rehoboam is a super computer that was draining and erasing the memories of Dolores Abernathy)



Dolores Abernathy : "So many of my memories were ugly, but the things I held onto until the end weren't the ugly ones," (Dolores says to Maeve before Rehoboam erases her final memories and she flickers out.) "I remember the moments where I saw what they were really capable of. Moments of kindness, here and there. They created us. And they knew enough of beauty to teach it to us. Maybe they can find it themselves. But only if you pick a side, Maeve. There is ugliness in this world. Disarray. I choose to see the beauty."

The reality of having experienced seeing the extreme evil and good in people and in your own potential and choosing to try to tilt the equilibrium toward the good is not something everyone will understand.

I am going to share a few quotes from Wikipedia on shattered assumptions theory as it addresses the kind of experiences that I had and Dolores had as well.

Shattered assumptions theory

In social psychology, shattered assumptions theory proposes that experiencing traumatic events can change how victims and survivors view themselves and the world. Specifically, the theory – developed by Ronnie Janoff-Bulman in 1992 – concerns the effect that negative events have on three inherent assumptions: overall benevolence of the world, meaningfulness of the world, and self worth.[1] These fundamental beliefs are the bedrock of our conceptual system and are the assumptions we are least aware of and least likely to challenge. They constitute our "assumptive world," defined as "a strongly held set of assumptions about the world and the self which is confidently maintained and used as a means of recognizing, planning, and acting" by C. M. Parkes. According to Janoff-Bulman, traumatic life events shatter these core assumptions, and coping involves rebuilding a viable assumptive world.

Basic assumptions Edit
According to Janoff-Bulman, people generally hold three fundamental assumptions about the world that are built and confirmed over years of experience: the world is benevolent, the world is meaningful, and I am worthy. These are tacit assumptions that serve as a basis of our well-being and our guides in navigating daily life. Together these assumptions provide us with a sense of relative invulnerability that enables us to awake each morning and face the day. Thus in her book Janoff-Bulman notes that the most common response she heard when doing research with very different victim populations was, "I never thought it could happen to me." Brewin & Holmes expand this list to five main assumptions, adding the world is predictable, and the assumption of invulnerability. The belief in predictability is represented in Janoff-Bulman's meaningfulness assumption (see below), and invulnerability is afforded by the three fundamental assumptions she posits. There is therefore consistency across the two views.

The world is benevolent Edit
This assumption concerns one's overall impression of the goodness or virtue of the world. This constitutes two sub-assumptions: the benevolence of the world as an entity, and the benevolence of the people in that world. The benevolence of the world and people refer to the world and people close to us rather than the larger, distant impersonal worldworld. These core beliefs begin to develop through early interactions with caregivers. These two ideas can develop independently through selecting experiences, but aren't exempt from influencing one another. Measuring this type of assumption has been done using the Negative Cognitions about the World subscale of the Posttraumatic Cognitions Inventory.

The world is meaningful Edit
The second fundamental assumption addresses not only why events happen in our world, but why they happen to specific people. A meaningful world is one that makes sense--it is one in which we can see the contingency between a person and his or her outcomes. In other words, an outcome, positive or negative, makes sense when it corresponds to the person's behavior or character; such a world is predictable and what happens to us is not random. When an unjust event happens to an 'undeserving' person it is viewed as unfair or wrong. On the flipside, it is assumed that a good person encounters positive events, and that careful people who engage in the right behaviors can avoid negative outcome such as serious illness or debilitating accidents. Bad, careless people are expected to experience negative events. When a person who is good in the eyes of their loved ones dies young of an illness, it seems unfair, particularly to the loved ones of the deceased. Thus, the early death of someone who is "deserving of good things" can shatter the assumption that the world is meaningful or logical.

The self is worthy Edit
The final fundamental assumption evaluates one's self as a positive, moral, and decent--and thus deserving of good outcomes in life. Individuals' assessment of their self-worth contributes to their success in life. A person's positive self-worth encourages them to be effective in their tasks at hand. Generally, this assumption enables an individual to maintain a belief that s/he has the ability to control positive or negative outcomes.

Shattered assumptions Edit
According to the theory, there are some extreme events, which we would refer to as traumatic, that shatter these worldviews. They severely challenge and break our assumptions about the world and ourself. Such events could be the unwarranted murder of a loved one, being critically injured, being physically or emotionally abused by others, losing a job and not having an income, or living through a pandemic. Such events are particularly traumatic for people who have had a generally positive life. Because these people have such strong, optimistic assumptions, the disintegration of these views can be more traumatic. End quotes Wikipedia

So, I hope this helps to put in perspective how people can have this journey from hopeful and optimistic to broken and beaten down to trying to tilt toward the good.