Quillette: Huxley, Burroughs, and the Church of Scientology


Well-known member
William Burroughs is a pretty well publicized example of the different states of mind about Scientology.

First he was curious about Scientology and suspicious of it.

Then he became involved and, while involved, was treated as an eccentric celebrity, and accepted, but, while in Scientology, he was a little bit of a rebel.

While still a member, but away from Scientology, and encountering people who criticized Scientology, he would defend Scientology, and it's embarrassing to read some of these defenses.

Several years passed.

Becoming more deeply involved, he went to Saint Hill and the Advanced Org, and finally resigned his membership in the "so called Church of Scientology," as he called it in a 1970 article. He still thought parts of the subject had something to offer, but disagreed with the organization and the group-think of Scientology.

While the Organization of Scientology eventually becomes intolerable to most, some see the subject of Scientology as thousands of little pieces, which can be disassembled, rearranged, or discarded. Burroughs appears to have been in that category.

Others see the subject as a giant poisonous blob that must be discarded in its entirety.


There are a number of notable people who have expressed the view that Hubbard contributed something, or otherwise complimented his work, or him, at one time or another.

In return, most were attacked by Hubbard.

(William Burroughs complimented Hubbard, but also, later, critiqued. criticized, and ridiculed Hubbard, and Scientology, while advocating the creation of centers where "squirreling" would occur, yet, as far as I know, he was never attacked. It almost appears that Hubbard was afraid of him. Another example of Hubbard not following his own instructions was Aldous Huxley, who Hubbard had audited in 1950. Months after Hubbard had told Scientologists about the "insanity drug" LSD, he recommended, in a Professional Auditors Bulletin, Huxley's Doors of Perception - in which Huxley described his psychedelic experiences with Mescaline - as a "good book. ")

The "always attack" mentality is built into Scientology, and into Scientologists.

"Slighting" (reducing or diminishing) Scientology or Scientologists is not to be tolerated by Scientology or Scientologists.

Scientologists are taught to be thin skinned.

Hubbard's list of things that should not be tolerated is quite long, and is as old as the subject.

From Science of Survival (1951), to the Manual on Dissemination of Material (1955), to the Manual of Justice (1959), to Keeping Scientology Working (1965), to the Responsibility of Leaders, and Discipline, SPs, and Admin (1967), and it goes on and on.

This puts Scientologists in a state of mind where they are always on the look out of "slights" of any kind.

"The snarling defense... to a critic."

Those with a favorable mindset to some part of Scientology, but not to other parts of Scientology, unless they are careful, will be regarded as "Suppressive Persons" or "squirrels."

Fritz Perls, of the Esalen Institute and founder of Gestalt Therapy.

Dr. J. A. Winter wrote the Introduction to Diantetics, the MSMH in 1950.

Within a year he had moved beyond Hubbard, and wrote, A Doctors Report on Dianetics.

Famous psychotherapist Fritz Perls, wrote the Introduction for Winter's book.

Perls wrote

"The present book is not for anyone who has a fixation, a complete identification with any of the present day schools. Such a person with a fixation will experience anything strange as wrong... Hubbard with his mixture of science and fiction, his bombastic way... his unsubstantiated claims, makes it easy for anyone to reject his work in toto, thus missing any chance to extract any valuable contributions it might contain."

Many years later, after Dr. Winter had died, Hubbard couldn't resits gloating. He wrote in his Manual of Justice:

"Dianetics and Scientology are self protecting Sciences. If one attacks them one attacks all the know how of the mind. It caves in the bank. It's gruesome sometimes. At this instance there are men hiding in terror on Earth because they found out what they are attacking. There are men dead because they attacked us - for example Dr. Winter. He simply realized what he did and died."

In popular contemporary terminology, Scientology is "polarizing." It divides into sharply opposing factions.

As I recall, Werner Erhard, in his autobiography, described L. Ron Hubbard, as the "greatest philosopher of the twentieth century." Unbeknownst to Erhard, Scientology's covert operation to destroy him was already well under way.

His praise would make no difference.

This is the atmosphere of Scientology.

It tends to make discussion of the subject difficult.
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