Recently, you may have caught wind that Scientologists in Portland, Oregon held the grand opening of their new Church building. It is a massive new building, gorgeous in every way, and intensely purposeful in design. Definitely check out the photos of the building – it’s impressive.
For me – despite the fact that I live on the opposite side of the country – I feel just as proud as the local Scientologists, and just as hopeful for the future as to what this church will bring.
See, for me, Portland is not just another city, but is where I really came into my own as an individual, as an adult, and as a Scientologist. There are so many ways that the Church of Scientology played an inextricable part of that growth, that I wanted to share at least a bit of that.
How do you quantify personal growth?
Looking back on my history in Portland (where I lived for around 9 years before heading back Eastward), my time in and around the church was punctuated by a number of fairly significant turning points in my life – all of which were helped along by staff and Scientologists around the Portland church.
- Cutting my Teeth as a Community Volunteer: It was fitting, I think, that the Executive Director of the Portland Marathon spoke at the Grand Opening of the Church, as it was at the Portland Marathon that I did my first work as a Scientology Volunteer Minister – helping runners as they came across the finish line.
I’ll never forget my first experience there – watching as a confident runner — thinking he was far and away the victor of the marathon – came running energetically to the finish line. Little did he know, another runner was flying up behind him, and ended up passing him in the final 10 yards of the race. That formerly-confident runner collapsed in a heap in my arms – his sweaty body now ice cold and feeling like a cadaver. Getting him helped into a thermal blanket and brought back up to being functional with fluids and a Locational Assist sticks in my mind as my first real action as a community volunteer where I knew for sure I’d helped someone personally.
It continued with other volunteer work I did with Portland’s Volunteer Ministers, helping sandbag homes and save a local catholic church during the Willamette Valley Flood of 1996.
It really was in Portland that I decided that my life needed to be about helping others, as that’s where the real satisfaction lay.
- The Key to Life Course: For quite some time, on my way through high school and college, I had formed a strange personal conclusion that I was unable to learn anything really technical. I was OK as a designer, I could tinker with computers, but I was stuck making near-minimum wage doing fairly low-end work. Then, one summer, I decided to do the Key to Life Course at the Portland Church. The course picks apart the subject of language and one’s ability to understand things conceptually, and what all that has to do with communication. It is, in a woefully inadequate word, incredible. Within months after this course, I had upgraded jobs twice, putting me on a new career path as a systems engineer – a career I’ve enjoyed to this day.
- The Use of Communication in Life: On another note, related to the above, I took two different communication courses at the Church in Portland. After the more advanced course I had come to what was, for me, a pretty life-changing realization: That any social or life situation could be resolved using communication alone. It seems so basic – and not only that, but obvious. But it was something that I really knew then, for myself — that using communication, one no longer had to “hold grudges” or have to have arguments & fights, or harbor disagreements or any other variation of such.And that, in and of itself, is one of the most cherished points of stability I’ve gained as a Scientologist — that you don’t have to sit around with a problem – it can be handled with communication.
There are so many other angles and facets to why the Portland Church of Scientology is so special to me. Part of it, also, lies in how much this was a whole-community effort spanning so many years, to bring this new building into existence.
As such, I know that there will be so many more stories like mine borne out of this new Church – which has as its mission the empowerment of others and thus the community.
Just listened to a really nifty quote in the Life Continuum lectures, as part of my study of the Scientology Basics. It’s in the lecture entitled “Yes, No and Maybe”, and LRH is talking about how terrible it is to just sit there, stuck in a “maybe”. He says:
I thought that a fitting and useful quote for attacking life!
I snapped this pic on my way back to the Metro today. It’s awful nice to see the Fraser Mansion back in action as the new Church of Scientology National Office. I’ve got so many fantastic memories of being on staff there – I know virtually every square inch of that building. Well, at least I used to. The renos in the building for its new purpose as a meeting ground for all of the Church’s social betterment programs has definitely changed a few of the spaces.
I sometimes run into people that try to tell me that my views on psychiatry are wrong because “depression is a real problem” and so forth. I’m not, and have never disputed whether or not the phenomena that psychiatrists observe in the DSM are acutally observable. They definitely are. It’s what is then done with that observation that sets apart psycho-pharmacology and every other profession of earth.
By drugging to “ameliorate symptoms” (actual words used in drug literature) they’re looking to numb the observability of the symptoms rather than handle the root cause.
What if Sysadmins Operated like Psychiatrists?
So, to illustrate this, what if a system administrator operated like a psychiatrist?
Scenario: A user comes up to the sysadmin, frantic. He says, “You need to help me – the server is down.”
When asked what behaviour he’s seeing, he says that there’s a message on the screen saying it can’t connect to the server.
“Ah – so your problem is that you’re seeing an error message on the screen!”
The sysadmin would then have an array of powerful tools at his disposal to handle the problem he can:
- Hang a piece of construction paper over the screen so that the user can no longer see the error message
- Install a plugin on his browser to suppress the error message from coming up,
- Write some dummy code to make the user think the site is working when it’s in fact not
- Simply power off the computer (as it will then no longer display the error message)
- Change the user’s computer’s UI language to Icelandic so that he can’t understand whether the software is working or not (“It says – ‘Þessi hugbúnaður er completetely helvíti!’ — that must mean it’s working!!”
- Hook up a monitor from someone else’s computer to the user’s desktop, so they can think they’re doing work
There are a nearly infinite number of ways that a sysadmin could go about describing the problem describing how the error makes you feel, etc.
One could say that the error message is due to an imbalance of electricity in the computer which is causing it to display an error message, and the handling is to rebalance things so that the error message doesn’t display.
None of these things fix the fact that the user cannot connect to the server and get work done.
Obviously, sysadmins cannot operate that way, as everyone knows that computer systems should work, and a good sysadmin can debug a system, find the root cause, handle it, and get the system working again.
Drug company marketing, however, has been working hard to convince the public that the root cause is a chemical imbalance in the brain (a marketing gimmick) or that the root cause can simply not be handled. One just “has a condition” which nothing can be done about except making it “easier to live with.”
This video on the marketing of insanity is worth a view. It’s good to know whether or not what’s been told to you as a “medical fact” is really just a marketing pitch to obscure the fact that the doctors you’re talking to don’t actually know how to handle the root cause of your problems.
Philadelphia Psychbust, a set on Flickr.
I got back from Philadelphia late last night, so I’ve only just gotten to upload a few photos – but we definitely had a thing or two to say about the APA’s new DSM V release party.
My daughter’s opinion on the matter?
“In that big building are PSYCHS. They are bad men and they get a sad face and they get NO TREATS.”
And as an FYI, in case you hadn’t heard, the UK’s #1 Swing Band, The Jive Aces have a bunch of their recent tunes out there on Spotify right now.
The Jives are my favorite swing band, and listening to them at work is a constant reminder to me that I need to somehow get back into swinging with my wife.
Spent some quality time in the library of the Founding Church of Scientology last night, reading my book & catching up on some essays for the course I’m taking with it.
It’s another thing I like about the ideal org building we have for our local church – makes it such a nice place to just sit & read.