Review of L. Ron Hubbard's "The Problems of Work"
It sucks! Don't read it if you're thinking about joining Scientology. If you were pressured into buying it, and are thinking of joining their "church" throw that fucking thing away.
But if you're a weirdo like me, it's fascinating! Why? Because it's written by a cult leader / American con-man who knew how to bang out a manuscript. I listen to the mad ramblings of cult leaders the way dolphins listen to water.
The deal with this book in the actual pyramid scheme of Scientology is as follows: You do a "free" personality test. It sounds fun & light & "why not" but the truth is that it's psychologically intensive and begins the cult indoctrination process. I heard a story about somebody who decided to do the free Scientology personality test as a laugh, only to end up leaving the cult 10 years later.
So, you do this personality test. And the result is always the same. You're a broken person, and Scientology has a "low cost" course to fix your ruin. One of those courses is "The Problems of Work." Again, the buy in here is that your biggest life problem will be solved with a low price of like $50-$100 (around that range). You say something like, "Well fuck that's nothing compared to getting my life in order."
Then you do the course, read the accompanying book (as I have), and there may be one little practical thing that you can apply. So you feel like the book is having a real positive effect on your life. Then you get hard sold by the Scientologist who now have all your personal information (phone / address / social media / etc) to do a more expensive course, to really really REALLY experience the life-changing benefits of Scientology.
And so it goes forever, dangling the carrot of spiritual enlightenment in front of your eyes until you leave the cult decades later an angry person requiring a lot of therapy.
By the way, the practical techniques you learn in these Scientology courses — the stuff that makes people believe Scientology uniquely works; which people spend millions of dollars to learn — can easily be discovered by doing a full day's worth of YouTube searches, or just reading actual self-help books about success, emotional intelligence, communication, etc...
But yeah I read the whole thing. It was written in 1957. Considering that it's over 50 years old, and written by a crazy person, it's a pretty psychedelic read. Light one up — cause here comes some L. Ron Mutha'Fuckin' Hubbard quotes...
Disclaimer: I'm not collecting these quotes as proof of his genius, the efficacy of his techniques, or anything of the sort. This is all for your entertainment. Some bits of info are quite common sense (wait till you get to the quote about "taking a walk" 🙄) and so, yeah, have practical application. But this is all about the intellectual lolz.
1. "Until one selects ONE datum, ONE factor, ONE particular in a confusion of particles, the confusion continues. The ONE thing selected and used becomes the STABLE DATUM for the remainder."
2. "Did you know that a mad person could be made well simply by getting him convinced that he has some purpose in life? Well, that can happen. It doesn't matter how thin or artificial that purpose may be, mad people can be made sane with it."
3. "It is, as we have shown, rather easy to knock a person into a state of confusion. All you have to do is locate his Stable Datum on any subject and shake it. This is a trick we all use. For instance, we are arguing about economics with a friend: we don’t agree with him. We ask him where he got such an idea. He says somebody wrote it in such-and-so. We attack the writer or the paper and discredit it. In other words, we win our argument by shaking his Stable Datum as nearly as we can find it."
4. "The cycle of action of this universe is start, change and stop. This is also the anatomy of control. Almost the entire subject of control is summed up in the ability to start, change and stop one’s activities, body and his environment."
5. "Nevertheless it is obvious in various experiments which have been made in Scientology that life, no matter what its emotional tone or lack of it, is in essence a game and that the elements of life itself are the elements of games. Primary amongst these is the necessity in a game to have an opponent or an enemy. Also a necessity is to have problems... To live life fully then, one must have in addition to 'something to do', a higher purpose and this purpose to be a purpose at all, must have counter-purposes or purposes which prevent it from occurring."
6. "How do you talk to a man then? You establish reality by finding something with which you both agree. Then you attempt to maintain as high an affinity level as possible by knowing there is something you can like about him. And you are then able to talk with him. If you do not have the first two conditions it is fairly certain that the third condition will not be present which is to say, you will not be able to talk to him easily."
7. "If you could look through the eyes of the person in sub-apathy you would see a very watery, thin, dreamy, misty, unreal world indeed... If such a person is working a crane and the crane suddenly goes out of control to dump its load on a group of men, that sub-apathy crane operator will simply let the crane drop its load. In other words he is a potential murderer."
8. "While these definitions may seem very elementary and would not at all satisfy an M. I. T. professor they actually outreach and encompass an M. I. T. professor’s whole field of activity. Truths do not have to be complicated."
9. "An individual could regain his ability over his immediate tools simply by touching them and letting them go. This might seem rather pointless and he is apt to reach the level of boredom and become bored with the process. Just above this level is the pay of becoming enthusiastic... He would be, in essence, moving himself from a moment of time where he was sick or injured, up to present time. The maxim here is that one must do one's work in present time. One must not continue work in old moments of injury."
10. "Scientology has rather completely established the fact that the downfall of the individual begins when he is no longer able to work. All it is necessary to do to degrade or upset an individual is to prevent him from working."
11. "Exhaustion then is actually the subject of a Scientology practitioner since only a Scientologist can adequately handle it."
12. "Now here is a process known as, 'Take a Walk'. This process is very easy to perform. When one feels tired on finishing his work, no matter if the thought of doing so is almost all that he can tolerate without falling through the floor, he should go out and walk around the block until he feels rested. In short he should walk around the block and look at things until he sees the things he is walking near. It does not matter how many times he walked around the block, he should walk around the block until he feels better."
13. "But one should certainly spend some time extroverting after having introverted all day."
14. "Jobs are not held consistently and in actuality by flukes of fate or fortune. Those who depend upon luck generally experience bad luck. The ability to hold a job depends in the main upon ability. One must be able to control his work and must be able to be controlled in doing his work. One must be able as well to leave certain areas uncontrolled. One’s intelligence is directly related to his ability. There is no such thing as being too smart. But there is such a thing as being too stupid."
15. "The person who studiously avoids work usual works far longer and far harder than the man who pleasantly confronts it and does it. Men who cannot work are not happy men."