My old friend, Andy Porter, sent me this article. It’s an eerie look at scientology from a different perspective.
What I find especially interesting is the fact that this gave rise to an outraged piece in the New York Times, yet, as you will see, the conduct they deemed worthy of a lengthy article pales in comparison to scientology.
I would probably have added a parenthetical note to Andy’s title — Amazon: The New Scientology? (Not even close…)
That said, Andy is a great writer and draws many excellent parallels.
Amazon: The New Scientology?
Back in August I heard about the New York Times expose on Amazon. Like most people I read ABOUT the article rather than actually READING the article. My general thoughts were along the line of “Oh, another soulless corporation sucks the life force out of its employees, forcing them to work like zombies to increase profits…move along, nothing new here”.
Then last week I ran across the Amazonian Lawyer response to the article. I was struck by the incredible likeness to the Church of Scientology response(s) to numerous articles and interviews with former members detailing horrific treatment whilst toiling for the cause.
The ploy both used is simple: if you don’t like what a former employee or member says about your group (How DARE anyone attack US!) then you just make them look like degenerate scum suckers out to justify their own criminal actions.
First of all, you have to be really stupid to think that you can handle former employee’s negative comments just by painting them all to be psychos. I mean, doesn’t this response FROM Scientology (or Amazon) basically PROVE that what the critic said was true???
But that’s what Amazon did, naming a few of the people interviewed by the NYT and describing how they were unproductive trouble makers; “defrauding vendors and falsifying business records” (reports gleaned from the employee’s personnel file); sorry, pathetic, miserable losers who just couldn’t measure up to Amazon’s high standards.
Before you read further you need to take a few minutes to see what I’m talking about. Here is a link to an expose about Scientology done by the Tampa Bay Times. This series was a watershed because there were literally dozens of long-term members reporting how the church had become a madhouse of insanity under the leadership of David “the beatings will continue until morale improves” Miscavige.
Read a few of the articles and watch one or two of the interviews with the former high-ups in the church.
Then have a peek (for as long as you can stand it) at the church’s response; a nasty, vitriolic, insane attack on the whistle blowers.
The funny thing about scientology (funny is used loosely here) is the way they attack former staff and members who speak out by culling through their (supposedly confidential) confessional folders for any crimes or misdemeanors that can be trotted out to demonstrate that whoever criticized the church is really someone so deprived and awful that they could never be trusted to tell the truth.
Anyway, after reading the Amazonian Lawyer’s response/counter-attack to the NYT I went ahead and read the original NYT article.
Before I go further I need to disclose two things:
- I have no personal experience with Amazon. I have never been to their office, nor have I ever spoken to any current or former employees.
- On the other hand I do have detailed, firsthand experience with Scientology. I was “in” scientology for almost 2 decades, both as a member and as an employee. If you’re interested you can read an account of my last horrific trip to the Mecca of Scientology.
Several aspects of the picture painted about working in the World of Amazon and the Church of Scientology have an eerie similarity.
On the Hamster Wheel
A common thread of despair painted by the former Amazon staff has to do with pressure to perform. I believe the phrase is “data that allows performance to be measured continuously”. The idea being that every piece of work done is quantified and measured and the data used as a sort of prodding stick to get more production out of the employee. Motivating the Amabots is the term used in the NYT article to describe the relentless pressure brought to bear on employees to increase production.
In Scientology this is known as “Management by Statistics”, Hubbard’s system of quantifying every employee’s products into statistical graphs. In the Church, stats are reported weekly, and each week your stats are expected to be up above the previous. In Scientology (aka “The Church of What Have You Done For Me Lately”) you’d better have your stats up every week with no exceptions or excuses. It is common practice for staff to work until midnight, or 2 am, or all night to “make it go right” and get the stats up before the deadline. Down stats are handled with an iron fist. Hubbard says that one cannot be reasonable with down stats. A staff member in Scientology can be demoted, sent to a rehabilitation program (gulag) and given confessionals to discover his/her crimes behind the down stats. I would wager that all former (and current!) Scientology staff member have had more than one nightmare concerning the weekly stats and the “handling” they received.
Don’t get sick
Maybe the most alarming part of the Amazon story was the numerous reports about sickness, illness and children being considered a “distraction” from work. The idea that an employee would take time off to deal with an illness, whether their own or a family members, and get in trouble in any way is completely fucked. Being put on a “performance improvement plan” because you have breast or thyroid cancer (and your stats are down) is precisely the kind of uncaring, robotic and evil handling one would expect from working in a machine run world.
There are also reports of people getting demoted or enduring some sort of hazing because they had kids, or needed/wanted so spend time with them.
According to the NYT the Amazon response is that such responses to employees’ crises were “not our policy or practice” and “If we were to become aware of anything like that, we would take swift action to correct it.”
This Amabot response also implies that if anyone did do these bad things at Amazon, that we, the upper level management surely didn’t know about it. Clearly, if such sick shit did happen we would have immediately put an end to it.
In Scientology a sick or ill person is labeled a “Potential Trouble Source”. Such individuals are considered to be under some form of suppression, and so in a mental state where they can easily make mistakes which endanger the group. Being sick is also connected with being “out-ethics”, or having committed some sort of bad deeds that helped you somehow “pull in” the illness. This idea that illness is caused by your own bad karma means that YOU are responsible for your own sickness, that you have some spiritual defect. The result is that if you’re in Scientology and you get the flu you tend to feel guilty and try to hide it. Sick and ill people are shunned. Caring and concern are replaced by suspicion and contempt. Scientology staff members who have cancer and other sever illnesses are often off-loaded and kicked out.
The indoctrination inside the church is that NOTHING is more important than being on post and getting the stats up. Taking time off to tend to a sick (PTS) relative would be considered a waste of time.
The idea of child care follows a similar vector. Kids are a distraction. Scientology Sea Org (upper level) staff are urged to get abortions rather than have children. There are literally hundreds of horror stories of how badly kids are and have been dealt with through the Church. Here is the story of Jenna Miscavige, David Miscavige’s niece, and her childhood in the church.
Crying at Their Desk
Despair is partly caused by feeling trapped. A deep hopelessness comes when one cannot conceive a way out. Of course there is ALWAYS a way out. Just leave, go, quit, move on. But when you’re “in” the cult of Scientology (or Amazon) it’s not so easy. There are considerations. Money, friends, relationships, what others will think of you, letting down the group, how it will look on the resume, all of these thoughts and more stick you there like glue. Feeling intense pressure to perform and contemplating the price of failure can make anyone cry.
But in a Scientology organization you simply do not cry at your desk. Doing so would indicate that you had a disagreement with the way things are, you would be accused of dramatizing, and making your senior wrong. In the civilized world of Scientology crying is only done in the dark, alone when no one is around to report your weakness for thought handling.
Similarities and Differences
The biggest difference between Amazon and Scientology is employee compensation. In the Church of Scientology staff members get paid almost nothing. In the upper level management sector, known as the Sea Org staff work an average of 70+ hours a week for a total weekly salary of $50. Clearly this is an area where Scientology has Amazon beat hands down. Getting abused for high pay is one thing, but having the life squeezed out of you for $50 a week, this shows a great sophistication in human motivation on the part of the Church.
Fish Rots from the Head
Why did you stay? Why didn’t you leave sooner? How could you work at such a place? These are common questions to ask of anyone enmeshed in such a group.
There are many answers. One, albeit unflattering, answer is that until this bad shit happens to you personally it’s not real. All the stories of how bad someone else is treated have little impact until…it happens to you.
Then there is the group dynamic. The bond of co-workers is strong. You want to stay and help your team overcome the obstacles. Leaving would be to abandon your pals.
When you do directly witness some bat shit crazy stuff done to other employees, people make excuses for it. The employee who was offloaded had it coming, they deserved it. Bad managers are believed to be just an anomaly. They don’t represent the True Values of those at the top of the pyramid. There is an unquestioned acceptance of the wisdom and compassion of the Top People (or Person) and so any and all bad practices from some mid-level manager are explained away.
I bought into this for many years while in the church. My observations of how bad things had gotten were allayed by my certainty that the top guys were totally awesome, cool dudes. Slowly my eyes opened and I was able to see through the illusion and realized that the actions of the mid-level staff were simply an extension of the intentions and philosophy of those at the very top.
One part of the NYT article that made me laugh was the introduction of the term “Amholes”; a derisive term for former Amazon employees who are combative, pugnacious and work obsessed.
Here is another point where Scientology has Amazon beat hands down AGAIN. Watch this clip from the Anderson Cooper CNN show where several current Scientology staff members talk about their ex-husbands who left the church.
In Scientology ruthlessness is considered a valuable trait. Only the biggest Amhole (aka: David Miscavige) has any chance to rise to the top of the heap. Staff members are trained to be unreasonable and demand production, no matter what. When you’re saving all humankind there is no room for hesitation, kindness or compassion.
I understand that it’s not fair to compare a completely bat-shit crazy cult like Scientology to Amazon. The unpleasant practices detailed in the NYT article are pale shadows of what happens in the church. But there are parallels.
In an effort to increase production and get the stats up it is easy to lose any sense of humanity and caring. In our current corporate run world people are just another commodity, or worse profit center, there to be used until they cannot be used further, and then discarded. I am certain that Amazon is not the only mega-empire doing this sort of shit, in fact they are no doubt not even the worst example out there.
But when the stories of mistreatment are outed and the shit hits the fan the right thing to do is to do a deep analysis of what you’ve morphed into and change it fast. Rooting out the insanity and making things right is the only sane action. Attacking the people who had the guts to report how bad things have gotten only proves to us all that you just don’t get it.
A bit O/T:
But being that you supposedly “bring in” bad things that happen to you (but are common occurrences to everyone else outside the CoS) such as the Flu etc., I’ve always wondered what the CoS line is on rape.
Is that considered something that a “VICTIM” — ‘pulled in’ on themselves? I’ve thought about this question for quite sometime and due to its sensitive nature, I’ve been hesitant to ask about the topic.
If anyone is able to respond I’d be grateful, but I do not expect a response as it may be way too personal.
If I understand correctly from former members…some criminal activities (and to be specific there have been victim first person stories regarding sexual harassment, child abuse both sexually and physically and of course the assaults that have all been alleged, and in many instance corroborated) so there may not be specific LE involvement or reporting. But, how is rape viewed and handled if it occurs both from the pulling it in aspect and the actual handling if reported within church lines.
Andy Porter : ” The indoctrination inside the church is that NOTHING is more important than being on post and getting the stats up. Taking time off to tend to a sick (PTS) relative would be considered a waste of time.”
I have a solid reality on that, Andy. At first when we were just a Mission at PR org , we used to send auditors to the homes of the sick PCs or students to give them Assists. We did it, not so that we could have them on course or the HGC so raise any stats, but because we really cared. Most of them couldn’t believe the sincerity of the gesture (they were quite new to Scn) , but it was quite genuine , I assure you.
But as time went by, staff became insensitive , and mostly fixated on “Thursday before 2pm” quotas. Now, ill PCs or students were a bothersome “Dev-T” (“An inconvenient , bothersome distraction” , to define it for the Never-ins). “He is just PTS” , was the frequent statement as a reply to a senior’s question, “Where the hell is John Doe ?” when asking about a student or PC who had missed on his/her schedule. “Oh, I see, let’s continue with the next student, how is _________ doing….. ?” , was the senior’s reply as if already dismissing the “PTS” student/PC as a possible “stat” , obviously not caring about his/her well being, but looking at him/her as an “obvious” Dev-T particle better left unhandled.
I grow tired of so much insensibility, and just left thinking , “these crazy fucks are no longer doing LRH” , not realizing that Scn’s cultish nature was already Insidiously beginning to show up more markedly within the group. It was not that others were not following LRH, it was that the “Cult Culture” had already been created due to LRH’s OWN policies and practices.
Andy Porter : ” But in a Scientology organization you simply do not cry at your desk. Doing so would indicate that you had a disagreement with the way things are, you would be accused of dramatizing, and making your senior wrong. In the civilized world of Scientology crying is only done in the dark, alone when no one is around to report your weakness for thought handling.”
Not only that, dear Andy, but crying is committing one of the worse administrative crimes in Scn : CASE ON POST ; something LRH was heavily against. Actually, it is classified as a “High Crime” or a “Crime” at least, per the Scn Justice code. I am guilty myself of lots of insensible act as a senior back then when I very much believed in LRH’s bullshit.
Great article , Andy, regardless if those two groups are actually of comparable magnitude or not ; they are not at all , and in this case “similars” are not “similar” to paraphrase LRH. What is similar is the misguided use of lawyers (no offense intended, Counselors) in PR matters. Lawyers and PR mix as well as water and oil. PR should only be handled by PR trained executives who inspect EVERY dispatch a lawyer writes in behalf of the company.
Anyway, your article was very informative, and I really like your writer’s style and your ability to communicate a concept. Much success to you.
How do you manage to integrate your use of light so well in your Fall photos, and how you handle to get perspectives with so much depth ? I didn’t know that one could do that with photos.
Andy Porter says
Hello Theta Clear! Thank you for the comments! As for the photos, there are several things I do to capture such images. I use a full frame DSLR, have a wide (14mm) angle lens, capture the images in the raw format. These things afford a wide depth of field and great detail.
Pastor-Chip Northup says
Mr. Mike is probably the BEST person to differentiate Amazon employees’ woes from Scientology church members’ woes. Setting up a straw-Scientology to poke holes in, to prove Amozon is just as evil should cause great pause. We could set up a straw-3rd-Reich and draw some conclusions, but there is a LONG list of differences between Amzn and the COS. The recruitments tactics, secretness between leaders & laity (churchy words), remuneration; ability to have a private life, and to leave the organization are vastly different. Imagine me saying working at McDonald’s is comparable to the slave experience in America, or the pressure I feel from my car company wanting me to sell cars on a quota is like living under a Stalin Regime or people who experienced the Holocaust. You may say, “Those are extreme examples”, but I just want to mention people who have been trapped, abused, and separated from their families experience those knee-jerk reactions when comparing the COS leaders to the Amzn leaders. The analogy breaks down real fast and often with tears.
There are better analogies. And you sir, are worse than Hitler! (oops, I just did it — sorry), <3
gato rojo says
What a strange article. If this author wanted to criticize scientology, which he had plenty of experience with, he should’ve just done that and gone for the throat. Here it’s confused with Amazon. I think the Amazon comments diluted the impact of everything he said and could have said about scientology.
Anyway….Here we go again, with someone saying that sea org staff “get” $50 a week pay. No WAY do they get that! While in for decades I personally got $50 a week for maybe 10% of the whole time I worked there. It’s usually considerably less than that, $5, $16, or nothing at all for weeks on end. Just sayin’. My TOTAL social security benefits, for when the time comes, garnered from my C of $ pay, is under $3,000. For decades of work. Go figger. Interesting financial future I will have to deal with.
And there were 2 important things left out about why someone stays. 1) Stockholm Syndrome, and 2) most of the people who got in and stayed in at first got something really cool out of it. The “science” behind it, no matter where it came from (earlier psychology studies or religions practices) the stuff can do good if used correctly. And lots of people had a great time with it. But then the really wierd stuff came in with the administration of it and it was like Opposite Day ever day. Sure, you can have these gains and have fun and learn cool stuff, and then you get bashed by these psycho administrative policies (“ethics” included here) and end up being controlled. Before you know it you’ve been duped.
Just had to add all that. Everyone has had their experiences. When I got in I enjoyed what I was doing so much that I thought I could, and wanted to, do it for the rest of my life. I wanted other people to experience what I was experiencing and started working there to do that. Then by involving myself with the administrative bullshit it all went to hell. How the place is run is truly the opposite of what I initially experienced. And now so many changes have been made to the same stuff I enjoyed years ago that I wouldn’t even suggest someone else try it in the class rooms run by the present administration. Step awaaaaaay from that cherch!
Gene Trujillo says
I always had this crazy idea that CofS was supposed to make the lives of the followers ~better~, even staff and kids, and create as little destruction as possible. I was very surprised to find out that such concepts were not widespread.
mark marco says
I remember being on Staff and getting suddenly demoted to janitor. That’s the guy in charge of cleaning everything not in the kitchen of a five story, three-winged monastery that once belonged to the Jesuits*, a building of what must have been 10,000 window-panes… That first week I worked like a rabid dog, mopping and scrubbing floors, walls, windows and the dozen or so bathrooms and such. (some big-wig was supposed to be coming, maybe Martin Samuels…) Just like the article here describes, I did work feverishly until just about collapsing in the middle of the night, night after night.
And we all did, really. All the time.
When payday comes around my pay for that week was less than half the usual $12, they handed me a five dollar bill. My stats were ‘not established’ because it was my first week, that was the justification.
I remember so vividly that term, “being reasonable”, being applied to productivity stats.
“Do not be reasonable with down-stats.” L. Ron did clearly say, as he ceaselessly cracks the whip.
-All of which is just another example of Ron’s war with reason, the epitome that represents his life-achievement.
What really strikes me is how indifferent supervisors were to our total dedication. There is a certain heartlessness involved in this story. I would have to say that that comes from the source, the man himself, LRH. It is the way we were taught. No love. Or, he had all the love of a vulture decending upon a carcass, after the natural love of himself, that is.
[*The Delphian Foundation at Sheridan, Oregon]
Old Surfer Dude says
So very, very glad you’re out, Mark. Heartlessness is what this cult is all about. You went through a lot more shit than I did, my friend!
Ann B Watson says
Hi Mark,Your post reminded me of one of my very first tasks the second day in Sea Org.Clean all the windows on the main lobby of the Hollywood Inn.Doors that were glassed also.I recall the window washing tech was wet newspaper wrung out well in a bucket of water.And those windows had to sparkle with not one tiny speck of a smudge.That old monastery you were tasked as janitor to clean with all those windows!One of the reasons you are a hero to me.You got out too! Before we both ended up working ourselves into an early exit off the planet.Stardust,Ann.
mark marco says
Ann, that is so much the mirror image of my plight!
I, too, had to do windows with newspaper and water and vinegar and, yes, they had to be spotless!
But, the remarkable thing that pops into my mind now is how identically structured that group was to Sea Org. The way we were paid, the way we were made to work, the way we were fed information, the way we were denied information. The way we were always promised auditing that we never got.
Perhaps the most significant trait was the denial of family. Personal liberty was already lost. Seriously, we never got a day off. I don’t recall ever having and entire hour awake and being free to do whatever I would want. I know that sounds impossibly horrid to the outsiders hearing me…
but, if you keep in mind how we believed we were saving the planet from self-destruction, not to mention winning our own immortality, -ies, and that we were surrounded by each other doing the same thing… Well, I hope the uninitiated at least understand the plausibility of the story- how a church can be so utterly decietful – so as to stand in front of the world promising to deliver the key to freedom just so that they can suck you in and make a verifyable slave out of you. It is far worse than the ordinary liar. This “church” is finally being identified for what it really is, for NOT doing so would be a certain crime against humanity.
There lurks a certain danger in the wilderness of spiritual exploration.
It almost seems selfish now to explain how my attempt to attend my father’s (last and only) family reunion was denied. I considered running away to attend, planning then to come back and just suffer the consequences. I had been in a year at that point. But, I didn’t go, and I never really forgave myself for not seeing Dad and my brothers and one sister. It did start my secret grudge against the church, however. And I did get out another year later. And I met you and Surfer Dude. Everybody. And fat chance I get sucked into another false belief-system, huh? Any of us.
It is nice to be sure about something.
Ann B Watson says
Hi mark marco, Truely amazing the mirror image of both our plights! Reading your post I can see how similar your experiences were to mine.Sobering about your family re-union you were not able to go to.I took only four days off to go to Boston for a leave and it really was no leave because the second I came back all hell was waiting for me in div 2.Boxes and boxes of letters in for me and I was supposed to handle all of it asap! That was the only leave I took in four years.In 78 along with all the craziness I was thrown into my late Dad’s mother passed away at 86.I really wanted to go for her funeral I was so close to her having been in Hawaii where she grew up when I was 6 months- almost 5 years old.But my request was denied considering that I was in Treason and the most evil intentioned thetan at Asho,so I missed going.I am so glad as you said so well we are here and not still there.I can truly picture you with those windows! A list of what I hope not to have to use again,tsp,ammonia,vinegar,toothbrushes and scrapers for that damn blue dust! Love and stardust trails across the miles,Ann.
mark marco says
At Delphi, near the end of my “service” there, one poor soul was declared, placed in the condition of “Liability”. I remember seeing him go shamefully by in the hall, forbidden to speak, as we were all duely informed… Honestly, I’m pretty sure none of us (180 Staff, plus some 30 children) were familiar with the action, first-hand knowledge, of anything lower than Non-Existence until poor Tom was declared. He had a speech impediment, too, always studdered. God, they tortured him. I didn’t even realize how badly, as bad as it obviously was. No one had illusions about that.
To be assigned the Danger formula was punishment enough to be called a crisis for yourself. Social carnage is what I would call it now, being in the condition of Danger. Folks, this is Scientology Ethics and you never knew how lucky you were never to have heard of it. The closest word in the English language would be Hell.
So, Treason, huh? Deep. I remember reading that in the original Policy Letter version, what Treason was. Something like “not knowing who your friends are”, if I recall. Pretty scary thing to say to a devout Scientologist, let me tell you. It was a shaky experience just reading about it, in the “safety” of the org library… I always thought you had to be fired if you didn’t get out of Liability, actually thought it just couldn’t get any worse…
“not in the ‘real’ world.”
Today it is a little difficult to sleep, because someone who I consider knowledgable says there must still be 3,000-5,000 active Sea Org individuals, worldwide.
Every one of them operating under Scientologies’ version of the “The Real World”, and the LRH definition of reality. I have to wonder how many of those already know that they are riding a runaway train straight towards a pretty serious identity crisis, ?
Ann, you are the first person in my life that I have ever known to get that far down into pergatory and survive the trip back. Welcome back to the human race, and for all of us here. Ain’t we the bomb. I don’t mean it lightly.
We are the proof that Truth triumphs.
Ann B Watson says
Hi mark marco, Thank you you always understand.Spooky to think that there are Sea Org members sleepwalking up and down the twisted bridge,that may never leave because David’s World is their security,it is all they know.Yes Treason was the condition I was placed in toward the end of my SO time.I have to say of all the conditions Treason was by far the loneliest and the most isolating of all.Your comment on friends rang very true.And when you are very hungry as I was you begin to see shadows behind every sec- checker and every list you run,you wonder Will I be next to go pull weeds in the hot sun all day and night too! So I clawed my way out because I think my spirit willed I do so.Lord knows back then my mind and body even at that point still was under contract to Ron.I love the idea of a book of yours.I have secretly thought you should do that some time ago.You are very talented.I have this darn song stuck in my head.I think it is Foreigner,,the lead singer.I have always liked it.So Love and “Into The Midnight Blue” and ever more,Ann.
Your post brought tears to my eyes. As a never-in, that was one of the most succinct yet devastating descriptions of life inside the cult that I’ve ever read. I hope you’re well and I’m glad you’re out.
mark marco says
Katherine, thanks so much. I have to say it felt good to write it.
Now I feel elevated…[word]… elated! Yes yes yes. I feel very well indeed.
Very nice, unexpected goodness. You are inspiring me to attempt to write the whole story as a novel. (i’ve been attending community college to learn writing, actually)
Thanks for letting me know.-mm
Andy Porter says
Hello and great to see all the comments! Thank you all.
What got me started on the article was not the allegations of workplace pressure at Amazon, but their lawyers (Jay Carney) response to them. They way that his article painted the naysayers as “bitter defrocked apostates” (I still laugh when I think of that phrase) saying that they were guilty of crimes and not to be listened to is so much out of the Scientology playbook that you really have to wonder if there IS a connection.
Since I wrote the article I have now found several more articles concerning the Amazon workplace
And the NYT has now responded to Jay Carney. https://medium.com/@NYTimesComm/dean-baquet-responds-to-jay-carney-s-medium-post-6af794c7a7c6#.h959kd7a0
Differences, similarities and identities; and the ability to perceive them are a hallmark of intelligence.
Claiming that these two groups are identical is stupid. But failing to recognize the similarities between not only Amazon but many other corporate entities is also missing the boat.
Dear Andy: I track with your thinking and comparison here COMPLETELY. I think it is right on.
I am very glad, Year 2021, to be introduced to you through Mike’s blog. I’ve now read a variety of your posts and personal stories. I am grateful for your truth-telling. Hearing of your staff and “public” (your time at Flag) experiences, I am blown away.
One would think, getting out of C of S and reading several posts from fellow former members, former staff and Sea Org especially, that a person would cease to be blown away. Yet, no, that is not what I find. Your tales blew me away newly.
Appreciate you, Andy. Thanks for checking in every once in a while, being a spectacularly gifted photographer, inspiring cancer survivor, and “special correspondent” for Mike’s Something Can Be Done About It blog.
The NYT article was really a hit piece on Amazon and as such, it could, itself, be considered a ‘Freedom’ type report.
I’m sure there’s some truth in there, but the NYT has had enough incidents in the not too distant past where they’ve mangled the facts or the reporter actually fabricated parts of the story that its credibility is suspect.
Amazon and Scientology are light years apart and such ‘apples and oranges’ that comparing them borders on a non-sequitur.
Amazon like the CoS is just trying to make it go right. For the people and child prodigy at the very top, respectively.
Nice post Andy and Mike, I see it no more than an indication of parallelisms even if, as Andy points out, there is no real match between Amazon and the CO$. It is an interesting (and quite intellectual) divertissment and this may be the reason John Locke gets so irritated. Andy is comparing real evil with a company that brings a lot of benefits (and some well earned money) to really a lot o people (Costumers and many employers to start with). Neverless to point out defects is good: I think Amazon will take note of what said on NCY and will do it because, beening in a marketing competitive enviroment, it will be Amazon own interest to do so and to ameliorate if possibile. CO$ never will. My two cents
Interesting article, well detailed and invites to a lot of analyzing about this matter.
I know of jobs that pay little, sometimes you have to put extra time, but you are cared for when sickness or other personal matters arise.
The main core of all this can be summed up in: caring and humanity towards another.
There is nothing wrong in demanding high production if you balance it with some care for the effort given by the employee.
I think that these 2 leaders – the one of amazon and the so called leader of religion of scn are driven by one factor: power, which apparently is assumed because of the amount of money you amass and all combined with ‘don’t care about any one else’.
Statistics used to manage a business are used correctly in other businesses, is the twist of using them to control others that makes the subject a terror to the staff.
Again, the lacking ingredient is care for others; that is what makes the difference between a Bill Gates and an Amazon and/or Scn leader.
Interesting Andy, thank you for the analysis.
Tony Dephillips says
Excellent Andy. Excellent.
Leslie Bates says
On management by Statistics–in high school I had a part time job doing light janitorial work at two candy shops in the downtown Minneapolis for ten hours a week. How does one improve a “stat” on that?
Mike Rinder says
Keep track of the particles of dust removed.
Miscavige announced this as a “statistic” at an event once. The number of particles of dust removed during the restoration of films…
THis is not a joke.
Leslie Bates says
(Raises an eyebrow) IIRC management by stats was tried during the Vietnam War and we lost it. A clear effort was made to identify and correct the faults from that period and based on my experience in the army during latter years of the Cold War I would have to say that DM wouldn’t last ten seconds in Infantry Basic at Fort Benning or at running a mess hall.
Old Surfer Dude says
No shit, Mike? The number of particles of dust removed??? How do you quantify something like that. Good thing you put in, “THIS is not a joke.” Otherwise I never would have believed it. And the insanity continues….
Sneaky Little Phuq says
OSD, Mike is correct, this was for the one series of LRH lectures that was audio and video, they restored the color on it to make it EXACTLY as it happened in the first place (aside of course form the fact that the son of LRH walks into the shot in the original film and in the new and improved film, he is mysteriously edited out; what I want to know is this: How many “dust specs units” did Nibs count for since they had to fully remove him from what was probably at least several hundred individual film images…?
Ann B Watson says
Hi Sneaky Little Phuq,Your post takes my breath away.Takes me back as well.Thank you.Love,Ann.
The mind boggles….
Old Surfer Dude says
My mind just gets moldy…
Jose Chung says
It’s the new now managing taught in Business colleges.
In retrospect L Ron Hubbard was way ahead of his time
in packaging a system of abuse for profit.
I can think of many companies in the US that finally went offshore
to China, Vietnam and India because the revolving door got to expensive.
This is a thought provoking article. There is no corner on whistle blowing. Look at Apple and the China incidents. By far the cherch is the worst and never wants to admit responsibility. Corporations do change if they want to survive.
“In Scientology ruthlessness is considered a valuable trait.”
if the shoe fits….
having or showing no pity or compassion for others.
“a ruthless manipulator”
synonyms: merciless, pitiless, cruel, heartless, hard-hearted, cold-hearted, cold-blooded, harsh, callous, unmerciful, unforgiving, uncaring, unsympathetic, uncharitable; remorseless, unbending, inflexible, implacable; brutal, inhuman, inhumane, barbarous, barbaric, savage, sadistic, vicious
John Locke says
BTW, in 20 years Amazon has never really shown profit of any mention. Why not? Because it plows its money back into more facilities and hiring MORE employees. Something anti-bussiness idiots cannot understand.
John Locke says
Written by a whiner who knows nothing about running a large business. Trying to even put Amazon & the Church of Scamology in the same article shows Andy’s lack of knowledge. Amazon has over 100,000 employees!! The NYT’s scrapped together how many?
LMAO at stupidity.
Mike Rinder says
Sometimes you might want to stop, take a breath and instead of venting personal attacks, try to see if you can find anything intelligent in what others have to say. This article doesn’t “show Andy’s lack of knowledge” — he expressed himself clearly. I didnt really feel it made the point that was most important, which was why I wrote the note at the top. But it did make me stop and think and realize how amazing it is that the NYT finds this so horrendous and doesn’t say a peep about scientology.
Calling his article an example of stupidity is doing nothing other than you trying to make yourself sound superior.
I know Andy Porter and he is anything BUT stupid. Go check out his website of his photography.
Then provide the link to your accomplishments (and real name) and we will see who looks stupid.
Sometimes I just love you, Mike Rinder.
I Yawnalot says
Wow! I looked at Andy’s site, he’s a brilliant photographer. Well worth a look if you like landscape and well constructed images in general. He’s the real deal alright. Thanks for the link.
Tony Dephillips says
Another parallel. Having idiots like John doing more attacking like an osa attack dog for the amholes.
Rachel Cannon says
” Calling his article an example of stupidity is doing nothing other than you trying to make yourself sound superior.
I know Andy Porter and he is anything BUT stupid. Go check out his website of his photography.
Then provide the link to your accomplishments (and real name) and we will see who looks stupid.”
It is about time!!! ; What took you sooooooo long ?
” I know Andy Porter and he is anything BUT stupid. Go check out his website of his photography.”
I just did, and I got to admit, his photos are spectacular , specially his “Fall Photos tour”. I mean, the harmony of the colors, the perfect intensity and use of the light, the perpect perspectives, is just awesome. You are a great artist, dear Andy ; a great artist indeed.
Way to go, Mike! Woo Hoo!
Ann B Watson says
Hi Mike,I was just thinking about Andy Porter last night,remembering that his post here was one of the first I ever read when new to this blog.I had loved his photography and was thinking of that,when this am there was this amazing article.Thank you so much for posting it and Andy I will keep this because it is that powerful and shows what does go on in Sea Org then and now.Amazon has learned well too well the mantra of cos.Always Ann.
Yes, I read the NY Times article. I also read a rebuttal by an independent current Amazon employee rebuttal who posted to his LinkedIn account. I’m not saying one side or the other is correct. It’s just that I found both accounts compelling. Here’s the rebuttal:
Myrklix, I read the entire Amazon engineer’s (Nick’s) rebuttal. If only Scientology management could respond to criticism as Nick did, they wouldn’t suffer from bullet-riddled feet.
Nick addressed the NYT article point by point, never resorting to ad hominem or denial, other than to say he hasn’t witnessed the practices reported in the article. By its open and apparently factual nature, his rebuttal does cast doubt on the NYT’s journalists and their journalistic practices.
Amazon should fire the lawyers who responded on their behalf to the NYT article. Their lawyers, like Scientology’s, seem to specialize in attack dog tactics. Methinks that hiring lawyers to deal with PR matters isn’t wise.
Scientology management’s inability to constructively deal with criticism is an undeniable indication of their mindset. That mindset prevents them from doing anything else.
I agree, WhatWall. Thanks.
What are the chances that the head/s of Amazon are $cientologists, ex Sea Org? Pretty good, I’d say.
Mike Rinder says
Virtually 0 I would say. There are so few scientologists in the world…
Am replying here — simply because the “make a comment” at the end of the page isn’t coming up on my computer — (no doubt due to aliens and/or OSA 🙂
In any case — I recommend reading a newish book — best seller —
“Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success” Adam M. Grant
as well as signing up for the daily blurb from Seth Godin (huge blogger) who wrote the introduction to a new book by one of my teachers — buddhist nun Pema Chodron. Seth ISN”T a buddhist and his blog is all about business …
Business is changing — transparency is what people are demanding. With a good dose of courage, integrity and using social media to get the point across.
I have never worked for Amazon. Nor been in a building of theirs. However, I use AMAZON all the time — just like I will shop at K-Mart or Wal-Mart — hey — I live in the middle of nowhere — there is NO Target 🙂 — just got our first Starbucks 2 years ago. And it can’t have signage.
Point being — Amazon has great deals. Can get everything nearly overnight etc. AND it does employ a bazillion people. ;;
In any case — just like Mike and Marty’s and Tony’s blogs have exposed and are continuing to expose — change comes slowly to an oil tanker. Hard to turn around on a dime. Scientology will reform … maybe … at least it has a tiny bit. At least this is what I’ve heard.
Just beware of calling all things PART OF THE EVIL EMPIRE — least you happen to visit on occasion.
My 2 cents.
Mike Rinder says
Agreed on the Evil Empire WH. I really don’t think Amazon is anything close to scientology, they hold no “eternity” over anyone nor enforced disconnection. They operate in the free market and are enormously successful.
It was thought provoking to read it though.
My thoughts at the top may not be all-inclusive, but it struck me what a double standard there is. As soon as you can hide behind the cloak of the First Amendment you have freedom to do pretty much anything you want.
Absolutely agree about hiding behind the cloak of the first amendment. Scientology is so far from a church I laugh. So far from ensuring anyones personal eternity — scientology is simply a scam IMHO …
I *try* to find something I can appreciate about scientology — I find next to nothing EXCEPT THOSE OF US who were part of the tribe … there is a tight tribe of former Sea Org members … another tribe of former INT Sea Org members etc etc — and we somehow find each other and start our own journey of removing what I am now calling … GLASS SHARDS.
You don’t even KNOW you have them — weird ways of thinking and behaving — because they are GLASS — not made of metal …
Obviously a metaphor …
I was just in an amped up mood this AM — probably wouldn’t have mentioned a thing … we are monitored by our moods … reaction and then acting — OR reaction and then having the ability to just let the mood pass … moods always do.
Unless fuel by more and more “story”
Ann B Watson says
Hi windhorse, Thank you for your post.Still pulling out glass shards and very happy I have comrades doing the same.Always,Ann.
Tony Dephillips says
maybe one of the higher ups did a “prosperity” seminar at the cult?
Dawn, please read the Amazon employee’s rebuttal to the NYT article:
His response is proof that Amazon has very little common with the Church of Scientology. Andy’s article is very well reasoned and insightful, but it looks like the NYT article is hack job.
Lori S says
I have never been in Scientology. I have worked extensively in the corporate and non-profit sectors. Like anyone who has worked long enough, I have had my share of unreasonable managers. During these tenors, I knew they were being unreasonable and that I would have to ride it out until they moved on or I moved on. But something weird happened along the way. Even as an independent thinker who does not derive my self-worth from others, I would find myself trying to meet their crazy expectations. I did this not just for job security, but for some warped sense of approval from someone I knew was not reasonable. It is a very strange thing that happens when you are a part of an organization. That is why Scientology fascinates me. I cannot imagine the pull it has on members to try to meet the ruthless expectations of a crazy man. It takes a lot to fight that pull and walk away. I am concerned as a human being for those that are being abused in Scientology. It is not like working for a corporation. You can walk away from a job and get another one. It is painful to risk losing monetary and career gains, but it is possible. How much harder it must be to walk away from Scientology when you literally leave behind most if not all of your family and friends.
I Yawnalot says
Very good thinking and observance there Lori. One point about a scientologist that a non-scientologist has trouble comprehending is the “eternity” of it all. Your reference to meeting their crazy expectations or deriving self worth from others is close but lacks the basic motivation a scientologist has for sticking with the organisation or fighting (putting up with the outrageous treatment) to remain in it’s good graces. In other words, they are shit scared of being denied their own eternal salvation which only the church as they see it can provide.
Scientology promises to have the technology to get you back to your native state as a spiritual being. Being human is way down the pecking order of existence with all its suffering, wars and injustices etc. and life in meat bodies is an endless birth-live-death cycle over and over forever. Auditing does introduce a new type of organised therapy and there’s no denying it does have an effect which leads you to believe it is the way out for you as a spiritual being – total freedom is its claim. Whether that is true or not I guess we’ll never know as the organisation that is meant to safeguard it is as criminally corrupt as an organisation can get without resorting to open brutality. The first causality of the scientology regime as it stands today was the corruption of its only asset – the tech. Many will argue it’s always been a con, maybe, maybe not, but to find that out would be extremely tough as there’s a mountain of confusing issues about it now. Some old timers (like myself) saw the church operating in a very different work environment than it has been manipulated under the dictatorship of the insane and very much an asshole of a human being – david miscavige.
The evolution of scientology by one man being regarded as “source” of it all is pretty remarkable but that alone presents a trap and mindset which being run by para military style organisation has morphed into a nightmare of a dictatorship. It is as insane as it appears, in fact more so than anyone who has never experienced it can comprehend.
Good luck with your endeavours to understand it.
I, too, am an old timer (funny, I don’t *feel* old! ) and recognize that things were very different back in earlier years. Perhaps it was always crazy, or Hubbard was. I just know that I had personal revelations, major changes in personality (which even my non-scio friends lauded) and a further opening into the world of spirituality. When scio got observably insane/criminal (to me), I simply stopped playing. It wasn’t hard. I didn’t make a big deal out of it, just didn’t show up any longer. But the air sure smelled sweeter. And I hope for those still in that they get some fresh air going.
I Yawnalot says
Yeah, me too. It seems like another millennium completely when the saying was, “if it isn’t fun it isn’t scientology.”
I was a psychotic ex-soldier who was bored out of my wits with the insanity of the mundane world of 9 to 5 earn a buck, earn a buck, earn a buck. Took up the arts and risky business but couldn’t keep still for very long. Scientology came along and was fun until it imploded with miscavige at the helm gaining more and more control over the application of the tech and fucking it up at every opportunity. Cancelling auditing certs was the turning point for me, so many dedicated long term and experienced auditors were simply erased from the scene. By the late 80s early 90s the church was well and truly screwed and ceased to exist as anything like it was, it started to fed upon itself. It just got nuttier and nuttier, especially with the SO dominating more and more in CL4 orgs, stripping them of anyone useful by either recruiting them or declaring them and then ripping off the public with insane pressure to donate without exchange.
But prior to that I got my head sorted and began to like myself. That is something I thought I would never do. I don’t agree with those who say it’s all a scam. From where I was and with what I did and received I benefited until I too just walked out the door because the insanity finally overcame the effort. Maybe it was crazier in the US than here in Australia at that time, I don’t know but scientology is dead as an organisation, that’s for sure.
roger gonnet says
Not only amazon, but many other “companies” do suck their people like cults do.
Apple runs like a cult (and pays almost nothing its employees from China)
It looks that the modern world is so fucked by some few tens of hyper-millionaires, that even universities teach illegal methods to get a max. Sad society.