Next in the ongoing series of essays by Terra Cognita. See earlier posts here: A Story, Auditing: a PC’s Quest for the Holy Grail, The Knowledge Report, Integrity, The Almighty Stat, The Reg, The Horrors of Wordclearing, Why Scientologists Don’t FSM, Respect, The Survival Rundown – The Latest Scam, Communication in Scientology… Or Not, Am I Still A Thetan?, To Be Or Not To Be, An Evaluation of Scientology, Fear: That Which Drives Scientology and Justification and Rationalization.
The Way to Happiness – Really?
Ron Hubbard compiled twenty-one precepts into a book called The Way to Happiness. Primarily printed as a pocket-sized pamphlet, TWTH is given away as means of enticing people into Scientology.
Luring new people into Scientology with free pamphlets is dumbed-down dissemination at best. Unfortunately for the church, it’s the best they can do these days.
LRH said books made booms. Selling copies of Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health might have gotten people excited forty or fifty years ago, but today, the church can barely give away the book. The average young person in the 21st century would no sooner read DMSMH as he would sell his Mac Book Pro for $19.95. Unless your name is J K Rowling, books from Bridge do not make booms.
Parishioners have been leery of disseminating to their family, friends, or co-workers for quite some time. There are lots of reasons for this which I won’t go into now. Suffice it to say, FSMing (being a Field Staff Member) has died.
Pulling new people in off the street for a Test Eval (via the famous 200 hundred question Oxford Capacity Analysis) is another method of dissemination that seems to have fallen on hard times. I remember when a good Div 6 reg could pull a guy’s ruin from an OCA graph in the afternoon and have him doing TR’s on the Comm Course that evening. The last staff member at my local org any good at this left long ago.
David Miscavige’s solution to dissemination was to create “ideal orgs,” in which new people would wander in off the streets, watch inspiring videos, and sign up for courses. Since DM is actually afraid of people (per standard, LRH SP tech) he designed a system of dissemination that removed human beings from the equation. We all know how that’s going. From orgs to morgues.
Effective dissemination takes hard work and lots of confront. Staff and public can be counted on for the hard work. As for the “lots of confront,” not so much. The more people learn the truth about Scientology, the harder it’s become to convince the public that the tech works. And because the church’s reputation has become so tarnished, the words Dianetics and Scientology have been omitted from the book. Deceptive practices?
If Scientologists really believed Dianetics made Clears, they’d be passing out copies of DMSMH. But since they don’t, and since their confront level has fallen so low, handing out free pamphlets is about all they can face.
Hard Sell, Soft Sell
LRH was all about hard selling Scientology. If a reg didn’t have a wad of cash in her hand by the end of the reg cycle, she was a failure—or at least a downstat. TWTH is the complete opposite of the hard sell. TWTH is the milquetoast of dissemination.
There is no softer method of pushing Scientology than handing a person an innocuous, nameless pamphlet and wishing him a good day. Giving away TWTH is only slightly higher on the scale of selling than a Christian Science Reading Room. Sad.
Not All Bad
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing inherently wrong with TWTH. Its precepts are straightforward and easy to understand. They make sense. Everyone agrees that taking care of oneself, and loving and helping children are worthwhile endeavors. It’s usually a good idea to “not murder,” and there’s nothing wrong with “flourishing and prospering.”
Nothing is groundbreaking about TWTH. Nothing is the least bit controversial. Its message is practical and sound—if not slightly insipid. It’s almost impossible to disagree with any of the precepts.
I’m not suggesting TWTH doesn’t have a purpose and can’t be used constructively. But what does it have to do with the reactive mind and ruins and spiritual development and getting to the root of what’s holding a person back in life?
TWTH is better suited as a primer for kids than for adults trying to make sense of their lives.
At most of his events, David Miscavige proudly boasts to the number of TWTH pamphlets passed out in third world countries and storm-ravaged cities (or as Degraded Being, wrote, nuked ones). We never hear, though, about what percentage of these people later walk into a Scientology church and buy something—or much less, make it upstairs to Division 4. The percentage must be staggeringly low.
In the over three decades TWTH has been out, not a single person ever crossed the threshold of my local org and started a service due to having read the booklet.
There are no hard, verifiable stats backing up the claim that TWTH makes a difference in personal lives, communities, or Colombia.
I seem to recall LRH wrote that people didn’t value things that were free, and thus, should always be charged good money for books and services. I was taught to never give away Scientology books to friends, but to charge them full price. Apparently, a person will read a book he’s paid for, but not necessarily one he receives for free. Really?
I never embraced the concept of having to pay money for something to appreciate its value. I don’t have to own a Van Gogh or Monet to take pleasure in their brilliance. I saw both in a museum recently. Beautiful. People have passed on lots of books to me over the years that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
So what does this have to do with TWTH being free? Except for LRH turning over in his grave, I don’t know.
Its Own Organization
The church has distanced itself from TWTH by creating a separate organization: The Way to Happiness Foundation. As well as the negative connotations associated with Scientology, I’m sure there are legal and financial reasons for the separation.
Whatever the excuse, a person should be wary of any organization or company that’s afraid to display their name and logo in big bold letters on their products and services. Groups that have to create “back doors” into their organizations should be avoided.
As a dissemination tool, The Way to Happiness is useless and is just another indicator of how far the church has fallen.
Still not Declared,