Thursday, June 17, 2021
Saturday, June 12, 2021
I'm at an age where I have been thinking alot about the "road not taken". What would my life be like if I had zigged instead of zagged? So while we are on the subject of Scientology and mental health, I feel like mentioning that in another life I might have been some flavor of shrink. (I've been facinated with psychology as far back as 8th grade when I had to do a huge school project about Sigmund Freud. And my interest continued enough that I majored in psychology in college).
Honestly, if I had had a vocation in mental health, I would probably be some kind of "anti-psychiatrist". To be clear, I'm definitely NOT an advocate for the extreme beliefs of Scientology which are categorically opposed to pretty much all forms of psychological or psychiatric treatment. But many of the thinkers who appealed to me tended to be critical of the mental health field and were trying to push it in a new direction.
I was intrigued by Thomas Szasz and his ideas about The Myth of Mental Illness ("mental illness" is less a disease and more a metaphor for people who have some kinds of problems with living). For the record I do NOT believe mental illness is just a metaphor. There are certainly people with chemical imbalances in the brain or people who are neurodivergent. But I'd still think it is worth exploring other counter-points (like R.D. Laing's approach to schizophrenia or the implications of the Rosenhan Experiment).
Another influence / source for me would be Frantz Fanon and his ideas about how racism and colonialism lead to certain neuroses, and how poltical resistance can lead to healing (along with the publication The Radical Therapist which looked at the social dimension of mental health, as opposed to just the individual component).
I'm also a fan of Na'im Akbar and the way he fused Afrocentricity in a natural way with Quranic ideas (In contrast to how other Afrocentrists framed Islam as an anti-African religon). I also liked Laleh Bakhtiar and the idea of moral healing. And in general I'd think Sufism has some valuable insights in terms of mental states and personal development.
For another chunk of my teenage years I was really into existentialism. And was really drawn to Existential Therapy along with Viktor Frankl and Logotherapy. I was especially impressed with Frankl's ideas about the need for meaning, and the capacity to find it, even in the most extreme of circumstances.
And while it might seem contradictory to the above, I've also tended to like B.F. Skinner. While I would not follow the extremes of his radical behaviorism, I think he offered a valuable corrective to the way some psychologists tended to invent and multiply concepts, structures, diseases, etc. There is something useful in trying to focus on visible behaviors and minimizing the assumptions that we make.
Friday, June 11, 2021
Tuesday, June 08, 2021
This is actually an older link but I'm honestly a bit late thinking about this so I'm going to post it anyway. This is actually about a scene from the first season of The Handmaid's Tale. So apparently other people out there are are drawing connections between the content of the show and the faith and practice of Scientology.
Tony Ortega: Elisabeth Moss in this week’s ‘Handmaid’ sure sounded like FBI testimony about Scientology
Sunday, June 06, 2021
At the end of season 3 episode 2 there is an odd sequence. Emily is an ex-Handmaid who has spent years trapped in Gilead while her Canadian wife and son managed to escape across the border. At the end of season 2 she manages to escape across the border but she is still too traumatized to reconnect with family so she's living with June's husband and her friend Moira. At the end of the episode in question, the show spends several minutes showing us Emily going to an optometrist.
We don't really see her have any particular emotional breakthrough except after she is fitted with glasses she finally summons the courage to call her wife.
What possible connection might there be between Scientology and eyesight? Is correcting one's eyesight symbolically connected to being "spiritually" clear? Perhaps.
Tony Ortega: Scientology and Eyesight
Friday, June 04, 2021
Vice: Scientologists Really, Really Hate Psychiatrists
Silent birth, sometimes known as quiet birth, is a birthing procedure advised by L. Ron Hubbard and advocated by Scientologists in which "everyone attending the birth should refrain from spoken words as much as possible" and where "... chatty doctors and nurses, shouts to 'PUSH, PUSH' and loud or laughing remarks to 'encourage' are avoided". According to Scientology doctrine, this is because "any words spoken are recorded in the reactive mind and can have an aberrative effect on the mother and the child." Hubbard believed that breaking the silence during childbirth with words could adversely affect the child later in life
Tony Ortega: Scientology's fundamental feature: the thousand-year stare
Tony Ortega: Scientology Starts Out as Staring Contests
Wikipedia: Training Routines (Scientology)
Fans Can’t Stop Joking About Those June Close-Up Scenes on The Handmaid’s Tale
Monday, May 17, 2021
Sunday, May 16, 2021
I realize I haven't been posting with any kind of regularity. InshaAllah, I'll try to change that up, at least a little. Especially with COVID lockdowns, police shootings, now trouble in Palestine and other more personal stuff I'm way too stuck in my own head. I need some kind of healthy self-expression. And Facebook has been getting toxic and addictive lately.
I have some novel / novella / graphic novel ideas I want to work on. Also I've been too caught up in religious arguments on other people's pages lately. I feel like I might benefit from just putting together my own thoughts on my own terms and sharing them. Even if it is only to get them out and let them go.
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Friday, June 01, 2018
Friday, May 11, 2018
Friday, September 22, 2017
Monday, February 13, 2017
On my way home this story was on the radio: An Indian American Muslim singer resurrects an old civil rights anthem. It struck me as a really "Grenada-esque" story.
The new version of the song: