Sunday, March 27, 2016

Spring - the cruelest season

Last week we "sprang forward with Day Light Saving time, and this week the robins are back, as well as the geese and all kinds of birds that twitter loudly at the crack of dawn.  Although Eliot wrote that "April is the cruelest month, around here, in New England it's not just April, it's the whole season.  We cannot expect the occasional warm days to return tomorrow. It's sun and rain and bits of snow and chilly and green grass and spring flowers that often get battered by sudden cold winds. Spring comes little by little. The lawn I look out at is green; there are wonderfully tiny little purple flowers and I'm sure soon dandelions will pop out. The forsythia bush has had fattening buds for some time but it seems foresighted enough to wait to burst into golden little flowers for a few more warm days yet. But every spring a week arrives when i discover that nearly every lawn on Pitchers Way, and on most other roads I travel has an abundance of forsythia which suddenly all turned golden.  Meanwhile the wonderful variety of homes along my favorite road, old 6A, two lane, twisting and turning and  two lanes only, each suddenly display their plantings of daffodils, crocuses, tulips, rhododendrons and soon, also the azeleas. Meanwhile from day to day it's impossible to know how to dress and whether or not to carry an umbrella.  This has been going on all of March and will continue, truly right though the first of June. It's not until July that summer really comes, dependably, although by then the hydrangia will have been glorious in all its variations from pink to blue to mauve, to purple and the roses will be pink and red and white.  It's beautiful, we take it as it comes.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Oscar winning documentarian does it again

Oscar winning documentarian, Alex Gibney, has taken on Scientology, fully knowing he would be harassed and slandered -- and he has been. He can't stand tyrants and he clearly sees (shows graphically) the similarity between David Miscavage, head of the Church of Scientology, and Hilter -- at least for those of us who have been taking a documetary class for a few years and saw Leni Reifenthal's Triumph of the Will.

Going Clear: the Prison of Belief shows the steps of mind control that lead to physical control used by the organization which acquired its definition as a "church" in order not to pay taxes by getting members to institution hundreds of suits against the IRS -- so many that the IRS decided it couldn't afford to fight the suits and gave in.  This boggles my mind! So does much else in the movie although I read an expose that says many of the things Gibney says, seeing the mass rallies (looking and sounding SO much like the rallies in Nuremburg!) and listening to people who look intellilgent and "ordinary" talking about how they were drawn into the organization, and not so ordinary people like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, is very, very effective ... and scary.

I had read only a few pages of Dianetics, L.Ron Hubbard's tome that drew in the first batch of believers -- and found it unreadable.  I read only a little of one of  his 1000 science fiction pot boilers to say, "this is crazier than even the Theosophists' view of the many layers of reality beyond earth". There were many scenes of Hubbard, it was clear he was neither charismatic nor holy but narcissistic and crazy.  I just read a short but insightful interview with Gibney from the Guardian (British paper) in which he speaks of understanding the amount of mind and physical control the organization holds over members.  (search Gibney and Guardian to find it)

Like so many political tyrants in the world, we see that the organization puts it's members to work, physical work and clerical, control work, for a top salary of $40 a week, meanwhile the worth has grown to over a billion dollars, largely because of real estate investments around the world - this, of course, is entirely contrary to the laws that govern holding the tax status of a church. Yet, having been cowed once, the IRS seems to ignore the whole thing.  The movie was made last year, I was unaware of its existence, I don't know if it's been shown many places in the US but Lili, the coordinator of the documentary series, was able to get it from the Cape Cod library system. It is probably available on Netflix, it may have been shown on HBO.