Christopher Sebela

writer, wronger, rearranger

L. Ron Hubbard on language and control

"Hubbard’s word for spirit, for example, was theta. No one spoke of love in Scientology; they had affinity. The word auditing no longer referred to a task that accountants performed but instead meant ‘to listen and compute’ in accordance with the standard, a word that seemed to denote the accepted application of Hubbard’s technology. But commenting on the precise definition of standard, Walter said, ‘Who knows what that meant? It meant whatever he wanted it to mean,’ and this malleable use of words served as an effective instrument of control.

"Before long, the accepted definitions for ordinary words had vanished, replaced with new meanings that separated Scientology from other subjects and Scientologists from other people. ‘It’s very, very subtle stuff, changing words and giving them a whole different meaning—it creates an artificial reality,’ said Walter. ‘What happens is this new linguistic system undermines your ability to even monitor your own thoughts because nothing means what it used to mean. I couldn’t believe that I could get taken over like that. I was the most independent-minded idiot that ever walked the planet.’"

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