“He who would look forward into time cannot but shudder at the prospect of the future. But I have lived through yesterday. I am living through today. Why should I fear to live through tomorrow?” L. Ron Hubbard
For this post, I’m going to write mostly about Ron Hubbard the traveller and Science Fiction writer… and a bit about the Scientology stuff. Scientology makes me suspicious… the control, the lack of visibility, the lack of accountability, the fake science, the secrecy, etc. These are all things I fight against every day when I consult for large corporations; and, all are era specific characteristics, meaning that in the 20th century people took things at face value so it was much easier to create a lie and maintain it. This is the incubator in which Hubbard and Scientology flourished. Now, secrecy and silence have become the way of dealing with people who are not likely to accept something at face value.
I found my way into the L. Ron Hubbard Life Museum all by myself (because it had the word “museum” in its name)… there was no recruiting or soliciting. In fact, I get rather snarly when people selling/pitching stuff approach me on the street. To give some context to the effort in which Scientology has put into the Hollywood area: there are three scientology buildings on Hollywood/Sunset Boulevard and often a booth set-up on the Highland-Hollywood corner. From this base, “councillors” work the strip and direct potentials into any one of the buildings. Others on the tour were “recruited” from the street.
So, why would I even bother to visit the L. Ron Hubbard Life Museum, you ask. Because I happen to like LRH’s pulp fiction and I think he is a very smart man (and a fantastic self promoter)… perhaps gifted, definitely divergent, and I want to understand a bit more about what makes him tick. He wrote a shocking number of books in his lifetime, a crossed a variety of literary genres.
His public persona is fabricated (in his travels and diaries there are too many gaps in knowledge and mis-interpreted or glossed over concepts for him to actually have studied these cultures and countries) but I want to be able to understand this too. He is a fiction writer after all. I want to understand his real-life fiction.
I also want to understand why he is so revered in Hollywood. This in itself is fascinating… because I think that a lot of the people who end up in Hollywood are extremely smart and aware people… who also happen to be masters of image and manipulation. So, how is this man able to manipulate the masters of manipulation? His inner circle is the ultimate boys club.
Did I find any answers on a tour of this museum? Not really. The tour glossed over the interesting stuff: his travels (where they confused Haida art with Chinese artifacts), his books (briefly mentioned as you walk past them), his Hollywood scripts (you see a short 5-minute movie and walk quickly past typed manuscripts), and artwork. The entire tour lacked depth and seemed to be geared towards getting people in front of a dianetics machine for a stress test. I also felt like the tour was a means for filtering people who fit the “I am impressionable” profile towards “councillors,” and those who aren’t so malleable (like me) out the door.
Honestly, I found the tour really really boring. And now as a social experiment, I want to bring my grouchy, “I-poke-at-everything,” big picture thinking, world travelling, deeply intelligent co-workers for a tour.