Scientology in society

In his second post on the controversial beliefs of Scientologists, Kenneth Eckersley discusses the p

Because the fundamentals upon which Scientology rests embrace all aspects of life, certain key principles can be broadly employed to better any condition. Scientologists use these principles in their daily lives, and I have found that their usage alone can often make the difference between success and failure.

One of these principles provides a means to separately view the components of life so that its many activities, often confused, can assume a new clarity. L. Ron Hubbard discovered that the basic drive behind all of life is “Survive!” This dynamic urge can be subdivided into eight parts so that each one can be more easily inspected and understood. These parts are called the eight dynamics, and by understanding each of them and their relationship, one to the other, a person is able to increase his or her survival on all of them.

What I found was that these dynamics describe one’s drive to survive for self, family, groups, mankind, all life, the physical universe, the spiritual universe and the Infinite or Supreme Being, and I have personally used Scientology to enhance my survival in all of these spheres.

My parents and other family have helped me in numerous ways and I have been able to return that help. For example, in his twenties, my brother was able to rid himself of 19 years of asthma through Dianetics procedures. My first wife, after several years of non-conception, was diagnosed as totally incapable of bearing children, yet later gave birth to our two beautiful girls as a direct result of Scientology spiritual counselling.

As to groups, without membership of the C of E church choir, my Boy Scout Troop, the Air Cadets, my teachers and fellow pupils in the various schools I attended and without my colleagues in the companies in which I worked - I could never have achieved my present 80 years of enjoyment of life, and my good health and high level of activity in the community. Over that period I have regularly studied Scientology, and still do every week. Without this, I know my life to date could never have been as full or as satisfying to both myself and others, and might also have been much shorter.

Then there is the broader group we call Mankind. My Scientology beliefs guide me in contributing in numerous ways to other people. I voluntarily help to run a Narconon drug rehabilitation and prevention education charity, with a high success rate in helping our students achieve complete abstinence for life. I also work with the Citizens Commission on Human Rights; the Volunteer Ministers community help group; the Foundation for a Drug Free Europe in Brussels; Criminon the criminal rehabilitation programme; and with The Way To Happiness Foundation distributing a common sense guide to better living. I also support my wife in her work with Applied Scholastics the revolutionary teaching system which is today helping so many of our youth to escape illiteracy. Groups all utilising the work of L. Ron Hubbard.

Without all this, I could never be as fulfilled as I am. You have only to see the light of comprehension in the eyes of a child or a young offender; you have only to witness the relief of an individual who is now off heroin and holding down a job, or the relief of one who has just escaped physical or emotional pain - to know the value of Mr Hubbard’s work.

Kenneth Eckersley is active in the Church of Scientology, and is a former Magistrate and Justice of the Peace.
Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

The rise of the green mayor – Sadiq Khan and the politics of clean energy

At an event at Tate Modern, Sadiq Khan pledged to clean up London's act.

On Thursday night, deep in the bowls of Tate Modern’s turbine hall, London Mayor Sadiq Khan renewed his promise to make the capital a world leader in clean energy and air. Yet his focus was as much on people as power plants – in particular, the need for local authorities to lead where central governments will not.

Khan was there to introduce the screening of a new documentary, From the Ashes, about the demise of the American coal industry. As he noted, Britain continues to battle against the legacy of fossil fuels: “In London today we burn very little coal but we are facing new air pollution challenges brought about for different reasons." 

At a time when the world's leaders are struggling to keep international agreements on climate change afloat, what can mayors do? Khan has pledged to buy only hybrid and zero-emissions buses from next year, and is working towards London becoming a zero carbon city.

Khan has, of course, also gained heroic status for being a bête noire of climate-change-denier-in-chief Donald Trump. On the US president's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Khan quipped: “If only he had withdrawn from Twitter.” He had more favourable things to say about the former mayor of New York and climate change activist Michael Bloomberg, who Khan said hailed from “the second greatest city in the world.”

Yet behind his humour was a serious point. Local authorities are having to pick up where both countries' central governments are leaving a void – in improving our air and supporting renewable technology and jobs. Most concerning of all, perhaps, is the way that interest groups representing business are slashing away at the regulations which protect public health, and claiming it as a virtue.

In the UK, documents leaked to Greenpeace’s energy desk show that a government-backed initiative considered proposals for reducing EU rules on fire-safety on the very day of the Grenfell Tower fire. The director of this Red Tape Initiative, Nick Tyrone, told the Guardian that these proposals were rejected. Yet government attempts to water down other EU regulations, such as the energy efficiency directive, still stand.

In America, this blame-game is even more highly charged. Republicans have sworn to replace what they describe as Obama’s “war on coal” with a war on regulation. “I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion, and to cancel job-killing regulations,” Trump announced in March. While he has vowed “to promote clean air and clear water,” he has almost simultaneously signed an order to unravel the Clean Water Rule.

This rhetoric is hurting the very people it claims to protect: miners. From the Ashes shows the many ways that the industry harms wider public health, from water contamination, to air pollution. It also makes a strong case that the American coal industry is in terminal decline, regardless of possibile interventions from government or carbon capture.

Charities like Bloomberg can only do so much to pick up the pieces. The foundation, which helped fund the film, now not only helps support job training programs in coal communities after the Trump administration pulled their funding, but in recent weeks it also promised $15m to UN efforts to tackle climate change – again to help cover Trump's withdrawal from Paris Agreement. “I'm a bit worried about how many cards we're going to have to keep adding to the end of the film”, joked Antha Williams, a Bloomberg representative at the screening, with gallows humour.

Hope also lies with local governments and mayors. The publication of the mayor’s own environment strategy is coming “soon”. Speaking in panel discussion after the film, his deputy mayor for environment and energy, Shirley Rodrigues, described the move to a cleaner future as "an inevitable transition".

Confronting the troubled legacies of our fossil fuel past will not be easy. "We have our own experiences here of our coal mining communities being devastated by the closure of their mines," said Khan. But clean air begins with clean politics; maintaining old ways at the price of health is not one any government must pay. 

'From The Ashes' will premiere on National Geograhpic in the United Kingdom at 9pm on Tuesday, June 27th.

India Bourke is an environment writer and editorial assistant at the New Statesman.

0800 7318496