Got a problem with failure?

Scientology and "success"

Scientology is really big on "Success Stories". After my first auditing session, I was asked to write up a Success Story. I didn't think the auditing was all that great, so I said it was merely "interesting." This appeared to be a problem for the Scientologist s - they seemed to think my experience should have been really, really great.

(Just think for a moment about how this works on your mind. If I HAD raved about what a success the auditing was - what a "big win" I'd gotten - it would have been much harder to explain to them, and to myself, why I later decided not to get involved in Scientology. Imagine someone you know has made a movie, and you go see it. You don't really think it's that great, but the filmmaker asks you to write and sign a statement saying how good you thought it was. What do you write? If you fib and exaggerate how much you liked it in your statement, what will you do later when someone else asks you about the movie?)

Scientology is obsessed with "success" and "wins," and they keep extensive "stats" (statistics) to measure how well they're doing. It's important in Scientology to make your stats go up every week - unlimited, perpetual growth. In biology, that's called cancer.

Scientology's fixation on "success" and being "upstat" (improving your stats over last week) robs the organization of compassion. Offering free services and even granting compassion to those who are having a hard time are seen as vices, not virtues. Scientology "makes the able more able"; it apparently has nothing to offer those who are not already doing well. (After all, if you don't have lots of money to spend on Scientology, what good are you?)

Failure's not so bad

Western culture glorifies success and takes a dim view of failure. Scientology takes this perspective and runs with it.

I, on the other hand, believe that failure is a natural part of life. Failure is how we learn. Failure can also teach us humility, patience, and compassion.

Neither success nor failure is a permanent state. Rather, we punctuate our successes with failures, obstacles which we must overcome.

Failure happens. It's not the end of the world. Being "downstat" doesn't make you a bad person. Failing doesn't make you a failure.

/ Cookie-Cutter Parody Top

This page was last updated on May 8, 1999.