Friday, May 25, 2007
Ever since my post on scientology, I've been wondering how the Beckhams are progressing. Tom Cruise is said to have 'sucked' them into the faith, which has always made a point of converting and then very assiduously nursing celebrities. So have Dave and Vicky gone 'clear'? Are they ready to move up the Operating Thetan levels and to learn the story of Xenu, the alien who brought billions of people to earth, blew them up and left their souls to wander, attaching themselves to humans down the ages? This Xenu stuff is a mistake. As far as I can make out, Xenu apart, this is a pretty orthodox belief system involving a prolonged ritual of purification of the immortal soul and a return to an original, blissful state. Technology and the projection of a benignly therapeutic image merely add a contemporary spin to this ancient idea. But, of course, the church's thuggish and stupid attempts to suppress criticism, its apparent brutality towards unbelieving families of the faithful and its deranged theories about the malignant power of psychiatry discredit the whole enterprise and convince most people, rightly or wrongly, that is is one gigantic scam. But what is really interesting is why anybody should feel the need to embrace this particular version of the soul-purification/original bliss myth. Perhaps it is simply that the idea itself is so potent. People are drawn to it and, as a result of their ignorance about older, wiser religions, fall into the trap of believing that this is something entirely new. But, on the bright side, scientology may well do the Beckhams some good by persuading them there is a meaning to life other than shopping. Also going 'clear' is said to raise the IQ.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:46 am