Sunday, 28 December 2008

Pain, Sex, and Scientology

As I do every now and again (because it's both funny as hell and gives interesting information on successful mind control techniques), I've been reading some pages on Scientology. I found a document here called "Pain and Sex."

I found it interestingly relevant to our usual discussions because, although it doesn't come from anti-SM feminists or anti-SM conservatives, I think it reveals something interesting about mind control that I do see mirrored in some of the anti-SM writing, particularly the strongly theory-oriented radical feminist stuff.

Here's the mighty mighty LRH:
There are two items in this universe that cause more trouble than many others combined.

One is PAIN.

The other is SEX.

One should know more about these things.

They may have applications but they are used by destructive beings in great volume to cave others in.

....Pain becomes a lock on a being's abhorrence for misalignment of his own electrical flows. It is a lock upon unconsciousness which shuts off knowingness.

Sex is a lock on and perversion of the "joy of creation" which involves a whole being and expands him, but by using just one wavelength, sex, this can be perverted and he contracts.

When pain enters a scene, a being withdraws, contracts and can go unconscious.

When sex enters the scene, a being fixates and loses power.

Destructive creatures who do not want people big or reaching -- since they are terrified of punishment due to their crimes -- invented pain and sex to shrink people and cut their alertness, knowingness, power and reach.

Thus, you see people who are "experiencing" either pain or sex introverting and not producing much.

Pain and sex were the INVENTED tools of degradation.
Basically, if I properly understand this mutilated English (my poor language! I'm sure it safeworded paragraphs ago!), what he's saying is that pain and sex distract us from Serious Business by taking control of our consciousness and making us unable to "produce much."

Which, at least in terms of sex, is that same old line: Sex is unimportant. Sex distracts from the Important Things -- in Scientology, "clearing the planet"; in various feminisms, fundamental and far-reaching sociocultural reform that radically changes the social status of women.

Don't fuck, PRODUCE! How dare you waste perfectly good time getting off that you could spend changing the world?

Don't enjoy yourself, that's individualism, and we've gotten beyond that foolish white male delusion!

It's very close indeed.

And then there's the pain bit. I think in the Scientology case it's more of the self-helpish veneer they have: We're promising you that if you give us just a little more money and time you won't experience pain any more. It won't bog you down, bother you, upset you. No more tears.

Which there isn't really an analogous phenomenon to in the groupthinkier forms of radical feminism. Radical feminists of this stripe often pride themselves on pain to a degree that would make a masochist green: They're not the fun kind, and don't you forget it.

While you're enjoying the approval of your masters, laughing and getting wet and partying, they're up to Serious Things which are Eminently Serious Business. They're forcing themselves to hold it together through a porno movie so they can adequately Theory, and weeping great tears and risking horrible flashbacks to do it. (I do think this is actually the truth in a lot of cases. Personally I think it's an oddly ungratifying form of masochism that's probably not good for people, but what would I know, I like sex too much :)

(Speaking of, here's what he has to say about us specifically. It's charming indeed!)
Believe it or not, a being can be so overwhelmed by either [sex or pain] that he or she becomes an addict of it. Priests become flagellants and cut themselves to pieces with self-whipping. Torturers drool over pain. Lovers are very seldom happy. People do the most irrational things when overcharged with sex, and prostitutes use it as a knowing stock-in-trade. Combined, pain and sex make up the insane Jack-the-Rippers (who killed only prostitutes) and the whole strange body of sex-murder freaks, including Hinckley*, and the devotees of late-night horror movies. Under the false data of the psychs (who have been on the track a long time and are the sole cause of decline in this universe) both pain and sex are gaining ground in this society and, coupled with robbery which is a hooded companion of both, may very soon make the land a true jungle of crime.

Go into an asylum or a prison and look at the increasing institutional population and know what you are looking at. In the main, these are pain and sex addicts, decadent and degraded and no longer capable. They were sent on that route down through the ages by the psychs and here they are still in the psychs' hands! And do they get well or go straight? Oh no. Whether in prisons or insane asylums they just get worse. And the psychs in both places rub their bloodied hands as they turn their products loose again upon the remaining population! It's no accident. And the stocks-in-trade of psychs are PAIN and SEX. They will even tell you it's "natural" to steal!

....They [pain and sex] are the most-used tools in the campaign against beings in furthering the general goal of those creatures whose sole ambition is destruction. The universe does not happen to be either destructive or chaotic except as such obsessed creeps make it. Statements it is otherwise are just more false data from the same suspect "authorities"....
But I do think there's a connection here too. Pain and pleasure are fraternal twins after all -- they're both words that apply to sensation and emotion, and the sensations are bodily responses. They're not conscious. They're the gut reacting, and the gut reacts to things that seem off to it. Things feel nice that people tell us aren't so nice. Things raise our hackles sometimes despite people assuring us those things are good for us.

Controlling these basic responses -- controlling pain or controlling pleasure -- is controlling the beings who feel them.

And radical feminism of this sort, while it isn't invested in battling pain, is certainly invested in controlling pleasure.

Pleasure is suspect from the get-go. As I've already discussed, it distracts one from Serious Business. It drives one to look at, want, savor things and experiences that go against the theory, that have been branded "Bad For Women."

Think about all the emphasis on examining your desires. The statements that "oh, we'd never demand someone give up her pleasures, but we want her to be aware of where they come from." If we say we already are aware, or that we've uncovered that their sources are benign or even positive, we're told to do it again, as if we're faulty computers that never quite properly executed some complex subroutine.

There's one answer, and it's that certain pleasures are out of bounds. While many such "feminists" recognize that these pleasures aren't avoidable, indulging in them requires regular confession and purging, proper purification after soiling oneself with the pleasures of the fle-- er, Patriarchy.

I may get laughed at for this, but I really am beginning to think that sadomasochists -- not the real people, the actual participants in certain sexual activities, but rather Those Who Love Pain as an archetype, paradoxical and irreducible -- frighten this subset of radical feminists and frighten Scientologists for the same reason: because they resist these forms of control.

Of course any given kinky person will be more or less resistant to mind control. I've gotten deeper involved in culty groups before than I want to admit, and my pain fetish wasn't a good defense. But the archetypal sadomasochist is something different: someone who knows and seeks her own pleasure, someone who explores her pain and its sources through unflinching experience.

Someone who seeks pleasure and isn't afraid of pain cannot be controlled, cannot be roped in by an ideology that rests on the fear of sex or the fear of pain (or its twin.)

She is free, radically and wildly free... and therefore she is the ultimate Enemy.

17 comments:

SnowdropExplodes said...

Someone who seeks pleasure and isn't afraid of pain cannot be controlled, cannot be roped in by an ideology that rests on the fear of sex or the fear of pain (or its twin.)

She is free, radically and wildly free... and therefore she is the ultimate Enemy.


The totalitarian ethos: "That which I cannot control, I must destroy; that which I cannot destroy, I must control".

And in Theoryspace, it isn't possible to control OR destroy the pain-sex joy.

Incidentally, the Scientology thing about getting rid of pain (and talking about addiction to pain), dovetails quite neatly with your post about numbness on "The Strangest Alchemy". And that post neatly reveals why the basis of their theories are utterly flawed.

Trinity said...

"Incidentally, the Scientology thing about getting rid of pain (and talking about addiction to pain), dovetails quite neatly with your post about numbness on "The Strangest Alchemy". And that post neatly reveals why the basis of their theories are utterly flawed."

Whether it's fundie Scns or fundie radfems, the whole idea is creating numb slaves.

"An orgasm is just a sneeze. The Theory is all."

Trinity said...

"The totalitarian ethos: "That which I cannot control, I must destroy; that which I cannot destroy, I must control"."

And yes, exactly.

Which I never got. I mean, I like control as much as the next person who gets off on it but for fuck's sake, where does this need to control everyone and everything come from?

Trinity said...

I mean, HELLO HUGE AMOUNT OF WORK TO CONTROL PEOPLE I PROBABLY WOULDN'T EVEN LIKE MUCH

where's the fun in that?

Mighty Fast Pig said...

There's an interesting parallel to this in the opposition to religious flagellation. Critics, both inside and outside the Catholic church, feared that religious flagellation (even self-inflicted) was dangerous because it made stimulated the imagination, because it made people think and feel the wrong things. The body makes one stray from the path of salvation/enlightenment.

See Niklaus Largier's "In Praise of the Whip"

Trinity said...

"Critics, both inside and outside the Catholic church, feared that religious flagellation (even self-inflicted) was dangerous because it made stimulated the imagination, because it made people think and feel the wrong things. The body makes one stray from the path of salvation/enlightenment."

Was the concern specifically lust, or a more general "Eeep, get your dirty little body out of your communing with God?"

I remember seeing a presentation on flagellation of the SM type years ago, and the presenter said "There are a lot of ways to achieve altered states: religious rites, drugs, sex, pain, togetherness -- and religion has always been suspicious of you getting them through unapproved channels."

Trinity said...

(just FTR I'm no huge fan of drugs, but this is centrally because they very clearly screw a lot of people up badly, not because I'm against the pursuit of occasional euphoria...)

Mighty Fast Pig said...

"Was the concern specifically lust, or a more general "Eeep, get your dirty little body out of your communing with God?""

Sometimes it was deep theological arguments, sometimes it was just "Flagellation encourages lust and never did anything else."

One of the favorite rhetorics of anti-Catholic writers was to accuse monks and nuns of deviant sexuality.

Trinity said...

Well, I'm sure a lot of monks and nuns either did have or did develop "sexual deviance," whether The Gay or The Pain Fetish.

But yeah... there's a lot of mistrust of pleasure floating around in the world. SM tends to be doubly suspect, as it apparently was for LRH (or at least as he wanted to bill it...)

Clarisse said...

"Lovers are very seldom happy."

Really?

K said...

This one hit kinda close to home for me...

...Because what does it mean when you have both things (pain & sex) at once? (And not necessarily the good kind of pain, either.)

It is tricky to find pleasure when we must constantly question our own motives for doing so. Then when we (I) finally find something we enjoy sexually, are we (I) really allowed to indulge in it? Wait a minute, these people over here are saying I shouldn't do such-and-such thing because it is inherently Bad. We're not even supposed to talk about certain actions because doing so legitimizes the ideas behind them.
Also it cuts into time we could spend working on something "More important."

Isn't sexual pleasure important too? Why can't I have pleasure and be earth-shattering at the same time? Can't I do both?

Oh well, can't please them all.

It's a bummer that such ambiguity arises in the first place because then that's just another thing we (I) have to work through.
Or not work through and just accept that a big hunk of ambiguity is going to remain in place for a long time.

Somewhat more tangentially related,
I was reading a sex self-help book recently... the authors talked about "The cult of intercourse," this vanilla male-female penis-vag action, glamorized in media, that dominates mainstream sexuality.
But all I could think about whenever the authors talked about "The cult of intercourse" was Scientology. Which of course was pretty much a non-issue years ago when the book was published. That was never their intent. I don't think the authors anticipated this link would come up years later.

Then once I got past the obligatory scientology-cult link in my mind I could only think of "Cult" in the fun, subculture way. Which just made it kind of funny.

H said...

It's a very interesting post, though some parts are a bit controversial.

I also do not really agree with the "lovers are very seldom happy".
But actually, if I think of it, maybe this is utterly true. Considering the lack of education (academic, sexual and mental) and the world's population, I guess you could say that probably a majority of us are not happy according to the best-of-the-best standards. However, if these standards are unbeknown to you, you can still go by just fine with your all-relative happiness.
In the end I guess this is more an ethical question about how to define happiness for other people rather than for yourself, than a pure affirmation of whether or not people are directly happy.


I'll come back and keep reading more, I like your writings a lot.

cheers

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