Notes on Broca’s Brain by Carl Sagan

3. That World Which Beckons Like a Liberation

one of the all-the great chapter titles
February 23, 201940

Einstein described his lifelong quest: “Out yonder there was this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking. The contemplation of this world beckoned like a liberation
January 21, 201955

23. A Sunday Sermon

It used to be believed that every event in the world—the opening of a morning glory, let us say—was due to direct microintervention by the Deity. The flower was unable to open by itself. God had to say, “Hey, flower, open.”
January 16, 2019387

25. The Amniotic Universe

The only alternative, so far as I can see, is that every human being, without exception, has already shared an experience like that of those travelers who return from the land of death: the sensation of flight; the emergence from darkness into light; an experience in which, at least sometimes, a heroic figure can be dimly perceived, bathed in radiance and glory. There is only one common experience that matches this description. It is called birth.
plausible but i haven’t see any other discussion of this theory
July 22, 2021412

Notes on A Billion Years: My Escape From a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology by Mike Rinder

Cover ImageA Billion Years: My Escape From a Life in the Highest Ranks of ScientologyMike RinderGallery Books
This document is overwritten when you make changes in Play Books.You should make a copy of this document before you edit it.

All your annotations

45 notes/highlights

Created by Nick de Vera   – Last synced November 11, 2022

Chapter 1: The Beginning

Part of the Communication Course was a drill known as “bullbaiting.”
November 3, 202216

We would do our best to get another person to react—laugh, crack a smile, something. If they did, it was considered a “flunk” and the session would continue until the person had no reaction at all.
November 3, 202216

One of the things they taught me early on was the Contact Assist to heal bumps and injuries.
November 3, 202217

Chapter 2: Joining the Sea Org

In the Sea Org, MEST (a Hubbard acronym for matter, energy, space, and time—or put another way, physical things, as opposed to spiritual ones) were considered relatively unimportant. “Purpose” was superior to everything, and the mission to save the world was the only thing that mattered. To Hubbard, the most successful groups in history were those that operated on purpose, like the Roman and later the French and British armies that had conquered the world.
November 3, 202238

Our battle was to save all of mankind and this sector of the universe—so what did it really matter if we had no air-conditioning, ate only rice and beans, and slept four hours a night for weeks on end?
November 3, 202239

the “cure” for psychosis and that the last reason for the existence of psychiatry on earth was now eliminated. He called this breakthrough the Introspection Rundown,
November 5, 202241

Chapter 4: We Come Ashore

While in External Comm I ran across David Miscavige. This was my first interaction with the boy who would become king.
November 7, 202273

The RPF is where O/Ws and Ev Purps are uncovered—
November 7, 202276

Chapter 5: Commodore’s Messenger

When stats were flat or down, Hubbard would routinely come up with a scapegoat to explain the failure. It is a fundamental truth in scientology that if Hubbard’s tech is applied exactly as he wrote it and administered precisely as he dictated in his thousands of policy letters, scientology will grow exponentially.
November 8, 202298

We were to be the guinea pigs to pilot Hubbard’s new Key to Life (KTL) course.
November 8, 202299

Chapter 6: The GO Takeover

we announced we needed to meet with Acting Guardian World Wide David Gaiman.
Neil Gaiman’s father
November 8, 2022104

His words were to be etched onto stainless steel plates and his lectures recorded on gold CDs and nickel LPs. These were then to be stored in argon-filled titanium containers, protected by heat shields of the same material used on the outside of a space shuttle, and secured away in secret nuclear-bomb-proof underground bunkers.
November 8, 2022108

Chapter 7: The Office of Special Affairs

according to Hubbard, Sea Org members are supposed to be able to do any job assigned, whether they’ve been trained or not.
November 8, 2022124

Chapter 8: The Struggle for Power

There was always something new to keep the hope going.
November 8, 2022135

Do not leave without every shred of documentation that may be there. This is vital to the future of this planet; don’t fuck up.”
November 8, 2022142

Chapter 9: PR for a Dead Man

another defining characteristic of the Sea Org: Everything was urgent, until the next urgency came along.
November 8, 2022153

Ultimately, however, the task of writing a church-authorized biography on L. Ron Hubbard was a fool’s errand. There were too many things that could not be ignored or explained in the man’s life. If everything that was a lie, embellishment, or embarrassment was omitted, the biography would be so full of holes that even scientologists wouldn’t buy it. Furthermore, if we published a book that was full of lies, we opened ourselves up to being dissected by reviewers and critics.
November 9, 2022159

Hubbard noted in one of his policy letters that the hardest thing to see is that which is omitted, and this sums up the official scientology “biography” of Hubbard.
November 9, 2022161

Chapter 10: The War Is Over

Hubbard wrote that MEST work (physical rather than mental labor) helped “extrovert” a person who had gotten too “into his head” and thus was not performing well, which is why manual labor was done on the RPF.
November 9, 2022169

It’s not what someone did to you, it’s what you did to cause it that all good scientologists look for.
November 9, 2022171

“After carefully examining the record and attempting to understand the nominal corporate structure of Scientology it is apparent to the court that it is something of a deceptis visus.
November 9, 2022172

“to bring the government and hostile philosophies or societies into a state of complete compliance with the goals of Scientology. This is done by high-level ability to control and in its absence by low-level ability to overwhelm.
November 9, 2022173

Since the beginning of the ’90s, Travolta had been hounded by stories from various alleged male lovers, including one of his former pilots as well as a porn star.
November 9, 2022185

Chapter 11: Lisa McPherson Changes Everything

Instead of rushing her back to Morton Plant Hospital a mile down the road, or calling 911, they put her in the back of a car and drove her to an emergency room forty-five minutes away in New Port Richey. Why? Because a scientologist doctor, David Minkoff, was on call in the emergency room that evening. They wanted her to be seen by him to “contain any flap.” Lisa never made it. She was dead on arrival at the hospital.
November 9, 2022190

But the immediate problem at hand was always the priority, and we would cross whatever bridge we had blown up when the time came.
November 9, 2022194

I have suffered worse than this in past lives. My discomfort is nothing compared to the big picture. These concepts grew out of Hubbard explaining that all Sea Org members had “run planets before” and thus are capable of doing anything against insurmountable odds and personal hardship.
November 9, 2022198

according to Hubbard’s Manual of Justice: “When we investigate we do so noisily always. And usually mere investigation damps out the trouble
November 9, 2022199

I did everything possible—including contacting everyone we knew they could possibly rent office space from to inform them he had made his money through criminal activities (we didn’t care if this was true or not).
November 10, 2022200

Chapter 13: The Hole

reinstate “overboard ceremonies” patterned after Hubbard’s on the Apollo. Back in the late ’60s the Commodore infamously had students’ hands tied before having them thrown over the side of the ship to atone for their supposed sins and, he proclaimed, “rise from the deep a better person.”
November 10, 2022239

The CMO Int building itself was one of the more ramshackle on the property and was not a traditional structure but two eighty-foot-long double-wide trailers side by side, joined by a conference room and connecting hallway that had been constructed between them.
November 10, 2022242

a Hubbard technique developed in the 1960s dubbed “the Murder Routine.” If someone was not coughing up acceptable transgressions, the way to get them talking was to accuse them of committing even more heinous crimes than you could imagine they would be involved in. The theory is that being accused of murder makes it easier for someone to admit to committing a less egregious crime. “No, I did not murder my wife, I only cheated on her” is the example Hubbard gave. Confessions extracted by this method were highly dubious.
November 10, 2022243

daily confession sessions—Miscavige took to calling them “séances”
struggle sessions
November 10, 2022244

I had finally come to what Hubbard called “need of change.”
November 10, 2022248

Tommy went to work, using techniques practiced in scientology auditor training routines—constantly interrupting, making repeated digs about Sweeney’s professionalism and motives, accompanied by loud throbbing music and sound effects that emanated from the displays.
November 11, 2022259

The false hope I had been relying on for years, that things would eventually improve and that I could figure out what I did to pull this in, dissipated in a blinding moment of clarity.
November 11, 2022263

Chapter 16: Life as a Whistleblower

Lawrence Wright would be a thorn in scientology’s side for the next few years. The article became the genesis of his subsequent bestselling 2013 book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, and then the 2015 HBO documentary of the same name.
November 11, 2022301

The final distressing thing Sarge found out from Hubbard: the Old Man had told him he had failed in his mission to save Earth and was going to go off and circle a distant star and was not coming back. (This idea of going in circles around a star is what the Running Program/Cause Resurgence Rundown is based on.)
November 11, 2022304

What finally broke the door down for me was reading Russell Miller’s unauthorized biography of Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah,
November 11, 2022304

the horrifying ordeal of the grooming of scientologist actress Nazanin Boniadi to be Cruise’s mate.
November 11, 2022309

Marty and Mosey had been subjected to very noisy twenty-four-hour-a-day surveillance and harassment by so-called Squirrel Busters (Hubbard called those who disagreed with him “squirrels” because they collected nuts)
November 11, 2022313

Chapter 17: The Aftermath

Marty, in another twist, wasted no time denouncing it as “dishonest and deceptive” and called Theroux an “ass clown,” and the producer a “rimless zero.”
November 11, 2022321

Janet told me her assistant had dubbed me “Mr. Scary.” I never saw myself that way, but to be fair, a scary presence is a valued trait inside the scientology world, especially for Sea Org members.
November 11, 2022323

I am often asked, “Why do you keep doing this?” I always respond truthfully, “I brought two children into that world and they know no better. I want them to have a chance to think for themselves and make up their own minds.” Until then, I don’t plan to stop.
November 11, 2022327


Christie reads lots of books on the subjects of mindfulness and spirituality, like Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul,
November 11, 2022329

I tend toward more pragmatic titles, like Martha Stout’s The Sociopath Next Door—which taught me a lot about the mindset and tactics of L. Ron Hubbard—and Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. When I embarked on the task of drafting this book, I turned to Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird for excellent advice on how to write.
November 11, 2022329