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Critical Thinking And Tolerance Analysis

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Identifying Arabic-Language Materials for Children That Promote Tolerance and Critical Thinking

Site-wide navigation Identifying Arabic-Language Materials for Children That Promote Tolerance and Critical Thinking

Building a society that supports and values the production, diffusion, and application of new knowledge and the expression of new ideas is critical for human development. This report is part of a broader effort to identify and disseminate materials whose messages encourage tolerance and support the development and use of critical thinking skills in the Arabic–speaking world. It focuses on identifying Arabic language materials targeted to children ages 4–14. A focus on children, whose ideas are still being developed, may be more effective in promoting tolerance and critical thinking than efforts directed toward adults, whose attitudes are already established or in place. The authors describe the creation of developmentally appropriate criteria used to identify and screen indigenous Arabic-language works for children that promote tolerance and critical thinking. They also describe the characteristics of the materials that were found and present several examples of works that met criteria. They also discuss barriers that prevent the development and dissemination of more such works, and suggest ways to address and overcome these barriers.

Table of Contents

The Development and Expression of Tolerance and Critical Thinking in Children Ages 4-14

Development of Screening Criteria

The Materials Search Process and Description of the Collection

Summary and Future Directions

Research on the Teaching of Tolerance and Critical Thinking

Table of Relevant Skills by Age

Coding Manual and Coding Form

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted within the RAND National Defense Research Institute. a federally funded research and development center sponsored by OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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Art Elevates the Mind by Increasing Empathy, Critical Thinking and Tolerance

Art Elevates the Mind by Increasing Empathy, Critical Thinking and Tolerance

Study of school trips to a museum provides evidence that art can elevate the mind.

A new large-scale experiment on over 10,000 students finds that a one-hour tour of an art museum can increase empathy, tolerance and critical thinking skills.

The study took advantage of a new museum opening in the US state of Arkansas, which many schools applied to visit (Greene et al. 2014 ).

By carefully timetabling when they visited, the researchers were able to create an experiment on the effects of art on the students’ mind.

Each school was randomly assigned to visit the museum earlier, or delayed until later. Each school that visited earlier was demographically matched with a similar school that had to wait–this provided the control group.

The museum tour itself was pretty simple. It was one hour long and they viewed and talked about five paintings. The entire trip was around half a day.

After the early museum visits, all the students, including those that hadn’t been, were asked to write about a painting they hadn’t seen before to assess how they thought about art. They were also tested for historical empathy and tolerance.

The results showed that, compared with those who had not been to the museum, students who had visited:

  • Thought about art more critically.
  • Displayed greater empathy about how people lived in the past.
  • Expressed greater levels of tolerance towards people with different views.

The museum had clearly been a mind-expanding experience for the young people.

Interestingly, the improvements were larger when the students were from more deprived backgrounds.

Visiting the museum also made students more likely to want to visit art museums again in the future. This could create a cascading effect over their lifetime, continuing to boost critical thought, empathy and tolerance.

What is art for?

Field trips are often seen by teachers and students as purely for pleasure, rather than for educational purposes.

But the authors point out that museums are about more than that:

“We don’t just want our children to acquire work skills from their education; we also want them to develop into civilized people who appreciate the breadth of human accomplishments. The school field trip is an important tool for meeting this goal.” (Greene et al. 2014)

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PsyBlog’s new ebook, “Spark” is a step-by-step guide to using psychological techniques to achieve the goals you want.

Being passionate about a project or goal — no matter how big or small — makes us feel alive.

It is invigorating to think about the changes you could make in yourself or in the world.

Published: 16 December 2013

A Change Will Do You Good

A Change Will Do You Good

“Progress is impossible without change,and those who cannot change their minds cannot changeanything” – George Bernard Shaw

Looking at the ex-Scientology community, the blogs and video channels and Facebook groups, I would say that I have put out my fair share of articles and videos about the abuses and darker sides of the Scientology experience. Frankly, there has been so much to say that I haven’t yet suffered from anything like writer’s block. Scientology is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to oppression, deception and abuse.

But there is a point to all this and it’s not just to be a critic for the rest of my life. These articles and the videos I make are a form of catharsis and as much as I’m informing and helping others, I’ve also been helping myself.

Given that my life is about to take a dramatic turn for the better, with yet another huge change taking place right now as I write this, I thought I’d take a few moments to talk about how my life has changed for the better since I left Scientology last year.

It can’t really be said enough, so let me start off by again saying that life is so much better now that I’m not a Scientologist. I’m writing this for those who may have also recently (or not so recently) come out of a cult-like environment. Maybe my experiences with this can help you too.

The Pressure Cooker

Being in a mass movement, like Scientology, is like being in a pressure cooker or a bubble world where things are just kind of different. If you’ve never been in a situation like that, it’s very difficult to describe.

The whole nature of reality and how I viewed the world was skewed. My world revolved around pieces of information which I thought were universally true in the same way that 2 + 2 = 4. The facade started to crack when it became apparent over time that these “universal truths” weren’t actually so universal. The carefully crafted way I was convinced the world was supposed to work, didn’t really work that way.

I was actually living in a house of lies. Once one lie was exposed, others started popping into view at an alarming rate. Soon I had a choice: either lie to myself to accept those lies, or start accepting information from other sources than the authority of the Church’s dogma. Like a hole in a dam, I would plug one hole only to find three more popping out. Since I’m not one to enjoy lying and I never have been, I opted to find out the real truth.

It was one of the best decisions of my life. I quickly found out that many of the things which I’d accepted as true were, in fact, totally made up lies. Some of it was true, but not enough to justify the outrageousness of what was going on or the lifestyle I was being forced to live.

Once I made the decision to get out, I thought that was it. I thought I was free and ready to move on with the rest of my life. I could just leave all that behind me.

Little did I know that it was only the beginning. I had to re-adjust to life in the real world, a place that was much different than I thought.

I didn’t have the words to describe what was happening to me. I found myself fascinated with all of the information available about Scientology on the internet. As I say now, I “went down the rabbit hole” and had no idea where that was going to take me.

I first heard the word “decompression” in a video interview with actor and ex-Scientologist Jason Beghe and I immediately latched on to it because it was just one of the perfect words to describe what I felt was going on with me. My head was adjusting to a whole new way of thinking and being. I was also discovering a far more pleasant and real world than the one I’d been in for so many years.

The Onion

Someone asked on a message board recently “When do you know when you’re done decompressing?” and it’s funny how my answer to that has changed over the past year.

At first I would have said I was done in the first month out. The truth is that I was in denial about the whole thing. Recovery? Adjustment period? What are you talking about? I’m all good. In fact, I’ve never been better. There’s nothing wrong with me. I’ve put all that crazy behind me and I’ll never think about it again.

Well, that lasted for a couple of weeks. Yes, the world was brand new and fresh and alive but then things happened – awkwardness in relationships, mistakes at work – and it started dawning on me that maybe I didn’t have it all together. I wasn’t the Master of the Universe and everyone was not bowing and scraping at my command. I found out that there were some things about communication and relationships that I had to learn all over again. There’s more on this below, but let’s just say for now that it was not all gummy bears and clover.

While going through those adjustments, I would have said that decompression takes about six months.

Amongst the ex-Scientologist community, this phenomena has been referred to as “onion layers peeling off” and like the word “decompression” that is a very apt description. You have no idea when you first come out just how deep the layers go. So far in my experience, the next layer down was not usually within my ability to comprehend until I peeled off the one I was in.

Now I have to say that the decompression is never going to stop. It took me 27 years to dig myself in and there certainly isn’t any reason I can think of that it should take me any less time to dig all the way out.

So What Has Changed?

There have been so many changes and so much growth for me spiritually, emotionally and mentally, that I’d be hard put to even be able to remember them all. They just keep happening. Here are some of the bigger milestones in my recovery:


Probably the biggest change has been losing the anxiety and fear which was a part of my everyday life as a Sea Organization member. After so many years of it, it became normal to be jumpy, anxious, uncertain about my day-to-day existence. I didn’t know when I woke up each day whether at the end of that day, I was going to be in serious trouble warranting another round of disciplinary measures, or whether I was going to pull off some heroic “product” that would keep the Ethics Officer at bay or whether it was just going to be another routine day.

It took me months before I could even identify where this jumpiness was coming from. I had a compulsive need to be busy, to never “be slacking off”. I actually believed that this was a “good work ethic” when in fact it was a terror of the idea of being disciplined for not staying busy every minute of the day. I had to “stay productive” all the time and felt like a totally worthless slob if I took time out after work to watch TV or go play pool. I know there’s nothing wrong with working or with wanting to get things done, but I hope I’m making it clear that this went way beyond any of that.

Once I did finally identify this as actual anxiety, it’s not like it just went away. One of the things I learned is that in real life, just because you “spot” something, that doesn’t mean it just goes away. That’s just another one of Hubbard’s lies. However, I was able to start dealing with it for what it was and I started to purposefully take time to relax and practiced doing nothing important at all.

I’m sure it sounds crazy that I literally had to practice being lazy, but it was the only way I could learn to chill out and lose the anxiety. Then one day, I was sitting reading a novel and I looked up and realized that I was really okay with what I was doing. No one was looking over my shoulder, no one was calling me out for being a slacker and, best of all, no one ever was going to do that to me again.


Communication was another huge change. In Scientology, you are led to believe that Hubbard’s “Communication Formula” is one of the most ultimate truths in the universe. It was one of the first things I learned in Scientology and it was very important to me. I always thought of myself as an excellent communicator. So it was a big surprise when I ran into times where I was not able to “handle” someone through communication alone. It was an even bigger surprise when I had to learn how to just back off and leave someone alone for a while rather than continue prattling at them. That was not what I had been used to in Scientology.

For me, you never left on an ARC break (upset), you never left someone with BIs (bad indicators, meaning angry). But I’ve learned that it’s okay to have an argument with someone and just leave it alone. Sometimes that really is the best way to handle it. Maybe you revisit it later and maybe you don’t. People can actually get along without having to resolve every little thing.

The other major change in communication, of course, was dropping the Scientology words from my vocabulary. At first it was difficult, but I understood them well enough that it was easy to internally translate them and say what I meant in regular English. Mostly this was helpful for me to flush the Scientology thought processes out of my thinking. I’ve seen this advice on message boards and blogs and it’s good advice. Just stop talking like a Scientologist and it makes it a lot easier to stop thinking like one.

Critical Thinking and Tolerance

Finally, I knew I had to review all of my beliefs and all of my “stable data” to determine what actually made sense to me, versus what I had been told was true. In Scientology, there is so much information that is forced down your throat but it’s done in such a slow and pleasant way that it doesn’t feel like that. Anyone reading this who has been routinely flunked on clay demonstrations or star-rate checkouts until they finally got it right according to the materials instead of according to what they really thought, will know what I’m talking about.

This is when I happened upon critical thinking as a subject.

I was thoroughly trained in Hubbard’s Data Series, which is his version of logic. I thought, since Hubbard told me so, that anything having to do with logic and reason beyond the Data Series was completely obtuse, unlearnable and worthless. So imagine my surprise when I actually started looking into it and found that the Data Series “evaluation tech” is completely inadequate as a system of thought. I found out that those old guys Socrates and Plato and many other philosophers and masters of logic and rhetoric through the years actually did have some idea of what they were talking about.

It was when I found Carl Sagan’s “Baloney Detection Kit”, contained in his book The Demon-Haunted World. that my eyes opened wide to the undeniable fact that almost everything Hubbard wrote was, in fact, pseudo-science. In other words, there is no real science in anything Hubbard wrote or said. He simply claimed that his subjects were based in science and he used scientific-sounding words and phrases to impress his readers. This is especially true in the formative years of Dianetics and Scientology, when he was trying to convince engineers.

My point is not to convince anyone with this, I’m merely relating what I experienced during my own decompression. Perhaps some day I’ll do a more thorough analysis of this so I can make a real argument about the pseudo-science of Dianetics and Scientology. If you are reading this right now, and you think that I’m totally off on this and that Hubbard’s science is totally sound, I’m not going to take up debating you in the comments. We can save that for another time.

Through this education in critical thinking, I lost something which I now consider to have actually been a more valuable “gain” than anything else so far: I lost my blind certainty. I lost the false conviction that I knew it all, and with it the idea that any one man or one subject or one source is going to tell me everything I need to know. I learned that there is no one who has all the answers, and anyone claiming to be that is probably just trying to sell you something.

This was not a cynical lesson. Just the opposite. What I learned is that the entire universe is full of things to know and experiences to be had. I learned that I know hardly anything and the rest of my life can be spent finding my own answers. This was the day that I felt like I really “woke up”.

With Scientology, I had bought into the idea that I’d “done it all before” and that “Hubbard figured it all out”. I was doing nothing more than denying myself a life worth living. Blindly following anyone, never thinking and never questioning, is a great way to run into a lot of walls. I’m not going to live my life that way ever again.

Yet at the same time, I no longer look down on anyone’s beliefs or faith. Like I’ve said from the very beginning, people are free to believe whatever they want. I don’t care and why should I? It’s not my place to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t believe about anything. How do I know if there’s a God? How do I know if someone saw a UFO or not? The truth is I don’t have a clue and neither does anyone else. That’s why it’s called faith .

Critical thinking and science have given me guideposts so that I can rationally evaluate information and make my own decisions and come to my own conclusions. If I want to share my ideas with other people and they happen to agree with me, that’s awesome, but I’m never going to try to shove my beliefs down anyone’s throat.

I can provide evidence and explanations. I am more than happy to listen to other people’s evidence and explanations, and then come to my own conclusions.

When it comes to judging people, it’s their actions that count. It’s not their beliefs, it’s what they do with them.

A New Beginning

I can honestly say that my life has never been better than it is now. I have a freedom of thought and expression and movement that I never thought possible when I was in Scientology. I have a sense of hope about the future – one that I’m making in my own way – and I have never been happier.

I have real friends who will not abandon me or stop talking to me just because someone orders them to or because I choose to say what’s on my mind. There are no restrictions on what I can say to them or what they can say back to me.

And while everything I’ve been talking about here has basically been about me, that’s not what my life is all about. So much of what I have done in the past and what I do now is driven by my desire to help and that’s never going to stop. As they say in Scientology, life is lived on all eight dynamics, meaning across the entire vista of existence and not just for oneself. Now for the first time since I was a teenager, I really am able to live across all those dynamics and it feels wonderful.

I can’t recommend it enough.

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No worries Alanzo. Mark’s site is ”What on Earth is Happening.”.

He sure is Richard. Feel free to check out my site too if you wish at

It seems,Chris, that each story you write, I learn a lot more about $ci. As I was reading your article, my brother Greg,s attitude toward a normal life as we know it, became clearer. He has let me down,lied to me and has caused me a financial loss of major proportions,all without a minuscule of embarrassment or one word of apology. My typically Aussie way of dealing with him,if he wasn,t living in USA, would be to grab him and shake shit out of him to bring him to his senses

Wow! Not quite finished reading the article and all I can say is – this is incredible stuff. You’ve probably just described the experience of countless others that they couldn’t quite articulate. I know from personal experience that writing is therapeutic and as a result, your onion layers are flying off, compared with the average Joe who’d rather just forget/put it all behind him.

Chris – I so enjoy reading your blog. It us a miracle you were able to move past the indoctrination and control mechanisms to see your own life as it is: your own. To think, feel and experience as you choose. This is true freedom and you have it now. I applaud your courage and conviction in seeking your own truth. You are an inspiration to many 🙂 thank you.

As always, Chris, I enjoyed reading your commentary. I am happy that things have been going your way and that things are about to take a dramatic turn for the better. Thanks for breaking down the areas in which things have changed. I continue to reflect upon those comments.

In my own life, things have turned out far better than I ever hoped they would when I first went into Scientology. When I was 17 and got sucked into the mess I thought, “If only I could become a clear and OT then maybe…” Well I am way beyond that maybe, and have been since I was a young man. Of course there was no guarantee that good things would happen. People’s lives can be a mess with or without Scientology. Looking back, though, everyone I knew in Scientology exaggerated their successes. Everyone. When I ran into a Scientologist, after my involvement, and said, “How are you”, the exaggerations would start there. They would treat my salutation as a question and the answer would be, “Great” or “Fantastic”. Among the ones that have left, I found that they had huge problems they weren’t acknowledging in my presence. So, even only with this little bit of evidence, I would have to think that a person has a far better chance at an enjoyable life without Scientology.

The most important things I found out through Scientology were negative lessons. I found that some people are easily swayed by fast talking con men. Not everybody is though. The Scientologists approached many people I know without success. I found that there are people out there who have no mercy. I found that people, step by step, can be made to do things that are hurtful. I found that loyalty to a group can transform an individual for the worse. In short, I found that I should be a little less trusting than I once was. That’s okay. I am nothing approaching cynical.

There is nothing I learned though, nothing like, “The only way to get around something is to go through it,” from L.Ron’s philosophy. Hubbard said, “Something can be done,” but took it to ridiculous lengths. I suppose I have modified that in my life and through Scientology I recognize that there are sometimes solutions that are not easily apparent. There. I am glad I didn’t throw down hundreds of thousands for that. I could have found that in a copy of Reader’s Digest.

Chris, I enjoyed reading this and so appreciate your sharing it. I smiled several times while reading the oh so familiar descriptions of your decompression. And I certainly hope that as your life continues to grow and unfold you will continue to share with us.

Ditto to what you said, Chris!

There is so much here that resonates and will do for others, particularly Sea Org and staff. The issue of “slacking off” is one for sure. It is virtually one for one an issue for former staff. I now relish my goof off time!

The one area where my experience differs to your is on the subjection of communication. For me, the application of ARC and the comm formula has been a revelation and has come to be the greatest piece of knowledge I took with me. Its application within the church is so perverted and mostly based on an ARC break of long duration that it seems untrue. However in my experience outside I have come to know that communication is indeed a universal solvent. This does include though the decision not to communicate when appropriate.

I agree with you 100% Ryan that communication IS the universal solvent and I still hold to much of what I learned about communication in Scientology. It is life itself as far as I’m concerned, but there was a lot of false data on the subject too, not the least of which was what I described in my article.

Two phenomena you mentioned were particularly resonant with my experience: 1. The renewed sense of wonder via the deletion of that arrogant scientological certainty( which gets confused with ¨knowing¨) and the expansion of real critical thinking skills and 2. the ability to relax and enjoy life; to, in scientologese, have LOTS of other fish to fry! Enjoy the adventure and thanks for the blogs and videos! Often, what you have said or written has helped me make greater sense of my scientology experience(ditto Jason Beghe: his ¨Show me a motherfuckin´clear¨ statement had me laughing and crying and inspired me to EMBRACE the inherent absurdity and dark humor of my scilon sojourn…).
May The Force continue to be with you 🙂

Please don’t take offence, Chris, but I think you may have thrown out the baby with the bathwater, here. Reading your article, it sounded to me like you had been subject to very heavy evaluation as to what LRH meant. For example the communication formula just says that in communication, there is a person (or it could be an animal or even a plant) that originates a communication which goes across a space to another terminal who, hopefully, duplicates and understands it. Ron identified the various points at which the communication could or could not be successful. There was no suggestion that you had to communicate in every situation. That is something that was added by your seniors and co-workers. The idea that spotting something makes it go away is not a lie, it’s something Ron found to be true but you did not find to be true. Ron was the last person to claim he had it all figured out.

I think that the extreme pressure and tension of being in the SO was inevitably such a negative experience that anything having to do with that experience is very negative too.

After several years of doubts regarding the way the Church was going under the leadership of Miscavige, I officially departed in April of this year. I find it ironic and almost amusing that Miscavige, while trying his best to position himself as Source, has to give lip service to the idea that LRH was Source while making him into an unreal tin god. I still find much value in Ron’s works while also finding value in the works of some others, for example the Tao Te Ching and Eckhart Tolle. On your spiritual journey, I wish you the very best success.

Jenni, the EP of Pro TRs (not verbatim) is having the ability to handle ANY situation with communication alone.

House of Lies indeed. Succinct summary of the decompression onion, Chris. Every “stable datum” was built on quicksand. Every lie was built on empty promises. We were all kept busy as holepluggers for the explicit purpose of not noticing – The Hole Does Not Exist. The peeling back process is much like waking from a nightmare created out of trauma: just when you think you are finally awake, you find that you are yet reliving the past, the scenes and sounds rescripted and remixed, over and over until you have adjusted your reasoning, fine tuned your viewing settings and finally are able to see the whole picture.

That scary movie is longer for some, scarier for others, but we’ve all had to sift through it until that happy moment when it finally ends. I am so very happy for your moment and awakening to a new and improved bright future. I am so glad you got out in time. Thank you for scripting the process for those still arriving and helping smooth their journey. Best wishes for your next adventure. You so deserve it.

Hey Chris! Great fricking article!

It is amazing to me that you only got out last year. Wow.

I had a question for you. There is an idea going around in the Indy circles that you can lose your gains from Scientology if you go to Marty’s blog, or ESMB, or other places where LRH and Scientology itself is criticized.

As a person who has been out only a year, and because you are such a clear and thoughtful writer, I would think that your viewpoint on this would be very relevant to this discussion.

What do you think about that?

Do you believe that you have lost your gains from Scientology by adopting the viewpoints that you have about LRH and Scientology now?

Thank you. No, you can’t lose your gains by going and reading anything or availing yourself of knowledge. When you learn new things, you are only gaining. This may cause you to re-evaluate your past experiences in a new light and change your mind about the gains you’ve had, but that is something you would be doing on your own determinism. That is certainly what happened to me. I think that if someone is questioning whether they would lose their gains by learning something new, that person is already in serious doubt about the validity of said gains.

I am in a place right now where I am quite sure I had very positive gains from Scientology, but not necessarily for all the reasons given in “the tech” for those gains. I’m also quite sure that there were many times when I was forced to write up “success stories” because I would not have been allowed to move on to the next service or next action if I hadn’t. This was especially true while I was on the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), which was hands-down the single worst experience of my entire life. Despite the grueling physical conditions and emotional/psychological trauma of the RPF, I still did make real and substantial gains doing it. I know that sounds completely contradictory and all I can say about it right now is that I don’t have the space here to give all the details about that.

I think the human spirit is more resilient than adamantium and can grow and flourish in some of the harshest conditions imaginable. Look at all the examples of humanity and compassion in some of the worst war-time conditions in history. It is in our nature to learn and grow and improve if we allow it to occur. I don’t know any other way to do that except through learning, positive experience and freethinking. Every gain I ever made in Scientology I can attribute to one of those three things.

What a great reply.

I especially liked this:

” think that if someone is questioning whether they would lose their gains by learning something new, that person is already in serious doubt about the validity of said gains.”

So very true, man.

I am so glad that you chose to speak out and to contribute your voice to the post-Scientology internet.

You are a force for good for a lot of people, Chris.

I agree Chris and Alanzo.

It is two totally different attitudes. One of protection (of gains) and the other of opening — wanting to learn, grow and expand. One of fear, and the other of courage and trust.

In order to protect from the loss of gains, one must remain closed-down. It implies that the bubble mind-set has more value or validity than the outside world whose treasures are just waiting to be discovered when the fear can be overcome to start the discovery process.

Great article as usual Chris! I relate intimately with what you describe.

Chris, you are so far ahead of where I was at when I left in 1999… There were no websites to decompress through/with then.
I still find fragments of BS to analyze, mostly through other “gurus” online running the same thing….like this whole anxiety connected to always having to be better than you are right now. I’m antagonistic about it today. Screw you. I like myself just fine just like I am RIGHT NOW. Don’t judge me and tell me I have to aspire to some higher level of consciousness.
Ring a bell? It’s insidious.

Yes, Tara, it certainly does ring a bell. It was a real life-changing day when I realized that it’s actually okay to acknowledge that you have been psychologically or spiritually or emotionally damaged by something. That there is healing to do and it might just take some time to do it. And that you don’t need to be “up” all the time! That’s life, baby! Not always fun and not always upbeat. That doesn’t mean there isn’t hope that things can always get better. And it has been a major help to me to be able to see other ex’s stories and see how they have gone through their own changes.

The first thing I learned after leaving was how to experience emotions. I’d shut that off with the “no case on post” idea. It was quite a learning experience to actually FEEL pissed off or FEEL sad/griefy or FEEL hostile. Marty had a great post about it way back.

PS. I got auditor and C/S trained and wouldn’t trade that for anything. I really can help anyone I choose to help in a real and lasting way because of it…

You’ve got the gift of the written word, Chris. Well said!

I mostly left in 2008. While, I’ve done lots of productive decompressing, I’m not done. Things are much better, and sometimes I even go days without thinking about the subject of Scn. Like you, and so many others, I’ve had to readjust how I say things. And at times, have had to look a word up on Google because I honestly wasn’t sure if the meaning I had was for a regular English word, or a Scn definition.

It took months to get past the mounting anxiety that culminated at 2pm every Thursday. And years for the judgmental ethics voice in my head to back off with all of the ways I must suck.

But now, life is overall pretty darn good. I have hobbies I don’t feel guilty for having. I have friends who, as you mentioned, aren’t going to KR me or stop talking to me because I have an opinion that doesn’t agree with their own.

There are still some layers to my onion, and I suspect I’ll be peeling them off for some years to come. But it’s so much better these days!

Thanks for your great posts!

Hi, Chris. I can totally duplicate your viewpoint and experiences. Still, there is more than one side to the coin. I became interested in Dianetics in 1952 and truthfully, Dianetics and Scientology changed my life much for the better. Of course this was before I even knew a Church was being formed. I was a very bored housewife with two children and one on the way. I just connected with local people and exchanged auditing and my life was fun, my attitude was positive, life took on a new meaning.
I have spent 62 years in connection with Scientology, 32 years “with” the organization, and 30 years without. Of course there were some miserable moments with the COS, but fortunately the tech has been applied and those are all things of the past–although I certainly would not reconnect with the COS today even if they would have me. Right now it is a mutual disconnect.
But I do so love the tech. The purpose of the organization is entirely to ensure that training and auditing occurs successfully. I can do that outside of the COS without the hassle of the group. I can enjoy seeing people get the wins and the freedom of choice that auditing (not the org) brings about. I am living a very fulfilled life now at 84 years old. I doesn’t get much better than this! And I thank LRH for his amazing technical contributions and for a life I could not ever have experienced without Scientology. Truth always wins in the final analysis.

Wow, Chris! You have broken all of this down so well. The section about communication is huge for me. I was born and raised in scientology. We were taught you had to communicate about every little thing and ‘handle’ everything little thing to a done, no ARC break (or whatever) with communication. I didn’t realize this until just now, but I still work that way and think that way. It just now dawns on me that scientology is where that notion comes from. Your post has just started another layer of the onion peeling off for me.

A great article, which I personally found helpful! I hope you will continue to write about your experiences and realizations. Decompression is a long process and there is so much to spot and clean out of your mind.

A well formulated article, thank you.

I left in 1995 and am still peeling my onion. One thing I’m learning is that I don’t need to micromanage my life. I don’t need to fight to constantly be in control. Sure, when I leave my doors open, bad stuff gets in, but also a lot of good stuff. While in scn, the world seemed threatening, such a black and white scenario. Now I see many shades of gray, and for that I am thankful. It seems like I had to leave scn to get many of the wins I hoped for, the things that led me to joining in the first place.

I will come back to read more of your writings.

Hi Chris, good article as always. As to the question of “losing ones gains” after he/she leaves or becomes aware (maybe for the first time) of time place form event of all things Scientology or all things Hubbard, I think it HELPS stabilize gains and rehabs case gain. Getting briefed and doing a through investigation can actually make a person reclaim their self determinism. When I made my “transition” it was like getting the kinds of gains usually attributed to a few intensives. Talk about “cowed” and “ill”, that was ME before I blew the cult. I got huge gains from auditing, and I got some bad tech as well, but leaving the cult and making my position PUBLIC was huge for me. Best “PTS” handling I ever did. All I can tell people is to urge them to continue the process of examining what is true and isn’t true for about Scientology.

I just want to say Chris that I think this subject is one that cries out for more attention. I was riveted whilst reading this — much more so than when reading virtually all other scientology related material. Just want to put in my two cents that this is an untapped subject that is extremely fascinating to me and, if I extrapolate, to many others. Awesome job!

Very nice post. Looking forward to hearing where your new begining with critical thinking takes you.

I loved your whole article and could relate to much of it for myself. One thing stuck out since I just recently thought of it, was, taking good breaks. My hubby, during our working days made me take breaks of relaxation and leaving the job alone for periods of time. As he said, work will Always be there. Those pleasure days were the most memorable for me. Looking at the last couple years I found I am overly tied to the internet and neglecting my own ‘getting away’ and in enjoying nature and off topics. So some changes are needed again and thanks for the reminder. A state park visit is coming soon.

Once again Chris, your writings and perspective definitely resonate with me. Like yourself, during my decompression onion stage, I went through dropping the Scn language from my vocabulary by translating them to plain English. Even with that step, I was still operating and thinking with Scn doctrine. I knew at some point that I had to reevaluate my entire Scn indoctrination in order to completely be free of it. This brought me to many journeys and study of other great subjects, some of which we’re even “tabooed” in Scn world. At that point it was like being a child full of wonder and curiosity in everything all over again. Along the way I also started reading Sagan, and I highly recommend his book The Demon-Haunted World to those critical thinkers who want to know “how” to think, and not “what” to think. I got more usable and workable knowledge from Sagan’s book The Demon-Haunted World than I ever did from the circular self contradictive Data Series written by LRH.

Enjoy the world of free thinking and keep up the great work!

Thanks for sharing your journey with us Chris. You’ve done a world of good regarding increasing understanding of the organizational structure of the Cult, the control mechanisms it uses on its members and most importantly how those who leave can peel off the layers of that control. If I was an ex trying to escape or put my head back together your work would be a God send to me for sure. Thankfully, I am not in that position but it is nonetheless fascinating for me and I appreciate your wealth of knowledge and articulation immensely. Thank you!

I very much appreciate your writings. You have a very clear way of putting things.

The ways of “The CO$”, staff to staff, staff to public, the group interpretations and group think implementation and even the ways of Scientologist’s in general towards each other was often a question mark (thankfully) in my mind. From the IAS (my original doubts – money for nothing) to the first round of Golden Age bullshit cemented serious concerns about where the “Church” was headed.

We won’t always agree on certain things, but I appreciate you sharing your thoughts as you walk this road out and your new life travels Chris. For me, I walked out in 09 never to return, but wasn’t fully committed to putting it all behind me until a couple years later. I almost died a couple times in the transition back to sanity… story for another time.

Dear Chris,
You are my hero for all you have done to expose the Church of S. for what it really is.
Pretty secretive bunch, by my perception.
Equally, I want to thank you for expressing your understanding of most important topics such as “critical thinking” as a survival tool, and the personal experience of breaking free from a closed-belief system and the resulting experience of the inevitable cognitive dissonance resulting from such a break, and how to confront it.
Independent Thinking, as crucial to the process of creating one’s personal reality as breathing air, is certainly going to be a unsettling process after having been “protected” inside the walls of a belief system that proclaims to have all the answers, if not to be the very source of Truth and Knowlege. That is the trap.
For everyone that has never been inside, it looks so easy a trap to avoid…
” Smart people believe weird things because they become very good at defending weird beliefs they adopted for non-smart reasons”, quoted from a book you recommended.
Thank you for helping me realize these truths.
My life is being quickly restored by learning that there is no single source of Truth and Knowlege. I have indeed broken free from the prison of belief that is Scientology, and I’m hungry to learn more.
I am very much interested in hearing whatever lectures you might have on critical thinking, and thanks to you, have set myself on a path of independant study of the topic, and how it relates to cults in general.
If you did a whole series on that I would glue myself to myself to each page, then look for reasons why the bond would or could dissolve.
Such is the way of the critical thinker.”What works and what doesn’t?” is the core question.
Albert Einstien opens my eyes, when he says, (paraphrasing):

He who claims to be guardian of Truth of Knowlege is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

Scientology makes that claim, imphatically.
Lets begin the lessons, again, on what real freedom of thought can bring, what belief should be grounded in (like “knowing how to not know”, and the test of wisdom) so that we may discover
-new boundaries in personal ability and conscoiusness,
-success by reason, and
– ultimately, comfort and security in the wilderness of the Universe.

Yes, Scientology offers these things.
And then, what they actually deliver is servitude. Time to move on.

how do I get back to the video you did, on “What to say to a Scientologist”.
I’d be interested in learning more on how to help a guy in the Sea Org, for instance, get out, when he or she is struggling with their own version of conitive dissonance.

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