The Solution to a Twentieth Century Moral Crisis

I
n 1972, after an absence of some twelve years, Ron returned to the United States for an extended stay in New York City. His mission was sociological, or more simply: to reacquaint himself with a nation comprising the bulk of his readers. To that end, he literally immersed himself in an urban sprawl, and what he found proved most disturbing. Among notes from the period, are several references to what he described as "the depowering" of the human spirit, and an urge towards "oblivion" in an absence of hope. While in later conversation, he spoke of a cultural crisis the likes of which had not been seen since fourth century Rome. Yet when eventually asked to sum up his impressions of life in Manhattan circa 1972/73, he very simply and evocatively replied he felt as if he "was on an island that had been destroyed by some superior force."

The analogy is apt, and if causes have long been debated, the statistics are unarguable: since 1960 (the year following Ron’s departure from the United States) violent crime — most of it drug related — had risen more than five hundred percent. Through the same period, divorce rates had quadrupled, illegitimate births had commensurately swelled, while teenage suicide had risen yet another two hundred percent. Then again, there was what could not be statisticized, but was finally just as tangible: "Somebody even had noticed it and wrote a song about it," Ron explained, "My Town Is Dead."

He drew no summary conclusions and, in fact, he twice asks rhetorically in later conversation, "This culture — what the hell has happened to it?" (While adding, as if to himself, "Something . . .") Nevertheless, his New York notes, comprising several pages of initial observations, would definitely seem to offer a clue. In the first place, he writes, "Suppression can be rampant when there is no code of right conduct. All behavior can thus be declared accusatively wrong or doubtful, and harassment and individual uncertainty can result." He then pointedly considers parallels between diminished church attendance and the proliferation of pornography, while once again noting: "Oblivion is more sought after than a hereafter," hence the rise of alcohol and drug abuse. Finally, and herein lay the string he would continue to pull for some time to come:

"When religion is not influential in a society or has ceased to be, the state inherits the entire burden of public morality. It then must use punishment and police. Yet this is unsuccessful as morality, not inherent in the individual, cannot be enforced with any great success . . .

"There must be more reason and more emotional reasons to be moral than threat of human discipline."

Thereafter, he continued to address the problem on several fronts: with the development of a Scientology drug rehabilitation program (ultimately to prove the world’s most successful); with the continued encouragement of Scientology ethics technology for the rehabilitation of criminal populations; and — noting the correlation between illiteracy and criminality — with the implementation of Scientology learning skills in the secular arena. But what he increasingly saw as the underlying moral crisis — that returns us to the very central problem of psychiatric and psychological influence.

"What will men do when they believe that they are only mud?" LRH asked from his Southern California home in 1981. Then significantly adds: "Taught to believe he is but a beast, he is now becoming convinced that he is the helpless victim of his own passions." What had led him to that statement was effectively a trail of research picked up in 1976 upon his resettlement in the United States. And specifically at issue was the steady proliferation of what Ron referred to as a new "man-from-mud" onslaught, but is more generally known as either Evolutionary Psychology or New Social Darwinism.

The roots are dark, and factually wind right through Third Reich theories of racial purity and the liquidation of inferiors. While more recently it was the New Darwinian gospel that fostered such obscene comparisons between homicide rates within African-American communities and violence within overpopulated baboon communities. (And, of course, who can forget Harvard sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson’s inflammatory remarks concerning the evolutionary behavior parallels between humans and termites.) But even darker still, is the final construct of this Evolutionary Psychology, the dangling conclusion of what LRH dubbed a "worship of the atom."

In a sentence the premise is this: If man is but a soulless sum of his genetic heritage, sprung from "primordial pond scum," as the New Darwinists themselves have put it, then all he feels and does is likewise but a product of genetics. If he loves, it is because he is genetically programed to love for the propagation of the race. If he fears, he is similarly only responding to some innate genetic code. And however socially or politically complex the circumstances, if he kills, he is likewise only acting out an ingrained genetic urge. Needless to say, more than one homicide defense has been mounted under a New Darwinist banner that effectively says, "it was all in the genes."

And when one distills all that to an essence in what Ron dubbed "the holy test tube," the message becomes this: If man is too often immoral, it’s because there is ultimately no morality beyond survival of the fittest by tooth and claw.


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