Archive for the ‘silliness’ Category

Robert B. Pippin, the Boring Face of Scientology?

February 2, 2008
Is this the boring face of Scientology?

Everyman, Tom Cruise, plays Scientology’s charismatic crazy-face, publicist, but is there a secret academic movement of crypto-Scientology out there, laying the ground-work for its intellectual acceptance?

Friday night, I went out with a friend who teaches Theology and Ethics. I asked him to explain a little to me about Scientology. Over Mexican food, he pointed out that Scientology is a deeply crazy sect, far nuttier than those ‘heretical’ gnostics, the Mormons. Apparently, the Mormons are, as I long suspected, ridiculous shysters, but they don’t go so far as to eat placentas.

From what I understand, Scientologists believe there’s an energy in the planet that skilled persons can tap into to clear the blocks in their minds. Psychic Ex-Lax. These blockages prevent us from accessing our previous ‘Incarnations,’ which are past lives — aka, the reborn souls of aliens. Once a Scientologist clears all the blocks for this life, it has to be done for all the other lives. This is how it gets expensive. It costs money to clear up the various histories of our consciousness.

This got me to question, what do I know that is like this?

Why Hegel!

How is this like Hegelianism? Well, there’s an absurd self-absorbed confidence in the competence of grander systems. With both Hegel and Scientology we find an assurance about the present age being a fulfillment of past lives, of history. For Hegel, sure, there’s no immortality of the soul but there is the Present Age and the State which are the culmination of all that has gone before through the Spirit (aka, aliens).

Of course I’m talking out of my ass. I’ve only read a couple of books by Hegel, and each of those only once. My only truly serious engagement with his thought comes through Kierkegaard making fun of it, Zizek embodying the butt of Kierkegaard’s joke, and Robert B. Pippin’s book, Hegel’s Idealism: The Satisfaction of Self-Consciousness.

Pippin’s book engages Hegel’s Science of Logic as well as The Phenomenology of the Spirit. No real philosophy book would go to press ranging all over the place like that, however, Professor Pippin isn’t a professor of Philosophy. He teaches something called ‘Social Thought.’ Is this Scientology? If not, is it better?

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