Another View of Scientology's "ScienoSitter"

July 15, 1998
By Rick Ross

Scientology now seems to have offered objective proof (i.e. the "ScienoSitter") that it is engaged in the use of thought reform. They have distributed software, the so-called "ScienoSitter", for Scientologists to filter their Internet access. This software blocks Web sites, names or other information they find objectionable (e.g. critics or criticism of Scientology). That is--any outside frame of reference that might discuss or otherwise offer another opinion about Scientology, its founder, leaders or practices that they did not originate and/or approve.

Information control is a well-recognized facet of thought reform--often called "brainwashing". Totalistic organizations are largely dependent upon controlling information to maintain a mindset (e.g. Nazi Germany, Communist Russia or Mao's China). This is called "milieu control" --or control of the environment. Such control is much like George Orwell's vision of "1984". Simply summed up--totalists seemingly cannot tolerate an outside frame of reference, alternate views or objective feedback. This is especially true concerning the claims of what can be seen as their "sacred science".

Noted psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton explored the area of thought reform and published his observations through his seminal book "Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism" (see Reading to order this book). Within Chapter 22 of his book Lifton lists eight criteria necessary to establish a thought reform program. Two listed are "Milieu Control" and "Sacred Science".

Scientology's animosity regarding the mental health profession is long established. This too--can simply be seen as yet another example of their intolerance of any outside feedback that might permeate their "milieu control". Moreover, mental health professionals have offered insightful analysis concerning the techniques and results of Scientology--that the organization finds objectionable.

In plain language--Scientology and its leaders seem to like what they control and not like what they don't control.

The net result for Scientologists on the Internet is now the so-called "ScienoSitter", which enables the organization to filter information and block out any feedback they don't control--regarding their organization, its beliefs, practices and problems. This appears to provide objective proof, from Scientology itself--that the organization is actively involved in "Thought Reform".

Here is the basis for one of Robert Jay Lifton's (eight) criteria:

Milieu Control

"The most basic feature of the thought reform environment, the psychological current upon which all else depends, is the control of human communication [e.g. information]. Through this milieu control the totalist environment seeks to establish domain over not only the individual's communication with the outside (all that he sees and hears, reads or writes, experiences, and expresses). It creates an atmosphere uncomfortably reminiscent of George Orwell's 1984.

They [e.g. Scientology?] look upon milieu control as a just and necessary policy, one which need not be kept secret. At the center of this self-justification is their assumption of omniscience, their conviction that reality is their exclusive possession. Having experienced the impact of what they consider to be an ultimate truth (and having the need to dispel any possible inner doubts of their own), they consider it their duty to create an environment containing no more and no less than this "truth." In order to be the engineers of the human soul, they must first bring it under full observational control".

"If it quacks like a duck and it walks like a duck--it just might be a duck."

For further information about Scientology's "ScienoSitter" visit the following Web sites:

"A Web of Their Own--Salon Magazine"

"Church of Scientology Censors Net Access for Members"

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