Ranking Up

Watched a nauseating documentary on the Church of Scientology last night called “Going Clear”. It falls into that category of movies where you’re watching a horrible train wreck in slow motion and you just keep asking, “Why doesn’t that person just stop?”

Other movies that fall into this category where I just think “STOP!” throughout the whole movie are:

  • Trainspotting
  • Requiem for a Dream
  • Permanent Midnight

The above movies are all about drug addiction and are sickening to watch. This movie about religion felt awfully similar. The people in the Church of Scientology were striving to move up fictitious “ranks” to get them closer to achieving a sublime greatness within the church. Church members would pay money to move up these ranks. They were addicted to their cult and to moving up rank. I watched it unfold on the TV, sitting on my couch and thought, “These people are idiots”.

But the issue is that all humans want to move up a rank, it is inevitable. I’m sure I’ve worked way too hard at companies because I wanted to be a senior level employee, I’ve spent a lot of money on a softball bat to have an edge on my slow pitch statistical rankings, I’ve spent money on digital extras in video games to gain an edge on the vastly superior players I compete against. To most people, these examples may seem absurd, but I am sure women do the same thing with shoes, yoga pants, and careers. We’re all trying to rank up in something. I even tried to rank up in how hot of a pepper I can eat. To people on the outside, watching me put the Carolina Reaper pepper in my mouth, it is a slow motion train wreck, they probably think, “This guy is an idiot”.

But it gave me a perverse satisfaction.

Perhaps the folks in Scientology are not crazy at all, maybe they are just as crazy as the cult of woman who own Coco Chanel handbags, overweight men on souped up Harley Davidsons, or corporate executives that rarely see their families.  So, whatever cult you choose, you must abide by these principles to remain a productive member of society:

  1. Spouse/children come before cult
  2. Respect other cults
  3. Do not put all your time into a single cult, belong to at least two cults
  4. Set limits up front on your financial contribution and time commitments to your cult
  5. Talk to outsiders about your cult, their perspective could keep your participation more rationale

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