The body is a vegetable ... and, like any vegetable, one way or another, it gets used by others.L. RON HUBBARD
Hubbard had made it known from Dianetics on that persons who had been audited, especially Clears and OTs, could not be judged by "human" standards. Superhuman or not, the Upper Level people at Fyfield Manor impressed me in strikingly different ways. Edward Douglas and Max Dinmont -- respectively OT I and OT VI -- were kind, unostentatious gentlemen with evident strong inner qualities. Edward was like a large, benevolent elf. Never in enough funds for all available processing, he had over the years steeped himself in Hubbard's writings with such scrupulousness that even people on higher levels than his respected his authority on Scientology fundamentals. Somehow Edward wordlessly conveyed to me the feeling that he surveyed the manor and its surroundings from a non-physical vantage point.
Certain other OTs made it a point to be all too human after all. Richie Blackburn referred to one of them, a voluptuous OT VI named Olga O'Brien, as "an easy lay." The afternoon Olga arrived at the manor with her eleven year old daughter, she made a "between the bodies agreement" with another new arrival, a Sea Org recruit enroute to Ron's yacht, reported to be off the coast of Spain. The daughter disliked her mother's lover, and the three of them, indifferent to others present, hashed it over the next day in the dining room. This dispute over Olga's amours seemed to be only the latest in a series. Olga upheld her end of it with Scientological-sounding principles of Self Determination and Personal Responsibility. There was something spiteful and vindictive towards the little girl in Olga's carryings-on, but I tried to take her remarks at the table at face value. The recruit was around for only a day or so. Then Olga moved into the room of Mike Glassman, a recently attained OT VI, a fleshy, pompous man of about fifty who gave off no spiritual waves whatsoever. Richie Blackburn told me that Olga had managed to fit him, Richie, in for a between the bodies agreement also, between her bouts with the others, and "Why doncha get in on the fun, Bob? All's you got to do is say `Hallo' to her." Richie's credibility got a boost early the next morning when I went downstairs to find Olga on the living room couch with Juanita Wilkin's steady lover, whose frequent presence at the manor didn't seem to disquiet Juanita's husband, Ralph, the landlord.
Juanita's "human" behavior was not so puzzling, however. She was only a Grade IV Release.
Ralph Wilkins, OT I, tall, rangy, and thirtyish, didn't act superhuman either. Some of his lodgers looked down their noses at his apparent vicarious delight in the naughty bedtime frolics at the manor, his wife's included. They put it that "His Ethics Are Out."
Within recent years, Hubbard himself, concerned over reports of Second Dynamic Out-Ethics (sexual promiscuity), had issued a Policy Letter directive prohibiting such activities amongst staff members and students. However, it was then reported to him that people were still doing it anyway; and as they showed no sign of ever stopping, Hubbard revoked his order and fornication was reinstated at Saint Hill.
Ralph Wilkins was scraping to finance his next Upper Level with profits from the manor, but he was extremely disorganized about it. The house was deteriorating, especially the plumbing, so that Ralph had to keep his rents at rock bottom, hoping to make up for it in volume. Some nights he had an overflow crowd sleeping on the living room floor and down in the basement, rather sinisterly called "the Dungeons."
An inexplicable but pleasing aspect of Ralph's mismanagement was his over-generosity about food. Snacks were available round the clock for a pittance in the makeshift kitchen canteen. For breakfast guests could enjoy cereal, eggs and bacon. For dinner Ralph unvaryingly provided plenty of red meat or poultry and vegetables, and enough butter to smear on every morsel in sight.
At one meal, I noticed a boy of eight or nine eating at a small table off to one side. At first I thought he was alone; then Richie told me he was one of the children of an American couple who were on the long Special Briefing Course, who acked (acknowledged) everything said to them as though they were conducting an auditing session, with sonorous "Okays" and "Thank yous." His mother had found in a Search and Discovery that their son was suppressive to her -- perhaps she didn't want him in the first place -- and she had then had to disconnect from him, so he was placed away from her at his own table. Now and then she ran over and gave him a love-pat, because, as she explained, "I can really only half-disconnect from him." He was the saddest little boy I'd ever seen, his pinched, bewildered features in complete contrast to those of his sunny little sister, who always sat with her parents.
There was also a teen-aged girl who stayed in the attic and showed up for meals only on rare occasion, humming to herself. Richie described her as the Planet's First Dianetic Baby, the result of Ron's experiments with "engram-less birth." "I'm not so sure it worked out all that right, mate," he said. "She's really a bit weird, ya know."
Students and staffers at the Hill were predominantly from England, America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Scandinavian countries, where English was a second language. Men and women were in about equal ratio. Their ages ran from twelve to octogenarian, though most were young adult to middle-aged. Many of them were in great haste to get through. Pressure from the organization to ascent the Scientology ladder, and the attendant general financial pinch, tended to make the students' self-interest aggressive and unconcealed. I had first observed this during the backbiting rides over to the Hill and the daily stampede for tape machines.
I also sensed their fear. Something could happen to Scientology before Ron pulled us out of the Trap he had languished in for billions of years. Scientology had been attacked in the press and by several governments. It had survived for almost twenty years; Ron was confident about "the next billion." Yet the total picture was hardly reassuring, and the bustling surface at Saint Hill did not hide the fear.
Despite these undercurrents, there was much that pleased me about Saint Hill. I was learning to crack down for the first time in my life. The discipline would be in the long run as beneficial as clearing. It was a relief for a while not to have to make constant decisions involving several variables. My route was set out for me, and I could put all my energy into following it. Here was purpose, goal, intention.
At this point, I was closer to becoming one of them than I would have thought possible just two weeks previous.