THE LIFE ON THE OCEAN WAVE
Ron Hubbard had always had a strong affinity with the sea. Some of his pre-war exploring had been of coastal waters and he was in the Navy during the war. After his recovery from injuries he states he spent a period cruising in the West Indies. It was perhaps natural, after sixteen hectic years establishing Dianetics and Scientology, that he should return to the sea.
After relinquishing the post of Executive Director in 1966 he acquired a sailing yacht. This may have been intended originally for his personal use but then came the idea of using ships as a training environment. Ships of any size need crews and it was a natural step to use young Scientologists as crew members. Training in the technical skills of auditing and organisation and the toughening up to be gained from shipboard discipline were considered to be a happy combination.
During the course of 1967 two other vessels were acquired and constituted a small fleet. The flagship was a converted Channel ferry called the Royal Scotsman and renamed the Apollo. The other two vessels were smaller, the Athena and Diana, and were used for special assignments.
Over the years a succession of enthusiastic young Scientologists. spent training periods on the ships. The appeal must have been considerable to anyone who had reached some level of understanding of what Dianetics and Scientology could supposedly do for the individual and mankind. Who could resist the combination of extended cruising in the Mediterranean and the chance to get co-auditing, that is exchange auditing with a fellow trainee auditor, under the best technical supervision available? In addition there was the chance to be near the discoverer and developer of Scientology. Hubbard was always a man of enormous charisma and charm, to those who were not overwhelmed by his somewhat flamboyant style.
Thus we have the emergence of the 'Sea Organisation'. Hubbard no had enough experience of running things to know that the only way that the ships could operate effectively was if they were run on a similar pattern to the very successful delivery Centre he had evolved at Saint Hill.
Lectures and Bulletins emerged about training new crew intakes r procedures and even such things as How to Keep Watches. Hubbard
28 THE SAD TALE OF SCIENTOLOGY
himself had always liked to dress up and look the part, and the role of Naval Commodore suited him admirably. Naval Uniforms and ranks were evolved. Much of the maritime terminology which was adopted in the administration of the shipboard organisation lives on in the Church Orgs today, even though the ships have long since gone.
We can see here the emergence of an elite corps. The Sea Organisation (Sea Org) members were encouraged to feel that they had a particular role and right to claim pre-eminence in the mission to improve the world. The Sea Organisation members of today still wear the naval uniform and pledge themselves to an open-ended contract to work for the goals of Scientology.
Despite his claim to have given up direct management of the Church. Hubbard was not without considerable influence on the running of the Church. Looking back at this period of Scientology one is reminded of the practice of Japanese Emperors in the middle ages of retiring to a monastery. Unfortunately, they did not relinquish all their influence and kept a court around them and a finger in the pie of government. This obviously made life a little difficult for the new Emperor trying to establish himself. A similar situation could be said to have come about within the Church, assuming that Hubbard had genuinely passed running of the Church to others at all.
Ron Hubbard was never one to stop thinking and improving. Although he spent much of his time on developing the OT levels, he wrote a lot about running Orgs and Staff Management. It was also during this time that he did a major up-date on Dianetics, the first since he had started on the development of Scientology in the early 50's. This format of the late sixties became known as Standard Dianetics. It was further up-dated in the late 70's to become New Era Dianetics (NED). During this time on the ships the first Advanced Org was established. This was a delivery centre for auditing the OT levels with the necessary support functions of Case Supervisors and Quality Control. From this first mobile advanced Org, teams were sent out to set up land based Advanced Orgs at Los Angeles, Edinburgh and Copenhagen in the 1968-69 period.
Thus we have some very valuable and positive benefits of this shipborne period. We have the development of the higher OT levels and their systematisation for standard delivery. Also we have the start of the Advanced Organisations which could deliver these services to the general public. These Advanced Orgs (AO's) are quite separate from the normal Orgs which deliver auditing up to Clear. There are today five Advanced Orgs run by the Church throughout the world.
On the other hand this period also produced the more doubtful benefit
CHAPTER SEVEN 29
of the elite corps known as the Sea Org. The combination of youthful idealism and isolation from national boundaries in a floating world of their own could be expected to produce a distinctive attitude.
All young people want to do something useful to improve the world. These youngsters would not have been able to believe their good luck in finding themselves in the vanguard of a movement that claimed to do that. Add to that the special language that has developed in Scientology as a necessary shorthand for quite complicated ideas; the necessary discipline of being on a ship; and the panoply of ranks and uniforms, and we can predict the emergence of a moral fervour in which the individual willingly pledges himself to the cause with selfless zeal.
Prior to the period on the ships Hubbard had developed and run the movement with whoever had responded to his ideas and been willing to help. This included people of all ages and social backgrounds. The Saint Hill booklet shows a genuine popular movement with people from all walks of life giving their time and enthusiastic support, but still combining this with living and working in the outside world.
With the establishment of the Sea Org, we can detect a change. Recruitment would have been mostly from middle class youth, understandably disaffected by a world embroiled in a futile war in Vietnam. The moral purpose offered by Scientology would have had great appeal in contrast with the amorality of the Sixties. The accent on 'tough' dedication to the purpose predictably led on to an almost competitive atmosphere of self-denial and aggressive demonstration of 'toughness'. The arrival of a Sea Org mission was dreaded by the local Orgs. In their anxiety to demonstrate their dedication to the cause, these Sea Org members Sometimes did more harm than good. Their purpose was too obviously to find fault. One of the most feared criticisms was to be termed 'a Dilettante', indicating a lack of dedicated committment to the cause.
One interesting by product of the period of the ships was that there were a number of children on board. Contrary to popular belief, Scientology is protective of family bonds. The children of established marriages among crew members stayed with their parents. They were however in danger of becoming a nuisance on the ships. Ron Hubbard put them to work carrying messages and operating the internal communications on the ship. They were given the status of being 'his eyes and ears' Any insult to them was an insult to him. They were known as the Commodores Message Organisation, (CMO), and were to become an important influence later in the development of Church affairs.
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