The Church of Scientology is set to go on trial in France, accused of organised fraud.The case centres on a complaint by a woman who says she was pressured into paying large sums of money after being offered a free personality test.
The woman at the centre of the case says she was approached by church members in Paris and offered a free personality test, but she ended up spending all her savings on books, medicines and the electronic metre that is part of the paraphernalia of Scientology.
The latest case centres on a complaint made in 1998 by a 33-year-old woman who said she was approached by a group of people outside a Paris metro station who offered her a free personality test and a later meeting to interpret the results. Over the following months, she said she paid 140,000 francs (£17,000) to the Scientologists for courses, books, medication, and “purification packs”.
A must buy for the Christmas holiday!
Fantastic exhibition at The Photographers Gallery based on Harry Price’s Library of Magical Literature. It presents seven different photographer’s work that deal with the paranormal, the unknown and ethereal. Including work from Susan Macwilliam ( see earlier post>) and RCA graduate (Floren)Cia Durante. Brilliant brilliant stuff, highly recommend a visit!
THE FUTURES ASSOCIATION FOR THERAPY AND ENTERTAINMENT: MANIFESTO
The FATE Institute was established by private endowment in 2020 to bring together worldwide experts in the study, research and development, therapy and treatment of future self knowledge.
Expertise is based on a holistic approach to the evaluation of predictive gene testing and the effects of nature, nurture and other unrelated effects (christened ‘neither’) on the behaviour, development and lifestyle of individual human beings.
The second decade of the Third Millennium has seen a massive rise in the accessibility and application of predictive gene testing. The deterministic interpretation of results adopted by many practitioners has not always taken account of the probabilities associated with their conclusions. This has led to adverse decisions by Government and other authorities concerning the future of individuals affected. Those concerned have suffered negative financial, medical treatment and employment prospects.
This has caused a backlash among ordinary citizens. They have objected to the resulting marginalisation of, and discrimination against certain individual dispositions highlighted and penalised by such testing.
Civil Rights movements throughout the world, and in particular LIBERTY in the UK and GeneWatchUK have encouraged academics, scientists, medical practitioners and others to find alternative ways of improving future self knowledge
FATE is a quasi-scientific Institute combining scientific thinking and techniques with subjective and anecdotal evidence in the quest for improved techniques in developing future self knowledge.
Specialists from a variety of fields in Institutions such as the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, MIT, Tokyo, have been attracted to form three distinct research and development groups with therapy units attached.
The Nature Group focuses on self knowledge understanding arising from genetic factors, including predictive gene testing.
The Nurture Group focuses on self knowledge improvement through environmental, upbringing and lifestyle factors
The Neither Group draws on research from other non related groups including the lifecaching movement generated via Web 2.0. An individual’s trend history can be recorded, archived and then analysed in order to extrapolate and have a direct affect on the individual’s future trends by self fulfilling/perpetuating prophecy making.
Each Group has developed a range of research and treatment techniques which are proven to help understand future self knowledge issues. All can be applied in isolation or in conjunction with other therapies from within the same group or in conjunction with those from other Groups.
The FATE Institute emphasises the synergies of cross fertilisation of expertise both within Groups and between Groups in the treatment of patients.
Many of the consultants now employed at FATE have developed therapies in conjunction with volunteers form different parts of the world in their pursuit of a viable body of knowledge. The Institute is now opening its doors to new patients who may have been recommended by their GP or Specialist Doctor or by a Government Department who feel that improved self knowledge would have a beneficial effect on the individual for example persistent offenders.
Certain consultants within the FATE Institute have been identified with specific skills. These enable them to interview potential patients with a view to determining whether they are suitable for treatment by FATE and if so with what combination of treatments from Nature, Nurture and Neither Groups.
A range of techniques have been developed and accredited as suitable for patient treatment for each Group. A specific example is described below for each of Nature, Nurture and Neither Groups.
1. NURTURE: THE DELPHI PARTY
This technique draws on the area of corporate forecasting where a roomful of experts are brought together in a workshop format to determine the future likelihood of a certain technology being adopted and with what applications.
In place of industry experts Friends and Family members of the patient are drawn together under the guidance of an experienced consultant and facilitator/moderator to discuss the probability of certain life events taking place and when.
2. NATURE: THE GENE CEREMONY
Gene Testing is introduced by using a variety of foods and food utensils that act as alternative DNA swabs to determine the likelihood of developing certain diseases or behavioural disorders.
A strong focused ceremonial process is used is to ensure the experience of extracting the individuals genetic material is in line with the severity of diagnostic information it reveals.
3. NEITHER: THE MICROTREND DIARY
An evaluation over time of what affects the patient on a day by day, month by month basis, as a predictor of future trends in the individual’s behaviour. A mirror that reflects their past and current trends in order to affect their future actions: a self-fulfilling prophecy tool. A trend vitae.
Each day, week and month contains a set of questions entered into a normal type diary to be answered on a tick box basis. The results of these questions are uploaded by OCR techniques into the Institute’s computer at monthly visits by the patient. The results are analysed by the Doctor and fed back to the patient by consultation, comparing week by week and month by month by time series analysis, identifying historical trends and pointers for the future. Provocative questions are included to encourage serious thinking about thoughts and behaviours by the patient. Inducing self fulfilling prophecy subconscious reactions.
Im loving the new wave of pseudoevangelist activism going on at the moment. The great Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping will soon be televised in a Spurlock film called What would Jesus Buy? Based on the book written my Reverend Billy that acts as an activists manual as well as a diary of his tour around the country trying to spread the stop shopping gospel word. See his website for more details.
During the 1970s and 1980s Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and later taking the name Osho, was an Indian spiritual teacher, seen as a rich man’s guru and also known to be a Rolls Royce driver. Osho is now a brand that has a magazine and meditation resort. The resort brings together mental and physical wellbeing packages under one roof by combining mudpacks with meditation temples. This is a real place for real people where real money is exchanged, but is the process of well-being and development about yourself still up to you to interpret, is it fictitious?
Another superfiction (see earlier post) is Janice Kabels’ Bird Island. A fictitious art work with a website describing the island and the birds of paradise that do not exist but have been imagined and created on paper. Its fictitious but does that matter?
I have been reading Derren Brown‘s recently published book “Tricks of the Mind” and have learnt alot about his debunking methods used on his tv series on channel 4. He explains his roots in “mentalism”, and the variety of professions that mentalists go onto being including tarot-readers, psychics, clairvoyants, evangelists, spiritualists, entertainers, motivational speakers(eg Anthony Robbins) and are “driven by profit, ego, ot heartfelt altruism”(Brown). He explicitly points out that he would rather be as honest as he can but to also retain a sense of drama & mystique and make his shows entertaining using psychological trickery and mind acuity. He discusses his viewpoints on the principles of NLP and methods used in non verbal communication to build rapport eg mirroring. In one chapter ” anti-science, psuedoscience and bad thinking” he further discusses the paranormal industry and looks at why we have such a need for belief systems and a desire to have such a sense of belonging.
Also see post about Dr. Richard Wiseman
Recently watched a TED talk by Michael Shermer, a scienctific historian, editor and publisher of the quarterly Skeptic Magazine and author of a number of books including “Why People Believe Weird Things”. His magazine investigates claims of the paranormal, pseudoscience and claims made by fringe groups and cults. He discusses pseudoscience, non science, bad science, junk science, voodoo sciecne, pathalogical science and non-sense. They are debunkers. Trying to replace bad ideas with good ideas. I am currently reading his book (one of many) where Michael explores the very human reasons we find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories and cults so appealing. He attempts to show how are eternal search for meaning, comfort and spiritual fulfillment results in our thinking being led astray by extraordinary claims and controversial ideas in the realm of superstition and the supernatural. He mentions the Mother Teresa that was found in a cinnamon bun and the Virgin Mary in a cheese sandwich.