Turning Point self-help course

Was on 60 Minutes. Will be interesting to see what the Coroner says.

I had a friend who did the course and he loved it. He recommended I do it, but – running it by my Thoreausian benchmark – “Do I feel attracted to doing this course?” – I didn’t want to.

I rang the course this week out of curiosity and the bloke said they still run it once a month (the website is temporarily down). He said he’d mail me some material but it hasn’t arrived. I said I couldn’t afford the $675 and he said they can arrange a payment plan. Anyway, I’m not keen on that sort of intense course as I feel they tend to be a temporary band-aid. When I meet people who’ve gone on that sort of thing (eg. est), they’re all keyed up and evangelical for a few weeks but the glow wears off.

I dislike the 60 Minutes spin so it gets the Tulip of the Week Award. Lots of people go through courses and don’t end up psychotic.

On another track: I’ve known people who were drug-dependent or caught up in self-destructive lifestyles who’ve joined crazy cults and ended up getting their lives back on track. Sure, the cults always had an element that was “unacceptable” and kept them on the fringe (eg. free-for-all sex or a weird guru or a belief in aliens) but at least they learnt how to live much more productive lives. And some of them got disillusioned and left and lead more conventional lives.

As a stepping stone upwards, fringe cults are essential and great. Apart from the ones where everyone suicides. You have to know when to get out before it goes too bad.

If you know people who’ve been in cults – or have accidentally ended up in one yourself – you’ll know there are a lot of good things about them, especially if you can get what you need and then move on.


Danielo Suelo – lives in a cave with no money

He blogs from a public library in the US. Lives off roadkill and the land and is very religious. http://sites.google.com/site/livingwithoutmoney/

Taking Thoreau to the Xtreme! He quotes Thoreau:  “In proportion as he Simplifies his Life, the Laws of the Universe will appear less complex, and Solitude will not be solitude, nor Poverty poverty, nor Weakness weakness.”

He got clinical depression and stripped his life of jobs and money and found the only way to get rid of his depression was to live simply. He has a huge thing about not feeling “dishonest”.

When people try to give him money:

“I often try to tell people that I don’t take or use money before they try to give me anything.  If they then try to give me money, I refuse it and tell them again, “I am not joking, I really don’t take or use money”, and I thank them for their intention.  If they don’t know I live moneyless and they give me money, I often take it and then leave it some place random, at least within 24 hours.  This way I am accepting people’s generosity but not their money, and everybody is happy, including a third party stranger who finds that random money.  Once in a while I pass it on to somebody I encounter who might need it.”

To be a vagabond, a bum, and make an art of it – this idea enchanted me.  The idea of it was just plain fun.”

If bees can do it, so can we

Aussie researchers have discovered that different honey bee species –  using an elaborate bum wiggle to communicate – can learn each other’s dialects. They bred and combined Asian and European bees into a single colony.

“Using video camera footage, scientists discovered that not only were the two getting along, but after a time, both were eventually able to decode each other’s bottom signals.”

(Great restraint was used when I wrote the header.)

Church of Scientology personality test

What is it?
The form says: “Fill out this FREE Personality Test. Know the factors that affect your life. Bring it in today and receive your results. There is no obligation. This is done with the idea that people can know and improve themselves.”

The lowdown
There’s no one on the street corner handing out tests at lunchtime, so I go into the head office. The receptionist gives me the test and a copy of the church’s magazine, The Bridge. I’m allowed to take the test home and come back any time during office hours for an assessment.
I spend 20 minutes answering 200 questions honestly with yes, no or maybe/uncertain. Most of these cover how you’re feeling, whether you’re comfortable about interacting with people, the main vices, a couple about paranoia and several about ethics (for example, “Are you in favour of colour bar and class distinction?”, “Would the idea of inflicting pain on game, small animals or fish prevent you from hunting or fishing?”). Some of the terms are American but are easy to understand. I judge I’m feeling OK.

I go back to the head office the next day and am assigned to Miss K. I explain that I don’t want to fill out my contact details and she says that’s fine. An assistant puts my answers through the computer and five minutes later Miss K shows me the scores and how they reflect my personality, relationships and career. The results are in the “normal” and “desirable state” sections (none in the “unacceptable state” category) and this seems accurate.
I am given the results to take home and am not asked to buy anything or join up.

Tell me more
When you collect the results, you have the choice to discuss philosophical questions with the Scientologists and they have books and workshops, such as “Ups and Downs” that explain how the church deals with life’s problems. If you want to try other personality tests, you can find a number of options online by doing a Google search for Myers-Briggs, Enneagram or Keirsey.

Would I do it again?
No need to since I’m “normal”. I stayed for an hour and asked many questions and was shown several books but decided it wasn’t for me.
I was impressed by the courteous and non-pressured exchange.
Church of Scientology, 201 Castlereagh Street, city, 9267 6772 or go to www.dianetics.org