George Hay: Letter

While I admire your persistence in the matter of the SPGB, something quite sizeable will have to happen before I can get interested. I was greatly heartened by “Anti-Freeze;” it is a fine demonstration of s.i. analysis at work. Your “New Readers Start Here” does not actually define eidostatic and the other terms and I think it needs to do so. I still sometimes have to stop and ask myself what one of the terms means. I still think that Ron Hubbard’s version of these terms as “start, change and stop” would be more easily assimilable to the man in the Clapham omnibus.

I hesitate to quote Hubbard yet again, but I think he laid down an important point which relates to your piece about Buddhism, Christianity etc. When we inspect what actually happens at Buddhist or Christian meetings, we find that, if we set aside the belief-systems involved, all those present were doing something quite beneficial; they were, to use Hubbard’s term, “duplicating” each other; they were all doing exactly the same thing physically. This promotes group feeling no end, and explains the truth that underlies the old conservative theme that “the best thing for these juvenile delinquents is to get them into the army.” It is true that running, parade-ground drill etc., does promote group well-being by getting those concerned to all perform exactly the same actions. That this can be abused by politicians and generals does not contravene the principle that people do benefit by such group action, and anyone interested in promoting group benefits should never forget this point. To look at the negative side of it, have you not noted – I certainly have – that when a discussion meeting ends in general disagreement, one leaves it feeling rather “down.” even though one may have benefited from hearing one or another individual viewpoint?

Incidentally, I have read several accounts of Buddhist history indicating that that religion induced enormous civilising benefits over a very wide area; I think this really was the case. And this was done without the “benefits” of mass slaughter typical of Christianity and the Moslem religion. I believe this was because Buddhism is an intellectual religion, which works by getting people to examine the means by which they come to conclusions, rather than trying to get them to accept beliefs. Indeed, a standard Christian reproach to Buddhism is that it “lacks faith.” Unfortunately, Buddhism has been going long enough that much of it is corrupt. Even so, I have found that a study of certain books by practitioners was highly beneficial to my mind. This is also the case with a study of Aquinas, who in my view represents the very best of Christianity.

George Hay

Answer
If IC makes readers stop and ask themselves the meaning of the terms used it is doing its job. Readers are supposed to think about what is said, and not to imagine that one quick, snappy sentence can encapsulate all that is meant by, for example, “eidostatic” or “eidodynamic.”

As far as we know Buddhism (like Quakerism) has not been invoked to justify or instigate mass slaughters. But neither (again like Quakerism) has it been able to prevent them. They have occurred in India and China, where Buddhism was familiar. Two of the greatest slaughters known to history were carried out under the influence of the Maoists in China and the Stalinists in Russia; neither group was noticeably Christian or Mohammedan.

Every great religion has played its part in the development of civilization. The distinctive feature of religion is the insistence upon the distinction between the sacred (superior) and the secular (inferior). The establishment of this pattern of thinking is an integral part of the transition from the amorphous, unorganised primal society to the firm, hierarchical structure of civilisation.

from Ideological Commentary 24, November 1986.