Tag Archives | memoirs

Childhood Inside Scientology’s Sea Org

Via the Daily Beast, Astra Woodcraft shares her youthful memories of and the tale of her escape from a Scientology compound in Florida, including out of body experiences, marriage at age fifteen, and an odd beverage of choice called CalMag:

I was 7 years old when I entered the Orwellian world of rules, rewards, and punishments known as the Church of Scientology. Prior to that, I had led a relatively normal life with my family in London. Then my mother decided to become more involved with the church, and we moved to Clearwater, Florida, where she joined a religious order called the Sea Organization. She signed a contract commiting herself to the group for a billion years—covering her future lives, as the church believes people are immortal. We settled into a compound with other families. The year was 1986.

The Sea Org came along after Scientology, in 1967, initially operating from several ships.

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The Exegesis Of Philip K. Dick

Philip K DickPhilip K. Dick’s innovative science fiction is best-known for its portrayal of characters trapped in Gnostic false realities which they may unravel by way of divine or god-like helpers, mystical experiences, and active paranoia. As his career progressed, his novels became increasingly bizarre—and increasingly autobiographical. By the time he died in 1982, he had come to regard his collected work not as the production of his own fertile imagination, but as a kind of Scripture; the novelization of essential truths revealed to him in a series of visionary experiences with a higher intelligence.

A new window into the intense process of dizzying introspection by which Dick struggled to explicate his mystical experiences has recently opened with the publication of a 900-page collection of his private papers. As Daniel Karder of The Guardian puts it, “…if you want to know what it’s like to have your world dissolve, and then try to rebuild it while suffering mental invasions from God, Asklepios or whomever, you should read The Exegesis:” 

Philip K Dick rewired my brain when I was a mere lad, after I plucked Clans of the Alphane Moon at random from a shelf in my local library.

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How Ayn Rand Ruined My Childhood

ayn-rand-cigaretteIn keeping with the Ayn Rand ruins everything meme in honor of the release of Atlas Shrugged: The Movie, enjoy a blackly amusing recollection of what can happen when your Rand-obsessed parent attempts to raise you by the dictates of Objectivist philosophy. (Big mistake!) Alyssa Bereznak writes in Salon:

It was odd growing up in an objectivist house. My father reserved long weekends to attend Ayn Rand Institute conferences held in Orange County, California. He would return with a tan and a pile of new reading material for my brother and me. While other kids my age were going to Bible study, I took evening classes from the institute via phone. (I half-listened while clicking through lolcat photos.)

“We were wondering if you would petition to be emancipated,” he said in his lawyer voice. “What does that mean?” I asked, picking at the mauve paint on my hands. I later discovered that for most kids, declaring emancipation is an extreme measure — something you do if your parents are crack addicts or deadbeats.

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