The following first appeared in the private email list IVy-subscribers,
which was available to all those who subscribed to the
printed magazine, International Viewpoints.
Death, Where is Thy Sting?
by Phil Spickler
17 July 99
Hello, and greetings too!
Thanks to Socrates, both when auditing and in writing this series I
operate on the assumption that the pc, or in this case the reader-listener,
is already a repository of all knowledge. That's right: Knows All. And if
I'm lucky enough, my very best efforts might serve as a reminder of certain
things and/or tickle the fancy of those kind enough to receive this drivel --
and so dear readers, off we go into the wild blue yonder.
The earlier installments of this series, which purports to have
something to do with possibilities for applying Dianetics and Scientology to
the aging and aged, have covered to some degree illness and aging, and
possibly one fairly great omission to date might have to do with mentioning
genetics and genetic engineering and some of the exciting possibilities that
are rapidly approaching for a far greater understanding of aging and illness
as applied to the body human than we ever dared dream of in our earlier
Putting PTS to one side, in fact dropping it down the old coal chute
for the moment, and briefly putting in place what has been coming to light in
the last decade or so, I think it's not too extravagant to suggest that many
illnesses definitely have a genetic component, and that soon such illnesses
may be not only preventable but easily curable, not too far down the line.
Therefore the possibilities of extending one's lifespan may in some
future, since the technology for growing or cloning easily replacable organs
from a person's own body is also drawing close, become, as we've seen in
various science fiction stories, open to your own design, and if you have a
hankering to live a couple of centuries, depending on the politics and the
state of the world soon to come, you may just be able to do it.
Please note I haven't even mentioned cloning and its possibilities,
which already are here. In fact, if I could just eliminate this body's
propensity to get hangnails, I just might whack off a couple of clones one of
these fine days, which should go a great distance in not only providing a lot
of material for the IVy list but possibly even some extremely friendly
I'm not sure just how my current wife would feel about having three of
me around, but as you can see, the size of the solution has something to do
with the size of the problems that follow.
Having, I hope, now taken away any worries one might have regarding
the length of your stay here on Earth, I feel somewhat justified in entering
into the third and perhaps final topic, namely, (that's right!), death!
capital D - e-a-t-h.
In an effort to be perfectly frank with my readers, I note that I
haven't come across many people who enjoy talking about death -- death as a
subject in general, one's own death, preordained or otherwise, or deaths of
others, or in fact the death of anything. Let's face it, it's an area that
*could* be restimulative of what we used to call in Dianetics secondaries or
secondary engrams, namely, the type of experiences associated with loss:
heavy emotional engrams with grief topping the list, etc. etc. etc. But
anyone who is interested in this series and is reading these words is
probably more or less willing to entertain this most interesting subject.
As I look at the dictionary here, one of the more humorous definitions
of death is "state of being dead." That really doesn't tell you much, does
it? Well, leaving the dictionary for the moment, I know that I've heard
expressions like "the quick and the dead," so I guess something that's dead,
to coin a phrase, has no more life or activity or motion contained therein.
And truly, if one has ever seen a dead body, there is a great sense of
stillness, of lack of motion, a lack of life, a lack of outflow or inflow.
And without refrigeration, this results in everything except the skeleton
returning (we hope) to the good earth. So, maybe the aforementioned, when it
comes to human bodies at least, is a fair-to-middling description of death.
Death has gotten a bad name, particularly in our current society, and
particularly in what is called the western part of the world, because we,
above all other peoples of Earth, can imagine, for some good reason, avoiding
it, putting it off, preventing it, and possibly even dispensing with it
altogether. Death, however, is a really valuable adjunct to Life, and
without it, if the world hadn't practiced some pretty rigorous birth control,
I would hazard a guess at world population being at least a godillion, which
is an impossibly large number, and when you think of some of the people from
our past that would still be hanging around in their same body, which is not
to say that they aren't hanging around in some form or another, but in any
event the world would be horrifically overcrowded.
So given that we have pretty unrestrained breeding on this planet,
death has been a happy occurrence, and it makes it possible for us to talk
about past people and even venerate a few of them, but gosh knows how we
might see our forefathers if they weren't really anymore our forefathers but
just a bunch of guys in their early third century of life who were still
making a lot of noise about what is right and wrong in government. No wonder
assassination at times is such a popular idea!
But anyway, and all kidding aside, one of my hopes in this series is
to give Death back a good name, at least as good a name as Life, and as we
know, when Death takes a holiday, it's not long before people are begging for
Now it's always going to be easy to understand why any given one of us
individuals, unless we are absolutely confident that Death is just the
doorway to a much, much better thing, or at the very least something that's
just as good, well, it seems only natural to wish to prolong life and avoid
death. Sometimes things get so bad for an individual or a group that death
looks like a good idea, and that's understandable, and I think in a really
sane society the right to die in just about any manner of one's choosing
should remain inalienable. Just don't let the Internal Revenue Service hear
of this possibility!
Yes, although Death and taxes are inevitable, the tax people want to
get their fair share before you're dead and then get their unfair share from
your relatives after you're dead. But that's another subject under the
heading of tax protest and rebellion which I will leave to the pen of some of
my more fiery friends who live in Washington State.
Now then, all kinds of things can die besides the body human. Of
the different dynamics or domains, somewhat abstract things like marriage can
die; love can sure seem to die; groups, the group idea or soul, can die and
deteriorate and dissolve; although personkind is still seems to be doing
pretty OK on the survival line, as you know we seem to be a pretty recent
event on this planet, and anything from a giant asteroid striking the planet
to some of the teeny weeny teeny tiny microorganisms that have been showing
up for some time now could see the end to the planet's human infection called
people; along in the 5th dynamic we've seen quite a few species disappear
from Earth under the tender stewardship of humankind; and of course everyone
has seen the wrecker's ball taking some monument to history and reducing it
to dust; and then what about spiritual death? is there such a thing in the
final sense? Could be -- I don't know for sure. And then gods seem to be
dying all the time, especially the ones that are more imagined than real. I
don't think I'm qualified to talk about the death of Static, since its
negative definition precludes the notion of its existing or being alive.
But in the other dynamics, death, dying, life and living seem to be
going on in some sort of measured balance. I'm not sure I could understand
or explain some of the laws of thermodynamics, but they seem to suggest some
possibilities on a universe-wide scale.
The natural avoidance of death and dying in a survival species has, I
fear, led to the invention of certain things, usually in the religious area,
which hold the promise of Life Eternal, which large numbers of people use to
avoid confronting Death, understanding Death, and who have a desperate need
to believe that since they are not the author of life, something else that's
bigger and/or kinder is going to make sure that they aren't really going to
die. So in the C of S you might hear folks saying something like, "Ron
didn't really die, he just took off to do some reaearch." That may, under
the heading of paranormal phenomena or paraScientology, be true, but it's
for damn sure that the human body labeled L. Ron Hubbard, that well-known
mortal coil, did die. I hope if Ron is off doing some research, once he gets
out of the heavy self-imposed ethics conditions that awaited him, his
research will re-extend to the notion that it might be a good idea to put
Affinity or love somewhere back in the Church of Scientology, particularly at
its owner/manager levels, and that it's safe, once and for all, to permit the
free flow of ideas and communications between all peoples on all subjects,
without the totalitarian fear that it will bring down and end the
Sorry, I'm drifting a bit afield at the moment; let's get back to
Death, which is however a tone level that I hope the Church comes up to some
day, which is above punishing bodies and people, and on the thetan tone scale
would be defined as a MEST Clear.
Back in the old days, there was a process called "Invent something
worse than _______," and you could stick just about anything in the blank you
wanted and run it to the point where you had gotten the guy pretty
lighthearted about whatever was in the blank. A favorite question was,
"Invent something worse than Death," and I should like to comment with a
great deal of pleasure and a big grin that almost everyone that I'd run on
this process, either as their first answer or one soon to come, would say,
"Life!" Yes, invent something worse than Death -- answer, "Life!" I've seen
quite a few people blow their minds with that answer, leap out of their
skulls, line chanrge, get an F/N that you couldn't stop with a bulldozer, and
in general get pretty happy for a long time to come. Which just goes to show
you the power of a simple little old question.
And thanks to Socrates, who first coined the idea of "We've got the
questions, but you've got the answers," the future holds great promise for
making the lives of both the quick and the dead far more interesting than
I wish in the course of this piece I'd said more about dying, the
prelude or the overture preceding death. But I think I'd like to reserve
that for another time, in which we talk more about possible applications of
Dianetics, Scientology, diet, and other possibilities in connection with that
interesting and mysterious process that we've come to call "dying," which may
in its own sweet way be tougher to confront than death. We'll see about that
in the near future.
I also think a lot more could be said about the things that have been
invented in the names of religion or philosophy that are supposed to act like
a drug or a narcotic or a painkiller to prevent people from finding their own
answer to questions of both death and life, and it's good to know that each
one of us can at any time dump all these canned solutions and, using our
potentials for total knowledge and understanding, get a more forthright and
courageous set of possibilities.
I close with highest regards to any who have found this interesting
and/or troubled themselves to read it, and look forward greatly to future
moments in that safe and serene space called the Philosophers' Corner.