Lack of funds was not in fact what made me postpone my trip to England. I had invested in a stock which a broker advised me would soon double or triple in value. Just after I bought it, however, he said it might not make its move until summer, but then it would increase to eight- or nine-fold. I decided to hold on to it. After the Money Process I felt omnipotent in the world of finance. I considered getting a bank loan, or selling some other shares, most of which I'd bought on margin, to finance the trip, but finally arranged to leave my investments intact by cleaning out my bank account. A ballet company offered me an orchestra position on a tour of Japan. I turned down the job and, way in advance, booked flight to London for early May, 1968.
During the weeks before departure I approached still more people about auditing. Those in therapy couldn't be persuaded to try something else, and none of my Dianetic Releases ever returned to the franchise. One of the Releases had as his "ruin" homosexuality; he wanted to be "straight." I tried to convince him that with more processing he might make the conversion. Gerald had informed me that such results were quite possible. Conversely, certain cases became homosexual after processing. It was an individual matter, Up To One's Own Certainty.
"Your sexuality is only an apparency," I told my friend. "Read Hubbard's `Fundamentals of Thought.' He talks about `apparencies,' conditions that only appear to be true. For example, Hubbard shows that even destruction is part of creation, and `destruction' as most people use the word is only an `apparency.'"
This was one of the few passages that stuck in my mind. Periodically I took a crack at Hubbard's books. I liked the metaphysical tone of certain sections. However, each time I thought I was getting a glimmer, Hubbard shifted into unfamiliar terminology or auditing and E-meter technicalities. I remember thinking that when I was a Clear I would be able to understand Hubbard's writings and share in the intellectual banquet. Perhaps I wished to compare Hubbard's ideas with the philosophies that had attracted me in the past. If so, I didn't have enough of a handle on Hubbard to make such comparison. And I had also forgotten the message of books I had once admired.
One of Hubbard's books contained some terms that struck me as especially odd: ridges, pressors, tractor-beams, implosions. There was a reference to the Fifth Invader Force. I leafed through the entire book but found no explanation or further mention of it.
Some people I approached about Scientology were outspokenly skeptical. I couldn't bring myself to call them "suppressive." For instance, Vreymooth Manteag, who was in The Work, a consciousness-raising group started many decades ago by the mystic George Gurdjieff. He told me a story to demonstrate the absurdity of Scientology:
"Last winter a few of us from The Work went to a Scientologist's apartment to find out what they were raving about. We asked very direct questions, and our hostess and her friends were quite evasive. They bragged about their `gains' but couldn't really explain how they'd gotten them. Our hostess claimed that processing had `erased' all her anger -- she never got mad anymore! At that point, one of our group, Hepzibah Colloran, who has the upper-body build of a ditch-digger, stepped quickly across the room and stunned her with a left hook to the face.
"`Are you mad now?' she screamed. The hostess was blinking and the side of her face was red. `Yes, I'm mad, but only because I choose the emotion appropriate to the situation. At this moment I'm Postulating anger!'"
Alan Ottoman, a close friend who had refused Dianetic auditing, was very critical. He was being psychoanalyzed, which I more than once told him was a complete waste of his time and money.
"I'd like you to just explain how you work all these miracles," he said. "Frankly, I don't understand anything you've said about it."
"There are some things you just have to experience," I said. "Processing rids you of the horrifying incidents in your past lives that are causing your confusion."
"I don't believe in past lives."
"That's a dead giveaway. There's something back there you don't want to confront. There are killer engrams on your Time Track that twenty years with Freud himself wouldn't erase."
"Nothing is ever erased, unless you do a lobotomy."
"That's what the psychiatrists want you to think -- and they love lobotomies. Auditing can change your life in a few hours. Alan, you think you have to analyze everything. You go to your shrink and thrash around on the couch. When the fifty minutes are up nothing's been resolved. He leaves you dangling, and you go home and wallow in your problems some more until the next visit. The reactive mind is like a box of cables" -- here I went to one of Gerald's favorite routines -- "the shrink only restimulates your reactive mind, he pulls out these wires, they're all around you!" -- I flailed my arms like some unfortunate wrapped in the coils of a giant anaconda. "The thing is, Alan, you don't really want to change."
It wasn't that I didn't understand people like Alan and Vreymooth. I too had once debated with myself about life. And scoffed at Scientology.
Gerald got permission from the Hill to straighten out Renzo's Power Process. The review didn't lift Renzo's spirits. I attempted to "salvage" Renzo one Saturday afternoon as we walked half the length of Manhattan, by lecturing him on treating life, and Scientology, as a game. This only made him criticize Felicia and Gerald in further detail. Gerald was a consummate phoney masking his greed with oily flattery, and affecting an English accent when his parents had come from Eastern Europe and raised him in Dublin, Ireland. Gerald chain-smoked, stuffed himself at the table and knew nothing about art and philosophy. Worst of all, Gerald introduced himself to guests as "Dr. Tyber," which sounded like a Ph.D. but was merely the "Dr. of Scientology" Gerald had obtained at Saint Hill. Gerald had become Felicia's father figure. After clearing, Felicia was deeper in fantasy than before, and scared of the real world. She rarely left the penthouse.
I defended them as best I could. Except for Felicia, Gerald was alone; he needed and wanted friends. Teaching, auditing and promoting Scientology for years, he had developed stilted mannerisms. Behind this veneer he was a warm, genuine human being who had probably helped me more than anyone else ever had.
I knew Renzo hadn't told me everything concerning Felicia. As he would have it, she had wrecked their marriage. But he must have been guilty too. He was concealing his overts, the wrongdoings he had committed against his wife. His fault-finding reminded me of the protagonist in Gerald's sketch who came home late at night and kicked the dog. Renzo needed a strong Reality-Factor on his marriage; he needed to Take Some Responsibility for it.
I prodded him for his hidden overt, asked him point blank, "What have you done?" He squirmed. I knew I was on the right track, but to the end he would not admit his part in the breakup. It was still all Felicia's fault.
In retrospect, I've wondered how Renzo and I were able to stay friends through all this.
That spring (1968) I lived in a golden haze. I took no music jobs, rarely played the piano, read very little, had almost no physical exercise. The burden of mental life -- analyzing, second-guessing myself, what Ron Hubbard called "figure-figure" -- had been lifted, and I saw clearly that the compulsion to think and delve stemmed from the reactive mind.
One of the few things I remember doing in the world outside Scientology was to send a tape of a piece I had played in Town Hall to a concert manager. "Your playing is good enough," he said when we met, "but what makes you think you have a right to perform? You haven't studied with anyone in years and you've got only this one review to show for yourself. You haven't earned a career."
I quelled an urge to tell him off.
Weeks later, watching a sunset over the Hudson River from my furnished room, I thought of other times I had squelched my anger. I would write to the manager -- a nice letter, not a nasty one, would be the best way to get it out of my system. As the walls of my room took on the color of gold, then pink, I wrote:
"Though ostensibly we don't agree, I feel that we can communicate with each other. I know we are both doing the best we can and making progress in our own separate ways ..."
I worked on the message, writing and rewriting it, until the sky turned dark. It didn't quite satisfy me. Still feeling a twinge of animosity for the man, I slowly tore the letter to bits and threw it in the wastepaper basket.
A few days later, I started jotting notes for a book on teaching and learning to play the piano. Hubbard's ideas, such as ARC and the Tone Scale, influenced me strongly; also, his disdain for other people's methods. I planned to dedicate the book to Ron and send it to him for his approval.
I had dinner with Five Brooks, a musician I had met on a traveling job. He had recently joined the New York Org, and was scrimping to save up the money to go to England at some distant future date. Five had gone through intense emotions during his first weeks at the org, with confrontations at the Ethics Office followed by soul-searching early-morning meanderings in Central Park. His gains had a way of evaporating, and there had been a suppressive to disconnect from. He had finally completed his Lower Grades, and was now convinced that Scientology was mankind's last hope for survival.
Dinner with Five was uncomfortable. His TRs were in every second, even with the Chinese waiter. He kept his eyes glued to mine as we talked. I had difficulty eating my food and slopped sweet-and-sour sauce on the tablecloth. Five acked (acknowledged) and validated my every word with relentless zeal and expected my complete reciprocation. If he didn't get my ack in turn, he would say, "Okay?" or "Do I have your Agreement on that?" while staring into my eyes over an unwavering jack-o'-lantern grin that made him seem frightened. I was relieved when we said goodbye and went off in opposite directions.
Five verified something I already knew: that I was worlds apart from the org members, who had to take dogma as gospel and bow to authority, when I could do things my own way -- like Gerald.