Q: What is there to get excited about?
A: The possibility that you can HAVE definite excitement in your life.
About what? About the possibility of being excited.
The happiness that is sold in Scientology and Landmark is the excitement you feel about the possibility of being excited in the future.
Remember when you were a kid? Your optimism was pretty huge. What were you going to Be, Do, and Have at that time? You looked into the future with anticipation of happiness. An astronaut? A fireman? A wizard? A prosthetic makeup artist like Dick Smith, Rob Bottin, or Rick Baker? Why not? You can be anything.
This was my kid consciousness. It was right and good. For Scientology and Landmark, the future-loving child consciousness is the Gold Standard of healthy consciousness. The goal of the work is the creation of future-loving child consciousness. Hope. Excitement about what is coming, and the special joy of having made it yourself. The child is excited about possible future accomplishment. The joy of (in the future) Being X, Doing Y, and Having Z. You imagined a happy future self.
Another element of child consciousness: awareness of the miserable adults around you. The world is full of miserable adults. As a child, you saw them all around you. Broken adults—painfully artificial and defeated adults. They would be targets of pity and compassion if it weren’t for the fact of their cruelty. Most adults, especially parents, were chain smoking child-slappers and -spankers. A few were interesting, excited, happy, child-encouragers—playful, kind, and real. Very few.
Being unfulfilled makes an adult pitiful. Being unfulfilled and cruel makes an adult a proper target of ridicule and pranks. As a kid I didn’t feel sorry for cruel adults because I “knew” that cruelty was a choice. Some people suffer and become meek. Others suffer and become happy heroes who help the handicapped. Others suffer and become cruel. They didn’t have to do this, but they did, and now they need to be shunned.
It never occurred to me that I might become one of the ones who suffer and become cruel.
If you are happy right now, it is because you expect to be happy later. When you see (expect) a happy future, it means your current position is happiness-headed. Seeing that a happy future is coming positions the present as being on a time-line headed for happiness. The ontological guts of the present self is its aim.
The only thing better than seeing that a happy future is coming is knowing that you have won this future from struggle. Knowing this positions the present as being on a time-line headed for earned happiness.
Happiness is always only happiness now. But happiness now is a product of your aim, your intentionality, expectation, and eagerness. Your will. Oh the joy of being a magus who faces future happiness, who chooses future happiness, who causes future happiness.
The best thing LRH said:
By studying the elements (factors) of games (contests) we find ourselves in possession of the elements of life. Life is a game. A game consists of freedom, barriers and purposes. This is a scientific fact, not merely an observation.
Best example: the med school fantasy. You want to be a pediatrician, say. You see the barriers. You know the steps to overcoming the barriers. You discipline yourself, master yourself, commandeer yourself. Then, when you become a doctor, you have won a real game-like or war-like victory.
Note that Crowley’s sole example of a magickal act is also vocational.
Illustration: It is my Will to inform the World of certain facts within my knowledge. I therefore take “magickal weapons”, pen, ink, and paper; I write “incantations”—these sentences—in the “magickal language” i.e., that which is understood by the people I wish to instruct; I call forth “spirits”, such as printers, publishers, booksellers and so forth and constrain them to convey my message to those people. The composition and distribution of this book is thus an act of Magick by which I cause Changes to take place in conformity with my Will.
This is life—one magickal act after another:
- Choice, research, action, struggle, and then victory/defeat.
My path, however, is usually:
- Choice, research, enroll others into my having gotten, and the vague possibility of victory which lives in the imagination or, worse, in social reality of your friend group or cult.
[Not doctor] + [Effort and struggle] → [Doctor] + [joy of achievement]
To be a doctor after having made oneself that way is victorious. You—your Being, Doing, and Having—are the product of your effort in a game. And the joy of the victory is proportional to the difficulty encountered, to the effort required to work the product into reality over time.
If life is a game (and it is), then happiness is work.
That is how optimistic the child is. It has chosen (posited) a happy future self, it has picked for itself a happy type, and it knows that it will have accomplished this itself.
Scientology and Landmark are all about recovering and reactivating this forward-looking ignorance.
Landmark in a nutshell
Experientially recognize (aka prajña, which means immediate perception-type access) that your true self is really an empty quickening or energy, just pure shapeless unconditioned energy. The true self is a just a spontaneously active doer. The only thing conditioning the self are your stories. These stories weigh you down and define and confine and predict you.
Your true self is independent of those self-handicapping stories. If you experientially realize this, you will stop compulsively telling the same self-reducing story. Phrases such as
I am ___.
I always ___.
determine what you do.
Stop them and you’ll be free. Done.
Are you now enlightened? No? That’s because you understood what you read but didn’t experience it. To experience it, you have to be transported to an altered state. The Landmark format will help you in this regard. What’s missing is coercion. Your habitual ways are working against you. If they weren’t you’d be a magus by now.
To successfully dismantle your identification with your life-determining stories, you need a change of state, not merely a cognition from language and image. Feeling is what is missing. What you need, in other words, is a careful program to induce a change of state.
You need coercion by a tough-love coach. And disconnection from the social reality that has trapped you in your current stasis. You need three 13-hour days that are nothing but an orchestrated series of interrogations into your life that are choreographed to lead you into a climactic realization at 1800 on Sunday that What Happened and The Story are distinct.
This is the most important realization you can have if you want to enjoin the Great Work of maximizing your [happiness] [potential] [inner gift you are here to provide to the world].
Campbell locates this ideal (today fully emerged and market-saturating) ideal in the Holy Grail stories. Each knight intentionally follows a non-path—in order to develop his own path and, by so doing, make a new object to share with the tribe.