The Ultimate Act of Defiance

The motto of one of the hipper television stations tells us we should “dare to defy.” By watching their reruns instead of the reruns of those less hip, I presume.

Is this what defiance has come to in America? That, or maybe adding a hashtag to an epithet and flinging it into the Internet Ocean as if vainly trying to summon a Kraken?

We can do better.

America has a rich tradition of defiance. Some see a golden age in the 60s, with civil rights marches and antiwar protests. Before that we had the Bonus Army, women’s suffrage, and, indeed, the Civil War. Wikipedia even has an entry devoted to America’s history of rebellion, and of course America’s rebellious birth was one of this planet’s great acts of defiance.

Johannes Adam Simon Oertel Pulling Down the Statue of King George III, N.Y. City ca. 1859

I am a child of the 60s, where defiance took the form of fashion, lifestyle, and protest. Now in my dotage, I can relax, satisfied in the knowledge that I was once part of that great American tradition.

To hell with that. I’m not done yet. What this planet needs is more defiance. More rebellion. But of what kind?

Man has always reveled in rebellion. That rebellion has often been trivial (fashion), sometimes bloody (Bolsheviks), but rarely effective. Why?

Too often, man has seen rebellion as simply the opportunity to “do unto others as you believe they have done unto you.” Such rebellion strikes the wrong target. The real enemy is not other people.

Now we have renewed attacks on nonmainstream religion, historically an easy target for the weak.

Nelson Mandela knew it. “In prison my anger toward whites decreased, but my hatred for the system grew… I hated the system that turned us against one another.

Mahātmā Gandhi knew it. “An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.

Would that others knew it. The left targets the right, and vice versa. Race, color, gender—all select out their “enemy” and settle in for the fight. Now we have renewed attacks on nonmainstream religion, historically an easy target for the weak. Meanwhile everybody catches their breath on Christmas day to mutter “peace on earth, goodwill towards men” before resuming hostilities on the 26th. And popular media pursues its profit in the melee.

Mahatma Gandhi

This is not rebellion. This is fighting for the best cell in Alcatraz. This is musical deck chairs on the Titanic. This is man fighting man. It is the wrong target.

My choice of religion is my business. My political allegiance is my business. What I read, what I think, how I live—my business all, but I would gladly open all to civilized discussion as a way of celebrating my freedom. It is when discussion is supplanted by attack, when reason is defeated by deception, and when respect lies in thrall to rage, that everyone loses.

May I suggest an alternative?

Instead of warring against our fellows, why not love them? That would be real defiance.

It is the thought L. Ron Hubbard expressed when he said:

The real lesson is to learn to love.

“He who would walk scatheless through his days must learn this—never use what is done to one as a basis for hatred. Never desire revenge.

“It requires real strength to love Man. And to love him despite all invitations to do otherwise, all provocations and all reasons why one should not.

“Happiness and strength endure only in the absence of hate. To hate alone is the road to disaster. To love is the road to strength. To love in spite of all is the secret of greatness. And may very well be the greatest secret in this universe.

Scientology Volunteer Ministers delivering Scientology Assists to victims of the Japanese earthquake in 2011

If we can love our fellow man, why not take the next step and offer him a way out of this graveyard? That is the ultimate act of defiance. That is the promise of Scientology. “A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where Man is free to rise to greater heights, are the Aims of Scientology.”

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.

Scientology has the technology—not vague reassurance, but actual technology—to rehabilitate the spirit, to release the full force of goodness that is within each of us and to free Man from the chains of his aberrations. A chained man isn’t a good man; he is merely rendered harmless. What this revolt needs is good men. Free men.

Albert Camus

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” Albert Camus. The Rebel.

That is the rebellion of Scientology.

That’s the rebellion I signed up for.

Leland Thoburn
Leland has been a Scientologist for 45 years. His writings have been published in numerous magazines and literary journals, including Foliate Oak Review, Writers’ Journal, Feathertale Review, Calliope, Vocabula Review and others. Formerly an executive at EarthLink Inc., he works as a business consultant.