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Mr Walker

After Earth. Scientologist propaganda?

7 posts in this topic

I recently watched The movie "After Earth" with Will smith and his son as the main stars. To me it was a fairly slow but interesting science fiction movie, but my nephew alerted me to the debate that it is a piece of scientologist propaganda. I have long known the main theme of the movie to be true; ie that fear 9along with all physical emotional responses, as opposed to intellectual ones, is a choice humans make in response to danger, and that fear is often the least productive way to respond to danger.

I didn't know this was one of the teachings of scientology. For me it is just a self discovered natural truth.

I think it makes appoint about humanity. We tend to treasure and cling to human emotions as if they are what makes us human, but they are not. Most animals have physical emotional responses. Humans alone have intellectual ones which we can vary via will. It is our ability to think in response to situations, rather than feel which sets us apart form other animals and increases our chances of survival.

Any way, two points of debtae

One.

Is the movie a from of scientologist propaganda:,

and at a more basic level; what do you think of the concept that our survival will depend on our ability to take intellectual control of our biologically driven emotional responses.

It is so much the human norm, and we are so indoctrinated from birth into feeling emotional responses, that I wonder if most people can appreciate the message of the movie. Many of the detractors saw it as a very negative idea, but it has worked for me all my life, and I understand how liberating and empowering it is to be able to chose how we respond to any physical situation, rather than have to rely on a learned or conditioned emotional reflex.

Ps I appreciate many people may not have seen the movie, but there is plenty of debate online. Just google "New Earth " scientology.

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Well, the story was from an idea Smith himself had, and he has repeatedly said he's not a scientologist, so I guess we'll have to take his word on it,

I honestly have always felt like humanity is better served to rely on intellectualism, rather than emotions. But I think rather than repressing our emotions the better route is to understand the motive behind those emotions and go forward from there.

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I saw the movie last week as well and agree that it was very slow in developing, nevertheless, you said, "...that fear along with all physical emotional responses, as opposed to intellectual ones, is a choice humans make in response to danger, and that fear is often the least productive way to respond to danger."

I agree that it is a choice that we make, but it's made in split seconds. It's the old 'fight or flight' response. Based on the immediate circumstances we'll make the split second decision to stay or flee.

About 10 years ago I was with a crew fighting a fire near the top of a mountain. Long story short, on the way off the mountain at the end of the day the helicopter crashed about 60 or 70 feet away with four onboard. For one or two seconds I froze. In those seconds I thought, if I run forward to help I might be engulfed in an explosion (fear), but If I run away I can't help (also a fear response). So I stayed there.

A couple seconds later the helicopter didn't explode (they have panic switches to shut the fuel off, I found out later) and the occupants spilled out of the wreckage. Remarkably no one was seriously hurt. People later said how brave I was to stand there. NO! It was neither bravery nor cowardice. My brain just gave me a 'time out' for the events to transpire.

Going back to what you said, I think that fear is a very productive and natural response to immediate danger.

You also said, "...what do you think of the concept that our survival will depend on our ability to take intellectual control of our biologically driven emotional responses." I think that our intellectual control is so interwoven with our biological emotional responses that they are inseparable. They are one in the same and they struggle with each other in microseconds. I don't believe we will never have true intellectual control, just split-second rationalization.

So, what I'm saying I guess is that survival depends on the circumstances. There is no 'one right way to respond to everything'.

/BTW, the whole 'Scientology propaganda' thing... I don't know that sleeping dog so I'll let it lie. Or maybe I'll wait for that debate to develope. :)

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Later...

What in the heck does this have to do with spirituality or scepticism?

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Well, the story was from an idea Smith himself had, and he has repeatedly said he's not a scientologist, so I guess we'll have to take his word on it,

I honestly have always felt like humanity is better served to rely on intellectualism, rather than emotions. But I think rather than repressing our emotions the better route is to understand the motive behind those emotions and go forward from there.

I'd agree. A lot of people speak or repressing emotions but it is not that at all. Every intellectual human emotion has to be learned and chosen, so we can simply relearn and rechose different options. Emotional anger is not a natural inbuilt human response; we learn it. (as we have to learn to be afraid) What worries me is that so many people think that anger and fear are natural/inevitable and thus must be good/productive emotions.

They are destructive. As Will Smith says in the movie, danger is real, but fear is not. It is only a construct of the mind.

Edited by Mr Walker

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Later...

What in the heck does this have to do with spirituality or scepticism?

it has to do with both, and I put in the debate area because I thought it might stir up some arguments. Our emotions are a form of our spirituality, as is our intellect. Scientology is a recent man made religion which (apparently) says that humans can learn to control and adjust their emotional responses as part of its theology. Now this is true, but I never thought of it in religious or spiritual terms. I developed this skill as part of my secular humanist background to improve my own relationships human skills and productive behaviours.

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I saw the movie last week as well and agree that it was very slow in developing, nevertheless, you said, "...that fear along with all physical emotional responses, as opposed to intellectual ones, is a choice humans make in response to danger, and that fear is often the least productive way to respond to danger."

I agree that it is a choice that we make, but it's made in split seconds. It's the old 'fight or flight' response. Based on the immediate circumstances we'll make the split second decision to stay or flee.

About 10 years ago I was with a crew fighting a fire near the top of a mountain. Long story short, on the way off the mountain at the end of the day the helicopter crashed about 60 or 70 feet away with four onboard. For one or two seconds I froze. In those seconds I thought, if I run forward to help I might be engulfed in an explosion (fear), but If I run away I can't help (also a fear response). So I stayed there.

A couple seconds later the helicopter didn't explode (they have panic switches to shut the fuel off, I found out later) and the occupants spilled out of the wreckage. Remarkably no one was seriously hurt. People later said how brave I was to stand there. NO! It was neither bravery nor cowardice. My brain just gave me a 'time out' for the events to transpire.

Going back to what you said, I think that fear is a very productive and natural response to immediate danger.

You also said, "...what do you think of the concept that our survival will depend on our ability to take intellectual control of our biologically driven emotional responses." I think that our intellectual control is so interwoven with our biological emotional responses that they are inseparable. They are one in the same and they struggle with each other in microseconds. I don't believe we will never have true intellectual control, just split-second rationalization.

So, what I'm saying I guess is that survival depends on the circumstances. There is no 'one right way to respond to everything'.

/BTW, the whole 'Scientology propaganda' thing... I don't know that sleeping dog so I'll let it lie. Or maybe I'll wait for that debate to develope. :)

It doesn't have to be a choice made in split seconds. We can learn, and train ourselves, how to respond long before faced with danger, and condition our responses so we do not freeze or have second thoughts. Of course it might not be fear but common sense which prevents you running into danger. This is my point I suppose.

When faced with such a sudden scenario rather than be forced to fall back onto a natural emotional state such as freezing, or flight or fight, we can be prepared, trained and conditioned mentally to act; using thought, weighing up possibilities and plans.

Ps if I can develop that abilty and do so from my pre-teen years, then any human can do it. I have faced many life threatening situations since than and never been afraid and always had plan a plan b and plan c.

Neither have I ever got emotionally angry for over 50 years because there is no point to it. It limits what you can do and often encourages very negative outcomes for self and others. Rational and calm behaviour is ALWAYS both preferable and more beneficial than fear or anger.

Edited by Mr Walker

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