After Earth and Scientology

Jun 4th, 2013
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  1. After Earth is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, about Scientology.
  3. And not "well, it could be interpreted as about Scientology, if you make some assumptions" or "well, its themes are common to all religions, not just Scientology". This was the Smith family's personal effort to spread the teachings of the Church of Scientology to a mass audience. This analysis will contain spoilers for the movie, but I promise you're not missing anything because the actual movie is telegraphed in the trailer and has absolutely no surprises or plot twists. (It’s honestly pretty terrible.)
  5. - A Crash Course in Dianetics and Scientology -
  7. The Church of Scientology's teachings can be divided into two "levels": Dianetics and Scientology.
  9. The entirety of Dianetics can largely be summed up in its eponymous book written by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the CoS. Dianetics teaches that human suffering and negative emotions are caused by engrams, which are mental images recorded on a person's actual cells during a time when they experienced physical or emotional pain. These engrams are reactivated when you experience something similar to the original traumatic event. In addition, engrams are tautological and equate everything in the engram with everything else in the engram.
  11. So, for example, let's say that once when you were a little kid, you were in the kitchen holding a glass of water, when suddenly you slipped and fell, broke the glass, cut your hand, and your mother came in the kitchen and yelled "you're so thoughtless, you can't do anything right”. This becomes an engram, because you are experiencing physical and/or emotional pain at the time, and it is inscribed on your cellular memory. So, as an adult, whenever you enter a kitchen, you start to feel unsteady and/or you are suddenly be afraid of breaking a glass and/or your hand starts to hurt and/or you feel like you're thoughtless and can’t do anything right. The buildup of these engrams over time causes all of our suffering.
  13. But engrams can be removed through a process called auditing, which is basically one person, the auditor, guiding the other person, the aberree, to the memory of the incident that first inscribed the engram and reliving the memory over and over and over again in all different kinds of ways until they no longer associate any bad feelings with the memory. (If you've seen the movie The Master, there are two very important and really excellent scenes where this process occurs, one with just Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix, and another with Hoffman and a large group of people in a classroom-like setting on a cruise ship.) This process is actually considered to be a form of mental time travel, where a person navigates back along their personal timeline, called the time track, to the event. When one has eliminated all engrams, they are said to have reached a state of clear and they supposedly gain increased health, vitality, intelligence, agility, and so forth.
  15. Scientology is not nearly as easily summed up, so I am greatly paraphrasing here. It turns out that beyond engrams are thetans, which is the Scientology term for the soul or life force. You are a thetan, but you are also plagued by body thetans, which are the souls of other people that have been dead for untold millions of years and have attached themselves to living humans in staggering numbers. In a similar process to Dianetics and engrams, Scientology has auditing to remove these body thetans, but they also make use of an E-meter, which is a device that measures galvanic skin current and is used to determine if a person is lying or telling the truth. When you have cleared more and more of these body thetans, you become first a level 1, then a level 2, then a level 3 of what is called an operating thetan, and you supposedly gain superhuman abilities. (The levels go to 8, but CoS lore states that LRH completed up to 15.)
  17. How did all those body thetans get attached to humans, though? Well, if you've seen the infamous episode of South Park, you know how this story goes. When you reach operating thetan level 3, or OTIII, you are given a secret document written in L. Ron Hubbard’s own handwriting that explains the true origins of body thetans. Scientologists refer to this myth as the R6 Implant, the Wall of Fire, or Incident II.
  19. This is actual Scientology doctrine. I swear I did not make this up.
  21. 75 million years ago, the Galactic Confederacy was ruled by the tyrant Xenu, who was experiencing overpopulation on his seventy-six planets as well as the threat of a coup d'etat. He ordered billions of galactic citizens to be rounded up, with the help of psychologists and psychiatrists, under the pretense that the citizens were being audited for their taxes. When they were rounded up, they were forcibly paralyzed, suspended in a slushy mixture of frozen alcohol and glycol, flown on DC-8 planes with rocket engines on them to Earth (which was then called Teegeeack), where the billions of people were placed around active volcanoes all around the world. Xenu then detonated nuclear bombs in the active volcanoes, killing everyone on the planet. After collecting their souls in giant vacuum zones all around the world, he brainwashed them by making them watch a thirty-six-day-long 3D movie that implanted in them the idea for all of the world's religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. After releasing the billions of souls, they clustered together and eventually found themselves drawn to new host bodies (presumably Teegeeack was repopulated at some point, I'm not entirely sure how that went). After the completion of his holocaust, however, Xenu was overthrown by a group called the Loyal Officers and imprisoned somewhere either in the Pyrenees Mountains or on Mars as punishment for his crimes.
  23. This story is so central to Scientology that every copy of Dianetics has an exploding volcano on the cover.
  25. Dianetics and Scientology combined form the main body of CoS doctrine. Dianetics is sort of the “tutorial levels” that prepare you for the “main game” of Scientology. Most well-known Scientologists like Tom Cruise and John Travolta are rumored to be OTVII or even OTVIII.
  27. - The Smith Family and the New Village Leadership Academy -
  29. Will Smith, his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, and their children Willow and Jaden are Scientologists. They have never publicly admitted to it, but Will Smith has said:
  31. “I just think a lot of the ideas in Scientology are brilliant and revolutionary and non-religious [... ] ninety-eight percent of the principles in Scientology are identical to the principles of the Bible [...] I don't think that because the word someone uses for spirit is 'thetan' that the definition becomes any different.”
  33. This is a dead giveaway as to their allegiance to the CoS, because a common tactic by the CoS and its members is to claim that the church body is religiously diverse. (You will remember the infamous training video where the "Scientology minister" tells the narrator that people of all faiths are welcome in the CoS.) They do this to seem more reasonable and accepting, and to make it feel like Scientology is more of a life philosophy to win more converts than a conventional religion (even though they use their claimed status as a religion for tax-exemption).
  35. But that's not the strongest evidence, which is Will and Jada's ownership and support of the New Village Leadership Academy, a private elementary school in Calabasas, California.
  37. Will and Jada opened the school in 2008 and it is funded almost entirely by private donations by the Smith family ($1.2 million in 2010 alone). Before they enrolled their own children in the school, they were homeschooled, and in 2004, the Smith family made a $20,000 donation to an organization called the Hollywood Education and Literacy Program, licensed by a nonprofit called Applied Scholastics, which is, in turn, a CoS front organization focused on educational outreach.
  39. Moreover, the school's leadership consists almost entirely of active Scientologists. In addition, a former school administrator was pressured to leave because she did not agree with the school's extensive use of Study Technology, which is an education method created by LRH. The NVLA's use of Study Tech is basically the nail in the coffin as far as the Smith family's association with CoS.
  41. Why? Because only Scientologists use Study Tech.
  43. It is similar to other methods like the Montessori method because anyone can purchase and use Study Tech, but the only people that bother to use it are Scientologists because it doesn't actually work. Study Tech focuses on LRH as the ultimate authority on learning and, in turn, students slowly get indoctrinated to the teachings of the CoS.
  45. I cannot stress enough how important Study Tech is to the CoS. LRH himself said:
  47. “Study Tech is our primary bridge to Society.”
  49. It is essentially "auditing for kids" in its three principles: the use of physical objects or models sculpted out of clay, the endless repetition of lessons and recitations, and a focus on defining unfamiliar words. Each of these processes is literally repeated over and over again with a particular lesson, without alteration, until the student "learns" it. I've heard it's absolutely excruciating to actually go through, and a lot of professional educators say it has little to no value in the classroom.
  51. But to Scientologists, it's the only way to learn, because LRH invented it, and LRH is always right.
  53. Study Tech is also extensively used, in a more complex form, in the CoS front organizations Narconon and Criminon. In those organizations, it essentially mimics Dianetics auditing procedure.
  55. Now, onto the actual movie.
  57. - After Earth: Act One -
  59. After Earth opens with the explosion scene from the trailer. It then flashes back to a very brief summary of Earth's history to the movie's timeframe: for unspecified and vague reasons addressed only in a montage of billowing smokestacks and burning cities, Earth has been rendered uninhabitable by humans. Giant ships that hold hundreds of thousands of people are launched to take humanity to its new home, and the planet Nova Prime is chosen as their destination. An elite military unit called the Ranger Corps is tasked with organizing and overseeing the exodus of humanity to a planet called Nova Prime.
  61. ...let's stop right there.
  63. One of the most common themes in CoS mythology is that there is an imminent and impending global catastrophe. LRH said:
  65. “The use or neglect of this material (Scientology) may well determine the use or neglect of the atomic bomb by Man.... In the same period in history, two of the most sweeping forces Man has known have come to fruition: a knowledge of himself and others with Scientology, and a means of destroying himself and all others by atomic fission. Which force wins depends in a large measure on your use of Scientology.
  67. The mission of Scientology is not conquest -- it is civilization. It is a war upon stupidity, the stupidity which leads us to the Last War of All.”
  69. The "Last War of All" is implied to be nuclear apocalypse. This is mirrored in After Earth by the planet’s devastation and subsequent abandonment.
  71. Remember the Loyal Officers I mentioned before in the Xenu story? Well, the CoS keeps their tradition alive and honors their struggle against Xenu in an elite paramilitary organization called the Sea Organization, more commonly referred to as the Sea Org. They're basically like the Jesuits of Scientology. It is the highest level you can go in Scientology's leadership, and they control an "advanced religious retreat", a converted cruise ship, called the Freewinds. The Sea Org is notorious for their harsh, almost torturous treatment of its members. I won't go into too much detail, but you can read a lot of really terrible testimonials on the internet from ex-Scientologists. They basically enslave the lower-ranking members and make them do hard labor for sixteen hours a day for no real compensation. And as the elites of Scientology, it is implied that Sea Org members are not only clears, but also operating thetans. As such, they supposedly possess superhuman abilities.
  73. Back to the movie, upon their settlement of Nova Prime, humanity confronts a hitherto unknown alien race which goes unnamed in the movie (but is called the Skrell in supplemental material) who decide to attack humans for colonizing their territory. Their most effective weapon is a genetically engineered beast called an Ursa. These beasts are blind, but have an incredibly acute sense of smell, which they use to smell the pheromones that humans emit when they are frightened. The Ursas threaten to exterminate humanity until the Ranger Corps has a breakthrough: a technique called ghosting, wherein they do not feel fear and are therefore invisible to the Ursas. Will Smith's character, Cypher Raige (yes, that's his name) is a member of the Ranger Corps and was the first to perfect the ghosting technique. Through him, humanity successfully defended Nova Prime against the Ursas.
  75. It is incredibly obvious that the Ranger Corps are supposed to be the Loyal Officers/Sea Org. The official insignia of the Ranger Corps and the official insiginia of the Sea Org are almost identical. So are their dress uniforms. So is their purpose: to defend humanity against the dangers of space. And the Ursas are a reference to psychiatrists and psychologists, who Scientologists believe are bloodthirsty eugenicists that thrive on human suffering. (Remember when Tom Cruise talked about the “real history of psychiatry” in that infamous interview?)
  77. So now that we have the backstory (which all happens in the span of about five minutes' screen time and is just as confusing to watch is it is to read, believe me), we find out that Cypher has just come back from a tour of duty to find that Jaden Smith’s character, his son Kitai, has just failed the Ranger Corps exam. After an outburst from Cypher at the dinner table, his wife Faia suggests that Cypher take Kitai with him on a trip to a newly discovered planet, and that what Kitai needs is the support of a father, not the orders of a commanding officer. So, off they go on a ship that bears striking visual similarity to a conventional modern airplane. (Remember Xenu’s DC-8’s?)
  79. During the flight, it is revealed that Cypher and Faia had a daughter, Senshi, who was killed by an Ursa in a Skrell attack on Nova Prime, which was witnessed by Kitai. (That's critically important later.) It is also revealed that the ship is carrying an Ursa in some sort of pod or cocoon to their destination planet, where it will be used to help train the Ranger Corps in ghosting.
  81. There is some sort of turbulence during the flight, and Cypher goes to investigate. When he does, he finds that the ship is flying directly into an asteroid field that is experiencing some sort of gravitational anomaly (once again, never explained what that exactly means). The anomaly causes the ship to be fatally damaged by asteroids, but not before it warps to an unknown location to escape the danger. After it warps, the crew find themselves at a planet orbited by giant sensor arrays that broadcast a warning: the planet they have found is under the highest possible quarantine. Unable to make another warp without destroying the ship and needing a place to land, Cypher orders it to land on the planet, against the judgment of the crew. But during the landing, the ship breaks up in the atmosphere, and Cypher and Kitai are the only survivors.
  83. So the flashback is over, and in a sequence of events that seem just like the prologue of a video game, it is discovered that Cypher's legs are broken and that the only hope of them getting home is an emergency beacon, which is located in the tail section of the ship that landed about one hundred kilometers away. Cypher commands Kitai to embark on a mission to recover the beacon while Cypher monitors his progress with several convenient devices that let him see Kitai's movements and communicate with him as well as measure his vital signs. (Quick side note: the device that allows Cypher and Kitai to communicate is called a "Navi Link", and it pretty much acts exactly like the fairy companion Navi from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time because it provides Kitai with commentary and helpful hints by his father.)
  85. Just before he leaves on his journey, Cypher commands Kitai to "take a knee", at which Kitai drops to the ground on one knee and Cypher tells him something along the lines of "live in the moment, experience now, be aware of your surroundings". This directly mirrors one of the most basic tenets of Dianetics, which is that one has to live in the moment and not allow themselves to be pulled back along their personal timeline. It is also a Dianetics recovery technique used after auditing to make sure the person is firmly back in the here and now, and not still reliving an engram. The technique is along the lines of telling the individual "tell me what you see, tell me what you feel, tell me what you hear”, and is called returning to present time. It is used every day in actual Dianetics auditing.
  87. In short, Cypher literally gives Kitai a by-the-book Scientology blessing before he leaves.
  89. We also find out something else: Kitai is tormented by the memory of his sister's death. She protected him by making him go inside a terrarium to block the scent of his fear, and he relives this memory over and over again. We also find out, in a very weird scene that has an incredibly awkward dick joke, that Senshi had acquired a rare physical copy of Moby Dick by Herman Melville. This doesn't seem significant, but in the context of the life of LRH, it is. Although he was discharged from the Navy at a young age and almost died during a self-piloted Caribbean Sea expedition, LRH always fancied himself to be a master navigator and ship's captain. He fashioned the Sea Org around the Navy and was often photographed in a captain's hat.
  91. In that regard, the reference to Moby Dick is either highly coincidental or a winking homage to LRH's supposed life at sea. It's admittedly a bit of a stretch, but it's probably the most tenuous connection to Scientology in the movie.
  93. When Kitai leaves the ship, he is equipped with several tools, again very much in the tradition of a videogame:
  95. - The Navi Link.
  97. - A smart-metal weapon called a cutlass. It's admittedly pretty cool and it can change into twenty-two different configurations.
  99. - A suit that changes color whenever the person is in danger.
  101. - A supply of liquid air filtration inhalers because Earth's atmosphere is unbreathable. (Even though it's only been 1,000 years since Earth was abandoned, and there are plants literally everywhere. Whatever. I don't know.) This is an important plot point because Kitai only has just enough inhalers to make it to the tail section of the ship.
  103. He is also armed with knowledge, and tell me these don’t sound like objectives from a videogame:
  105. - At night, the temperature on Earth drops dramatically. (Think The Day After Tomorrow, but every single night.) This is also an important plot point because Kitai has to find certain "hot spots" in the terrain at night to stay warm, or he will freeze to death.
  107. - The Ursa that was on the ship has possibly survived and is possibly hunting him down.
  109. This second point is expressed in specific Dianetics terms to Kitai. Cypher tells him that if he confronts the Ursa, he is either to "evade" or "escape", not to "attack".
  111. Let me introduce you to the Black Panther mechanism. From
  113. “[The Black Panther mechanism is] one of the five ways in which a human being reacts toward a source of danger. The term derives its name from an example given in the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health: A particularly black-tempered black panther is sitting on the stairs and a man named Gus is sitting in the living room. Gus wants to go to bed. But there is the black panther. The problem is to get upstairs. There are five things that Gus can do about this panther:
  115. (1) he can go attack the black panther;
  116. (2) he can run out of the house and flee the black panther;
  117. (3) he can use the back stairs and avoid the black panther;
  118. (4) he can neglect the black panther;
  119. and
  120. (5) he can succumb to the black panther.
  122. These are the five mechanisms: attack, flee, avoid, neglect or succumb. All actions can be seen to fall within these courses."
  124. It cannot be any more clear that Cypher is teaching Kitai to think in terms of Dianetics. Which doesn't seem to work, as Kitai soon confronts a pack of wild baboons, which catch him while he is flashing back to Senshi's death, causing him to feel vulnerable and fearful. His engram has been restimulated and he is experiencing all the negative feelings from that event. Cypher then emphatically and dramatically tells Kitai that "you are creating this" in regards to how his fight with the wild baboons will play out, which is yet another Scientology reference, and a very big one, too. From Scientology - The Fundamentals of Thought:
  126. “Scientology Axiom Ten: The highest purpose in this universe is the creation of an effect.”
  128. Scientology is obsessed with the cycle of create, sustain, destroy, going so far as to put them all in terms of creation, as in this passage from Scientology - The Fundamentals of Thought:
  130. “The actual cycle of action is as follows: create, create-create-create, create/counter-create, no creation, nothingness.
  132. - Create means make, manufacture, construct, postulate, bring into beingness. (Postulate means to conclude, decide or resolve, and beingness refers to the condition or state of being.)
  134. - Create-create-create means create again continuously one moment after the next, survival.
  136. - Create/counter-create means to create something against a creation, to create one thing and then create something else against it, destroy.
  138. - No creation means an absence of any creation, no creative activity.
  140. - An actual cycle of action then consists of various activities, but each and every one of them is creative. The cycle of action contains an apparency of survival, but this is actually only a continuous creation. The apparent cycle of action contains destruction, but the actual cycle of action tells us what destruction is.”
  142. After receiving a crash course in Dianetics, Kitai flees to a river and jumps in, because baboons can't swim. (Again, I don't know.) After climbing out of the water and running some more, Cypher tells him to stop running and check his vitals. Now, I don't remember if this happens before or after the baboon attack, but at one point, Cypher tells Kitai to tell him how many inhalers he has left. Kitai tells him he has four, but actually, two of them have broken and he lies to his father. Cypher knows he is lying because his heart rate and breathing rate increase slightly, which is very similar to the use of the E-meter in auditing to detect falsehood. (In fact, all of Kitai’s gear functions essentially as a giant E-meter.) But he does not question his son and lets him continue.
  144. After a while, Cypher detects unusual vital signs on Kitai, and it turns out that Kitai has picked up a venomous leech from the river. Kitai has to quickly inject an antidote into his heart to stop the venom from killing him, and after injecting it, he passes out. (This doesn't really have much to do with Scientology, honestly. It's just kind of a dumb scene.)
  146. When he comes to, he needs to keep moving because nightfall is coming soon and he is not in a hotspot. He approaches a cliffside overlooking a massive valley, and his goal is in sight: two mountains far in the distance, but still visible. At this point, Cypher asks Kitai how many inhalers he has, and he once again lies. This time, however, Cypher asks Kitai to show him using the Convenient Plot Cameras attached to his suit, and Kitai shows him the two broken inhalers. This causes Cypher to order his son back to the wreckage and to abort the mission because he physically cannot survive the trek without the inhalers.
  148. Kitai immediately flashes back to Senshi's death and it is elaborated that Senshi called out for her father, but he was not at home or he was on duty or something (or busy making Bad Boys IV), and she was impaled right before Kitai's eyes. I cannot overemphasize how much the movie shows this memory as traumatizing to Kitai. It is essentially one powerful engram that is activated whenever he feels threatened or frightened. It is what is holding him back and what makes his father hesitant that he can actually retrieve the beacon.
  150. In a scene meant to be poignant but that just comes across as awkward because Kitai is yelling and shouting at nothing, he tells his father that he will not be like him and abandon the mission. There is an alternative for Kitai, which is to jump off the cliff and use his glider suit to fly down the valley (oh yeah, he has a glider suit), but this is extremely dangerous. (Quick aside: like absolutely everything else in this movie, there is a helpful 3D model of the path, in this case demonstrating the only path Jaden can take and still survive. The movie does this 3D model thing a lot because Will is literally stuck in a chair the entire movie.)
  152. This actually has a very important Scientology connotation: the concept of valence. Scientologists believe that they create their own internal universe or worldview through which they experience reality, and to be controlled by, or in tune with, someone's universe or worldview is to be "out of their valence" and "in another's valence". This is almost always something with a negative connotation. Kitai's actions in the awkwardly acted scene are an effort to break out of his father's valence and make his own decisions. His jumping off the cliff is the dramatic finish.
  154. From LRH:
  156. “There's many a fellow comes along, he sits there, we know exactly what is wrong with him. It is so obvious. He's in his father's valence, has several chronic somatics of his father. By his own detailed story, that's his father. His hatred for his father, his affection for his father, his ideas of his father, the missingness of his father during early childhood, on and on and on and on, all add up to Father.
  158. He sits there and he says, Yes, I'm in Father's — I realize I'm carrying on for Father and so forth. But nothing happens. He knows it. You know it — nothing happens. Well, what is going on? Well, that isn't what's it. That's all.
  160. If he knows all about it, it isn't aberrative. It is unfortunately — to dramatize right along with the gamma ray — the hidden particle, the hidden datum, the hidden influence which is the effective one. Do you see that? It's hidden to him.”
  162. So, Kitai jumps off the cliff, gets attacked by a giant bird, wakes up in the bird's nest, and fights off a pack of sabretooth tigers in an effort to save the bird's hatchlings, which is unsuccessful. He then finds out that his Navi Link is broken and his father can no longer see or hear what he is doing. As night falls, Kitai finds a cave and actually makes cave drawings of where he is right now, where he has been, and how far it has been between landmarks, in an effort to see how much farther he has to go and if he can still make it with only one inhaler left.
  164. I'm paraphrasing because nothing here really has much to do with Scientology. It's just standard survival action movie stuff.
  166. Except for the baby birds and a family of wild pigs, including four baby pigs. And they're cute. You know, something for the kids.
  168. - After Earth: Act Three -
  170. And then comes the symbolic deluge.
  172. I should mention at this point that LRH, in his official biographies by the CoS was a world-famous explorer, adventurer, inventor, and scientist who traveled to exotic locations all around the world and made contact with lost tribes, very much in the tradition of Indiana Jones and 1940's pulp novels.
  174. For example, from
  176. “The following years, from 1925 to 1929, saw the young Mr. Hubbard, between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, as a budding and enthusiastic world traveler and adventurer. His father was sent to the Far East and, having the financial support of his wealthy grandfather, L. Ron Hubbard spent these years journeying through Asia.
  178. He was up and down the China coast several times in his teens from Ching Wong Tow to Hong Kong and inland to Peking and Manchuria. In China he met an old magician whose ancestors had served in the court of Kublai Khan and a Hindu who could hypnotize cats.
  180. In the high hills of Tibet he lived with bandits who accepted him because of his honest interest in them and their way of life. In the remote reaches of western Manchuria he made friends with the ruling warlords by demonstrating his horsemanship.
  182. On an island in the South Pacific, the fearless boy calmed the natives by exploring a cave that was supposed to be haunted and showing them that the rumbling sound from within was nothing more sinister than an underground river.
  184. Deep in the jungles of Polynesia he discovered an ancient burial ground steeped in the tradition of heroic warriors and kings.”
  186. He did actually visit Asia as a young man, but only for a short time, and he apparently wasn't impressed. He wrote:
  188. “They smell of all the baths they didn't take. The trouble with China is, there are too many chinks here.”
  190. But in mind of this tradition in the CoS, it is no surprise that After Earth has a very important scene about wilderness survival and a shamanic experience, which is as follows:
  192. Kitai awakes, travels to a river, and immediately builds a raft. At this point, he has not eaten in quite some time and he is exhausted, and he falls asleep on the raft. He has a false awakening into a dream where his sister Senshi appears and whispers something we don't hear into his ear, then asks him if he is scared. He says that he is not scared, only tired. She repeatedly tells him to wake up, and when her face transforms into a bloodied and broken mess after the Ursa attack in his memories, hefinally does wake up and finds out that he has traveled a great distance down the river and that nightfall is coming rapidly.
  194. When I first watched this scene, I dismissed it as just standard movie adventure fare, but later on I realized that during the entire movie, and this scene in particular, Kitai is moving up the tone scale, which is an arbitrary range of emotions that aberrees in Dianetics strive to move upwards. These are on a range from -40.0, total failure, to 40.0, serenity of beingness. So, his goal is not just to reach the beacon and gain his father's acceptance, but to go through a specific emotional transformation in a specific order. Kitai starts the movie at tone 1.0, fear, and is at tone 2.5, boredom, this scene happens. He's not unhappy, he's not afraid, he's just exhausted and doesn't really care about the mission at the moment. In Dianetics, there is also a parable of the bear which discusses a man hunting a bear and how his emotions move up and down the town scale. ("Ursa" is the Latin word for "bear".)
  196. So, Kitai finds himself at nightfall, and it's about to get really chilly. But he is in the open and unable to track hotspots without his Navi Link, so he eventually wanders around helpless until he collapses, covered in frost. (Again, I don't know.) But he wakes up in a warm place, underground, where the giant bird from earlier has put him into a makeshift shelter. The bird, however, has died, and its sacrifice empowers him to press on, without his father, without the Navi Link, to the tail section of the ship.
  198. And he finds it, in the shadow of two mountains. In fact, he finds a few things:
  200. - A fresh supply of inhalers.
  202. - A new Navi Link.
  204. - The emergency beacon.
  206. - The empty cocoon of the Ursa.
  208. The problem with the beacon is that it literally doesn't get good reception in the valley, like a cell phone, and Cypher is watching this from the ship but unable to communicate this to Kitai. The Navi Link's cameras work, but there is apparently some sort of distortion preventing audio communication. Cypher watches Kitai's frustration, and appears to telepathically tell Kitai to "take a knee", center himself in the moment (to clear himself of any engrammatic events), and realize that the beacon needs to be on much higher ground to actually work. I don't know if he actually communicates this telepathically, or if it's just that Kitai starts to think like his father and realizes what he has to do. Either way, though, it dawns on Kitai what needs to be done, and so he goes to the movie's final set to activate the beacon.
  210. Let's stop and take note of everything we've learned so far, because this was my thought process when this scene occurs:
  212. - Future Earth is Teegeeack.
  214. - The Ranger Corps is the Loyal Officers/Sea Org.
  216. - Ghosting is the state of clear/operating thetan.
  218. - The crashed ship is the DC-8's.
  220. - Kitai's training and mentoring are the Dianetics/Scientology process of auditing and the clearing of engrams/thetans, Kitai as aberree and Cypher as auditor.
  222. - His Navi Link is an E-meter.
  224. - His memories and dreams are engrams and thetans, respectively.
  226. - The Ursa is psychologists/psychiatrists.
  228. - Kitai's emotional journey is a movement up the tone scale.
  230. - Cypher's presence is Kitai existing in his father's valence.
  232. So far, we have touched upon literally every core concept of both Dianetics and Scientology. And not just the science fiction stuff, but the day-to-day ins-and-outs of auditing sessions, lessons taken almost verbatim from LRH's works, and philosophical concepts that directly parallel, if not outright copy, the CoS’s teachings.
  234. At this point, I thought to myself in the theater, my argument for After Earth as a Scientology vehicle is pretty damn strong. But I wondered if maybe there would be an acknowledgment to LRH in the credits, or maybe one of the logos of a Scientology front organization at the very end, or something. You know, something to really seal the deal and convince me that this was, in fact, a movie by and about Scientology.
  236. Well, unfortunately, I didn't get my credits acknowledgment.
  238. But that's okay, because I got something better.
  240. - The Grand Finale -
  242. In the movie's climax, with his father, who the verge of death from massive blood loss caused by his injuries in the crash, is watching through the Navi Link, Kitai climbs the mountain, where the Ursa awaits, as well as the only place he can successfully fire the beacon to summon humanity from across the stars.
  244. But it's not just a mountain. It’s a volcano.
  246. The Ursa has found Kitai and it can smell the fear on his body as he races through a subterranean maze of fire and water in a desperate effort to reach the top. And at the top, he is attacked and pinned down. His death is seconds away, tone 0.0, and he knows he is about to die.
  248. He remembers the story his father told him about how he first ghosted and defeated the Ursa. Then he remembers the conversation with Senshi's spirit on the raft. And that is when we find out what she whispered to him:
  250. "You're still in the box."
  252. Senshi put Kitai in a terrarium box so that the Ursa that mauled her to death would not smell his fear and would therefore be unable to see him. In a moment of middling theatrical value but immense Scientology mythology, of terrible acting but of a deep and mystical portent from the mind of a madman, it happens.
  254. Kitai destroys the engram, returns to present time after journeying into the past on the time track, and instantly reaches a state of clear.
  256. He literally achieves the supreme accomplishment of Scientology while on top of the symbol for the entire damn religion.
  258. He has ghosted, and the Ursa can no longer see him. Kitai displays a sudden, superhuman strength and slays the Ursa just as Cypher loses consciousness.
  260. I cannot express to you how much meaning this scene has to Scientology. This is so clearly and obviously taken directly from the mind of LRH that it actually borders on self-parody. Here, we have all the disparate elements of Scientology combined into a singular scene that expresses everything Scientology tantalizes its adherents with: the acquisition of superhuman abilities by entering a new state of existence where one is free of the suffering of the past, all on top of an active volcano.
  262. And then he activates the beacon, summons humanity, and reunites with his badly wounded but still living father. And then the movie ends.
  264. I was in the theater, slack-jawed, not really accepting what I had seen.
  266. Not because it was cinematically good, but because the only way that finale could have been more about Scientology is if the Ursa had actually been Tom Cruise.
  268. For Will Smith to claim he is not a Scientologist, and for people to claim After Earth is not about Scientology, is like if Mel Gibson denied The Passion of the Christ was about Christianity and for people to claim that it wasn’t based on the Bible.
  270. - Whys and Wherefores –
  272. But why do this? Why make a Scientology movie? Well, because LRH tried and failed. The Wall of Fire myth, about Xenu’s rise and fall, was originally envisioned as a science-fiction movie called Revolt in the Stars, but various problems with funding and development eventually halted its production. The second attempt was more successful in that a movie was actually made: John Travolta’s disastrous Battlefield Earth, which also has extremely strong and very well-documented Scientology connections.
  274. It was always LRH’s dream to see Scientology on the silver screen in order to, in his words, “restimulate and upset” their engrams, making them remember the suffering of billions of years, and unconsciously motivating them to seek counseling at the CoS. And After Earth is the third attempt to do just that.
  276. I leave you with a final thought: LRH frequently referred to the concept of “space opera”, and the Wall of Fire myth was just one of countless strange and fantastical stories that he told about humanity’s history, which he envisioned to be trillions of trillions of years long. You would think that members of the CoS would view LRH’s career as a science-fiction writer as a negative, and that is a common argument against Scientology’s validity, but they actually view it as a positive. Why?
  278. In CoS doctrine, every science fiction story ever written or filmed is a repressed memory of true events.
  280. In other words, After Earth, to Scientologists, is a film adapation of a true story.
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