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Quick facts on Scientology

Like many other people, I knew very little about Scientology. I knew something about Tom Cruise and another something about placentas. Until recently, that was just about all of the time I was willing to dedicate to learning about it. After seeing the hundreds of people who have dedicated their lives to it as I drove through Clearwater, Fla. where the headquarters resides, I decided it was time to dig a little deeper.

Scientology was founded in 1958 by L. Ron Hubbard, who was an American science-fiction writer. The church’s religious texts are from Hubbard who wrote on things like “dianetics.”

Dianetics, according to the Church of Scientology International’s Web site, is a “spiritual healing technology” that can alleviate unwanted feelings or thoughts. The ultimate goal is to obtain the state of “Clear,” which can be obtained by the thetan (spiritual being of a person) going through dianetic auditing (something akin to counseling).

According to the official Church of Scientology Web site, “Scientology is about the individual man or woman. Its goal is to bring an individual to a sufficient understanding of himself and his life and free him to make improvements where he finds them necessary and in the ways he sees fit.” They believe that each person has a different truth, saying “Only those things which one finds true for himself are true.”

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Quite a cultural exchange: where are American cultural events?

We know America as “the melting pot,” where people from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds come together as one. I was born here, so I naturally relate to American culture in ways that other people who moved here from other countries probably don’t.

I was born in Georgia and grew up in a small Florida town consisting of predominately white people. It wasn’t a racist area, but definitely a place with very little diversity. Upon moving to a larger city while in high school, I was amazed by the diversity of the people that surrounded me. I was even more amazed by people’s pride in their respective cultures.

One piece of culture that I became especially engrossed in was the Asian tea culture. Having been a fan of Southern sweet tea for years, the tea culture was not only delicious, but also engrossing. The fact that many countries in Asia have festivals surrounding tea (because it’s a part of their daily lives) is so fascinatingly foreign to me.

What would the American equivalent of tea be? Coffee? I think it’s safe to say that America doesn’t have anything like this, something so deeply rooted in our culture, and I think it’s sad. Here, we don’t have many traditions to unify us all other than a lack of tradition. But is that enough?

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