Umm.. how long it has been since then? Nine? Or eight years? Anyway, first it happened when I was reading Heinlein's "Stranger in a strange land" for the second, I guess, time. It was a period when I was carefully following and picking out society details and constructions that were presented by R.A. (Robert Anson — it's the first and the middle names of Heinlein — ubs), all of the nuances and tricky places in his book. The Smith's contemplative "buddhistic" attitude and habit of changing the world indirectly is very confusing at first and really captivating at a second glance.
It took me a week or two to read it through and around six to nine weeks to think through. Unfortunately, I don't have any records left (I didn't think then that I'll ever need to record anything at all until I found out that not only rubbish, but also useful concepts are leaking through my memory holes if not written down), but I quite well recall how my thoughts were revolving around the book and the world itself.
I decided then that I should consider planning and organizing my own (our own, to be certain. Oh, vice versa — "our own", but mine in fact) church and religious party — it is one of the best ways to build a complete, solid, healthy society, unlike any other means I've known by then and know by now.
Political parties are good in lobbying, do well in personal wealth-building, but society? Holding all those people together and having them love and care for each other? Politics? No, you are kidding! Recently political heads and governments in general realize that they can content and shape their peoples, but not alter. Ideology is becoming too complicated to be possible to work with — for people, yes. And ideology is only a part of the iceberg that is a wee bit below the sea level. Intrinsic details and down-to-earth issues are almost out of control at a scale of whole country. That's why federal governments suck. State governments come in place and they have more flexibility, but they cannot take a hold of every and each community in a state, too. Then there're counties, town halls etc. The detalisation grows, effectiveness stays same — either you have a lot of power but control little, or you are standing at the steering wheel, but lack the real power to change things.
But. But the only real way that there exists to control the community, to rule it the way it should be and having people live with a long-trend aims is religion. Nothing less, nothing more.
That's the way my reasons roamed and finally I found myself staying in front of the heaven gates — with the words "authorised personnel only, please" inscribed over them and slightly glowing in the twilight of my evening. It was my first unathorised penetration when I was taking a look around. And to my surprise nothing much was different — same people (more sincere, I think, and less obsessed with themselves), same landscapes, but nothing absolutely different as I expected.
That really got to me! I was analyzing the book again — yes, there it is in between the lines: "as soon as you have people, you have the people's world with them". It means that if I was to create the perfect society, I was going to keep the usual habits people have, give several new rituals (carefully laid out, tested on paper and on live people, then slowly and invisibly introduced to the community).
The church building for me includes several specific stages, as any more or less large-scale project.
Planning — as usual, planning goes along with learning sources and (which is much more important) current state of the religions in the world. There're a lot of useful tricks, religionary techologies that work both in social and economical worlds. As it's possible to write a perfect book, it's also quite possible (just a little more complex) to build a perfect haven and society, based on special laws and rules, ticking evenly as it should and in the ideal case it works in self-supporting and self-sufficient way.
Planning doesn't require any audience at all. Research is limited mostly to digging up the archives — most of the needed researches are already there — conducted, evaluated and often even analyzed. Our task is only to pick just the right ingredients.
Result: basic conception of the universe. Several volumes of world history (compiled and interveawed with other sources) for reference, simplified history for beginners, several balanced commandments and quotes. Reconstructed histories of several prophets, rebuilt cross-references back into the ages, finding the words and hidden truth that supports our principles in the books and writings of early european, asian, american and south-american authors, with an extensive use of folklor.
Bringing together the team — initial user testing and basic field research to create a tight circle of "early adopters". In fact, it's very important to use the thin-holed sieve to pick up just the right people whou would enjoy living and working at the same time.
Actually, this is a first test for the human management skills and potency the whole project has — you ought to attract the people who will work with you, who will share your ideals and will accept the whole world from now on. It takes a lot of persuasion skills and salesman's talent.
Result: variegated team of people with different skills, views and aims, who are working hand in hand with you to build the better, perfect world. The team is diverse and takes care of several major, strategic directions:
Investments: alluring in an angel or a person who will be interested in such an adventure (Selling story depends on the target audience. We are good at selling, aren't we? O'course we are, because we are the best, by definition).
Public relations: covering the mass-media and all the issues raising. Mass-media is our main competitor and screen, we don't use it to preach, but we use it to communicate.
Clients relationships: holding the arm on the pulse of our audience. Researching their needs, catching up their moods, leading them and consulting them. It is the major part — we control the ideology and subtly but steadily crawl into their own minds to take the place of the official ideology.
This includes public sessions of psychoanalysis and rediscovery of God, all sorts of confessions, psychological help inside and outside community. Learning from people and teaching them back.
Note on the team members: it's very important to always remember that we can attract people who are interested in money and material values, but we don't let them stay in the "builders"' team. The best preacher is the one who believes in what he preaches.
Final pre-launch polish — the time to weight all the pro and cons, rent a building or office or a hall and review the rituals, souvenirs, symbolics of the whole religious movement. Then there we go.
Result: Team is tested for weaknesses, the basic logistics tested and bottlenecks are worked out — how to invest, how to attract uninfluenced and how make people interested. Last checks with large-groups-oriented psychologists, press-service stands on hold ready to go.
Initial opening. Wonderful moment, when the corporation is finally off the ship-way. Press-conferences and several public happenings will attract some attention and then all of the public activity subsides — there stays only two or the key persons, who lead the seminars and lectures in high school or universities.
Steady and careful growth — we need to evaluate or means and ways to be sure that we attract those who we need: intellectual and interested people who don't believe in religion nor they are ready to dismiss the idea of the faith and doom. After the opening we take some time to analise, who and how reacts on us, what is going on with potentially competing parties and how they affect our activities.
Full scale opening. We are sure we are doing alright, our clients (yes, yes, it's our parish!) are happy and become more successful, and their work (which is, as we laid it out, is concentrated mostly in the highly intellectual spheres) makes significant progress as they are happier and we take care of their souls to cherish their mind health and let them work to prosper.
* Recurring Researches is designed to always get us up to date information — what and how happens with our clientele, whta rituals should be injected and which should subside.
Usability testing in the field conditions.
* Advances are made to all the time check the competitors. We are interested in the global perfection even though it's not possible. We do best to attract successful people into our rows to join the most successful part of the humanity.
Yes, we are saying that pathetically, but it's the best way to influence and assure people of our seriousness.
After all I drafted several scenarios and possible directions — both interesting in the terms of economical and insightful values, as well as suiting the needs of a flexible and dynamic community I was going to build.
This is still one of my most major and global intentions and hopefully I will begin at least planning phase, or, if I am lucky and the project will interest someone whom I will be able to trust completely, we could realize the church itself. There's only one problem so far. Little problem, yeah.
I am not a preacher, that's for sure.
I am not a charismatic leader and not an inspiring example. I am good at subtle consulting, weaving plots and so forth. But I am not directly energetic. Preaching and evangelism suck all the juices out from me, though I am sure I can sometimes get on a stage and walk away from it alive. I just won't be humongously effective in charming those good people. I won't be able to make them sing and dance if I will be on my own. So I need a partner. An actor. Genius, open and fresh as dashing wind. I need him desperately and I know what he should be like and I pray for only one thing — may he complement me not only in the acting, but also in down-to-earthnessness and still be able to day-dream and imagine the future as well as I do.
It would make me more than happy. Intellectual church. Ha.
- walk around heaven — what you learn when you sneak a peek
- church of perfection — your own haven to hide from the imperfect reality
- society building — not that I really want to build it from the ground up
- dianetics — learn what it's made of