I've long pondered the opportunity cost associated with Scientology -- the cost of forgone opportunities.
The opportunity cost in time. One spends 10 years devoted to Scientology, "Clearing the Planet," and becoming an Auditor (the most valuable being on the planet!) -- instead of, say, getting that degree in nursing and actually being able to help people.
The opportunity cost in money. One spends $5,000, $10,000, $40,000, $100,000, etc. on Auditing and Training -- instead of sending one's children to college, or indeed to good colleges... and then graduate school. (Or if that is too "intellectual" for some, if I'm too college centric, then helping one's child become a car mechanic, or welder, or machinist, or something else useful.)
The further opportunity cost in money. One donates $2,000, $10,000, $50,000, $100,000, $500,000 to the IAS, or the Ideal Org, and becomes a Diamond Platinum Glorious Meritorious -- With Silver Clusters -- instead of donating the money to a university, hospital, or legitimate charity that might actually help people.
Yeah, I know, one really shouldn't criticize how people spend their disposable income, their "charitable" contributions. People contribute to all sorts of things when I might make a different choice -- animal rescue vs. abused children; art vs. starving children; the symphony vs. historical preservation; etc. The choices are difficult.
And if they didn't contribute their money Scientology, they might spend it on booze and gambling -- you know, things that are less detrimental to society and have a better return on investment.
Seriously, a "charitable" contribution to Scientology? Wouldn't it be more effective to give the money to a homeless person? No, not to spend. It would be more effective to give the money to a blind homeless person so he could use it to keep warm on a cold winter's night by burning it in a trash can.
Mostly I think of the opportunity cost of Scientology to society as a whole, and particularly of wasted youth, time, idealism, talent and ability. I think of the Sea Org woman who attended one year at the University of California Berkeley (do have any idea how hard it is to get into that school?), only to drop out and devote her life to Scientology. To become, if we are at all honest, delusional. Fearful of all of the Manchurian Candidates running around in society who have been PDHed by evil psychs.
What a waste.
In particular, I think of an ED I knew, the Sea Org member placed in charge of a Class V Org, who was very sharp, very intelligent, very disciplined, very had working, very capable. After I got to know her I had a cognition, a truth as true as any truth in the universe, which I shared with her. I told her:I told her that truth despite my knowledge that she had been a Sea Orger from youth, hadn't attended college, and in all likelihood had not graduated from high school. But she was intelligent, sharp, hard working and disciplined and, most importantly, there was still time. There was still time."I know you really want to help people. You should become a medical doctor. Seriously, there is still time."
She gave me a look that conveyed, without speaking, "WTF are you saying? I really don't want to do a KR on you for being counter-intention, because I know you are well-intentioned and are complimenting me, but WTF? Please don't say shit like that."
But there was a look in her eye, if only for a moment.