Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Q: Who created all of this? Who is involved with this project? What is its mission?
A: The Scionics Institute was initiated in 1988 by our Founder, the pseudonymous “Prior Chyren.” For the first several years he worked alone, laying the foundation for all that was to come. Due to the massive scope and complexity of this project, he began to quietly seek the consultation and aid of others with needed knowledge and skills, often without revealing almost anything about the project at all, beyond the very bare minimum required to accomplish the task for which they were recruited.
Over time a very small handful of other individuals have been inducted into the Core of the Scionics Institute. It was these Core members who gave the Founder the pseudonym “Chyren” and the title of “Prior, ” as a playful reference to the 1956 French fraternal organization, “le Prieuré de Sion,” or the “Priory of Sion.” Chyren was the pseudonym of Pierre Plantard, the founder of the Priory of Sion; this seemed an apt, albeit somewhat humorous, appellation for our Founder as well.
The mission of the Scionics Institute, as mandated by Prior Chyren, is to create a universally applicable philosophical system or conceptual framework which is fully consistent reality and reason, or “empiricorationalism.” This mandate entails adhering to an unwavering commitment to honesty: this includes the profound self-honesty which is necessary to cultivate the proper psychological relationship with reality and reason, as well as profound honesty in the information we publish. It is the rare individual who possesses the requisite traits to become a member of the Scionics Institute, but we are always alert to find such people.
Q: What is the Scionics Institute? Is Scionics a philosophy, a religion, or what exactly?
A: The Scionics Institute is a small, private think-tank, tasked with generating a fully-integrated matrix of reason- and reality-based knowledge and concepts, called “Scionics.” This task demands the absolute and unwavering understanding, acceptance and application of sound principles of reason and evidence, and of the conclusions and integrations resulting from such reason and evidence; in other words, it requires an honest, disciplined, scientific and business-like approach to extracting knowledge from, and operating within, reality. This discipline concomitantly entails the rejection of all forms of mysticism, superstition, magical thinking, uncritically accepted faith, and the like: the acceptance of reason and reality inescapably involves the rejection of all forms of mysticism.
It should not be surprising, then, that during the early decades of the Institute essentially all forms of religious beliefs and practices were strictly rejected, due to their inherently mystical, non-rational and non-reality basis. Three major developments within Scionics, however, ultimately forced a very subtle but important modification to this otherwise essentially anti-religious stance, driving it into the realm of the traditionally spiritual and religious.
The first major development involved the empiricorational integration of various fundamental facts of reality which could be seen as having traditionally metaphysical implications, while remaining fully grounded in and consistent with reason and reality. This integration is outlined in our publication, “Matheism and Psychonics: The Ultimate Foundation and Cause of All Reality.” This publication illuminates an empiricorational position, distinct from either mystical theism or simplistic atheism, which we call “matheism.”
Matheism is founded upon the simple fact that the truths of mathematics are true everywhere, eternally. They cannot not be true. The truths of mathematics are uncreated, unchangeable, eternal, and omnipresent. The are also the ontologically necessary aspects of the traditionally Divine, Spiritual, and Transcendent.
Matheism is the position that the ultimate foundation and cause of all reality is the ontologically necessary truths of mathematics, rather than either some mystical imaginary God, or simple unfeeling blind chance. It further carefully distinguishes between an integrated mind and raw unorganized consciousness, and posits that explore raw consciousness (not organized mind) necessarily arises from mathematics itself. it is this raw consciousness which, in turn, serves as the source and foundation of physics, and hence the physical world itself. This raw consciousness (again, not organized mind) permeates all reality, and in a very real sense is what reality is fundamentally “made of.” This infinite, eternal, and omnipresent “psychonic plenum” is the empiricorational counterpart to the traditional mystical concepts of “cosmic consciousness.”
There are not only significant differences but also significant similarities between the mathematically-grounded psychonic plenum of raw unorganized consciousness, and the various “personal Gods” found within many religions. This is the source of the significant differences and similarities between matheism and both theism and atheism. These fairly advanced and abstract concepts are well beyond the scope of these FAQs, but are explored in much greater detail in Matheism and Psychonics.
The second major development which modified the initial anti-religious stance of the Scionics Institute came from an empiricorational survey of the beliefs and practices of a great number of world’s religions. As might be expected, essentially all of them were rejected as fundamentally and irreconcilably mystical. One religion in particular, however, was found to contain an iron-core subset of non-mystical and empiricorationally justified beliefs and practices. This religion, in fact, is actually held by many as actually not being a religion in the usual sense, but merely being a unique philosophy, approach to living, or the like. This religion (which may or may not be a religion depending upon one’s viewpoint) is Buddhism, when it is stripped of all mysticisms and its fundamentally empircorational essence is laid bare.
(The Scionics Institute initially held that similarly stripping all mysticism from other religions would be unproductive because of the mystical nature of their core beliefs and practices. In the case of Buddhism, all mystical notions can be removed regarding Gautama Buddha, reincarnation, karma, and so on, but there would nevertheless remain an extremely powerful set of meditative techniques, as well as certain invaluably profound insights and understandings regarding the human condition and reality itself. Christianity, for example, completely revolves around its Christ-centered mysticisms; it seems meaningless once these are stripped away. The same is true in the cases of Judaism and Yahweh, Islam and Allah, and so on. Over time, however, a powerful means was discovered for uncovering the various differing symbolic empiricorational cores deeply hidden within essentially all religions. This will be illuminated shortly below, in the discussion of the third of the three major developments.)
A religion of pure empiricorationality ventures deeply into philosophy. A purely empiricorational philosophy which is deeply integrated with with empiricorational religious concepts and practices ventures deeply into religion. The Scionics Institute came to acknowledge that it had come to subsume, integrate, and transcend the usual distinctions between the secular and the religious or spiritual. The Institute then began to operate in a dual capacity: (1) it continued in its primary mandated task of integrating empiricorational knowledge, and (2) it founded “Scio-Buddhism” for the purpose of promulgating the purely empiricorational aspects of Buddhism within the purely empiricorational framework of Scionics. Thus began it’s role as the independent research, publishing, and doctrinal arm of the Church of Scio-Buddhism.
The third development in the ecclesial evolution of Scionics occurred some time after the Institute began the empiricorational integration of human psychology into Scionics. The primary distinction between human and animal minds is the vast and open-ended human capacity for conceptual and symbolic thought. The empiricorational integration of human psychology qua human psychology thus requires an empiricorational understanding of how this conceptual and symbolic capacity permeates so much of human life.
This eventually lead to an investigation into the role of symbolic thought as manifested within various religious traditions. Spirituality often involves symbolically coming to terms with, and finding meaning within, the deepest truths, mysteries, and ideals of human existence. Formalized religion involves the formal codification of the symbolic framework within which spirituality is practiced, by some external authority such as a priest, rabbi, book, or the like. There is nothing wrong with formalized spiritual symbolic codification, per se: the problem, however, arises when it proceeds non-empiricorationally. In the case of essentially all traditional formalized religion, a fairly high degree of non-empiricorationality in unavoidable, simply because the ultimate religious “authority” purported to support the framework is some mystical, non-empiricorational version of “God,” or the “divine,” or some other supernatural entity, force, or principle. Any symbolic framework which is founded upon the non-empiricorational cannot help but produce a large degree of non-empiricorationality.
Nonetheless, even while traditional religions certainly do contain a high degree of non-empiricorationality, they obviously must also contain at least some degree of both empiricorationality and perceived benefit for their adherents, or they would have no adherents at all. The empiricorational integration of psychology lead the Scionics Institute to recognize the many significant empiricorational and beneficial symbols often deeply hidden within various traditional religious frameworks. This has already lead to the creation of Scio-Judaism and Scio-Christianity, and will ultimately lead to the creation of other forms of Scio-Spirituality or Scionism.
The Scionics Institute intends to create a number of “Prories of Scion.” Each Priory will be a community where individuals could actually live and work, in an environment which (1) is carefully designed to promote empiricorational enlightenment or illumination, (2) is free from socioeconomic coercion and exploitation, and (3) promotes the exploration and development of individual and collective potential.
It is important to understand that one can be fully committed to empircorationalism and Scionics without necessarily embracing any particular Scio-Spiritual path, according to one’s own authority. The entire symbolic framework encompassing all Scio-Spirituality is actually available from within Scionics itself, without necessitating any overt Scio-Spiritual practice. Thus, each Priory of Scion will be a truly free Scio-Society, where the overt practice of Scio-Spirituality is available to all but required of none.
Q: Is the Scionics Institute a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit religious organization? Are donations to the Scionics Institute tax deductible?
A: We are not lawyers or tax specialists. We are simply expressing our understanding regarding our tax-exempt status, so the following should not be construed as legal or tax advice, but only as our considered opinion.
We are a Church. Scio-Spirituality constitutes a set of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices, as does Scionism and its various sub-denominations, such as Scio-Buddhism, Scio-Judaism, Scio-Christianity, and the like. The Scionics Institute is an essential part of the Church of Scionism, serving as its independent research, publishing and policy arm.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This was the very First Amendment to the Constitution, because it was recognized that these rights are so absolutely fundamental human liberty, and to the functioning of a free society. The unique status of Churches is reflected in the Internal Revenue Code, passed by Congress. Whereas certain types of not-for-profit organizations are required, by law, to apply for Federal recognition of their not-for-profit status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, this requirement does not apply to Churches. In order to make this clear, Section 508(c)(1)(A) specifically lists “churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches” as being exempt from the requirement to register for recognition as a not-for-profit organization. They are exempt from this requirement because they are automatically tax-exempt under 501(c)(3) by virtue of their very unique legal status.
Furthermore, regarding the tax-deductible status of donations to the church, IRS Publication 526 states:
You can deduct your contributions only if you make them to a qualified organization. To become a qualified organization, most organizations other than churches and governments, as described below, must apply to the IRS.
So, from all of the above, you can see that while we have not applied for 501(c)(3) status, and are not registered as a 501(c)(3) organization, we understand that as a Church we automatically have 501(c)(3) status. Furthermore, we also understand that as a Church, contributions made to us are automatically deductible. Again, we are not lawyers or tax specialists, so this is not to be taken as legal or tax advice, but only as our considered opinion of the matter.
We never require or pressure anyone to donate to our cause. Any donations we receive are completely voluntary. If you feel that our work merits your financial support, and if you are in a position to donate (in other words, only if your donation will not cause you undue financial hardship) then you may do so with our sincerest gratitude.
Q: Are you a cult?
A: The short and simple answer is “No.” The empiricorational thinking promoted by the Scionics Institute actually serves to protect the individual from deceptive cult tactics, and more broadly, from dishonest exploitation in general.
The long answer is that the term “cult” has been applied to a wide array a groups, although it can be difficult to pin down an exact definition of just what makes something a cult. That being said, we have created a short list of criteria:
- Cults attempt to control and extract values from others.
The fundamental reason that one would attempt to create a cult is because the creator or cult-leader desires to get something of value from the cult members. This can be money, but it can also be things like social prestige, sex, or anything else valued by the leader. It is also true, of course, that even legitimate businesses exist in order to get something of value from their customers. The difference here is that whereas an honest business delivers something of actual value in exchange for the fee paid, a cult ultimately delivers disvalues. Furthermore, the level of control exerted by a cult (typically involving fraud, force, or coercion) is far beyond the simple voluntary exchange of values which characterizes honest business.As stated in the previous question, no one is ever required or pressured to donate to our cause. We never knowingly accept a donation from anyone that we knew was not in a financial situation suitable for making such a donation. Even when we sell a book or other information, we also make that same information available for free on our website. Furthermore, since our Core members remain anonymous, it should be obvious that we aren’t seeking anything like social prestige or sex from those who value the information we provide.
Since we cannot be trying to secretly gain anything from anyone, we have no reason to try to control anyone. To the contrary, those who integrate our anti-mystical concepts becomes increasingly resistant to external control, and increasingly exercise their own empiricorational autonomy and control in all situations.
- Cults try to attract vulnerable people by pretending to meet some need.There are legitimate, non-cult organizations which try to attract or recruit vulnerable people. A homeless shelter or soup kitchen, for example, is seeking out people in need, but in this case they actually provide valuable goods or services for these people. A cult, on the other hand, provides nothing of any real value, while attempting to provide an illusion of value and of needs filled. This illusion serves as a sort of lure to keep people feeling dependent upon the cult, which the cult uses, not to actually provide any actual value, but instead to extract value from its vulnerable members.
The Scionics Institute does not specifically seek out vulnerable people, although it is gratifying to be able to help those with the greatest need and an empiricorational orientation would be a value to anyone. We have no reason to offer some illusion of value to keep anyone feeling dependent upon us, since there is nothing we are secretly trying to gain from anyone. In fact, we offer real value to everyone who wishes to abandon mysticism and to embrace reason and reality.
- Cults try to get their followers to reduce or cut off social contacts with those outside the cult, such as family, friends, and so on, as well as reducing exposure to any ideas which are contrary to the cult.Limiting outside contacts and reducing exposure to ideas contrary to the cult is a means for limiting the chance that their followers will be exposed to ideas which will help them see through the cult and its harmful effects. Limiting outside social contacts also has the extra effect of eroding the follower’s social safety net, thereby increasing their vulnerability and dependence upon the cult.
The Scionics Institute has no desire to limit anyone’s contact with their friends or family, or to limit their exposure to any ideas whatsoever. If anything, we welcome competing ideas. Competition in the marketplace of ideas can only serve to strengthen Scionics Philosophy which, unlike cults or traditional religions, is firmly founded on reason and reality and, like science itself, adapts to reflect more accurate information as it comes to light.
- Cults create doctrines of unfalsifiable authority.A cult leader may claim that he or she is in direct contact with God, and is following God’s orders. Since there is no way to directly test such a claim, this can easily lead naive followers astray. There’s really no limit on the number of such claims which could be made. Cult leaders will often create a doctrine of a number of mutually reinforcing but unfalsifiable claims designed to prop up their supposed authority, trapping their followers in a web of lies and dishonesty.Such techniques, however, are quite transparent to anyone employing non-mystical empiricorational thinking. Scionics and empiricorationalism make a person invulnerable to such techniques. For this reason, it would be not only pointless but actually devastatingly counter-productive for the Scionics Institute to ever publish philosophical concepts which are counter to reality or reason. We will never ask you to just take our word for it, however. We want you to think empiricorationally and non-mystically for yourself.
Q: What is the meaning behind your logo?
A: Our logo, The Illuminated Triangle, has various valid interpretations. It primarily represents the enlightening power of empiricorationalism. In one interpretation, the triangle represents conceptualization. At the base of the triangle, the widest horizontal stretch, there is very little conceptual integration, and one is in greatest darkness. Ascending the triangle, the less integrated lower-level concepts begin to become integrated into more integrated higher-level concepts, and the darkness begins to diminish under the light of understanding. At the pinnacle of the triangle, all lower concepts have been fully integrated, and full enlightenment has been achieved.
The Illuminated Triangle can also represent another type of enlightenment or awakening which comes as the world is experienced in a less dualistic and more unitary manner. In this interpretation , the bottom of the triangle represents the greatest duality, with the sides of the triangle being furthest apart. This separation diminishes as one ascends the triangle. The pinnacle of the triangle, where the two sides meet at a single point, representing unity and illumination.
These representations can be applied to the honest individual, the Scion, ever-striving for greater empiricorational understanding and for greater unitary experience. It can also be applied to humanity at large, as it slowly lumbers away from the mystical darkness which has enveloped it for countless millennia, towards the dawn of a new age of reality- and reason-base knowledge and social unity. Finally, it can be applied to the Scionics Institute itself, in its continuing effort to integrate and deliver ever-greater spheres of understanding and enlightenment to the world.
Q: Are you the “Illuminati?” Are you the “Scio-Illuminati?”
A: The Illuminated Triangle logo and our use of the term “Priory of Scion”, along with the alleged but false links between the original Priory of Sion and the Illuminati, have caused some to speculate or assume that the Scionics Institute is some sort of an “Illuminati” organization. Furthermore, there is an organization called the “Scio-Illuminati,” which claims to trace its roots back to the time of Pythagoras; they also promote Scionics Philosophy, although they are separate and distinct organization from us. (It should be noted that we have seen no proof of their claims of origin and that we strongly doubt their authenticity.)
We make no claims of ancient Pythagorean origins. Furthermore, if there were any such organization in existence today, they would have nothing at all to gain by exposing themselves; instead they would do all they could to hide or deny the true nature of their organization. The only reason any organization would make claims of Illuminati ties would be to take advantage of the credulous and foolish. We take advantage of no one, and seek not the foolish, but the wise.
That said, we are happy whenever anyone promotes our work, and uses it the way it was meant to be used: as an instrument for promoting rational, reality-based thinking, and for creating a more happy and peaceful world. The “Scio-Illuminati,” despite their apparently regrettable and dishonest claims of ancient origin, does appear to have many of the same goals as we do. So, while the Scionics Institute is not the “Scio-Illuminati,” we are certainly working to illuminate an often very dark world.