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 came from an empiricorational survey of the beliefs and practices of a great number of the world’s religions. As might be expected, essentially all of them were initially rejected as fundamentally and irreconcilably mystical, or non-empiricorational. After some time, however, a powerful core subset of empiricorationally justified beliefs and practices were found to be contained within Buddhism, and particularly Zen Buddhism, despite the large amount of mysticism which Buddhism also contains. This empiricorational core particularly relates to (1) meditative practices, and (2) a reason- and reality-accepting approach towards existence.
The Scionics Institute began to integrate the empiricorational core of Buddhism with Scionics. In doing so, the Institute began to recognize that, while retaining its adherence to empiricorationalism, Scionics had begun to transcend the usual distinctions between the secular and the spiritual. It eventually began to operate in a dual capacity, as it (1) continued in its primary mandated task of integrating empiricorational knowledge, and (2) founded “Scio-Buddhism” as a distinct Scio-Spiritual path within the larger empiricorational framework of Scionics.
The second major development which modified the initial anti-religious stance of the Scionics Institute involved the empiricorational integration of various fundamental facts of reality which could be seen as having traditionally metaphysical or theological implications, while nonetheless 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.” 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 ancient Greeks used the term “Logos” to refer to logic and reasoning. In its most universal sense, it can also refer to the entire collection of mathematical and logical truths. To avoid confusion with other uses of the term which have also come into widespread use, however, Scionics has adopted the term “Mathos” to refer specifically to the infinite, eternal, and unchangeable set of mathematical truths.
“Matheism” is the position that the ultimate metaphysical foundation of the Cosmos is the Mathos. Just as there was never a time when the Mathos came into being, there was also never a time when the Cosmos came into being. The Cosmos and the Mathos are infinite and eternal, without need of any Creator external to themselves. They have simply always existed, with the Mathos existing eternally unchanging, and the Cosmos existing eternally changing.
Such qualities as being infinite, eternal, and the like, are often traditionally considered to be aspects of the Divine, Spiritual, and Transcendent. Thus, both the Mathos and the Cosmos have aspects of the Divine. In the very real sense that we are of the Mathos and the Cosmos, we are also of the Divine.
Thou art Divine.
The third development in the ecclesial evolution of Scionics occurred some time after the Institute began the empiricorational integration of human psychology into Scionics. This psychological integration took place, as was intended, only after it had completed the more foundational integration of philosophy and physics.
Much of the psychology of humans is similar to that of other animals. The primary distinction between human and animal minds, however, is the vast and open-ended human capacity for conceptual and symbolic thought. The empiricorational integration of human psychology as human psychology thus requires (1) an empiricorational understanding of how this conceptual and symbolic capacity actually operates within the human mind, and (2) a recognition of its permeation and manifestation throughout so much of human life.
This eventually led to an investigation into the role of symbolic thought as manifested within various religious or spiritual traditions. Spirituality often involves symbolically coming to terms with, and seeking meaning within, the deepest truths, mysteries, and ideals of human existence. Formalized religion involves the formal codification of the symbolic framework of spirituality, 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 such codification proceeds non-empiricorationally. A fairly high degree of non-empiricorationality is unavoidable in the case of essentially all traditional formalized religions, due to the non-empiricorational nature of human understanding at the time when the beliefs of such religions were codified. This non-empiricorationality was further magnified over time as various human religious authorities (such as priests, rabbis, etc.) promulgated additional non-empiricorational beliefs intended to increase their own political power and financial wealth, or the power and wealth of the religious organizations they represented.
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 (and even some real) value for their adherents, or they would have no adherents at all. The empiricorational integration of psychology led the Scionics Institute to recognize the many significant empiricorational and beneficial symbols often deeply hidden within various traditional religious frameworks. This has already led to the inception of Scio-Judaism and Scio-Christianity (in addition to the Scio-Buddhism which the Institute had already developed) and will ultimately lead to the creation of other forms of Scio-Spirituality, each of which can be viewed as a particular manifestation of a more generally or universally applicable Scionism. (The Scio-Buddhism mentioned earlier was developed before psychology became integrated into Scionics. This is because the empiricorational core of Buddhism isn’t really that obscure in the first place; recognizing it therefore did not require significant psychological analysis or insight.)
One can be fully committed to empiricorationalism and Scionics without necessarily embracing any particular Scio-Spiritual path. This should proceed according to one’s own empiricorational authority, and the value which the individual derives from that path. The entire symbolic framework encompassing all Scio-Spirituality is actually available from within Scionics itself, without necessitating any overt Scio-Spiritual practice. The Scio-Spiritual practices are available to all but required of none.
Your Spirituality is your choice. It is wise to base this choice on Knowledge and Love.
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.