CoS claims both the power to grant and (if the student is difficult / disobedient) take away "clear" status and OT levels,which CoS claims is a pipeline to eternity. Thus CoS claims deity status. Unlike Catholicism, where the Pope is claimed to be the infallible one, it's hard to see where that divinity resides in CoS. Is it Miscavige, who can't cure his own asthma? Is it a corporation? Which one? One site claims CSI,** but which division? Is there an eternity committee? And if CSI is the font of religious authority, why does it send royalty and trademark payments to Church of Spiritual Technology and Religious Technology Corporation?
So the OT Levels aren't a permanent improvement of the student's relation with self or the cosmos. The precious relationship, to be improved or destroyed, is strictly between the student and the CoS corporate umbrella.
Let's imagine metaphors for the OT levels, (assuming each definition/metaphor starts with the phrase: After the student pays vast sums of money to CoS
1. An OT Level is a probationary status, meaning that the student can keep it only with good behavior. The status is ALWAYS probationary. The CoS registrar / auditor / handler / Sea Org serve as probation judges to yank the status away for independent thinking.
2. An OT Level is a pedestal (raising you up as a person of knowing-how-to-know "science" if you're not religious, and "spiritual eternity" if you are religious). The pedestal is held up by the student with a little stick like a circus clown juggles plates on a broomstick. For the privilege of holding this pedestal on a broomstick, the student must throw to CoS MORE money, obedience, and sometimes health and family. If the student tires of the effort and sacrifice, the pedestal crashes like cheap glass. The student never even got to climb onto the pedestal and enjoy the supposed superior-being status - the OT abilities don't appear and CoS blames the student's overts and withholds for that, and the registrar uses the sheepish disappointment to sell the next level, hinting that the OT abilities were sure to arrive then.
3. An OT level is like a diploma mill where you essentially buy your piece of paper, rather than do real science, math, literary analysis, historical research, etc. The diploma is only valid within CoS, and only when you are in good standing, i.e. still donating.
4. An OT level is, for some, a struggle-filled session ending with an "I Love Big Brother"* euphoric relief that it's over, with love-bombing afterwards, and then more demands for money and sacrifice.
5. An OT session is "Narcissistic Supply" which feeds the me-me-me four-year-old inside all of us, with the message that's we're special and we're better than those mean people who corrected our spelling and smirked politely at our ignorance.
6. An OT level is the supposedly gossamer extra-wonderful clothes that the Emperor wore, and that everyone agreed was wonderful, until a small boy said the Emperor was naked. This is strengthened by the rule against talking about your OT experience except in glowing, bland terms and never admitting that you're have no OT abilities.
7. An OT Level is an act of appeasment to get CoS recruiters to stop hard-selling you for a few moments. An OT level is one of many hoops to jump through,to please CoS.
8. An OT Level is a vanity purchase to display wealth and be better than other Scientologists not yet that far on the bridge.
9. An OT Level is a loan of trademarked and copyrighted materials, which is partly why you can never own your level. If you really owned it, you could start your own religion without getting sued by CoS.
10. An OT Level is a space-opera participating re-enactment by the student, for which CoS fears mockery, and criticism. That's why the OT Levels were so secret until brave souls got them and published them.
11. An OT level is frequently disappointing. CoS fears a popular student could just quietly quit after a lurid level like OT III, and lure relatives and friends to quit CoS at the same time. So CoS hovers and nags the student to remain involved and buy more courses.
12. An OT Level is a piece of paper that is meaningless to start with, and even more meaningless if if a few high-school drop-outs at Sea Org can revoke it, just because you're not totally obedient.
*Last line of the book 1984
** http://www.scientologynews.org/church-s ... ement.html