I was in a strange city in which the buildings were all a monotone shade of grey. I stood in the middle of a wide street as hundreds of people ran past me, shouting at me and motioning for me to follow them. I sensed danger. Everyone seemed to be running toward an opening at the side of the street. It looked like the entrance to a subway station. As I ran down into the dark opening, a door closed heavily behind me.
In the darkness I saw people huddled together, some crying, some silent. I understood suddenly that this was a bomb shelter. I was in some city of the future. The faces around me mirrored the terror I was feeling inside. Suddenly I felt the impact of something hitting the ground above us with tremendous force. The earth was shaking violently. Several people near me were screaming as panic began to spread. I knew there was no hope. The earth shook crazily as all life above us was destroyed.
I opened my eyes. Sunlight was streaming through the front windows. Oh, I thought with relief, it was just a dream. Then I realized that the earth really was shaking. The pictures on the opposite wall were swaying back and forth against the wall. "What in the world?" I said out loud. On the other side of the room, a man with deep blue eyes and a dark suntan was watching me with obvious interest. He was dressed in a white uniform with gold braid hanging from the shoulder. He sat on his cot, putting on his shoes.
"Don't worry, it's only a tremor." He seemed oblivious to the shaking room. "We get them all the time."
I didn't say anything, but lay there clutching my sheet and waiting for the shaking to stop. Finally, it did.
"I've never felt anything like that before." I was trying not to let my voice reflect the panic I was feeling. "If that's just a tremor, I'd hate to be in a real one."
I looked curiously at my roommate. The room had been empty when I came back from class last night. I had fallen into an exhausted sleep, and did not remember anyone coming into the room during the night. The third bed also looked like it had been slept in.
"Sea Org members must not get much sleep," I commented. "I didn't hear you come in during the night."
He looked over and smiled. "We can't be thinking about sleep when there is a planet to clear," he said moralistically. "We can all catch up on sleep later. Ron says that every minute of time is like a gold coin that we have to spend. And how we spend them may very well determine the fate of the earth." He looked over at me challengingly, and I suddenly felt guilty for being in bed.
"What time is it anyway?" I asked, not seeing a clock anywhere in the room. "It's about 0800," he answered, using military time. "Aren't you supposed to be on course?"
"Oh, no, I'm late," I wailed. I grabbed my clothes and ran to the bathroom down the hall. Within seconds I was sprinting toward the center. No time for coffee this morning. I just had a second to glance appreciatively at the warm morning sun, already high in the sky.
I walked into the courseroom, and looked around for George. He was busy giving a checkout to one of the other students. As I looked in his direction, trying to catch his attention, I heard a voice behind me.
"Miss Wakefield, you're late." It was more accusation than observation. I turned around to look into the steely eyes of the Course Supervisor. "I'm afraid you'll have to go to Ethics." She handed me a pink sheet of paper on which she had written, "Late for class. To Ethics for handling."
"Ethics?" I looked at her for an explanation.
"Ethics. There in the back. You'll see the sign on the door." She pointed down the hallway to an office in the back.
Obediently, I headed down the hall and knocked on the half open door. On the door was a sign: "Ethics. Master at Arms."
"Come in." The voice sounded like that of a child.
I peered into the room and saw a young teenage boy seated at a desk behind an E-meter. "Well, what is it?" he looked at me coolly.
"I was late for course," I explained, handing him the pink sheet. "I'm afraid I overslept. I was extremely exhausted last night."
"Do you have some counter-intention to being on course?" he looked at me accusingly.
"Counter-intention?" I asked.
He handed me a Scientology dictionary. "Look it up," he ordered.
I took the dictionary and turned quickly to the C's. "Counter-intention," I read. "A determination to follow a goal which is in direct conflict with those known to be the goals of the group."
"You need to locate your counter-intention that caused you to be late for course," he said matter of factly.
"Well, I think it was just that no one woke me up. I don't have an alarm clock. I would buy one but I spent all my money on the course." I looked at him helplessly. Why was I feeling guilty?
"I'd like to indicate that you are in a condition of Danger," he looked at me coldly.
Why was I feeling so defensive around this kid, I wondered to myself. He couldn't be older than thirteen or fourteen. Yet he had the demeanor of someone much older. He spoke with the authority of an adult accustomed to commanding others.
"What is a condition of danger?" I was feeling more and more insecure.
"Here," he said, handing me a set of papers in red ink, stapled together, and titled, "Conditions." "Go back in the courseroom and starrate this HCOB" (I guessed that HCOB stood for Hubbard Communications Office Bulletin, which was printed at the top of the first page). "When you have finished that, come back and see me. And make sure you look up your misunderstood words." He looked down at his work, and I realized that I was dismissed.
I went back into the courseroom, and began to read through the bulletin he had given me.
Conditions. A condition is an operating state, and oddly enough in the physical universe there are several formulas connected with these operating states.Then there was a table of twelve Conditions, reading from top to bottom: Power, Power Change, Affluence, Normal Operation, Emergency, Danger, Nonexistence, Liability, Doubt, Enemy, Treason, Confusion.
For each condition there was a formula. The formulas were to be applied one step at a time, I read, until the entire formula is completed, at which time the person may apply to be upgraded to the next higher condition.
The formula for the condition of Confusion, the lowest condition, was: "FIND OUT WHERE YOU ARE."
"I wonder what that means," I thought. I looked carefully through the sentence. I understood all the words, yet it still didn't make any sense. But I decided not to ask.
"Treason," I read next,
is defined as betrayal after trust. The formula for the condition of treason is FIND OUT THAT YOU ARE.I continued to read.
When a person is an avowed and knowing enemy of an individual, a group, a project or organization, a condition of Enemy exists. The formula for the condition of Enemy is just one step: FIND OUT WHO YOU REALLY ARE.
The next formula was more complex.
When one cannot make up one's mind as to an individual, a group, organization or project a Condition of Doubt exists. The formula is:Then after one had examined the statistics of the group one currently belonged to, one would,
- Inform oneself honestly of the actual intentions and activities of that individual, group, project or organization brushing aside all bias and rumor.
- Examine the statistics of the individual, group, project or organization.
- Decide on the basis of `the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics' whether or not it should be attacked, harmed, suppressed or helped.
Join or remain in or befriend the one which progresses toward the greatest number of dynamics and announce it publicly to both sides.
"Dynamics." The word was being used in a new and unfamiliar context. I picked up the Scientology dictionary.
"Dynamics," I quickly located the right page. "There could be said to be eight urges in life," I read.
These we call dynamics. These are motives or motivations. We call them the eight dynamics.
The first dynamic is the urge toward existence as oneself. Here we have individuality expressed fully. This can be called the self dynamic.
The second dynamic is the urge toward existence as a sexual or bisexual activity.
I blinked. Did I read that right? I looked again. Yes, that's what it said.
This dynamic actually has two divisions. Second dynamic (a) is the sexual act itself and the second dynamic (b) is the family unit, including the rearing of children. This can be called the sex dynamic.
The third dynamic is the urge toward existence in groups of individuals. The school, the society, the town, the nation are each part of the third dynamic, and each one is a third dynamic. This is also called the group dynamic.
The fourth dynamic is the urge toward existence as mankind. Whereas the white race would be considered a third dynamic, all the races would be considered the fourth dynamic. This can be called the mankind dynamic.
The fifth dynamic is the urge toward existence of the animal kingdom. This includes all living things whether animal or vegetable. The fish in the sea, the beasts of the field or the forest, grass, trees, flowers, or anything directly and intimately motivated by life. This could be called the animal dynamic.
The sixth dynamic is the urge toward existence as the physical universe. The physical universe is composed of matter, energy, space and time. In Scientology we take the first letter of these words and coin a word, MEST. This can be called the universe dynamic.
The seventh dynamic is the urge toward existence as or of spirits. Anything spiritual, with or without identity, would come under the heading of the seventh dynamic. This could be called the spiritual dynamic.
The eighth is the urge toward existence as infinity. This is also identified as the Supreme Being. It is carefully observed here that the science of Scientology does not intrude into the dynamic of the Supreme Being. This can be called the infinity or God dynamic.
I finished reading the lengthy explanation. So this is a new way of categorizing and thinking about life, I thought. All right, I can handle that. And I felt relief to know that Scientology believed in God. (I was to find out much more about that later in my Scientology career.) I went back to reading about Conditions.
The next condition was Liability, for which the formula was:
- Decide who are one's friends.
- Deliver an effective blow to the enemies of the group one has been pretending to be part of despite personal danger.
- Make up the damage one has done by personal contribution far beyond the ordinary demands of a group member.
- Apply for re-entry of the group by asking the permission of each member of it to rejoin and rejoining only by majority permission.
The formula for Non-Existence was simpler:
- Find a comm (communication) line.
- Make yourself known.
- Discover what is needed or wanted.
- Do, produce and/or present it.
I wanted to yawn, but I looked warily at the Supervisor circling the tables, and decided to suppress it.
Next I read through the Danger Formula, the one which apparently applied to me. The formula read:
- By-pass habits or normal routines.
- Handle the situation and any danger in it.
- Assign self a danger condition.
- Get in your own personal ethics by finding what you are doing that is out-ethics and use self-discipline to correct it and get honest and straight.
- Reorganize your life so that the dangerous situation is not continually happening to you.
- Formulate and adopt firm policy that will hereafter detect and prevent the same situation from continuing to occur.
So what I have to do, I thought to myself, is simply get someone to wake me up in the morning so that this doesn't happen again. That's easy enough. I read through the Conditions bulletin again, trying to grasp the material. According to the theory, if I successfully apply the formula for the condition I am currently in, which is Danger, then I should be able to move up to the next higher condition. For me that would be Emergency. Part of the Emergency Formula had to do with changing your operating basis. "You have got to stiffen discipline or stiffen ethics because life itself is going to discipline the individual." That meant that I was going to have to become very disciplined about getting to class on time, I realized. Well, that's no problem.
Once out of Emergency I would be safely in Normal Operation.
I sighed. I didn't realize that oversleeping could be so complicated. I would be sure not to do it again if I could help it.
I finished reading the policy, then went over to George and asked him to check me out. He did, and I passed easily. Now I was ready to return to the young dictator in Ethics.
He looked up as I entered. "Did you apply the correct formula?" he asked stiffly.
"I think so," I looked down at him awkwardly. "Mostly, I just have to find someone to wake me up every morning."
"Well make sure it doesn't happen again or you'll find yourself in Liability," he warned me. "OK. You can go back to course." He initialed the pink sheet and handed it back to me. "Take this back to your Course Supervisor."
"Let me ask you a question," I said. "These conditions, what do you use them for? Are they just used on the course?"
He looked at me condescendingly. "The Ethics conditions are one of the greatest gifts we have from Ron. A Scientologist uses the conditions in every area of his life. Every area. You can apply the conditions to everything you do. If you think about it, no matter what you do, you are always in one of the conditions. The trick is to always know which one you are in and then apply the correct formula. If you do that, you can never lose."
"Thanks," I offered him, grateful for such wisdom from one so young. This was a different way of looking at life. I was going to have to give it some thought. I was beginning to feel like I didn't know anything, and that I had a lot to learn. Scientology was indeed complex.
I returned to course and handed the pink sheet to the Supervisor. She nodded, and I returned to my seat.
"Ready for more TR's?" I looked up to see George standing beside me.
"Sure," I replied, eager to progress on the course.
We went back over to the chairs in the back. To my surprise he handed me a copy of the book Alice in Wonderland. I opened the Training Routines bulletin we had used the day before.
Training Routine 1. Dear Alice.
Purpose: To train the student to deliver a command newly and in a new unit of time to a preclear without flinching or trying to overwhelm or using a via.
Commands: A phrase (with the "he saids" omitted) is picked out of the book Alice in Wonderland and read to the coach. It is repeated until the coach is satisfied it arrived where he is.
"All right," George looked at me brightly. "Start!"
I opened the book and selected a phrase. Then I looked at George and said to him clearly, "Would you tell me please why you are painting those roses?" He was doing TR 0 again, staring intently into my eyes with his serene unblinking stare.
"Good," he answered. "Try another one."
"OK." I turned to another page. "It's my opinion that you never think at all," I said, returning his stare. Why did I feel like such a robot? Was this really the way I was supposed to talk to people? It didn't feel natural.
But I decided to just do the drills and ask questions later. The problem was, later never came.
In the next drill, George read statements out of the book, and I had to acknowledge what he said. "An acknowledgement," I read in the bulletin, "is a method of controlling preclear communication."
"It wasn't very civil of you to sit down without being invited," George repeated to me.
"OK," I answered self consciously.
"What you want to do in this drill," George instructed me, "is to really duplicate what I say to you. You should be able to repeat the phrase to me verbatim. Let your acknowledgement really tell me that you heard me. Like this. Fine! All right! Thank you!" He modelled good acknowledgements for me. I tried it again this time with more confidence.
"I never saw such a house for getting in the way," he said.
"All right," I said firmly.
"Good. Now what did I say?" George quizzed me.
"I never saw such a house for getting in the way," I repeated.
After a few more practice rounds, we went on to the next drill.
The next drill, TR 3, was supposed to teach me to ask a question, get an answer and acknowledge the answer in "one unit of time." The questions to be used were: "Do fish swim?" and "Do birds fly?"
"Do fish swim?" I asked George, trying to maintain my TR 0.
"Well, I'd rather talk about birds," he answered.
Then, following the directions in the bulletin, I said to him gently, "I'll repeat the auditing question. Do fish swim?"
"Oh sure, they swim all the time," he answered.
"Good," I acknowledged, feeling successful.
We practiced this drill and also the next one, TR 4, which was the same except that in this one George was allowed to be even more disruptive.
"Do birds fly?" I asked George. He pretended to be angry and started to get up out of his chair.
"This is stupid. I'm getting out of here," he said as he headed for the door.
Again, following the directions in the bulletin, I got up and physically directed him back to his chair. I had to get an answer to my question by any means. It was up to me to maintain control of the situation.
"Do birds fly?" I asked him again.
"Sure, they fly all the time," he responded agreeably.
"Great!" I delivered the acknowledgement with gusto.
"All right, pass on TR 4," George said approvingly. "That was fine." Now I was ready for the last four TR's which were called the "upper indoc (indoctrination) TR's." These TR's, George told me, were to train me further to maintain control in a session.
In the first drill, I had to direct George around the room using precise commands, and acknowledging him for each action.
The commands to be used were:
Look over at that wall. Thank you.
Walk over to that wall. Thank you.
Touch that wall. Thank you.
Turn around. Thank you.
We did this drill for twenty minutes, until I was starting to feel dizzy. For some reason the repetitive commands were making me sleepy.
In the following drill, the commands were the same, but I had to physically guide George through the required motions. This one was easy, so we completed it quickly.
The next TR was called "Tone 40 on an object." This was a curious drill. "Tone 40," the Scientology dictionary explained, was "a positive postulate with no counter-thought expected, anticipated or anything else, that is, total control."
George sat beside me and put an ashtray in the chair across from me. I read the instructions in the bulletin. Taking the ashtray in my hands, I shouted in the loudest possible voice, "Stand up!" Then I raised the ashtray off the chair and held it in midair. "Thank you," I acknowledged the ashtray. "Sit down on that chair!" I shouted, lowering the ashtray back to the chair. "Thank you!" I shouted again.
"Not loud enough," George looked at me. "I don't feel your total intention. Theoretically, if you do this drill with complete Tone 40, the ashtray will rise by itself off the table. When you give the commands, you can have no other intention than the commands. You're still somewhat self-conscious."
He was right about that. I couldn't believe I was sitting here yelling at an ashtray. But if I had to do it, I was determined to do it well. So I yelled even louder. "Stand up!" I screamed, raising the ashtray off the table. "Sit down on that chair!" My voice was getting hoarse. I lowered the ashtray and looked at George triumphantly. "How was that?"
"If I had been that ashtray, I would have jumped off the chair," he laughed. "OK, pass."
The last TR, TR 9, was called "Tone 40 on a Person," and was similar to the last drill except that I was now to scream the commands at a person. I was to deliver the commands with total Tone 40, giving the other person no choice but to obey my command. I could use physical means to guide him if necessary.
"Walk over to that wall!" I yelled at George.
He just stood there. "I didn't feel Tone 40," he said. "Try it again."
"Walk over to that wall!" I screamed, my face red with effort. I guided him with my hands. He moved over to the wall.
"Thank you!" I acknowledged him.
"Turn around!" I screamed. I tried to channel my complete concentration into the command. He turned around.
"Thank you!" I was getting a headache.
"Sit down in that chair!" I screamed again, my voice getting raspy. "Thank you!"
We continued for a few more commands, then George mercifully gave me a pass on the drill.
We were just in time for lunch.
"You are making splendid progress," George complimented me. "You will be auditing in no time."
"I guess that's what it's all about, right?" I still had a headache from all the yelling. I would have asked for an aspirin, but I remember reading a list of rules on the wall that said that any medication, including aspirin, was strictly forbidden while on the course.
I headed next door for lunch. "Curiouser and curiouser," I thought, remembering a line from Alice in Wonderland. For a moment I had the feeling that I was on as strange a journey as the Alice in the book. There was a surreal quality to the past two days.
Did I suspect, even for a minute, that the seemingly innocuous TR's I was doing, supposedly to train me to become a better auditor, were actually a series of extremely sophisticated hypnotic and control techniques that would eventually lead me into a state of unthinking obedience and robotic response?
That I was unwittingly, drill by drill, surrendering my mind and my will to the whims of this bizarre organization, an organization to which I would become increasingly enslaved as the days and years passed by?
Is it possible that a sophisticated system of mind control, masquerading as religion, does in fact exist in this country outside the control and wisdom of the courts and the laws of the land?
Was I being lured into spiritual, physical, emotional and mental bondage without my knowledge or consent?
I had in fact, with complete innocence and trust, sold myself into a subtle slavery, slavery from which I would emerge years later raped of my mind, my emotions, my soul, my finances, and twelve years of my life. Yet no laws existed to protect my freedom. Psychological kidnapping is not illegal. Is it possible for one's mind to be completely controlled by another?
The answer is yes.
During those sunny days in October, a part of me was dying, my mind and my soul being sucked out by the greedy vampire called Scientology. I was not to exist as myself for another twelve years.