Inside Scientology/Dianetics, by Robert Kaufman - Next - Previous

Life in Present Time

I concluded, therefore, that the relatively sane are capable of accepting evidence, and the insane are not.

Gerald must have felt a burden lifted when he realized he had been replaced by the doctor, but, to his credit, he urged me to get off the shots.

During what was to be our final session, I found it hard to focus on his auditing. Recently I had allowed myself my first look at wog exposes of Dianetics and Scientology. The auditors held the E-meter in low esteem as a precision instrument. The E-meter is a galvanic skin response (GSR) device, basically a well-known elementary circuit called a Wheatstone bridge, around for about the last hundred years. GSR devices in general are looked upon by biofeedback experts as perhaps the least reliable in their field. Even in its role in a lie-detector polygraph -- actually an array of biofeedback devices -- it has drawbacks, the major one of which is that one may learn to beat the machine.

The E-meter's current diminished as its batteries wore down, and there were internal variances amongst individual machines. It cost $15 to make. To add insult, there were also variances amongst the soup cans plugged into the meter, which happened to be manufactured at several different can companies.

The wog critics called Scientology "dangerous quackery." Had I bothered to read such opinion in 1967, I still might not have been dissuaded from being audited. Now it helped me to this conclusion: A "dangerous quack" is unscrupulous, but the people who go to him or her for treatment and get worse are merely misguided. I would never again be beholden to L. Ron Hubbard for my sins. I could live with my own mistakes, blameworthy unto myself for my own reasons, not his.

Scientology hadn't worked for me; and apparently not for a lot of people who still thought it worked for them. I would approach it with the assumption that it didn't work until I satisfied myself as to why it didn't work.

In this spirit, I took another look at Hubbard's writings. A year ago I had thought them valuable, sought to understand them, and searched for meaning that wasn't there. Now it was only fair to start to pull them apart in support of my new approach.

This wasn't difficult. Most of Hubbard's metaphysical arguments wind back to the presumed efficacy of auditing and the E-meter. Without the "cure" context there is very little theory.

Hubbard sets forth various processes, many of them for clearing. There are striking similarities to the E-F Packs on the Solo Course; and to the endless review lists to handle Upper Level mishaps; and to the "expanded" processes now in operation -- a succession of "corrections" and rejected material going back to, and including, Dianetics 1950. Failed attempts. Not because "clearing" ever existed. Hubbard rejected his material as he went along for another reason.

I began to view Scientology 1968-9 as Hubbard's latest control system, a more efficient way to "stretch things out." With the Grades and Levels Hubbard had devised an expedient method for herding preclears quickly through lists of questions, demarcated by increasingly costly stages and "releases." His intent was to hook the preclear on the auditing habit like a drug pusher -- like my medical doctor -- and keep on maintenance.

When I read Hubbard's books afresh, they were, at last, an education.

Then there was my own book. I had got up to my first session with Felicia. It is so thoroughly ingrained in Scientologists that auditing dehypnotizes them that they would snigger at the mention that they were subjecting themselves to hypnotic suggestion from the moment they picked up the cans. Yet there was the auditing ritual on paper in my own scribbles: "This is the process"; the uncompromising gaze; the repeated question, each in the same tone of voice; a small reward called "acknowledgment" for each response, and a big reward of approval at each "release"; "That's it!" to end the session, like the hypnotist's snap of the fingers. Later, doing TR-0, my training partner and I had stared into each other's eyes for hours, methodically deadening our minds to a semi-torpid state. Still later, on the Clearing Course, Hubbard had us spot an imaginary light, like the candle the hypnotist holds before the subject's face.

A preclear who is conditioned to be tractable in session will do what he is told out of session: pay for more Scientology, bring raw meat in, and perhaps join the org and work for Hubbard far into the night for a pittance.

Felicia had played her auditor's role with the purest of motives. She had had it done to her, believed that it helped her and wished to spread the blessing to others. She had gained some measure of control over her preclear even before the advent of my "heavy," Gerald Tyber -- duly piloting me through several stages to fixed destinations. And my passage to Ron's Never-Never Land had begun.

However, these fixed destinations, the "release points," are far from what Hubbard claims they are -- "key out of the reactive mind." The "release" is an ordinary function of the mind, part of life's normal ebb and flow. Unless a person is terribly sick or preoccupied he or she might have several "releases" during a typical day. that first cup of coffee may produce a "floating needle," or getting to work in good time -- as registered, perhaps, on a more accurate instrument than the E-meter. Some people have "releases" many times a day (they might be the last ones to pay for auditing).

There is precious little connection between the preclear's "release" and the material he is "run on." The preclear brings his own physiology with him to the auditing session. The auditing format of "restimulative questions" admirably fits his natural brain cycle into the deception. The preclear feels the angst of the questioning for a while, then relaxes his mind, stops thinking -- and something lifts a little. Alpha-waves register on a biofeedback device. The "session release" is just as fleeting as the "cup of coffee release." All the hocus-pocus about "communications," "problems," "charge building and blowing," etc., gives a common phenomenon meaning it doesn't possess, but nevertheless bolsters the preclear until his next "release."

To further manipulate the preclear, Hubbard has the auditor reward him or her for evading real problems, and "confronting" old or imaginary ones. The E-meter is used as an evasion tool. Over several hours of auditing, the preclear learns to control the needle enough to get a "release" when he things he "deserves" one -- just as people have learned how to beat lie-detectors (so that polygraph readings have limited value as evidence in courts of law), and produce alpha-waves ("floating needles") on other biofeedback devices. Rather than having to face his problems, the preclear quickly discovers that he can easily revert to a distant memory or a "past life." Having successfully avoided a real trouble spot, the relieved preclear "blows off charge" and "produces a floating needle with Good Indicators In." To make the procedure conduce even more to evasion, the auditor never "evaluates" for the preclear -- that is, never discusses or challenges the evasion -- but rewards the preclear for it!

Felicia, Gerald and Marty never asked me about the meaning and chronology of so-called "recalled events." I supplied all the material. The preclear hangs himself.

The preclear is not the only one taken in by the meter reads. Again, the auditor is merely Hubbard's dupe, believing that the E-meter, quite the opposite of an aid to evasion, guides the way to the preclear's troubles and accurately registers their "erasure."

It was easy to see that personality, another distinctly woggish element, has a decisive influence on the preclear. Certain individuals are esteemed as "great auditors" -- even at the AO. Those are the ones with warm, congenial, "validating" personalities. For example, Gerald, the amiable case-cracker, knew how too treat a preclear. People felt at home with him; they could be themselves. In fact, preclears do much better with people they like, making the needle respond like a dog wagging its tail at hearing a friendly voice.

The growing rapprochement between auditor and preclear -- sitting to front and back of the E-meter, the dispenser of judgments and gifts -- is a tragi-comedy, neither having any idea of what is actually happening, neither aware that the machine is their masturbation toy.

The deception and the self-deception deepen when the preclear audits himself. Upper Level material, "implanted past lives," is the process. Hope, fear, pride, belief, move the needle. And Ron's commands. The self-auditor goes on "erasing" Hubbard's science fiction. But the earthly "problems," "withholds," "ARC breaks" of the earlier stages keep cropping up time after time. Because they have never been resolved -- much less "erased."

There are no "Grades" or "Levels", apart from Hubbard's concealed programming, his calculated exploitation of preclear credulities, his "hidden stages" that lead further into his trap. The "hidden stages" run an easy gradient. First the raw meat is shown something vaguely feasible that he might buy. He might not pay thousands of dollars to foil the evil plot of Xenu on another planet, but he might snap at "improving his memory and problem-solving ability" for a few hundred. There follow everyday upsets and guilts -- nothing too arcane as yet. Power Processing is the first "secret," the stage that breaks earthly bounds, the crossover into Never-Never Land. On Power the preclear may reach the "cognition" that he is a "source." But Ron is Source. Once the preclear accepts this incongruity, he is ready to be trotted into the Upper Level madness, where he will feel electric shock on cue and exorcise alien souls ... including his own. "Spotting the thetan" is subliminally, for the indoctrinated Scientologist, equivalent to erasing himself.

Once the raw meat makes his initial mistake of trying a beginning stage, the gradual impingement on his mind of Scientology concepts, terminology, auditing control methods and group pressure draw him as far into Hubbard's world as his finances will permit.

In the wider context of the wog world's power/money games, Hubbard has been outstandingly successful, creating his own world and persuading thousands to inhabit it and act out his fantasies. For one who has left that world behind and, looking back over a distance, views it as but an episode of Earth's true science fiction, Hubbard's landscapes have lost their mystic gloss; and the thetans, the bomb in the volcano and the allure of exteriorization are seen for what they are: a commercial.

Gerald had just started into another commercial, yet another Search and Discovery.

I reflected for a moment on a possible suppressive. It wasn't Ron; he had covered that ground before. Nor Gerald, just another opportunist and now fairly boring.

"There is no suppressive," I said. "There never was a suppressive. All those Search and Discoveries were a crock."

Gerald thanked me for my response and checked the question of unnecessary Search and Discoveries on the meter.

"I'd like to validate that there is no suppressive, there never was a suppressive, and all those Search and Discoveries were a crock."

Like other demagogues, Ron has to have scapegoats. He is more inventive than most, conjuring up the suppressive, the reactive mind, engrams, charge, withholds, GPMs, implants, body thetans, the unnamed beings who trapped thetans with sticky tape. All something to blame.

I told Gerald that I saw through it now and there was no longer anything in it for me. I had spent a good part of two years seeking scapegoats, chasing after Ron's carrot. If the dream didn't materialize at one stage it might at the next.

Gerald checked the meter and, ever the punctilious auditor, validated that I "saw through it now." We had shared the final outlandish irony, the E-meter invalidating Scientology truth!

The session was ended. We got up from the auditing table. I had left many sessions feeling sick, and was still not as I used to be. It would take a while to recover from attaining OT IV.

Gerald had been asking me for money again, and I had given him $250. My savings were just about gone: $8,000 to Scientology, much of it to "process out" a sickness I'd never had prior to joining; thousands to the hospital for treatment of the sickness; round trip plane fare to Great Britain and living expenses there; the sizable amount I had lost in foolish investments after several months of pollyanish Scientology processing and training.

I had thrown away this money, along with such reason that I possessed, and very nearly my own identity, because I had wanted a new life. somewhere along the way I had confused freedom with escape -- like the Sea Org crew, that colony of human ants eagerly escaping from a nonconfrontable world to a "freedom" more like enslavement. No army or police force, no torture or drug, did this to us. We did it to ourselves. For a while I hadn't been able to live with this hard awareness.

The strong urge for self-fulfilment -- through some form of escape -- is the common thread connecting so many "joiners," the key to the baffling contrasts in personalities I observed on two continents, the disparate nature of the Scientology group. How easily noble motives are distorted: to use others and be used in turn, pursuing our vision of freedom until we find ourselves in chains. It's paradoxical how we may lose ourselves seeking ourselves. It sounds like a word game ... shades of Ron Hubbard's dichotomies on the Clearing Course, Create-Destroy.

Ron, too, hungers for freedom. His dozens of processes and millions of words written and taped define his efforts to cure himself; his microcosm, the organization over which he is absolute monarch, another attempt to solve his own life.

He will go on and on with it, fated to fail, and, rich and powerful, he will remain trapped in his own device more securely than any of his followers.

One may describe exteriorization and immortality as "spiritual," as an alternative to being a decent, caring citizen of the wog world. The price for both giver and receiver in this transaction is costlier than any money involved.

Truth exists elsewise, in simpler things. To be fully human, not "superhuman." To be with life as it is.

Life in the wog world is often disheartening. We try one substitute after another for the magic of childhood. The promise we started with fizzled and we found ourselves impelled not towards our beautiful dreams but into an automated world of semi-enslavement. Science fiction writers, including L. Ron Hubbard, have depicted, along with outer worlds, our own sense of alienation.

I will feel sadness at parting from my delusions and facing what I tried so hard to escape. It will not be easy starting all over again to learn to deal with the same old life, the same old problems, without the soothing belief in shortcuts. But I survived my self-deception. I can put my survival instincts to further good use immediately by spending every dollar Gerald wants from me on some new clothes.

I stand in the living room chatting with the Tybers. They are in the throes of giving up their two to three daily packs of cigarettes each. They are both ready to climb the walls and take turns snapping at each other. I have to smile. I know why it is so trying for these clear, Upper Level Scientologists to kick the habit: They're no goddamn different from anyone else.

I walk out into the cold Manhattan night. The streets of the wog world still look strange. They may look strange for a while. But I'm over my recent delusions.

Mass. Charge. Spaceships.

There is no symptom, mental or physical, that cannot be produced by shattered reason crying out in protest ... or by fear.

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