RON HUBBARD'S LEGACY
A full biography of Ron Hubbard and a balanced assessment of h achievements will no doubt be written one day. It is too early to attempt anything more than a brief assessment now.
It cannot be overemphasized that Ron Hubbard and the Church Scientology are not the same thing. There are many people around the world who have washed their hands of the Church but who would willing assist him as an individual if he needed it. They would do so as the least they could do for the man who had enabled them to change their vie of life and to achieve purpose and peace of mind.
Our first impression of Ron Hubbard is probably somewhat distasteful. The various groups who have held sway in the Church over the years have always had a tendency to idolise him. The present management of t, Church has taken this even further and virtually deified him.
In the early days he must have gone along with the tendency to put him on a pedestal, probably without too much concern about where might lead. There is plenty of evidence in his writings and taped lectures of his view of himself. He regarded himself as fortunate to have stumbled into such a fruitful area of research. He has said however that each person should assess for himself the validity of his findings and only accept what fits in with his own experience of life hitherto.
To see his work in context we should bear in mind his life before the emergence of Dianetics and then Scientology. He was in his mid-thirties by the time he started systematic work on Dianetics. As a young man he was obviously an adventurer. He was very interested in exploring anything new.
Both the words adventurer and explorer can be used dismissively if we choose, but they represent his inclinations very well. His intense interest in the exciting things of the day, aviation, exploration, films and science fiction are all to his credit.
He had always been interested in the functioning of the mind. This was in part due to the introduction he had to the subject from Commander Thompson, said to have been a pupil of Freud.
We may see this interest in the mind as a bit strange for a non professional. We should however remember that Freud was still alive in
42 THE SAD TALE OF SCIENTOLOGY
the 1930's and the controversy that his ideas had started was still raging among professional and lay people alike. It is only since the 1950's that ordinary people have been willing to leave this subject to the professional psychiatrists and philosophers. These professionals have intellectualised the subject out of all recognition. One brave attempt to put it back within the reach of the lay person was the 1984 Reith Lecture Series (broadcast by the BBC) on Minds, Brains and Science given by John Searle, Professor of Philosophy at the University of California.
It may seem trite, but there is a logic in an explorer turning his attention to exploring the mind. Hubbard was an inveterate asked of questions and could not pass by a subject without probing for reasons why things happened, what rules could be formulated and how the subject could be improved.
He has been characterised as a modern Philosopher, particularly by the Church of Scientology That may well be true, but philosophers are a little remote from our every day lives and philosophy is not a subject of popular concern. Hubbard has also been described as a Scientist in that he always looked for the fundamental principles of a subject which could be shown to operate in a predictable pattern. While this has been true, he has never spent a great deal of time expanding theory. He has actually placed much more emphasis on putting the findings of his research to use. He would have much more sympathy with the description of an that he always looked for the fundamental principles of a subject which could be shown to operate in a predictable pattern. While this has been true, he has never spent a great deal of time expanding theory. He has actually placed much more emphasis on putting the findings of his research to use. He would have much more sympathy with the description of an Engineer, because an engineer puts discovered scientific principles to work the form of technology.
Ron Hubbard was very impatient with science for science's sake. He wanted to know how it could be used to do something or improve something. In one of his typical comments on medical psychiatry he states that no patient was ever helped by giving a fancy name to his condition. He said of his discoveries that they are only as valuable as the use that can be made of them. If they can't be applied to bring about benefit, better forget about them.
In looking at his work and achievements, the dominating feature is of course clearing the reactive mind and opening the way for the spiritual gains available to the individual from the OT levels. The problem is however that these are very difficult subjects to make real to a person who had no exposure to them. Why should the man in the street take the time and trouble to consider these ideas among so many others?
The best answer to this question is to state that at least 30,000 people throughout the world have attested to going Clear. Going Clear means no longer having a reactive mind to cause the person to do things irrationally or bring about unwarranted feelings of anxiety or guilt.
CHAPTER TEN 43
Many more have started out on the journey but have stopped part way, not because they ceased to believe in its value but because they found it very hard work. In addition others have become disheartened because of the action of the Church and the endless controversy over what it should cost. Probably over a million people have been exposed to his ideas.
Despite all the setbacks, Ron Hubbard has pointed a route out of unhappiness and confusion, and many have followed it. For those who have made it their debt to him is incalculable and their wonder at his having found it is unceasing.
In a completely different area, Ron Hubbard developed something which has been of incalculable value to children and young people and bears no recognisable imprint of Scientology to the outside observer.
Mention was made earlier of the work Hubbard did on techniques of studying when setting up the training college at Saint Hill in the early sixties. The precepts for good and effective study were then consolidated into a Study course which became the first step for all student auditors.
So successful was this that several simplified courses have been developed for use by children and young people who are having difficulty at school. The methods taught for studying are very simple and practical and many young people have found their performance at school transformed within months.
The spread of this study method is handled by a separate body called the Effective Education Association. It runs short teacher training courses and publishes study materials.
The controversial Greenfields School near East Grinstead has been set up to educate the children of local Scientologists. There may be questions about early influencing of young people towards a particular religion but nonetheless the school uses the study methods and has produced exceptional results at O and A level examinations. In the United States, the schools run on Hubbard study principles are known as Delphi Schools.
In fairness it should be said that in the last 20 years some of these study techniques have been discovered by others and can be seen to some degree applied in modern education methods.
Another useful by-product of Ron Hubbard's work is what he found out about how people communicate and how they can do it better. This originated from training Auditors to be effective. From this have evolved several independent Communication Courses.
The benefit that has been gained by individuals from these Communication Courses include considerable increases in confidence,
44 THE SAD TALE OF SCIENTOLOGY
improved concentration, and even curing stammerers.
Another area of remarkable achievement is in providing a means of immediate help to the sick and injured. There is a wide range of techniques that can relieve pain and discomfort. They are known as 'Assists'. These Assists were a by product of auditing technique. One does not have to be a fully trained auditor to administer an Assist. With only minimum training one person can reduce or remove anothers backache, headache, or virtually any other physical discomfort. For a person who has a broken limb, which should of course be set immediately by a qualified medical person, the speed of bone knitting can be accelerated by a simple Assist done for a few minutes each day.
Assists can be used to help an adult ot child recover from an upsetting emotional experience. This can be anything from a domestic argument to a bereavement. An Assist exists to reduce the temperature level in a feverish patient. There are even assists that one can administer to oneself.
The apparent miraculous nature of these may prompt one to think of faith healing. It is worth quoting Ron Hubbard who says that the person receiving the Assist does not have to believe in it, just allow it to be done to them. He didn't mention the person delivering the Assist. They would only need to have seen it work once to believe in it.
As a result of having this technology, Scientologists have little use for pain killing drugs. In fact their view of drugs is that while they may be necessary occasionally, they do inhibit the effective working of the mind at the time and do leave harmful residues in the body.
The Scientologist's view of narcotics is even stronger. Addiction to street drugs, alcohol or tranquillisers are all equally abhorrent. They represent both a failure of the individual to handle the problems in his life and a steady poisoning of the body.
A beneficial by product of Hubbard's work is the use it has been put to helping addicts to free themselves from drug taking. The Narconon (Non Narcosis) Programme was initiated by an inmate of Arizona State Penitentiary who had been a drug addict for nineteen years. A copy of 'Fundamentals of Thought' by Ron Hubbard was given to him by another prisoner in 1966. From his initial studies and experiments, William Benitez went on to found the Narconon programme and was released before the end of his sentence to develop his work.
He received encouragement from Ron Hubbard and assistance in developing the content of the programme. The success rates quoted for people undergoing the programme are impressive. By 1972 Narconon was running residential courses for addicts who were not in prison. Many of the staff running the courses, both in prisons and residential centres, were
CHAPTER TEN 45
ex-addicts who had been helped by Narconon and then wanted to help others.
By 1978 there were thirty-one Narconon groups operative throughout the world. In the United States Narconon groups have received financial support from local government and private charities. More recently groups have developed in Sweden and Italy and it is hoped there will be one operating in the UK soon.
Returning to the individual improving his normal day-to-day life, some mention has already been made of Hubbard's work in business management and administration theory. When he ran Saint Hill, he introduced what was called a Personal Efficiency Foundation Course for newcomers to Scientology.
The basic thinking was that a person would not be able to sort out his deeper mental and spiritual problems if his home life was in chaos or he was worried about losing his job. Over the years the content of the course was chopped and changed but the name carried on, as did its purpose.
The elementary steps involved in the course showed one how to identify the things that might be going wrong in one's life. With the usual accent on practicality, members on the courses were encouraged to do something about it and get themselves back at 'cause' in their lives. Many of the elements of these courses were published as booklets and are still available to assist the person who feels that life is running them rather than they are running it.
Another major legacy that we have from Hubbard's work is his practical guidance to being happy. He acknowledged that many obstacles to happiness and peace of mind lie in our past and he developed Dianetic auditing to handle these. However, he also pointed out that if there are damaging things we are doing to ourselves or troublesome situations in our lives at present, then these too are obstacles to our happiness.
This area is known as Ethics. The term has a head masterly ring about it but Ron Hubbard took great pains to say it was not about being in the wrong. It was more about the options that are open to us in the way we live our lives. Nearly always there are a variety of ways we can deal with most situations. The factors we take into account in making our choice need to be seen as having broader implications than just self interest.
It is worth mentioning that Ron Hubbard does not favour the total denial of self implicit in many religions. We are brought up with the traditional belief that we are weak and bad and therefore need to punish ourselves. A person who makes themselves a drudge of a demanding relative or child is not making the most ethical choice. They may be
46 THE SAD TALE OF SCIENTOLOGY
benefiting another human being, but at the loss of their own self- determinism, their development and ultimately their happiness.
It is not just a question of analysing a situation to establish the most 'ethical' solution. Ron Hubbard also provided a series of progressive steps that an individual could take to remedy an unsatisfactory situation. This 'Ethics Tech' has been applied to produce marriage guidance counselling techniques and help for ailing businesses.
Regrettably over zealous use of this 'Ethics Tech' by the Church in its internal affairs in recent years has brought the subject into disrepute. Nonetheless the body of thought which Ron Hubbard evolved in the mid 60's on Ethics still stands and is extremely useful. A little booklet called 'The Way to Happiness' published by the Church is probably the best introduction to this very helpful subject.
There are many other areas where Hubbard has left us valuable and useful ideas. It was his nature not to be able to walk past a problem without analysing it. If asked how much milk should be ordered the next day, his response would be to try to get the questioner to work it out for himself and to assist him he would probably write a bulletin on what factors to analyse to produce a correct level of milk ordering in all circumStances. Thus there are bulletins and taped lectures on music, photography, public relations, bringing up children, printing, choreography, and even how his car should he washed!
Finally in this catalogue of identifiable benefits that Ron Hubbard the man has left us, it is worth mentioning him as a source of common advice for living. There was a regular publication called 'Advance' which was produced by the Church until about 1980. Its purpose was to link the religious aspects of Scientology with other religious and mystical thinking. There were usually two articles in it by Ron Hubbard. One would explore the parallels and relevance of Scientology principles and findings with other religions and traditions. The other would be more practical advice or guidance on living everyday life, particularly how to see and interpret what is going on around one. In these essays he restated simple truths for which one can usually see immediate applications. These may have concerned communication, sense of purpose, aspirations, marriage, self-management and even money
His view of money is extremely simple. It is a medium of exchange. If you do something that is useful and of value to others money will come to you. He sees money as inert and useless in itself. He says many people make the mistake of putting too much attention on it and treating it as an end In Itself. Instead of worrying about money he says, we should worry about what we are doing that is of use to those about us.
CHAPTER TEN 47
In addition to his valuable insights, it is worth mentioning Ron's exhuberant style. To make a point he would often exaggerate grossly or give an outrageous example. It is up to the reader not to take these too seriously but see the serious point being made underneath.
In this chapter it may appear that an attempt is being made to put Hubbard on a pedestal and play down his faults. Elsewhere in this book the consequences of his failings and misjudgements can be judged by the reader. Wider knowledge ot the events summarised in this book and the additional evidence which is likely to emerge in the future, will lead to further condemnation of Hubbard. This chapter tries to redress the balance a little in the light of Shakespeare's warning in Julius Ceaser: 'The evil that man do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones'.
Return to the book's index