[ Prologue | Table of Contents | Chapter Two ]

The Mind Benders, Scientology

by Cyril Vosper

1. Why Scientology?

The word SCIENTOLOGY was constructed by an American science fiction writer, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, from the Greek word SCIO, to know in the fullest sense, and the Latin word LOGOS, to study.

Thus Scientology is the study of knowledge or knowingness and the technique whereby knowingness is acquired.

Scientology evolved in 1952 from L. Ron Hubbard's DIANETICS (DIÂ. Greek - through; NOUS. Greek - mind, intellect), which had been started two years earlier with the publication of Hubbard's Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. This 400-page book outlined methods whereby the unqualified person could apply the techniques of Dianetics to resolve his problems, neuroses, psychosomatic ills, repressions, inhibitions and such. By comparison with the pessimism of mainstream psychology and psychotherapy, Hubbard described Dianetics as simple commonsense that invariably produced the desired results and by virtue of this optimism, Dianetics gained widespread, though short-lived, acceptance.

Almost total rejection of the assumptions of Hubbard by authoritative psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists, along with medical opinion, did not deter Hubbard from cashing in on this widespread acceptance and he formed organisations to apply Dianetic techniques on a professional basis. Although many thousands of people throughout the United States and Canada tried Dianetic techniques on their friends and acquaintances and in turn had these friends and acquaintances try it out on them, and although the vast majority of these dropped the subject after a short while, yet a hard core of support grew. Through much public rejection, derisive press and television comment, the movement slowly snowballed. It is almost impossible to establish precisely what the early history of Dianetics and Scientology was, since there are now very few of the early supporters left, but one of the keenest supporters was John Campbell, Jr., editor of Astounding Science Fiction Magazine (now Analog Science Fiction-Science Fact). John Campbell, Jr., was than and still is regarded as the doyen of adult intellectual science fiction. In his editorials, regarded amongst science fiction fans in the same way as the editorials of the Times, both New York and London, are regarded by the press world, Campbell was unstinting in his praises for Dianetics. The May 1950 issue of his magazine carried an article by Hubbard entitled "Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science" and it took up the entirety of the magazine.

In this article, Hubbard compares the human mind to vastly complicated electronic computer. He claims that if a computer has a "held down 7", that is an input which continuously registers 7 in all calculations, then this is roughly analogous to an aberrated mind. Whenever a calculation is performed on the computer with the "held down 7", all results will be incorrect to the power of 7. Similarly all human minds have their own "held down 7's" which alter the accuracy of mental computation. The only difficulty is that whereas with the computer the fault is easily detected, with the human mind it is not so easily detected since the mind's "held down 7's" are obscured by justification, reasonableness and fear.

The word ENGRAM is borrowed from biology where it means Cellular Scar Tissue and is adapted to mean Mental Scar in Dianetics, used to describe all of the "held down 7's" in the human mind. Precisely, the Engram is defined as: "A mental image picture of an experience containing pain, unconsciousness and a real or fancied threat to survival; it is a recording in the Reactive Mind of something in the past which actually happened to an individual containing pain and unconsciousness, both of which are recorded in the mental image picture called an engram."

Thus is constructed a whole new mental science. The Dianetic Engram could be compared to psychiatry's trauma, but is more specifically delineated by Hubbard. Similarly the Reactive Mind of Dianetics is somewhat comparable to Freud's Unconscious, but again Hubbard is more precise in his definition, as follows: "Reactive Mind - that portion of a person's mind which works on a stimulus response basis (given a certain stimulus, it gives a certain response) which is not under his volitional control and which exerts force and the power of command over his awareness, purposes, thoughts, body and actions. It consists of Goals Problems Masses, Engrams, Secondary Engrams and Locks."

Much more information on the human mind, as seen by Hubbard in his Dianetics and Scientology, will be given in later chapters but the Engram and the Reactive Mind formed the basis for Dianetics and still form the main areas of attack for Scientology. It is a more easily understood concept than all of the verbosity of psychiatry and psychology and Hubbard claims it as the basis of all mental and mental/physical ills.

His techniques for the reduction of the power of the Engram, i.e.: his methods for turning unconscious memories into conscious memories, were, at the outset of Dianetics, comparable to psychoanalytic techniques. However, as he widened the scope of his subject into a religious philosophy - Scientology - Hubbard introduced a mechanistic precision in an attempt to bypass the random personal inter-relationships which had bedevilled the original Dianetic methods and at the same time introduced an element of the esoteric and mystic. It is this last element that distinguishes Scientology from other psychotherapies.

Hubbard has attempted to produce an essentially practical philosophy that is both a summation of Mankind's knowledge of himself and his environment, and a means to increase this knowledge. He has described his subject as being senior to all other pursuits since self-knowledge and self-control are prerequisites to certainty in any other study. He claims to have been a member of the original research team that developed the American Atomic Bomb, presumably the Manhattan District Project, 1942-1945, though it is difficult to credit this since he was a commander in charge of a U.S. Navy corvette in the Pacific during this period. However, from the knowledge of nuclear physics gained and his claimed intimate experience of Eastern mysticism he has welded Western ideas to Eastern faith in Scientology. So it is that much of his writings are in the style of a motor-mechanic's handbook while at the same time dealing with the most stupendous ideas. After the ponderous wordiness of most other studies in a similar vein Hubbard's direct statements, right or wrong, are refreshing indeed.

The greatest impact of his approach, both in his twenty or so books on Dianetics and Scientology, and in the thousands of hours of tape-recorded lectures he has made, must surely be the certainty with which he deals with problems. With unbounded self-confidence, he tackles such Gordian Knots as the definition of Life, reincarnation, communication, Flying Saucers, sex, politics, together with the minor problems to do with the resolution of the human mind, with a pragmatism greater than Alexander's. Some of the things he says are absurd but equally many are very pertinent and it is this curious mixture of truth and untruth, fact and fiction, that gives Scientology its impact, AND its strength.

The newcomer to Scientology is attracted by the engineering-like practicality of the early stages of training and therapy. Good, solid stuff; applicable to everyday life; little hint of the wild non-proven and non-provable material to come.

At this stage, the conditioning, which is an integral part of the whole procedure, sets in, whether this conditioning be accidental or by design. With the same easy authority that Hubbard has used to succinctly analyse communication, so he takes our newcomer into more debatable areas. "Life is basically a Static", an assumption which Hubbard describes as A SELF-EVlDENT TRUTH. He goes on to explain that "... the life Static has no mass, no wavelength, no location in space or in time. It has the ability to postulate and to perceive". This is a neat description of a non-material, non-physical universe, life unit. It is a nice piece of reasoning and may indeed be the self-evident truth that Hubbard claims, but at no time is the newcomer to Scientology permitted to question these assumptions. He accepts these assumptions as TRUTH or he is out on his ear. There is no argument with Hubbard's word. There are hundreds of similar assumptions which one bas to accept as "fact". It is not that these are necessarily incorrect. They may well be facts, may well be the purest truth that Man has ever seen. The danger is that hundreds of thousands of Scientologists all over the world have an implicit faith in Hubbard's every word, without ever having compared his words and actions with those of other teachers.

On one hand Hubbard offers undoubted benefits in terms of increased awareness, mental calmness, a point to an otherwise often pointless existence. On the other, he demands strict adherence to an extraordinary set of beliefs, pseudo-science, opinions and folk-lore. He presents a comprehensible psycho-therapy that can certainly increase happiness and self-confidence. From this limited success, Hubbard predicts and promises the most astonishing further benefits. No superman in a pulp comic, no hero of space-opera, can equal the mental prowess of his Operating Thetan. No postulated goal of the Eastern Mystic can equal the assured ability and supremacy of a fully trained Scientologist.

Hubbard outperforms any other science-fiction writer. Not only are his fantasies more extraordinary and more carefully worked out, but people actually believe them. There have been many fads of an extravagant nature that have been believed by many people, often with little more justification than that it seemed a nice thing to believe in. Wilhelm Reich's Orgone Energy (or Life Energy) and his Orgone Box: Pyramidology and its pseudo-archaeological determination of the sacred Cubit and the sacred Inch; Dr. S. C. Hahnemann's Homoeopathy and his Law of Similia: Iridiagnosis, in which all physical ailments can be diagnosed by inspection of the iris of the eye; Count Alfred Korzybski's General Semantics: Naturopathy; Phrenology; these and many more, people have believed in, have accepted "proofs" with an astonishing naïvety. Most of these subjects have contained a basis of factual observation upon which a superstructure of wild assumption has been built.

Scientology bears striking similarity to most of the other pseudo-sciences. It has been developed and firmly controlled by one man whose words are regarded by followers as sacrosanct. The attitude to criticism is that the critic is either supported by a vested interest with aims to keep the human race at a primitive level, or he is insane, or perhaps both. Successes are loudly claimed: failures are ignored or studiously explained away. The originator is openly described by his followers as a genius of supreme stature and divine inspiration and he obviously regards himself in the same way. The subject is the ONLY way to resolve difficulties and it does so with an ease that makes other researchers in the same field appear as bone-headed dolts. The leader and his followers assume an authority for judgement of human affairs which is not borne out in reality.

Unlike all the other fads and eccentricities, Scientology is not purely a comic subject that appeals to those who need to have something in which to believe. It is a far more comprehensive subject touching every aspect of life. Perhaps the early success of Dianetics rested mainly on L. Ron Hubbard's confidence and salesmanship but no such confidence trick can sustain itself for twenty years and attract hundreds of thousands of dedicated followers without there being a real value. There is definite value in Scientology, even if it is only a form of self-delusion or the result of a carefully constructed mental conditioning. Scientologists are happy because they feel themselves to be doing a vital job in saving the qualities of humanity and civilisation which they, and many others, see being eroded by materialism and selfishness. Take Scientology from these people and they will join the frustrated crowd. Take away their raison d' etre and you take away their faith.

But, although Scientology does have a more profound impact than, say, Theosophy, and although it probably does produce results of a worthwhile though limited value for its followers, there are two aspects of Scientology which make it unique.

Although Hubbard claims that Scientology is a practical philosophy without attachment to any political movement and ideology, he appears quite willing to "accept responsibility", as he puts it, for the destiny of mankind in a very political and ideological sense. For instance, he has constructed his worldwide organisation in such a manner as "... to pull the society under us". Meaning that his long-term goal is for the entirety of the human race to be controlled, albeit benevolently by him and his followers. Having had fourteen years' experience of the chaos existing in Scientology organisations, because of the rigid and impractical structure into which they have been fitted, (L. Ron Hubbard's famous "Org. - short for Organisation, not Orgy or Orgasm - Board") I can only say that if the world is ever blessed with this miraculous system, it will have justly earned it.

The second feature which makes Scientology unique is Scientology Ethics. Claimed by Hubbard to be essential for the correct working of the therapy, his system of Ethics ranges from a code of behaviour for Scientologists through to ways of dealing with those antagonistic to Scientology. This latter has brought much public comment.

"Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil. Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil."

Eric Hoffer: The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements; London, Secker & Warburg; 1952

The "devil" of Scientology is the Suppressive Person - the S.P.

Anyone antagonistic to Scientology is obviously antagonistic to himself and the whole human race since Scientology is the only way for humanity's problems to be solved. By "labelling" someone a Suppressive Person, so goes the theory, that person is shown how the astute Scientologists are on to him. If he knows what is good for him, he will mend his ways, pay his fees and get on the Road to Total Freedom. Usually it does not work out this way but it is a good theory to feed to the believers. It makes the inhumanity of "Disconnection" and "Fair Game" seem humane.

It also makes potential enemies of everyone. The most reliable Scientologists can become S.P.'s, given the right stimuli. In the eyes of Scientologists, only L. Ron. Hubbard is 100 per cent reliable. The whole world is inhabited by "devils" or potential "devils". Only Hubbard is dependably on the side of progress, humanity and love. Follow him, do exactly as he tells you and there is every chance that you will make it in the end. Do not believe anyone else. An S.P. can be very devious.

People who believe this sort of thing, and there are hundreds of thousands who do, will believe anything. Such a belief is not a rational thing. It is a need. L. Ron Hubbard has satisfied a need for a lot of people with his Dianetics and Scientology. They are grateful to be led. Grateful to be obedient. Their critical faculty is missing with regard to Hubbard.

Such people have always been at the core of the mass movements.

Hubbard does not preach a message of racial intolerance, although there are strong hints in many of his lectures that he considers the negro races, in particular, to be spiritually inferior to the whites. Of course, like many another of his statements, his admiration for the Anglo-Saxons, of whom, curiously, he is one, is backed up by proofs of his attitude. He cites the technological, political, artistic and social achievements of the British and Americans, and studiously ignores their failures in these areas. But colour or racial prejudice is not a strong factor in Scientology. If a coloured person has enough money to afford therapy and training in Scientology then he is welcomed with open arms.

What is most ominous is that Hubbard has analysed various aspects of existence into gradient scales. For instance, with emotions there is a Tone Scale which, stated simply, lays down a semi-mathematical guide to the quality of emotions. A person in a state of Boredom is at a higher emotional state than someone who is Angry, who again is in a better state than someone in Covert Hostility on down through Propitiation, Fear, Grief, Apathy and Death. Leaving aside any considerations that this scale is purely and simply the opinion of Mr. Hubbard and does not have any statistical basis in reality, the individual in a state of Boredom is BETTER THAN the individual in Grief. Better in a moral, ethical, reliable, health-wise and general worth sense. Used in the ambivalent world of Scientology such a distinction is not solely used to assess the individual and his ability to cope with the environment, which, if the Emotional Tone Scale were based on reality, would be of value in many fields outside Scientology.

Scientology uses it to judge. If an individual, group or country is low on the Emotional Tone Scale it is NOT WORTHY OF CONSIDERATION.

This is very close to the type of philosophy which can regard people as "not quite human". Taken to extremes it can justify any action against another who is regarded as unworthy of rights. That this is part and parcel of the whole of Hubbard's approach is seen in his withering description of non-Scientologists as "WOGS". His declaration that a Suppressive Person is "Fair Game". As Sir Elwyn Jones, Q.C., said in the recent Scientology libel case, S.P.'s "could be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist. He could be tricked, sued or lied to, or destroyed." There are reports of ex-Scientologist Suppressive Persons being beaten up by "heavies" from the Sea Org., though these are not substantiated by any police action or reports. A photograph appeared in The Auditor - the worldwide tabloid news magazine of Scientology, purported to have a copy circulation of five million - during 1968, showing an erring Suppressive Person being thrown overboard from the "Royal Scotsman" by two brawny Ethics Officers. I assume the victim was fished out again, but it's a long drop from the deck of a 4,000-ton ship!

Of course all of these things, and many more, are justified within the weird philosophy of Scientology. They are shrugged off as being a means of "getting Tech. in", or, in straightforward language, "making the therapy work!" If such measures are needed to make Scientology work there is something terribly wrong with it.

So why Scientology? Why are there millions of people who receive the magazines? Why are there hundreds of thousands who think that Scientology is the only possible way for the human race to find itself and to survive the threat of an Atomic Bomb, the Population Explosion, the eroding of standards, or any of the other multitude of problems we live with? Why, after all the radical philosophies down the ages and the trouble and misery they have caused, do people still throng to yet another magic wand that will solve all their problems and make the world a place of sunshine and love?

This must surely be the reason. The world is not full of sunshine and love. We all wish it were. When someone comes along who says he has the formula and can back up his claim with boasts as to the efficacy of his methods, this man will be followed. If he is careful to always hold a juicy carrot just in front of the noses of his followers, enough will think it worthwhile to follow. If he can, at the same time, talk grandly of the worth of his followers, their integrity and ethical superiority, that it is they who will inherit the earth, he will appeal to both the shallow and the profound natures of his followers. If he can display a magnetic personality and a pretense of humility, many will love him and follow no matter where he goes.

The following chapters outline the main things that Scientologists believe and do. It is my personal interpretation of the curious world of Scientology, based upon my experiences during some fourteen years of very close contact. Very few people outside of Scientology know what goes on inside it and those inside it are the very last to speak frankly on their life. It is a strange world of insubstantialities, hopes and achievements, happiness and misery, of hero-worship and degradation, of intolerance and conceit. I think Scientology could herald a new form of mental and moral tyranny to a world already obsessed with a large number of enslavements. It could be the deadliest of all as it deals with the spirituality of the individual and when, in the past, religions have been intolerant, their pogroms have been bloody, sickeningly self-righteous and degrading to human self-respect.

Many governments around the world are taking half-hearted steps to limit Scientology. One, the State of Victoria, Australia has banned it. The British Government is holding an inquiry but at the rate of growth of Scientology, particularly in the United States, by the time any concerted effort is made to control it, Scientology will be uncontrollable.

This book is an attempt to tell people the truth about Scientology and what it is trying to do. I fervently hope it will be effective!

[ Prologue | Table of Contents | Chapter Two ]