[ Chapter Four | Table of Contents | Chapter Six ]
"Have You Lived Before This Life?" asks the title of one of L. Ron Hubbard's books.
The question is soon answered. From the "Case Histories" of approximately seventy students who investigated each other's past lives during the six weeks of the 5th London Advanced Clinical Course of 1957, it is obvious that everyone has lived billions of lives before. Q.E.D.!
Q.E.D. - Quad erat demonstrandum - Nothing!
Those students were Scientologists who knew what was expected of them. I was one of them. I knew past lives to be a proven fact - Hubbard has so stated it. I knew that unless they could bring forth a past life with full recall, pain, emotion, full perceptions, the lot, they would be regarded as something less than real Scientologists.
No one even bothered to verify, or not, the recent past lives, which should be traceable from extant records. Hubbard had mentioned Zapp Guns, Tractor and Repeller Beams, Flying Saucers and Mother Ships and Galactic Empires in his lectures. His son, L. Ron Hubbard, Junior, nicknamed "Nibs" and no longer a Scientologist (rumour has it he is looking for a Flying Saucer that crashed in the Gulf of Mexico), was one of the instructors on this memorable course. When a student was having a lot of difficulty in making his story or, rather, Past Life gel, Nibs would helpfully fill in bits. Amazingly, many of the Past Lives sound like pulp comic "Flash Gordon meets The Brain from Galaxy X", complete with Zapp Guns, et. al.
"Have You Lived Before This Life?" is palpable nonsense as far as a proof of Past Lives is concerned. It can probably be put down to seventy-odd vivid imaginations and the very prevalent habit on the part of Scientologists to "prove" Hubbard right. What would happen to them if they proved Hubbard wrong?
Nevertheless, some interesting questions are raised. Scientology is not the only psychotherapy to have uncovered phenomena on Past Lives. Unlike the ultra-caution of other psychological subjects, Scientology is only too eager to accept the unpopular since it proves the truly revolutionary nature of the subject and gives Hubbard the opportunity to criticise other philosophies for their lack of imagination. Whilst it is probably true other philosophies would reject Past Lives without full inspection since it is unacceptable and would raise too many questions of a spiritual nature for those who are trying to prove their scientific materialism. Yet Hubbard has given no checkable proofs. Admittedly, it is nigh on impossible to prove Past Lives one way or the other. It has been the subject of hoaxes and a lot of pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo, yet if Hubbard had mounted a procedure to attempt to verify his claims and had been able to show hundreds of checked-where-possible case histories, his claims would have carried some weight with some people. One can only conclude that either it cannot possibly stand up to any inspection or his contempt for the human race is so complete as to not require him to verify anything. Probably both.
He explains that in 1950 he gave no thought to spiritual immortality. He was forced by the techniques of Dianetics to finally admit Past Lives did exist and were of paramount importance in the resolution of the mind. This is probably nonsense since Hubbard claims to have lived and travelled extensively in India and China where reincarnation is an accepted element of life, or rather of death. Even in the West, reincarnation is a word in most dictionaries.
Hubbard has stated that his discovery of memories from before this life was a logical extension of Dianetic techniques. One of the methods to uncover hidden memories is to take a clearly recalled memory and to "back track" along the chain of Locks with a similar content until the basic Engram is located.
Certainly, I have experienced many memories apparently inexplicable by accepted theory phenomena, both when undergoing Scientology therapy and when applying it to others. Doubtless, they can be comfortably explained away, but having seen Past Life incidents being run, I was left with the distinct impression that they are as distinct as any memories from this life.
To compare two incidents: Neither of the subjects was particularly interested in Scientology as a philosophy, neither had read anything on the subject and was only interested in resolving problems which did not appear resolvable by standard medical treatment. Both were aware that their problems could be psychogenic in origin though they obviously were not sure and did not know the how or why of this. Due to lack of time for applying Scientology therapy and also since both were fairly stable mentally, I determined to go for the more surface manifestations rather than digging for the root causes. Scientology has never seemed to me to be effective for deep analysis, if anything is.
A nurse, seemingly happy in her work, kept getting more and more frequent and severe attacks of bronchitis. She had not had bronchitis or more than slight colds before becoming a nurse, as far as could be determined. I traced each time she had had bronchitis - each time she had had difficulty breathing - back and back into the half-remembered times and into the completely occluded areas of early childhood. Under the particular Dianetic technique I was using, a state of "Reverie" was induced. Hubbard placed some importance on the originality of this state, claiming it to be unique to Dianetics. It seems nothing more than a relaxed, receptive and co-operative state which people experience every time they concentrate on something. Hubbard states the difference to be that a person in reverie has his eyes closed and is free to inspect memories. This state of "Reverie" must be experienced by anyone being psychoanalysed, hypnotised or any of the forms of psychotherapeutic suggestion.
In this magical state, one is able to dredge up Mental Image Pictures - Facsimiles - in fair detail, even from formerly completely forgotten incidents. Continuing in this way, back and back there it is - the basic Engram.
At the age of four, she had been given anaesthetic for a tonsillectomy. The gas had not worked right away. Struggling wildly, half breathing from the mask, half breathing air, she was convinced she was being suffocated, and had finally gone under and into the full Engram. Quite a distressing experience which, understandably, would not be readily recalled. It is not difficult to imagine it leaving a form of mental scar. And not difficult to see that the smell of ether, bright lights, white-coated and masked nurses, could restimulate, quite unconsciously, at the age of twenty, the terrifying events in the operating theatre sixteen years before. As soon as mental buoyancy and resistance fell through tiredness, worry or any of the dozens of things that happen in any day and especially any nurse's day, the feeling of being unable to breathe could recur. Eventually, bronchitis could set in to give a physical backing to the reactive fear. The Reactive Mind is performing its part in giving a warning that danger is associated with all places that smell of ether and so on. The stresses became intense since the Reactive Mind was "advising" leave this place and the Analytical Mind and presumably the Thetan could not see that there was any threat in an environment in which the individual was happy. A fairly standard variation on the psychotherapy theme so far.
In the second case, a man of about thirty-five had suffered slight and intermittent attacks of asthma. His normal breathing was slightly strained and despite many types of treatment, nothing had seemed to effect more than a passing relief.
After scanning down through the chain of Locks relating to difficulty with breathing and, interestingly, only the more intense instances seemed to come forward unbidden, we reached very early babyhood and it looked as if this Engram would be one of the famous Birth Engrams. Yet suddenly, the preclear was describing a totally different situation from either birth or early babyhood.
He was lying in a shallow pool of water, semi-conscious. He had landed in the water having been thrown from a horse which had refused, at the last moment, to jump a hedge. It took a long time for him to finally drown. The date given was 1768! We could not discover the common denominator which had caused the Key-In in the present life.
BUT in this case and in the nurse's, the breathing troubles cleared up IMMEDIATELY and remained out of the way for at least some years, though they could now have recurred, of course.
Imagination? If so then a psychotherapy dealing exclusively in imagination should be developed.
A desire to please the Auditor and fit in with his ideas of Past Lives? Hypnosis? Mental conditioning? Suggestion? Or perhaps Hubbard is right?
Who knows? The whole field of psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy and probably all subjects that try to heal are fraught with imponderables. Unfortunately, Hubbard's opinions seem only to make the imponderables more imponderable. Unless one is prepared to credit that a divine inspiration motivates his every word. As an example of the type of divine inspiration upon which he relies, the following examples of Past Lives are taken from his books and tape-recorded lectures.
The Markab Confederacy - a group of planets in the region of the Great Square of Pegasus - contains a humanoid civilisation, the main preoccupation of which is driving racing cars at very high speed around tracks. Because they go so fast and have a Freudian "Death Wish" going at full blast too, they crash and mangle themselves in vast numbers. Surgery is very advanced in the Markab Confederacy. They can patch up practically any body and get it back into the driving seat again. This only makes the drivers go faster and more recklessly to try to finish themselves off. One gets the impression that a large proportion of this curious civilisation is engaged in this pastime and why someone does not stand up and say - "There must be some better way of running a Confederacy than this", is difficult to imagine. This weird set-up is responsible for The Motor Car, apparently.
The explanation for the Population Explosion - 2,000 million in 1930; 3,500 million in 1970; estimated 7,000 million in 2,000 - is that new Thetans are being dumped on Earth. They are packed in "Ice Cubes" and dropped into the oceans from Flying Saucers. How a Static "with no mass, no motion, no wavelength, no location in space or in time" can be packed into anything is not explained. The arrival of all these new beings also explains our technological revolution, since they bring skills and knowledge with them from technically sophisticated planets. The reason why they are shipped here in such vast numbers is that the Galactic Federation is crumbling apart with wars. The newcomers to this planet are political prisoners and mentally unbalanced types who are shipped to this arm of the Galaxy to get rid of them. This explains the degree of political unrest and insanity here.
Hubbard also implies that it explains Scientology. Obviously the monolithic Galactic Federation would not want some genius popping up with a better way of doing things. They want to maintain the status quo. Hubbard is quite categorical that Scientology does not exist anywhere else in the universe. They, poor bone-headed things, are not bright enough to have thought out all the clever Scientology stuff. Which makes Hubbard not just the greatest person to have ever lived on Earth but the greatest person to have ever lived in the physical universe in all 320 trillion years of it. We are indeed living in a truly remarkable age.
A further indication of Hubbard's greatness is his casual understatement of the most astonishing Past Life facts. He says: "With one body in a trance and another body here on Earth, trouble occasionally occurs." Trouble Occasionally Occurs! If in this Double Body situation the body on Earth becomes unconscious, the Thetan will transfer to his other off-Earth body. Strangely, this other body often dies of shock at suddenly being reinhabited, thereby forcing the individual back to his Earth body. Vast interstellar distances are involved in all these transfers but these do not daunt any Thetan worthy of the name for it can all occur in the passage of a few minutes.
"This incident leaves a patient very, very disturbed", comments Hubbard with a nice appreciation of the types of events that upset people.
The written history of this planet is nonsense, of course. Historians, in order to make everything reasonable and not to give children nightmares, have studiously ignored the various bands of invaders to have hit poor old Earth during the last 40, 50,000 years.
The most recent of these were the Fifth Invaders. Insectlike creatures, six feet tall with horrible mandibles and crawly claws who came to this planet some 2,000 years ago in, presumably, Flying Saucers and scared the living daylights out of all the poor humans who met them. Why they came is not explained although it is obvious they were up to no good These Fifth Invaders explain the aversion which many of we primitives have towards spiders, insects and all creatures with mandibles and claws. Presumably the revulsion was so intense no one could get around to writing it down and so it was lost to historians until the advent of Scientology.
The Fourth Invaders, between 10, -20,000 years ago, brought a piece of electronic wizardry with them, known as the Coffee Grinder and produced Facsimile One. This incident was called Fac One since it was the first aberrative incident. This is curious since Hubbard has implied there to have been quite a lot of aberration in all of us for trillions of years. Nevertheless, Fac One is a very important incident because "asthma, sinus trouble, chronic chills (sic) and a host of other ills" stem from it.
"The Coffee Grinder ... is levelled at the preclear and a push-pull wave is played over him, first on his left side then on his right and back and forth from side to side, laying in a bone-deep somatic which cannot be run unless you recognise it as a vibration, not the solid board it seems to be. When this treatment is done, the preclear is dumped in scalding water, then immediately in ice water."
"The Coffee Grinder is a two-handled portable machine which, when turned, emits a heavy push-pull electronic wave in a series of stuttering 'baps'." This machine explains the high mortality rate amongst construction workers who use pneumatic drills. "The sound is not dissimilar."
Uncomfortable Fac One may have been but it was not efficient for brain-washing we natives and was replaced by the Halver incident. "... a half-light, half-black gun which shot out a wave. Half of this wave, usually the black, hit the right side of the victim's body, the other half, in the same explosion, usually the light side, hit the left side of the victim. This had the effect of causing him to be two people. ... The Halver was rigged up with religious symbols and it truly lays in religion ... it gave him a conflict, one side with the other, one being good, the other being bad. It gave him sexual compulsion, all mixed up with religious compulsion."
And so on. The Past Track appears full of simple-minded Baddies giving the even simpler-minded Goodies a going over with various electronic devices. Hubbard has not even bothered to make his ramblings seem believable and one is left with the feeling that most Thetans have been only too willing to have a con man take them for a good long ride. This habit seems to have come forward through the millennia.
On the first page of History of Man, 1952, Hubbard says: "This is a cold-blooded and factual account of your last sixty trillion years." By page forty-nine: "The whole track seems to be about seventy trillion years ago." By page fifty, he is talking about the cycles of life through which Thetans have lived and says: "The first big cycle would be at its probable longest seventy-six trillion years." Such carelessness does not increase faith in the accuracy of the rest of the book.
An earlier book which is claimed to be even more revealing and terrifying than History of Man was Excalibur. In 1948, according to Hubbard, whilst undergoing an operation for injuries received during World War II in the U.S. Navy he died for eight minutes, (perhaps he did the old Double Body trick!). He received a tremendous inspiration - all the secrets of the universe. In eight minutes?
"He sat at his typewriter for six days and nights and nothing came out - then Excalibur emerged." Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health is a diluted version of one chapter.
The description of Excalibur makes fascinating reading:
"Mr. Hubbard wrote this book in 1938. When four of the first fifteen people who read it went insane, Mr. Hubbard withdrew it and placed it in a vault where it has remained until now. Copies to selected readers only and then on signature. Released only on sworn statement not to permit other readers to read it. Contains data not to be released during Mr. Hubbard's stay on earth. The complete fast formula of clearing. The secret not even DIANETICS disclosed. Facsimile of original, individually typed for manuscript buyer. Gold bound and locked. Signed by author. Very limited. Per copy ... $1,500.00."
Martin Gardner: Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. 1957. Dover Publications.
Judging by History of Man which contains some startling Secrets of the Universe, Excalibur could be intriguing reading, but at $1,500 ...!
On the theoretical side, Hubbard gives some credence to the genetic memory as a possible explanation of Past Lives. With still no greater justification than opinion to back up his conclusions, he postulates a Genetic Entity.
"Although the GE has no real personality, it has a recording of the entire genetic line - from the original cell through all strata of evolution to its present stage of development - including a transfer of somatics from past theta beings, for seldom will the GE have the same thetan. A GE, located in the area of the stomach, stays with the body awhile after death - long after the thetan has abandoned it - and takes residence in another body two or three days before conception."
The Genetic Entity has a past track which can become confused with the past track of the Thetan who is inhabiting the body of the GE. Apparently all bodies ranging from unicellular to complex organisms such as mammals, have a Genetic Entity. It is this which learns from experience to produce more appropriate evolutionary forms. Hubbard claims this GE concept to correspond precisely with Darwinism and Lysenkoism. The latter postulates a near-conscious motivation for evolution - which is what Hubbard is saying - and is regarded as nonsense outside of the Soviet Union where Lysenkoism fits party ideology. The Genetic Entities - and there must be zentrillions of them if every plankton, microbe, ant, rose bush and pine tree has one - are a degraded form of Thetan, so there are lots of Thetans a good bit worse off than us, which is a comfort.
In various places, Hubbard refers to the Genetic Entity as being the Somatic Mind but has not spoken of either in recent years. It is easier to talk and pontificate on purely spiritual and mystical planes since logic and rationality are less easily brought to bear.
Until about 1962, there was a great deal of attention placed on Past Lives. Since the advent of more all-embracing techniques for resolving the individual's problems, Past Lives have attracted less attention from Scientologists. Until that time, there was a good deal of rivalry as to who could dig up the most gruesome notable, infamous or extraordinary Past Lives. One popular personality, and not only Scientologists try to claim a kinship, was Jesus of Nazareth. At least three Scientologists in London uncovered incidents in which they were crucified and arose from the dead to save the souls of all the world. Hubbard, incidentally, in the past has been extremely scathing towards Christianity. He has described Jesus as having been to India, learned a little of Buddhism and then having brought back a very adulterated version to the Middle East. In recent years though, it has become expedient to compare the beauty of the Scientology ethic with that of Christianity.
Strangely, Queen Elizabeth I was popular at times amongst Scientologists. So was Sir Walter Raleigh and The Venerable Bede. Understandably, I never met anyone who claimed to know anything about Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan or Pontius Pilate. Hubbard claimed to have found Karl Marx working in the Scientology organisation in Melbourne, Australia. Since Marx is regarded by Scientologists as one of the really evil people to have inhabited a body on this planet, this new incarnation of Marx was not keen to be detected but Hubbard dug him out and forgave him for writing "Das Kapital", which was nice of him.
Science-fiction writers could get a lot of new ideas from Scientologists. Scientologists have been Galactic Emperors, doll-body slave drivers, ray-gunners and captains of Z-velocity space cruisers that save the Planet of the Beautiful Maidens from the Super Nova. Annoyingly, my own Past Lives seem to have been an endless succession of sloshing about paddy-fields as a Chinese coolie, but I suppose someone had to do all the boring jobs.
Past Lives are probably popular in Scientology because they permit an escape from reality and responsibility. With the failure of Dianetics to produce supermen, an excuse had to he found to explain the resistance of the human mind. The excuse was Past Lives; billions of them. No wonder supermen had degenerated to our present contemptible level. With billions of lives deprived of Scientology, what could you expect?
As an exercise in inventiveness, they are good fun. Perhaps indeed there are Past Lives. Only when taken seriously are they pathetic and ominous for some cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality. For these souls, the irresponsible talk and deadly seriousness given to Past Lives can have a tragic result.
[ Chapter Four | Table of Contents | Chapter Six ]