Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What is Dianetics?

Brief History

  L. Ron Hubbard first published an article in Astounding Science Fiction Magazine summarizing what he called Dianetic Therapy. Stating that with his discoveries he could cure the sick, and increase intelligence. Soon after the article's publication in May 1950 Hubbard started to work on his book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (which is still used by the Church of Scientology to this day for beginners to this cult). Six weeks later the book was published and Hubbard became so successful that he decided to established six Dianetic Foundations in major cities around the United States in order to give this new “therapy” but the success did not last and in the Fall of 1950 financial problems began to develop and by November of 1950, the foundations were more than $200,000 in debt. Disagreements began to emerge, as the Medical and Scientific Communities began viewing Dianetics with concern as complaints were made against local Dianetics practitioners for practicing medicine without a license (This caused Dianetics advocates to disclaim any medicinal benefits in order to avoid regulation, a tactic which they still use to this day). L. Ron Hubbard would claim that the backlash was a response from various groups trying to grab Dianetics for their own uses and  when his creation started to get negative press he took one step further and claimed that it was due to a plot by the American Communist Party (Hubbard would later decide that Psychiatry was the origin of all criticism for both Dianetics and his later creation Scientology). And In January of 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners began proceedings against the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth for teaching medicine without a license and as a result the foundation closed its doors, causing the case to be dropped. However, creditors began to demand payment for their debts. A Dianeticist named Don Purcell, offered a brief delay from bankruptcy but the foundation failed again in 1952. Due to the bankruptcy, Hubbard no longer owned the rights to the name “Dianetics” however the framework of Dianetics enabled Hubbard to later create Scientology

Basic Idea and Theory

  Dianetics divides the mind into three parts the analytical mind, reactive mind and somatic mind.
An Dianetics ad from April 1950
Hubbard defines the Analytical Mind as the thinking and or computing mind. Whereas the Reactive Mind is The place where Engrams, memories of pain and unconsciousness, are stored the Reactive Mind is also called the Bank. The Somatic Mind is defined as the body memory of past pains and aches which are re-stimulated or turned on during an auditing session which for this instance would be contained in an engram. The ultimate goal of Dianetics is to remove the reactive mind and achieve a state which Scientologist call Clear. The Scientologist believe the reactive mind prevents people from becoming more aware, more ethical, saner and ultimately happier. This state is, according to Scientologist achieved through a type of talk therapy, called auditing.  Where a type of therapist called an auditor ask you questions about traumatic experiences in your past and supposedly allows you to relive the moments so that they no longer affect you. However, this process is monotonous and repetitive. Which despite, current claims from the Church of Scientology is a type of hypnotism. 

Dianetics and Hypnotism

  People who knew L. Ron Hubbard, before he started writing Dianetics knew him as a master hypnotist.  An old time associate of his named Forrest J. Ackerman had this to say about the man:

“And what I particularly remember about his appearances there was an evening of spectacular hypnotism when hypnotized just about every kid in the club. I remember he gave one young man a... what would you call it... In any event, the boy was convinced that cupped in his hand, he held a little tiny Kangaroo that was hopping around and I remember he came over and showed the Kangaroo to me”.

  So Hubbard was good enough hypnotist to convince a person that they had a kangaroo in their hand! Also if you compare the following video and this article from wikihow you can clearly see the similarities.

Notice how in both the article and the video they have the person that is being audited/hypnotized close their eye's this is a common occurrence in both Dianetics, Scientology and of course in  hypnotism. Also they both tell the person that they will remember everything but that's not necessarily true; it works as a "waking suggestion" which can cause the person being audited/hypnotized put more trust in the auditor/ hypnotist. Also, yet another similarity is that they both have the person then imagine a time or place of being happy or sad. In Dianetics, then tend to concentrate on a sad or negative time but happy memories are also used in some cases. 

What is a Clear?

 So, what is Clear? Hubbard defines Clear in Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health as a person who no longer has a Reactive Mind or has achieved the realization (or as Scientologist call it cog or cognition) that they mocked up their reactive mind. In the beginning Hubbard was more outspoken and outlandish with his claims stating that a Clear would be completely free of any psychosomatic illnesses, have a vastly increased intelligence, a near perfect memory, complete control over his or her bodily functions, have perfect eyesight, and would never catch a cold or become ill in any way.

Medical Claims

A Dianetics Ad from 1951
Since the beginning of Dianetics history, L. Ron Hubbard, stated quite clearly that it was the cure for all of mankind's "psychosomatic" ills. Supposedly being able to cure everything from a sore neck to stress and even asthma. As you can see in the following video.

Despite being ridiculous, this is also extremely dangerous because simply put it's technically practicing medicine without a license (an offense which the cult has been accused of for many years) and it is this belief which put many beginning Scientologist in danger of physical health problems. However, this belief, goes far outside the scope of Dianetics, and into the subject of Scientology as a whole but that will be explained later.


So where did L. Ron Hubbard come up with the idea for Dianetics? Well, Scientologist believe that Hubbard was source, meaning that he came up with everything by himself. They refer to his creation of Dianetics as the "bolt from  blue", however the truth is far more interesting. Dianetic auditing is actually merely an altered form of of Psychiatric therapy called Aberactive Therapy. Also Engrams as defined by Hubbard are remarkably similar to Freuds theory of repressed memories. Simply put, most of Dianetics is simply Freudian theory with a mix of post-WWII-era computer science terminology such as keyed in, and bank.

Scientific test?

Despite many claims from the Church of Scientology that Dianetics is an "exact science", there are no Scientific test to prove this statement. In fact, just the opposite there were two independent test which were both conducted in the 1950's by New York University. In one Harvey Jay Fischer tested Hubbard's therapy against three of it's claims and found that it had no effect on intellectual functioning, mathematical ability, or the degree of personality conflicts. And in the other test,
Jack Fox tested Hubbard's thesis regarding recall of engrams, with the assistance of the Dianetic Research Foundation, and could not prove it. As a result Dianetics was from then on considered a pseudoscience to both the scientific and medical communities.

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