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Blogging Dianetics, Part 10: Killing the Grizzly

GrizzlyWelcome to our ongoing project, where we blog a 1950 first edition of Scientology’s bible, Dianetics, with the help of ex-Scientologist, Bay Area lawyer, blogger, and author Vance Woodward. Go here for the first post in the series.

[ALSO TODAY: Below, we have analysis of the Garcia federal fraud lawsuit from attorney Scott Pilutik, and our first SMERSH Madness match that features an online forum — ESMB!]

After that last chapter, with Hubbard’s exploration of perversion, it’s only natural that the next one, “Emotions and the Dynamics,” would prove to be something of a letdown. But there are some good passages here for us to explore.

At this point, things are really getting thick as we’re moving into second- and third-order make-believe, and Hubbard assumes that we’ve forgotten how earlier layers of this fantasy were formed. It was clear, for example, when he first introduced the idea of “Zones” of survival that they were arbitrary estimates of an organism’s relative health. And from that, he pulled some numbers out of the air to begin describing “tone levels” of emotion that go with them. Many pages later, those guesses have now become scientific-sounding, hard rules about how someone experiences life.

Of course, if you get to invent the conditions that plague a life, then you can just as easily invent the methods for how to cure them.

What’s always interesting, however, is when Hubbard interrupts his word salad for an actual description of events to explain what he means. And in this chapter, he provides a very interesting example. He’s talking about how a “clear” — who is unaberrated, and suffers from no engrams — can still suffer emotional trauma that can take him near death. Here’s how Hubbard starts the example…


A clear, inexperienced in hunting, determines to shoot a grizzly. He has a fine rifle. The grizzly appears to be easy game. The man is at [Tone Level] 3.9 or above. He feels good. He is going to get that grizzly as the grizzly has been threatening the man’s stock. High enthusiasm carries him to the lair. He waits. He finally sees the grizzly. There is a cliff above the man which he could not ordinarily climb. But to get a good shot before the grizzly vanishes, the man has to climb the cliff. Seeing he was in danger of losing the game brought the man down to 3.2.

The hunter continues to struggle in his quest. He wounds the animal, but it only angers the grizzly. He shoots again and misses, and soon the bear is upon him. Meanwhile, with each of these failures his emotional tone scale goes down and down as his survival potential also decreases.

His tone is 1.2. It drops to 0.9 with a smell in his nostrils of the bear. He knows the bear will kill him…He is at Tone 0.6, stark terror. The bear strikes him and knocks him from the cliff-side….Then the bear decides he is dead and walks away. Shaken, the man eventually comes around, his tone gradually rising up to 2.0…

This Hemingwayesque aside is rather entertaining, we’ll admit. But it’s also quite obvious that there’s nothing “real” about Hubbard’s numbers. Another science fiction writer could just as easily invent an opposite schematic, call it a Vitality Scale, and claim that it reached an all time high of 25.5 (or whatever) when the hunter is face to face with the bear. (Actually, we think Hemingway would like our version better.)

Vance, why is L. Ron Hubbard, who never struck us as the Big Hunter type, talking about shooting grizzlies?

VANCE: I think he just liked to expostulate and he happened to think of bears while he was doing it. I could be getting my folklore mixed up, but I believe the church presents a tale to parishioners that Hubbard wrote Dianetics over a few weeks in some cabin in the mountains of Oregon or Washington. Maybe the environment got him to thinking about what fun it would be to go shoot up a bear. And then maybe he realized that might not be fun. He might have felt, as he puts it, “analytical” fear about the idea. (Apparently, analytical fear is what Clears experience, not regular, shameful and unmanly fear that the rest of us experience.) Anyhow, gratuitously killing wild animals for “easy sport” never struck me as particularly clear in the first place; I never did reconcile that nugget. It made me wonder if clear and sane weren’t two different concepts. I’m now quite certain they are.

Something that only occurs to me now is the me-against-the-world theme of the chapter. It sounds like he’s saying that we’d be totally happy if it weren’t for these pesky “suppressors” that keep pushing down on us (e.g. bears that won’t cooperatively get shot and die). But it’s OK, because the “necessity level can rise … to a point which keys-out all engrams!” Phew! Get me some of this necessity-level stuff.

By the way, ever since reading Hubbard’s unauthorized biographies, I’ve suspected that many of the patient stories are about Hubbard himself. Examples from this chapter include the dentistry patient under the care of a nurse who was “blue-eyed blond and sexually aberrated” and the story of the guy who got committed and almost electroshocked or lobotomized until “the cavalry … arrived in the form of Dianetics and Cleared the patient and the wife.” Hubbard even wrote an entire novel about a guy who’s guileless wife had him committed and nearly lobotomized. Either way, it seems that this was a really big fear (analytical fear, that is) of Hubbard’s.

THE BUNKER: Well, that’s exactly where we were going next.

You’re right, there’s another example which is striking, because even though Hubbard says it happened to someone else, it strikes such a chord with what we now know about his biography (which wasn’t well known in 1950), we can’t help wondering if he isn’t talking about himself.

Here’s how the passage begins…

Let us make this an example: a man is under nitrous oxide (the most vicious anaesthetic ever invented as it is actually not anaesthetic but a hypnotic) undergoing exodontistry.

Well that certainly sounds familiar. Lawrence Wright, in his book Going Clear, places a lot of emphasis on something that happened to Hubbard on New Year’s Day, 1938.

“Hubbard had a revelation that would change his life — and eventually the lives of many others,” Wright says. “During a dental operation, he received a gas anasthetic…In those brief, hallucinatory moments, Hubbard believed that the secrets of existence were accidentally revealed to him…The intimation that he had briefly been given access to the divine mystery lingered for several days…In a fever, he dashed off a small book he titled Excalibur.”

As Wright explains, there are doubts that the book ever existed, but Hubbard claimed that some people who had dared to read the manuscript had immediately killed themselves.

Anyway, getting back to the example in this chapter, the unnamed dental patient, while he’s knocked out by the nitrous, absorbs several engrams because the dentist and his nurse can’t keep their traps shut. And because the dentist is angry with his assistant, the patient picks up that “valence” and will be angry at the next woman who restimulates his memory of the nurse. When he does meet such a woman, he divorces his wife to be with her…

Only now that he has married the pseudo-nurse the dental engram beings to key-in in earnest. Physically he gets ill: the two molars adjacent to where the wisdom teeth came out develop large cavities and begin to rot…His memory goes to pieces. His recall becomes worse. He begins to develop eye trouble and a strange conjunctivitis. Further (because the dentist leaned on his chest and stomach with a sharp elbow from time to time) he has chest and stomach pains….But most horrible: he believes that this pseudo-nurse will take care of him and he stops to some degree taking care of himself in any way…

This litany of ailments sounds remarkably like the symptoms that Hubbard complained of as he sought treatment during and after the war. He also sought psychiatric help, which he couldn’t get. But in his example, he says his unnamed patient is on the verge of having a lobotomy after a mental hospital gets its claws into him.

Thankfully, there’s a happy ending.

Only the cavalry, in this one case, arrived in the form of dianetics and cleared the patient and the wife and they are happy today. This is an actual engram and an actual case history.

That certainly does sound like Hubbard’s own actual case history, but we’ll have to take his word for it that dianetics saved the day.

VANCE: Indeed. How did you like Hubbard’s modification of the Golden Rule? “If you love your brother, keep your mouth shut when he is unconscious.”

I just realized that a nurse must have read Dianetics to me while I was unconscious and then repeated to herself several times the phrase, “Dianetics is worthless garble.” That, I suppose, would explain these irrational thoughts I’m having now.

THE BUNKER: You’re having an engram restimulated? Get on the cans, Vance.

Next week — Your Life as Sperm or Egg: L. Ron Hubbard’s Mad Genius



HootersLogoYesterday, we posted the Church of Scientology’s response to the federal fraud lawsuit filed by Luis and Rocio Garcia. (Actually it was a response from three of the five church entities being sued, but you get the point.)

As we predicted, the church’s strategy is to convince federal judge James Whittemore that because the Garcias signed certain agreements as church members, they should be compelled to submit their fraud and refund claims to the church’s own internal arbitration scheme.

We are reminded, however, of a previous story we did on a similar case. Some smart attorney types pointed out to us that a very similar precedent has already rejected what Scientology wants done in this lawsuit.

That previous case involved another Clearwater, Florida corporation — Hooters restaurants, of all things.

Hooters made a similar argument when an employee sued for how she was treated. Hooters argued that she had signed contracts which required her to submit to Hooters internal arbitration.

But the court found that “arbitration” is all well and good — as long as it’s independent arbitration. In other words, Hooters couldn’t require an employee to arbitrate and select the arbitrators.

Well, that’s exactly what Scientology is attempting to do in this case. Scientology wants the court to force the Garcias into arbitration, but instead of then submitting their claim to third-party, independent arbitrators, it wants the Garcias to submit to a three-person panel of Scientologists to hear their complaints. In light of the Hooters case, what Scientology is asking for isn’t “arbitration” at all.

It will be interesting to see if the Hooters case is raised in this case.

We asked Manhattan attorney Scott Pilutik for his thoughts on the brief…

PILUTIK: What immediately stands out to me is how thick and chock-filled with law this motion is, which I take as a sign of how much this suit scares them. The law they cite is nonsense for the most part because it is all entirely premised on the notion that this dispute is religious in nature and can only be resolved by Scientology arbitration (which is akin to requiring a mugger and victim to privately settle as to the purse’s contents and monetary value).

But let’s look back at Garcias’ complaint, specifically paragraph 11, because their attorney did a great job anticipating exactly where Scientology would go:

“Rather, this case concerns something much more fundamental, that is, the rights of individuals to pursue claims through the civil judicial system for injuries and grievances sustained under conventions of civil justice applying legal principles of contract, fraud, misrepresentation and unfair and deceptive sales practices.”

In order to decide Scientology’s motion, the court must decide the nature of this dispute — is it civil as the Garcias contend or religious as Scientology hopes?

In 25 blustery pages, Scientology mostly dances around the substance of the Garcias’ claims, and even then only abstractedly, while repeatedly asserting its conclusion as fact that this is a religious dispute.

But putting aside the auditing services for the moment and focusing on only the biggest claim — fraud in regards to the Super Power donations — how can, say, deceiving statements made to city officials for the purpose of extracting more money from its parishioners possibly be deemed religious? Scientology is basically asking the court to completely ignore the Garcias’ allegations. After reading Scientology’s all-encompassing motion, the court might wonder what illicit conduct Scientology doesn’t deem itself legally exempt from.


SMERSH Madness: Sowing the Seeds of World Domination!

As we announced on March 1, we’re joining bracket fever with a tournament like no other. It’s up to you to decide who should be named the new SMERSH, the traditional nemesis of Scientology. Cast your vote for who’s doing more to propel the church down its long slide into oblivion!

Continuing in the first round, we have a fascinating matchup this morning…


The Ex-Scientologist Message Board was founded in 2007 by Michelle “Emma” Sterling, an Australian ex-church member, as a place for people who had spent time in Scientology to find each other and compare experiences. ESMB features many fascinating people from the church’s history who talk about the good and the bad they went through, and that inviting environment allows for some mind-blowing revelations.

Jamie DeWolf is the great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard, and he’s not a fan of his ancestry. Gaining more and more attention for his spell-binding performance-art monologue about LRH, he’s gradually becoming a media darling, and that could be disastrous for the church. DeWolf doesn’t mince words. He’ll tell anyone who will listen that great-grandad was a con man.


An update on our tournament so far:

L. Ron Hubbard defeated Steve Cannane
Debbie Cook defeated John Sweeney
Nancy Many defeated Paul Thomas Anderson
Tobin & Childs defeated Rathbun & Rinder
Katie Holmes edged out David Edgar Love
Marc & Claire Headley defeated Luis Garcia



Posted by Tony Ortega on March 7, 2013 at 07:00


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