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This is Your Dianetics on Drugs: The Nitrous Engram

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

Vance, as we near the latter stages of this book, we’re still plowing through this lengthy chapter, “Mechanisms and Aspects of Therapy.”

As we said last week, Hubbard tends to get into a groove as he describes dianetic techniques for troublesome engrams, which come in flavors like “denyers,” “holders,” “bouncers,” and “groupers.”

For whatever your father or mother uttered while you were in the womb and now holds you back as an adult, Hubbard has the cure for what ails you.

As usual, it’s an example that tends to break the reverie.

In this case, it’s a brief rant Hubbard goes on about drugs.


As you read what he has to say about nitrous oxide in particular, keep in mind that it was a trip to the dentist that changed everything for Hubbard. As Lawrence Wright described in Going Clear, in 1938 Hubbard experienced a life-altering trip while under the influence of nitrous oxide for a dental procedure. He would tell people that he’d seen all the world’s wisdom at once, or something.

With that in mind, we found this passage fascinating…

Nitrous oxide is easily the worst, being no anaesthetic which would dull pain at all but a first class hypnotic. In nitrous oxide the pain is filed and the content is filed with high and brilliant fidelity. Some years ago some investigator wondered if nitrous oxide did not make the brain decay. Fortunately brains do not decay that easily; but nitrous oxide does bring into being particularly severe engrams. The serious late-life engrams which the auditor will encounter may include, at the list’s top, a nitrous oxide dental or surgical or obstetrical engram. Nitrous oxide engrams are particularly bad when they involve exodontistry; they often form the most severe late-life engram. Aside from the fact that all exodontists have in the past talked too much and have offices which are far too noisy with street sounds, running water and flapping drill belts, nitrous oxide is not at all anaesthetic and sharpens rather than dulls pain.

What do you make of it, Vance?

VANCE: I think we’re always confronting a layered mix of fact and fiction with Hubbard’s autobiographical comments. Oh who am I kidding? Everything he said was a mix of fact and fiction. Anyhow, yes, I figure these statement are at least partially autobiographical even though they apparently belie other things Hubbard has said. Maybe he did get a mind-blowing high from being under nitrous oxide and he told some people about it. And then, later, while auditing himself, maybe he “realized” that, during that same operation, the nurse felt him up and whispered lascivious desires in his ear, which would have explained (to his satisfaction) why he abused his wife and had rotting teeth. And maybe behind all that was a desire to keep the source of his enlightenment (drugs) secret from his followers. Call me cynical, but I figure he wanted people dependent on him rather than on drugs.

Besides, Hubbard was the epitome of “Do what I say, not what I do.” Take for example, this bit in which Hubbard compares several drugs to alcohol: “Opium is less harmful, marijuana is not only less physically harmful but also better in the action of keeping a neurotic producing, phenobarbital does not dull the senses nearly as much and produces less after effect, ammonium chloride and a host of other stimulants are more productive of results and hardly less severe on the anatomy.” And that’s right after he finished extolling amphetamines and caffeine. Later on, in the 1970s, once he had a going concern with Scientology, Hubbard needed a cadre of angry rule-mongers more than free-thinking self-experimenters. At that point, Hubbard “realized” that drugs were a major source of problems in society (in other words, he was annoyed some of his followers were getting stoned rather than making him money). Just a guess.

THE BUNKER: But an intriguing one. Thank you, Vance. We’ll close out this chapter next week and then the end is in sight! (And a big thank you to our reader who sent a copy of History of Man and some other volumes.)

Next week — Dianetics Noir: Dangerous Women Hiding Their Womb-Secrets


RathbunSquirrelsMonday on Channel 4: The Bunker Invades the UK

Monday night at 9 pm, our UK readers will get a chance to see a 1-hour documentary on Channel 4 put together by director Joseph Martin and producer Danielle Clark. The title is “Scientologists at War,” and we expect it to feature the rise of Independent Scientology that is proving to be such a challenge to the church itself.

Last September, we were covering one of the most unusual stories we’ve written for the Bunker, about two former private investigators who had followed one man for 24 years on orders of Scientology leader David Miscavige. (The story itself was published in November.) We had flown to Texas for the story, and we drove down to Corpus Christi with the two private eyes and their attorneys as they were reunited with the man who had first hired them for the church in 1988, Marty Rathbun.

Also on hand was the Channel 4 team, which included producer Michael Simkin. We found ourselves being filmed as we interviewed Rathbun about the private eyes, one of the most interesting conversations we’ve ever had with him.

Later the film crew asked us if we’d be interested in getting even more involved with the project. We spent a week in Los Angeles in November with them, interviewing quite a few people, as well as a couple of days near Houston.

We don’t know what the finished film looks like, or how much of our contribution remains. But we were impressed by the amount of homework that Martin and Clark and Simkin had done, and the excellent questions they asked.

We’re not sure how viewers outside of Britain will get to see the documentary, but we have a feeling the clever folks at WWP will find a way.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 13, 2013 at 07:00

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