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Jon Atack: The best thing ever written about the language traps in Scientology’s Bible, ‘Dianetics’

Jon_AtackJon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and for more than a year on Saturdays he helped us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. He was kind enough to send us a new post.

In the 1950s, before he decided that no one had contributed anything of significance to his subject, L. Ron Hubbard would list those from whom his ideas derived. Count Alfred Korzybski is among these luminaries. At the beginning of Science of Survival, Hubbard says “Acknowledgement is made to fifty-thousand years of thinking men without whose speculations and observations the creation and construction of Dianetics would not have been possible.” Korzybski made the list (alongside psychiatrist William Alanson White). Korzybski is also celebrated in the foreword to Scientology 8-8008.

Korzybski was a remarkable polymath and the founder of General Semantics, a subject popular among American intellectuals in the late 1940s. Several of Hubbard’s confederates during the formulation of Dianetics were avid supporters of Korzybski’s work – including Robert Heinlein, A.E. van Vogt, and the woman who became Hubbard’s second wife, Sara Northrup.

Korzybski understood that words are not the things they describe and that everyone lives within their own personal map of the world. This important perception is the foundation of both Rational Emotive Therapy and Cognitive Therapy.

After Korzybski’s death, Samuel Ichiye “S.I.” Hayakawa became the most influential figure in the General Semantics community. Hayakawa was an intellectual, an English professor who wrote on many subjects, and eventually became the president of San Francisco State University as well as one of California’s US senators, from 1977 to 1983.

Since I first read it almost 30 years ago, I have regarded Hayakawa’s review of Hubbard’s 1950 foundational text, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, as the best examination of Hubbard’s use of language traps and social restructuring. Rather than helping us to observe and overcome our subconscious self-instruction, Hubbard manipulated us by inserting his own instructions. This is a common aspect of bad therapy, but no other system so completely overwhelms its believers with such a complex new instruction set.

Hubbard had indeed employed Korzybski’s insight that the “map is not the territory,” but in reverse. Rather than helping his followers to escape their own maps, he simply substituted his own. So, for Scientologists the map becomes the territory. This nowhere better explained that in Hayakawa’s lucid and amusing review.

Hayakawa helped to popularize the ideas of General Semantics, the subject pioneered by Count Alfred Korzybski. That Hubbard several times credited Korzybski as a major influence on his own work makes Hayakawa’s comments all the more potent.

Looking over Hayakawa’s review again recently, I spent a few weeks picking out my favorite passages, with the intention of summarizing, but, frankly, the essay is too good to be abbreviated. So, as an opening treat for 2016, here is the full article, with the passages I intended to use emphasized. Hayakawa’s analysis is a remarkable tour de force. It suggests that we believers were all simply party to a “social restructuring.”

— Jon Atack


SIHayakawa“From Science-fiction to Fiction-science”
In the journal ETC: A Review of General Semantics, vol. VIII, No. 4 SUMMER 1951 BOOK REVIEWS

The case of Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, author of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, offers an almost unparalleled illustration of the principle held by writers on general semantics that language habits tend ultimately to become internalized. Korzybski said that one’s evaluations tend to reflect the structure of the language one speaks; Wendell Johnson has described “the way the language does your thinking for you” and has said that “every speaker is his own most interested and affected listener.”

Hubbard is a writer of science-fiction. Before writing Dianetics he had written Death’s Deputy (a novel about accident-proneness), Final Blackout (science-fiction), The Kingslayer (science-fiction), Slaves of Sleep (fantasy novel), Triton (fantasy). How many more novels he has written, I do not know, but he has also been an incredibly prolific contributor to science-fiction and other magazines. According to his own account of himself in the 1942-1943 edition of Who’s Who in the East, he had had at that time (he was born in 1911) five million words published under six names.[1] How many more millions of words he has published since then, it is impossible even to guess without at least knowing the names he writes under. But it appears to me inevitable that anyone writing several million words of fantasy and science-fiction should ultimately begin to internalize the assumptions underlying the verbiage. This appears to be what happened to Hubbard; his chef d’oeuvre, Dianetics, is the result.

Science-fiction, whether in Jules Verne or H.G. Wells or in the pulp magazine varieties common on newsstands, is a legitimate enough art form.

When done well, the value of the genre is that, in treating the remotely possible or conceivable as if it had already occurred, it helps prepare the reader for the shape of things to come. (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, for example, was written in 1869.) But good science-fiction is not too common. Much of it today is written hastily and according to formula, to meet the unceasing demands of the pulps.

I have long felt that there are dangers to the writer as well as to the reader in pulp fiction. It did not occur to me until I read Dianetics to try to analyze the special dangers entailed in the profession of science-fiction writing. The art consists in concealing from the reader, for novelistic purposes, the distinctions between established scientific facts, almost-established scientific hypotheses, scientific conjectures, and imaginative extrapolations far beyond what has even been conjectured. The danger of this technique lies in the fact that, if the writer of science-fiction writes too much of it too fast and too glibly and is not endowed from the beginning with a high degree of semantic self-insight (consciousness of abstracting), he may eventually succeed in concealing the distinction between his facts and his imaginings from himself. In other words, the space-ships and the men of Mars and the atomic disintegrator pistols acquire so vivid a verbal existence that they may begin to have, in the writer’s evaluations, “actual” existence. Like Willy Loman in The Death of a Salesman, he may eventually fall for his own pitch.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with literary imaginings as such. Even Frederick Rolfe (‘Count Corvo’), one of the great paranoids of literary history, who in Hadrian the Seventh pictured in vivid and dramatic detail his daydream of overcoming his enemies and traducers and being elected Pope, presented his imaginings as a novel. In other words, Rolfe remained a novelist; he never came to believe that he was the Pope. Hubbard, however, goes farther. The slick craftsman of mass-production science-fiction, mustering his talents and energies for a supreme effort, produces – and what could be more reasonable? – a fictional science. Had dianetics been presented as fiction – as, let us say, the discovery revealed to our hero, Dick Savage, by the mysterious scientist, Dr. Vladimir Nemo, in the spring of 2013 A.D. in the Cosmic Ray Solarium of the fashionable Olympia Hotel in Lhasa, now a favorite summer resort for wealthy American poets and commissars – it might have been, like other ingenious science-fiction, good entertainment. It might even have stimulated scientific imagination, as no doubt Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea stimulated the imaginations of naval architects and engineers.

But in the book Dianetics, Hubbard does not write as a novelist. He is, he says, a scientist. He has discovered – nay, created – a new science of the human mind which, in one swell foop, renders obsolete the psychological gropings of Wundt, James, Pavlov, Kraepelin, Charcot, Janet, Freud, Jung, Adler, Lewin, Thorndike, Kohler, Moreno, Reik, Menninger, Masserman, Rogers, and all the work of the neuropsychologists to boot. Of this new “science” of dianetics, Hubbard’s book says (his italics), The hidden source of all psychosomatic ills and human aberration has been discovered and skills have been developed for their invariable cure.” This sentence appears on the first page of the book, of which the opening sentence has been widely and derisively quoted by reviewers: “The creation of dianetics is a milestone for Man comparable to his discovery of fire and superior to his inventions of the wheel and arch.”[2]

The expository technique of Dianetics is straight out of science-fiction. First, there is the elementary device of taking for granted the existence of things which do not exist, and then making assertions about them (“As we approached the planet Venus, Captain Wolf throttled down his space-ship to a leisurely 8,000 m.p.h.”): “The reactive mind is the entire source of aberration. It can be proved and has been repeatedly proven that there is no other, for when that engram bank is discharged, all undesirable symptoms vanish and a man begins to operate on his optimum pattern” (p. 52). There are innumerable references to “research” and “tests” which “have been” performed: “A series of severely controlled dianetic experiments over a much longer period demonstrated that the law of affinity, as applicable to psychosomatic illness, was more powerful than fear and antagonism by a very wide margin. So great is this margin that it could be compared as the strength of a steel girder to a straw” (p. 106). There are, of course, the vivid narratives (i.e., the “case-histories”) by means of which that which is assumed to be so is transmuted – and that is the function of the art of fiction – into that which is felt to be so. (Of these “case-histories,” more later.) In addition, Hubbard has practically all the other science-fiction devices- references to unspecified “laboratories” and “clinics,” where zealous (and unnamed) teams of “dianeticists” are busy refining the “techniques” and the “basic postulates.” Occasionally, he goes through the motions of distinguishing between “fact” and “theory” and abstemiously denying himself, as a scientist, the self-indulgence of proceeding on mere theories: “It may well have been – and elsewhere some dianetic computations have been made about this – that the brain is the absorber for overcharges of power resulting from injury, the power itself being generated by the injured cells in the area of injury. That is theory and has no place here save to serve as an example. We are dealing now only with scientific fact” (pp. 53-54) ; “As an organized body of scientific knowledge dianetics can draw only the conclusions which it observes in the laboratory” (p. 105). In addition, of course, there is an occasional mathematical looking equation or graph, extremely impressive except to those who can read them.

But the special and compelling feature of Hubbard’s talent in science is vocabulary. If he had produced a genuine “science of thought” he could hardly have chosen a better word than dianetics, an adaptation of an obsolete word dianoetic, found in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (where its earliest occurrence is given as 1677) and defined, as an adjective, as, “of or pertaining to thought; intellectual,” and, as a noun, “applied by Sir W. Hamilton to denote the operations of the discursive faculty 1836.” Nor could Hubbard have chosen a better word than the almost obsolete “engram.” This word is defined by Masserman in his glossary of psychiatric terms as “The supposed neural pathway or trace left in the nervous system by every sensorimotor experience” (Principles of Dynamic Psychiatry, p.275). Hubbard redefines it for his special purposes as the “cellular recording” on the “reactive mind” which causes all mental disorders.[3]

In the main, however, Hubbard’s vocabulary is his own invention; the invention is inspired by some acquaintance with the literature of cybernetics, that is, the theories underlying, among other things, the great modern electronic computers (“giant brains”). Modern computing machines can “remember” and “store” information (for example, on punched or magnetized tapes) and utilize past “experience” in solving problems fed into them. They operate without error, given the information fed into them, working at fantastic speeds. But occasionally the electrical apparatus can be “overloaded” or otherwise abused so that the machines become “psychotic.” The startling discoveries of Norbert Wiener, Claude Shannon, Warren McCulloch, John von Neumann, and others in the mathematics and engineering of such “thinking machines” have, with good reason, caused much speculation on the possible analogies between electronic computers and the human brain. The fact that startling analogies can be shown is beyond question; the fact that the pursuit of these analogies can contribute to our understanding of the human mind is also beyond question; but, at present, what remains little known or unknown is (1) what psychologically important results will emerge from the pursuit of this analogy, and (2) how far this analogy may legitimately be carried. The existence of such a scientific No Man’s Land is exactly the condition under which the science-fiction writer (to say nothing of the scientist) is stimulated to his best work: Dazzling new scientific miracles seem to be around the corner, while enough news of current developments has appeared in popular science literature to arouse public interest and curiosity.

The surface plausibility and the verbal ingenuity of dianetics are clear in the light of the foregoing. According to dianetics, which is an “engineering” science (p. xxvi), the important part of the human mind is the “analytical mind – or analyzer,” which is “not just a good computer, it is a perfect computer,” which “never makes a mistake” (p. 44) and “computes perfectly on the data perceived and stored” (p. 16). Its memory is perfect, and all past experience is stored and filed in “memory banks” (pp. 33-49, 53-55, et passim) and is perfectly utilized (p. 17). But like any other delicate electrical mechanism it has to be protected: “Would you leave its delicate circuits prey to every overload or would you install a fuse system . . . Any computer would be so safeguarded” (p. 53). “Painful emotion and physical pain” are by definition the overloads on the circuit; these result by definition in the “shutting off” of the “analyzer,” which condition is, by definition, “unconsciousness” (pp. 54-55). Unhappily, when the “analyzer” is shut off, the “reactive mind” takes over, recording all the painful emotions and physical pain in the form of “engrams,” which are by definition the recordings, highly charged with pain, which, when “keyed in” by “restimulators,” cause “demon circuits” (Book 11, Chapter iv, et passim). These “demon circuits” foul up the operation of the analyzer, causing “aberration.”[4] Such aberrations are the cause of “all neuroses, psychoses, insanities” (p. 53), and also (by definition) of all psychosomatic illnesses:

“Naturally such diseases when one has resolved the problem of human aberration, become uniformly susceptible to cure. Arthritis, dermatitis, allergies, asthma, some coronary difficulties, eye trouble, bursitis, ulcers, sinusitis, etc. form a very small section of the psycho-somatic catalogue . . . . Just what, if any, part the virus plays in the common cold is not known, but it is known that when engrams about colds are lifted, no further colds appear . . . . A number of germ diseases are predisposed and perpetuated by engrams. Tuberculosis is one . . . . Many conditions which have been called ‘inherited disabilities’ are actually engramic. Engrams pre-dispose people to accidents. Engrams can predispose and perpetuate bacterial infections . . . . At the present time dianetic research is scheduled to include cancer and diabetes. There are a number of reasons to suppose that these may be engramic in cause, particularly malignant cancer” (pp. 92-93).

How, then, is therapy accomplished? The aim must be, it logically follows, to “discharge” the “demon circuits.” This is accomplished by “running them through” and “erasing” them. (Recordings on tape and wire-recorders are, as the reader knows, “erased” by “run through.”) It is necessary for the therapist or “auditor,” and anyone can become an expert auditor (pp. 166, 167, 174 et passim), to send the patient back along the “time-track” so that he may “run through” the “engramic” painful episodes of his past life stored in his “reactive mind.” When these episodes are “run through” several times, they are “discharged” and go away to trouble the patient no more. Immediately, strength, eyesight, appetite are improved, allergies and backaches disappear, and the patient, no longer a patient but now a “clear,” enjoys, for the first time in his life, perfect health and perfect mental functioning; his IQ shoots up 25 to 50 points, since his “perfect computer,” i.e., his “analytical mind” is no longer “aberrated” (Book III, Chapter ii et passim).

A further indication of Hubbard’s ingenuity and superficial acquaintance with contemporary thought is given in his appropriation of some terms from general semantics. The “reactive mind,” as defined by Hubbard, thinks “in a way which would make Korzybski swear, for it thinks in terms of full identification, which is to say identities, one thing identical to another” (p. 62); “THE ANALYTICAL MIND COMPUTES IN DIFFERENCES. THE REACTIVE MIND COMPUTES IN IDENTITIES” (p. 336; author’s emphasis). “The reactive mind operates wholly on two-valued logic. Things are life or they are death, they are right or they are wrong, just as the engram wording states” (p. 241).

None of the foregoing requires refutation, of course. But all this computing-machine mumbo-jumbo is only a small part of the incredible nonsense to be found in dianetics. The stuff about producing “clears” by discharging “demon circuits” and reducing “engrams,” etc., has at least the virtue of plausibility to those whose knowledge both of electronic computers and psychology is limited to what they read in the Sunday supplements.[5] But dianetics offers many more doctrines, not even dimly plausible, to be swallowed. Hence, my increasing sense of mystification as I read (for example, in Look magazine (December 5, 1950) of the amazing spread of dianetics, the huge sales of Hubbard’s book, and the establishment of “dianetic centers” in the principal large cities of the United States. Even more mystifying to me have been those people of good education and of some scientific background who have cautiously urged that dianetics be given a “fair hearing” until “more facts are in.” They have pointed out that there is evidence that dianetics “works,” regardless of the implausibility of some of its theories, and that therefore, instead of dismissing it summarily, we should wait to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Before going into a discussion of the rest of the chaff in dianetics, let me state my position at once: There is no wheat.[6] Even if dianetic “processing” produces, as Hubbard predicts, cures or apparent cures of neuroses, ulcers, falling hair, or diabetes, such results do not “prove” a single item of dianetics doctrine. I do not say this in the spirit of the ecclesiastics who refused to look through Galileo’s telescope, although I have no doubt such an accusation will be made. I say this on the basis of a simple distinction, familiar in general semantics literature, between kinds of predictions. If I predict that two cannonballs of different sizes dropped from a tower will hit the ground at the same time, my prediction cannot be overheard by the cannonballs, and hence cannot affect the outcome of the experiment. If, however, I hand you a mysterious bottle and predict that it will cure you of the loss of sexual vigor of which you have been complaining, and you believe me, you will drink the bottle and go to bed that night with changed expectations. Your improved performance of that night will prove nothing about the efficacy of the contents of the bottle; it will merely prove something very sad about your capacity for belief – in other words, about your system of semantic reactions. There is a world of difference between predictions which cannot affect the outcome, and predictions which are themselves a factor in producing the outcome.[7] Hence, the testimony of any number of individuals who, having been told they will be helped, later claim to have been helped by dianetic processing cannot constitute proof of the dianetics theory. Every therapeutic theory (psychiatric or medical) that has ever been believed in has worked to some degree, and sometimes to a spectacular degree (witness the rows of crutches at miracle-working shrines), for the people who have believed in it.

From here on, let me concern myself with the rest of the chaff, which is so incredible that I shall not blame the reader if he refuses to believe that Hubbard, whom so many people have taken so seriously, ever said such things. The most important engrams, the “basic-basic,” says Hubbard, are the result of prenatal experience. Evidently we all had a pretty rough time of it in the womb, and we are not to believe the Freudian publicity about what a nice place it was:

“…But life in the womb does not seem to be the Paradise it has been poetically, if not scientifically, represented. Actuality discloses that three men and a horse in a telephone booth would have but little less room than an unborn baby. The womb is wet, uncomfortable and unprotected.

“Mama sneezes, baby gets knocked ‘unconscious.’ Mama runs lightly and blithely into a table and baby gets its head stoved in. Mama has constipation and baby, in the anxious effort, gets squashed. Papa becomes passionate and baby has the sensation of being put into a running washing machine. Mama gets hysterical, baby gets an engram. Papa hits Mama, baby gets an engram. Junior bounces on Mama’s lap, baby gets an engram. And so it goes” (p. 130).

But that, according to Hubbard, is only the beginning of one’s intrauterine misadventures. Mama, not content with knocking out the unborn baby by bumping into tables, repeated coitus, and falling over pigs (p. 242), usually doesn’t want the child anyway, and is always trying to induce abortion (p. 132 et passim) by means of knitting needles (p. 156), by chemicals, by jumping off boxes, by having father sit on her (p. 300), and by “assorted household instruments thrust into the cervix” (p. 242). Baby therefore gets punctured through and through, acquiring engrams every time, but he survives because of the puncture-proof inner-tube principle: “Nature has been smart about attempted abortion for a long, long time” (pp. 242-3). And why does Mama continue to commit “AA” (attempted abortion)? Because she is an “aberree,” whose aberrations result from the fact that “Grandma” was always trying to abort her (p, 243). Indeed, Hubbard finds “AA” in the “basic-basic” engrams of nearly all his patients. There are few people alive, then, who do not carry within them engrams of murder attempts committed against them by their mothers. Morning sickness is usually the result of mothers trying to abort themselves (p. 156). Sometimes fathers help mothers try to bring about abortion (“mutual AA”) ; the resulting engrams are, for technical reasons which need not be gone into here, especially complicated (p. 245). But these, like all other engrams, can be discharged “with ease,” so powerful is dianetic therapy: “The auditor can do everything backwards, upside down and utterly wrong and the patient will still be better, provided only that he does not try to use drugs before he has worked a few cases, that he does not use hypnotism as hypnotism and he does not try to cross dianetics with some older therapy” (p. 167).

It might be well to describe here in fuller detail Hubbard’s account of the engram. The engram, even when acquired prenatally – and it can be acquired from the zygote stage on (pp. 130, 158) – has verbal content:

“Whether or not the unborn child is ‘unanalytical’ has no bearing on his susceptibility to engrams. The prenatal engram is just another engram. Only when the child is actually struck or hurt by a high-blood pressure or orgasms or other sources of injury does he become ‘unconscious.’ When he becomes ‘unconscious’ he receives all the percepts and words in the area of the mother as engrams . . . Morning sickness, coughing, all monologuing (mother talking to herself), street noises, household noises, etc., are all communicated to the ‘unconscious’ child when he is injured . . . . And the child is very easily injured” (pp. 155-156).

“…Any remark is aberrative in an engram. Even such a statement as ‘You can remember this when in dianetic therapy,’ made toward an unborn child, installs an engram so that every word in this statement means a physical pain just where he received it at the time. . . . If the doctor is very tough and says, ‘You had better take good care of yourself, Mrs. Jones. It you don’t you’ll be mighty sick!’ the child, ‘unconscious’ from the examination no matter how mild it is, will get a mild hypochondria when the engram keys-in and be very concerned over his health.
If the husband uses language during coitus, every word of it is going to be engramic” (p. 157).

Now, the engram as such, it is argued, “is not a sentient recording containing meanings. It is merely a series of impressions such as a needle might make on wax” (p. 131). Hubbard is carefully unspecific as to how this recording is made:

“The child before birth does not depend upon the standard senses for its perceptions. Engrams are not memories but cellular level recordings. Therefore, the child needs no eardrums to record an engram. Cases are on hand where whatever hearing mechanism the unborn child had must have been temporarily destroyed by an abortion attempt. And the engram was still recorded. The cells rebuilt the apparatus which was to be the source of sound in the standard banks and stored their own data in the reactive bank” (p. 158).

These “cellular level recordings” do not do much damage by themselves. But later in life, the recurrence of a part of the cluster of recorded impressions including words can “restimulate” and “key-in” the engram:

“Put a man under ether, hurt him in the chest. He has received an engram because his analytical power was turned off first by ether and then by a chest pain. While he was there on the operating table, the reactive mind recorded the click of instruments, everything said, all sounds and smells. Let us suppose that a nurse was holding one of his feet because he was kicking. This is a complete engram. The engram will be keyed-in by something in the future, a similar incident. After this, in greater or lesser degree, whenever he hears clicks like instrument clicks he gets nervous . . . he may find that his foot feels slightly as if it were being held . . . the chest pain would be found present in some degree . . . . This is ‘push-button’ in its precision” (p. 74).

This push-button mechanism theory, obviously derived in part from the Korzybskian idea of “signal reaction,” is central to both the plausibility and the appeal of dianetics. In our environment there are innumerable “push-buttons” – words, smells, sounds, sights – which, although of no special significance to our “analytical minds,” are meaningful to the “reactive mind.” If we have recurrent failures of self-control, feelings of uneasiness, backaches or migraines, homosexual tendencies, or whatever, it is because some of the stimuli around us act as push-buttons “restimulating” unhappy and painful “engrams,” which are by definition something we are not responsible for, since they were acquired during states of “unconsciousness.” The job is to identify the words and other stimuli which act as “restimulators,” and then to recover, by reverie, the “engrams.” The engrams are then “run through” and “discharged” of their affective content. When this is done, we are freed of all our burdens; we emerge as supermen.

Hubbard’s book, especially his “case-histories,” is so rich in absurdity, so preposterously and awkwardly obscene (especially in the accounts of engrams acquired during parental coition), that one is tempted to quote on and on. I shall content myself by giving two more instances before completing my account of his theories. One fascinating notion is that, since human memory is by definition perfect, one is able, in dianetic reverie, to go back to conception or before! How dianetic science struggled through to this conclusion is explained thus:

“After a few cases had been examined . . . dianetics was forced to accept . . . the fact that the cells of the foetus record. A few more casts and a little more experience discovered that the embryo cells record. And suddenly it was discovered that recording begins in the cells [sic] of the zygote – which is to say, with conception. . .The body recalls conception . . . . Most patients sooner or later startle themselves by finding themselves swimming up a channel or waiting to be connected with. The recording is there” (p. 130).

Other passages indicate the degree to which Hubbard has prepared for all contingencies an auditor may run up against. What, for example, of the child of immigrant parents or the adopted child whose prenatal engrams are recorded in a language other than that which he uses as an adult? Special instructions for this kind of case involving the use of dictionaries are provided on pp. 315-316. More complex are the “Junior cases,” i.e., sons who are named after their fathers. The complexity results from the fact that mothers – most mothers, apparently – are unfaithful to their husbands. In the course of intimacies with their lovers, they may (and do) make unfavorable remarks about their husbands. The lovers too may make remarks. If mother happens to be pregnant at the time, Ralph, Jr. is getting loaded up with engramic recordings about “Ralph” – i.e., Ralph, Sr. Since the reactive mind is given to identification reactions (Ralph is Ralph) everything said about Ralph, Sr. is interpreted by Ralph, Jr. as applying to himself. Obviously, the consequences are appalling. Hubbard advises prospective dianeticians, “Do not take on a junior as your first case if you can avoid it . . . . It is customary to shudder, in dianetics, at the thought of taking on a junior case” (p .305). Such cases also offer special difficulties of ‘sonic [auditory] recall,’ since the lover is likely to have said, during or immediately after coitus, ‘Ralph must never hear of this’” (pp. 209-210).[8]

A basic question remains. Why, in the light of the foregoing, has dianetics had any following? Why was its preposterousness not evident at once to everyone to whom it was presented, including the publishers? The attempt to answer this question is the sole justification I can offer for directing the reader’s attention for so long to a topic so intellectually and scientifically negligible.

A first and obvious answer to his question is that thousands of people today are looking for help in emotional problem-solving, and dianetics purports to offer a technique for self-help. Hubbard directs the reader not to go to expensive analysts and psychiatrists, whose methods are out-of-date anyway; instead, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, dormitory room-mates, can band together and help themselves. This appeal to economic self-interest, however, is not sufficient in itself to explain its sudden spread. There is something more.

This something more has already been suggested. It is the unusually successful use of mechanical analogies. We are habituated to the use of metaphorical vocabularies, mostly non-electrical in origin but now predominantly employed with electrical connotations, to describe everyday occurrences: “Tom relayed the information,” “Dick sparked the sales drive,” “Harry blew a fuse!” Even the most casual newspaper reader has heard of “brain waves” and “electroencephalograms.” Hubbard’s technical jargon is marvelously suggestive at once of both electrical and psychological phenomena, which, although no doubt ultimately related, are certainly not related in the way he describes.

The fact that language can be used to adumbrate two (or more) areas of meaning at once is not in itself dangerous; indeed, it is this fact which gives language its richness and its power of creative suggestion. In Norbert Wiener’s Cybernetics, the simultaneously electrical and psychological connotations of terms is peculiarly stimulating to the imagination. (It will be remembered that this book, too, enjoyed sales far beyond initial expectations.) But in Cybernetics the double-edged vocabulary is used with full consciousness of abstracting; in other words, Wiener never forgets – nor lets the reader forget – that the analogy is an analogy and that the genera to which mark III and Mark Antony belong are distinct and separate.

Professor Weller Embler, in his article ‘Metaphor and Social Belief’ (ETC. 8.83-93, Winter 1951), has ably described, with a footnote reference to dianetics an example, the kind of semantic reaction induced by “perfect” metaphors. The metaphorical character of a statement may not be apprehended at all, so that we are likely, under favorable conditions, to feel that “The city is a jungle,” “Nature is a teacher,” “The subways are the city’s arteries.” Each age, says Embler, has its characteristic metaphors; those of other ages (“The soul is a garden, the will the gardener”) are clearly seen to be metaphors. But, “When metaphor is new, and when the reader does not enjoy the perspective vouchsafed by time, the metaphor is taken literally, and its function is not that of a rhetorical device, but of statement of fact, prescribing certain kinds of behavior.” Embler mentions, in addition to men-and-machines metaphors, those comparing human fate to probability phenomena as another kind which strikes us today as being vividly “true”:

“Fortune, in its workings, has something in common with a slot machine. There are those who can bait it forever and never get more than an odd assortment of lemons for their pains; but once in a while there will come a man for whom all the grooves will line up, and when that happens there’s no end to the showering down.” (Dorothy Baker, Young Man with a Horn.)

It is to be noted that Hubbard is not so flat-footed as to introduce in so many words the assertion “The mind is a computing machine.” Indeed, such an assertion would have only had the effect of causing the reader to wonder about the degree to which this might be true. He introduces the analogy explicitly as an analogy, but he hastens to state that the analogy has shortcomings only because the mind is a better machine (p. 43). The effectiveness of this statement, in its context, lies in the fact that it is, in some respects, true. Nevertheless, the unique abilities of the human brain, such as the ability to invent computing machines, are of a different order than those of the machines. No computing machine has so far invented so much as a pocket abacus. If this difference of order is ignored – and most people ignore it – the notion that the mind is a better and much more elaborate machine can sound compellingly “true.”[9] From this point on, to quote Wendell Johnson again, “the language does your thinking for you.” Hubbard does not have to convince the reader who lets the metaphor slip under his guard; the reader convinces himself.

No special perfidy need be attributed to Mr. Hubbard, and no special degree of gullibility need be attributed to his followers, in attempting to account for the spread of dianetics. Hubbard, his followers, and Norbert Wiener (to say nothing of the mathematical biologists!) are alike products of the linguistic and semantic environment; they are alike in pursuit of the fruitful implications of the characteristic metaphors of our times. The difference between the humbuggery of dianetics and the rich scientific and humanistic[10] promise of cybernetics is a measure of the difference between linguistic naivete and full semantic awareness. I know of no contrast in recent literature which shows more vividly or dramatically the importance of what Korzybski called “consciousness of abstracting” – the disastrous results when it is absent, and the rich consequences when it is there.

It is possible to abstract, from Embler’s account of the prevailing metaphors of our time and from the success of dianetics, a dismal picture of the climate of popular opinion. Life is a slot machine, No virtues of intellect or character which we may perfect through study or self discipline can increase our chances of reward. But, fortunately, we are perfect computing machines, temporarily in poor repair, to be sure, because of stuck keys, demon circuits. Unstick the keys and discharge the circuits, and boy, will we begin to click! Because we shall be able to think perfectly, life will lose its probabilistic character. We shall have perfect prediction and control. Then, there will be “no end to the showering down.”

I am aware that my earlier dismissal, in terms of kinds of predictions, of the claim that dianetics “works” has not been completely satisfactory, since it does not take into account the differences between dianetic and other therapies. I should therefore like finally to take account of one other factor in the “working.”

Emotional disturbances are of course failures in interpersonal relations. It is by now commonplace to observe that any radical change in the situation in which communications between people take place can radically alter the relations between them and the content of the communications. Dr. Trigant Burrow, changing seats with his patient in a psychiatric interview, was so affected by the changes he felt in his own professional self-assurance that he eventually found himself compelled to reorganize his entire view of psychiatry.[11] Students of group dynamics have made intensive investigations into these often startling results of what they have termed “social restructuring.”

It is apparent that if a man and wife read the dianetics book and are persuaded to “try it,” the effects can be those of social restructuring – indeed, of what is called in group dynamics “roleplaying.” The husband no longer listens to his wife in his everyday role of husband. He no longer shapes in his mind, as he waits for an opportunity to break in, the cutting and unassailable retort. He is now an “auditor.” His attitude to his wife’s remarks is, then, no longer defensive, but “therapeutic” – i.e., attentive, “non-judgemental,” and “permissive.” The same will be true for the wife when it is her turn to “audit.” As a result of such role-playing and in spite of all the dianetic nonsense, communications may be established on a number of topics about which there had been misunderstandings and harmful projections.[12] With the alleviation of the misunderstandings and the dismissal of suspicions now seen to have been unwarranted, there may arise warmth and pleasure – the sense of having emerged from under a cloud. Headaches and fatigue may also be relieved, and possibly more serious ailments – this is a point that need hardly be argued in the light of present knowledge of psychosomatic mechanisms. The appalling thing revealed by dianetics about our culture is that it takes a 152-page book full of balderdash to get some people to sit down and seriously listen to each other!

But even the limited good that dianetics may do by introducing a single, narrowly-defined role-playing technique into interpersonal relations is probably more than offset by the damage it can do with its accompanying pretentious and nonsensical doctrines. I am not thinking here of the standard medical argument, that it may keep people away from better and more legitimate therapies, although this is no doubt true. (So many things keep people away from legitimate therapies anyway that I am not sure that one more patent medicine can matter much.) I am thinking rather of the fact that those who are helped by dianetics will necessarily be kept at a low level of intellectual and emotional maturity by the nonsense they have absorbed in order to be helped. The lure of the pseudoscientific vocabulary and promises of dianetics cannot but condemn thousands who are beginning to emerge from scientific illiteracy to a continuation of their susceptibility to word-magic and semantic hash.


[1] The account also states that he is an “explorer” and names expeditions on which he has gone. He is also a “licensed commercial glider pilot, motor boat operator, master of motor vessels, master of sail vessels (any ocean), radio operator.” The 5 million published words include writing for “90 national magazines,” for “Hollywood studios, radio,” and “two texts on psychology.” He gives his college training as “George Washington U. Engr. Sch. 1930-32.” On p. 85 of Dianetics he also mentions having studied mysticism, “not in…second-hand sources…but in Asia.” But for purposes of dianetics he says he found mysticism unnecessary.

[2] Hubbard has claimed that these are not his own words, but those of his publisher. They appear in an unsigned section headed “synopsis.” But both in style and content, the synopsis is indistinguishable from the rest of his book which continues to the end to make similar claims in similar language. If it was not written by Hubbard, it was written by someone who was quite as awe-struck with Hubbard’s genius as Hubbard himself. Whatever the authorship, it may be presumed that he had the opportunity, of which he did not avail himself, to remove the passage before publication.

[3] See Ogden and Richard: “Thus when we strike a match, the movements we make and the sound of the scrape are present stimuli. But the excitation which results is different from what it would be had we never struck matches before. Past strikings have left, in our organization, engrams, residual traces, which help to determine what the mental processes will be . . . . An engram is the residual trace of an adaptation made by the organism to a stimulus” (The Meaning of Meaning, pp. 52-53). Ogden and Richards give a the source of the term, which has never had wide currency in psychological literature, Semon’s Die Mneme, a work with which I am not familiar.

[4] The fact that computing machines can suffer “nervous breakdowns” is well known: “During World War II, (Dr. Shannon) says, one of the Manhattan dial exchanges (very similar to computers) was overloaded with work. It began to behave queerly, acting with an irrationality that disturbed the company. Flocks of engineers, sent to treat the patient, could find nothing organically wrong” (Time, January 23, 1950). See Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (New York: John Wiley, 1948), especially Chapter V, ‘Computing Machines and the Nervous System,’ and Chapter VII, ‘Cybernetics and Psychopathology.’

[5] On rereading this sentence I find that it has a tone of intellectual arrogance which I am quick to disapprove in others. Let me hastily add therefore that there are a thousand topics about which I am equally limited in knowledge to what I read in the Sunday papers, for example, aeronautics, biochemistry, cowpunching, dendrology, entomology, fan-dancing, geriatrics, hermeneutics . . . .

[6] This is a somewhat more absolutistic statement than is ordinarily approved in general semantics writing. Let me modify it by saying that there are some true statements in the book. But separating the truth from error in dianetics is like trying to get the vanilla extract back into the bottle after it has already been mixed into the cake batter. Hence I shall have to let my statement stand.

[7] Another way in which a prediction may affect the outcome is illustrated by the manager of a big league baseball team nearing a pennant who remarked scornfully of a tail-end club with whom his team still had a few games left to play, “Are they still in the league?” The remark was reported to the tail-end team, whose semantic reactions can be guessed; they decisively defeated the league leaders in the last few days of the season, depriving them of the pennant. On the subject of predictions affecting outcomes, see Anatol Rapoport, “The Criterion of Predictability,” ETC. 2.129-151 (Spring 1945), and Robert K. Merton, “The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy,” Antioch Review, 8.193-210 (Summer 1948).

[8] Hubbard’s hatred and contempt of women is quite intense. His “case-histories” betray a remarkable obsession with “AA” and female adultery.

[9] Regarding “order,” see A. Korzybski, Science and Sanity (3rd ed., Lakeville, Conn. 1948), 429ff.; also A. Rapoport, Science and the Goals of Man (New York: Harper, 1950), 236-243.

[10] See Wiener’s The Human Use of Human Beings (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1950).

[11] He tells the story in the Preface to The Social Basis of Consciousness (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1927).

[12] Perhaps I should add here that I have never attended a dianetic session, although I have had people tell me of their experiences in auditing each other. Since I have never observed any kind of psychotherapy session, except for watching on one occasion the administration of metrazol, I have not felt myself a competent enough observer to evaluate the proceedings.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on January 8, 2016 at 07:00

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  • Cosmo Pidgeon

    This article by S.I, Hiyakawa is brilliant. Today I look back at my young self in awe of how impressionable I was.

    • Rasha

      Indeed. I was pretty impressionable when I read Dianetics. I thought, if it was in print, then there must be something to it. Being published represented acceptance to me. Today’s post is a welcome endorsement of the skepticism that I’ve learned balances blind faith and acceptance.

    • Jon Atack

      We are all impressionable. Except for those who have successfully blocked their eyes and ears (and, as Pete Townsend said, ‘You know where to put the cork’). Without that ‘impressionability’ we could not navigate the world. I long ago discovered that the people who claim to be invulnerable are the easiest to trick. It isn’t just that my new book may answer a few questions (and solve the worst excesses of our impressionability) but I need the money, so please buy a copy of Opening Minds, give it to all of your friends and make other produce so as to make more money … no, hang on a minute.

  • aurora50

    Since reading this essay earlier today, I have been pondering the following thought:

    ‘Each age, says Embler, has its characteristic metaphors; those of other
    ages (“The soul is a garden, the will the gardener”) are clearly seen to
    be metaphors. But, “When metaphor is new, and when the reader does not
    enjoy the perspective vouchsafed by time, the metaphor is taken literally, and its function is not that of a rhetorical device, but of statement of fact, prescribing certain kinds of behavior.” ‘

    Not sure why…I look at the reportage on the Malheur take-over and mull over the source of the metaphors that seem to be driving those men…I have lived in the West all my life and spent 25 years in a rural part of my state, watching businesses, families and whole communities destroyed by the closing down of the forests and the mills. Other ‘resource extraction’ jobs, family wage jobs, also disappeared, almost overnight in the 1980’s…men in their 40’s were told with a straight face and all sincerity by ‘job counselors’ to go down to the community college and learn to program a computer. What stories have their sons grown up with, to make sense of all that?

    All to say…thank you to Tony for publishing this amazing essay and to Jon for bringing it to our attention. I hope it becomes part of the The Bunker archive.

  • Thanks so much. I loved this! After I trained in NLP I read Korzybiski’s Science and Sanity. The map is not the territory is has been a basic principle I have found useful in so many ways especially when later utilizing A Course in Miracles. Yet I love what you shared how Hubbard has substituted his map as the absolute territory of consciousness and existence.Isn’t this is what all religions to cast their spell to manipulate their disciples to turn over their power of reason and all their money to reach the eluded to destination that is merely a fictions idea in someones mind! Thanks for sharing!

  • nottrue
    • Kay

      Geez….how could any person listen to this and not think LRH was absolutely looney-tunes.

    • Rasha

      Made it … halfway … through.
      “A lot of experimentation could be done with something like this, in order to get it all down fine…..”
      -L Ron Hubbard, regarding abortion via auditing, scoffing “morality”.

      Rasha’s stepping out for a bit.

  • Acherontia

    “Nature has been smart about attempted abortion for a long, long time”

    Oh, so that’s where Todd Akin got his ideas about women’s bodies “having ways to shut that thing down” come from. Gotcha.

    • kemist

      That ass.

  • Gib

    If anybody needs further confirmation of Hayakawa & Dianetics, in the Heinlein archives there is also a correspondence file CORR306-07 between Campbell & Heinlein. In a letter dated July 27, 1950 from Campbell to Heinlein (this is the time period just after when Dianetics hit the stands, and Hubbard is setting up Dianetics Foundations), in the letter Campbell mentions to Heinlein that Dr. Leo West is heading up Chicago, Dr. Price & Howard Hyatt is heading up Washington, and AE van Vogt Los Angeles.
    Campbell also mentions in that letter to Heinlein that Mrs. Carey Grant and Hayakawa have showed up in the Foundations.

    2 bucks to get the above file which has lots of good info. Maybe one day Tony or Jon can do a summary piece.

    • Missionary Kid

      AE van Vogt was still doing dianetics when I went with my sister to his house in Hollywood in the late 50s. He didn’t convert to $cientology, IIRC.

      • pat k

        MK you are ‘experienced’. And I met Bart Starr as a youth. He did not join the cult of $ci- edited to say I admire your experience.

        • Missionary Kid

          I was about 12 or 13. I only went because I thought I might meet van Vogt. I didn’t. My sister only lasted a few months more after that.

          • pat k

            A brave girl!

            • Missionary Kid

              My oldest sister was the one who got involved because she was having a life crises. She was about 20. One day, I came home, and she was out in the back yard, tearing up all her notes (she always takes notes about everything) and burning them in a pile.

              She declared that it was “of the devil” (she didn’t know how accurate that was) and flipped the other way and became an ultra-fundamentalist Christian, which was a bit far out for even my parents. She’s been that way ever since.

              As far as I know, there was not any fair game pulled on her or if there was any disconnection policy in place. That was about 57 years ago.

          • Bobby Tolberto AKA TDA

            Curt Siodmak lived up in Three Rivers, CA, north and east of here, after he retired from
            Hollywood. He came to my high school to talk to a group of us advanced students and was very entertaining wth a light German accent to his excellent English. This would’ve been almost 40 years ago.

            • Missionary Kid

              I’ve never been into Horror, so I wasn’t aware of who he was. I now know of the movies he made that are now considered classics because you got me to Google his name.

              People like that don’t have to tell you how good they are. Their reputation speaks for itself.

            • Bobby Tolberto AKA TDA

              Even a man who is pure in heart,
              And says his prayers by night
              May become a Wolf when the Wolfbane blooms
              And the autumn Moon is bright.

            • Missionary Kid

              I don’t believe in werewolves, but, to me, the human description of them tells me more about humans than any supernatural creature.

            • Bobby Tolberto AKA TDA
    • Tony Ortega

      I have that file. It’s mostly Campbell gushing about Dianetics. Bored me to tears. A much better file has letters that we summarized in this piece…

      • Gib

        I think you ought to reconsider that, Tony.

        While you think it is boring, we have some undisclosed history here hidden in the depths of the internet and those files between Campbell & Heinlein.

        While Campbell is gushing about Dianetics, he at the end says he left the Hubbard organization which he had fully supported. And Heinlein says what he said, there was no scientific proof which Heinlein was seeking.

        The likes of Bob Duggan, TC, Kristie, etc, might be interested in this?

  • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

    What a review, whew!

    So Hubbard who likely didn’t like this review when it came out, likely didn’t even fully understand the reviewer’s criticisms sufficiently.

    Otherwise Hubbard would have hung up his fake therapy when he ought to have quit it.

    Instead Hubbard goes on to take the religion and spiritual angle, and today’s Scientology’s carries on in that operating tradition of offering a pie in the sky (Blue sky) “Operating Thetan” super soul status, that no one ever attains.

    Selling pie in the sky under the name of religion.

    • Missionary Kid

      If Hubbard read it, he probably ignored it. On the other hand, his inflated ego would, I believe, only lead him to use criticism to refine his con.

      • pat k

        Thus opposition is SP

        • Missionary Kid

          That’s true, but Hubbard only set the rules for SPs for his followers. He could read or do anything. After all, he was Source.

      • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

        Hubbard’s strengths as prolific superficial mediocre pulp writer is what Hubbard ought to have stuck with.

        S.I. Hayakawa nailed Hubbard.

        What would Danny Sherman say to counter this, I wonder.

        Defending Hubbard just isn’t doable without falling into all of Hubbard’s own blindnesses and faults.

        • Missionary Kid

          Sherman would only go on and on about how great and omnipotent Hubbard was, and attack Hayakawa incessently.

    • TheHoleDoesNotExist

      LOL, you’re probably right, Chuck – Hubbard probably didn’t understand half of it.

    • Cece

      Chuck, I wondered that same idea. Did he fully understand …. sufficiently? That’s 2 questions actually. Yes, I think he understood that review because I don’t for one moment believe he didn’t know what he was doing so he saw the truth because he knew it enough to utilize it to his advantage. Sufficiently? You mean relative to human compassion and understanding and truly wishing for the optimum survival of ones fellow man? No not even close. That is why he is where he is. Hugs to us all.

  • Meepthorp

    An example of Hubbard bad therapy/ language instruction: redefine polymath as a “dilettante”.

  • salin

    It’s Friday Night – old Elvis Costello does a ‘pulpy fiction’ spin

    • jazzlover
      • salin

        Thanks for posting this.

        • jazzlover

          My pleasure. I actually tried to post the 1977 appearance on SNL which was where I first discovered him (playing the same song you posted in front of a live audience), but it’s only available “covertly”. If you’re so inclined, you can google it and find it at a fan forum as a downloadable bit torrent.

          • salin

            I had a hard time finding a live video for the song. I absolutely love his cutting/ironic lyrics. Just as LRon bungles language, Elvis Costello incisively wields language.

            • jazzlover

              All the great songwriters do. Didn’t L Ron claim to be one of the greats? 😉

            • Missionary Kid

              He claimed a lot of shit, and couldn’t back it up.

            • jazzlover

              Yes, and that was an essential part of my snark 🙂

            • salin

              LRon claimed to be one of the greats at everything.

            • Doc M

              He claimed to write “I AM The Walrus”. Apparently, this was when he was helping them when Lennon had writers block. Because of his bad teeth and chubbiness, Scientologists believed it. He refused writers credit as he was such a modest guy.

            • salin


            • jazzlover

              So profound! He is me and you are she and we are all melded together…………………..

            • Robert Eckert

              …and so on and so forth

          • 5 Feet Long and Luminous

            Is that the one where he played Radio, Radio when he wasn’t supposed to? That bespectacled rebel. (I mean that with love. I like Elvis.)

            • jazzlover

              The first time, he played Watching the Detectives. I’m not sure what the second song was. The Radio Radio incident was the one that got him banned by Lorne Michaels. Most recently, the Beastie Boys were the musical guests and were big fans. They colluded with him to have him come out and sing Radio Radio with them backing (they did a heck of a job, btw). I think by this time, he and Lorne and made up.

            • 5 Feet Long and Luminous

              I didn’t realize the Beasties had done that! Good for them for knowing their history. I’ll have to look that one up on ye olde YouTube.

            • jazzlover

              All of that SNL stuff is difficult to find on youtube. Michaels keeps a close eye on the SNL franchise. I’ve been hoping for years to find that Tim Kazerinsky skit on STD’s (he was on the show with Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo). It was hilarious.

            • jazzlover

              Here ya go! It’s up on youtube — from the 25th anniversary show. Color me surprised:


            • 5 Feet Long and Luminous

              Excellent. Thank you kindly, sir!

            • jazzlover

              De nada. Dig the outdated organ sound 🙂

      • Doc M


        did you know That Elvis Costello is going to do an album with a reformed ABBA????

        The name of the album will be: “ABBA and COSTELLO”

        • Rasha



        • jazzlover

          roflmao. Baby boomers worldwide are shivering in anticipation, just as they do while waiting for Davey Jones to be resurrected for a Monkees reunion 😉

          • Doc M

            Hey, Carole King and Gerry Coffin were also world class songwriters who knew how to use a hook and many of those monkee songs were written by them: Pleasant Valley Sunday, Last Train to Clarksville etc.

            • jazzlover

              Nothing at all wrong with the songs.

        • Sherbet

          Elvis would have left the building if he had read that.

          • Doc M

            I think he’d laugh

            • Doc M

              And like ABBA or Dislike ABBA, but they sure had a gift for writing song with incredibly catchy hooks and that type of musicianship, I respect.

            • jazzlover

              No you don’t 🙂

            • Doc M

              They made so much money internationally and as if that wasn’t enough, they’ve been raking it in on Broadway and road companies for how long now? 10 or more years.

              I had never listened to them until fairly recently and was really astounded by how good “Dancing Queen” was, those two guys ( I won’t even try to write their names) are pretty talented.

            • jazzlover

              I think it’s Benny and Bjorn. I was teasing you, a fellow Crim Head and jazz lover 🙂 If I weren’t teasing, I would have asked you if you liked “Mr. Moonlight” too 😉

            • Doc M

              I know you enough Jazz, to know when you’re teasing. I think that any songwriter would give an arm to write a commercially perfect song like Dancing Queen. Including McCartney.

            • jazzlover

              You’re probably right, not that Sir Paul is hurting for money.

            • Doc M

              You know Jazz, the ABBA joke is an old one and at times when I tell it to some people, someone will get excited and ask when it’s coming out. Remember Jazz where I live

            • jazzlover

              LOL. Remember where I live. I was already a music savant when I was like 5. When I was 13, I stood up to a 19 year old Kiss fan who told me that “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” was crap. Admittedly, he made it too easy for me 😉

            • Doc M

              Good for you!
              I don’t think there was a crap “Traffic Album”!

            • jazzlover

              There wasn’t. I prefer the 3 post-Blind Faith.

            • Doc M

              I know what you mean, but the second album was also filled with catchy tunes. And Pearly Queen was a favorite.
              However Barleycorn was a new ball game, it’s one of 2 albums I literally wore out.
              Can you guess the second?
              Two clues,
              1 It was a Miles
              2 I’m older than you but not that much.

            • jazzlover

              It’s gotta be an electric period album. Live at the Fillmore? I’m guessing you saw him there in 1970. Maybe you attended one (or more) of the 4 shows?

            • Doc M

              In a Silent Way

              I played it constantly and actually had to replace it as the grooves wore down.
              That prepared me for Bitches Brew!

            • jazzlover

              I love that album. Tony plays a simple 4/4 but is revelatory on that record. My fave electric era album is the only rock album Miles did — Jack Johnson. Johnny Mac and that 10 minute trumpet solo at the beginning of Right Off. Killer!

            • salin

              Tops, as far as bubblegum genre goes. Loved them when I was a middle school student. Helped that I took my first trip to Norway during that time – and was familiar with the hot Swedish group, made me love them (as a 13 yr old can love pop songs) even more.

              Fortunately, most of us who loved bubblegum, outgrow it by late adolescence.

            • Doc M

              Yup, they owned the genre. But to this day, if I hear it on the car radio, I’ll turn up the volume.

            • jazzlover

              It took you that long? 🙂

            • salin

              jazz, I was in Indiana – pre internet age. My Mom (who had lived in DC prior to marrying a prof. and moving to Indiana) used to joke (pre internet) that trends would start on the coasts and 5 years later make their way to Indiana. *shrug* That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it.

            • jazzlover

              I assure you, salin, I am teasing you 🙂 It’s my way of checking your “temperature”.

            • salin

              Does it make it better or worse that I *loved* Dan Fogleberg as a college freshman?

            • jazzlover

              Even I admit to having “guilty pleasures”. We’ll just keep that between us 😉

              And, checking your “temperature” meant something totally different than your musical tastes. I am trying to be compassionate. Joking can be a great way to help see the joy in life again 🙂

            • salin

              Thank you. It has been a hard week (getting ready for a house assessment – days of going through and getting rid of things – with weeks/months of more of the same ahead.) I appreciate the temperature taking. May need this for some time to come.

              Per joy – let me go search for a video … if the length is too much – and the poor visuals if the beginning are annoying skip to about 1:20.

              If I recall correctly, I saw a really strange concert combination back in about 85 or 86 at an outdoor venue in metro DC that included Huey Lewis and the News, Dan Fogleberg, Jimmy Buffet, and the Grateful Dead.


            • jazzlover

              As I mentioned before, I empathize with the tough times you’re going through. I do hope you’re starting to feel better, although it may seem (to you) to be taking much too long to happen. I’m just trying to show you that there are things that we can laugh about. I may seem like a snarky New Yorker, but I’m a softie at heart.

              Yes, that seems like a pretty weird combo for a show. With the Grateful Dead thrown into the mix, it must’ve been like a 9 hour show 😉 Metro DC? Merriwether Post Pavillion by any chance?

            • salin

              Couldn’t recall the name – yes Merriwether Post Pavilion in Maryland. It’s been 30 years. I think now, it was a series (went with the same folks to each.)

            • jazzlover

              My sister and her family have lived there since the 70s. Both my folks lived (and died) there during the golden years. I’ve seen a few concerts there myself. I could drive 95 South with my eyes closed 🙂

        • salin


  • Best post of 2016, so far. Thanks Jon, Tony and all the great commenters.

    • Jon Atack

      Thanks! And even more thanks to the great Samuel Hayakawa for putting us all in our places.

  • NOLAGirl (Stephanie)

    Totally O/T but I got the King Cakes today. I promise they look more appetizing once they’re out of their ‘sealed for freshness’ bags. I wish I had a piece for all of you. 🙂

  • Cece

    I’m happy to see that I am enough de-programmed to read that article with-out bias. Thank you Tony for giving Jon the space and Jon for taking the time to dig this up for us. I liked it that you chose to publish the entire article although it did take me most the day to read it all. I have to say I never read the entire DMSMH – I found it boring and monotonous – but I became just as indoctrinated as the next guy. Well it was an adventure those 35 years and it’s even more fun now understanding how it all worked. I just always had ‘faith’ that there was somewhere someone’s that had LRH figured out and I’d run across it when I was ready. LOL – I’ve become such an SP 🙂

    • Rasha

      LRH figured out… the difference? Derren gives it back…..

      • Cece


      • salin

        Watching his videos is always eye opening.

    • Juicer77

      That’s a great post, Cece. So happy for you! (hugs)

  • TheHoleDoesNotExist

    Is is time yet for the Bunker Comedy Hour?

    • Sid

      Hell yeah! We get a whole hour?

      • Rasha

        I guess we have been good, then!

      • TheHoleDoesNotExist

        You’re on in 5, 4, 3, 2…

    • Sherbet

      I’ve already used up my best material. But, seriously, folks…

      • TheHoleDoesNotExist

        I used up all my brain cells for the day. I have to spend them thriftly.

        • Sherbet

          I’m going to put mine to bed, so there will be something left for tomorrow. Ciao, Florida.

    • Cedilla

      S. I. Hayawaka.

      Was Sam Issei, Nisei, Sansei or Yonsei?

    • Cedilla

      True or false.

      S. I.’s brother-in-law was married to Jos. Stalin’s daughter.

      • Eileen

        Wouldn’t surprise me, he had fascist sympathies.

        • Cedilla

          “Wouldn’t surprise me, he had fascist sympathies”

          Which one?

          S. I. or Joe?

    • Cedilla

      S. I.’s favorite hat was the balmoral, Derby, or tam o’ shanter?

      • L. Wrong Hubturd

        What have you gotten into this evening? Prescription or package store?

        • Cedilla

          “Butt Pluggs Rx”.
          Down around da corner.
          Dey got everything.

          Edit to add,
          What’s up your ass?

          Also, He’s not OT today.
          I. S. Hayakawa is today’s topic..

          I find him interesting.

          • L. Wrong Hubturd

            Up my ass? ROFL!

    • Cedilla

      True or false.

      Sessue Hayakawa was S. I.’s brother.

    • Missionary Kid

      Well, it’s Elvis Presley’s B-Day today, and TCM is playing a bunch of his movies. Unfortunately, the one that was on when I flipped on the TV this morning was Live a Little, Love a Little. It was so bad and formulaic that I watched it like a train wreck. It was an Elvis movie set in the swinging 60s.

      Basic plot: Elvis is so cool the girls just swoon. He gets into a fight, and wins against two goons. I didn’t bother to see which girl he ended up with. The movie sucked, but one person, writing a review on IMDB wrote, “Lively entertainment thats better than Star Wars.” Most of the reviewers have drunk the Elvis Kool Aid.

      It wasn’t bad enough to be another Plan 9 form Outer Space, but, aside from looking at the girls and the L.A. of the period, I wasted my time.

      At least I had it on while I was reading Bunker comments.

  • Scientist

    LRH loved to talk, that is certain. And what he said is a clear line of evidence to his insanity.

  • MaxSpaceman

    Pseudo science – a.k.a. Scientology – like Christian Science, states categorically that their
    teachings will provide the adherent with self-healing.

    “Naturally, such diseases when one has resolved the problem of human aberration, become
    uniformly susceptible to cure.

    — Arthritis,dermatitis,
    — allergies, asthma,
    — some coronary difficulties, eye trouble,
    — bursitis, ulcers, sinusitis, etc.
    form a very small section of the psycho-somatic catalogue”

    Somehow, this does not come off as insane to some readers, who join Scientology to ‘heal’ themselves. And heal others (example, the touch assist.)

    — Just what, if any, part the virus plays in the common cold is not known, but
    it is known that when engrams about colds are lifted, no further colds appear
    — A number of germ diseases are predisposed and perpetuated by engrams. Tuberculosis is one.
    — Engrams pre-dispose people to accidents.
    — Engrams can predispose and perpetuate bacterial infections
    — At the present time dianetic research is scheduled to include cancer and diabetes. There are a
    number of reasons to suppose that these may be engramic in cause, particularly
    malignant cancer” (pp. 92-93).

    How many times on the Underground Bunker have readers read about Oatee 8s dying of cancer in numbers, it seems, far greater than one would find in general population percentages.

    No matter– Scientology works! And if it’s not– it’s your fault! You’re not doing it right!

    And still, through all that, there are the adherents who remain, believing till the end.

    It would be so great to be able to heal disease as Mary Baker Eddy and Lafayette Ronald Hubbard Sr. claim they can teach you how to do. The desire to go there, going there and staying there, has caused more human suffering than can be calculated. That combined suffering is a great human tragedy. (ETA: for me, this has always been the why.)

    • Scientist

      LRH was insane. Initially, with Jack Parsons etc, he was willfully insane. Later on, he started to reap the benefits, and became actually demented.

    • Cosmo Pidgeon

      I retrospect my ex wife fell into this category of looking for a cure as well as the wife of a good friend of mine. I met someone on the Purification Rundown with cancer, looking for a cure. To be young and told that you have a malady that there is no cure for is unacceptable for many. Me I just wanted to cruise the solar system from my bed. A minor aspiration.

    • Jon Atack

      Don’t forget that Dianetics and Scientology also cure cancer and leukemia and can raise the dead. At least according to Hubbard, who may not be a reliable witness.

      • MaxSpaceman


  • Eileen

    Hayakawa’s analysis is excellent, but unfortunately had little impact (outside academic circles) on the way that COS was received. I mostly remember him from his antagonism to Vietnam anti war protestors. His speech in Boston triggered the riot police. He had some semantic issues of his own.

  • Fucking semantics. This is why for cats pics. They never lie.

    • Eileen

      So true.

  • Jo

    Super tired and maybe off topic. My sis and her super cute new baby been staying with me for the pass week, seems longer. All she wants is love, food and clean nappy, and I have zero experience. LRH is full of shit.

    • salin

      I love your post. I hear love, fatigue, and a big (hilarious) nonsequitor back to LRH. Glad you are enjoying (with the exhausted caveat) time with your sis and her baby. And yes, LRH is full of it.

      • Jo

        At 43 I never thought I’d be worried about making up bottles and changing nappies. Lol, life is strange.

        • salin

          Hang in there, enjoy (as much as possible), and remember the word ‘visit’ (as it comes to an end.)

        • Missionary Kid

          That’s really nice that you’re helping your sister. Bless you.

          My mom was 42 when I was born 71 years ago this week in Calcutta, India. My sister describes what she went through to make sure that I got some liquid.

          Can you imagine having a baby of your own at your age? (That’s not meant in any way to disparage your age – it’s just tougher physically when the mother isn’t in their 20s).

          • Jo

            I absolutely can not imagine having a kid at my age or any age. Its a total shock to the system, if that makes sense. Loving her and getting use to spending more time with my sis, has been good. Tired though.

            • Missionary Kid

              Luckily, I was in my 20s when my last was born. Even though my wife did all the hard work, there was still a lot to do. There always is when one has kids.

              When I reached my mom’s age, I understood better what a problem having a rug rat like me around must have been, especially since we went back to mainland China when I was 2, and she was working as an RN and a midwife. Those farm girls are tough.

            • Juicer77

              I’ve said it before… your life is a fascinating book. I would read it for sure!

          • jazzlover

            Happy belated! (or upcoming — there’s still a day left in the week)

            • Missionary Kid

              Thank you. It’s passed.

              I don’t reveal my birthday on purpose. It’s one of the facts that I withhold to keep a bit of anonymity.

            • jazzlover

              I understand. Hope it was a good one!

            • Missionary Kid

              It was, thank you.

    • Jon Atack

      LRH is dead. And we can all breathe a sigh of relief about that. We will eventually clean all that shit up.

  • aquaclara

    I am so late in jumping in here today, but wanted to say thank you to Jon for his deep-dive here today. So many good comments, too.

    There is something both fascinating and nuts about all of this. But it’s easy to see how people are pulled in to this, unintentionally getting far more than they bargained for.

    It’s 2016. My mind refuses to let go of some scenes spotted a few weeks ago at Flag- the folks in the boiler suits on their way to an over-long and possibly hazardous work assignment, the poor person stuck scrubbing the walk outside the Fort. Harrison while on their hands and knees, and the uniformed men and women scurrying out of the SP building to catch a bus under the very careful eyes of guards, spy cams and workers who find religion in intruding in the lives of others.

    If you’re still in, consider taking your life back. It’s a good day to start. There is no disconnection, regging, KRs or threats in the normal lives of all of us out here. We’d love to see you out, and free. You CAN do it. Good luck.

  • TheHoleDoesNotExist

    O/T Happy Birthday, Robby Krieger! The Door … It Still Exists!

    • Missionary Kid

      He and Densmore are the only Doors left. Ray Manzarek died over a year and a half ago. To hear them talk about how they came up with Riders on the Storm by morphing it from Ghost Riders in the Sky really rang true with me. When I first heard it, it reminded me of the previous song.

      It’s also Elvis Presley’s birthday. A great voice and singing ability, but a wasted talent because of his manager. The songs that he sung in some of his movies are definitely forgettable.

      • TheHoleDoesNotExist

        I knew about Ray, had to look up to see if Densmore was still tickin’. I saw your birthday Presley. Yeah, the movies are just not quite bad enough to be fun even now. He lived quite a few lifetimes in just the one had though.

        • Missionary Kid

          A lot of people idolize Morrison, but there are some tracks out there where he sounds downright horrible. I’m a firm believer that the great music that the band made was a fortuitous combination of talents that meshed. They were at their best when they were left alone.

          • TheHoleDoesNotExist

            Yeah, many of those weren’t exactly monuments of stability lol. I was thinking earlier how travel wasn’t a thing for most – if it didn’t come to your town, you didn’t see it. How those I knew got into scientology in the 60’s and the 70’s and their backgrounds. Companies stayed in the same place, so families and friends did. Air travel expensive and so was long distance. Libraries were your info center and you often had to wait a while to get a book in.

            So the first time I went out of the midwest I went to Scotland and did Not expect any problems with language. Couldn’t understand a word. Had to have an Englishman help out. But there was also the special words, vocabulary, slang. That’s when I first understood a little about the subject of vocabularly. I didn’t get most of the jokes on comedy shows either.

            But the music – ah, I had no problem understanding the music, even the types I’d never heard before. Well, that was a bit of a tangent!

            • Missionary Kid

              In 1971, I landed in London and eventually hitchhiked up to Scotland. Every 50 miles, I had to do an “ear adjustment” because the accent changed. Eventually, I was on the island of Skye, and, walking behind some people, couldn’t understand a word they were saying. I finally realized they were speaking Gaelic. The rhythms were very similar to English.

              I probably had an easier time with the accents than you because I not only had a lot of foreigners visit my home growing up in Los Angeles, but when I started school in Hong Kong, I had a colonial British accent, which I lost very rapidly when we came to the U.S. so I’d fit in.

              Remember that most of the British music was heavily influenced by American music, particularly blues and rock and roll. Much of American folk music had its roots in the British Isles. Even our national anthem came from a British drinking song.

            • TheHoleDoesNotExist

              Yes, a new dialect every 60 miles. You did not have the usual upbringing that’s for sure. Yes, American influenced as to the pop, but I heard all kind of music new to me – including Indian!

            • Missionary Kid

              By the time I hit Britain, the Beatles had already hung out with Ravi Shankar, so I was somewhat familiar with it. I don’t remember hearing it when I lived in India (I was 6 months old when I left), but I’d seen some Indian films.

              One of the things that I appreciated about the Beatles is that they incorporated a lot of different influences in their music. Another person who brought South American (El Condor Pasa) and South African music to America has been Paul Simon.

              In spite of the fact that my parents only listened to hymns, I got to hear some great gospel choirs and heard folk and classical music in school. Listening to the radio gave me a lot of different genres, too. I had some friends who were into Motown, and one friend who was into the Wailers, who did the popular version of Louie Louie in 1963. Yes, we had toga parties.

            • Robert Eckert
            • Missionary Kid

              I got to see him live when all these mothers brought their kids to see him because they thought they’d see Mork. They were running out of there holding their hands over the kids ears.

              The next time he appeared in town, they had “For Adults Only” all over the posters and ads.

              Damn, I miss him.

          • jazzlover

            Ironically, I thought they never sounded better than on their last album, as Morrison was preparing for the great “ascension”.

            • Missionary Kid

              Maybe it’s my age, but all of their songs speak to me. I missed a chance to see them before they got big. They were an opening act. The thing that I get comfort from is that the venue had horrible acoustics.

            • jazzlover

              Way too many venues have horrible acoustics. When stadium/arena rock became all the rage a few years after the Doors, “perfect sound” probably seemed like a myth. Although I wasn’t listening to the Doors contemporaneously, I was obsessed with them for a while in my teens. “The Monk bought lunch” 🙂

            • Missionary Kid

              It was at Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, and it was an indoor horse arena with a cement roof and floor. It can hardly get any worse.

              I think that they were at their best in their own studio.

            • jazzlover

              Morrison’s antics and “state of mind” probably didn’t help their “live cause” 🙂 The Florida incident, for instance, still lives in rock and roll infamy.

            • Missionary Kid

              It’s interesting reading about it, because the claim by some people is that he didn’t really pull his penis out, but simulated it. Of course, the Florida cops, being what they were, weren’t going to put up with even a simulation.

            • jazzlover

              Different time, for sure. Did the rest of the Doors comment on it after Morrison’s death?

            • Missionary Kid

              It’s probably out there somewhere. I saw a documentary that was made on the Doors recently, and I believe that’s my source. It will be on again some time, and I’ll watch it more closely.

            • Robert Eckert

              Several musicians have performed naked on stage more recently, and it really hasn’t been an issue.

            • Missionary Kid

              Shows how times have changed. I was in Jr. high when a song came out called “Party Doll,” and radio stations refused to play it because it had the line, “I just want to make love to you.” in it. That was 1957.

              The rumor started that “Louie, Louie” had dirty lyrics. Some stations refused to play it, but that made it even more popular. Even the FBI investigated, but came up with nothing. Years later, I did some work for one of the Kingsmen, and I asked him about it. He said that the reason that the lyrics were unintelligible was that only one mike worked in the studio, and when they leaned back to play, they couldn’t be heard.

              He said that it cost them something like twelve dollars to record, and it sold 8 million copies.

            • Missionary Kid

              I should add that I talked with JIm’s sister-in-law for a while about 30 years ago. She was Pamela Courson’s sister (The probate court decided that she and Jim had a common-law marriage). She said that Jim’s problem was that he was an alcoholic. Her sister committed suicide 6 months after he died, and I believe that the sister inherited most of the estate.

            • jazzlover

              He was a troubled guy, that’s for sure. It would have been interested to see where musicians like Jimi, Jim, Janis, Bird and Coltrane would have went had they lived longer lives.

            • Missionary Kid

              Jim was only born a couple of years before me. All of those artists have had an influence on music, often taking it way beyond the boundaries of established music.

              I’d add Otis Redding and Sam Cooke.

            • Robert Eckert

              I saw the Grateful Dead once in the old Three Rivers Stadium, nicknamed “the ceramic ashtray” because a columnist said it looked like something he made in 6th grade arts and crafts. Acoustics were awful and after the Dead experimented with getting the sound tolerable they broke into Samson and Delilah: if I had my way… if I had my way… if I had my way… I’D TEAR THIS WHOLE BUILDING DOWN! [this has since been done]

            • jazzlover

              LOL. I hope the crowd appreciated that. Btw, the new Pirates stadium is now considered by many to be the best in all of baseball. I guess the architect must’ve been there same night as you 😉

            • Robert Eckert

              The crowd roared at the line.

            • Robert Eckert

              YouTube has everything: surprisingly clean recording without the echoes and crowd noises


            • Missionary Kid

              Maybe that’s real command intention?

      • ReallyMGM

        Just an oddity for this thread… Densmore and Krieger had a band called (no kidding) “The Butts Band” in the 70s after Morrison’s death. This ad floats around the Big Star fan groups where they were on the bill the same night, along with actor/comedian Ed Begley. Would have been odd night, ya think?

        • Missionary Kid

          Yup. it would have been an odd night, but the doors weren’t just about music. I believe that they loved theater, too.

  • “Word magic and semantic hash.” Ol’ S.I. was a bit of a genius. Thanks again to Jon for unearthing this gem. I really think that last sentence describes the problem of pseudoscience across the board. Sciency is to science as truthiness is to truth.

  • Share anything good from today or recently, please.

    One of my co-workers is recovering well from the illness and can hold the food now.
    I am friends with another co-worker who I used to hate.
    I am off this weekend and it’s kind of warm.

    • Missionary Kid

      The sky today was blue, and the few clouds up against the mountains could do little to hide the brilliance of the snow that covered them. The tram in Palm Springs is bringing people up to the snow that want it. All in all, it was a beautiful day. You could see at least 100 miles, easily.

      May your weekend be a happy one.

    • salin

      Got through 10 days of sorting through 50+ years of family/Mom items (about 1/3 -1/2 of the job) in the house – with one or both of my siblings. Hard, but progress has been made.

      In the course of this effort, the bonds of ‘siblinghood’ have grown stronger, rather than frayed. I think these stronger bonds feel changed and the change feels permanent, and it feels like Mom has a hand in this change (not from some strange metaphysics, but from what she nurtured in each of us – that under these conditions, grows.)

      • Hugs, Salin. I hear you.

      • jazzlover

        Proof that good can come from bad. I am happy for you, salin. As a parent myself, I can tell you that every one of us wants our kids to get along and support each other.

      • Juicer77

        She would be proud of this <3

    • Jo

      Seen a big smile that was full of love.

    • L. Wrong Hubturd

      I had good pizza today…thanks to you, Dodo.
      I saw some friends this evening who live several hours away.

    • Robert Eckert

      I’ve got an online boyfriend who really enjoys flirting with me and flattering me and talking about his day and my day. Too bad he’s on the other side of an ocean.

      • Send him a spider head massager. I gave one to someone today and they absolutely love it.

        • Robert Eckert

          This is something I have not heard of before.

    • Juicer77

      Good for you!! I realized a lifelong dream and got to do this:

    • vicariousthrill


  • Scientist

    LRH was comfortable with the science of insanity. That doesn’t make him smart. That makes him evil.

    • Ben Franklin

      Hubbard was too insane to understand that he was insane.

    • vicariousthrill

      Yes, exactly!

  • Mockingbird

    Maybe, just maybe a Sea Org member or OSA operative assigned to read this article will let doubt creep in, perhaps a free critical thought or two. It is physically painful at first if it hasn’t occurred in decades.

    That’s okay. Keep thinking and questioning for yourself.

    • Amy Forsythe

      Nice message. Thank you.

  • Dianetics: Human problems are caused by experiences.

    Scientology: Human problems are caused by alien spirits.

    I’m so confused.

    • TheHoleDoesNotExist

      Jimi Hendrix ‘splains it all

    • Scientist

      You just need to pay $150K to get them to tell you the BS

      • Cedilla

        How many IRS agents are Scientologists?

        Think about it.

        • jazzlover

          This has crossed my mind about a million times since last March.

  • O/T: Annual report on Copenhagen idle morgue.

    Last year’s progress on the exterior just highlights the lack of progress on the interior. The windows in the basement still boarded up. The first floor lights on, but only stripped walls, raw bricks and ladders in evidence.

    Not going to open in 2015, I think.

    • Their advanced org sucks bad enough.

    • Robert Eckert

      Looks ideal to me!

      • Missionary Kid

        Yup, because it’s empty.

    • Douglas D. Douglas

      And yet… showing more progress than the Valley Ideal Org!

  • L. Wrong Hubturd

    For you, Dodo. (refresh)

    • Thanks. Seematnics is the most original cat name ever.

  • Observer
    • Captain MustSavage

      This made my day. For the record I think the master Jedi won that duel.

  • daisy

    OT My dog is trying to kill me. I have been taking our resolution of a couple of day seriously. I thought the FB was on board. She seem to delight in making the swans fly, and all other sign of life hear her joyful barking. Even that lovely old person who delightfully waves with her middle finger.( Poor woman must have lost her thumbs in the war ) noticed our faster pace and different course. I smell a romance, there is a man down the street who also must use his middle fingers to , They would make a lovely couple. ( quick question ) are bb gun allowed to shoot at domestic animals ? Anyway I digress. I have giving her less food. It is like a magic trick as the sitz zue dabbles with her food all day. She now has to eat when given he or she gets none except table scrap, I have tried everything to letting her eat on the counter. Unfortunately her dog thinks I am the anti-Christ and will not take anything from me. So more often than not FB gets Shizu food and most of my mothers* I have bee trying very hard to get her into two reasonable meals a day. Tonight however she is mightily pissed or desperately hungy. Our neighbor brought us a beautiful poinsettia with surrounded be 2 to other plants. We put them in a planter and the dogs showed not interest what so ever. Mom bellowed , she rarely bellows. look what your dog has done. She seemed not at upset about may poor dying dog in the last throes of life, but of the bloody mess she made. My mom is not a poet. I could not look it up as the computer is away getting better at its hospital. Our vet gone but some how sent to a godsend of a lovely Dr. who told me to get her vomit, knew that but had now peroxide at home. He sent me to his office gave me some peroxide and a pill. I thanked him very much and immediately switched Drs . I think I love him. My night got even better pour peroxide down and animal that did not want it. She threw up. She is snoaring beside so I guess I am none the wear for me. I am going to see if peroxide will make me sick after meals. Screw Jeeny Craig.

    • Kay

      On the bright side, is her fur now blonde from all the peroxide vomit? Seriously,that was a funny post…I shouldn’t laugh but hey I had a dog who was ALWAYS getting into the worst things that a dog can ingest so I am empathetic towards this. I’m glad your dog is OK !!
      LOL about Jenny Craig…

    • ReallyMGM

      One of the most essential things to buy when you get a dog (after a leash) is a good floor cleaner. Dogs puke. I always say, not only have I seen it all, I have cleaned it up off the floor, too.

    • Juicer77

      So glad the puppeh is okay! What a goober she is… (PS the “waving” people made me LOL bigtime 😉

  • MaxSpaceman

    While exploring Dianetics and Sceintology.

    For research. Need these: [ f 5 ]

    • Qbird

      What IS this, Max?

      • MaxSpaceman

        Juicer hit the mark right above your comment– it ‘is’ a head massager. 🙂

    • Juicer77

      Oooooo, I hope that thing does massages 🙂 Or that guy grimacing in pain?!?

      • MaxSpaceman

        Bingo! I is, indeed, a massager 🙂

    • Qbird

      Niice. smilin’ big. way to go TO! ETA: and Paulette too – yep!

      • Kirkus probably has more visibility inside the publishing world.

        • Qbird

          so this is like, insider good stuff, right then RMycroft?

    • Juicer77

      Woo hoo! Now that’s high praise! *applause*

  • Dice

    Took me all night to read this article from Jon Atack. A great piece in the Puzzle. I knew there was something there with Cybernetics and General Semantics and i got the books – but the books are not easy to read and my bet is that LRH was not that educated to read them either properly, but just as the Jon suggest, used the concept and idears to beef up his oat-meal. This is so great for me as this means that i am almost there in my search on how things (30 years) could go so wrong! I have been down many rabbit-holes, but this is one of the most evil one and i don’t think for one minute that this LRH did not know what he was doing! Creating a SCAM he himself got to believe. What a first class Jerk! When i started this search over a year ago, my intuition was the to build it around the word Semantics, because there is the fatal trick that lured me in after reading Dianetic and i am sure there is more to it, than this article suggest and the search will continue. I have always believed that the “damage” was done, just by reading LRH’s crap, and now i know that this WAS the book that changed my way of dealing with things and people. This is also why i don’t trust people who have read this book and who advocate it or just parts of it. I guess i will keep insisting on my search for dismantling this man’s devastating creations fore another year, while breaking the waves with Tony O’s reporting on the ridiculous “Religion” of $cientology. 2016 is going to be very exciting and i am in a far better physical and mental state since i started in 2014. Those who think’s, that since they are now free of the “Church” and out, they are not under influence – man! look again, there is a hell of a lot, more to clean up. I could continue, but i have other fish to fry! Thanks again to everyone involved in this Blog!

    • seriouslyWTF

      Dice, I am a never-in and cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to find out I spent 30 years living a lie. All my best to you.

    • Jon Atack

      I’ve now spent 32 years analysing and evaluating the grand scam known as Scientology (etymology: Scio – shadows or ghosts and Logos – to study). A friend shared the Hayakawa piece with me back in 1986. As you suspect, Hubbard did not read Science and Sanity but grabbed ideas from Sara, Heinlein and perhaps van Vogt (an acolyte of Korzybski before he was captured by Dianetics – his World of Null A is about the ideas of general semantics). Nor did he spend any time on Norbert Wiener, though he grabbed the ‘etics’ as quick as quick can and added it to ‘Diana’, the Roman version of his Holy Guardian Angel, the Empress or Hathoor.
      My blogs here at the Bunker are almost all part of the deconstruction of the Hubbard implants – implants that worked well enough to enchant and ensnare even relatively intelligent people such as thee and me. As to Hubbard’s own belief, I know I seem addicted to self-promotion, but please read Never Believe a Hypnotist and, on the general subject of authoritarianism my new opus, Opening Minds. I am fairly sure that Hubbard suffered from doubling, as described by the great Robert Jay Lifton in The Nazi Doctors – he was both a crank and a charlatan (to use Martin Gardner’s phrase) so both believed and knew himself to be a scam artist. I am absolutely convinced that the ‘Tech’ is intended both to cure his temporal lobe epilepsy (thanks to Dr Laor again for that insight) and to enslave. He lived through the looking glass.
      I hope to publish the collected blogs, along with a few past papers and some commentary, at some time this year. You might also take a look at Chris Shelton’s new book and Jeff Hawkins’ Closing Minds.
      I am delighted to hear that you feel better now that you did back in 2014 and I hope that the trend continues apace!

      • Dice

        Hi Jon. Thanks to your writings on this Blog, I was able to look at the right things, as i always thought that other writers, was more focused, on DM and the money but not LRH and his “tech”. You on the other hand, brought that up very boldly. My first book was Millers Bare-faced Messiah next, A piece of blue sky. Didn’t work for me at the time. I was looking for the Hard-core facts on his “tech”. – Evidence! I could confirm your findings like thought-stopping, 12 year old inside and all the rest of the phenomenons you wrote about. I have seen it and been there, even before i read your descriptions. Not the other way around. I could see my ex-scio friends, perfectly fit in to this and i knew there was something terrible wrong. so i started to disconnect from them, one by one after checking them out. Like i asked them some very simple questions that others would know about – “do you know the word Empathy?” No! They had no idea. 4-5 of them did not know the word or concept. I could ask almost any Wogs and they all knew. Fact – they had never evolved or studiet anything but LRH since 1980 and he did not use the word Empathy but only Sympathy. Then i knew there was more to look fore. In 2014 most, or all, of them severely dismandled there own Family and one by one came to me with all there problems and i saw it all went down the drain, including my own family life. Longs story! Point is – we all agreed on DM was the bad guy in the story, but nobody even thought about LRH and his “tech”. They (incl. Me was convinced that now they where “out” and everything was fine. My take was, that this shit goes deep, very deep 🙂 And that’s where you came in the picture. Mockingbird did a hell of job, collecting excerpts from the books you also advocate and he saved me a lot of time so i didn’t have to read all kinds of wrong books. so while i was waiting for you to come with the next piece on this blog, i read his blog and kinda piggy-bagged on him (he should have a Donate button 😉 Ok! i could go on and on about this, but i think you get the picture! You really helped out and so did Mockingbird.

        I agree to, what you have written on Tony’s Blog, is material enough for another book, that would really and finally wipe out any doubt about this evil man and his creations. If LRH was on to something – it was my wallet!

        ps. I am waiting for the book – Battle for the Mind by William Sargant – as there is a pasage about how he brings this POW to a condition that is very similar to how LRH imaging Auditing would work, and maybe more interesting stuff.

        Stay Alive Jon 🙂

  • Posting that Hayakawa review could be dangerous. Since he says with Dianetics “there is no wheat” I’m thinking (I do that sometimes), Lil Davey could repackage it as “the gluten-free philsophy!” Also, his statement “concealing from the reader, for novelistic purposes, the distinctions between established scientific facts,
    almost-established scientific hypotheses, scientific conjectures, and imaginative extrapolations far beyond what has even been conjectured” – well, that’s dangerous, too. Don’t $cientologists get to make up their own reality as they go along? Isn’t that in the Constitution? I need to speak to Governor Brown, he might agree. Also, when Elwrong says he almost got run over by a freight train on Venus, shouldn’t he be believed?

  • downtherabbithole

    I am new to learning more of Scientology and all in
    encompasses. Quite frankly, the range of my emotions in this learning process
    is startling to me.

    I am a very simple 55 year old woman living in the Midwest,
    happy and content to have loving family and friends, a roof over my head, food
    to eat, and a job that makes it possible. This exercise in educating myself
    about the Church of Scientology has really upset my apple cart!

    It all started in September 2013 when I read the Jenna
    Misgavige book Beyond Belief. I was sadden for her but did not give it any more
    thought than that.

    I then watched bits and pieces of Going Clear (my attention
    span can be easily diverted at times which I am sure COS would insist they can
    help me with) once again feeling sadden, gave it no more thought.

    I then came across Tony’s book The Unbreakable Miss Lovely.
    I could no longer “feel sadden” and simply move on.

    I began reading all the material available and as I sit here
    on this cold winter day, (it can be darn cold here in Minnesota) I am thinking
    of all the emotions this group has provoked in me while on this learning

    Disbelief, sadness, sorrow, anger, helplessness, feeling so
    naïve. All these emotions and I never had any contact what so ever with the
    COS. Oh dear this is a slippery slope!

    I now read Tony’s blog daily and imagine my dismay when I
    read about Representative Erik Paulsen’s 12/7/15 tweet relating to Marisol
    Nichols. That “angry” emotion reared its ugly head again as he is MY

    This leads to more research of my representative only to
    learn he was once a board member of a nonprofit group which was sue by the
    state of Minnesota. We can now add feeling naïve to the anger I already felt.

    I then venture to the COS Twin Cities web site (
    and view their “Grand Opening” video. I have no idea if this is an “Ideal Org”
    as they once had a location in Minneapolis on the Nicollet Mall.

    Watching this video and elected officials singing the praise
    of this organization brought forth, not only the emotion of anger, but
    disbelief and despair.

    Then comes Tony’s blurb of Amy Harrison (
    with reference to police chief Chad Lewis of Babbit Minnesota. I am thinking
    really, I have lived in Minnesota all my life, where the hell is Babbit?

    More research. It is a very small town of little over 1,530
    (2014) but still in my “backyard” of the state I live in, love, and am very
    proud of.

    All this brings me to the question of how does one truly
    effect change? I wrote my representatives who chose not to respond to my
    questions. Where to from here???

    • Qbird

      Welcome to the comment section of the underground bunker. We have a lot in common, you & I. Most folks simply blow past Babbit on the way to Ely, eh?!
      From here you do what you can to expose what Scn. really is.
      You simply keep talking to people. You do this gently & with facts. Innoculate as many as you can. (This is what I do.)
      Keep your apple cart together, downtherabbithole. Cheers & stay warm. Q

    • vicariousthrill

      I feel the same, though in New York City. I tend to work this stuff into conversations often. I know people sometimes think I’m a little nuts, but I’m 100% sure they are, forever after, more aware of this scam. Hopefully it spreads from there. At least a few of the people I spoke with visited tony’s site afterward, so eyes are opening. Soon those representatives will have to listen.

    • OOkpik

      Welcome. It seems you are off to a good start just being here and posting this. Another fox in the $cientology rabbit hole is a good thing. 🙂

  • FOTF2012

    Wow — Hayakawa’s essay is very insightful. Hayakawa is actually a person who got me interested in semantics in the 1970s and 1980s. One section of the essay that stood out to me:

    “There is a world of difference between predictions which cannot affect the outcome, and predictions which are themselves a factor in producing the outcome.[7] Hence, the testimony of any number of individuals who, having been told they will be helped, later claim to have been helped by dianetic processing cannot constitute proof of the dianetics theory. Every therapeutic theory (psychiatric or medical) that has ever been believed in has worked to some degree, and sometimes to a spectacular degree (witness the rows of crutches at miracle-working shrines), for the people who have believed in it.”

    The essay brought to poignant recollection two things: (1) the extensive clay and other demos of locks, secondaries, engrams, chains, basic, basic-basic, analytical mind, reactive mind, keyed-in/restimulation, keyed-out, etc.; and (2) an experience I had as an auditor.

    As to #1, it made sense then. Only later did I understand that Jung experimented with a type of e-meter, Freud had explored chains, Dianetic auditing was adopted from a form of abreaction therapy (already well explored) and so on.

    As to #2, once I audited a woman with a bad headache using Dianetics processes. She went down a chain of earlier and earlier “memories.” Eventually she had nothing else come to mind when asked “is there an earlier similar incident?” I repeated the question, but became worried that the process was not going to work. Eventually, there was a tick in the e-meter, and I said, “what was that?” This repeated a few time. She appeared deep in concentration. Then I saw on the e-meter that the person’s “needle” had started to “float” (this is an e-meter phenomenon). The woman still appeared to be deep in thought. I waited. Abruptly, a broad smile split her face, she opened her eyes, and exclaimed that she had just had a past life memory that involved a head injury. Her headache was gone she said, she was beaming, her “needle was floating,” and she had had a “cognition” (a realization). These were the desired EP (end phenomena). I said “Thank you; your needle is floating. End of session.” She then went off to be checked by an examiner and I finished my written notes and turned the folder over to the case supervisor.

    What pulled me in then — and what still amazes me — is the incredible detail of processes and theory that Hubbard had thought out, and the reality that the “tech” does sometimes yield such results. Hayakawa grants that Hubbard need not have been perfidious (nor his adherents gullible) and that makes sense to me from this remove in time. But was Hayakawa’s conjecture above that something believed in will often work some of the time enough to explain my #2 above? I have to admit, it might be. Both I and the woman I was auditing were trained. We knew the theory of the reactive mind. We knew what was expected from auditing. We knew that it was expected that the PC (preclear or person being audited) would have memories of past lives. We knew that the original injury causing the psychosomatic headache might wall lie in a past life. And perhaps we, I the auditor and she the PC, unwittingly colluded to fulfill those expectations and led her to a cathartic fabrication that met all those expectations. Yet … our realization of those expectations certainly helped lock us into the interpretation of “reality” that Hubbard had created. They promoted confirmation bias. And the monolithic view of Hubbard as “source” prohibited any possible critical reasoning or consideration of alternate explanations for the results.

    What has to be faced about Scientology is not that it doesn’t work — it does “work” sometimes. What has to be faced rather is that after 60 years, there is not a single documented, objectively verifiable clear or OT, there is not a single documented case that adequately documents past life memories, and Hubbard himself died, rather shabbily, in the typical life span of a homo sapiens member, and died not as a Great Thetan at all, but a paranoid recluse taking psychiatric drugs to try to calm his inner demons. He died lower than most “wogs.”

    • truth will set u free

      I think you are really onto something here. The use of group think to create a positive result always had its lure with respect to the “tech working”. Fascinating first hand account, I might add. As a never in,I was always curious of the claims by auditors of remarkable ,break-through sessions. But the long term EP,as they say, didn’t quite fulfill the promise of clarity and self-actualization.

      • Peter

        For those of us who did have a different experience, this ain’t the place to talk about it!!! LOL

  • richelieu jr

    Hubbard certainly wasn’t the first egotistical blowhard of a writer to write himself into a corner, egged-on by the siren song of his own nasal voice–
    However, he may have been the first to write his readers in with him, like some fat Pharaoh having his loyal serve t’a buried alive with him and his shut because, you know, why not?

    It is like Pie’s”The Cask of Amontillado”, only instead of being lured by wine snobbery the magic in in question was eternal life and Super Powers, but he result is the same: You end up walked in alive in the musty cellar of a madman with some insane but up his smoke ass (excuse me, “research”.. “Ample Research”)…

    It remains to be seen if this 20th century unholy love-child (moon-child?) of Aleusfer Crowley, Madame Blavotsky, PT Barnum, Dale Carnegie, Ayn Rand and Rob Popiel actually accidentall created a perpetual motion machine, an insatiable maw that sucks in the weak, confused and misguided, delegates them from money, friends and family then slanders an threatens them as they deliver their bill.

    Another linguist comes to mind when I think of the infill able viud that is the mother, Hubbard’s cupboard– Noam Chomsky and his idea (not free of the influence of Hayakawa et al, of language as a virus. Hubvardism is a sort of aggressive, weaponised stupidity, a heady mix of deliberate ignorance and belligerent prejudice topped with a smug smirk of assumed superiority…

    Dangerous enough, but it is served by a sleepless nightmare navy of anti-doctors, in-inoculating as many people who have cone into contact with the virus as possible. Then comes the quarantine where anyone with a health immune system (commonly called common sense amongst the common wogs) or a healthy sense of scepticism is kept away until the victim’s own defended can be hijacked to render them infectious drones as well, much like the wasps who lay their larvae in the brains of healthy bees, rendering them compliant zombies who attack their own colonies, serving the wasps interests until the baby wasps have grown enough to burst out of the poor bee, leaving its dead husk by a sort of sebaceous cyst-like lesion to go busy bronchos at the age of four and complain about the Chinese in China.

    Then again, maybe he was just a lying, fat asshole who screwed over everyone he could, literally and physically, until he could no longer get it up and began to demonise sex and train little girls to shout as if they two had big fat research with hemarhoids that hurt like halitosis and a cyst that pulsed to the beat of a different dumber.

    Either way, you lose.

  • Fink Jonas

    “Hubbard’s technical jargon is marvelously suggestive at once of both electrical and psychological phenomena”
    This is why I thought this crap was scientific in the first place, plus the reinforced idea that there was research behind it all, little did I know Hubbard was believing his own crap to be true.

  • Lady Squash

    Thank you for posting this essay. Brilliant analysis.