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When you postulate upon a star: L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology’s funny made-up words

Jon_Atack3Jon 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 three years he’s been helping 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.

Ron Hubbard surely understood the importance of words: While Shakespeare added over a thousand new definitions to the English language, Hubbard left two 500-page dictionaries. However, where Shakespeare’s language is insightful, poetic, and beautiful, Hubbard’s is more usually obfuscating, awkward, and ugly.

Hubbard said that conceptual understanding can only come once you understand the words, but by focusing solely on the words, he distracted us from any detailed examination of those concepts. Believers are denied the chance to talk about those concepts, which Hubbard forbade as “verbal technology.” So, the words are “cleared” but the concepts remain unexplored. We could not see the concepts for the words, or the wood for the trees.

A fine example of a concept slipped into a word that actually creates new meaning is the word postulate. In its origins, a postulate is a demand. In logic, it means, “A proposition demanded or claimed to be granted; especially something claimed or assumed as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or belief; hence, a fundamental condition or principle…” (Oxford English Dictionary).

Without allowing any discussion, Hubbard transforms the word postulate into “a self-created truth” or “that self-determined thought which starts, stops or changes past, present, or future events.” This second definition (from Advanced Procedures and Axioms), bothered me even as a believer. How do we “start, stop, or change” past events?

It was only after I had left Scientology that Hubbard’s method for changing the past became evident – I compared tens of his autobiographies and discovered the many contradictions between them: indeed, no two were consistent. In Hubbard’s world, the past is changed by lying – a simple form of “postulate.”

Hubbard also defined postulate as “a prediction,” or “causative thinkingness” (a word Shakespeare managed to avoid). All of this verbiage to hide a simple change in the believer’s information processing: A postulate is nothing more nor less than a wish. Hubbard was determined to make his rag-bag of ideas seem scientific. So pompous, nebulous language like “postulate” fits perfectly. It seems solid enough at first, but like so much in Hubbard’s weltanschauung, it melts like sea foam in the slightest breeze.

When I walked through the doors of Moseley’s Scientology Franchise, if I had been told that I would be expected to adopt such childish make-believe, I would have wished the staff there a cheery goodbye and headed straight for home.

To think that the universe bends to the whims of any single human being is too far-fetched for me. Hubbard impishly ignored the impossible complexity of so many billions of billions of beings throughout the universe, all postulating simultaneously. The math just doesn’t work (and, no, reality isn’t actually agreement, unless you have accepted the suggestion of a hypnotist).

The OED has one more definition of postulate – “An unproved assumption” – which fits nicely with the word as Hubbard employed it. When I heard about the massive thefts made internationally by the Guardian’s Office, I knew that Scientology did not really work. If a single Operating Thetan actually existed, there would have been no need to steal those files, because that OT would have been able to sneak a peek at even the most sequestered government file.

Let’s face it, there are thousands of believers postulating the demise of the Bunker, yet here we all still are, proving that Scientologists’ postulates quite simply do not work.

— Jon Atack


TODAY: ‘Battlefield Earth’ invading a Barnes & Noble near you

On Tuesday, Scientology held a cute promotion for its re-release of L. Ron Hubbard’s 34-year-old sweaty splatbook, Battlefield Earth, that featured a crashed spaceship and men in kilts.

A tipster noticed that today, that promotion goes national as Scientology is hosting book launch events in a sampling of Barnes & Noble bookstores around the country. The events last from about noon to 4 pm depending on the location, and they are actually selling tickets to these things. If there’s a B&N in your neighborhood and you have the time, drop by today and send us a photo of what’s going on.


Some of the locations scheduled for today’s events:

Brandon, FL (Books-a-Million)
Lincoln Park, TX
Clearwater, FL
Coral Gables, FL
Katy, TX (Books-a-Million)
Beverly Hills, CA
Battle Creek, MI
Trumbull, CT
Florence, KY
Howard University
Lexington, NY
Douglasville, GA
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Kansas City, MO
Hanover, MD
Springfield, PA
Grapevine, TX
Spanish Fort, AL
Salt Lake City
Beaverton, OR
Baton Rouge, LA (Books-a-Million)
Juliet, TN (Books-a-Million)
Hazlewood, MO (Books-a-Million)
Sugarhouse, UT
Las Vegas
Burbank, CA
Orange, CA
Calabasas, CA
Emeryville, CA


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 18, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


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  • Gertrudis

    2000 comments! Such a fantastic day; so much fun …

    How great was today — putting faces to all those avatars?

  • F5

  • Observer’s Freedom Medal of Ultra Valor 🙂

  • F5

  • Who photographs the photographers?

    • Missionary Kid

      OSA – Just kidding.

    • Missionary Kid

      I posted my answer without refreshing and looking for a photo.

  • Chris

    • FredEX2

      Wow! The special guest at HowdyCon was David Touretsky I think…but in this photo it looks like Chris Shelton was there? Am I mistaken? Kinda looks like him from the side. ( where’s my glasses? ) 🤓 Wish I could’ve been there.

      • Robert Eckert

        Yes, Touretsky was the featured speaker but Shelton had a lot to say as well.

  • Dice ✓

    “British Scientology Doc Maker Says Church Was “Worried He’d Get Hurt” After Threat by Member”

    • Gertrudis

      “… My Scientology Doc, Theroux’s first theatrical feature, is now set for a U.S. launch, having been picked up by Magnolia last month.”

      Really looking forward to seeing this!

    • FredEX2

      Let me try to get this straight…so Scientology supposedly received ‘a call’ that was threatening Louis Theroux? So THEY ( Scientology ) called the local police in an attempt to ‘protect’ Theroux ( someone they consider a horrible SP) …because they ‘care’?

      Well if THAT isn’t one of the best strategies of ‘slight of hand’…EVER…bc what they really mean is Hey Theroux! Listen up….’this is really a super duper veiled threat’ that ‘something’ could happen to You…and we really really want You to know that…while we make it appear that it surely wasn’t us…

      ~Kinda like the game…’Hey everyone looky over here…and while others are distracted…perhaps OSA is sneakin around from another direction. It wasn’t us…but it was us …but don’t think it’s us…coz now you see us now you don’t…bc we called the police on ourselves…or something like that?…and WOW! They even got the police to deliver the real hidden message 😆 One of the most creative ways to let someone know they’re under threat by THEM while appearing that they couldn’t possibly do anything bc THEY were the ones who tried to protect Theroux…yep! No one will ever know…shhhhhhhh

      Well there. That wasn’t so hard to figure out. The day Scientology ‘cares’ about the welfare of an SP…especially one as big as Theroux…is the day I’ll eat my hat! It’s too late for them to redeem themselves in yet another attempt to appear completely opposite of what they are. Calling the police with the pretense of caring about Theroux’s welfare…isn’t going to get them off the watch-list of authorities.

      • Dice ✓

        You got it 🙂 tricky ay? 🙂

      • Scream Nevermore

        It’s OK FredEX, we Brits, being a cynical bunch at the best of times, saw through it right away! 😉

        • FredEX2

          My Great Grandpa was from I’m just a little bit Brit too. 😘

      • Qbird

        sneaky bastards. You okay, Fred?
        Did you determine for certain what happened to daughter’s pup?
        Hugs to you & her.

        • FredEX2

          Hi Qbird, no they haven’t determined what happened, ~but she had the symptoms of poisoning. It was sudden. She was in excellent health up to hours before it happened. ~Something toxic must’ve been ingested bc it happened so quickly. My daughter found her already passed away by the time she rushed home from the airport. She is still too sad to talk about it. She was inconsolable for a few days after. Just letting things soften for her seems the most right thing to do.

          • Qbird

            Fair enough, yes, must allow for some grieving… I understand completely… must allow for her to manage for herself. But listen, if I may be so bold: I know it is too soon for you to tell your daughter this, but, I shit you not, a puppy is good for what ails you. I guarantee there is a pup out there who truly, seriously, genuinely, totally needs your daughter
            when she’s ready.

            When my pet of 17 years passed, i was told this too. And I just ‘couldn’t’… at the time. I was just too sad, but then, another pet came into my arms, into my life, serendipitously & it helped to heal me. It truly did.
            We helped to heal each other. u see what i’m saying?
            Just keep it in mind perhaps… and of course, for real, you know how best to console your daughter… how to comfort her in her sorrow.

            I am hating this poisoning thing – it ain’t right.
            it kills me some inside.

            • FredEX2

              Awwwww Qbird, you’re so nice to care. I actually agree with you about getting a puppy. Perhaps she will in a few weeks or months…when she’s ready. For now she’s snuggling with her other doggie and just now starting to venture out and about again. She has lots of friends who are there for her and she’ll be ok. Just a very hard and sudden loss. Her dogs are her ‘babies’…like most of us…our pets are part of the family.

              Here’s a pic of her sweet English Bulldog just 2 weeks ago. She was very healthy and a happy funny dog. When my daughter went on the 2 day business trip for her work, her dogs were both healthy and doing great. It was a shock and very traumatizing for her to rush home and find her dog had been left alone to suddenly die. My daughter was crying bc she was wondering if her dog ‘felt bad’ that she wasn’t there, and she feels so sad that she wasn’t there for her, and it’s hard for her to know she suffered. She blames herself bc she had let that guy take care of them.

              Anyway, The little black one in the pic is her other dog and he’s actually been looking everywhere for his companion, he’s mourning too and is lethargic, crying and whimpering and not eating…My daughter is strong and she’ll be ok…but the whole thing has been so hurtful. 😓

            • Qbird

              oh tks for the photo! — look at that bulldog face!!! hahaha. Also good to know she has another who needs her. whew.

    • chukicita

      Yes, instead of using their internal Hydra intelligence network standard operating procedure — to locate and neutralize their errant member themselves, like with Lisa McPherson — they call the *wog police?*


      • Dice ✓

        and the wog police will flock to protect him from this phantom scio member 🙂 They can be so primitive!

  • Dice ✓
  • Lighthouse

    Another great article and expose from Jon Atack. Thanks so much, Jon.

    • Dice ✓

      Yes Jon – keep debunking the Tech Dic! It is needed and wanted!

  • Dice ✓

    If the webmaster on this site: see this comment – Please put up some Social Media Sharing buttons on this website.

  • Gertrudis

    Just a weird song I like … :0)

  • Dice ✓
  • consigli3r3

    You mean the B&N that is closing store because the overwhelming majority of avid readers user electronic media over printed page? They really hate the internet don’t they?

  • Elwrong started out with postulates, but by the end all he had was a pustulate – a sebaceous cyst on top of his bloated balding head. Funny how that worked.