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Cyril Vosper: The mind-bending illogic of Scientology’s upper levels

[Cyril Vosper]

This week in our ‘Scientology Lit’ series we’re looking back at a real classic and one of the most fun reads in the genre, 1971’s The Mind Benders by Cyril Vosper (1934-2004). It was the first book by a former Scientologist to expose the organization, beating Robert Kaufman’s Inside Scientology, which came out the next year. Long out of print, Vosper’s book is worth tracking down for its sense of humor as well as its cutting insights into L. Ron Hubbard and his ideas. (Prof. Touretzky at Carnegie Mellon maintains a page with the entire text.) We’ve chosen Vosper’s excellent chapter on Scientology’s secret upper levels, which, keep in mind, the outside world truly knew nothing about at the time. We think you’ll enjoy it.

One might think that with the production in 1966 of the first true Clear—a never-before imagined state of ability—and with the systematic output of some 3,000 more by mid-1970, Hubbard would rest on his laurels.

This masterly gift to the human race is surely as much as can be expected of any one man. Surely, he would be justified to put down the reins of high office—there can be no higher office imaginable than to be the saviour of the human race—and leave the rest of we poor shuddering humans to make what we will of our destiny.

His magnanimity, like everything else about him, is greater than all the rest of the world’s magnanimity rolled into one.


Clear was a great gift. It promises peace, heaven on earth, creativity, a relaxed assumption of each individual’s true and mighty status. It promises this to every man, woman and child—and presumably, in due course, every cocker spaniel, ant-eater, mollusc, bed-bug and dahlia tuber; they are only degraded Thetans after all. But even Clear is not perfection.

We were all Clears trillions of years ago and because of our well-known perversity, we gave up our shining lives of self-satisfaction to become people. This must not happen again. If every few trillion years, Hubbard has to come back to save us, he may well get cross, impatient and low in Havingness, and then we would be lost for eternity. We must be made to turn into super-Clears. Whether we like it or not, we must be forced, screaming and kicking, to be as superior to Clears as Clears are superior to plain old human beings.

Looked at in the cool light of rationality, a Clear is merely a Thetan released from the shallow confines of his Reactive Mind. He floats about outside his body with a feeling of well-being and an air of amused condescension towards such things as fish-forks, refrigerators, mountains, suns and galaxies, but he cannot do anything about such material objects.

Oh, he can cause some sort of effects on material objects with his body but he is still impotent as a Thetan to DO anything. He cannot grab a star cluster in the Orion Nebula and hurl it with a gay laugh at the Andromeda Galaxy M31. He cannot rearrange the stars in the Milky Way to spell out “Scientology is here to rescue you.” He cannot even remove the fleas from the back of his pet dog without using Keating’s Powder. Really, he is extremely useless. He is a parody of a true Thetan. He is a dead loss when compared to how real Thetans—Operating Thetans—are.

“Operating Thetan: a Clear who has been familiarised with his environment to a point of total cause over matter, energy, space, time and thought, and who is not in a body.”

A Thetan is Clear when so familiarised with his own mind as to be at total cause over it. By communication to his mind, reaching it, he is able to have it. When he has it, he is able to control it. When full control is established, he can dispense with it. Clearing is a First Dynamic pursuit. It concentrates on removing obstacles and resolving problems in order to get the individual to be truly himself. It increases the dynamic urge to survive as Self.

When this dynamic urge to survive is extended to embrace one or more of the other Dynamics, he is an Operating Thetan.

As an O.T., he is not suddenly at a God-like ascendancy over the entirety of creation. He must be gradually made familiar with his own ability and potential to assume control over his environment beyond the personal, self-created environment of his mind.

The Eight Dynamics are a scale of expansion from individuality to infinity. The individual fixated upon survival for self tends to assign other-determinism to all else in the environment and to elect all else as inimical to his purpose of self-survival (First Dynamic).

Someone with a more pan-determined view will, if the circumstances demand it, reduce personal survival for the overall good. Thus a parent will risk or lose his life to save his child’s life (Second Dynamic). Thus a pilot will risk his own life by flying his burning plane away from a populous area (Third Dynamic). Thus a soldier will die in battle in the Second World War to save mankind from oppression under Nazism (Fourth Dynamic). Precisely how this illustration can be carried through the rest of the Dynamics is difficult to see. Conceivably, the owner of the Supreme Champion at Cruft’s Dog Show could give his life for his pet (Fifth Dynamic), but no matter how pan-determined someone may be, he surely would not die for an inanimate object (Sixth Dynamic). Or would he?

Such behaviour does not mean that the parent, pilot or soldier is an OT. He is not truly pan-determined until he is first self-determined. The only way to become truly self-determined is to get Clear. A person cannot be an Operating Thetan until he has first become Clear.

To quote from L. Ron Hubbard—”Today through Scientology we have a different being than the theoretical being or theoretical stab of the individual who existed at the beginning of the universe. That individual was totally potential and had no experience. He could potentially have all experience but he didn’t have any. He could potentially know everything but didn’t. So he socked himself downscale and eventually fell out the bottom.

“When you put somebody back to the level of Operating Thetan you are putting somebody back who is different than any being who has ever been on the track—there’s never before been an OT with experience.

“Never before in the history of the universe has there been anything but a released OT, a being who is temporarily exterior and feels great but sooner or later—within minutes or centuries—his bank catches up with him and he falls on his head.


“Our definition of an Operating Thetan is that of a Clear Operating Thetan. This is a proofed-up being who no longer has a bank or an impulse to make one and who has experience. This is a completely stable state—a being who won’t hit the banana peel.”

There are eight OT Courses to be taken at a total cost of £1,470 if one wants to avoid “Hitting the banana peel.” To bring oneself to the state of the Compleat Scientologist, one need just add the Class VIII Auditor’s Course at a cool £625 (“He arrives on course and a few weeks later he’s a class VIII …” Merrill Mayo, Clear 179, Class VIII Supervisor) and the Organisational Executive Course at £275 (“Find out the secrets of how to run an organisation. Make a million without ulcers. Take the Org. Exec. Course”), and for the very reasonable total price of about £3,500, one is transformed from a hopeless human being into a Class VIII Auditor and an Operating Thetan VIII.

One does not even need brains. Just £3,500 (if you pay in advance, you get a 5 per cent discount), about two years, spare time to devote to becoming one of the world’s supermen and an unending and indivisible gullibility.

An OT VIII is a superman. More than a superman, really, he is a God. He is: “… total cause over matter, energy, space, time and thought …” and if that is not a God, a total cause over the physical universe, a being who can gaily hurl galaxies about, then there is something badly amiss somewhere.

Hubbard is, of course, head God and as head God, he takes a paternalistic responsibility for all the others. He tells them what to do, and generally makes their life very easy by merely demanding total obedience. By the time a person reaches OT VIII, he is so indoctrinated with the idea he is a God (having paid £3,500, is one of the most convincing arguments) that obedience to L. Ron Hubbard’s wishes is not difficult. Mostly, his instructions are dished out in a similar vein to that of the quotation given earlier in this chapter. A light, we’re-all-buddies-in-this-together, incomprehensibly confused style. It is like pearls before Scientologists though. It “Communicates” to them. It is the Word of the Master. To them, it is not the deranged ravings of a paranoid megalomaniac. It is “dear old Ron communicating to us again.” If it were not so sad it would be hilarious.


The realms of Clear and more particularly the eight levels of Operating Thetan are secret. The material which brings an individual to Clear and then expands him into dizzying heights of OT is so “hot,” so dangerous to mortals who are not right on the Scientology wavelength, that great pains must be taken to ensure it is secret. To make it secret, to speak of it only in hushed whispers of reverence, makes it attractive—”As soon as I’ve taken all the courses and saved up enough, I’ll be able to go on the OT courses and then I’ll really know all about everything.” Another way a Scientologist might think of it—”I can’t see much to shout about in the courses I’ve taken so far but maybe the OT courses will be the answer.” It is a matter of policy in all Scientology organisations that an air of mystery and magic should cloak the OT levels and the Sea Org. This air of mystery extends over nearly all of Scientology. It is almost impossible for an outsider to find out what Scientology is and more especially what makes Scientologists tick. The image of the Secret Organisation—insiders and outsiders—is cultivated by Hubbard. Only information of the most simple nature must be given to the general public and the news media. This explains to a degree the mystification of many newspaper and TV men. They visit Saint Hill Manor, for instance, and see many people slaving away with a deep air of conviction and deadly purpose. They speak to the Press Officer and Public Relations department only to find that all this deep concern is about trying to get people to communicate with each other. It does not add up.

Whilst this aspect has brought much derisive press comment, it also gives the impression that Scientology has a lot more of value that is so esoteric as to be uncommunicable to the uninitiate. Even Scientologists believe this to some extent. Hubbard spoke once of having developed his own particular brand of super-mathematics, the formulae of which, when applied to any problem in working out new processes in Scientology, solved them. A whispered rumour had it that Hubbard had built a Flying Saucer and a Ray Gun, based on Past Track memories, of course, but due to his love for humanity, he would not release such advanced technology until everyone was Clear and therefore use it to benefit rather than destroy. Such works as Excalibur and History of Man are obviously designed to give the impression of vast stores of knowledge held in L. Ron Hubbard’s head; these to be gradually released to Scientologists as they become responsible enough—and as they pay for them.

The OT III course (£365) involves the student in breaking through something called “The Wall of Fire.” In an incredible tape-recorded lecture called Ron’s Journal ’68, Hubbard, speaking from one of his ships out in the Mediterranean, describes “The Wall of Fire” as the major incident or consideration which keeps Thetans as “humans.” Apparently some unspeakably gruesome event occurred some trillions of years ago which convinced us all to be like we are now, hopeless and helpless.

Hubbard explains in Ron’s Journal ’68, how he almost lost his life and sanity in the manful struggle to resolve “The Wall of Fire.” He went through the “Wall” without anything but a grim determination. He realised that the entirety of Scientology and his life’s work would be set at naught if he could not find some way to make this incident confrontable to the ordinary Operating Thetan II. Hubbard announces the development of the technique to a grateful world in his “Journal.” Scientologists listen to this extraordinary tale of heroism undertaken solely for their benefit and the benefit of every other living thing in the rest of the known and unknown cosmos with enraptured gratitude. So unctuous is Hubbard’s appreciation of his own altruism that one would think Scientologists would develop a trace of scepticism but they don’t. Scepticism is a sign of deep-rooted psychotic aberration and is, very understandably, frowned upon by Hubbard and all Scientologists who know what they are at. To be sceptical of politics, business, religions, sciences, the Venetian glass-blowing industry, trade unions, sex and the Pill, East Grinstead Urban District Council, police, student “demos,” baked beans and General Motors is a sign of healthy disbelief. It demonstrates a cool appreciation of reality.

One cannot disbelieve Scientology though. It is a contradiction to even think disbelief could be applied to a subject so purely and disinterestedly based upon self-evident truths. If a Scientologist should become sceptical and, astonishingly, it happens very rarely, he is thrown out or is processed to the point where the contagious disease or disbelief is erased. Under the ambivalent reasoning used by Hubbard, the fact that scepticism of Scientology can be processed out of an individual proves that such scepticism is founded on reactive aberration. To be critical of Scientology is proof that one is denying the true and essential goodness of oneself. Such contradictory, insane and self-destructive behaviour should obviously be processed out of someone with the greatest efficiency and speed. If this individual is so far gone as to refuse processing, that is, to refuse to be liberated from himself, then, regrettable though it may be, he is a danger to the only movement on earth which is capable of being an answer to the Atomic Bomb, the Population Explosion, Wars, the Onward March of Technology, Dandruff and all the other threats that gloom the horizon. He is slung out.

Suspicion between lesser Scientologists is encouraged by Hubbard. It is in his interest for his followers to have but one truly reliable source of information and wisdom—himself. It would weaken Hubbard’s influence if another Scientologist gained wide influence and respect for originality. In the earlier days of Scientology, until about 1960, a few Scientologists tried to do original work. A few tried to write books—This is Life by Reg Sharpe; Creative Education by Muriel Payne; Scientology: Its Contribution to Knowledge by U. Keith Gerry; This is Scientology by Jack Horner—tried to put their interpretation, without the slightest hint of criticism, on Hubbard’s work. These were published, with the exception of Creative Education, by the Scientology organisation but were soon withdrawn when the authors received too much attention or stepped out of line with Hubbard’s changeable and perverse policies.


The story of Muriel Payne’s Creative Education is an illustration of Hubbard’s unwillingness to allow anyone else to gain approbation. Muriel Payne was a highly respected educationalist who had worked with the authorities in India and Israel. She became interested in Scientology as a means to improve the effectiveness of teaching methods and wrote Creative Education to promote and describe these. Using her influence, there was a good chance that Scientology could have gained wide acceptance BUT she had incorporated ideas and techniques that, although not critical or contrary to Scientology, were not original to Scientology. In the eyes of Hubbard any idea not of his creation is evil. It comes under the heading of “mixed practices”—something mixed with Scientology that diminishes its purity.

In more recent years, Scientologists have become more “on policy.” Hubbard has made it so clear that he is the only person around who knows what is going on that no one else ever tries to be original in any way. One of the larger and more cunning aberrations that people have is that they do not like to be told what to do. In order to overcome this obvious weakness, there are processes (the CCH’s mentioned earlier, for instance), and organisational policies to ram the point home that the only use Hubbard has for a follower or staff member is as someone who can follow his word with slavish devotion. He wants to hear of people getting better with Scientology. If someone does not get better in the correct, party-approved manner, then that person is maliciously going out of his way to make a fool of Hubbard and Scientologists. He is rejected as being so stupid as not to realise that here is the Road to Total Freedom.

Anyone with only a vague amount of sense would want to jump on the Road to Total Freedom, wouldn’t he?

Even though that road looks like one of the most total enslavements to have been seen around for some time.

The OT Courses are self-audited as is the Clearing Course. Based upon observation of Hubbard’s earlier reasoning, the OT I Course consists of repetitions of the material of the Clearing Course. The subsequent levels are based on the Route 1 series of processes.

These are exteriorisation processes and start with R1-4: “Be three feet back of your head.” This command is probably audited slightly differently since the command is addressed to oneself. “I must now be three feet back of my body’s head” could well be the way one gives this order to oneself, out loud of course. R1-5: “Whatever the preclear happens to be looking at (do not direct his attention to anything), have him copy it one at a time, many, many times. Then have him locate a nothingness and copy it many, many times.” R1-6: “Locate the two upper back corners of the room, hold onto them and don’t think.” R1-7: “Now find a place where you are not.” R1-8: “What would it be all right for you to look at here in this room?” This is done with the body’s eyes closed (obvious really!) and then “Now find something it is safe to look at outside this room.” R1-9: “Be near Earth”; “Be near the Moon”; “Be near the Sun”; “Be near the Earth”; “Moon”; “Sun”; “Earth”, and so on. This is called the Grand Tour. “Be near Mars”; “Be at the centre of Mars” and so it continues.

An exteriorised Thetan, being composed of nothing, finds little difficulty in any of these exotic commands, except only when he considers he is a body or a locatable object.

Thus an exteriorised Thetan is given confidence, stabilised outside of his body, by these processes. He also gains that all-essential Broad View of life, the universe in which the game of life is played and the supreme importance of Scientology in giving this Broad View to one and all. Only by this approach will people ever regain their true station in life. They will become less involved in the day-to-day trivia. Will learn to be pan-determined. Ants, bees and termites are pan-determined. They work with an admirable self-abnegation for the overall good of their colony.

The queen bee must be protected. All other bees are dispensable. There is an astonishing similarity between these insect colonies and Scientology.

Surely Hubbard isn’t the Scientology Queen Bee?

— Cyril Vosper


Jeffrey Augustine and Bill Franks

Bill Franks is a fascinating figure in Scientology history, and someone who was a help to us when we were writing our book about Paulette Cooper, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely. Bill was Executive Director International in 1981, and he was tasked by L. Ron Hubbard with dismantling the Guardian’s Office after the Snow White fiasco. He talks with Jeffrey Augustine about some highlights from that turbulent time.



Scientology’s celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs’ — now with comments!

[Erika Christensen, Ethan Suplee, and Juliette Lewis]

We’re building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs.’ We’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them, in order to build a record and maintain a watch as Scientology continues its inexorable decline — and yes, we finally have comments working on these new pages! Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Today’s Ideal Mission: Senigallia, Italy!



Now on sale: Twice the Miss Lovely!

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. What a pleasure it is for us to work with her on this after we wrote about her ordeal as a victim of Scientology’s “Fair Game” campaigns in our 2015 book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, which is also on sale in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions.


[Paulette and her husband Paul Noble, who has his own memoir out]



[ONE year ago] Days before jumping to his death, actor Brad Bufanda credited Scientology with saving his life
[TWO years ago] San Diego’s new Scientology ‘Ideal Org’ looks like it’s ready for its close-up
[THREE years ago] Our Scientology tech experts review Lisa McPherson’s grim cycle of guilt and self-blame
[FOUR years ago] More L. Ron Hubbard history that Scientology has done its best to disappear
[FIVE years ago] LIVE OVER CLEARWATER: Watching Scientology from an Eye in the Sky
[SIX years ago] Scientology Accused of Spending Millions to Influence Florida Judges


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,271 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,904 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,384 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 447 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 335 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,642 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,510 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,284 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,058 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,404 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,970 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,890 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,057 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,638 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,898 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,938 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,650 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,176 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,265 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,405 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,725 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,581 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,700 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,056 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,358 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,464 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,867 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,738 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,321 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,826 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,070 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,179 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on November 17, 2018 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, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

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 | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates

Join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


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