Scientology - The doctrine of clarity
by Saurabh Bhattacharya
The Indian connectionStrange though it may sound, but the logically and empirically sound philosophy of Scientology does share quite a few things with ancient Indian philosophy. According to Ambala-based DR Subhash
Could there be a science of enlightenment? Centuries of philosophies, spiritual teachers, dogmas and religions later, the only thing that we humans seem to have realized is that enlightenment, or complete freedom if you will, is too much of a personal experience to be achieved systematically by all.
Bottomline: you either get enlightened or you don't.
Not so, claims Scientology, a unique 'applied religious philosophy' that has been making waves in the USA and Europe for decades with dedicated followers like Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and is now gradually introducing its doctrines on Indian shores. The underlying principle of Scientology is that man is essentially a spiritual being, with more to him than flesh and blood.
Ho-hum. Every religion has espoused the same line time and again.
True. But then, how many religions really came out with a systematic process to actualize this?
Apparently, Scientology has and, in the process, this spanking new religion (the first Scientology organization was established in 1954) claims to have demystified the path not only to the esoteric goal of spiritual enlightenment but also to the far more mundane and immediate goal of mental clarity. In fact, unlike most religions of the world, whose genesis can be traced to metaphysics of the soul, Scientology came into being from a science of the mind called Dianetics.
A STRATEGY FOR SURVIVAL
The seeds of Dianetics were planted in the mind of its creator, explorer-thinker-author L. Ron Hubbard, by a series of cytological experiments he conducted in 1937. These experiments demonstrated that the urge to survive overrode every other possible life-enhancing drive, and was actually an inherited urge that remained potent even as a learned response.
This apparently academic discovery put a whole new spin to the then current (and still fairly popular) theory that life is nothing more than a game of chance. Unlike Darwin's theory of evolution, which gave importance to survival only to the extent of natural selection, Hubbard postulated that the command to survive comes from an 'intelligence' behind the scheme of life. In his work Excalibur, often considered the precursor to Dianetics, Hubbard writes: "All life is directed by one command and one command only—SURVIVE!"
But survive how? Hubbard was not content with mere postulation; it had to be practical as well. And his first major step towards such a practicality, and consequently towards Dianetics, came about in 1945 during the Second World War. Hubbard, then a lieutenant in the US Army, came across 15 former prisoners of war (POWs) who, after near-starvation diets, were found unable to assimilate protein despite all possible treatments.
Intrigued, Hubbard studied deeply the process of protein assimilation and came upon another theory—if the mind regulated the body and not the other way round, then the mind could create mental blocks that would keep the endocrine system from responding to treatment. On the other hand, if this mental block could be cleared, the problem should be resolved. Hubbard tried out this theory on the POWs, and they were saved! This incident laid the foundation of Dianetics in the form of the phrase: "Function monitors structure."
The word 'dianetics' comes from the Greek dia (through) and nous (mind or thought). After his experience with the POWs, Hubbard began the formulation of Dianetics primarily on the premise that it is the mind that acts on the primal directive of survival and, in turn, directs life in the effort of survival.
Having pinpointed the source of most problems that afflict the individual, Hubbard set upon the process of making Dianetics a noninvasive therapeutic science that could successfully handle all kinds of neuroses, psychosomatic ailments, and psychoses. However, to do so, it was imperative to understand the functioning of the subject of this science—the human mind. The results of this exploration were groundbreaking, to say the least.
MIND VERSUS MIND
Hubbard discovered that the human mind actually has two major segments—the analytical mind and the reactive mind. In his seminal book, Dianetics: The modern science of mental health, he describes the analytical mind as a "perfect computer" that "cannot err in any way so long as a human being is reasonably intact". Hubbard goes on to note: "While the whole being is, in an aberrant state, grossly capable of error, the analytical mind is not. For a computer is just as good as the data on which it operates and no better."
The analytical mind gets all the data that it requires to compute from some standard memory banks, which are being consistently fed perceptions through the various sensory organs. Again, like the analytical mind, the standard memory banks are perfect data storage centers, "recording everything faithfully and reliably" since the moment of birth. The only time this process of filing and recording ceases is when the human being is 'unconscious'. By unconscious, Hubbard does not mean merely physical unconsciousness (which is a part of it) but "a greater or lesser reduction of awareness on the part of 'I'—a reduction in the working of the analytical mind". This unconsciousness is caused by perceptions involving intense pain, both emotional and physical.
The analytical mind uses all the data in the memory banks to make decisions that will promote the survival of the organism. "Between the standard banks," explains Hubbard, "which are perfect and reliable, and the computer—the analytical mind—which is perfect and reliable, there is no irrational concourse. The answer is always as right as it can be made to be in the light of the data at hand."
If the analytical mind is the hero of Dianetics, the reactive mind is the villain.
REACTIVE MIND: THE VILLAIN
Unlike the analytical mind, which gets its data from standard banks, the reactive mind bases its computations on data recorded in moments of unconsciousness. It is this mind that records the painful cause of unconsciousness and stores it in the form of a mental picture called 'engram'—a complete recording of every perception present in a moment of unconsciousness, wherein each perception equals every other perception. The reactive mind then throws the engram back to the organism in any situation where the elements are similar to those found in the engram. In fact, according to Hubbard, the act of being born itself is so traumatic that it creates an engram.
In other words, if you stumble on a rock in a hilly area and break your leg, the engram created would equal the pain of the broken leg to the rock, the hill and everything else in the surrounding.
The reactive mind, according to Hubbard, works on the same primal command of survival. But the reactive mind is not refined. Although its purpose is to aid the individual's survival by helping him avoid potentially harmful situations, its associative nature of computation almost always directs a completely wrong, and often dangerous, action.
The reactive mind computes on the basis of three types of mental pictures. The most basic of these is the engram, which must, by definition, have physical impact or injury as part of its content. Then there is the 'secondary', which is a mental image of a time of severe mental or emotional stress. This picture is so called because it is based on an engram with similar data but real pain. For instance, a secondary could be where you see a close friend or family member falling and breaking his hand in front of you that makes you recall your own physical pain of a broken leg. This will create a secondary mental image.
The final mental picture is called 'lock'. The lock does not itself contain mental or physical pain but is the image of an experience where one is, knowingly or unknowingly, reminded of a secondary or an engram. An ideal example of a lock would be when years later, you are walking and are tired (in which case your analytical mind is not functioning fully) and see a rock. Your reactive mind will immediately throw up the engram of the broken leg, and the secondary image of another person meeting with an accident, giving you the impression that the road ahead is dangerous, forcing you to turn back.
This relation of engram, secondary and lock is called a chain. Each time the chain 'keys in' (is reactivated or restimulated), a new lock is formed on it. A physical injury similar to a broken leg would add another new engram to the chain, making way for more secondaries, locks and chains. All these images are stored in the reactive mind and are charged with all the negative emotions the images had triggered. Over time, this mass keeps increasing and reflects itself in all forms of neuroses and psychosomatic ailments. End result: the human being remains in a perpetual state of unconsciousness, working solely through his reactive mind.
The machinations of the reactive mind, according to Hubbard, begin even before the individual attains full consciousness, that is, even before his/her birth. In fact, it was Hubbard who first brought to focus the importance of prenatal trauma and the necessity of handling it.
It is this villain that Dianetics professes to fight and conquer—through the applied religious philosophy of Scientology. And the fighter representing Scientology is called the auditor.
THE AUDITOR'S ROLE
Although literally the meaning of the word 'auditor' is 'one who hears', in Dianetics, the job of the auditor is much more than hearing. The auditor is a person trained in Dianetics to help an individual get in touch with his/her deepest engram and dissolve it, effectively erasing the whole reactive mind.
The process through which this happens may sound like psychoanalysis but is, as Hubbard clearly pointed out, quite different in its results. For auditing does give results—swiftly and effectively, without taking recourse to shock therapy, hypnosis, or medication.
Dianetics terms any individual who is yet to erase his/her reactive mind a 'preclear' as opposed to a Clear—the term given to a balanced, effective and whole individual who has erased his reactive mind entirely through auditing—having discharged all physical and emotional pain from it and recovered the memories that pain had covered up. When a preclear begins a session with an auditor, it generally starts with a question-answer mode. However, notes Stephen Shinn, a Denmark-based Scientologist and publisher of books on the subject for New Era Publications International: "The first question asked by an auditor may not necessarily be the same for every preclear." Individuals differ, and there are also different types of auditing.
But among the most common are what Shinn terms 'Book One Dianetics', the procedure as described in Dianetics: The modern science of mental health—an 18 million copy international bestseller: "The auditor would probably begin by asking the preclear for a past incident he can comfortably face, and then have him return to it, and recount it in more and more detail until any 'charge' (negative mental/ spiritual energy) has gone from it. The auditor might begin with moments of pleasure, and then ones of minor pain or upset, both to familiarize the preclear with the procedure and to assess his mental condition, before proceeding gradually in subsequent sessions into more traumatic memories. The procedure for locating which incidents to run, and how to run them, and how to proceed to the hidden memories which most plague the person is exact. It is described in the book and illustrated in an accompanying video. There is also an international network of organizations offering seminars and formal training in the subject.
"New Era will shortly open an Indian office named N.E. Publications (India) to produce books locally. Several study centers are expected to come up here (India), besides the existing ones in Ambala, Patiala and Calcutta. A seminar program is being prepared to accompany the Indian editions of Hubbard's books." A unique apparatus sometimes used by auditors is the 'E-meter' or Electrometer. "The E-meter," notes Shinn, "measures changes in the resistance of the body to electricity with extreme sensitivity. Since that resistance is directly influenced by the mental/spiritual state of the individual, and by the energy of his mental pictures of past events, the E-meter enables the auditor to detect changes in the preclear's mind."
For instance, the E-meter enables the auditor to locate and direct the preclear to precise areas of mental/spiritual distress and past traumatic experiences, which are often obscured and are partially or totally beyond the awareness of the individual until his attention is drawn to them. Another use of the E-meter is to detect when the preclear has been completely freed of the ill effects of a past experience. "However," Shinn adds, "most auditing is done without an E-meter."
In fact, some auditing does not even require any auditor other than you-Hubbard developed techniques the individual could apply to himself with great benefit. "The basic aim of Dianetics," says Shinn, "was never to be complex but to show that all great truths are basically simple." A proper study of the literature of Dianetics, most of which will soon be available in India, notably Self Analysis and Dianetics, can take anyone a long way in the path of clarity.
But there had to be more to the nature of clarity than simply optimizing the efficiency of the mind. For if the mind was simply creating mental pictures, then what on earth was it creating them for? Who was watching and actually benefiting from a clear mind?
FROM MIND TO SOUL
In a 1958 interview with Dr Stillson Judah, an American professor of religious history, Hubbard explains the spiritual development of his philosophy thus: "In the fall of 1951, I found out what was looking at the mental pictures… and described it. And found out that you could do things with it from a practical standpoint that nobody had ever done before, and found myself suddenly in the field of religion, whether I wanted to be or not, there I was. Very simple—the human soul was the fellow."
So, the fight for a healthy mind, as discussed in the philosophy of Dianetics had a deeper, more spiritual, end—that of a spiritually healthy individual. This led to the founding of Church of Scientology. 'Church' here denotes any religious organization or body of believers. Scientology has no affiliation to Christianity and is nondenominational. Persons of diverse religions use it, without needing to convert.
Scientology is a route to knowledge and ability, a body of wisdom and techniques rather than a set of beliefs. One of its basic principles is that no one should be required to believe anything he has not inspected himself and found to be true. The term is derived from the Latin and Greek words scio (knowing) and logos (knowledge), and effectively means 'knowing how to know'.
According to Scientology, the individual is made of three parts: the spirit, which Scientology calls the thetan, mind and the body. In his book Scientology: The fundamentals of thought, Hubbard describes the thetan as "having no mass, no wavelength, no energy and no time or location in space except by consideration. The spirit, then, is not a thing. It is the creator of things".
The thetan can be found in one of four conditions. The first would be entirely separate from the body and even the universe. The second would be near or above a body and knowingly controlling it. The third would be in the body, and the fourth would be "an inverted condition whereby he is compulsively away from the body and cannot approach it". The aim of Scientology is to 'exteriorize' the thetan and place it in the second, most congenial, condition.
Scientology does not differentiate the individual from the thetan. As Hubbard points out, "the thetan is the person. You are you, in a body". Using the communication network of the mind, the thetan is controlling not only the body but also the more subtle mental energy contained within all the images generated by the mind. "Without the thetan," declares Hubbard, "there would be no mind or animation in the body, while without a body or a mind there is still animation and life in the thetan."
Through the smooth synchronicity of Dianetics, a strongly logical science of thought, and Scientology, a rational and applicable religious philosophy whose facts are simply facts and are immune to belief, Hubbard created in his lifetime a theology that could empirically prove the achievability of enlightenment, a state of complete clarity which he described thus: "Ultimate freedom depends on knowing the ultimate truth. Truth is not what people say it is, it is what it is. And truth, quite remarkably, sets one free." Having erased the reactive mind, the Clear thetan is now in a position to see, and comprehend, the simple truth. That is enlightenment. And, the best part is that given the same conditions, anyone can obtain the same results.
Subject: It‘s all in the mind.... - 26 May 2012
All you nay-sayers....keep an open mind. Positive thoughts, bring positive actions. Try it...get in touch with the divine spirit that you hold inside, and you will be amazed at how easily the universe will unfold for you. it works..
Subject: I sense some subtle animosity here... - 10 May 2012
What you guys fail to recognize is that most of you are talking about what Scientology has become rather than what it started out to be. This is an informative article on the history and roots of Scientology as well as its core ideology. As much as it‘s important not to let assholes get away More...
Subject: Dianetics - 25 January 2012
Sorry to break the dream. Dianetics and Scientology are not spiritual but money making pseudo sciences. As someone who once worked with them for almost no money and was severely mistreated and saw many also treated without respect, forget it. This cult is materialistic pure and simple, the founder More...
Subject: Great! - 3 April 2011
Very good and insightful article, I can tell you really did your research, and were willing to dig to the reality of Scientology. :)
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