I remember as a kid in the 80s seeing the commercials on TV for Dianetics. I was always intrigued but admittedly I never even considered buying the book or exploring what any of it was about. I also remember as a young adult hearing about Scientology in the media, about Tom Cruise and John Travolta and like many I formed an opinion of it as just another cult. As usual though, I stumbled upon exactly what I needed at exactly the time I needed it and recently I did take some time to try to really understand Dianetics and Scientology.
First off, I am not a Scientologist. I’m not an anything-ologist. I am an open minded individual that believes that everything happens for a reason. Teachers appear when I need them to appear and deliver to me the nuggets of information that I need at that point in my life. It’s happened with Drunvalo. It’s happened with Bashar. It’s happened with Crowley. And now it’s time for some Hubbard.
I should mention something before I go further related to Hubbard’s teachings and something I wholeheartedly believe in now. NEVER skip over a word you don’t understand. Take the time to look it up and see what it means. With the internet you can easily do this. I repeat, NEVER SKIP OVER A WORD YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. Heed my advice, pass this little test and move on. Selah* Go to the bottom for the definition of Selah. Then move on.
I was first exposed to Hubbard in 2012 when I was shown the Hubbard Chart of Human Evaluation or what I’ve called the tonal scale chart. It’s a huge multi-page fold out chart with different levels and categories across the top. I enjoyed reading through it because it was kind of funny. There was this one section that gave different levels for a person’s vitality with one of the categories being “cells alive”. I still to this day find tremendous humor in that phrase. It’s like if all you can say about a person is that their cells are alive, they really don’t have much going for themselves. But clearly there’s more here.
I decided to read Dianetics in March 2013. Dianetics is not an easy read at all. Hubbard admittedly makes up words and uses very complex words that he didn’t make up. If you’re going to read Dianetics, you have to make a commitment to it. You’re in luck though because I’ve outlined below some of the basic concepts so you can get a feel for what it is all about.
Here’s the simplest way I can explain the overall message of Dianetics. We are wired for survival. Specifically, our cells are programmed for survival. Our analytical mind is programmed to support the cells’ survival and does so in a rational way. When our cells’ survival is threatened, the analytical mind is turned off and the reactive mind takes over. The reactive mind does what it needs to in order to guide the cells to survival. These moments are embedded in us as survival tactics, as irrational as they may be.
Take a second and think of a time when something happened to you that jeopardized your survival. Were you really thinking rationally or analytically? Maybe you panicked. Maybe you summoned superhuman strength. Maybe you went into shock. The point is you were not thinking and analyzing a situation. You were reacting.
Going a step further, Hubbard talks a lot of moments of unconscious and defines them as: not in possession of complete awareness or self determinism. He describes periods of unconscious as blanks in the standard memory banks. They are contra-survival(look it up) moments. They take over the organism and put them through the motions to ensure survival. In the Hubbard school of thought, these moments are of the utmost importance and you have to grasp this concept in order to understand the rest.
The next concept is that of an engram. Engrams are defined as “a complete recording, down to the last accurate detail, of every perception present in a moment of partial or full “unconsciousness”. Engrams happen during a period of unconscious. An engram can be permanently fused into any and all body circuits and behaves like an entity. Engrams are moments of physical pain strong enough to throw part of all of the analytical machinery out of circuit. They are the antagonism to the survival of the organism.
If you take those statements at face value, then engrams are good. But there’s more to this story. Hubbard explains that the reactive mind, which takes over during periods of unconscious does not have the ability to differentiate what is important and what is not. It thinks exclusively in the fact that everything equals everything.
I think it’s time for an example to explain this in a real world scenario. Let’s say you’re in a bad car accident as a child and you’re knocked unconscious. Maybe you’re not in a life or death situation, but you are unconscious and as a result people are rushing to your attention to “help” you. Immediately when you are knocked unconscious, your reactive mind takes over. You are not thinking rationally or analyzing anything. Your cells are thinking survival so they go into survival mode. Let’s say that your Mother was driving the car and becomes hysterical when she notices that you’re unconscious. Gas is pouring out of the tank of the car so the smell of fuel is everywhere. Tires were smoking during the collision so there’s the smell of burnt rubber. The radio is still on with the Hotel California playing.
All of these little details are implanted into your memory even though you don’t think they are. Now of course you survived and let’s say you didn’t suffer what you think is any permanent damage. All your reactive mind remembers is the list of details, not how they impacted your ability to survive. It has things like: fuel smell, burnt rubber smell, the sound of Hotel California, the sound of your Mother crying….all embedded in your reactive mind as things that ultimately led to your survival. It does not categorize them or prioritize them. To your reactive mind, the fact that Hotel California was playing on the radio contributed to your survival. I know that sounds bizarre but that’s the concept. This is an engram. This concept is so critical to the understanding of Dianetics and Scientology, I can’t begin to emphasize it strongly enough. You have to understand the concept of an engram if you’re going to understand anything else related to these topics.
What happens from here is that this engram will surface again if not dealt with. And the next part is also critical to the understanding of Dianetics. You don’t necessarily need to be rendered unconscious again for an engram to re-appear. It could be something as benign as smelling burnt rubber again. Your reactive mind knows that smell from the time you had to survive the car accident and then thrusts you back into survival mode. This is known as a key-in. See how this works? Now you’re cells are back in survival mode even though there’s no reason for them to be, all thanks to that engram.
I feel that I should make this a stopping point since going further requires a lot of details that I don’t think I can adequately summarize. What I will say is that if this interests you, then reading Dianetics will captivate you. Disregard the doubts and just buy the book and read it….slowly and deliberately. I have no doubt you’ll enjoy it IF this subject matter resonates with you.
I haven’t even scratched the surface on the topic of Dianetics, nor have I even touched the subject of Scientology but I will do so some day. I’ve recently been exposed to some of the teachings of Scientology and I can tell you without a doubt that this stuff is not science fiction and is not just for the Hollywood crazies. So stay tuned.
*Selah – an instruction on the reading of the text, something like “stop and listen” or “pause, and think of that”. It can also be interpreted as a form of underlining in preparation for the next paragraph.
If you’ve read this far, then you’re smart enough to find a copy of Dianetics, but if you need a little help…….go HERE.