Dianetics (from Greek dia, meaning "through", and nous, meaning "mind") is a set of ideas and practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body created by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Dianetics is practiced by followers of Scientology, the Nation of Islam (as of 2010), and independent Dianeticist groups.
Dianetics divides the mind into three parts: the conscious "analytical mind", the subconscious "reactive mind", and the somatic mind. The goal of Dianetics is to erase the content of the "reactive mind", which Scientologists believe interferes with a person's ethics, awareness, happiness, and sanity. The Dianetics procedure to achieve this erasure is called "auditing". In auditing, the Dianetic auditor asks a series of questions (or commands) and elicits answers to help a person locate and deal with painful experiences of the past, which Scientologists believe to be the content of the "reactive mind".
Practitioners of Dianetics believe that "the basic principle of existence is to survive" and that the basic personality of humans is sincere, intelligent, and good. The drive for goodness and survival is distorted and inhibited by aberrations "ranging from simple neuroses to different psychotic states to various kinds of sociopathic behavior patterns." Hubbard developed Dianetics, claiming that it could eradicate these aberrations.
When Hubbard formulated Dianetics, he described it as "a mix of Western technology and Oriental philosophy". He said that Dianetics "forms a bridge between" cybernetics and general semantics (a set of ideas about education originated by Alfred Korzybski, which received much attention in the science fiction world in the 1940s)—a claim denied by scholars of General Semantics, including S. I. Hayakawa, who expressed strong criticism of Dianetics as early as 1951. Hubbard claimed that Dianetics could increase intelligence, eliminate unwanted emotions and alleviate a wide range of illnesses he believed to be psychosomatic. Among the conditions purportedly treated were arthritis, allergies, asthma, some coronary difficulties, eye trouble, ulcers, migraine headaches, "sexual deviation" (which for Hubbard included homosexuality), and even death. Hubbard asserted that "memories of painful physical and emotional experiences accumulate in a specific region of the mind, causing illness and mental problems." He taught that "once these experiences have been purged through cathartic procedures he developed, a person can achieve superior health and intelligence." Hubbard also variously defined Dianetics as "a spiritual healing technology" and "an organized science of thought."
Dianetics predates Hubbard's classification of Scientology as an "applied religious philosophy". Early in 1951, he expanded his writings to include teachings related to the soul, or "thetan". Dianetics is practiced by several independent Dianetics-only groups not connected with Scientology, and also Free Zone or Independent Scientologists. The Church of Scientology has prosecuted a number of people in court for unauthorized publication of Scientology and Dianetics copyrighted material.
L. Ron Hubbard published Dianetics on May 9, 1950, as a "branch of self-help psychology". In Dianetics, Hubbard introduced the "phenomena known as 'engrams'" as the source of "all psychological pain, which in turn harmed mental and physical health." He also claimed that individuals could reach the state of "clear", or a state of "exquisite clarity and mental liberation, by exorcising their engrams to an 'auditor,' or listener acting as therapist." While not accepted by the medical and scientific establishment, in the first two years of its publication, over 100,000 copies of the book were sold. Many enthusiasts emerged to form groups to study and practice Dianetics. The atmosphere from which Dianetics was written about in this period was one of "excited experimentation". Roy Wallis writes that Hubbard's work was regarded as an "initial exploration" for further development. Hubbard wrote an additional six books in 1951, drawing the attention of a significant fan base.
Hubbard always claimed that his ideas of Dianetics originated in the 1920s and 1930s. By his own account, LRH had been injured by the premature detonation of a primer mechanism on a small depth charge that had become stuck in the launch rack aboard the navy ship he was assigned to in 1941. His injuries were mainly flash burns to his eyes and so was despatched ashore and he spent a great deal of his recovery time in the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital's library, (despite claiming in his authorised biography that he was blinded). LRH encountered the work of Thompson, Korzybski, Jung, Freud, Perls and other psychoanalysts.
In his 1955 Phoenix Lectures Series, Hubbard himself, explains that he took the opportunity to enter an office where research papers on the US Naval Medical Research Division's work on PTSD were kept in a filing cabinet and he spent the lunch hour free to read the notes left lying on the desk of the Naval Medical Officer involved. Much of what he learned then, along with his recent mastery of hypnotherapy technique by mail order, was influential in his later development of ideas and concepts for Dianetics Therapy from 1947 onwards. All he needed was medical and scientific testing and approval from any source. However, his several attempts were blocked by several luminaries of the (AMA) American Medical Association in the years 1948–1958, such as Professors Duncan Cameron and Allan Whyte (White), who both were senior authorities within the AMA-funded Psychiatric Research Department, then conducting their own research into drug therapies and controversial psycho-surgical techniques on severely traumatised war veterans.
Hubbard claimed in his several public lectures during the 1950s to have "undertaken clinical research at several of the institutions" they, Cameron and Whyte, had directed. Historical AMA records show that LRH was never officially involved in any approved clinical trials or research into PTSD. It is thought that Hubbard simply privately visited patients and conducted unauthorised interviews with several war veterans suffering from Trauma, Psychosomatic illness and practiced some of the newly identified PTSD techniques being clinically tested by several AMA medical institutions after WW2. (from personal Interviews with Joseph A. Winter, in Peoria,1959).
In April 1950, Hubbard, and several others, (Marjorie Cameron, De Mille, Art Ceppos, AE Van Vogt, Joseph A. Winter, MD.), established the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth, New Jersey to coordinate work related to the forthcoming publication of DMSMH by Random House in May 1950 in NYC. Through the marketing efforts of Hubbard's friend and mentor John W. Campbell Jnr., (editor of Astounding Science Fiction of Street and Smith fame), Hubbard's articles on Dianetics hit the newsstands in NYC and became an overnight sensation among the usual readers with almost 350,000 copies sold of the May 1950 issue. (See interviews with John Campbell in his published 1978 biography.)
Hubbard first introduced Dianetics to the public in the article Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science published in the May 1950 issue of the magazine Astounding Science Fiction. Hubbard wrote Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health at that time, allegedly completing the 180,000-word book in six weeks. The introduction of the book was the subject of an Associated Press article on 29 March 1950, with the lead "Discovery of a sub-mind is claimed in a new book entitled Dianetics".
When Dianetics was published in 1950, Hubbard announced in the opening pages, "The first contribution of Dianetics is the discovery that the problems of thought and mental function can be resolved within the bounds of the finite universe, which is to say that all data needful to the solution of mental action and Man's endeavor can be measured, sensed and experienced as scientific truths independent of mysticism or metaphysics." This was in line with Hubbard's initial presentation of Dianetics as a science, almost four years before he founded Scientology.
Publication of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health brought in a flood of money, which Hubbard used to establish Dianetics foundations in six major American cities. Dianetics shared The New York Times best-seller list with other self-help writings, including Norman Vincent Peale's The Art of Happiness and Henry Overstreet's The Mature Mind. Scholar Hugh B. Urban asserted that the initial success of Dianetics was reflective of Hubbard's "remarkable entrepreneurial skills." Posthumously, Publisher's Weekly awarded Hubbard a plaque to acknowledge Dianetics appearing on its bestseller list for one hundred weeks, consecutively.
Some of the initial strongest supporters of Dianetics in the 1950s were John W. Campbell, editor of Astounding Science Fiction and Joseph Augustus Winter, a writer and medical physician. Campbell published some of Hubbard's short stories and Winter hoped that his colleagues would likewise be attracted to Hubbard's Dianetics system.
In January 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners instituted proceedings against the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth for 'teaching medicine without a licence', which was quickly resolved when the courts were made aware that the HDRF deputy director Winter was registered as an MD in the state of Michigan and New York. . The Foundation closed its doors when Hubbard ditched the Foundation, causing the proceedings to be vacated, but its creditors began to demand settlement of its outstanding debts. Don Purcell, a millionaire Dianeticist from Wichita, Kansas, offered a brief respite from bankruptcy, but the Wichita Foundation's finances soon failed again in 1952 when Hubbard ran off to Phoenix with all his Dianetics materials to avoid the court bailiffs sent in by Don Purcell, who had paid a considerable amount of money to Hubbard for the copyrights to Dianetics in an effort to keep Hubbard from bankruptcy again.
In 1954, Hubbard defined Scientology as a religion focused on the spirit, differentiating it from Dianetics, and subsequently Dianetics Auditing Therapy, which he defined as a counseling based science that addressed the physical being. He stated, "Dianetics is a science which applies to man, a living organism; and Scientology is a religion." When Hubbard morphed Dianetics therapy into the religion of Scientology, Jesper Aagaard Petersen of Oxford University surmises that it could have been for the benefits from establishing it is a religion as much as it could have been from the result of Hubbard's "discovery of past life experiences and his exploration of the thetan." The reason being to avoid copyright infringement issues with use of the name Dianetics then held by Don Purcell. Purcell later donated the copyright ownership back (to Hubbard) after Winter and Van Vogt had independently negotiated charitable debt relief with the disenchanted oil millionaire Purcell.
With the temporary sale of assets resulting from the HDRF's bankruptcy, Hubbard no longer owned the rights to the name "Dianetics", but its philosophical framework still provided the seed for Scientology to grow. Scientologists refer to the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health as "Book One." In 1952, Hubbard published a new set of teachings as "Scientology, a religious philosophy." Scientology did not replace Dianetics but extended it to cover new areas: Where the goal of Dianetics is to rid the individual of his reactive mind engrams, the stated goal of Scientology is to rehabilitate the individual's spiritual nature so that he may reach his full potential.
In 1963 and again in May 1969, Hubbard reorganized the material in Dianetics, the auditing commands, and original Volney Mathieson invented E-meter use, naming the package "Standard Dianetics." In a 1969 bulletin, "This bulletin combines HCOB 27 April 1969 'R-3-R Restated' with those parts of HCOB 24 June 1963 'Routine 3-R' used in the new Standard Dianetic Course and its application. This gives the complete steps of Routine 3-R Revised."
In 1978, Hubbard released New Era Dianetics (NED), a revised version supposed to produce better results in a shorter period of time. The course consists of 11 rundowns and requires a specifically trained auditor. It is similar to Standard Dianetics, but the person being audited is encouraged to find the decision or "postulate" he made during or as a result of the incident. ("Postulate" in Dianetics and Scientology has the meaning of "a conclusion, decision or resolution made by the individual himself; to conclude, decide or resolve a problem or to set a pattern for the future or to nullify a pattern of the past" in contrast to its conventional meanings.)
In the book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, Hubbard describes techniques that he suggests can rid individuals of fears and psychosomatic illnesses. A basic idea in Dianetics is that the mind consists of two parts: the "analytical mind" and the "reactive mind." The "reactive mind", the mind which operates when a person is physically unconscious, acts as a record of shock, trauma, pain, and otherwise harmful memories. Experiences such as these, stored in the "reactive mind" are dubbed "engrams". Dianetics is proposed as a method to erase these engrams in the reactive mind to achieve a state of clear.
Hubbard described Dianetics as "an organized science of thought built on definite axioms: statements of natural laws on the order of those of the physical sciences". In April 1950, before the public release of Dianetics, he wrote: "To date, over two hundred patients have been treated; of those two hundred, two hundred cures have been obtained."
In Dianetics, the unconscious or reactive mind is described as a collection of "mental image pictures," which contain the recorded experience of past moments of unconsciousness, including all sensory perceptions and feelings involved, ranging from pre-natal experiences, infancy and childhood, to even the traumatic feelings associated with events from past lives and extraterrestrial cultures. The type of mental image picture created during a period of unconsciousness involves the exact recording of a painful experience. Hubbard called this phenomenon an engram, and defined it as "a complete recording of a moment of unconsciousness containing physical pain or painful emotion and all perceptions."
Hubbard said that in Dianetics, it was the analytical mind and not the reactive mind that was the most important because the analytical mind "computes decisions" even when these are dictated by the reactive mind. The damage and aberration caused by the reactive mind would not be possible without the analytic mind. Hubbard stated, "the analytical is so important to the intelligent being and the somatic mind so important to the athlete that Dianetics processing can be said to consist of deintensifying the reactive mind so that the analytical and somatic minds can be free to function properly."
Hubbard proposed that painful physical or emotional traumas caused "aberrations" (deviations from rational thinking) in the mind, which produced lasting adverse physical and emotional effects, similar to conversion disorders. When the analytical (conscious) mind shut down during these moments, events and perceptions of this period were stored as engrams in the unconscious or reactive mind. (In Hubbard's earliest publications on the subject, engrams were variously referred to as "Norns", "Impediments," and "comanomes" before "engram" was adapted from its existing usage at the suggestion of Joseph Augustus Winter, MD.) Some commentators noted Dianetics's blend of science fiction and occult orientations at the time.
Hubbard claimed that these engrams are the cause of almost all psychological and physical problems. In addition to physical pain, engrams could include words or phrases spoken in the vicinity while the patient was unconscious. For instance, Winter cites the example of a patient with a persistent headache supposedly tracing the problem to a doctor saying, "Take him now," during the patient's birth. Hubbard similarly claimed that leukemia is traceable to "an engram containing the phrase 'It turns my blood to water.'" While it is sometimes claimed that the Church of Scientology no longer stands by Hubbard's claims that Dianetics can treat physical conditions, it still publishes them: "... when the knee injuries of the past are located and discharged, the arthritis ceases, no other injury takes its place and the person is finished with arthritis of the knee." "[The reactive mind] can give a man arthritis, bursitis, asthma, allergies, sinusitis, coronary trouble, high blood pressure ... And it is the only thing in the human being which can produce these effects ... Discharge the content of [the reactive mind] and the arthritis vanishes, myopia gets better, heart illness decreases, asthma disappears, stomachs function properly and the whole catalog of ills goes away and stays away."
Hubbard defined the third mind, or the somatic mind, as "that mind which, directed by the analytical or reactive mind, places solution into effect on the physical level." If an individual is not suffering from aberration or engrams are not restimulated, thus causing the person to relive pain, the analytical mind controls the somatic mind, in turn controlling blood flow, the heartbeat and endocrines. When a person is "aberrated," the reactive mind controls the somatic mind.
Some of the psychometric ideas in Dianetics, in particular the E-meter, can be traced to Carl Jung. Basic concepts, including conversion disorder, are derived from Sigmund Freud, whom Hubbard credited as an inspiration and source. Freud had speculated 40 years previously that traumas with similar content join together in "chains," embedded in the unconscious mind, to cause irrational responses in the individual. Such a chain would be relieved by inducing the patient to remember the earliest trauma, "with an accompanying expression of emotion."
According to Bent Corydon, Hubbard created the illusion that Dianetics was the first psychotherapy to address traumatic experiences in their own time, but others had done so as standard procedure.
One treatment method Hubbard drew from in developing Dianetics was abreaction therapy. Abreaction is a psychoanalytical term that means bringing to consciousness, and thus adequate expression, material that has been unconscious. "It includes not only the recollection of forgotten memories and experience, but also their reliving with appropriate emotional display and discharge of effect. This process is usually facilitated by the patient's gaining awareness of the causal relationship between the previously undischarged emotion and his symptoms."
According to Hubbard, before Dianetics psychotherapists had dealt with very light and superficial incidents (e.g. an incident that reminds the patient of a moment of loss), but with Dianetic therapy, the patient could actually erase moments of pain and unconsciousness. He emphasized: "The discovery of the engram is entirely the property of Dianetics. Methods of its erasure are also owned entirely by Dianetics..."
While 1950 style Dianetics was in some respects similar to older therapies, with the development of New Era Dianetics in 1978, the similarity vanished. New Era Dianetics uses an E-Meter and a rote procedure for running chains of related traumatic incidents.
Dianetics clarifies the understanding of psychosomatic illness in terms of predisposition, precipitation, and prolongation.
HCO Bulletin 11 July 1973RB Injury and illness are PREDISPOSED by the spiritual state of the person. They are PRECIPITATED by the being himself as a manifestation of his current spiritual condition. And they are PROLONGED by any failure to fully handle the spiritual factors associated with them.— Hubbard, LR, Assist Summary
With the use of Dianetics techniques, Hubbard claimed, the reactive mind could be processed and all stored engrams could be refiled as experience. The central technique was "auditing," a two-person question-and-answer therapy designed to isolate and dissipate engrams (or "mental masses"). An auditor addresses questions to a subject, observes and records the subject's responses, and returns repeatedly to experiences or areas under discussion that appear painful until the troubling experience has been identified and confronted. Through repeated applications of this method, the reactive mind could be "cleared" of its content having outlived its usefulness in the process of evolution; a person who has completed this process would be "Clear".
The benefits of going Clear, according to Hubbard, were dramatic. A Clear would have no compulsions, repressions, psychoses or neuroses, and would enjoy a near-perfect memory as well as a rise in IQ of as much as 50 points. He also claimed that "the atheist is activated by engrams as thoroughly as the zealot". He further claimed that widespread application of Dianetics would result in "A world without insanity, without criminals and without war."
One of the key ideas of Dianetics, according to Hubbard, is the fundamental existential command to survive. According to Hugh B. Urban, this would serve as the foundation of a big part of later Scientology.
According to the Scientology journal The Auditor, the total number of "Clears" as of May 2006 stands at 50,311.
When Hubbard presented Dianetics, he did so in terms of terra incognita, or to Scientologists the human mind. Hubbard wrote, “Dianetics is an adventure. It is an exploration of terra incognita, the human mind, the vast and hitherto unknown realm half an inch back of our foreheads." According to Scientology in Popular Culture, Hubbard set out to colonize terra incognita, where in the “practice of empire was auditing, the new technology of empire was the E-meter. This exploration of the human mind “would become a defining feature of Scientology because it provided the portal through which he could conquer many enemy thetans.”
The procedure of Dianetics therapy (known as auditing) is a two-person activity. One person, the "auditor", guides the other person, the "pre-clear". The pre-Clear's job is to look at the mind and talk to the auditor. The auditor acknowledges what the pre-Clear says and controls the process so the pre-Clear may put his full attention on his work.
The auditor and pre-Clear sit down in chairs facing each other. The process then follows in eleven distinct steps:
Auditing sessions are supposedly kept confidential. A few transcripts of auditing sessions with confidential information removed have been published as demonstration examples. Some extracts can be found in J.A. Winter's book Dianetics: A Doctor's Report. Other, more comprehensive, transcripts of auditing sessions carried out by Hubbard himself can be found in volume 1 of the Research & Discovery Series (Bridge Publications, 1980). Examples of public group processing sessions can be found throughout the Congresses lecture series.
According to Hubbard, auditing enables the pre-Clear to "contact" and "release" engrams stored in the reactive mind, relieving him of the physical and mental aberrations connected with them. The pre-Clear is asked to inspect and familiarize himself with the exact details of his own experience; the auditor may not tell him anything about his case or evaluate any of the information the pre-Clear finds.
Hubbard's original book on Dianetics attracted highly critical reviews from science and medical writers and organizations. The American Psychological Association passed a resolution in 1950 calling "attention to the fact that these claims are not supported by empirical evidence of the sort required for the establishment of scientific generalizations." Subsequently, Dianetics has achieved no acceptance as a scientific theory, and scientists cite Dianetics as an example of a pseudoscience.
In August 1950, amidst the success of Dianetics, Hubbard held a demonstration in Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium where he presented a young woman called Sonya Bianca (a pseudonym) to a large audience including many reporters and photographers as 'the world's first Clear." Despite Hubbard's claim that she had "full and perfect recall of every moment of her life", Bianca proved unable to answer questions from the audience testing her memory and analytical abilities, including the question of the color of Hubbard's tie. Hubbard explained Bianca's failure to display her promised powers of recall to the audience by saying that he had used the word "now" in calling her to the stage, and thus inadvertently froze her in "present time," which blocked her abilities. Later, in the late 1950s, Hubbard would claim that several people had reached the state of Clear by the time he presented Bianca as the world's first; these others, Hubbard said, he had successfully cleared in the late 1940s while working incognito in Hollywood posing as a swami. In 1966, Hubbard declared South African Scientologist John McMaster to be the first true Clear.
Few scientific investigations into the effectiveness of Dianetics have been published. Professor John A. Lee states in his 1970 evaluation of Dianetics:
Objective experimental verification of Hubbard's physiological and psychological doctrines is lacking. To date, no regular scientific agency has established the validity of his theories of prenatal perception and engrams, or cellular memory, or Dianetic reverie, or the effects of Scientology auditing routines. Existing knowledge contradicts Hubbard's theory of recording of perceptions during periods of unconsciousness.
The MEDLINE database records two independent scientific studies on Dianetics, both conducted in the 1950s under the auspices of New York University. Harvey Jay Fischer tested Dianetics therapy against three claims made by proponents and found it does not effect any significant changes in intellectual functioning, mathematical ability, or the degree of personality conflicts; Jack Fox tested Hubbard's thesis regarding recall of engrams, with the assistance of the Dianetic Research Foundation, and could not substantiate it.
Hubbard claimed, in an interview with The New York Times in November 1950, that "he had already submitted proof of claims made in the book to a number of scientists and associations." He added that the public as well as proper organizations were entitled to such proof and that he was ready and willing to give such proof in detail. In January 1951, the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation of Elizabeth, NJ published Dianetic Processing: A Brief Survey of Research Projects and Preliminary Results, a booklet providing the results of psychometric tests conducted on 88 people undergoing Dianetics therapy. It presents case histories and a number of X-ray plates to support claims that Dianetics had cured "aberrations" including manic depression, asthma, arthritis, colitis and "overt homosexuality," and that after Dianetic processing, test subjects experienced significantly increased scores on a standardized IQ test. The report's subjects are not identified by name, but one of them is clearly Hubbard himself ("Case 1080A, R. L.").
The authors provide no qualifications, although they are described in Hubbard's book Science of Survival (where some results of the same study were reprinted) as psychotherapists. Critics of Dianetics are skeptical of this study, both because of the bias of the source and because the researchers appear to ascribe all physical benefits to Dianetics without considering possible outside factors; in other words, the report lacks any scientific controls. J.A. Winter, M.D., originally an associate of Hubbard and an early adopter of Dianetics, had by the end of 1950 cut his ties with Hubbard and written an account of his personal experiences with Dianetics. He described Hubbard as "absolutistic and authoritarian", and criticized the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation for failing to undertake "precise scientific research into the functioning of the mind". He also recommended that auditing be done by experts only and that it was dangerous for laymen to audit each other. Hubbard writes: "Again, Dianetics is not being released to a profession, for no profession could encompass it."
What Hubbard touts as a science of mind lacks one key element that is expected of a science: empirical testing of claims. The key elements of Hubbard's so-called science don't seem testable, yet he repeatedly claims that he is asserting only scientific facts and data from many experiments. It isn't even clear what such "data" would look like. Most of his data is in the form of anecdotes and speculations ... Such speculation is appropriate in fiction, but not in science.
W. Sumner Davis similarly comments that
Dianetics is nothing more than an example of pseudoscience trying to legitimize itself ... Hubbard, had he indeed been a scientist, would have known that truth is not built on axioms, and facts cannot be found from some a-priori knowledge. A true science is constructed on hypotheses, which are arrived at by the virtue of observed phenomena. Scientific knowledge is gained by observation and testing, not believing from some subconscious stipulation, as Hubbard would have us believe.
The validity and practice of auditing have been questioned by a variety of non-Scientologist commentators. Commenting on the example cited by Winter, the science writer Martin Gardner asserts that "nothing could be clearer from the above dialogue than the fact that the dianetic explanation for the headache existed only in the mind of the therapist, and that it was with considerable difficulty that the patient was maneuvered into accepting it."
Other critics and medical experts have suggested that Dianetic auditing is a form of hypnosis, although the Church of Scientology has strongly denied that hypnosis forms any part of Dianetics. To the contrary, L. Ron Hubbard expressly warns not to use any hypnosis or hypnosis-like methods, because a person under hypnosis would be receptive to suggestions. This would decrease his self-determinism instead of increasing it, which is one of the prime goals of Dianetics. Winter  comments that the leading nature of the questions asked of a pre-Clear "encourage fantasy", a common issue also encountered with hypnosis, which can be used to form false memories. The auditor is instructed not to make any assessment of a recalled memory's reality or accuracy, but instead to treat it as if it were objectively real. Professor Richard J. Ofshe, a leading expert on false memories, suggests that the feeling of well-being reported by pre-Clear at the end of an auditing session may be induced by post-hypnotic suggestion. Other researchers have identified quotations in Hubbard's work suggesting evidence that false memories were created in Dianetics, specifically in the form of birth and pre-birth memories.
According to an article by Martin Gumpert, “Hubbard’s concept of psychosomatic disease is definitely wrong. Psychosomatic ailments are not simply caused by emotional disturbances: they are diseases in which the emotional and the organic factor are closely involved and interdependent.”
According to Hubbard, the majority of the people interested in the subject believed they could accomplish therapy alone. "It cannot be done" and he adds: "If a patient places himself in autohypnosis and regresses himself in an effort to reach illness or birth or prenatals, the only thing he will get is ill".
While Dianetics may seem implausible to many readers today, it shared the same New York Times best-seller list with other self-help manuals such as Norman Vincent Peale's True Art of Happiness and Henry Overstreet's The Mature Mind
by 1947, I had achieved clearing.
Black Dianetics is a form of Dianetics, as discussed by its creator, L. Ron Hubbard.
Hubbard claimed that Dianetics is a method of achieving set goals using one's mind. According to the Church of Scientology, Dianetics can be used to change and improve one's life. Claims from Scientologists support the idea that Dianetics is a positive concept that can be used to improve an individual's life. However, Hubbard also referred to something he called "Black Dianetics", for which the goals may be mean-spirited, cruel, or exploitative. That is, Black Dianetics employs the methods of Hubbard's ideas for selfish, vindictive, and destructive reasons.
Hubbard warns against the use of Black Dianetics in his 1982 book Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary (ISBN 0884040372). It is also mentioned in Hubbard's famous Philadelphia Doctorate Course lectures, as well in other material.Clear (Scientology)
In dianetics and Scientology, Clear is one of the major states practitioners strive to reach on their way up the Bridge to Total Freedom. The state of Clear is reached when a person becomes free of the influence of engrams, unwanted emotions or painful traumas not readily available to the conscious mind. Scientologists believe that human beings accumulate anxieties, psychosomatic illnesses, and aberration due to receiving engrams throughout their lives, and that by applying Dianetics, every single person can reach the state of Clear.A Clear is defined by the Church of Scientology as person who no longer has a "reactive mind", and is therefore free from the reactive mind's negative effects. A Clear is said to be "at cause over" (that is, in control of) their "mental energy" (their thoughts), and able to think clearly even when faced with the very situations that in earlier times caused them difficulty. The next level of spiritual development is that of an Operating Thetan. A person who has not reached a state of Clear is called a "pre-clear."Dianetics states that a person's awareness is influenced by the stimulus-response nature of the reactive mind. Achieving the state of Clear means a person has overcome the reactive mind and is in complete control of their analytical mind. According to Hubbard: "A Clear is a being who no longer has his own reactive mind, and therefore suffers none of the ill effects the reactive mind can cause. The Clear has no engrams which, when restimulated, throw out the correctness of his computations by entering hidden and false data." Sociologist Roy Wallis noted, “Being Clear meant being able to do all those things which one could currently not do, and to which one aspired so desperately.” It is estimated that the cost of reaching the Clear state in Scientology is $128,000.Engram (Dianetics)
An engram, as used in Dianetics and Scientology, is a detailed mental image or memory of a traumatic event from the past that occurred when an individual was partially or fully unconscious. It is considered to be pseudoscientific and is different from the meaning of "engram" in cognitive psychology. According to Dianetics and Scientology, from conception onwards, whenever something painful happens while the "analytic mind" is unconscious, engrams are supposedly being recorded and stored in an area of the mind Scientology calls the "reactive mind".The term engram was coined in 1904 by the German scholar Richard Semon, who defined it as a "stimulus impression" which could be reactivated by the recurrence of "the energetic conditions which ruled at the generation of the engram." L. Ron Hubbard re-used Semon's concept when he published Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1950. He conceived of the engram as a form of "memory trace", an idea which had long existed in medicine. According to physician Joseph Winter, who collaborated in the development of the Dianetics philosophy, Hubbard had taken the term "engram" from a 1936 edition of Dorland's Medical Dictionary, where it was defined as "a lasting mark or trace...In psychology it is the lasting trace left in the psyche by anything that has been experienced psychically; a latent memory picture." Hubbard had originally used the terms "Norn", "comanome" and "impediment" before alighting on "engram" following a suggestion from Winter. Hubbard equates the reactive mind to the engram or reactive memory bank. An engram is described as a “cellular level recording” that includes both physical and emotional pain. Engrams are stored in chains or series of incidents that are similar. Hubbard describes the engram as “a definite and permanent trace left by a stimulus on the protoplasm of a tissue. It is considered a unit group of stimuli impinged solely on the cellular being.”In Dianetics and Scientology doctrine, engrams are believed to originate from painful incidents, which close down the “analytic function,” leaving a person to operate only on the "reactive" level, where everything, including pain, position and location are experienced as “aspects of the unpleasant whole.” This engram is restimulated if the person is reminded of the painful experience days later, causing feelings of guilt or embarrassment – another engram. This cycle is called a "lock" in Scientology terminology.Hubbard's concept of the engram evolved over time. In Dianetics, he wrote that "The word engram, in Dianetics is used in its severely accurate sense as a 'definite and permanent trace left by a stimulus on the protoplasm of a tissue'", which followed fairly closely the original definition in Dorland's. He later repudiated the idea that an engram was a physical cellular trace, redefining his concept as being "a mental image picture of a moment of pain and unconsciousness". According to Hubbard whenever an engram is stimulated it increases in power. Jeff Jacobsen compared auditing for engrams in Scientology to the Freudian psychoanalytic concept of abreaction, equating engrams to the painful subconscious memories that abreaction therapy brings up to the conscious mind. He quoted Nathaniel Thornton, who compared abreaction to confession. Dorthe Refslund Christensen describes engrams in layman’s terms as trauma, a means to explain the long and short term effects of painful experiences. According to Christensen, Hubbard wrote about the dramatization of an engram, where the one who suffered and recorded the pain as an engram relates all sensory perceptions during the time of the painful incident to the incident. These sensory perceptions become “restimulators” that remind the individual of the pain and triggers him or her to re-experience it.Scholar Richard Holloway writes that according to Scientology, engrams are “damaging experiences that happen by accident,” bruises through time implanted on thetans through the course of millions of lives. Sometimes the damage is intentionally inflicted by thetans who desired power over other thetans. Deliberate injuries are called implants in Scientology. Hubbard wrote, “Implants result in all varieties of illness, apathy, degradiation, neurosis and insanity and are the principle causes of these in man.” The Christian idea of heaven is a deceptive implant, Hubbard taught, for there is an infinite series of lives after the first, contrary to the Christian notion of the afterlife.Dianetics became Scientology in 1952 and the concept of clearing engrams remains a central part of the practices of the Church of Scientology.History of Dianetics
The history of Dianetics possibly begins in the 1920s. Its originator L. Ron Hubbard claimed that his ideas of Dianetics originated in the 1920s and 1930s. By his own account, he spent a great deal of time in the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital's library, where he would have encountered the work of Freud and other psychoanalysts. In April 1950, Hubbard and several others established the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth, New Jersey to coordinate work related for the forthcoming publication. Hubbard first introduced Dianetics to the public in the article Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science published in the May 1950 issue of the magazine Astounding Science Fiction. Hubbard wrote Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health at that time, allegedly completing the 180,000-word book in six weeks.The success of selling Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health brought in a flood of money, which Hubbard used to establish Dianetics foundations in six major American cities. The scientific and medical communities were far less enthusiastic about Dianetics, viewing it with bemusement, concern, or outright derision. Complaints were made against local Dianetics practitioners for allegedly practicing medicine without a license. This eventually prompted Dianetics advocates to disclaim any medicinal benefits in order to avoid regulation.
Hubbard explained the backlash as a response from various entities trying to co-opt Dianetics for their own use. Hubbard blamed the hostile press coverage in particular on a plot by the American Communist Party. In later years, Hubbard decided that the psychiatric profession was the origin of all of the criticism of Dianetics, as he believed it secretly controlled most of the world's governments.By the autumn of 1950, financial problems had developed, and by November 1950, the six Foundations had spent around one million dollars and were more than $200,000 in debt. Disagreements emerged over the direction of the Dianetic Foundation's work, and relations between the board members became strained, with several leaving, even to support causes critical of Dianetics. One example was Harvey Jackins, founder of Re-evaluation Counselling, originally a sort of discrete reworking of Dianetics, which L Ron Hubbard later declared suppressive to Scientology.
In January 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners instituted proceedings against the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth for teaching medicine without a licence. The Foundation closed its doors, causing the proceedings to be vacated, but its creditors began to demand settlement of its outstanding debts. Don Purcell, a millionaire Dianeticist from Wichita, Kansas, offered a brief respite from bankruptcy, but the Foundation's finances failed again in 1952.Because of a sale of assets resulting from the bankruptcy, Hubbard no longer owned the rights to the name "Dianetics", but its philosophical framework still provided the seed for Scientology to grow. Scientologists refer to the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health as "Book One." In 1952, Hubbard published a new set of teachings as "Scientology, a religious philosophy." Scientology did not replace Dianetics but extended it to cover new areas. Where the goal of Dianetics is to rid the individual of his reactive mind engrams, the stated goal of Scientology is to rehabilitate the individual's spiritual nature so that he may reach his full potential.
In 1978, Hubbard released New Era Dianetics (NED), a revised version supposed to produce better results in a shorter period of time. The course consists of 11 rundowns and requires a specifically trained auditor. It is run (processed) exactly like Standard Dianetics (once very widely practiced before the advent of NED) except the pre-clear (parishioner) is encouraged to find the "postulate" he made as a result of the incident. ("Postulate" in Dianetics and Scientology has the meaning of "a conclusion, decision or resolution made by the individual himself; to conclude, decide or resolve a problem or to set a pattern for the future or to nullify a pattern of the past" in contrast to its conventional meanings.)L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard ( HUB-ərd; March 13, 1911 – January 24, 1986), often referred to by his initials LRH, was an American author and the founder of the Church of Scientology. After establishing a career as a writer of science fiction and fantasy stories, in 1950 he published a "branch of self-help psychology" called Dianetics. Hubbard subsequently developed his ideas into a new religious movement that he called Scientology. Hubbard was cited by Smithsonian magazine as one of the 100 most significant Americans of all time.Born in Tilden, Nebraska in 1911, Hubbard spent much of his childhood in Helena, Montana. After his father was posted to the U.S. naval base on Guam, Hubbard traveled to Asia and the South Pacific in the late 1920s. In 1930, Hubbard enrolled at George Washington University to study civil engineering, but dropped out in his second year. He began his career as a prolific writer of pulp fiction stories and married Margaret "Polly" Grubb, who shared his interest in aviation.
Hubbard served briefly in the Marine Corps Reserve and was an officer in the Navy during World War II. He briefly commanded two ships, but was removed from command both times. The last few months of his active service were spent in a hospital, being treated for a duodenal ulcer.After the war, Hubbard moved into the Pasadena mansion of occultist and engineer Jack Parsons. In early 1946, Hubbard and Parsons collaborated on Babalon Working, a series of magic ceremonies or rituals. Hubbard became sexually involved with Parsons's 21-year-old girlfriend, Sara "Betty" Northrup, ultimately marrying her despite Hubbard still being married to first wife Polly.In 1950, Hubbard authored Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and established a series of organizations to promote Dianetics. In 1952, Hubbard lost the rights to Dianetics in bankruptcy proceedings, and he subsequently founded Scientology. Thereafter Hubbard oversaw the growth of the Church of Scientology into a worldwide organization.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, he spent much of his time at sea on his personal fleet of ships as "Commodore" of the Sea Organization, an elite, paramilitary group of Scientologists. Some ex-members and scholars have described the Sea Org as a totalitarian organization marked by intensive surveillance and a lack of freedom. His expedition came to an end when Britain, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Venezuela all closed their ports to his fleet.
Hubbard returned to the United States in 1975 and went into seclusion in the California desert. In 1978, a trial court in France convicted Hubbard of fraud in absentia. In 1983 Hubbard was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in an international information infiltration and theft project called "Operation Snow White". He spent the remaining years of his life in a luxury motor home on his California property, attended to by a small group of Scientology officials including his physician. In 1986, L. Ron Hubbard died at age 74.The Church of Scientology describes Hubbard in hagiographic terms, and he portrayed himself as a pioneering explorer, world traveler, and nuclear physicist with expertise in a wide range of disciplines, including photography, art, poetry, and philosophy. Though many of Hubbard's autobiographical statements have been found to be fictitious, the Church rejects any suggestion that its account of Hubbard's life is not historical fact. In Scientology publications, he is referred to as "Founder" and "Source" of Scientology and Dianetics.
His critics have characterized Hubbard as a mentally-unstable chronic liar.List of trademarks owned by the Church of Scientology and its affiliates
The following are trademarks, service marks, or collective membership marks that the Church of Scientology and affiliated organizations claim to own, some of which are registered in some nations. Additional notes are provided in parentheses after the trademark. Non-English trademarks are listed under their English-language equivalents.MEST (Scientology)
MEST is an acronym used in Scientology and coined by author L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard used the first letters of the words matter, energy, space and time, the component parts of the physical universe.
Writings and lectures by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard frequently use the term MEST in place of the phrase "the physical universe". According to Hubbard, "theta energy" (souls or spiritual entitites) exists in a separate universe from the MEST universe, with theta influencing MEST. Hubbard described the purpose of the "Theta Universe" as "the conquest, change, and ordering of MEST".Dianetics also utilized the concept of MEST.Operating Thetan
In Scientology, Operating Thetan (OT) is a spiritual state above Clear. It is defined as "knowing and willing cause over life, thought, matter, energy, space and time (MEST)." According to religious scholar J. Gordon Melton, "[i]t's basically a variation of the Gnostic myth about souls falling into matter and the encumbrances that come with that".Reactive mind
The reactive mind is a concept in the Scientology religion formulated by L. Ron Hubbard, referring to that portion of the human mind that is unconscious and operates on stimulus-response, to which Hubbard attributed most mental, emotional, and psychosomatic ailments:
"What can it do? It can give a man arthritis, bursitis, asthma, allergies, sinusitis, coronary trouble, high blood pressure and so on, down the whole catalog of psychosomatic ills, adding a few more which were never specifically classified as psychosomatic, such as the common cold." - L. Ron Hubbard (Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, 1999 paperback edition, pg.69)
Despite the lack of scientific basis for his claims, Hubbard's book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health claimed that the Reactive Mind is composed of impressions of past events of pain and unconsciousness, which he called engrams.
In Scientology, an auditor uses an E-meter (a galvanic skin response detector) to locate engrams in the parishioner which are then erased, using Dianetics. Scientology promotes such treatments to clear engrams believed to limit the individual's spiritual ability, to halt the decline of his spiritual awareness, and to increase his survival potential.From the end of the 1950s until the early 1970s, author William S. Burroughs used Hubbard's reactive mind theory as the basis of his Cut-up Method, which was applied to novels such as The Soft Machine.Religious Technology Center
The Religious Technology Center (RTC) is an American non-profit corporation that was founded in 1982 by the Church of Scientology to control and oversee the use of all of the trademarks, symbols and texts of Scientology and Dianetics. Although RTC controls their use, those works are owned by another corporation, the Church of Spiritual Technology which is doing business as L. Ron Hubbard Library, registered in Los Angeles County, California.While exercising authority over the use of all Dianetics and Scientology materials, RTC claims that it is not involved in the day-to-day management of the Church of Scientology; that role is assigned to a separate corporation, the Church of Scientology International (CSI).
According to the RTC website, "RTC stands apart as an external body which protects the Scientology religion and acts as the final arbiter of orthodoxy" and its stated purpose is "to protect the public from misapplication of the technology and to see that the religious technologies of Dianetics and Scientology remain in proper hands and are properly ministered."Since 1986, David Miscavige has served as the organization's Chairman of the Board.In a 1993 memorandum by the Church of Scientology International, the following information was provided to the Internal Revenue Service with regards to RTC's role and functions, its personnel and its income:
"[...] RTC [...] owns the Scientology religious marks and advanced technology. It licenses the marks to CSI for sublicense to subordinate churches and directly licenses the advanced technology to appropriate churches. Through this structure RTC assures that practice of the Scientology religion within the ecclesiastical hierarchy under CSI's authority as Mother Church remains strictly orthodox, in accordance with the Scientology Scriptures. This church has a staff of approximately 50 individuals and an annual budget of approximately $ 6.6 million, based on its annual disbursements for the most recent year for which financial statements are available. [...]"
The RTC guarantees the “purity and workability of Scientology so far into the future,” thus engaging in programs to “restore, preserve, maintain and keep uncorrupted” the church’s "religious technology," according to Scientology spokesman Eric Roux.Rundown (Scientology)
In Scientology and Dianetics, a "rundown" is "a series of steps which are auditing actions and processes designed to handle a specific aspect of a case and which have a known end phenomena."Scientology
Scientology is a body of religious beliefs and practices launched in May 1952 by American author L. Ron Hubbard (1911–86). Hubbard initially developed a program of ideas called Dianetics, which was distributed through the Dianetics Foundation. The foundation soon entered bankruptcy, and Hubbard lost the rights to his seminal publication Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1952. He then recharacterized the subject as a religion and renamed it Scientology, retaining the terminology, doctrines, the E-meter, and the practice of auditing. Within a year, he regained the rights to Dianetics and retained both subjects under the umbrella of the Church of Scientology.Hubbard describes the etymology of the word "Scientology" as coming from the Latin word scio, meaning know or distinguish, and the Greek word logos, meaning "the word or outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known". Hubbard writes, "thus, Scientology means knowing about knowing, or science of knowledge".Hubbard's groups have encountered considerable opposition and controversy. In January 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners brought proceedings against Dianetics Foundation on the charge of teaching medicine without a license. Hubbard's followers engaged in a program of criminal infiltration of the U.S. government.Hubbard-inspired organizations and their classification are often a point of contention. Germany classifies Scientology groups as an "anti-constitutional sect". In France, they have been classified as a dangerous cult by some parliamentary reports.Scientology holidays
Holidays, commemorations and observances in the Church of Scientology include the following:
February 22: Celebrity DayThe anniversary of the opening of the Celebrity Centre International in Los Angeles in 1970, which, in the Church's words, is "dedicated to the rehabilitation of the culture through art".
March 13: L. Ron Hubbard's birthdayA very important holiday in Scientology.
March 24: Student DayThis holiday celebrates the commencement of the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course in 1961.
April 20: L. Ron Hubbard Exhibition DayAccording to the Church's official website, this day is "to celebrate the opening in 1991 of the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition in Hollywood, California. Featuring impressive audiovisual displays on the life and accomplishments of L. Ron Hubbard, the exhibition is visited by thousands of Scientologists and non-Scientologists annually."
May 9: Anniversary of DianeticsHubbard's book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health hit store shelves on this day in 1950. Another very important holiday in Scientology.
May 25: Integrity DayA day of contemplation of Hubbard's 1965 study on Scientology Ethics.
June 6: Maiden Voyage AnniversaryThe church describes this holiday thus: "Each year the annual Maiden Voyage event, commemorating the anniversary of New OT VIII, has come to be one of the most important gatherings of dedicated Scientologists and an opportunity for senior Church officials to meet and work directly with these parishioners to advance their religion. Scientologists who attend this annual spiritual cruise become “OT Ambassadors” and initiate programs to help Scientologists all over the world advance the aims of Scientology and to reach the top of the Bridge at New OT VIII."
June 18: Academy DayA celebration of Hubbard's Study Tech.
August 12: Sea Org DaySea Org Day is a special event for all Sea Organization members, with rank and rating promotion ceremonies.
It has been alleged by former members that recreational Sea Org Day events are mandatory: one ex-Scientologist claims "the one day a year you are supposed to get the day off, you are made to go on a bus to the beach, be there for roll call, participate in group games, etc."
September 4: Clear DayClear Day marks the inauguration of Hubbard's Clearing Course, which debuted in 1965.
2nd Sunday in September: Auditor's DayA day of special recognition and acknowledgment for Scientology/Dianetics auditors. This occasion has also been popular with anti-Scientology protestors, as an opportunity to reach students.
October 7: IAS AnniversaryFrom the Church's site: "Held at a different host city each year, members of the IAS gather to commemorate the founding of the IAS and to rededicate themselves to its aims. The annual IAS freedom awards are presented. This event coincides with the annual convention of IAS delegates."
November 27: Publications DayA commemoration of the day "Publications Worldwide" opened at Saint Hill Manor in 1967.
December 7: Flag Land Base DayCelebrates the opening of the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida in 1975.
December 30: Freedom DayCelebrates the official recognition of the religion in the United States, in 1974.
December 31: New Year's EveThis is the only secular and non-Hubbard-based observance on the official Scientology calendar, which states "This event welcomes in the new year with a review of accomplishments over the previous year and a look forward to the upcoming year and plans for further reach into new areas of society with L. Ron Hubbard’s technology. Stellar accomplishments of Scientology parishioners helping new people to move up The Bridge to Total Freedom are acknowledged."
Additionally, many more anniversaries of notable events in Scientology history are remembered. Examples include January 25 (Criminon day), marking the 1970 founding of the Criminon program, January 28 which celebrates the founding of the Church in New Zealand, February 19 (Narconon Day), marking the 1966 founding of Narconon, March 31, the anniversary of the founding of the Church of Scientology Vienna in 1971, and September 25, which marks the 1980 opening of the first Scientology and Dianetics College in Tel Aviv, Israel, where the concept is presented as a College, not a church.Scientology in Egypt
The Church of Scientology has no official presence in Egypt and there are no known membership statistics available. In 2002, two members were detained by Egyptian authorities under the charges of "contempt of religion". However, some books by the founder, L. Ron Hubbard, have started to appear in several Egyptian bookstores in the late 2000s, and were even approved by Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni learning institution in the Muslim world. Egypt is listed on an official Scientology website as being a country "in which Dianetics and Scientology services are ministered". Narconon, an organization which promotes Hubbard's drug abuse treatment, has a branch in Fayoum.Scientology in Pakistan
Scientology in Pakistan is said to be followed among a very small number of people, mainly from the middle and upper classes of Karachi. The Dianetics Centre of Karachi for Personal Excellence, located in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, is affiliated with the Church of Scientology. The center provides introductory courses, individual counseling and life improvement courses.Several Scientology-affiliated organisations are active in the country. Youth Together for Human Rights Education (YTHRE), affiliated with Youth for Human Rights International, promotes human rights education and has conducted workshops on character development for thousands of participants. The Criminon program, run by the Scientologist community under the coordination of the Society for Advancement of Health, Education and the Environment (SAHEE), has been used to rehabilitate over 1,500 prisoners in Pakistani jails. Over 12,000 policemen have also attended Criminon workshops. The Study Tech teaching method developed by L. Ron Hubbard has been adopted in schools in Pakistan, a program for which Applied Scholastics has trained many teachers. Scientologist-run Assist teams have aided in several relief operations throughout the country in times of natural disasters.Supernatural abilities in Scientology doctrine
In the Church of Scientology doctrine, supernatural or superhuman abilities are a recurring subject, appearing throughout Scientology and Dianetics materials, from the most basic introductory texts to the highest-level Operating Thetan information. Virtually all of these concepts were authored by the church's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and have not been subjected to testing outside the Church. The Church of Scientology have never offered any externally accepted, empirical, peer-reviewed evidence that Scientologists possess any of these abilities.The Bridge to Total Freedom
The Bridge to Total Freedom, or simply "The Bridge", is a metaphor used by the Church of Scientology to describe believers' advancement within the religion.
Scientology holds that believers advance to a state of Clear when they have freed themselves from the "reactive mind". This takes place in auditing, and is said to be a lifetime commitment. According to the church, by reaching Clear status, followers are more self-confident, happy, and generally successful in careers and interpersonal relationships. Beyond the state of Clear, Scientologists move through several auditing steps called Operating Thetan (OT) levels. An OT is a state of spiritual awareness in which an individual is able to control self and the environment. According to D. R. Christensen, Scientology is "an individualistic religion with a hierarchical organization of the soteriological system, called the Bridge". The Bridge is described by the church as a series of soteriological steps.The Bridge is broken down into two parallel paths, Training and Processing. Processing addresses the Scientologist's "case" or how they function in life as influenced by their "aberrations". The Training path teaches Hubbard's theories on the nature of life and the universe and the techniques of auditing. Participants feel that this knowledge greatly enhances their ability to be effective in life whether they audit another or not. Scientologists can travel up either side of the Bridge and many do both sides. Although not part of the formal Bridge, the chart also lists many optional courses and training actions that can be done by Scientologists.
The Bridge was a result of the culmination of the foundational work on Dianetics and Scientology training that Hubbard had established in the mid-1960s. In 1965, Hubbard published The Bridge to Freedom, which includes the “Classification and Gradation Chart,” which, according to new religious movement specialist James R. Lewis, discusses the steps that church members must follow as they learn and study Scientology. The chart was a summary of the results of Hubbard’s experimentation since the Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation was founded fifteen years before that time. Save for adjustments and addendums over several years, it delineated the program for reaching Clear status and becoming an Operating Thetan.Scientologists believe that if an individual is unable to ascend through the Bridge in this lifetime, he or she can continue the journey up the Bridge in another life.