Dianetics

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Dianetics is put forward as a therapy to alleviate unwanted sensations and emotions, irrational fears and psychosomatic illnesses. Developed by L. Ron Hubbard in the late 1940s, Dianetics was coined from the Greek words dia, meaning "through" and nous, meaning "soul". Hubbard's meaning in creating Dianetics might be said as "what the soul is doing to the body."

While Scientology teaches and applies Dianetics and consider it a workable technology, it has never been recognized as such by the scientific community. It is widely regarded as pseudoscience by members of the psychiatric community[1] and some have claimed that its application is potentially harmful.

Contents

Dianetics in Scientology

Dianetics presents itself as a systemic method of identifying the causes of and relieving many of an individual's mental, emotional or (psychosomatically) physical problems. Fundamental to the system is the concept of the engram, which is defined in Dianetics (as opposed to how it was defined by Karl S. Lashley, the inventor of the term) as "a moment of unconsciousness containing physical pain or painful emotion and all perceptions." Engrams contain all of the experience of being unconscious but are not usually available to the conscious mind.

Hubbard in Dianetics states: "[Dianetics is] ... an organized science of thought built on definite axioms: statements of natural laws on the order of those of the physical sciences".

The beginnings of Scientology

In 1951 other books by Hubbard followed, addressing the subject of Dianetics: Self Analysis, Science of Survival, Notes on the Lectures of L. Ron Hubbard, Advanced Procedure and Axioms and Child Dianetics, then in 1954, Dianetics 55! and in 1955 Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science was published.

Dianetics provided the seed from which the philosophical framework of Scientology grew. Scientologists refer to the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health as "Book One". Hubbard himself regarded its publication as such an important event that he created his own calendar based on the publication date of Dianetics, dating his Scientology writings from that time. For instance, Hubbard uses "A.D. 13" to mean 1963 – literally "year 13 After Dianetics".

In 1952, based on past-life experiences that had been reported in Dianetics auditing, Hubbard published a new set of teachings as "Scientology, a religious philosophy". The stated goal of Scientology is to fully rehabilitate the spiritual nature of an individual, including rehabilitating all abilities and realizing one's full potential. By contrast, the goal of Dianetics is to rid the individual of his reactive mind and become "Clear".

Most Scientologists today regard the original Dianetics techniques as valid, and view Dianetics as an introduction to Scientology. As of 2001, the Church of Scientology continued to run television advertisements promoting Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Time Magazine, in 1991, reported that the Church asked its members to purchase large quantities of the book with their own money, or with money supplied by the Church, for the sole purpose of keeping the book on the New York Times bestseller list.

Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health

Image:LRonHubbard-Dianetics-ISBN1403105464-cover.jpg Dianetics was presented as a complete system of published self-improvement techniques in the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (DMSMH ISBN 1403105464), a comprehensive work detailing Hubbard's discoveries and techniques. The book was officially published May 9, 1950. It caught the public imagination and became a nationwide best-seller. Due to the interest generated, a multitude of "Dianetics clubs" and similar organizations were formed for the purpose of applying Dianetics techniques. Hubbard himself established a nationwide network of Dianetics Foundations, offering Dianetics training and processing for a fee.

In the book, Hubbard covers his isolation of the dynamic principle of existence and provides his description of the human mind. He states the source of all human aberration is the reactive mind and its engrams. He then developed counseling (auditing) techniques for getting rid of engrams. This is still the technique used by Dianetics-trained counselors today.

L. Ron Hubbard stated:

Acknowledgment is made to fifty thousand years of thinking men without whose speculations and observations the creation and construction of Dianetics would not have been possible. Credit in particular is due to:
Anaxagoras, Thomas Paine, Aristotle, Thomas Jefferson, Socrates, René Descartes, Plato, James Clerk Maxwell, Euclid, Charcot, Lucretius, Herbert Spencer, Roger Bacon, William James, Francis Bacon, Sigmund Freud, Isaac Newton, van Leeuwenhoek, Cmdr. Joseph Thompson (MC) USN, William A. White, Voltaire, Will Durant, Count Alfred Korzybski, and my instructors in atomic and molecular phenomena, mathematics and the humanities at George Washington University and at Princeton.

There are various schools of thought regarding the volcano on post-1968 editions of Dianetics. One conjecture is that it is a reference to the story of Xenu and another being that this image was used as volcanos are referenced in Hubbard's book "Scientology: A History of Man" written in 1952. Yet another is that it was used, as according to Hubbard, "Man responds to an exploding volcano." ("Assists", lecture of 3 October 1968)

History

The Church of Scientology claims Hubbard's first manuscript on his study of the mind, Excalibur, was written in 1938, but never published.

He first mentioned the subject of the mind, referred to as "Terra Incognita" in a series of articles in Astounding Science Fiction magazine during the 1940s.

In 1948 Hubbard wrote a thesis later published as The Dynamics of Life that summarized his research and delineated the principles he discovered. He continued to further develop and test a new technology of the mind, which he called "Dianetics."

After initially promoting the techniques as a system for curing some forms of mental and psychosomatic illness, Dianetics advocates later disclaimed any therapeutic benefits in order to avoid regulation.

Independent scientific views

There are only two known independent scientific studies on Dianetics:

  • Harvey Jay Fisher tested Dianetics therapy against three claims made by proponents and found it does not effect any significant changes on intellectual functioning, mathematical ability, or upon the degree of personality conflicts. (Fisher, 1953).
  • Jack Fox tested Hubbard's thesis regarding recall of engrams and could not substantiate it (Fox, 1959).

Apart from studies, there have been several evaluations of Dianetics written by scientists and academics from various fields:

Professor S. I. Hayakawa, in one of the first published reviews of Dianetics, wrote a blistering attack in 1951. He said that Hubbard had gone from science-fiction to "fiction-science."

Martin Gardner discussed Dianetics in his controversial 1957 book on pseudoscience, Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science.

J.A. Winter, M.D., originally an associate of Hubbard and an early adopter of Dianetics, gives an account of his personal positive experiences but has no scientific substantiation to offer:

"Several copies were made of the manual which Hubbard had sent: two of them were sent to colleagues of mine in Chicago. Both of them expressed interest in the ingenuity of the ideas, but they were strongly skeptical of the efficacy of the method. I concluded from their comments that neither of them planned to make any further investigation."
"By October, 1950, I had come to the conclusion that I could not agree with all the tenets of dianetics as set forth by the Foundation. I could not, as previously mentioned, support Hubbard's claims regarding the state of "clear." I no longer felt, as I once had, that any intelligent person could (and presumably should) practice dianetics. ... Moreover, there was a poorly concealed attitude of disparagement of the medical profession and of the efforts of previous workers in the field of mental illness. Finally, the avowed purpose of the Foundation -- the accomplishment of precise scientific research into the functioning of the mind -- was conspicuously absent." (Winter, 1950)

Professor John A. Lee states in his evaluation of Dianetics (Lee, 1970):

"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."

Philosophy professor Robert Carroll article on Dianetics gives a rather scathing critique of Hubbards claims to scientific work, calls Dianetics a pseudoscience and concludes:

"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."

Frank A. Gerbode, a former Scientologist, developed in 1984 a method called Traumatic Incident Reduction, which is a minor but accepted psychotherapy for eliminating negative effects of past traumatic incidents. Unlike Dianetics, TIR has demonstrated results in independent scientific studies. [2]

References

  • Carroll, Robert T: 'Dianetics', Skepdics Dictionary [3]
  • Fisher, Harvey Jay: Dianetic Therapy: an Experimental Evaluation, 1953 [4]
  • Fox, Jack et al. An Experimental Investigation of Hubbard's Engram Hypothesis (Dianetics) in Psychological Newsletter, 1959, 10 131-134 [5]

^  Freeman, Lucy: "Psychologists act against Dianetics", New York Times, September 9, 1950

  • Hayakawa, S. I.: "From Science-Fiction to Fiction-Science," in ETC: A Review of General Semantics, Vol. VIII, No. 4. Summer, 1951 [6]
  • Gardner, Martin: "Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, 1957, Chapter 22, Dianetics [7]
  • Lee, John A.: Sectarian Healers and Hypnotherapy, 1970, Ontario Excerpt
  • Gerbode, Frank A.: Critical Issues in Trauma Resolution
  • Winter, J.A.: A Doctor's Report on DIANETICS Theory and Therapy, 1951 [8]

External links

fr:Dianétique hu:Dianetika sv:Dianetik zh:通灵术

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