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Early Scientology / Dianetics - 1950


Dianetics

Chapter 22 of the book
Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science

DIANETICS (from a Greek word meaning "thought") is a new science of the mind discovered by Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, a popular write of science fiction. According to the opening sentences of his first book on the subject, "The Creation of dianetics is a milestone for Man comparable to his discovery of fire and superior to his inventions of the wheel and arch. . . . The hidden source of all psychosomatic ills and human aberration has been discovered and skills have been developed for their invariable cure."

DIANETICS' HUBBARD
Along the time track, engrams
photo by Newark News

The word "invariable" is not a typographical mistake. "Dianetics is an exact science," Hubbard writes, "and its application is on the order of, but simpler than, engineering. Its axioms should not be confused with theories since they demonstrably exist as natural laws hitherto undiscovered." Dianetic therapy operates with mathematical precision It never fails. These are claims worth looking into, but before surveying the basic tenets of dianetics, let us first glance at the fabulous rise of the movement.

The founder, L. Ron Hubbard, is a large, good-looking man with flaming red hair and a tremendous energy drive that keeps him in a constant state of high gear. Friends vary widely in estimates of what makes Ronald run. To some he is an earnest, honest, sincere guy. To others he is the greatest con man of the century. Still others regard him as basically sincere, with just a touch of the charlatan, and now a tragic victim of his own psychoses.

Hubbard was born in 1911 at Tilden, Nebraska. Exact details about the rest of his life are hard to come by. He seems to have been in the Marines when a young man. For a few years in the early thirties, he attended the George Washington University Engineering School, in the nation's capital, but did not graduate. He never held an engineering job, but evidently this schooling gave him the engineer's outlook that underlies so much of dianetics. For the past twenty years, he has been an enormously prolific writer of pulp fiction, with occasional stints at radio and movie scripting. He holds a glider pilot's license. He is an expert small-boats marine. For a while, he sang and played the banjo on a radio program in California (he has a deep, rich voice). He considers himself an explorer, having made numerous jaunts around the globe, including a sojourn in Asia where he studies mysticism. During the war, he was a naval officer on destroyer escort duty, and was severely wounded in action.

According to Hubbard, it was in 1938 that he first discovered the basic axioms of dianetics and began his twelve years of research. Many of his friends insist, however, that these twelve research years are entirely mythical, and that it was not until 1948 that dianetics was hatched. At any rate, one of his earliest patients was John Campbell, Jr., editor of "Astounding Science Fiction." Campbell was suffering, among other things, from chronic sinusitis. His treatment by Hubbard so impressed him, that in May 1950, he published in his pulp magazine the first public report on dianetics. It was an article by Hubbard, written in a few hours, and in a style resembling the broadcast of a football game. The article apparently aroused science-fiction fans to such a pitch of anticipation that when Hubbard's book, "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Healing," was published a few weeks later by Hermitage House, they grabbed the first copies they could lay their hands on.

"Dianetics" is a book of impressive thickness, written in a repetitious, immature style. Hubbard claims he wrote it in three weeks. This is believable because most of his writing is done at lightning speed. (For a while, he used a special electric IBM typewriter with extra keys for common words like "and," "the," and "but." The paper was on a roll to avoid the interruption of changing sheets.) Nothing in the book remotely resembles a scientific report. The case histories are written largely out of Hubbard's memory and imagination. Like the later works of Wilhelm Reich, his book is simply a Revelation from the Master, to be tested and confirmed by lesser men. It is dedicated, curiously, to Will Durant. An appendix on "The Scientific Method," is signed "John W. Campbell, Jr., nuclear physicist." (Campbell attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for three years, then transferred to Duke University where he was graduated. For a short time he worked in the laboratory of Mack Trucks, Inc., New Brunswick, N. J.)



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