Dianetics: Fifty Years Later

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Dianetics: Fifty Years Later
Author Don Maier
Type of Article Category:History of Scientology
This article was first published in International Viewpoints (IVy) 47 in May 2000, and describes the scene when Dianetics first came out and the authors reactions to it. That issue was a commemoration 50 years after DMSMH first came out. For further articles about Dianetics in 1950 see http://articles.ivymag.org/pdf/IVy47.pdf

Dianetics: Fifty Years Later by Don C.Maier, USA [now deceased][edit | edit source]

Dianetics The Modern Science of Mental Health was first published in May. 1950. It changed many lives. It offered hope. It suggested that we can be much better than we are, and showed ways of achieving those states of betterment. Exactly what did it promise, and what was the state of the society at that time, which made those promises so important to the reader?

First I will try to answer these questions from my personal viewpoints. I was twenty-nine years old in 1950. Well , at least this body was. At school I had been trained in the exact sciences, and had survived combat in World War II as a pilot in the US Air Force. I knew my life would be involved in aviation, electronics, and in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. But I noticed that my ability to remember significant data in these fields was not as good as it had been in my youth, and I was not very happy with the results of my inter-actions with other people. Experience told me I had no hopes of changing those things. I sensed that, given the state of psychological knowledge as it was then, little could be done about them in a truly meaningful way.

In short, I had learned to put my faith in science and engineering because by first-hand experience, I knew I could produce predictable results by applying what I knew and working in these fields. My experience also taught me that there was no point in putting one's faith in what other people were likely to do; the subject was too complex and no-one had shown how matters could be improved. However, working with those who also were in the pursuit of science and engineering subjects was a different matter. We spoke the same language and were in agreement on many things.

Science Fiction[edit | edit source]

In 1939 I was ready to begin my college training in engineering when I discovered science-fiction . Not just any science-fiction, but real hard science-based fiction, published by the leading Sci-Fi editor of those days, John W Campbell Jr. The quality of his stories and articles was such that his magazine attracted authors and readers who were actually working on advanced scientific concepts. and who enjoyed writing and reading about how science could affect all our lives in a bright and prosperous future. Writers of fantasy need not apply; any futuristic concept had to show how it might be technically possible, given the current state of the art and reasonable projections of them into the future. And woe to the author (and editor) who let sloppy science get into a story, as the more astute readers were sure to write in and gleefully point out the errors. [There was a readers letters column in the magazine, well populated]

(Most television Sci-Fi is pure nonsense from a scientific standpoint. It fails to show how the effects portrayed might come about, and qualifies, sometimes, as good fantasy, but is nowhere near true Science-Fiction as described above. It gives its viewers a poor perspective on how Science really works.) 1950

1950[edit | edit source]

Eleven years later, it was early 1950. I was still reading John Campbell's magazine (now called Analog Science Fact/Fiction). Through the years I had read and admired John's editorials and had learned to trust his judgement. Imagine my delight when I read a short paragraph which John wrote, describing a Science-Fact article to appear in the next issue. It promised to discuss a new discovery in the field of the human mind, based on the principles of the Scientific Method. A single factor, responsible for psychosomatic illness, insanity, criminality and undesirable traits such as poor memory had been found, along with reliable and easily-taught methods for their elimination. "lt works!"

True to promise, the article appeared in the following issue. It was written by L. Ron Hubbard, an author we all knew. He had written some excellent science-fiction under the sponsorship of John Campbell, who was well known for taking inexperienced but promising authors and getting them to polish up their work to meet his exacting standards. The article was titled Dianetics: Evolution of a Science. It told the story of engrams (then called norns), and how they affected all of us in a negative way, and hinted at methods for deleting them. Hubbard's "first" book, Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health was also advertised in that issue.

John's magazine had over 100,000 readers. Probably almost half of them were as impressed as I was, and ordered Ron's book. Several hundred of them also took the same step that I did - wrote or called and travelled to Elizabeth, New Jersey to attend Ron's first course for Dianetic Auditors. There we met Ron and his wife (not Mary Sue - she came much later) along with John Campbell, Dr. Joseph A. Winter, electrical engineer Donald H. Rogers, and a lawyer whose name I have forgotten. These six formed the group who were handling newcomers, lecturing, answering correspondence and generally promoting Dianetics. Dr. Joe Winter also later wrote a book, A Doctor's Report on Dianetics, which confirmed the effectiveness of Ron's teachings. First version

First version[edit | edit source]

Dianetics MSMH - the original version – was not the same book that is available today. It did not have the exploding volcano on the wrapper. It had a thoughtful in introduction by Dr. Joe Winter. It had a discussion of the Scientific Method by John Campbell, and an extract from Will Durant's book The Story of Philosophy'entitled "The Philosophic Method" • In the appendix was also a "Mind Schematic" by Don Rogers. This "schematic" was actually a block diagram of a computer-like mind, showing the relationships between the analyzer, the conscious memory banks, the reactive memory banks, and connections to the sensory and motor organs of the body. [These two block diagrams, together with the front cover, appear in the middle pages of IVy 47]

All these contributions had great relevance to Ron's text, and were the first indications that Ron didn't "do it all by himself". Those who have these original books treasure them, as they shed light on the history of Dianetics and Scientology that is no longer recognized. Clear

Clear[edit | edit source]

Ron's description "clear" was totally different from what is taught today. Briefly, the Reactive Mind consists of engrams, which are hidden memories that contain pain and unconsciousness (including moments of painful emotion). Auditing addresses these engrams one by one, by going over them in detail again and again until they vanish in a burst of laughter. The individual incidents, according to theory, are then re-filed in the conscious memory banks (minus the pain and mis-emotion), where they are available to rational thought. A person who has erased all his engrams is Clear. A Clear has no mentally induced (psychosomatic) illnesses, has perfect eyesight, excellent hearing, and enhanced enjoyment of taste and touch. When confronted with a problem he is able to arrive at the optimum solution swiftly and without error, based on the data available. The only "errors" that could occur would be due to false data in his memory, such as having read something by a trusted author, and having come across nothing to indicate it might not be totally true.

There was much discussion on how a Clear remembers things. There is conceptual memory, where the person simply "knows what he or she knows", without regard to where the data came from. There is also the ability to "go back" and mentally re-experience the source of the data. Thus, having heard a Mozart concert, one can go back and listen to it again, "hearing" it in memory with the same clarity as was originally enjoyed. The pages of a book, (and this would apply, in my case, to complex technical data) could be looked at again in memory, and re-read by mentally seeing the pages again. Those were the promises that excited John Campbell when he wrote his enthusiastic endorsement of Dianetics. I recognized them as something I needed. And evidently so did many others who responded to Ron's work in those early days. Where are they?

Where are they?[edit | edit source]

Given such promises, and the implication that Clears had been produced before Dianetics was written, there was a natural reaction: "Where are the Clears? We want to see and talk to them!" Well, we didn't see any at the courses. A few years later I heard that Ron had finally brought a person whom he described as Clear on stage with him during a lecture, and had the audience ask questions. One of the replies by the "Clear" was "I don't rememberer!" The audience exploded in disbelief; Ron calmly asked a few questions of the person and came up with an explanation that seemed to satisfy his audience. But no more "Clears" were brought forward.

In the years following Ron developed Scientology, revised the definition of Clear, and started a religion . Most of those whom John Campbell had brought into the fold dropped out, when the "Exact Science of the Human Mind" proved to be not so reliable after all It is evident that the type of individual who is drawn into Scientology today has a totally different viewpoint on Science and the Society we live in than the happy and enthusiastic "Dianetikers" of the early 1950's,

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

For my part, I am thankful for the experience that John Campbell opened up for me, The original promises of Ron's tech could not be achieved. But there were many other benefits. I am glad that Ron did what he did, especially in the beginning. I am content. My advice to those who seek help would be: Do a Life Repair or the equivalent; do Dianetics and the lower Grades. When it starts to get more and more expensive, find a point where you notice less gain per dollar spent, and quit. If you get into trouble, go back occasionally for a Review. But mostly, learn to take control of your life without the crutch of some-one else's world-view. Extra biographical note by Antony Phillips

Extra biographical note by Antony Phillips[edit | edit source]

I first met Don Maier in the 1970s. Don was working for a firm which was advising the American army in Germany on electronic matters and servicing their electronic devices. I was doing a sort of part-time unpaid job for Pubs Org, Copenhagen, coordinating a few other Danish volunteers in repairing e-meters. Don, who travelled around a lot of Germany with his work, in his spare time went to the orgs nearest to where he was working at the time and repaired their e-meters. That started a relationship which was very dear to me. One of the things he did for me was to build (out of a kit by Heathkit) my first computer, a CPM machine with a single hundred byte floppy disk.
He told me a bit about his life as a bomber pilot during the war. He was stationed in England and survived by some almost miraculous means many flights over Germany, thus working for the safety of England. Years later when he was in Germany (I guess this was before I met him) he travelled to England in order to study the e-meter. With his car he travelled by ferry from the Hook of Holland to Harwich in England. When he got to Harwich he was asked what he was going to do and he told them he was going to East Grinstead to study the e-meter. They then refused to allow him into the country, kept him in a room until the ship sailed back with him and his car. He didn't know that an English government minister had issued an order preventing people coming into England to study Scientology (the cause of Pubs Org being moved to Denmark, an enquiry later found that the minister had made an illegal order). He made to me a wry remark about it showing the English gratitude for his helping them save the country!
At the time I knew him he had a Korean wife who he met when he was working for the American army in Korea. I understand that she came from a very poor background, and Don managed to get his wife's sister over to the USA from Korea also in some way by adopting her. When he and his wife were in Germany he told me that because of her poverty and the fact that she now had lots of money she tended to buy things to sort of hoard them "for a rainy day" and one time he visited me he came with a very good carpet and gave it to me. It was one of the things she had bought in a sort of overwhelm of the richness of the Western world.
When his term of duty in Germany was up he was offered a job in the USA in a rather expensive area but instead he retired to his home, which he had kept going, in Alabama. Unfortunately his wife died. So when he had retired to Alabama he started a free Scientology newsletter in the USA, which I think had as one of its objects to find himself a new Scientology wife. He found one, a very nice Class VIII. I didn't hear anything more of the newsletter! I was invited by him to USA, where I wanted to go anyway to a conference. The conference was at Palo Alto, where he was the first speaker and after the conference he drove me with his wife a lovely long tour ending up in Vancouver Island. We travelled in his motorhome which was equipped to sleep six people comfortably and which towed a motorcar for short journeys where ever we went and had two bicycles mounted on the front.
His wife, the Class VIII, was very interesting. She told me that when she was a child (during the war) she was in direct communication with children in Europe to support them in the difficult times. She claimed to be able to do some sort of thought reading, which she was able to use in guiding preclears, and she demonstrated this to me a couple of times, one of which was when we had parked the motorhome in a rather large rest place. I went for a little walk there and as I was coming back I saw a sign pointing to the motorhome but saying on it something like lavatory/toilet. She was very keen on taking pictures and I thought this would be a marvellous picture to take. As I went round the motorhome to where the door was she opened the door and said to me would I like her to take a picture of that.
She also describes some of her org experiences. She apparently was fairly close to Ron Hubbard part of the time and describe an experience where she was under the control of Otto Roos. She had a young family at that time and of course needed to get home at times to look after them. However Otto put her in a lower condition which involved her staying in the org for over a day, which she was not very happy about. However, the telephone rang, and Otto who had been very officious towards her, changed his tune completely with comments into the telephone in the direction of "Yes Sir!" And she was relieved of her lowered condition.
Nobody is perfect, even if they're Class VIII, and she had the following little what I would call blemish on her character. She always drove in the motorhome sitting beside Don, and I sat behind. Don always drove, and he was subject to a continuous barrage of comments about the things to be careful of that were coming up as we drove along. There was one single instance when I drove with Don and without his wife. It was nice to sit in the front seat. Don made the innocent remark in the direction of it being nice to have a silent passenger, a sort of relief. I think it says something about Don that he was able to remain complacent over hundreds of miles travelling with a barrage of unnecessary verbal warnings.

References[edit | edit source]

For the text of the first edition see: [[1]]

For the Wikipedia article on Dianetics: Modern Science of Mental Health see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dianetics:_The_Modern_Science_of_Mental_Health