On Auditing

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On Auditing
Topic Scientology books
Type of Article Category:Books about Scientology

Book Review:

ON AUDITING, Martha E. Courtis H.D.A. 1953, 76pp.

by Robin

(Note: Words and whole sentences are often written in capital letters in the book. This is done whenever referring to a particular text passage in the book or when quoting. Quotes are unaltered and can include spelling errors.)

Martha Courtis' On Auditing has no table of contents. She starts immediately with a short INTRODUCTION containing only the three most elementary definitions (Dianetics, Scientology, Auditor) and a list of what she regards as a must read for all who wish to audit (about 800 pages of L. Ron Hubbards books and articles published between 1951 and 1953).

Martha Courtis wrote: "ON AUDITING is written on the premise that you have these publications available for reference, and that you have recently read or reread them, and, where indicated, used the techniques."

It very soon becomes clear how true the above statement is and that this book itself is not meant to go into technical details regarding particular processes.

Section I: SO YOU WANT TO BE AN AUDITOR[edit | edit source]

Martha asks the prospective auditor about his motives and reasons ("Why? Yes, why? Any more reasons?" etc.) along all dynamics. Then touching briefly the Auditor's Code (as stated in SCIENTOLOGY 8-80), the Code Of Honour and a list of efforts and postulates which an auditor should have run on himself in order to be well prepared for his preclear.

Throughout the book many times the GOAL, "the great unconfusor", is stressed in order to keep the purpose of auditing in focus.

The whole section is written in a very elementary style and may appear even a bit childish - an impression which is amplified by the cute illustrations which accompany the text. But read on and it will soon become obvious that Martha Courtis knows her subject well. A knowledge that did not come from study alone, but is the result of hundreds of "hours in the chair".

In Martha Courtis' own words: "Or do you feel that this is all too elementary - too simple - too babyish for even a slightly experienced auditor? Perhaps you are right. AND I agree it is simple. But not that it is simple-babyish. I think it is simple. Simple because it is BASIC."

The 1st Section closes with emphasizing the importance of establishing good ARC as the basic preliminary for successful sessions. The means have changed since the days when the book was written. But the basic reasoning is still the same.

Section II: FIRST YOU TAKE SOME STRAIGHT-WIRE.....[edit | edit source]

The requisite for good Straight-Wire is KNOW DIANETICS.
"The original target of straight-wire - 'What happened to you?' - is usually the easiest material to get and consists principally of motivators. You will find some data in it. And some Theta. And all will acquaint him with himself (the preclear)."

This section is full of excellent advice on how to run Straight-Wire with maximum benefit. Very useful are the numerous references to the original source materials. And again the author admonishes one to stay focused on the purpose.
Martha Courtis: "When using straight-wire to gather data KNOW what you are aiming for - irrational ideas and attitudes or the heaviest incident available that the preclear can handle."

Under the heading CHART I: PROCESSING SESSION - using non-rote techniques - the GOAL is defined as "to give the preclear back to himself". This is followed by a list of steps with which that goal can be accomplished. On the next page (p32) we find the interesting CHART II which gives us a first glimpse of the techniques available between 1951 and 1953 and how they interrelate with each other and how the degree of abstraction gradually increases.

Page 32 of On Auditing

Sectioon III: THE TOOL KIT[edit | edit source]

Section III: THE TOOL KIT[edit | edit source]

On page 37 there is a brief history of techniques, which also shows the evolution from Dianetics to Scientology.

To that Ron Hubbard remarks[1]: "Life went DOWN on this course - knowledge came UP on this course. A preclear can come up from any level of it."

Page 37 of On Auditing

A very good explanation of what actually happens in engram-running follows. This is material of interest for anyone concerned with reduction of incidents. NED (New Era Dianetic) auditors can still learn something here.

All the evolutionary steps of the technology seem to be triggered by the questions:

The goal, by the way, had not changed but was redefined in the meantime to: "release the basic personality". Interestingly enough the newer processing techniques did not invalidate or make obsolete the old ones. Everything stated in 1950 was still true and valid. Only the level of abstraction changed. Or - as Martha Courtis puts it - "the 'language' changed".

The tool kit available for the auditor (and different levels of preclears), held now more tools to be chosen from. Martha warns repeatedly to not confuse the "GOAL" with the tools. For the prospective auditor it is important to follow that path to gain an understanding of the later developments.

This book - as some others not written by LRH himself, but by authors who were familiar with Dianetic and Scientology tech and who had ample practical auditing experience - gives valuable insights into the WHYS and the mechanisms HOW processing repairs the mind's aberrations. One may know everything about any single part of a motor but still have troubles understanding how the whole machine works. This book is kind of manual which brings order and understanding into the puzzle pieces.

Another interesting image can be found on page 44.

Page 44 (bottom) of On Auditing

The journey along the path of Ron Hubbard's technical research is described in words for the reader. The major breakthroughs are brought into perspective with the benefit of hindsight. One of the highlights of this book is the graphic on page 49, which gives insight into the onion-like structure (one may recognize another gradient scale here) of increasing levels of generalisation and processing efficiency.

Page 49 of On Auditing

It shows clearly how Dianetics evolved into Scientology along a path of an ever increasing level of abstraction. (Note: The graphic covers of course only the research from about 1951 to 53. Obviously that small time span was extremely prolific.) Hand in hand with the refinements of the processing tech towards higher levels of abstraction up went efficiency in term of released charge per auditing hour. The graphic is centered around the actual experience (the incident) which was run over and over again in the days of Book One Dianetic until it was erased. Later techniques allowed wholesale reduction of incidents and chains by using more generic (higher levels of abstraction) forms of processing (e.g. black & white). The path went from experiencing again and again the original experience with all PERCEPTICS (Engram running) -> THETA-MEST -> EFFORT -> EFFORT-PACKAGE -> MOTION -> ENERGY -> SPACE -> CERTAINTY (Three Universes) -> ATTENTION.

In Martha Courtis' own words: "Each is a re-statement of the others and of the original experience. They can be thot of as 'languages' in terms of which we can orient processing."

In order to make sense of all that it is mandatory to follow Ron Hubbard's research path by studying his basic writings in chronological order.

Again, this is no manual how to do a particular rundown or routine. Courtis goes one step beyond what is precisely laid out by Ron Hubbard in numerous books, HCOBs etc. She's got the exterior viewpoint of a real expert which she had become by practicing auditing. This allows her to see the big picture that shows how the levels of tech are interwoven and related to each other. That knowledge enables the choice of the right thing out of a vast tool-box where one can find always something that precisely fits a certain case or problem which a preclear may have. In that respect the book is an invaluable guide for anyone who seeks perfection in his auditing. It's unfortunate that this book is relatively unknown. Unfortunate in so far as a big part of know-how, which was apparently present in those old days, seems to diminish gradually in time. The author of this review witnesses at the time of writing (2017) that every now and then "new" technology is developed or old one "modernized" but it's proper application is utterly misunderstood. There is a strong tendency to fall back on "incident-running" while running a concept is required. Doing the abstraction-step is beyond the abilities of uneducated auditors (and preclears) who have - if at all - only a rudimentary grasp of basic principles and definitions in the fields Dianetic and Scientology. Martha's book, combined with a thorough study of the LRH books, to which she repeatedly refers to (see bibliography list at end of book), could do a lot of good to remedy that situation.

Here is a quote from:
Issue 22-G [1953, ca. mid-December]
Published by The Hubbard Association of Scientologists, Inc. Camden, New Jersey
titled: "What an Auditor Should Know"
by L. Ron Hubbard
which gives support to ON AUDITING - a rare honour indeed.

... Running Engrams, Black and White processing, Beauty and Ugliness, technique followed technique, each one more workable than the last, each one issued solely on the valid excuse that it was better than anything we had before it. I can greatly sympathize with anyone attempting to follow what must have appeared to some, scraps of knowledge and disrelated material, and who yet expected to know a whole subject. ...

... the first book. This graduated scale enters with the most basic knowledge man has, as represented by the Asclepian Priests of Greece, continues through the work of Freud and is continually back-shadowed by the knowledge of the wise men of the East. It goes then into what we now call facsimiles (which is to say mental pictures) and all techniques which address the past, and into processes which directly adjust the future.
.... In a recent book On Auditing by Martha Courtis, the gradient scale of Dianetics and Scientology is made extremely apparent, and it is shown there quite expertly how each advance only extended knowledge already held, and the inevitable consequence of Standard Operating Procedure in Scientology. It could be said that those auditors who entered early have spent those three years studying the same thing, and they now can look back upon an integrated picture. Indeed, it is a necessity for auditors contacting Scientology now for the first time, without any background knowledge of Dianetics, to review the entire process of the evolution of the science. ... <end of quote> [Underline not in original - R.]

In an example, starting at page 50, Courtis makes clear what she means with "languages".

Finally - as per 1953 - the whole structure of those "languages" culminated in ... M. Courtis original tone: "Theta - life-force - preclears releasing theta and getting more life force, more energy. Well, well, not a foreign tongue after all. What have we here? Only a sort of single perceptic that precedes and supersedes effort, AND emotion, AND THOT. That's all, not much after all - most people don't grasp anything so abstract. Whoever talks about energy anyhow excepting engineers maybe - WHAT? A SINGLE PERCEPTIC THAT PRECEDES ALL THREE - EFFORT, THOT, AND EMOTION? Well, not a perceptic EXACTLY, but a sort of a force behind all perceptics - it might be useful .... Might? How? Read 8-80 and 8-8008. Thanks. This'll save me a lot of quoting and give you the ORIGINAL DATA."

[Reviewer's note: Martha makes extensive use of "eye dialect"[2] throughout the entire book. Later in the book ample space is devoted to imagining and mock-up in order to rehabilitate the beings ability to create. (The basic goal - freeing basic personality, rehabilitating the pc's self-determinism - is still in place however.) In the meantime Ron's research had approached Operating Thetan.

"... and adventuring and exploration which finds us, altho far afield, really HOME for the first time in a long, long time. It's an experience which I covet for you, if you have not already had it. SELF ANALYSIS IN SCIENTOLOGY (or DIANETICS) is our basic written, detailed presentation of Creative Processing and is needed for use with SOP 8. SOP 8 and supporting techniques are the culmination of several months' work which produced many forerunners, variations, and SOP numbers this and that. Like the HANDBOOK FOR PRECLEARS, SOP 8 and the new SELF ANALYSIS ARE GUNSHOT TECHNIQUES. They cover things in general and if followed thru will eventually hit on all aspects of an individual case, theoretically." [Important Note: The above refers to Chapter IX (Processing Section) in the book Self Analysis In Scientology (or the UK-version: Self Analysis In Dianetics) only. This most essential part is contained in the 1952 issue only and neither in the first edition from 1951 and all the later versions of Selfanalysis]

The book gives not only deep insight into auditing per se, but as well allows the reader to feel some of the excitement (and confusions) on the part of the students of those early days.

Martha Courtis goes on with a discussion of "limited techniques" and "unlimited techniques" which is hard to find elsewhere in such clarity.

Then, in a kind of self dialogue: "... Neither have we 'wasted' these years - the auditing that went on - the investments we have made so far. It's data and living that's valuable to us today if we choose to make use of it. ...
"... To us old war horses - DID YOU THINK DIANETICS DIDN'T "WORK"?
"To the youngest crop of Scientology students -
"The 'languages' have always been understandable in whole or part to a major percentage of the individuals who have come in contact with Dianetics and Scientology. As we have seen in these pages, I am interested in auditors becoming fluent with enuf 'languages' to raise the percentage higher and higher."

Particularly that part of the book (around the last quarter) resembles - for the auditor - what is known to him as the "communication bridge" (look up definition in the Technical Dictionary) inside a session in relation to processing technology. It's the grease that makes the machine run smooth and friction free.

By the techniques of SOP 8 and its variations, we deal with the things which prevent the preclear from LOOKING. And when he can LOOK, he can DIFFERENTIATE, and he is progressing toward the GOAL."

"From L. Ron Hubbard:
" Now it looks like this
" Attention is the keynote.
" This makes for looking.
" Emotion is condensed looking.
" Effort is condensed emotion.
" Thinking (circuits) is condensed effort.
" All stem from looking."
"Get the preclear extended enuf to LOOK and the emotion, effort and thinking (circuits) resolve. This is now done by rehabilitating his space and motion."[3]

Close to the end of the book we get this reminder:

Martha Courtis finishes her book with referring back to its beginning in a quite original manner. But see for yourself.

ON AUDITING, a true classic, strongly recommended for any auditor who strives for perfection. Technology may change - the basic principles of good counselling will remain the same.
ON AUDITING is a fascinating book. Martha, with her practical experience and comprehensive knowledge of Ron's early research, connects the dots and ties any loose ends. The text has not lost any actuality in our days. The basics which define decent auditing have not changed, perhaps they never will.

En passant she gives us a reality how it was back in 1950...53 - the spirit of that time inside a dedicated group - with Ron at his best - and the fast pace with which he put out new data and routines derived thereof. Must have been exciting and confusing for the students at the same instant. Between the lines the reader is invited to participate.


P.S.: Another viewpoint - a short but well written review by the late Frank Gordon, found in an archive on the web (http://www.clearing.org/cgi/archive.cgi?/fgordon/onaudit.scr)

A Book Review:

ON AUDITING, Martha Courtis HDA, 1953, 76pp. $10
Reprinted by UPSTAT, P.O.Box 1413, Riverside, CA 92501

by Frank Gordon

This early classic is invaluable to anyone interested in the early spirit and development of Dianetics. I found it refreshing.

The importance of the preparation, motives, and intentions of the auditor are strongly emphasized. On p.6: "I call the auditor the forgotten man in Dianetics because so little emphasis has been placed on his preparation - and so much on his knowledge of technique."

It has a discussion of the original Auditor's Code, and one line rings a curious bell 37 years later: "The auditor uses only techniques designed to restore the self-determinism of the preclear. He refrains from any authoritarian or dominating conduct, leading always, rather than driving."

The goal and purpose of auditing are continually used as a reference point. On p.26: "Confused by all this? Go back to the GOAL of processing, the Unconfusor...Know what you are purposing."

The discussion is, of course, centered on the techniques of 1953. In retrospect, it appears that much of value has been left behind.

The search for what lies behind effectiveness is an underlying theme. On p.39: "What made the difference? What is the potent element ... What are preclears doing that we don't recognize they are doing? .. Do results occur for the reasons we ascribe to them or is the actual reason as yet undiscovered?" A good question. And just as good today as in 1953.

Straightwire is given prominence. I was especially intrigued by her discussion of Validation Processing. Running pleasure moments until, and even while, the tears were streaming down the pc's face! A definite classic.

References[edit | edit source]

Martha Courtis' book in PDF form is available for download from the following link: [[1]] . Scroll down to Martha Courtis (1953) On Auditing (9.9 MB)" and click on it (it might take a few moments to download).

  1. ^ quoted from the top of page 38 of Martha's book.
  2. ^ for example changing thought to thot, enough to enuf, etc. see Wikipedia [[2]]
  3. ^ This is from the top of page 70 of Martha's book and she doesn't say where Ron says/writes that.