Wundt, Fundamentals of Thoughts and Scientology
|Wundt, Fundamentals of Thoughts and Scientology|
|Type of Article||Category:Articles|
- [Introduction by Antony A Phillips (talk) 10:27, August 2, 2016 (CDT)] I have been running a little Internet circle, about 30 people, to whom I had been sending every week a chapter of "Dianetics 55!". We finished and I started sending the first chapter of L. Ron Hubbard's book "Scientology: Fundamentals of Thought" (1956 edition). I had read this previously and accepted Ron Hubbard's rather gloomy view on psychology as expressed in the following passage:
- More acceptable and normal psychology such as that begun by St. Thomas Aquinas and extended by many later authors was, in 1879 interrupted severely by one Professor Wundt, a Marxist at Leipzig University in Germany. This man conceived that man was an animal without soul and based all of his work on the principle that there was no " psyche " (a Greek word meaning " spirit "). Psychology, the study of the spirit (or mind) came into the peculiar position of being " a study of the spirit which denied the spirit ". For the subsequent decades, Wundtian " psychology " was taught broadly through the world. It taught that man was an animal. It taught that man could not be bettered. It taught that intelligence never changed. This subject, Wundtian psychology, became standard, mainly because of the indifference or lack of knowledge of people in charge of universities. Scientology is actually a new but very basic psychology in the most exact meaning of the word. It can and does change behaviour and intelligence and it can and does assist people to study life. Unlike Wundtian pseudo-psychology it has no political aspiration. Scientology is not teaching dialectic materialism under the heading of " psychology ".
- I was somewhat nonplussed by this and realise that I'd never bothered to check on it. So knowing someone with a Masters degree in psychology I asked him to comment, and here is his reply:
It is not true that Wundt was the big bad guy who perverted psychology. He initiated an experimental approach which became the start of a line of research dealing with fundamental properties of the mind such as perception and problem solving which spread over Europe. The purpose was knowledge, not application directed at healing or enhancing human abilities. Wundt did develop a Geisteswissenschaft, a "Science of the Mind", which was intended to be applied psychology, but it was largely ignored. He is of little interest to modern psychologists.
Two contemporaries of Wundt came to have a much greater influence on psychology.
In Europe Freud, inventing psychoanalysis (The Interpretation of Dreams, 1900), laid the foundation for practical psychology in Europe. His theories and methods are on retreat, but remain influential. They had an important influence on Ron by leading him on to develop a "mental science", Dianetics, which treated aberrations by finding "trauma", engrams, in the mind by introspecting (remembering, returning; later came the slogan: we audit the pc, meaning the self-determined, conscious thetan, not his body or bank). Engrams and trauma are not exactly the same, but "trauma" means scar in Greek, and an engram was originally conceived to be "engraved" on the cells of the body, so there is a similarity in the concepts. My edition of Scientology 8-80 (1952) has the following dedication: "To my good friend, the late Commander "Snake" Thompson (MC) USN and his friend and teacher, Sigmund Freud". Other systems arose in Europe, and in the last half of the twentieth century cognitive psychology and systemic psychology became much more fashionable than Freud's psychoanalysis, and which do address the thetan, though it is not thought of as a metaphysical entity.
In the USA, the great philosopher William James wrote his Principles of Psychology which was published in 1890. It is still published, known and read respectfully by modern psychologists. It is deep, observant and has much truth, but though it has its practical uses, it is not aimed at application in a practice. Unfortunately, American psychology was not to be founded on James' writings; it was completely derailed in the early twenties by J. B. Watson, who promoted behaviorism, which tried to understand the mind entirely by learned reflexes that were "conditioned" into the person. This built on studies by Russian physiologist Pavlov, but Pavlov's research developed in an entirely different, and much saner, direction and became the foundation of Russian psychology which, after the fall of the Berlin wall, has had significant influence on Western psychology. The American psychologists became quite radical about behaviorism. Indeed, the general attitude of behaviorists was that one must not pay any attention to anything occurring in consciousness because one could only observe behavior directly. Some behaviorists accepted speech as behavior, others did not. This "reflexology" is the brand of "psychology" that Ron as an American would have known as the only kind of psychology, hence his great interest in psychoanalysis which to him must have provided him with a brand new view of psychology as a practice.
Behaviorism began to lose its dominance about 1960, and sanity began to spread, and today American psychologists have produced some very sane ideas, though nothing like the bridge. It should be noticed that a fundamental principle of Dianetics is stimulus-response, which is strictly a behavioristic idea.
Ron was importantly influenced by the major lines of psychology on two continents: psychoanalysis and behaviorism. He was also influenced by Buddhism and a host of European philosophers, of which he gives "particular credit" to 24 in one of the first pages of Science of Survival. So much for history. Let me draw your attention to Dianetics Axiom 164:
THE RATIONALITY OF THE MIND DEPENDS UPON AN OPTIMUM REACTION TOWARD TIME.
DEFINITION: SANITY, THE COMPUTATION OF FUTURES.
DEFINITION: NEUROTIC, THE COMPUTATION OF PRESENT TIME ONLY.
DEFINITION: PSYCHOTIC, COMPUTATION ONLY OF PAST SITUATIONS.
In 2000, the American psychologist Martin Seligman, then president of the American Psychologist's Association introduced positive psychology, the main idea of which is that psychology in the twentieth century has been developed based on the study of aberration. The study of ability might give us a better understanding of how to create able, wise people, raise our children in a sane environment and at the same time be better able to handle and cure aberration.
Positive psychology is not, emphatically not, the same as positive thinking where a person must only think positive and constructive thoughts; such a practice invites not-is-ness (repression) and hence creates unreality. Positive psychology, on the other hand, is interested in developing wisdom, ability, meaning in life, zest (enthusiasm) and other things up the tone scale.
I believe the future of psychology will move in that direction. I also believe that very many psychologists from the 1950's and forward have been influenced, directly or indirectly, by the practice and theories of Scientology.
If you are interested in knowing more about positive psychology, I refer you to Martin Seligman: Flourish, 2011. If you are interested in positive psychology applied to kids and young people in the educational system, an excellent overview is found in Paul Tough: How Children Succeed, 2012.
- [Ant writing:] So now you have another viewpoint on Wundt and psychology. I see there is a fairly full Wikipedia article about Martin Seligman at: []. This little item in Scientolipedia gives a one-sided picture of Ron's book "Scientology: Fundamentals of Thought" so it is only fair if I add that the remaining chapters of the book go thoroughly into the basics of Scientology. It is the original 1956 edition I am referring to, which contains many of the fundamentals of Scientology.