E D I A N E T I C S Q U E S T I O N
(A special Feature by the Editors of MARVEL
(May 1951 - now in the Public Domain)
For the first time
in the short but epithet-scarred history of Dianetics, a
Science-fiction magazine presents all aspects of the controversy. The
editors have asked three leading stf writers to give their views on
Dianetics, and here are their stimulating arguments, side by side…
H O M
O S U P E R
I O R, H E R
E W E
C O M E !
by L. RON HUBBARD (Pro)
“. ..a better human being . ..”
ON THE DAY that I
received the articles by Lester del Rey and Theodore Sturgeon for
comment, one of our HDA’s (Hubbard Dianetics Auditor) also received an
interesting bit of mail: a birthday greeting from his sister. There
wasn’t much of interest about the birthday greeting, except that there
was a greatly humorous little note attached which made you admire the
person who wrote it. And I knew a story about this particular HDA’s
One year ago this girl
was in no position to write anyone a birthday note. She was being
carefully observed in a state mental institution
after along series of electric
shocks, and her doctor was on the point of deciding there was no hope
for getting her out of the hospital except through a pre-frontal
Today, this girl is
living a normal life with her family. She has just successfully
completed a business course, has secured a job, and is getting more fun
out of life than in many of the years before she went into the
This is Dianetics at
work. The two persons who have worked with this girl had no previous
training in mental therapy, and used only dianetic processing when
trying to help her. This girl is not a clear. She is not even a good
release. But she has come from a position where she was almost
completely cut off from her environment to the point where she is
capable of leading a normal and happy life in the months since
Dianetics was published. No observer could deny that this girl is now a
better human being because of dianetics.
A friend of this girl
was very much like an average person. The friend is now a release, and
her happiness and effectiveness are startling to her friends. Her
friend is a better human being.
The HDA who received the
birthday card was well above average a year ago, and today has passed
the point of release and is working toward being a clear. His
effectiveness is increasing day by day. He is markedly more friendly.
He is far more dynamic, and yet makes fewer people angry. He is a
better human being.
These are people I know.
Their stories are paralleled by many, many others whom I personally
know as warm, live human beings. Is it any wonder that Mr. Del Rey’s
sniping at theoretical differences seems a little out of place to me?
If Mr. Del Rey were
sincerely interested in investigating dianetics he could interview them
if he so desired. But according to Mr. Del Rey: “No man’s opinion of
what has happened to his mind is any proof of anything”, so no doubt
the girl, who less than half a year ago was considered completely
hopeless by the medical supervisor of her ward, would not be able to
convince Mr. Del Rey that dianetics had accomplished anything for her.
Not even if her logic were superior to his.
Dianeticists are well
aware that a large segment of the population has grown used to the idea
that the opinion of an authority that facts and statistics presented on
large charts with red letters is evidence enough to outweigh the
observations that they, themselves can make. Fortunately, thousands of
others are still filled with the true spirit of scientific curiosity.
It is to those open-minded people that dianetics owes its first
obligation. It is also those people who will be able to carry the
science of dianetics forward.
Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation is preparing evidential
materials, which will be published as soon as it is assembled in the
The viciousness of Mr.
Del Rey’s attack displays so clearly the aberrative force behind it,
that no defense to this matter should be necessary. If one is needed,
the perusal of the laws regarding the expenditure of income in a
non-profit charitable Corporation would certainly be more informative
than any argument about this particular case.
One more curiosity needs
to be pointed out in Mr. Del Rey’s article, Mr. Del Rey begins by
carefully trying to hang the label of racism and superiority complex on
a science which proves for the first time that all human beings can be
better human beings. But from this first brief attempt to the end of
the article, he argues heatedly against the idea that “common” sense
and “common” judgments are any good at all.
But who then is not
common? Who has a better right to decide for the individual than the
individual himself? Is a woman less able to raise an arm that had been
crippled with bursitis because I observe it, rather than a medical
doctor? For that matter, is she not capable of making the observation
Will Mr. Del Rey decide
for all of us what will constitute evidence and proof to us? Will he,
then pronounce judgment on a body of knowledge he has not understood,
and a technique he ahs not used, and suggest that others do likewise
because “common” sense is rather dangerous? It appears that he ahs done
so, but such a judgment is probably temporary with him.
For the goal is indeed a
glittering one, Mr. Ackerman, and all we ask is the kind of honest
skepticism, which you display, Mr. Sturgeon. Mr. Del Rey will come
along by and by.
AND HUBBARD’S AGENT – FORREST ACKERMAN, ONE OF THE LEADING STF FANS,
AGREES WITH HIS TOP CLIENT 100%
What are you doing about
becoming a superman?
The first step is to read the
remarkable 180,000-word book by L. Ron Hubbard (Hermitage $4).
The second is to apply
its principles – whether you believe in them or no. For the test of
Dianetics is not one of trust, faith or belief, but of
The book is of especial
interest to readers of science fiction because its author – the
discoverer, creator, synthesizer of Dianetics – is a world famous
science fiction writer. It is unlikely that you will be unfamiliar with
all of the following titles by him (which are only a few). “Final
Blackout”, “To the Stars”, “Fear”, “The Ultimate Adventure”, “The End
is Not Yet”. This sole science-fictioneer recently packed 6,000 people
into a noted Loa Angeles Auditorium to hear him speak on his new science
The goal of Dianetics is
the clear. “A clear“ to quote W. Bradford Shank, prominent dianeticist,
“is not a God, not a superman”.
This does not mean that
a dianetic clear can read minds, hypnotize non-clears, foretell the
future, walk on water, or be impervious to bullets. But a clear is, by
definition an individual with no psychoses, neuroses, complexes,
compulsions, or phobias – an amazingly balanced person with neither
“innate” ears nor aberrations, and free of all chronic somatics (pseudo
aches and pains psycho-induced).
A clear has an abundant
store of energy and needs but 4 hours of sleep out of 24.
A clear has a
photographic memory, can return to any moment of his (or her)
time-track and re-experience anything with full perceptics (sight,
sound, sensation, etc.)
Do clears exist or are
they a figment of a fantasy writer’s imagination? If they are real,
where are they?
Well, most of them are
in temporary incognito – until numerically, they become less freakishly
infrequent. You see, it is not difficult for them to compute the
reaction of the aberree (like you and me – unless you, like me are a
pre-clear): Most normal people would want to poke at them and probe 25
hours a day demanding: “What tricks can you do? Prove to me you are a
I have seen a clear and
at least 6000 other people in Los Angeles have seen a clear. Her
name was given publicly, so I do not see why I should not repeat it
here: Sonya Bianca. I do not know what her fate may be -
eventually she may change her name to escape publicity.
The subject is a
gigantic one, the goal is glittering, the effort to achieve it
relatively minor. We all cannot hope to fly to the Moon, Mars or the
Stars in spaceship one some day, but any of us can now engage in the
great sciencefictional experiment called Dianetics: we all can be
better than we are.
O W T O A V
O I D A H O
L E I N T H
E H E A D
by THEODORE STURGEON (Middle-Of-The-Road)
“You’ll hear plenty of yelling..”
IF MY WORDS on this engrossing
subject seem more a plea for general open-mindedness and progressive
thought than a rundown on dianetics – don’t be misled: that’s just the
way they are.
Once in a while, a book
or a play or an idea calls forth a reaction from the general public
that is almost 100% violent. Those who are not violently opposed are
violently in love with the subject at hand.
You’ll find that the
possessors of these violent opinions divide themselves into several
categories. The two main ones are those who have familiarized
themselves with the subject and those who haven’t.
Each of these categories
subdivides into many degrees of the original violence. I have found
that the primary question to ask anyone who expresses extreme opinions
about dianetics is: “Have you read the book?” (or at least, “Have you
experienced or witnessed dianetics therapy?”) If the answer is “No”, it
is obvious that the conversation no longer deals with dianetics but
with the protests and internal conflicts of these violent opinions.
In short, it is well to
back off from violence purely because it is violence. No one who can
yell louder than you can prove can prove by doing so that he can think
better than you. Concerning dianetics, you’ll hear plenty of yelling on
Here are some initial suggestions and
statements about Dianetics.
TO THOSE WHO ARE AGAINST IT
ITEM: Read the more understandable
parts of the (acutely badly written) book – specifically the chapters
on therapy and the “advice to the Pre-Clear” and then try – or observe
– the therapy yourself before you can start shooting your mouth off.
ITEM: Stop making such a fuss about
Hubbard’s terminology. If you are genuinely interested in finding out
what he is driving at, you must consider his statements within the
framework of his own hypotheses. Viewed in that light, he has every
reason for creating his own technical terms. One example is Hubbard’s
“analytical“ mind and “reactive” mind correlate very closely t the
Freudian “conscious” and “unconscious” respectively. Now Hubbard states
that the analytical (conscious) mind is the part of the mind, which can
be unconscious and the reactive (unconscious) mind is the part of the
mind, which is never unconscious! Can you imagine the confusion in this
area if he used only accepted terms?
ITEM: Stop making a to-do about the
similarity of certain phases of dianetic therapy to the techniques of
other more conventional methods. Certainly there are similarities, but
there is a great deal about dianetics, which is genuinely new. The
principle of a burning wick is older than recorded history – almost as
old as the trick of striking a spark off a piece of flint. Not
too long ago, some bright boy put those two together, and you light
your cigarette with a new gadget. I never heard of anyone sneering at a
fishtail Cadillac because it was equipped with those old-fashioned,
unremarkable objects known as wheels.
ITEM: Stop picking little chips out
of Hubbard’s theory of structure. (Eighty percent of his books consist
of this. Call it conjecture if you like. That’s what it is). If you
came along with an idea like this, how else could you describe it, but
by telling people how you think it works? The theory of structure,
which described atoms as hard balls with other hard balls circling
around them, has been proved fallacious; yet while it was acceptable,
people were building molecular models and figuring out new carbon and
silicon plastics from them. The change in accepted atomic theory did
not alter chemistry; a new and better explanation of how the mind works
will not change the results you get from dianetic therapy. Hubbard
himself says that if and when someone comes up with a better theory of
structure, he will welcome it with open arms. But it won’t change his
NOW TO THOSE WHO ARE FOR DIANETICS:
ITEM: Only a fool will accept the
whole because he finds one or two of its parts acceptable. To observe
some of the remarkable effects of dianetic therapy and thereby
conclude, without evidence, that all Hubbard’s theories are correct, is
about as intelligent as trying to chew onto a peach tree because you
found the peaches good.
ITEM: There is a deplorable
proclivity in the human animal to get faddistic about certain ideas.
Faith is a beautiful thing. So are forest fires, and the color of
gangrene. I think faith – especially capital-F Faith – is more
dangerous and more disgusting than either. It is a substitute for
thought. Dianetics, for all its effectiveness, is not a panacea,
and Ron Hubbard is not the Messiah. If you are feeling either of these
two things, go take a cold shower.
ITEM: Don’t get so cocky as you
acquire experience in auditing that you think you can throw the
ground-rules out. There is a high ethic involved in correct auditing,
and a sound set of safeguards is build into the standard technique.
When you vary them, you are not practicing dianetics. If you therefore
get wrong results, or no results, don’t blame it on dianetics. If
you want to mesmerize patients, take up hypnotherapy or narcosynthesis.
If you want to bulldoze patients into believing that they think or feel
things you want them to feel, take up Reichianism . But if you want to
practice – or investigate – dianetics, try dianetics. God knows it’s
TO SUM UP THEN:
Before you can consider yourself for
or against dianetics, see it in action – preferably after having
learned something about it.
If and when you get results
from dianetics, don’t conclude therefore that everything Hubbard says
must be true. Don’t consider the unproven as false, either. If it’s the
science its adherents claim, it will beat investigation. If it isn’t,
investigation will prove it false. In either case – investigate.
No matter what you discover, at least you’ll have the happy feeling of
knowing what you’re talking about when you discuss the subject.
U P E R M A N
– C . O . D .
by LESTER DEL REY (Con)
“. .I want to see results . .”
THE SECRET FEELING that you’re
basically superior to your fellow man is probably more typically human
than anything, except the related doubt that you are superior to
anyone. Racism is based on the need to believe in superiority, and one
of the basic factors underlying many neuroses is the doubt of even
L. Ron Hubbard has
capitalized on this situation in a book – printed by Hermitage House –
“Dianetics”., available to all at $4.00 per copy. It isn’t at all
surprising that the book has been a best seller since it gives the
credulous, reason to believe that he can really be the
superman he always felt he was. It
also purports to be a science, which is the current catch-word to
replace the older black-magic in the popular mind.
The fact that it lacks a
fundamental scientific basis has little to do with average, untrained
reader’s idea that he is being scientific in trying out the
“experiments” - totally without controls or any basis of
objective evaluation – in the book.
To the careful reader,
of course - or anyone who understands the semantics of either Ogden and
Richards, or Korzybski - the first pages alone show the flimsiness of
the "scientific" knowledge behind it. After a brief opening eulogy to
himself as greater than the inventor of fire, the wheel or the arch,
Mr. Hubbard says: "Dianetics is the science of the mind. Far simpler
than physics or chemistry, it compares with them in the exactness of
An Axiom by the
dictionary is "a self-evident truth; a proposition or statement
generally accepted as true." Neither physics nor chemistry is founded
on axioms, but rather on data accumulated through observation and
experiment, and accepted through universality of reproducing such an
experiment. Science cannot be based on axioms - too many of them lead
to such things as earth being the center of the universe, the sun going
around it, etc. Even geometric axioms are under constant examination
and don’t by mathematicians. Mr. Hubbard shows a surprising
carelessness for the facts, at least for a would be scientist.
And what are those
axioms? The first one is not a self-evident truth (if such a thing can
even exist.) The dynamic principle of existence is SURVIVE, according
to him. Sheer gobbledygook. The principle of living is, living! Or, if
he means the "dynamic principle is the desire or struggle to survive -
another thing - it sounds good, but is a long way from certain.
Psychologists have found just as good reason to examine a strange will
to cease surviving all wrapped up with the will to survive. It's a nice
assumption, a and one that seems safe, but it is by no means a
"demonstrable" natural always Mr. Hubbard says - without giving us any
method for demonstrating it!
There are all kinds of
statements about demonstrable proof - but when we get done with the
book, all we have is Hubbard's word, and the injunction to go out and
try the therapy (not the proof that his "axioms" and "theories") on our
friends. Surely even Mr. Hubbard must know that no man’s opinion of
what has happened to his mind is any proof of anything. If it were,
there are thousands of people who have learned amazing "scientific"
secrets through the cults, Coué was correct; millions have been cured
of cancer, etc.etc. The average man's willingness to believe he is
cured of anything is too well known; it's shown in the testimonials
voluntarily sent to every quack medicine firm.
Where are the case
histories? Hubbard cites 270 people who have been "cleared" - i.e..,
cured of all aberrations, given higher intelligence levels, made
altruistic, etc. I can give you 1,000 as the figure I've cured by
feeding hot water and raison extract. Nothing is proved by a statement.
Let's see actual scientific case histories - supposedly available,
though many efforts to obtain them have failed. True he does gives us
some rather interesting and sex-sadistic little stories as case
histories, but they have about as much relation to case histories as
the Doc Methuselah stories have.
Where are the controls?
Where is the scientific rigor? Where is the proof that "cured" cases
don't relapse? After watching millions of people buy the
anti-histamines and "cure" their colds, you'd think people would look
for better evidence next time. But Dianetics hasn't evened s much
experimental evidence, as had the anti-histamines.
"By their seeds shall ye
know them". I’ve been looking for such seeds. According to the book, a
release is an individual free from major anxieties or illnesses, and a
release can be done in twenty hours. Of those taking therapy whom I
know, the majority have had well over twenty hour treatment - and show
no evidence of such freedom over what they had originally. They feel
that they are better - though most of them do not themselves feel freed
in any major way; that is just around the corner still. (In one case,
release is just around the corner after some two hundred hours.)
The clear - the optimum
individual, free of all aberrations and psychosomatic illnesses, with
complete recall of his whole life, and with raised intelligence - is
simp0ly not in general evidence. I haven't been able to meet one. I was
told of one, but when I met him and asked him a few simple questions, I
was hastily told that he was not a clear. There is supposed to be one
on the West Coast, on public display. Interesting, but apparently not
yet properly examined. I once knew a man ion the stage who could fool
the average observer with perfect memory. I want to be sure it is not
such a case.
Suipposedly, there are
270 such people. That should be enough to interest scientific
investigation. . But nobody can find them, it seems. They're "incognito
to keep people from bothering them." Bunk! That's kindergarten stuff:
"I know but I won't tell." A clear is defined as a being altruistic and
completely balanced without aberrations. Such individuals shouldn't be
so sensitive that won't appear for scientific checks when proof of
dianetics would open it up for the countless aberrees of the world. If
those timid, selfish, introverted individuals are your "clear:
supermen, I want none of it.
So far, I've seen only
evidence of post-hypnotic suggestion, and I want none of that either.
The business of stuffing a person full of obsessions to help overcome
certain deeper psychological problems may be all right, if done by men
of known professional ethics, who have specialized in a careful study
of the mind. But when any man with a few weeks of study can go out - no
matter how ill trained he may be - and practice it, that is dangerous.
Of course, no hypnotism
is supposed to be involved. But Mr. Hubbard knows, or should know, that
hypnotic suggestion is possible without loss of consciousness or a
trance - he has dabbled in hypnotism enough; but he insists on playing
with words. The "canceller" and other parts of reverie technique are
sufficient to demonstrated to anyone familiar with hypnotism that it is
hypnotism: The behavior of the person undergoing dianetics therapy
makes it obvious to anyone skilled in hypnotism, that this is a form of
Why go into the matter
of engrams, and all the mumbo-jumbo of dianetics? They've covered
repeatedly and they are neither new nor as simple as Hubbard tries to
make them. He says it isn't the theories that matter, but the results.
And even though he then turns around and uses these theories as facts
later, I agree.
I want to see results.
I want to see scientific
proof, supposedly so available. I haven't seen it. I've reread and
reread the book, and find no evidence. I've been surrounded by dianetic
converts and patients, and their neuroses may have changed in outlet,
but remain the same ones in full force.
Also the false
confidence of anyone who believes himself cured can substitute for a
time as a cure. We know that. We also know that such a crutch may
crumble under real problems, and such failure may be worse than the
original trouble. The danger of a relapse hasn't been investigated - no
time ahs elapsed to allow for such study.
Also, it's rather
interesting to notice that the study is being done by men who have a
major stake in seeing dianetics being accepted. The royalty on the
books sold, the $500 fees, and all the other money rolling in go into a
non-profit, tax-free foundation, of course: but the officers of the
foundation can always draw any salary they choose for themselves. By
judicious management, these men can arrange for a life-time, handsome
source of income. They’d be fools not to see such [possibilities, an
they are not fools.
Dianetics therapy may
sometimes be helpful. There may be a body of genuine worth in it. Or it
may be one of those dangerous things yet developed for anyone to fool
with. We have no way of knowing. The idea that untrained people can
judge this is on a par with Mr. Hubbard’s curious idea that an engineer
is automatically a scientist (meaning someone trained to do research.)
Most engineers are simply trained to apply the discoveries of science -
and even science has had difficulty with the mind.
Typically, Mr. Hubbard's
"rebuttal" of my article does not offer any new evidence of scientific
worth. He does not offer to produce even one clear!
In choosing to attack my
attitude, rather than to offer more adequate answers to my questions, I
am amused to find he has stated that my "attack display so clearly the
aberrative force behind it."
Actually, my aberrations, if
any, have nothing to do with the need of facts. Nor do they
change known facts. I'm sure Mr. Hubbard won't deny that even
non-profit, charitable corporations pay their officers salaries, and
may do so as long as the corporations have funds.
The true spirit of scientific
curiosity has nothing to do with willingness to believe; it has to do
with desire to investigate, but to accept only on adequate evidence.
And evidence is not what JU. Lester del Rey, will accept, but simply a
demonstration of the many claims made in the book. (such as having some
disinterested observers examine the clears supposedly in existence).
I never indicated there was
not some good in dianetics; I specifically said there might be. I never
attacked common sense, but only requested that it be used (and its use
would preclude a man's opinion of his own mental condition, so long as
we cannot even accept a man's statement as to his own sanity). I did
not accuse dianetics of either racism or having a superiority complex;
I said that its success is due to the insecurity behind racism, etc.
Please Mr. Hubbard, at
least stick to the facts as to what I said!
Common-sense indicated that
dianetics is much too risky for its use generally, or for a parlor
game. After all, if the common judgment had been used as a test,
morphine would have been accepted as a remarkable cure-all, second only
All writers and
readers are invited to voice their opinions on the subject. We will
print as many letters as space will allow in our next issue. Send in
your letters pro and con - to Feature editor, MARVEL SCIENCE STORIES,
Stadium Publishing Corporation, 250 Fifth Ave, New York 1, N.Y.