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T H 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 SCIENCE)
(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  !


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 sister.
   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 lobotomy.

   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 hospital.

   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.

   Nevertheless, the Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation is preparing evidential materials, which will be published as soon as it is assembled in the proper form.

   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 herself?

   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.


   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 self-demonstrable proof.

   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 clear.

   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.

H  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)

Stugeon 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 both sides.

Here are some initial suggestions and statements about Dianetics.


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 results.


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 simple enough.


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.

S  U  P  E  R  M  A  N   –   C  .  O  .  D  .

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 equality.
   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 its axioms..."

   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 hypno-treatment.

   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 to heroin!

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.