L. Ron Hubbard’s bluster about Dianetics as a “Science of the Mind” and its subsequent evolutionary emergence as the “New Religion” of Scientology was nothing short of a space-age mysticism moneymaking scam powered by sinister brainwashing technics, requiring its members to pay exorbitant amounts of money for “counseling,” read over 200 books by Hubbard, listen to thousands of hours of audiotape, and watch hundreds of DVDs and videos containing instruction on their religio-therapeutic practices called the “tech.”

Unveiling the Influences: Examining L. Ron Hubbard’s
Dianetics and Its Plagiarized Philosophies

Wikipedia: The emergence of Dianetics.

In January 1949, Hubbard informed his literary agent, Forrest J. Ackerman, that he was writing a book on the “cause and cure of nervous tension”, which he was going to call either The Dark Sword or Excalibur or Science of the Mind, and assured Ackerman that the book had “more selling and publicity angles than any book of which I have ever heard”. In the same month, he told Writers’ Markets and Methods magazine that he was working on a “book of psychology”.

In April 1949, Hubbard told the Gerontological Society at Baltimore City Hospital that he was preparing a paper with the somewhat unwieldy title of Certain Discoveries and Researches Leading to the Removal of Early Traumatic Experiences Including Attempted Abortion, Birth Shock and Infant Illnesses and Accidents with an Examination of their Effects Physiological and Psychological and their Potential Influence on Longevity on the Adult Individual with an Account of the Techniques Evolved and Employed. Hubbard’s letter was “politely received”, but the Society apparently declined involvement. He also wrote to the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association.7 These letters, and their responses, have not been published, though Hubbard later said that they had been negative.

In 1949, Hubbard told his friend John W. Campbell, the editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine and publisher of many of Hubbard’s short stories, about his work. Campbell had been one of Hubbard’s early test subjects and believed that Hubbard’s techniques had cured his persistent sinusitis, so he was an enthusiastic supporter. In a letter to one of Astounding’s contributors, Jack Williamson, he wrote: “I know dianetics is one of, if not the greatest, discovery of all Man’s written and unwritten history. It produces the sort of stability and sanity men have dreamed about for centuries.”

The 1950 publication of L. Ron Hubbard’s “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health” profoundly impacted the fields of psychology and psychiatry. The book proposed groundbreaking theories about the human mind’s origins, promising to transform perceptions of mental health and wellness.

In the realm of literature and scientific research, appropriate documentation, meticulous testing, and referencing are crucial to establish credibility and reliability. However, these fundamental aspects seem to be missing in L. Ron Hubbard’s seminal work, Dianetics. Instead, he drew liberally from his vibrant imagination, blending it with audacious scientific assertions and unverified arguments, while also paraphrasing many contemporary philosophies he was acquainted with.

L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics: A Pseudoscientific Mess.

“Always a persuasive talker, Hubbard possessed a natural ability to marshal a smattering of knowledge into a cogent and authoritative thesis, interwoven with scientific and medical jargon.”
~ Russell Miller, Bare-Faced Messiah, Chap. 9.

L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics, a book published in 1950, has enjoyed immense popularity. It purports to introduce a new science of mental health capable of curing an array of psychological issues. However, there is no scientific evidence backing these claims.

Hubbard’s book is replete with extravagant scientific assertions and unsupported arguments. He discusses “engrams,” which he defines as distressing memories stored in the subconscious mind that supposedly cause psychological issues. He also suggests that Dianetics can enhance intelligence, eradicate undesirable emotions, and even overcome death. However, there is no scientific evidence to substantiate any of these claims. In fact, many of Hubbard’s concepts about the mind contradict established psychological knowledge. For instance, the existence of a “reactive mind” or “engrams” is unfounded.

Plagiarism: A Pattern of Intellectual Theft.
It seems that Hubbard merely fabricated most of his “revolutionary” ideas. He lacked formal education in psychology and did not carry out any scientific research to validate his assertions. Instead, he appears to have appropriated ideas from various philosophies and religions, merging them with his own imagination.

Consequently, Dianetics is a pseudoscientific muddle, rife with unverified claims and unfounded scientific conjecture. There is no substantiated evidence that it can remedy any psychological issues. In fact, it may potentially cause more harm than benefit. Hubbard relied heavily on his vivid imagination, making bold scientific claims and unsupported arguments. He also paraphrased many contemporary philosophies with which he was familiar.

An Overview of Sigmund Freud’s Theories In simple terms, Sigmund Freud’s theory suggests that human behavior is influenced by unconscious memories, thoughts, and urges.

A central theme in Dianetics is the investigation of the mind-body connection, focusing on how past experiences influence an individual’s current behavior and mental state. However, these concepts were already established by Sigmund Freud, the esteemed Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, long before Hubbard’s era. Freud’s theories regarding the unconscious mind, repression, and the impact of early childhood experiences have greatly influenced the field of psychology. Hubbard’s lack of recognition for Freud’s contributions in this domain is a significant omission.

Émile Coué, a French psychologist and pharmacist, is recognized for his groundbreaking work in autosuggestion. Coué advocated the power of positive affirmations and the mind’s capacity to impact physical and mental health. Dianetics draws significantly from Coué’s concepts without appropriate credit, with Hubbard introducing similar methods like “auditing” and “positive affirmations” to manipulate one’s mental condition and encourage self-enhancement. The similarities between Coué’s work and Dianetics are remarkable, demonstrating a clear absence of originality from Hubbard.

According to various schools of Indian philosophy, every action, intent or preparation by an individual leaves a samskara (impression, impact, imprint) in the deeper structure of the person’s mind.

Eastern Philosophy: The Influence of Buddhism on Dianetics.
Dianetics integrates specific ideas from Eastern philosophies, especially Buddhism, without acknowledging the original sources. Hubbard presents the concept of “engrams” as traumatic memories housed in the reactive mind. This idea closely mirrors the Buddhist principle of Saṅkhāra – impressions formed by past experiences that influence an individual’s current behavior. Furthermore, Dianetics’ goal of reaching a “clear” state, characterized by the eradication of negative influences, can be compared to the Buddhist pursuit of enlightenment or nirvana. Hubbard’s refusal to recognize Buddhism’s impact on these concepts is a blatant display of intellectual dishonesty.

Self-Actualization: Abraham Maslow.
Abraham Maslow, a renowned American psychologist, is recognized for his significant contributions to the study of human motivation and the hierarchy of needs. His concept of self-actualization, which he describes as the apex of human psychological development, bears a striking similarity to Hubbard’s idea of achieving a state of “clear” in Dianetics. Both concepts revolve around the pursuit of personal growth, self-awareness, and the realization of one’s full potential. However, Hubbard does not acknowledge Maslow’s foundational work in the field of humanistic psychology.

The first editions of several Hubbard books show that they were compiled or edited from his lectures or indeed written by others. In later editions, the work is attributed simply to Hubbard. The first edition of How to Live Though an Executive carries the statement “The manuscript of this book was prepared by Richard deMille who helped in the development of the communications system herein set forth”. Latter editions simply delete this statement and ascribe the work to Hubbard. Child Dianetics was the work of a team, but again the current edition is attributed solely to Hubbard. The Phoenix Lectures were compiled into book form by members of the Hubbard Association of Scientologists in South Africa, but only the first edition (called Notes on the Lectures given by L. Ron Hubbard at Phoenix 1954) acknowledges this fact. Dianetics the Original Thesis was prepared for publication by Donald Rogers, to whom no acknowledgment is given. Science of Survival was prepared for publication by Richard de Mille, to whom no acknowledgment is given.
~ Jon Atack: Possible origins for Dianetics and Scientology.

Additional reasons why Dianetics is classified as pseudoscience:
Hubbard never disclosed any of his research data. He consistently declined to have his theories scrutinized by independent researchers. Numerous assertions he made contradict our existing scientific knowledge. His concepts regarding the mind derive from personal experiences rather than scientific evidence. Dianetics is a pseudoscience that should not be regarded seriously. For those seeking mental health improvement, it is strongly recommend consulting a qualified therapist or counselor capable of providing evidence-based treatment.

L. Ron Hubbard is frequently acknowledged for presenting innovative ideas in the realm of religion and spirituality. However, upon closer scrutiny of his work, it becomes evident that a significant portion was derived from his imagination, rather than any empirical research or evidence. In composing Dianetics, Hubbard did not provide any research documentation, reference notes, or results from rigorous testing. Instead, he freely wrote from a fusion of his vivid imagination and unfounded scientific claims. He also paraphrased numerous philosophies prevalent during his time with which he was familiar.

Jon Atack confirms…
Possible origins for Dianetics and Scientology.

Jon Atack is the author of the best-selling expose of Scientology Let’s Sell These People a Piece of Blue Sky and several other books. Jon is the world’s foremost expert on the history of both Scientology as well as its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. He also maintains a YouTube channel where, with amazing guests, he shows how to spot, avoid, and overcome exploitative persuasion of all kinds and comments on authoritarian beliefs, and on culture and aesthetics.

My starting point is the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary definition of plagiarism, viz “the taking and using as one’s own of the thoughts, writings, or inventions of another.” Hubbard’s plagiarism was extensive. He took ideas from earlier authors without proper acknowledgment; repudiated his initial, partial acknowledgment of other authors; and many times took ideas from his followers without acknowledging them. By far the majority of Hubbard’s published work was actually readied for publication by others. Over time, acknowledgment for these co-authors has simply been removed from newer publications.

Earlier, Hubbard had said “parts of these answers have been represented in many places under many names.” (The Scientologist – A Manual on the Dissemination of Material, 1955). In a 1954 lecture, Hubbard said, speaking of the Hindu Vedas, “A great deal of our material in Scientology is discovered right back there.” Further, “We find Scientology’s earliest certainly known ancestor in the Veda … we can look back across a certain span of time, across a great many minds and into a great many places where man has been able to sit long enough to think, through this old record, and find where it joins up with the present and to what we, in Scientology are rightly indebted. For to say that out of whole cloth and with no background, a Westerner such as myself should suddenly develop all the things you need to know to do the things they were trying to do, is an incredible and unbelievable and untrue statement.” In the book Creation of Human Ability (1954), Hubbard said “Scientology is an organization of the pertinancies which are mutually held true by all men in all times” and “Almost everything I have studied or observed has been evaluated otherwise somewhere, at some time, in relation to this or that.”

Concerns about the health – particularly mental health – of the U.S. population arose in part due to high rejection rates during the World War II draft in the 1940s. This issue was further emphasized by efforts to address the readjustment of returning veterans.

Furthermore, Hubbard asserted that emotions play a significant role in mental illness, a claim unsupported by scientific evidence. He theorized that emotional disturbances stem from unresolved emotional experiences, which he suggested manifest as physical pain within the body. However, Hubbard provided no substantiating evidence for these assertions, and they remain uncorroborated by subsequent scientific research. Moreover, Hubbard liberally incorporated concepts from various fields of psychology and philosophy, including Freudian, Adlerian, and Jungian psychology. However, he frequently distorted and misrepresented these ideas to suit his own narrative.

World War II had a profound impact on the field of psychology in America. The war brought about a new understanding of the importance of mental health, as soldiers who had experienced trauma returned home with psychological problems. This led to a shift in the way that mental health was treated in America, with a move away from state hospitals and asylums and towards more accessible platforms, such as private practices and community clinics.

This increased accessibility sparked renewed public interest in psychology, as people became more aware of the importance of mental health and the availability of treatment. This zeitgeist was perfectly tapped into by Dianetics, which offered a simple and straightforward solution to many of the problems that people were facing.

L. Ron Hubbard’s book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, was published in 1950 and quickly became a bestseller. Hubbard’s ideas about the mind and mental health were simple and easy to understand, and they appealed to people who were looking for a quick and easy fix to their problems. Hubbard himself became a celebrity, and he was soon able to build a large following for Dianetics.

However, Dianetics was not without its critics. Many psychologists and scientists dismissed it as a pseudoscience, and they argued that there was no scientific evidence to support Hubbard’s claims. Despite this criticism, Dianetics continued to be popular, and it eventually evolved into the religion of Scientology.

Mental Health for the Everyman: World War II’s Impact on American Psychology

World War II transformed the American psychological field, bringing the treatment of mental health out of state hospitals and asylums and making psychological medicine available to the average person. This accessibility rekindled popular interest in psychology, leading to a shift in how Americans perceived the study and treatment of the mind. United States would eventually lead the world in psychological research and practical application, and in turn, American society became decidedly more psychological in nature.

The practical need presented by World War II led to a shift in the methods applied for psychiatric treatment, as well as increased federal funding for the social sciences. The deliberate expansion of the American psychological field led to a change in how psychology’s role in society was perceived—not only were Americans directing the profession and its practices after World War II, but the American cultural understanding of the self and the individual became more psychological in nature.

Hubbard was also a master of self-promotion. He gave lectures and wrote articles about Dianetics, and he even appeared on the radio and television. He was able to connect with people on a personal level and convince them that Dianetics could help them to improve their lives.

The creation of Dianetics is a milestone for Man comparable to his discovery of fire and superior to his inventions of the wheel and arch…. This is useful knowledge. With it the blind again see, the lame walk, the ill recover, the insane become sane and the sane become saner.
~ L. Ron Hubbard

In addition to his charisma and marketing skills, Hubbard was also able to tap into the cultural hot topic of the time by offering a solution to the problem of mental illness. In the 1950s, mental illness was still widely stigmatized, and there were few effective treatments available. Dianetics offered a new way to think about mental illness, and it promised to help people to recover from even the most severe conditions.

Leukemia is evidently psychosomatic in origin and at least eight cases of leukemia have been treated successfully by Dianetics after medicine had traditionally given up. The source of leukemia has been reported to be an engram containing the phrase “It turns my blood to water.
~ Hubbard bulletin of May 1953, “The Old Man’s Case Book”

The book provided a sense of hope and empowerment, presenting itself as a solution to various life challenges, including mental health disorders, relationships, and career goals. However, in truth, it was merely an elaborate fiction.


Scientology.org today…

Scientology is not in the business of curing ailments in any traditional sense of the word. Auditing is not done to repair the body or heal anything physical, and the E-Meter cures nothing. However, in the process of becoming happier, more able and more aware as a spiritual being through auditing, illnesses that are psychosomatic in origin (meaning illnesses caused by the soul) often disappear.

This blogger examines the original list of claims offered in Dianetics…
Mass Murder In Scientology: Standard Tech.

I have since leaving Scientology found an inescapable conclusion – Scientology as part of a massive fraud has convinced hundreds, perhaps over decades thousands, of people to skip conventional medical treatment and instead pursue Scientology and Dianetics for healing. This has included treatable deadly illnesses such as cancer. One might call this slow motion mass murder.

I don’t know the exact number of deaths this has led to, but cannot fathom it being less than hundreds and possibly even thousands of people.

This [Scientology] is useful knowledge. With it the blind again see, the lame walk, the ill recover, the insane become sane and the sane become saner. By its use the thousand abilities Man has sought to recover become his once more.
Of all the ills of man which can be successfully processed by Scientology, arthritis ranks near the top. In skilled hands, this ailment, though misunderstood and dreaded in the past, already has begun to become history. Twenty-five hours of Scientology by an auditor who fairly understands how to process arthritis can be said to produce an invariable alleviation of the condition. Some cases, even severe ones, have responded in as little as two hours of processing, according to reports from auditors in the field.
~ Ron Hubbard, “Journal of Scientology,” Issue 1-G, 1952
Leukaemia is evidently psychosomatic in origin and at least eight cases of leukaemia had been treated successfully by Dianetics after medicine had traditionally given up. The source of leukaemia has been reported to be an engram containing the phrase ‘It turns my blood to water.’
~ Ron Hubbard, “Journal of Scientology,” Issue 15-G, 1953
Arthritis vanishes, myopia gets better, heart illness decreases, asthma disappears, stomachs function properly and the whole catalogue of illnesses goes away and stays away.
Scientology is the only specific (cure) for radiation (atomic bomb) burns.
~ Ron Hubbard, ALL ABOUT RADIATION, p. 109

All of these factors and claims by individual Scientologists of knowing others who got illnesses such as cancer and then due to being fooled by an elaborate fraud with actual lies – and not just statements within a faith – lead to one predictable result. Those victims of fraud failed to use conventional medicine and many died as a result. I believe the number must be in the hundreds or thousands.

That is murder via medical fraud. I cannot see how any other conclusion is correct. In many places causing death of a human being in the commission of another crime is called felony murder. It sometimes is called depraved indifference homicide. Either can apply in this circumstance.

Hubbard NEEDED his newly crafted
“Science of the Mind” to become a religion.

The Creation of ‘Religious’ Scientology.
Stephen Kent, University of Alberta

Russell Miller uncovered a letter (dated April 10, 1953) in which Hubbard was plotting “to make real money” by “developing the religion angle.” In a letter that he wrote in London and sent to Helen O’Brien (who at the time ran an independent but loyal Scientology office in Philadelphia [see Miller 1987, 194; Wallis 1977, 127]), Hubbard insisted:

We don’t need a clinic. We want one in operation, but not in name. Perhaps we could call it a Spiritual Guidance Center. Think up a name, will you? And we could put in nice desks and our boys in neat blue, with diplomas on the walls and one, knock psychotherapy into history and, two, make enough money to shine up my operating scope, and three, keep the HAS [Hubbard Association of Scientologists] solvent. It is a problem in practical business.

I await your reaction on the religion angle [presumably referring to a Spiritual Guidance Center]. In my opinion, we couldn’t get worse public opinion than we have had or have less customers with what we’ve got to sell. A religious charter would be necessary in Pennsylvania or N.J. to make it stick. But I sure could make it stick. We’re treating the present time beingness. Psychotherapy treats the past and the brain. And brother that’s religion, not mental science.
(Read into court transcript of California Superior Court 1984, 1976–1977; also see Corydon 1996, 330)

Another section of the same letter gave even stronger evidence that Hubbard was plotting to transform Scientology into a financially lucrative enterprise:

If we were able to return there [Phoenix] we’d be able to count on 10 to 15 preclears per week at $500 for 24 hours of processing. That is real money. I have seen it happen before. We get more preclears at $850 per week intensive. Charge enough and we’d be swamped. We need that money. We should not long plan to have it siphoned away.
(California Superior Court, 1984, 4620)

Although a few of these passages are open to varying interpretations, Miller and other critics (for example, Corydon and Hubbard 1987, 310) interpret them to indicate that Hubbard saw religion as a way to make money and protect his techniques from scrutiny by mental health and medical regulators (and likely tax agents) while trying to replace psycho-therapy.

Having had his New Jersey foundation raided in January 1951 for allegedly teaching medicine without a license, Hubbard likely realized that “the religion angle” would insulate his fledging Scientology practices from secular regulators.

Scientology is evil; its techniques evil; its practice a serious threat to the community; medically, morally and socially.
~ Report of the Board of Inquiry into Scientology for the state of Victoria, Australia, 1965

Dianetics Changes Over Time.
by Geoff Burling

While idling thru a used bookstore in Salem this week, I stumbled across an older copy of Hubbard’s Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. (copyright, 1950; 21st printing dated November, 1971). Since it was less than a dollar, I decided to pick it up, & satisfy my curiousity about what changes he made to this work in the 1970’s.

I have to admit right off the bat that I have done little more than skimmed the book, so I cannot offer a decisive answer to this question, but even a cursory comparison shows that Hubbard made one consistent & important change to his work: every place where another author’s name appears in this work has been omitted. Reading the later version of Dianetics, I was led to assume that Hubbard invented the entire opus himself, whereas the earlier version is full of acknowledgements to other Dianeticists & co-authors!

The first & most obvious place this occurs is in the dedication. This version is dedicated to “the famous Magician, George Wichelow, England’s First Dianeticist”. The later version that I have (copyright 1993) is dedicated instead to Will Durant.

A glance at the Table of Contents shows that several appendices written by various authors, as well as the well-known introduction by J. A. Winter, MD, are excised from the later edition. While it is possible that this excision was done out of concern for copyright, two more prefatory essays were removed: a “Note to the Reader” signed by the “Board of Directors, Church of Scientology,” & a Synopsis of the book signed by “The Editors”.

The subject of these appendices are worth describing briefly, for the many in ARS who have never had access to earlier versions of this work. The first appendix is a extended quotation from Will Durant’s book, The Story of Philosophy entitled “The Philosophic Method.” Durant’s point in this passage is summarized by the concluding sentence: “Science gives us knowledge but only philosophy can give us wisdom.” The purpose of this quotation is unclear, since Hubbard early on in this book derides philosophers for their theorizing, & praises engineers for their practical knowledge.

The next one “The Scientific Method” is by John W. Campbell Jr., the famous science fiction editor who mentored Hubbard over the previous 15 years. It is an intelligent essay, making the point that scientific knowledge comes from questioning assumptions & studying the evidence & NOT the interpretation of observed phenomena. The relevance of this essay in a book where the author draws sweeping conclusions from little or no evidence is likewise puzzling.

The final pair of appendices are by D.H. Rogers, each an essay accompanied by a flow diagram, explaining the Dianetic model of the mind. The two diagrams have dates on them for the months of January & February of 1950. Although short, they are ladened with jargon, & do not make sense after a quick reading.

If these deletions did not suggest to the objective reader that this work has received the attention of more pens than only L. Ron Hubbard’s, there is one footnote that vanishes from my later edition that is clear evidence for this theory: In the first chapter to book two of this version, “The Analytical Mind and the Standard memory Banks”, there is a footnote with the initials JWC that explains the thesis “how the analytical mind can compute perfectly.” Locating all of the footnotes in this work & comparing them with the later version of Dianetics that I have, this is the only footnote with someone else’s initials on it, & also one of the few not reproduced in the later version. Most of the other deleted footnotes are notes alerting the reader to the fact that a given topic is dealt with more fully in another one of Hubbard’s books (all of which were written after Dianetics), although one — a gloss on the word iatrogenic — was removed, & a second footnote defining the word “auditor” is silently moved into the glosses that decorate the later version of Dianetics.

This unique footnote suggests that John W. Campbell rewrote at least part of this chapter, & it was removed to obscure Campbell’s part in this book — making it appear as if Hubbard had written it all by himself!

Hubbard’s sources.
by Jeff Jacobsen

Hubbard had clear connections to the occult. Even in the first publication of Dianetics in “Astounding Science Fiction”, Hubbard in explaining how he did his “research” into what the mind was doing, says he used “automatic writing, speaking and clairvoyance” to discover what the mind’s memory banks were doing, an occult method of communicating with the spirit world.
~ Jeff Jacobsen, Hubbard and Aleister Crowley.

There is certainly no book in existence quite like Dianetics, with its wild scientific claims and unsubstantiated arguments. The claim is that Dianetics was a totally unique theory of the mind wrought from Hubbard’s “many years of exact research and careful testing.” But was it rather a loose composite of already existing theories mixed with novel, unproven ideas? Despite Hubbard’s claims of originality, many of the ideas in Dianetics were already existing and even in vogue before Dianetics appeared. Either Hubbard really studied other (uncredited) works before he wrote Dianetics, or he wasted years of his time re-inventing the wheel.

Although there are no reference notes in Dianetics to see what are Hubbard’s ideas and what are borrowed, we can quickly eliminate the idea that dianetics appeared “from the blue” by Hubbard’s own statements. In Dianetics itself is the statement that “many schools of mental healing from the Aesculapian to the modern hypnotist were studied after the basic philosophy of Dianetics had been postulated”. Alfred Korzybski, Franz Mesmer, Ivan Pavlov, and others are mentioned as resources in Dianetics, so we must assume Hubbard was crediting these people to some degree. He must certainly have known, then, of at least some of the research from his time which will be mentioned in this article. Hubbard in other settings acknowledged Sigmund Freud, and Aleister Crowley, as contributors to his ideas on the human mind. In a speech in 1958, Hubbard stated that he had spent much time in the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital medical library in 1945 during a stay for ulcers, where “I was able to get in a year’s study.”

Alfred Korzybski, a Polish-American philosopher and semanticist, has an indirect connection to L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics due to his influence on Hubbard’s contemporary, Robert A. Heinlein. Heinlein, a renowned science fiction author and close friend of Hubbard, advocated for Korzybski’s work on general semantics that emphasizes the role of language and symbols in shaping our perception of reality. It is speculated that Heinlein introduced Hubbard to some of Korzybski’s concepts, especially the “map-territory relationship” and the significance of precise language. Although Hubbard never explicitly recognized Korzybski’s impact on Dianetics, it is reasonable to suggest that some of Korzybski’s concepts may have indirectly influenced the formation of Hubbard’s ideas through his association with Heinlein.

In fact, many of the theories and ideas in Dianetics can be found in scientific and philosophical literature previous to the first publishing of Hubbard’s theories. Parts of Dianetics, for example, have striking resemblance to two articles found in Volume 28 (1941) of the Psychoanalytic Review.

Dianetics theory posits the existence of engrams. These are memories of events that occur around us when our analytical mind is unconscious, and they are recorded in a separate area of the mind called the reactive mind. A seemingly unique theory in Dianetics is that these memories begin being stored “in the cells of the zygote – which is to say, with conception.” These engrams can cause problems for the person throughout life unless handled through dianetics auditing.

Jacobson continues…

Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, is indirectly linked to L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics through the influence of behavioral psychology. Pavlov is famous for his experiments on classical conditioning, which investigated the relationship between stimuli and reflexive responses. Although Hubbard’s Dianetics does not explicitly mention Pavlov, there are similarities in their comprehension of conditioned responses and the impact of past experiences on behavior. Both Pavlov and Hubbard acknowledged the importance of conditioning in shaping human behavior and responses. The link between Pavlov and Dianetics may be conjectural, yet it’s feasible that Pavlov’s input to behavioral psychology shaped Hubbard’s perspective, especially regarding the subconscious mind and the potential for conditioning to mold one’s mental and emotional conditions.

Engrams, those unconscious memories in dianetics, are said by Hubbard to be stored in the cells of the body and passed on to their clone cells and finally on to the adult being. Hubbard claimed to discover that “patients sometimes have a feeling that they are sperms or ovums… this is called the sperm dream.” It was impossible, he claimed, to deny to a pre-clear that he could remember being a sperm. But Dr. J. Sadger wrote about this first, and Hubbard could well have read this in his “year’s study” at Oak Knoll Hospital.

Dr. J. Sadger, an Austrian psychoanalyst and early supporter of Sigmund Freud, is linked to L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics through a controversial claim made by Hubbard himself. In his book “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health,” Hubbard alleges correspondence with Dr. Sadger, implying that Sadger endorsed and lauded the principles of Dianetics. However, there is no solid evidence supporting this claim, leading many to view it as questionable and possibly fabricated by Hubbard. The verifiable connection between Dr. J. Sadger and Dianetics remains unproven. Questions arise regarding Hubbard’s credibility and the extent of his reliance on fictionalized or exaggerated endorsements to support his work in Sadger and Dianetics.

Another coincidental “discovery” of Hubbard and Sadger was that mothers often attempt to abort their child. Sadger states that “so many a fall or other accident of a pregnant woman is nothing else than an attempt at abortion on the part of the unconscious, not to mention those cases where the mother seeks to free herself more or less forcibly from the unwanted child.” Hubbard concurs; “Attempted abortion is very common,” and in fact “twenty or thirty abortion attempts are not uncommon in the aberee.” Again, not an idea “from the blue.”

Life in the womb was not very kind, according to one of Sadger’s patients; “Perhaps when father performed coitus with mother in her pregnancy I was much shaken and rocked. Shall that have been one reason that I so easily became dizzy and that all my life I have had an aversion even as a child from swings and carousels?” Hubbard, in a similar vein, insists that the mother “should not have coitus forced upon her. For every coital experience is an engram in the child during pregnancy.” “Papa becomes passionate and baby has the sensation of being put into a running washing machine.”

There are at least three other similarities like the “sperm dreams”, commonality of abortion attempts, and fetus discomfort during parental sex. This seems quite a coincidence, but it is not known whether Hubbard read Sadger’s article. Suffice it to say that these are major ideas in Dianetics, but they are not new ideas.

The second article under discussion from Psychoanalytic Review deals with the unbearable conditions during birth and the affects of these in later life. Grace W. Pailthorpe, M.D., argued in this 1941 article that patients should be psychoanalyzed more deeply into the period of infancy, or at least to the ‘trauma of birth’. Otherwise no lasting therapeutic effect could be expected. Birth has traumatized all of us, she declares, and these unconscious memories drive us in our adulthood. “It is only when deep analysis has finally exposed the unconscious deviations of our vital force” (18) that we can recover and enjoy life.

“It was no obscure theory,” wrote Hubbard, “which brought about the discovery of the exact role prenatal experience and birth play in aberration and psychosomatic ills.” He coincidentally concurs with Pailthorpe’s obscure theory, however.

With Pailthorpe’s article, for example, we can also note the dramatic similarities of Dianetics with simple Freudian psychoanalysis. There is in both the return to past times in the patient’s life to search for the source of his or her current problems. Once these problematic memories are discovered and treated the problems vanish. In Pailthorpe’s article we have a man who was hopelessly traumatized by the events at his birth. He was cruelly kicked out of his “home” in the womb, and his resistance to this was assumed to be the cause of the immediate traumas of the nurse’s and mother’s attentions (which were “painful to the child’s sensitive body.” These traumas caused headaches and social disorders in adult life. Psychoanalysis discovered the causes (birth trauma) and when these were brought to the conscious level with their meaning explained, the headaches and social dysfunctions were alleviated.

Dianetics follows this line of reasoning to a great degree. According to Hubbard, engrams (past traumas) are discovered in the pre-clear’s past, and bringing these engrams into consciousness (from the reactive to the analytic mind) alleviates the disorder. Hubbard claims that after auditing people (he had the pre-clear lie on a couch in Freudian imitation), “psycho-somatic illness…by dianetic technique…has been eradicated entirely in every case.”

In Dianetics, the reader is left with the impression that the ideas of birth and pre-birth memories and traumas, multiple abortion attempts, and fetal discomfort in the womb are new discoveries. As can be seen, this is not the case. And there are many impressions of “new” and “unique” that are incorrect as well.

Thomas Hobbes.
Another important “discovery” of Hubbard’s is that “Man, as a life form, can be demonstrated to obey in all his actions and purposes the one command: ‘Survive!’.” Hubbard’s four “dynamics” of self, sex (meaning procreation), group, and mankind, all deal with survival of man. Although Hubbard makes grandiose claims that he discovered that man’s ultimate goal is survival, one can trace this idea back to Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher who wrote in the 1600’s. In his famous work, Leviathan, Hobbes wrote; “The Right of Nature… is the Liberty each man hath, to use his own power, as he will himself, for the preservation of his own Nature; that is to say, of his own Life; and consequently, of doing any thing, which in his own Judgement, and Reason, he shall conceive to be the aptest means thereunto.” This, in Hubbard’s terms, is the first dynamic, or personal survival. Leviathan is divided into three parts, on Man, Commonwealth, and Darkness. The first, in Hubbard’s terms, could be said to deal with the first dynamic (self-survival), and the second with the third dynamic (group survival). “The final Cause, End, or Design of men… in the introduction of that restraint upon themselves (in which wee see them live in Common-wealths), is the foresight of their own preservation.” Again we have an idea which Hubbard claims to have discovered, found in another’s writings years earlier.

Coincidentally, Hobbes has some other ideas in common with Hubbard. At the beginning of every Dianetics and Scientology book is this note: “In reading this book, be very certain you do not go past a word you do not understand.” Throughout both Dianetics and Scientology training is the notion that words must be clearly understood before course study can continue. This is a useful suggestion, and many Scientologists may believe Hubbard “discovered” this idea, but Hobbes stressed it over 300 years before Hubbard did. In Leviathan, Hobbes derided others whose ideas he was critical of thusly; “The first cause of Absurd conclusions I ascribe to the want of Method; in that they begin not their Ratiocination [argument] from Definitions; that is, from settled significations of their words.” Hobbes covers this idea several times, stressing that “in the right Definition of Names, lyes the first use of Speech; which is the Acquisition of Science: and in wrong, or no Definitions, lyes the first abuse; from which proceed all false and senseless Tenets.”

I will leave it to the reader to investigate the other similar ideas between Hobbes and Hubbard, and will leave the question open whether Hubbard borrowed rather than discovered these ideas, since again there is no complete list of what books Hubbard had read.

Jeff Jacobsen is a Scientology critic whose research led to an investigation into the death of Lisa McPherson. His Lisa McPherson Memorial Page is one of the best Scientology resources on the Internet.