Hubbard on Hypnosis
The following is an unpublished draft of a research paper. It
is not intended for publication but for criticism and comment.
The author does not give permission for this paper to be copied
or distributed in any way, and wishes to remind anyone wishing
to do so that the works of Ron Hubbard are copyrighted and permission
must be obtained from Norman Starkey (doing business as L. Ron
Hubbard Library), Author Services Incorporated, Church of Spiritual
Technology or New Era Publications - which ever holds the copyrights
this week. This paper is copyright 1995 to Jonathan Caven-Atack.
"Never believe a hypnotist"
an investigation of L. Ron Hubbard's statements
about hypnosis and its relationship to his Dianetics.
by Jon Atack
There have been many assertions that "cult groups utilize
techniques related to hypnotism. For example, Persinger, Carrey
& Suess in TM and Cult Mania. However, to date there
has been little analysis of these groups' own teachings on the
subject of hypnotic technique and manipulation. L. Ron Hubbard,
founder of Dianetics and Scientology, was initially outspoken
on the subject. He wrote a manual on brain-washing, falsely attributing
it to Beria, and in a letter offered to sell his "brain-washing
techniques to the FBI. He was also to claim "we can brainwash
faster than the Russians. 20 secs to total amnesia (Technical
Bulletin, 22 July 1956).
As well as showing genuine insight into hypnosis, Hubbard's statements
are a fascinating maze of contradiction and misdirection. It soon
becomes apparent that Hubbard is both eager to show off his knowledge
and determined to hide something vital: that Dianetics is a form
Prolonged and deliberate study of Hubbard's teachings makes it
impossible to escape the conclusion that Dianetics is a form of
hypnosis, differing only from that subject in the words used to
describe the procedures. Hubbard's own Policy Letter "Propaganda
by Redefinition of Words (PR series 12) gives some understanding
of the sigificance of redefinition (something Hubbard was frequently
prone to, "reasonable and "postulate, for
instance). The power of redefinition is also described in part
in Robert Lifton MD's "thought reform model under the
heading "loaded language, or indeed in Korzybski's
General Semantics ("the map is not the territory; the word
is not the thing itself). Hubbard of course paid homage
to Korzybski in both Science of Survival and 8-8008,
and borrowed the misunderstood word from him (Hubbard also redefined
Korzybski's various forms of isness). Korzybski's notions of the
power of language figure not only as a basis for Dianetics, but
also for Rational Emotive Therapy and Cognitve Therapy. Never
underestimate the power of words! They are fundamental to
manipulation and are the stuff of which positive suggestions or
engrams are made.
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard is known to the world through his authorship
of adventure and science fiction stories, and through his creation
of the Church of Scientology and its many subsidiary organizations.
The Church of Scientology was itself an outgrowth of the Dianetics
movement which came into being with the incorporation of the Hubbard
Dianetic Research Foundation, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in April
1950. By this time, Hubbard's first article on Dianetics, "Terra
Incognita: The Mind, had already appeared in the Explorers
Club Journal. A second article, "Dianetics: The Evolution
of a Science, appeared in the May 1950 edition of Astounding
Science Fiction ("AstSF), and was followed within
days by the publication of the book Dianetics: The Modern Science
of Mental Health ("Dianetics: MSMH or "DMSMH).
This book remains in print (as indeed do the two first articles),
published by Scientology publishing houses, and it is still used
as the basis for the Hubbard Dianetics Auditor Course, sold by
all Churches of Scientology. The current Hubbard Dianetics Auditor
Course seeks to re-establish Dianetic "auditing as
it was performed at its inception in 1950 (see The Hubbard
Dianetics Auditor Course or The Hubbard Dianetics Seminar).
In Dianetics: MSMH, Hubbard claimed to have discovered
a therapy which he had subsequently tested on some 273 individuals
(DMSMH, p.51). He claimed to have discovered "the single
and sole cause of aberration and psycho-somatic illness
(ibid, p.68). Dianetics would supposedly relieve stuttering,
asthma, arthritis, allergies, sinusitis, coronary trouble, high
blood pressure, the common cold (ibid, p.51-52; see also p.92),
poor eyesight (ibid, p.10), colour blindness (ibid, p.9), hearing
deficiencies (ibid, p.11), ulcers, bursitis, eye trouble, dermatitis,
migraine, tuberculosis (ibid, p.92), conjunctivitis (ibid, p.126),
morning sickness (ibid, p.156), and alcoholism (ibid, p.364f).
Hubbard also claimed that Dianetics would have "a marked
effect upon the extension of life (ibid, p.96). Further,
a Clear - an individual who had successfully completed Dianetic
auditing - would be able to do a computation which a "normal
would do in half an hour, in ten or fifteen seconds (ibid,
p.171) and would have perfect memory or "complete recall
(ibid, p. 171).
Dianetics will supposedly be effective on anyone who has not been
"born with a grossly malformed nervous structure or
had "a large portion of the brain removed (ibid, p.17).
Dianetics can be practised straight from the book without further
training, and the therapy takes between 30 and 1,200 hours (ibid,
p.392). With Dianetic auditing IQ will "soar by as
much as "fifty points (ibid, p.90). The Clear is "phenomenally
intelligent (ibid, p.312), with full control of his imagination
(ibid, p.15) and "has complete recall of everything which
has ever happened to him or anything he has ever studied
(ibid, p. 171, see also pp. 170 & 367). He is "clear
of all irrational behaviour, compulsions, repressions and psychosomatic
ailments (ibid, pp.8 & 382). Dianetics will also purportedly
cure neuroses and even psychoses (ibid). These claims have never
been substantiated (testimonials are not acceptable as scientific
evidence) and although Dianetics: MSMH is still sold, with
no claims withdrawn, the definition of Clear was "cancelled
inside Scientology by a 1978 Bulletin, "The State of Clear,
which instead provides the circular definition that a Clear doesn't
have "his own reactive mind (probably meaning that
he still has myriad "body thetan reactive minds).
According to his own accounts, Hubbard's research consisted of
hypnotism and drug hypnotism (see below), clairvoyance, automatic
writing, automatic speaking (AstSF, May 1950, or EoS, p.56; see
also R&D1, p.106) and faith healing (R&D1, p.186). He
also had an interest in Freud's ideas prior to the introduction
of free association, and Dianetic technique has many points in
common with Freud's early attempts at therapy (Atack, p.108f;
Freud, 1909). Hubbard also drew upon Korzybski's General Semantics,
Wiener's Cybernetics and psychiatric research into psychodynamic
therapy - including abreaction - and drug hypnotism. Hubbard
gave no mention of scientific experiments or controls, and no
case histories or follow-up studies have ever been made available.
L. Ron Hubbard was sixteen when he made his first brief trip to
Asia with his mother, in 1927. He made a second brief trip with
both parents, and returning to the United States in 1929 (Atack,
pp.53-57). He was later to claim that he had studied hypnotism
in Asia (EoS, p.22; DMSMH p.252 [also DMSMH p.95, however, Hubbard's
claim to have visited India is spurious. See Atack and Miller]).
Therefore, Hubbard claimed to have been a practitioner of hypnotism
for more than twenty years prior to the release of Dianetics:
Hubbard was also knowledgable about the history of hypnotism.
He posited an early date for its discovery: "The art of hypnotism
is very old, tracing back some thousands of years and existing
today in Asia as it has existed, apparently from the dawn of time.
(DMSMH, p.12). "From India it long ago filtered to Greece
and Rome and it has come to us via Anton Mesmer (ibid, p.252).
Hubbard also referred to the works of Bernheim and Charcot (R&D1,
p.33; Charcot is listed as one of the men without whom "the
creation and construction of Dianetics would not have been possible
in the acknowledgments page in SOS).
Hubbard asserted that hypnotism is a "fundamental principle
in several mystic arts and that "its mechanics were
known even to the Sioux medicine man (DMSMH, p.252). Knowledge
of hypnotism, according to Hubbard, is "widespread
(SOSII, p.221; "very common, R&D1, p.24). Further,
"Hypnotism was a sort of constant thread through all the
cults - or hypnotic practices (EoS, p.22). "Hypnotism
is used in some base religions, and is commonly employed in obsolete
mental 'therapies'" (SOSI, p.161); "Whenever shamans,
medicine men, exorcists or even modern psychologists go to work,
they incline toward practices which are hypnotic. (EoS,
p.22).In his second published article, "Dianetics the Evolution
of a Science, Hubbard described a hypnotic session and said
that it had taken him nine years to understand its importance
(EoS, p.23). Hubbard described a number of hypnotic experiments
- indeed, they constitute almost the entire of his recorded experiments.
Unfortunately, case notes have never been available.
Hubbard was versed in various approaches to hypnotism. "It
is often possible to waken a sleeping person into a deep trance
simply by speaking to him quietly several nights in succession
at the same hour and finally getting him to respond to the invitation
to talk. Hubbard described his obviously frequent use of
"amnesia or "deep trance, claiming that
his conclusion about "amnesia trance was "substantiated
by a large amount of experimentation (R&D1, p.184; see
also DMSMH, p.385; R&D3, p.118).
Dianetics and hypnotism:
Despite such admissions, Hubbard made several adamant statements
about the use of hypnotism in dianetic practice: "hypnotism
is not used in dianetic therapy (DMSMH, p.12), and "'Is
Dianetics a kind of hypnotism?' Absolutely not. (R&D4,
p.345; see also EoS, p.96 and DMSMH, p.413). Alongside these
denials comes the statement that hypnotism "is not used to
any extent in dianetic therapy (emphasis added. DMSMH,
p.56). Hubbard flatly contradicted his statement that hypnotism
is not used by saying that if a preclear drops into a "hypnotic
trance ... the motto is: Work with him where he lies. If he drops
into a half hypnotized state just by closing his eyes, work him
there. (R&D 1, p.336). Hubbard also asserted that "The
mechanism by which the mind is able to cause physical disability
or predispose the body to an illness and perpetuate sickness is,
in its basic cause, a very simple thing ... A series of simple
tests can be made on drugged or hypnotic patients which will prove
clinically in other laboratories this basic mechanism. A series
of these tests were run in the formulation of dianetics with uniform
success. (DMSMH, pp.93f).
Hubbard called hypnotism "an excellent research tool in Dianetics
(R&D1, p.332; see also DMSMH, p.385). He was also to say that
he "used an awful lot of hypnotism in early research
("Methods of Research - the Thetan as an Energy Unit,
Hubbard lecture, 6 November 1952). This conflicts with his assertion
that the investigation which led to the discovery of Dianetics
"was not approached through hypnotism, adding, however,
"and hypnotism is just another tool, a tool which is of only
occasional use in the practice of dianetics (my emphasis.
DMSMH, p.58). To further confound the picture, in the same text
Hubbard explained how to hypnotise someone in their sleep (see
above) and added "Dianetic therapy can then be entered upon
and pursued and will succeed (DMSMH, p.385). Again in the
same text, Hubbard said "Hypnotism was used for research,
then abandoned (DMSMH, p.201, cf p.58). A few months later,
Hubbard said "A renowned hypnotist is currently running a
series of tests (R&D1, p.337).
In a lecture given three months after the publication of Dianetics:
MSMH, Hubbard attributed a major discovery - prenatal memory
- to a session in which he placed a volunteer in "amnesia
trance (R&D3, p.118). In the same lecture, he also
credited his use of "deintensification - where a patient
goes through the memory of an incident repeatedly - to his study
of hypnotism.Having denied that Dianetics came out of hypnotic
research (DMSMH, p.58, cf p.201), Hubbard proceeded to regale
his reader with tales of his hypnotic work. Many general statements
were made about his work with hypnotism. External evidence supports
Hubbard's practice of hypnotism (e.g., Miller, pp.140-141), and
even taking into account Hubbard's propensity for exaggeration,
it is evident that he had considerable experience as a hypnotist.
Don Rogers, one of Hubbard's few close associates during the
year preceding publication of the first book, has said that Hubbard
used "deep trance until he was commissioned to write
the book in January 1950. He abandoned the practice because he
thought it was unpopular (Rogers correspondence to Atack).
In his second article, Hubbard admitted "I knew hypnotism
was, more or less, a fundamental (EoS, p.22) and said that
"hypnosis was examined (ibid, p.23; see also EoS, p.96;
R&D1, p.183). Hubbard also claimed to have used "hypno-analysis
(EoS, p.24) - psychoanalysis practised on a hypnotised subject
- and recommended a book on the subject (Hypnotism Comes of
Age, R&D2, p.12).
In an early lecture, Hubbard said that he had "worked a case
in amnesia trance (R&D1, p.183). He advised against
amnesia trance, but added "it has been subjected to much
research and said "if other methods cannot be used
... amnesia trance can be employed (DMSMH, p.385; see also
The power of hypnotism:
Hubbard said he had once "swamied one young man "into
a deep trance (R&D1, p.33). He had also used "light
trance (R&D1, p.408) - a hypnotic condition which is
still unrecognised by the general public. Hubbard had hypnotised
a man who came to him "insisting that I drive him crazy ...
I threw him into a deep trance and gave him the full routine.
I gave him the suggestion ... wiped the whole experience out
of his mind, wiped out the experience of his coming to tell me
that he wanted it done ... woke up this patient and had a psychotic
on my hands. (R&D1, pp.338f). Hubbard also claimed
to have "worked upon a number of manic depressives,
"most of them by straight hypnosis (DMSMH, p.124).
He spoke of an experiment with a "gentleman unable
to absorb testosterone, whose inability had been remedied by hypnotism
(R&D3, p.47).According to Hubbard, the effects obtainable
through hypnotism are impressive: "The heart by positive
suggestion alone can be speeded up, slowed down or otherwise excited
... blood flow can be inhibited ... Excreta are among the easiest
things to regulate by suggestion ... The urine can also be so
controlled. And so can the endocrine system. (emphasis
in original. DMSMH, pp.94 & 96; see also R&D3, p.47).
Hubbard admitted using hypnotism to alter his own blood flow
(DMSMH, p.94). He also asserted that the thyroid gland could
also be regulated by hypnotism (R&D3, p.47).Hypnotism can
be used to cure stammering "on one patient out of ten
(R&D1, p.330), and hearing, sight and touch can all be "extended
through the use of hypnotism (DMSMH, p.94; see also R&D3,
p.188). "By suggestion the power of hearing can be tuned
down or up so that a person is nearly deaf or can hear pins fall
at a great distance. (DMSMH, p.94).
Having made these assertions, Hubbard added, in a book published
in June 1951, "even such a degraded practice as hypnotism
can, by the implantation of positive suggestions, suppress certain
physical and mental disorders. Though these are suppressed in
one quarter they will manifest themselves as something entirely
different. Hypnotism can in a small percentage of cases eradicate
the 'psychosomatic illness' but will produce in its stead a lowered
[emotional] tone (SOSII, p.16).
Hypnotism still has one valid use "Anesthetic hypnosis is
wonderful (R&D4, p.24; see also R&D1, pp.337; SOSI,
p.161). Or further, "Hypnotism may still have enormous therapeutic
or anesthetic value. (R&D1, p.332; also p.335). However,
"Any benefit derived from hypnotism is in the field of research
or the installation of a temporary manic engram (DMSMH,
p.385) (the alleviation of "engrams - purportedly
repressed memories of unconsciousness or pain - forms the entire
basis of Dianetic belief and practice).
In his second article, Hubbard said of hypnotism "On some
people it works. On most it doesn't. On those on whom it works
it sometimes achieves good results, sometimes bad. (EoS,
p.22; see also DMSMH, p.56). However, in a manuscript supposedly
written prior to this article, Hubbard said "Hypnotism as
such does not work (OT, p.69; see also SOSI, p.161).
The dangers of hypnotism:
Hypnotism "is dangerous and belongs in the parlour
in the same way you would want an atom bomb there (DMSMH,
p.57). It "may be sufficiently destructive to cause the
engrams to restimulate to the point of insanity (DMSMH,
Hypnotism "reduces self-determinism by interposing the commands
of another below the analytical level of an individual's mind
... It is the sort of control mechanism in which an authoritarian
individual, cult, or ideology delight. People who indulge in
hypnotism may, only very occasionally, be interested in experimentation
upon the human mind ... Genuine experimental hypnotism, strictly
in the laboratory and never in the parlour, and done wholly in
the knowledge that one is reducing the efficiency of the human
being on whom one is experimenting and may do him permanent damage,
and the use of hypnotism by a surgeon ... should end the extension
of hypnotism into the society. Submission to being hypnotized
is analagous to being raped, with the exception that the individual
can, generally, recover from being raped. To any clear-thinking
human who believes in the value of people as human beings, there
is something gruesomely obscene about hypnotism. The interjection
of unseen controls below the level of consciousness cannot benefit
but can only pervert the mind ... The individual who would permit
himself to be hypnotized is, frankly, a fool ... It was thought
by hypnotists that the mere remembering of ... suggestions would
relieve them, and that the power of the suggestion died out with
time. These two ideas do not happen to be true (SOSII,
p.220f; see also pp.225f). In Dianetics: MSMH, Hubbard
said, more succinctly: "Hypnotism can be extremely aberrative
(DMSMH, p.384).Indeed, Hubbard asserted that there are "many
suicides pursuant to the practice of hypnotism (SOSI, p.170).
Self-hypnosis, however, "can be resolved fairly easily
(R&D3, p.105). Hubbard classified the hypnotist as having
a permanent emotional condition ranging from apathy, through grief,
sympathy or fear to rage, indeed, of being without positive emotions
(SOSI, p.161; what this says about Hubbard himself - a hypnotist
for many years - we are left to speculate). Having vouched for
the power of hypnotism, Hubbard dismissed the hypnotist as a "charlatan
(DOT, p.87). He said, "One of the chief weapons of the pervert
is hypnotism (R&D1, p.332; see also p.270), and "about
half-a-percent of all cases run have had pervert hypnotism in
the [memory] bank (R&D1, p.24). In contradiction to
these statements is the following "an individual in an hypnotic
trance will rarely perform an immoral act even though commanded
to do so by the hypnotist, unless that individual would normally
perform such acts. (SOSI, pp.223f). This statement was
first published in June 1951. More than a year before, Hubbard
had said "Perverts quite commonly use [hypnotism] despite
the fact that the moral nature is supposed to rise in a hypnotized
subject (DMSMH, p.384).Narcosynthesis and abreactive therapy:During
the Second World War, both U.S. and British psychiatrists were
experimenting with a form of therapy which induced hypnotic states
through the use of drugs. Dr. William Sargant has left a description
of his work on soldiers with "battle neurosis or "combat
fatigue in his Battle for the Mind (1957). Drs.
Roy Grinker and John Spiegel published an account of their work
in 1945, under the title Men under Stress. The barbiturates
and sodium pentothal were used in this work, which also relied
upon Pavlov's discovery of conditioned responses and Freud's concepts
of the unconscious mind and repression. Grinker and Spiegel called
their work "narcosynthesis, because it used narcotic
sedation to assist the patient to rebuild or "synthesize
As with Dianetics, in narcosynthesis the patient was required
to "abreact or re-experience traumatic events. Hubbard
was familiar with this work: not only did he recommend a book
which describes it (Wolfe and Rosenthal, Hypnotism Comes of
Age, R&D2, p.12), but he also referred to narcosynthesis
directly: "One will find regression if one treats soldiers
who have been unlucky enough to undergo narcosynthesis ... He
was merely sick before, but now he is crazy ... Anything which
is touched in narcosynthesis is apt to be restimulated permanently.
(R&D1, p.333f). Hubbard even suggested the headline "Man
released from Veteran's Hospital on Tuesday kills wife on Thursday!
(ibid, p.334).It seems eminently possible that Hubbard encountered
narcosynthesis, or at least discussion of it, during his stay
at Oakland Naval Hospital in 1945. Hubbard claimed to have treated
schizophrenics with narcosynthesis (DMSMH, p.123f), as well as
doing further drug hypnotism on cases which had already been "cured
by narcosynthesis (EoS, p.24). In a lecture given a few weeks
after publication of this article, Hubbard warned against the
practice of narcosynthesis (R&D1, p.123; see also DMSMH, p.390
drug hypnotism is "dianetically illegal). However,
a few days after this lecture, Hubbard said "it is
allowable ... to produce a more acessible condition by amnesia
trance, and even by drugs (R&D1, p.184). In one of
his first lectures, Hubbard had said "Narcosynthesis and
other drug therapies have some slight use in Dianetics (R&D1,
p.8; see also R&D1, p.48).
Hubbard's research not only included decades of "straight
hypnosis, he also gave the idea that his work with narcosynthesis
was extensive: "[tests] have been made on people who could
be hypnotized and people who could not but were drugged. They
brought forth valuable data for dianetics. (DMSMH, p.57);
"one day, a multi-valent patient, under drugs, went back
to his birth (DMSMH, p.126).
Hubbard claimed knowledge of the use of "pain-drug-hypnosis
in espionage work (SOSII, p.223). Whether this was simply a guess,
or was based upon the confession of a member of the small US Intelligence
teams involved with such projects as "Operation Bluebird,
or indeed if Dianetics was a U.S. Navy Intelligence experiment,
we do not know. More alarming is Hubbard's assertion that the
Hubbard Dianetic Research "Foundation undertook some tests
with regard to the effectiveness of pain-drug-hypnosis and found
it ... appallingly destructive (SOSII, p.225). Hubbard
then asserted that "The Foundation will accept no further
experimentation in this line (ibid) (this attempt to prove
the "engram hypothesis failed).
Hubbard's drug research:
Hubbard said that sedative drugs cause "the individual to
walk around in a light hypnotic trance (SOSII, p.222), and
said "Continuous application of sedatives to an individual
... make him more suggestible. (SOSI, p.163). Hubbard admitted
testing drugs and gave as one of his conclusions: "So far
soporifics have been tested and rejected ... That whole block
of sedatives like scopolamine, opium, phenobarbital ... are of
no assistance in Dianetics (R&D4, p.137). Hubbard's
understanding of this was personal, having explained the damage
caused in the highly suggestible state brought about by constant
use of phenobarbital, Hubbard said "I know because I made
myself a guinea pig on one of those experiments, and trying to
get off a soporific was a tough job. (R&D 1, p.124).
He named the barbiturate drug phenobarbital as the soporific
to which he had been addicted. It was probably prescribed to him
for his purported ulcer in San Diego in 1943. He was still trying
to obtain phenobarbital in East Grinstead (as "Dr. Hubbard)
as late as 1965 (Atack, p.185, where the drug is given its British
Hubbard also claimed to have administered nitrous oxide to three
people (R&D1, p.123). He termed it "a first class hypnotic
(DMSMH, p.363). While he condemned the use of soporifics (though
his attitude seems to have been ambivalent in light of his positive
comments about narcosynthesis), Hubbard encouraged the use of
amphetamines, recommending benzedrine in particular (DMSMH,
p.363; R&D1, pp.124, 305, 313; R&D4, p.37). Curiously,
although Scientology sponsors Narconon and claims to be drug free,
its best-selling publication says "Making one drug immoral
and another taxable is a sample of the alcohol engram in society
(DMSMH, p.365). On the same page, Hubbard says that opium, marijuana
and phenobarbital are all less dangerous than alcohol. There is
no prohibition on Scientologists drinking, however.
Hypnotism and mental illness:
Hubbard asserted that it was possible using drugs and hypnotism
to "drive somebody insane by accident (DMSMH, p.57).
Further, "we could go down the catalogue of mental ills
and by concocting positive suggestions ... we could bring about,
in the awakened subject, a semblance to every insanity (ibid).
"With various suggestions, one could create the appearance
of various neuroses, psychoses, compulsions and repressions listed
by the psychiatrist (EoS, p.23). Hubbard abandoned such
research with the realization that "hypnotism and insanity
were, somehow, identities [i.e. identical] (ibid). He claimed
that a "catatonic will respond to suggestion where
substitutes for reality are given - so given a broom and told
it is a red hot poker, the "catatonic will respond
as if it were. However, the "catatonic will come out
of trance if presented with a real poker (R&D1, 305) (it seems
something of a contradiction for a "catatonic to respond
to anything). Hubbard claimed to have hypnotized psychotics
(R&D1, p.182), and said "In the treatment of a real full-blown
psychotic, the use of deep trance is handy to know. (ibid;
see also DMSMH, p.124; R&D1, p.307). He also said, however,
"It is very difficult to produce hypnosis in a psychotic
The knowledge of Hubbard's ideas allegedly gives considerable
power to the individual "the axioms of Dianetics (not Dianetic
therapy) can be used by a sadist to implant insanity. (R&D1,
p.24). This is more potent than one of his descriptions of hypnotism:
"A few people can be hypnotized, many cannot be. Hypnotic
suggestions will sometimes 'take' and sometimes they won't. Sometimes
they make persons well and sometimes they make them ill.
(DMSMH, p.56). Though, the attempt to hypnotize a patient can
throw them into a traumatic memory or "engram (R&D1,
Hubbard described one method of inducing trance: "A person
can be sleeping quietly and someone comes up alongside of him
and says, 'I like you, I'm very fond of you', and an affinity
starts to be established. Then he commands in a quiet, calm voice,
'You can talk to me, but it isn't necessary for you to awaken
at this moment. You can talk to me without disturbing yourself.'
Try it on three or four successive occasions and you will sometimes
discover that the person is coming up into an amnesia trance,
out of sleep. He will have no recollection of what has gone on
when he finally awakens from that sleep ... [this method] has
peculiar value between husbands and wives who sleep together ...
One lady whose husband was a war veteran was instructed in this
method. He had refused therapy utterly, and was very badly aberrated.
With instruction from me she was able to awaken him into an amnesia
trance and carry on his therapy without him knowing anything about
it ... It took many months to do anything for him (R&D1,
Amnesia trance:Hubbard complained that resolution of a case would
take three times as long using amnesia trance rather than his
own dianetic "reverie (R&D1, p.335; see also DMSMH,
p.385). However, "The actual therapeutic value one can get
in working painful emotion in deep trance is pretty good ... a
whole case can be worked from beginning to end in amnesia trance.
(R&D1, p.183; see also DMSMH, p.201). However, Hubbard also
said that "engramic commands [the target of Dianetic "auditing]
are not reversible by hypnosis (R&D1, p.34), and "You
will learn not to work someone in amnesia trance if you can possibly
help it (R&D3, p.95).
Of amnesia or deep trance, Hubbard said "This method has
many things wrong with it. The entire duration of treatment is
very long and difficult. The patient ordinarily speaks very slowly,
is unable to contact [traumatic] incidents, his computational
ability on his own life is very poor, and he will be uncomfortable
during almost the entire period that you are working with him
(R&D1, p.183; see also DMSMH, p.385). Hypnotism also "carries
with it transference and "enormous operator responsibility
In a lecture given a few months after the publication of Dianetics:
MSMH, Hubbard described an hypnotic induction thus: "The
hypnotist will seat the person in a chair or have them lie down,
and he will start off his patter something like this: 'Now, I
want you to relax. There is nothing to be afraid of. There is
nothing wrong with being hypnotized. You're going to sink into
a little sleep. It's going to be more relaxing and a deeper sleep
than you have ever experienced in your life.' If the subject
is at all suggestible, he is already about half hypnotized merely
by suggestion. Then the hypnotist starts in and says very calmly,
'Go to sleep ... go to sleep.' He may then make passes across
the person's face. 'Go to sleep. Now you can feel your muscles
relaxing. Now all through your body you can feel your muscles
relaxing. Now, first your toes are going to relax. And now your
legs are going to relax. And now your hips are going to relax.
And now you can feel your back relaxing. You can feel your hands
relaxing. You can feel your arms relaxing. You can feel the back
of your neck relaxing. You can feel your mind relaxing. You
can feel your face relaxing, and your eyes are closing. Your
eyes are closing and they are closing more and more. It is very
difficult for you to keep your eyes open. In fact, you will find
it impossible for you to keep your eyes open when I have counted
from one to five (or from one to ten, or some other such series;
or he merely makes passes). Then he says, 'Go to sleep, deeper
... deeper ... deeper ...deeper sleep. Now lie there quietly
and go to sleep. You can only hear the sound of my voice telling
you to 'go to sleep'. All you can hear is the sound of my voice.
Nothing else will disturb you. Go to sleep.
"He keeps this up for a while and then as the subject drops
off into a light sleep he lets it deepen. There are many ways
to deepen that sleep, one of which is to put one's index finger
and thumb on the patient's closed eyelids and say, 'I am going
to press you back to a deeper sleep.' This is very interesting,
because to 'go back to sleep' is a phrase which makes a person
whenever he goes to sleep, travel back down the time track [i.e.
the sequential record of memory] and is not the natural method
of sleeping. (R&D1, p.329).
According to Hubbard, hypnosis is a relatively simple mechanism,
"By deep trance or drugs we take a patient into amnesia trance,
a state of being wherein the 'I' is not in control but the operator
is the 'I' (and that's all there is, really, to the function of
hypnosis: the transfer of analytical power through the law of
affinity from subject to operator, a thing which had a racial
development and survival value in animals which ran in packs).
Although Hubbard was adamant that "Hypnosis is not sleep,
it is another mechanism (R&D 1, p.182), he also asserted
that "The hypnotist has 'success' where he does because he
is able, by talking to people about 'sleep', to put into restimulation
some engram which contains the word sleep and shut-down
analytical power. (DMSMH, p.75; see also R&D1, p.8 &
R&D3, p.241). While Hubbard asserted that most people cannot
be hypnotized, he also said: "The person who does not have
'Go back to sleep' in his [engram] bank someplace is a rare one
and should be put in a museum, because he is a strange creature.
(R&D1, p.330). Having said all of this, Hubbard recommended
the use of the phrase "go to sleep in Dianetic auditing,
as a phrase to be repeated by the patient (or "preclear)
Hubbard gave various descriptions of hypnotism, for example: "Hypnotism
is the entering of the hypnotist's personality and desires below
the choice level of the individual. (SOSI, p.16); and "Hypnotism
is the art of implanting positive suggestions in the engram bank.
(DMSMH, p.384). By the time Science of Survival was published,
in June 1951, Hubbard asserted that "Hypnotism never has
and never will raise an individual on the [emotional] tone scale
(SOSI, p.161). Which is to say, hypnotism can have no positive
emotional effect.In Dianetics: MSMH, Hubbard was eager
to differentiate between hypnotism and Dianetics: "Once upon
a time an art known as hypnotism used what was called 'regression'
on hypnotized subjects, the hypnotist sending the subject back,
in one of two ways, to incidents in his past. This was done with
trance techniques, drugs and considerable technology. The hypnotic
subject would be sent back to a moment 'entirely' so that he gave
every appearance of being the age to which he was returned with
only the apparent faculties and recollections he had at that moment:
this was called 'revivification' (re-living). 'Regression' was
a technique by which part of the individual's self remained in
the present and part went back to the past. (DMSMH, pp.12-13).
Hubbard said that his method is different: "Returning
is substituted for 'regression' here because it is not a comparable
thing and because 'regression', as a word, has some bad meanings
which would interrupt its use. Reliving is substituted
for 'revivification' in dianetics because, in dianetics, the principles
of hypnotism can be found explained and hypnotism is not used
in dianetic therapy (DMSMH, p.13). The difference between
the hypnotic forms and the new dianetic forms is not made clear
in the text, only Hubbard's insistence that they are different.
As we have seen, prenatal memory and deintensification, two ideas
essential to Dianetics, both derive from hypnotic practice (R&D
Hubbard made various assertions about suggestion: "positive
suggestion means in hypnosis a suggestion which is given to a
hypnotized subject which will result in some change in the manifestations
and actions of that patient (R&D 1, p.48); "It
is a suggestion by the operator to a hypnotized subject with the
sole end of creating a changed mental condition in the subject
by implantation of the suggestion alone. It is a transplantation
of something in the hypnotist's mind into the patient's mind.
The patient is then to believe it and take it as part of himself.
(R&D 1, p.237; see also R&D 1, p.33); "Shut down
the person's analyzer [the 'analytical mind' of dianetic hypnosis]
and what follows goes in as positive suggestion just as though
he were hypnotized. He cannot reason on this data, he can only
react, and he reacts as dictated by the engram. (R&D
3, p.244). Hypnotic suggestion is very powerful: "No matter
how foolish a suggestion is given to a subject under hypnosis,
he will carry it out one way or another ... Any suggestion will
operate within his mind unbeknownst to his higher levels of awareness.
Very complex suggestions can be given (DMSMH, p.56).
Hubbard went on to say that neuroses, psychoses, compulsions and
repressions can all be perfectly imitated through positive suggestion.
Hubbard assured his followers, "We never give positive suggestions
(R&D 1, p.48).
According to Hubbard, "if one put a hypnotic suggestion on
the time track [i.e., in the person's memory] which says 'You
can write', and the next day put another positive suggestion on
the time track saying, 'You can't write', the person will go on
writing. (R&D1, p.34). This agrees with Freud's assertion
that later trauma is held in place by earlier trauma.Paraphernalia:
The depth of Hubbard's research into hypnotism is also evident
in his ideas for improving hypnotic technique. He referred to
the use of a "flashing light or a "Charcot mirror
(R&D 1, p.123) and added that fixation of attention can be
achieved "with spinning mirrors and light. Further,
"This could be reduced much more easily on a technical basis
by having a type of mask tipped over the face that has a spot
of light in front of each eye that flashes (R&D 1, p.307).
However, Hubbard asserted that this device would not induce a
hypnotic state (R&D1, p.183). He advocated the use of this
device when applying Dianetics to the "severely neurotic
or psychotic person (R&D1, p.182).
Informal trance inductions:
Hubbard was well aware that the formal hypnotic session is not
the only way to induce so called trance states. In his second
article, he spoke of "hypnotic practices as distinct
from "hypnotism (EoS, p.22). Hubbard's awareness of
"fixating attention is of special interest (R&D1,
p.307, cf TR-0), but he also gave examples of specific methods
for inducing trance: "You can actually hypnotize a person
with sound alone. (R&D 3, p.129); "Then there is
the proposition of setting up a carrier wave by pounding monotonously
on a dishpan with a spoon and saying with each clang, 'Sleep'
... which will often put a catatonic into hypnotic trance.
(R&D 1, p.308); and "There is another brand of hypnotism
whereby the hypnotist grabs the patient by the throat, clamps
him on the back of the head, shuts off the blood flow to his brain,
rocks him back and forth about three times, shouting at him 'Sleep!
Sleep! Sleep!' ... it works on quite a few patients (R&D
1, p.335).Obedience to authority as trance:
According to Hubbard, trance states are common, and can even be
induced through the normal procedures of education: "In altitude
teaching, somebody is a 'great authority.' He is probably teaching
some subject that is far more complex than it should be. He has
become defensive down through the years, and this is a sort of
protective coating that he puts up, along with the idea that the
subject will always be a little better known by him than by anybody
else and that there are things to know in this subject which he
really wouldn't let anybody else in on. This is altitude instruction.
As an aside, it is worth mentioning that Hubbard was later to
assert that every major tenet in Scientology and Dianetics was
his exclusive discovery (see HCOPL "Keeping Scientology
Working, February 1965). Hubbard continued, "And in
order to get people to sit very alertly and do exactly what he
says, he has another trick: he gives them examinations ... So
there is this anxiety around a person's grades, and this comes
forward until he finally gets up to a point in education where
when somebody says the word examination to him it not only
push-buttons him but it also threatens Mama, Papa, love and general
survival. It is a terrific whip. It keeps people in a state
of confusion, and when their minds are slightly confused they
are in a hypnotic trance. Any time anybody gets enough altitude
he can be called a hypnotic operator, and what he says will
act as hypnotic suggestion. Hypnotism is a difference in levels
of altitude. There are ways to create and lower the altitude
of the subject, but if the operator can heighten his own altitude
with regard to the subject the same way, he doesn't have to put
the subject to sleep. What he says will still react as hypnotic
suggestion. (R&D 4, p.324; see also R&D 3, pp. 246
& 248). This is a point which should be considered long and
hard by anyone who has been involved with Dianetics or Scientology.
Hubbard also gave advice on avoiding this induction of trance:
"In learning, study what you want to know, think what you
want to think about it, recognize institutionalism for the bogus
straw man it is, and keep the analyzer whirring. (R&D
3, p.247). This strongly suggests that we should forget "standard
tech or a "bridge, taking only what is useful
Ease of trance induction:
Hubbard warned his followers to "Recognize the depth these
trances achieve, just on no provocation. Tell a man to close
his eyes, bong! he goes into an amnesia trance. (R&D
3, p.94). Despite the ease with which people go into trance (and
closing the eyes is a requirement of the Dianetic method), Hubbard
said "At no time should the auditor permit the preclear to
be under the delusion that he is being hypnotized. (DOT,
p.87; see also R&D 1, p.168).
Trance in Dianetics:
Hubbard was also aware of the signs of trance: "a pre-clear
after he closes his eyes will begin to flutter his eyelids. This
a symptom of the very lightest level of hypnotic trance.
(SOS II, p.227); "A simple test is to watch the person's
eyeballs. You will find as he lies there that the eyeballs under
the closed eyelids will hunt back and forth. You can see the
bump of them on the eyelids, and they will be wandering ... the
hunting indicates a hypnotic state. (R&D 1, p.336);
"The eye moving underneath the eyelid is the indication of
when a person is lightly or deeply tranced. That is the second
stage of which the fluttering eyelid is the first. (R&D
3, p.94); "The preclear's eyes will roll a little bit under
the lids and when he returns, particularly, the eyelashes will
flutter, which tells you immediately that he has become more suggestible
than he ordinarily would be. (ibid); "Sometimes you
will notice a tremble on the eyelids. This means the preclear
has deepened his sense of sleep and has left some of his attention
units somewhere. This is a very early stage of hypnosis. Be
careful of such a patient. (R&D 4, p.38).The current
use of the Hubbard Dianetics Auditor Course and the Hubbard Dianetics
Seminar is in total contradiction to these admonitions. By returning
to the 1950 method, Scientology has returned to direct trance
induction. Both of these courses give: "When the preclear's
eyes close and you notice his eyelids flicker, finish counting...
(p.54 and p.42 respectively, step two).
These are not the only signs: "If the person begins to answer
you literally ... that means your preclear is now a hypnotic subject
and you are running him in hypnosis. (R&D 3, p.94; see
also R&D 1, p.336). These prohibitions form no part of any
auditor training course known to this author.
Regression (age regression):
Although Hubbard had said that in Dianetics "Returning
is substituted for 'regression'" (DMSMH, p.13), he reverted
to the term in the following: "You can't deliver any positive
suggestions to a person when he is regressed and have it stick
very hard. The person is regressed, he is wide awake, he is as
wide awake as he can possibly be. (R&D 1, p.48). In
contradiction to this, Hubbard said: "Returning back down
the track slightly increases the suggestibility of any person
(SOS II, p.228; see also ibid, p.42).
Some people are immune to hypnotism: "You cannot put anybody
into a trance when he is stuck somewhere down the track [fixated
upon the past], and is in general badly aberrated against going
to sleep. (R&D 1, p.182). This seems like a contradiction
in terms, as the person "stuck somewhere down the track
is already technically in a regression trance. Hubbard was insistent
however that to be hypnotized, "The person should be in present
time. (R&D 1, p.308).
The discovery of Dianetics:
The key to Dianetics came from hypnotism: "when a patient
was bucked through a period when he was 'unconscious', he showed
some improvement. Then it was discovered that these 'unconscious'
periods were rather like periods of hypnosis driven home by pain.
The patient responded as if the 'unconscious' period had been
post-hypnotic suggestion. (EoS, p.62).This was the discovery
of the "engram, which according to Hubbard is "the
single and sole source of aberration and psychosomatic illness
(DMSMH, p.68). Which is to say, conscious thought cannot be aberrative,
and the human being would be perfect if only all the engrams were
removed. Hubbard soon discovered that his assertion was ill-founded,
and Scientology, created in 1952, quickly went beyond engram hunting
(See also Hayakawa's remarkable review of Dianetics in ETC in
1951, where he makes the impish suggestion that improvement can
also come through education).
The somatic, reactive and analytical minds and the monitor:
Putting aside the many contradictions, Hubbard said "Hypnotism
is a laboratory tool ... it has served as a means of examining
minds and getting their reactions. (DMSMH, p.56). Hubbard
claimed to have discovered "a big monitoring switchboard
of the body that by various means handles such things as blood
circulation and endocrine flow. (R&D 3, p.47). This
tallies with his statements about regulating circulation and endocrine
activity through hypnotism. However, having made this observation,
Hubbard abandoned it, turning instead to the notion that a "genetic
entity governed bodily activity (Scientology: A History
of Man). Initially, Hubbard termed this the "somatic
mind. It has no thought, and functions on a stimulus-response
basis. Which is to say, it is a hypnotic mind.In Dianetics:
MSMH, Hubbard hypothesised that the mind is divided into three
parts: the somatic mind, the reactive mind and the analytical
mind. The analytical mind is the conscious, aware mind. It should
not be confused with the "short-term memory of conventional
psychology. In that model, which has considerable experimental
support, the awareness, or short-term memory, is capable of holding
at most nine chunks of information (some say seven), everything
else is beneath consciousness. The contents of short-term memory
are ever-changing in a normal person. Hubbard's "analytical
mind is held to be distinct from the "reactive mind,
which operates beneath consciousness. Each has its own "memory
banks. The analytical mind is "a computing machine
(DMSMH, p.49). In 1950, the comparison was really being made
to a numerical calculator, not to a "computer in the
contemporary sense of the word. Hubbard was in fact comparing
the human mind to a valve-driven number cruncher.
Above the analytical mind is the "monitor: "The
monitor can be considered part of the analytical mind.
The monitor could be called the center of awareness of the person.
It, inexactly speaking, is the person. It has been approximated
by various names for thousands of years, each one reducing down
to 'I'. The monitor is in control of the analytical mind.
(DMSMH, p.43). However, "the mind is so constructed that
there are several monitors ... they can be activated on a stimulus-response
basis but they have no concept of individuality. (R&D
3, p.160).The analogy between hypnotism and aberration:
During the course of his frequent use of hypnotism, Hubbard started
to hypothesise about the reactive mind. Indeed, the reactive mind
is an attempt to explain hypnotic phenomena: "The analogy
between hypnotism and aberration bears out well. (DMSMH,
p.66). The reactive mind is supposedly capable of all manner
of tricks: "Take the case of a person who has been hypnotized
and has been told that there is a chair in the center of the room.
This, in effect, is an agreement entered into between the hypnotist
and the person who is hypnotized that there is a chair
in the center of the room. The person who is hypnotized is temporarily
cut off from the rest of mankind and finds that his only communication
and his only affinity, for the duration of the hypnosis, is with
the hypnotic operator. (Tech 1, p.15). Hypnotists call this
"positive hallucination - seeing something that isn't
there (as opposed to "negative hallucination - not
seeing something that is).
Hubbard's analogies for the human mind tend to involve hypnotic
sessions. Having explained a particular instance of "post-hypnotic
positive suggestion, Hubbard added "In this we have
the visible factors of how the reactive mind operaes. (DMSMH,
p.63; see R&D 1. p.331 for another analogy with hypnotism).Hubbard
defined the reactive mind thus: "This reactive mind is an
infestation of foreign, careless and unreasoning commands which
disrupt the self- determinism of the individual to such an extent
that he no longer has charge, through his analytical mind, of
the organism itself but finds himself under the continual and
chronic orders of unseen, never-reviewed exterior forces, often
and usually antipathetic to the survival of the organism.
(DOT, p.69). The theory of Dianetics was confirmed for Hubbard
by a straightforward experiment, "If in hypnotic trance you
examine a patient's memory of an operation these incidents [engrams]
are the only periods in the banks you will not find. (DMSMH,
Through hypnotism, Hubbard also believed he had confirmed Freud's
idea that earlier trauma holds later trauma in place (Freud, 1909):
"the early hypnotic session is the more valid one, even if
it is cancelled by a later hypnotic session (SOS II, p.229);
the earlier suggestion has "priority (R&D 1, p.332);
"The earlier the period of 'unconscious' the more likely
it is to lift. That is the fundamental axiom of dianetic
therapy. (DMSMH, p.124).
The proposed purpose of Dianetics is "to awaken a person
in every period of his life when he has been forced into 'unconsciousness'.
(DMSMH, p.201). It is worth noting, however, that a "strange
thing about amnesia trance is that a person can be 'awakened'
into it (R&D 1, p.184). Further, despite his protestations
that Dianetics is not hypnosis, and that most people cannot be
hypnotised, "Returning back down the track slightly increases
the suggestibility of any person (SOS II, p.228).
Strengthening trance through repetition:
In hypnotism, it is usual for the subject to enter trance more
easily with each session. The same is true for the Dianetic preclear:
"after a person has been a preclear for quite a while, he
ceases to be as well regimented as he once was. Then if the auditor
says 'Close your eyes,' he may start to go back on the track,
even with his eyes open! (R&D 3, p.94). This obviously
brings into question the idea in Scientology of "model session,
where sessions are supposed to "run out earlier sessions
because of their similarity to them.
Dianetics can be used to "play on another individual like
a good organist plays on a Wurlitzer ... Knowing by observation,
the push buttons of another person - or, as in Political Dianetics,
a society - the organist can play whatever piece he likes at will.
Advertising agencies, governments and various leaders have done
this by a sort of intuition all through man's history. They knew
that by such-and-such stimulus they could achieve such-and-such
response. In Dianetics the matter is reduced, not to a fine art,
but to a very effective science ... Unfortunately, Educational
Dianetics must concern itself, in the non-academic field, with
push buttons (R&D 3, p.241; however, "Education,
then, to be effective, no matter if it is the education a mother
gives her infant or the professor gives the collegiate, must avoid
becoming positive suggestion if it is to produce anything like
an effective being. R&D 3, p.245).
Although the Dianetic practitioner, or auditor, can "push
button responses in others, "Short of the use of drugs
as in narco-synthesis, hypnotism or surgery, no mistake can be
made by the auditor which cannot be remedied either by himself
or by another auditor (DMSMH, p.165).Auditor altitude:
The auditor should adopt "an air of detached efficiency toward
the patient ... In short, teach yourself some altitude ... Exude
self-confidence (R&D 1, p.185). Of course, within Hubbard's
own teaching, achieving "altitude is equivalent to
becoming a "hypnotic operator: "he doesn't have
to put the subject to sleep. What he says will still react as
hypnotic suggestion. (R&D 4, p.324). As to exuding
confidence, Hubbard recommended a text to his followers, which
gives this advice "you must have absolute confidence in yourself.
You must know that you will succeed. This is the first requisite
to success in this Science. However, in this case, the
Science was not Dianetics but hypnotism (Twenty-Five Lessons
in Hypnotism, L.E.Young; recommended by Hubbard, R&D 1,
p.307; R&D2, p.12. This is one of the most garish works the
present author has ever seen).
Use of hypnotism in auditing:
The auditor "must be prepared to use hypnotism, he must know
how it works, what he should do to make it function, how to regress
a person in hypnotism and so on, which is definitely very different
from Dianetics in that one produces a trance. (R&D 1,
The engram as positive suggestion:
The engram was seen by Hubbard in hypnotic terms: "A simple
approximation of the action of an engram can be accomplished by
an experiment in hypnotism whereby a positive suggestion which
contains a post-hypnotic signal is delivered to an amnesia-tranced
person. The subject, having been commanded to forget the suggestion
when awake, will then perform the act. This suggestion is then
actually a light portion of the reactive mind. It is literally
interpreted, unquestionably followed, since it is received during
a period of unawareness of the analytical mind or some portion
of it. The restimulator, which may be the act of the operator
adjusting his tie, causes the subject to commit some act. The
subject will then try to explain why he is doing what he is doing,
no matter how illogical that action may be ... The release of
the post-hypnotic suggestion into the analytical mind brings about
rational thought. Engrams can be considered to be painfully inflicted,
often timeless, post-hypnotic suggestions delivered antagonistically
to the 'unconscious' subject. The post-hypnotic suggestion ...
would not have any permanent effect ... even if it were not removed
by the operator, because there was presumed to be no antagonism
involved (unless, of course, it rested on a former engram).
Hubbard asserted that hypnotism attempts to plant "positive
engrams: "Just put another engram, an artificial one, into
a man, even if it's a manic engram - makes the subject 'big' or
'strong' or 'powerful' plus all other perceptics [perceptions]
contained - and he's all right. That's the basic trouble.
(EoS, p.96); "In hypnosis one is trying to put in a good
engram to counteract bad engrams and it doesn't work. (R&D
4, p.24). Positive suggestion allegedly goes "down the track
and will "latch onto whatever is there (R&D 1,
A hypnotic incident however, is not an engram. According to Hubbard's
theory, there are three types of incident in the reactive mind
- the engram, which is a recording made by the reactive mind when
the analytical mind is "unconscious; the secondary
engram, or "secondary, which is a "mental image
picture of a moment of severe and shocking loss or threat of loss
which contains misemotion (Hubbard, HCOB 23 April 1969);
and the "lock, which occurs when aspects of the environment
approximate those of an engram, thus "keying-in the
engram. According to Hubbard, "Hypnotism can be considered
as a 'high-powered' lock (DMSMH, p.384). Positive suggestions
"may append themselves to engrams and become locks
(ibid). Narcosynthesis and amnesia trance are dangerous because
they can permanently "key-in engrams (R&D 3, p.105).
Indeed, "everything that you run in amnesia trance becomes
a lock. (R&D 3, p.95).
Positive suggestions only have force because they are "locks
upon engrams: "I never found a positive suggestion capable
of doing more than reinforcing an engram (R&D 1, p.353).
Yet, suggestion "is thoroughly permanent until relieved by
dianetic processing (SOS II, p.221), and, "hypnotism
... may be sufficiently destructive to cause the engrams to restimulate
to the point of insanity (DMSMH, p.385). As already cited,
"Submission to being hypnotized is analagous to being raped,
with the exception that the individual can, generally, recover
from being raped (SOS II, p.220).While recommending hypnotic
anaesthesia, Hubbard adds that Dianetics must be administered
after the operation, because "not to pick it [the hypnotic
period] up would be equivalent to continuing a general anaesthetic
forever after the operation (SOS I, p.161). But "'Unconsciousness'
of the non-hypnotic variety is a little more rugged. It takes
more than a few passes of the hand to cause 'unconsciousness'
of the insanity-producing variety (DMSMH, p.58; cf footnote
pp.57-58, which says that hypnotism can produce insanity and p.66,
"Hypnotism plants by positive suggestion one or another form
There are "gaps in the standard memory banks (i.e.,
the memory available to the analytical mind, as opposed to the
reactive memory banks) "which take place during moments of
'unconsciousness', that state of being caused by anaesthesia,
drugs, injury or shock. This is the only data missing from a
standard bank [analytical mind memory bank]. (DMSMH, p.53).Having
made absolute statements about the difference between hypnotic
amnesia and the engram, Hubbard also asserted that the "post-hypnotic
suggestion needs only an emotional charge and physical pain to
make it a dangerous engram. Actually, it is an engram of a sort;
the suggestion is "data fused into the circuits of the body
below the command level of the analytical mind (DMSMH, p.63).
Hubbard also asserted that "all hypnotic commands ... are
no more than artificially implanted engrams. (DOT, p.69);
"Hypnotism is simply another engram (R&D 1, pp.332-3);
"An engram is actually a hypnotic suggestion. (DMSMH,
p.201); and "Dianetic therapy removes engrams. Hypnotism
installs engrams (DMSMH, p.201).
Reveries and trance:
Dianetic "processing is done with the preclear in a
state of "reverie. His use of this word was to cause
Hubbard heartache later on. "Reverie is a word used
by hypnotists to denote a light state of trance (a state in which
the hypnotic subject can appear to be completely awake). Hubbard
recommended the book Hypnotism Comes of Age to his followers
(R&D2, p.12). This text describes "hypnagogic reverie
as "a dreamlike state between normal consciousness and hypnosis
(Wolfe and Rosenthal, p.124). While reverie is "not the
only tool that can be used in Dianetic auditing, it is "the
best tool to use (R&D 1, p.185; see also ibid, p.183;
Hubbard was emphatic, "to turn down the analytical level
and then go ahead and audit is a very bad idea (R&D
1, p.123). Reverie was defined by Hubbard as "a light state
of concentration not to be confused with hypnosis. In reverie
the person is fully aware of what is taking place. (EoS,
footnote, p.98). The use of the words "light state
seems to be a Freudian slip. It is certainly a contradiction in
Dianetic reverie, per Dianetics: MSMH, is induced in the
following manner: "The auditor makes very sure that the patient
is not hypnotized by telling him, before he begins to count, 'You
will know everything which goes on. You will be able to remember
everything that happens. You can exercise your own control.
If you do not like what is happening, you can instantly pull out
of it. Now, one, two, three, four,' etc. To make doubly sure,
for we want no hypnotism, even by accident, the auditor installs
a canceller ... It is a contract with the patient that whatever
the auditor says will not become literally interpreted by the
patient or used by him in any way. It is installed immediately
after the condition of reverie is established. A canceller is
worded more or less as follows: 'In the future, when I utter the
word cancelled, everything which I have said to you while you
are in a therapy session will be cancelled and will have no force
with you. Any suggestion I have made to you will be without force
when I say the word cancelled. Do you understand?' ... the canceller
is vital. It prevents accidental positive suggestion. (DMSMH,
p.200). Of course, to work, the canceller would have to be itself
a positive suggestion! It is worthy of note that Dianetics as
described in Dianetics: MSMH is still in use as an aspect
of the Church of Scientology's supposed therapy system. However,
only a small portion of the individual's auditing will consist
of this original dianetics, and the "canceller is not
used with any other form of "auditing.
After Dianetics: MSMH was published, Hubbard withdrew the
system of counting the preclear into reverie: "Sometimes
people go into a hypnotic trance by accident with this count system
... so at the Foundation we no longer use it. (R&D 3,
p.15; see also R&D 4, p.37; DMSMH, p.201). Unfortunately,
this advice is ignored in the current Hubbard Dianetics Auditor
Course, auditing reverts entirely to Dianetics: MSMH, so
by Hubbard's own statement, the Church of Scientology is using
a hypnotic induction as standard procedure ("Count slowly
and soothingly from 1 to 7, just prior to the flickering
of the eyelids already mentioned. Hubbard Dianetics Auditor
Course, p.54, Hubbard Dianetics Seminar, p.42, step
two). Hubbard was perfectly aware that counting out loud is a
method of hypnotic induction (DMSMH, p.123).
Reverie is "induced easily "'Close your eyes.'
The preclear is now in reverie. 'Open your eyes.' The preclear
is now out of reverie ... A person, wide awake, could be said
to be in reverie. (R&D 3, pp.15-16; see also R&D
4, pp.37-38; Tech 1, p.15; R&D 1, p.337). "The reverie
used in Dianetics merely consists of shutting the eyes in order
to help the person to remember, recall and recount past incidents
in complete detail. It is not induced by commands of any kind
and can hardly be called trance, sleep, slumber or even catnap.
The person in reverie is keenly, acutely aware and analytical
of everything said to him, and can open his eyes of his own free
will at any time during the session. (R&D 4, p.345;
see also DMSMH, p.165). Hubbard also said, however, that analytical
ability is "attenuated during auditing ("anaten)
and that sometimes a preclear will be unable to recall what engram
was "run during a session, which sounds very like hypnotic
amnesia. The disoriented "boil-off state off auditing
is also readily comparable to the altered states of other trance
"The state of reverie is actually just a name. It is a label
introduced to make the patient feel that his state has altered
and that he has gone into a state where his memory is very good,
or where he can do something he couldn't ordinarily do before
... It is not a strange state (R&D 1, p.182). Hubbard
then blithely added, "Also, counting sometimes produces a
light hypnosis back of the reverie which is sometimes helpful
on a case. (ibid). Of a preclear who had experienced burping
after being "returned to babyhood, Hubbard said, "This
is definitely not power of suggestion, since the preclear is wide
awake and alert. (SOS II, p.164). This statement is difficult
to follow - post-hypnotic suggestions are carried out by subjects
after the hypnotic session when wide awake. Further, what
had stimulated the burping in the first place? It could hardly
be a conscious decision. As engrams are themselves held to be
positive suggestion by Hubbard, the statement seems impossible
While in reverie, then, the preclear is wide awake, but his attention
is wholely engaged with "returning to past events contained
in the reactive memory banks. Again Hubbard forgot that he had
abandoned the hypnotist's term "regression (DMSMH,
p.13), saying, "You can't deliver any positive suggestions
to a person when he is regressed and have it stick very hard.
The person is regressed, he is wide awake, he is as wide awake
as he can possibly be. (R&D 1, p.48).
Reverie is held to be far superior to all other methods: "The
reverie has a clear at its end - drugs and hypnotism have dependency
on the auditor and many other undesirable effects. (DMSMH,
p.201, note the implication that auditors use drugs and hypnotism).
But is reverie anything other than a form of "light
trance? Hubbard is once again ambivalent: "The matter of
inducing reverie requires some judgment. There are cases in which
you might want to induce a little deeper state of suggestibility
than you have achieved. Just have him [the preclear] look you
in the eye for a few minutes and talk to him quietly, and then
tell him to close his eyes, and you will find out that he has
quieted down considerably. (R&D 3, p.95).As to the use
of counting to induce reverie (in the current Dianetics Auditor
Course and Seminar), the following has already been cited: "Recognize
the depth these trances achieve, just on no provacation. Tell
a man to close his eyes, bong! he goes into an amnesia trance;
or sometimes using the old counting technique and it becomes more
frequent: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven - bong!
(R&D 3, p.94). However, Dianetic technique "is not hypnotism
in any remote sense of the word; in the process he [the preclear]
remains entirely awake (DMSMH, p.413). But, "You will
occasionally find severely neurotic people who don't work well,
who are very upset, and they will become quieter when you have
counted at them for a while. But they are not in a good, solid
trance. (R&D 1, p.182). Why the auditor would want
the severe neurotic in a "good, solid trance is not
Having said that fluttering of the eyelids is indicative of trance
(see above), Hubbard gave the following instructions for inducing
reverie: "The patient is made to lie down and shut his eyes.
The operator begins to count. He suggests the patient relax.
At length the patient's eyelids will flutter (Medicine drumming
will also accomplish this without producing a harmful amnesia
hypnotic state.) He is permitted to relax further. Then the
operator tells him that his 'motor strip' (his sensory perceptions
[sic]) is returning to a time of unconsciousness ... With coaxing
the patient will begin to feel the injury and sense himself in
the location and time of the accident. (R&D 1, p.8).
This statment, which comes from Hubbard's first published article
on Dianetics, shows an interesting choice of words - the auditor
is called the "operator, he "suggests that
the preclear relax into a state which is not a "harmful amnesia
hypnotic state (which does not rule out light trance, or
even "harmless amnesia), and the engram is found through
The canceller statement is also of great interest. After the
publication of Dianetics: MSMH, Hubbard spoke of a "renowned
hypnotist who was "running a series of tests so that
we will know exactly what effect installing a canceller will have
(R&D 1, p.337). Before the results from these tests were
in, however, Hubbard had already confidently asserted "The
canceller very neatly scoops up the material as you say it to
a patient, even if he is hypnotized (R&D 1, p.48; see
also R&D 3, p.94; R&D 1, p.168). However, by June 1951,
this safeguard had been abandoned, because the preclear was meant
to systematically recall earlier auditing sessions to remove any
hypnotic influence (SOS I, p.228). This practice, along with
the canceller, finds no place in later forms of "auditing,
nor is any mention made of the possible hypnotic effect of these
The importance of hypnotism:
Hubbard did his initial research using hypnotism. The major discoveries
of Dianetics were made in hypnotic sessions. Preclears may already
be in a "trance state, or may accidentally go into
trance as a consequence of auditing procedures. In hypnotism
"we have the visible factors of how the reactive mind operates.
(DMSMH, p.63). As already cited, the auditor "must be prepared
to use hypnotism, he must know how it works, what he should do
to make it function, how to regress a person in hypnotism and
so on (R&D 1, p.307).
Hubbard also asserted, "if you are a very smart auditor you
will not throw away the advantages of the power of suggestion
completely. Suggestion does have its uses when it is controlled
and one knows what one is doing. I am not talking about hypnotic
suggestion, I am talking about just the simple matter of cheering
somebody up and a good bedside manner (R&D 1, p.124).
In lectures given in 1950, Hubbard recommended three books on
hypnotism to his followers: "Anyone in doubt as to how hypnotism
works need only consult the authoritative books on the subject
by Estabrooks [George Hoben Estabrooks, Hypnotism]. In
fact, this is recommended as a means of proving that Dianetics
and hypnotism are total strangers. (R&D 4, p.345); "There
is a little book by a man by the name of Young written about 1899,
which contains in it about as much hypnosis as one ever wants.
It is called Twenty-Five Lessons in Hypnosis ... Practically
everything in that book works, and clairvoyance, mesmerism and
so forth are also delineated (R&D 1, p.307); the third,
and most significant, work recommended is Wolfe and Rosenthal's
Hypnotism Comes of Age(R&D2, p.12).
Despite protestations that hypnotism and Dianetics are "total
strangers, Hubbard several times advocated the use of hypnotism
alongside Dianetics: "it is even allowable to use actual
hypnosis if it is possible to procure any results from it. So
hypnosis has some value, but it has value only to a professional
auditor ... If he can spill emotion in deep trance or even in
narcosynthesis, he has achieved a gain on the case. This is for
a very special tough type of case (R&D 1, p.182). Hypnosis
and Dianetics are not the only approaches "Faith healing,
when not practiced on the hypnotic level of 'This is not going
to hurt you any more', has ingredients that you can use.
(R&D 1, p.186).
Auditors do need to be aware of hypnotism: "it is quite usual
for the auditor to have to exhaust hypnotically implanted material
received either from some hypnotist or from the analytical mind
itself when the person has been operating under auto-control [sic].
(DOT, p.69). Also, "It is pertinent to diagnosis whether
or not the preclear is highly suggestible or can be hypnotized
(SOS II, p.220). Further, "understanding the mechanism of
post-hypnotic suggestion can aid an understanding of aberration.
(DMSMH, p.56); "The next thing an auditor should know well
is the effect of hypnotism and drugs, and he should have observed
this actually. (R&D 1, p.307). The auditor should be
aware of hypnotism, because, as already cited, "hypnotism
is very common in this society (R&D 1, p.24).
Unfortunately, auditors share an ignorance of hypnotism with the
general populace and simply parrot Hubbard's calming assurance
that "auditing is not a form of hypnosis or that "auditing
removes hypnosis. Despite their implanted obsession with
the meaning of words, Scientologists are largely unable to define
the "hypnosis which auditing supposedly removes. They
believe it to be drowsiness or lack of awareness, rather than
the heightened state known to hypnotic subjects and touched upon
by Hubbard in Dianetics: MSMH: "By suggestion the
power of hearing can be tuned down or up so that a person is nearly
deaf or can hear pins fall at a great distance. Most usually,
hypnotic trance is a state of heightened awareness which excludes
certain perceptions. It is a highly focussed state, often accompanied
by a sensation that "the colours in the room are brighter,
as well as spatial dissociation (called "exteriorization
by Scientologists and "depersonalization by psychiatrists).
Hubbard also wrote of the possibility of a preclear accidentally
going into deep trance (R&D 1, p.85; R&D 3, p.94). Then
there are the people who will turn up for an auditing session
already in a trance state: "A lot of children are in light
trance ... Children are quite suggestible. The curve of hypnosis
rises steadily until its highest level about 10 years of age,
and then falls clear off at about 15 or 16. Then they don't believe
anything. (R&D 3, p.319); "There are actually two
types of hypnotic states [sic] that people wander around in.
They are either regressed back down the track someplace but not
in a real trance, or they wander around in a permanent light hypnotic
trance. Or they do both ... Strangely enough, these people cannot
be hypnotized for the simple reason that they are already asleep.
Everything said to such a person may be engramic (R&D
1, p.337); "Sometimes a person will go into a hypnotic trance
in spite of anything you can do. (R&D 1, p.168); "Some
people, when told to close their eyes, immediately go into hypnotic
trance (R&D 3, p.94); "Sometimes you find people
who have been taught to do auto-self-hypnosis [sic]. This is
gruesome! (R&D 4, p.65 - handwritten Hubbard documents
submitted as evidence during the Church of Scientology International
case against Gerald Armstrong, in 1984, make it clear that Hubbard
used self-hypnosis abundantly in the years leading up to Dianetics.
For example, "when you tell people you are ill, it has no
effect upon your health. And in Veterans Administration examinations
you'll tell them how sick you are; you'll look sick when you take
it; you'll return to health one hour after the examination and
laugh at them, Armstrong transcript, pp.1925-1927. See Atack
pp.87 & 100); "the apathy case to some degree is in a
permanent hypnotic trance and will listen to and believe anything
said no matter how ridiculous it may be (SOS I, p.170).
Hubbard was ambiguous about suggestion: "We never give positive
suggestions (R&D1, p.48); but "you are putting
in positive suggestion whether you want to or not, no matter how
careful you are (R&D1, p.336). However, "chatter
doesn't do much harm unless the patient is hypnotized. (R&D1,
p.48); however, "When an auditor finds his preclear unusually
suggestive [sic], he should be very careful what he says
There is conflict about the nature of "questions, "commands
and "suggestions: "Dianetic commands are not positive
suggestions. They are simply outright commands no matter how
persuasively put. 'The somatic strip will go to ------. It is
there.' That is not a suggestion. It is there.
(R&D 1, p.237); but "All auditor desires should be stated
as questions if possible, as these are not aberrative to the degree
that commands are (DMSMH, p.385; see also R&D 1, p.182);
and again "you are putting in positive suggestion whether
you want to or not, no matter how careful you are. (R&D
1, p.336); "When the pre-clear is returned to some point
prior to present time ... the auditor should under no circumstances
use more words than are absolutely necessary ... the pre-clear
may be receptive to hypnotic suggestions. (SOS II, p.42);
"you have got to minimize what you say to him and you have
got to put most of what you say to him in questions. In other
words, reduce the positive command level. Also, reduce the sharpness
of your voice, because at that moment you are putting another
'I' slightly behind the front edge of the analyzer, and that is
in essence what hypnosis does. (R&D 3, p.94); "Anything
implanted by positive suggestion or 'education' in the course
of auditing is harmful and must be cancelled if delivered
Although Hubbard asserted that hypnotism can be very dangerous,
and that preclears can readily go into trance during auditing,
he insisted that Dianetics can cause no harm: "Short of the
use of drugs as in narco-synthesis, hypnotism or surgery, no mistake
can be made by the auditor which cannot be remedied either by
himself or by another auditor (DMSMH, p.165); "The
pre-clear can in no way be damaged by dianetic technique.
(DMSMH, p.413); "The mind is a self-protecting mechanism
(DMSMH, p.165 - this being so, why are engrams dangerous?).
Seeing all of this material close together, rather than spread
through hundreds of pages is a dizzying experience. None of Hubbard's
statements have been withdrawn, indeed it is a sin to even suggest
withdrawal or correction (see the "Technical Degrades
Policy Letter, 17 June 1970: it is a "HIGH CRIME "labelling
any material 'background' or 'not used now' or 'old'). Which
of these conflicting statements is true, and what kind of science
could possibly consist of such a mess of contradrictions? In Scientology
the rule of thumb is "which statement is most recent?
but the foregoing shows Hubbard gaily contradicting himself repeatedly
in the same text, and then reversing and re-reversing his opinions
from week to week. Factually, the public are being lied to with
the continued publication of at least half of these contradictions.
The caveat emptor rule does apply - let the buyer beware, which
is pointed out in the small print at the beginning of most current
Scientology books. Scientology is a science when it's being sold
but a religion if you want your money back.
This investigation of Hubbard's statements about hypnosis is by
no means exhaustive. A search through the indices of Hubbard books
not referred to here will turn up yet more insights and contradictions.
The "false data stripping technique should be used
first on itself and then on Scientology, remembering that you
can control that individual to whom you have given sufficient
contradictions (by the way, one piece of false data in the "false
data stripping Bulletin concerns Socrates' invention of
the syllogism, check it out!). The ridiculous rewording of the
Buddha's Kalama Sutta into "what's true for you is true
must be rejected. The lesson, as already quoted is: "In learning,
study what you want to know, think what you want to think about
it, recognize institutionalism for the bogus straw man it is,
and keep the analyzer whirring. (R&D 3, p.247). Or,
returning to the Kalama Sutta:
"Do not put faith in traditions, even though they have been
accepted for long generations and in many countries. Do not believe
a thing because many repeat it. Do not accept a thing on the authority
of one or another of the Sages of old, nor on the ground that
a statement is found in the books. Never believe anything because
probability is in its favour. Do not believe in that which you
have yourselves imagined, thinking that a god has inspired it.
Believe nothing merely on the authority of your teachers or of
the priests. After examination, believe that which you have tested
for yourselves and found reasonable, which is in conformity with
your well-being and that of others. It seems unlikely that
the Buddha would have approved of the use of hypnosis or indeed
the Fair Game law.
Having explained his own long involvement with hypnotism, and
that most of the principles of Dianetics and the Dianetic model
of the mind stemmed from that involvement, Hubbard added "A
motto one could use is 'Never believe a hypnotist'" (SOS
References: NB: page numbers vary in later editions, and some material
may have been censored from these editions.
Astounding Science Fiction, May 1950.
Atack, Jon - A Piece of Blue Sky, Lyle Stuart books, 1990.
Freud, Sigmund - the Clarke Lectures in Two Short Accounts
of Psycho-Analysis, Penguin books.
Hubbard, L.Ronald, Dianetics - the Modern Science of Mental
Health, Hermitage House, 1950; later editions until the 1985
Bridge edition have identical page numbering.
- Dianetics the Evolution of a Science, 1950; AOSH DK
Publications, Denmark, 1972.
- Dianetics the Original Thesis, 1951; Scientology Publications
Organization, Denmark, 1970.
- Hubbard Dianetics Auditor Course, Bridge, L.A., 1988
- Hubbard Dianetics Seminar, Bridge, L.A., 1988
- Research and Discovery Series:
volume 1, lectures June 1950; Bridge, 1980.
volume 2, lectures July - August 1950; Bridge, 1982.
volume 3, lectures 10 August-8 September, 1950; Bridge, 1982.
volume 4, lectures 23 September-15 November 1950; Bridge, 1982.
- Science of Survival, 1951; Hubbard College of Scientology,
- The Technical Bulletins of Dianetics and Scientology,
Miller, Russell - Bare-Faced Messiah, Henry Holt, NY or
Wolfe, Bernard and Rosenthal, Raymond - Hypnotism Comes of
Age, Blue Ribbon Books, NY, 1949.
Young, L.E. - 25 Lessons in Hypnotism, Padell Book
Co, NY, 1944.
Abbreviations used in the text:
AstSF - Astounding Science Fiction, May 1950
DMSMH - Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health
DTOT - Dianetics the Original Thesis
EoS - Dianetics the Evolution of a Science
R&D - Research and Discovery, followed by volume number
SOS - Science of Survival, followed by volume I or II.