Review of Hubbard's theories
Jeff Jacobsen

First I must tell you that there is no scientific evidence for most of Hubbard's theories, despite his claim that they are "scientific facts". Secondly, Hubbard had no academic background to come up with theories of the mind, despite his false grandiose claims of world travel and incredible education. Finally, the actual scientific community and in fact the real world all dispute with credible evidence almost all of Hubbard's theories. Despite this, Hubbard still has a following. And since he and the Church of Scientology have placed his teachings into the marketplace of ideas, it is useful to all interested parties to have these ideas critiqued. But first, a brief overview of those ideas.

If you already understand dianetics and Scientology doctrine, you may wish to skip this chapter as it is a general overview of these. Most of this booklet deals with the teachings from the book Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health and the basic ideas that sprang from this work. If you are not clear on dianetics, you should read this section in order to follow large portions of this booklet. I will be brief yet concise enough for the reader to follow the deeper discussions. Words underlined are Hubbard's terms that you should familiarize yourself with. It is of course helpful to read the book Dianetics before continuing.

L. Ron Hubbard, author of the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and founder of the Church of Scientology, was a science-fiction writer before penning the book that would launch his fame. Dianetics is a self-help book published in 1950 which claimed to include new and unique theories on how the mind works. Hubbard claimed that this work was totally unprecedented; "...Dianetics was the bolt from the blue." (1) Mankind was destroying himself by various means "without any idea of what caused Man to behave as he did or what made him sick or well. THE answer was, and still is, Dianetics." (2)

So there would be no doubt as to the originality of his ideas, Hubbard wrote that "dianetics borrowed nothing but was first discovered and organized; only after the organization was completed and a technique evolved was it compared to existing information." (3) According to Hubbard, some philosophers of the past helped provide the foundation of dianetics, but the remaining research had been done "what the navigator calls, 'off the chart'." (4)

Dianetics became a New York Times Best seller in 1950, and has since sold many millions of copies.

Dianetics is a "science of mental health" as the full title of Hubbard's 1950 book declares. The main theory of dianetics is that the human has two minds, the Analytical mind and the Reactive mind. The Analytical mind is a perfectly working device, and life would be wonderful were it not for the Reactive mind lousing up the workings of the Analytical mind. The Reactive mind stores memories of events in our life when we were unconscious and in pain. These memories are perfect recordings of the events, but the problem occurs because they are not stored in the Analytical mind. These memories can be triggered or restimulated by events in our environment that the Reactive mind interprets as similar to one of its memories. When the Reactive mind spots such a similarity, it attempts to take over from the Analytical mind. This is a problem because the Reactive mind is "moronic" and screws things up horribly and disrupts the proper activities of the Analytical mind.

The goal of dianetics is to re-file these memories, called Engrams, into the Analytical mind, where they can be properly indexed and utilized. The Reactive mind is an evolutionary throwback to how animals think, and is therefore a weaker area of the mind in the human.

An example of an Engram in the book Dianetics is of a child whose father beat his mother while the child was still in the womb (Engrams can be recorded from conception on in dianetics). The child was knocked unconscious from the beating and was in pain when the father yelled "Take that! Take it, I tell you! You've got to take it!" (5) When the child grew up and something (perhaps the sound of the father yelling) occurred within the child's surroundings that was similar to the recordings in the Engram, this keyed in or triggered the Engram, and the Reactive mind would take over, effectively shutting down the Analytical mind to a degree and controlling actions based instead on the moronic interpretation of statements made in the Engram. Thus this child, because of the "Take it!" statements in the Engram, becomes a kleptomaniac.

The goal of dianetics is to remove all Engrams from the Reactive mind and clear them out, transferring these memories into the Analytical mind where they can be properly utilized and processed. When the Reactive mind is emptied, or cleared, of all Engrams, the person is declared a CLEAR, and from then on the person is able to utilize his or her mind to the utmost, operating on a heretofore unknown level of abilities.

Engrams are found through auditing, where one person asks another questions about his past until an event with potential for an Engram is encountered. If an Engram seems to exist, the event is then gone over several times until the auditor is satisfied that the Engram memory has now left the Reactive mind and has been filed in the Analytical mind (see the section on Clear for more details).

Auditors are the practitioners that take you throught the dianetics process. They search your past by asking you questions, looking for engrams to eradicate. Auditors do not have to be trained much at all, according to the book Dianetics. (6) So long as a person is reasonably intelligent and communicative, he can audit after reading Dianetics.

After Dianetics was written, Volney Mattheison introduced Hubbard to a galvanic skin response meter. Hubbard decided to use this device as a tool to find Engrams. This device, which appeared in 1941 as a "new fun-provoking stunt for parties," (7) simply registers the differing conduction of a weak electrical flow through the body which can differ by how hard a person squeezes the cans held in each hand or how much the person is sweating. Hubbard called this device an E-meter. In any event, the goal was still to re-file all memories in the Reactive mind to the Analytical mind.

The goal of dianetics is to Clear the Planet, i.e. to process everyone on earth to the state of Clear.

This, however, is not the end of it. While your mind may now be running at an optimal level, your soul, known in Scientology as a Thetan, is still troubled. Dianetics has supposedly fixed the problems of our mind, but now the religion of Scientology must enter to cure the problems of our soul. Every person is not just a person with a mental problem, but is also a reincarnated spiritual being who has lived at least millions of years. Each of us has experienced an identical horrible event whereby other Thetans were fused on to our own Thetan, and these interfere with the optimum activities of the main Thetan (our own soul). Scientology processing teaches the Thetan how to rid itself of these Body Thetans that are attached to us somewhat like leeches, and also how to operate on a more efficient level.

L. Ron Hubbard claims to have been the first person to discover the truths of both dianetics and Scientology. Without his Tech, or methods to eradicate these hitherto undiscovered impediments to life, there is no hope for mankind. All the above has been deciphered from about 16 books by Hubbard, over 45 hours of taped lectures, countless articles on and by the Church of Scientology, and discussions with several current and ex-members. Hubbard is often times repetitive and undecipherable, so understanding some of his ideas is difficult. Take this sample of his writing:

In other words, Life, faced with a non-understanding thing, would feel itself balked, for Life, being Understanding, could not then become non-understanding without assuming the role of being incomprehensible. Thus it is that the seeker after secrets is trapped into being a secret himself. (8)
It is this sort of stuff that makes Hubbard exasperating to try to follow.

The above is a brief review of a complex subject. There are many more points to this teaching, but I will attempt to point out the intricacies when needed for the reader to follow my arguments.


  1. L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics: the original thesis (Los Angeles; Church of Scientology of California Publications Organization, 1951) outside back jacket
  2. Ibid.
  3. L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics, the modern science of mental health (Los Angeles; Bridge Publications, 1987) p. 340
  4. Dianetics, p. 400
  5. Dianteics, p. 281
  6. Dianetics, p. 225
  7. Giant Home Workshop Manual, 1941. See The Survivor, volume 8, p.1 P.O. Box 95, Alpena, AR 72611
  8. L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetcs 55! (Los Angeles; Bridge Publications, Inc., 1955) p.41

Reprinted with permission from The Hubbard is Bare by Jeff Jacobsen. Copyright © 1992 by Jeff Jacobsen, P.O. Box 3541, Scottsdale, AZ 85271.