Cheryl Duncan on Dianetics Day

It’s May 9, an average, everyday Monday to most, but to Scientologists around the world the anniversary of a watershed day in understanding human behavior. That’s because on May 9, 1950, author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard wrote the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. It’s especially interesting for me because I’m mid-reading the nearly 500 page tome myself now, close to the end of it. I really understand why the commercials called it “The Owners Manual for the Human Mind!”

What strikes me again and again as a I read is that though Dianetics was at the beginning of Hubbard’s researches that—myself knowing more than a little about his later discoveries—he knew where he was going almost before he started! In Dianetics you see he’s just on the cusp of discovering the human spirit, which is what Scientology explores and, in fact, rehabilitates. And there are a whole lot of other aspects that he’s looking at that he gets back to in later researches.

But more than anything I understand more and more the little bits of insanity that we face every day—everything from someone who is deathly afraid of dogs, even little ones, to the person who flies off the handle at the slightest provocation to hoarders. I also understand why “Junior” is just like his dad. You name it and it can be traced back to a part of the mind that Hubbard discovered and wrote about in Dianetics, the part that holds all of one’s kookiness. Not yours. Of course not. You’re perfect and never had an issue in your life! J Just your friend’s, or boss, bus driver, waitress or the cat lady down the street.

Because it’s so simply addressed—so simple, in fact, that a child could literally handle it—one knows why a Scientologist might scoff at or rail against things like psychiatric drugs, ice picks and electrodes being used to handle mental ills. In reading it, it’s really hard not to get steamed when thinking of it, actually. But that will be the subject of another post someday.

The 100th Anniversary of L. Ron Hubbard’s birth (March 13, 1911) is being celebrated this year. The millions of people who have the book Dianetics might find that picking up the book might just explain, well, a lot. Happy Dianetics Anniversary, everyone!

  • Caralyn Percy

    Well said, my friend. May 9th was also my oldest sister’s birthday. If she’d read that book I’m sure she would still be here. She was very very creative and also very very prone to attract men who were very very loopy (and that description is being most kind.
    But alas, the book HAVE YOU LIVED BEFORE THIS LIFE? (a book describing what happened when 24 very skeptical Dianeticists contacted past lives as a result of Dianetics auditing) I feel there is definitely hope for her, for sure.

  • Daphne Olson

    Well written article. And, happy Dianetics Anniversary to you too! Best, Daphne

  • Dean Fox

    The “reactive” mind theory in dianetics by L Ron Hubbard is not new, nor was it new when L Ron Hubbard wrote about it. The idea was first brought up by one of the fathers of modern Psychiatry Sigmund Freud, although some of the terminology was more main stream than L Ron Hubbard’s.

    Freud suggested that all psychological ailments, many of which having apparently physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, stomach cramp etc. could be traced back to past traumas.

    Freud went as far as saying the traumas might have occurred in the womb, Hubbard said the traumas could have occurred in past lives. Both said these traumas needed to be traced and confronted to overcome the ailment, both used a form of regression therapy to do this.

    Freud later dropped this theory, it was one of his earlier ones, mainly because while past traumas and indeed past experiences can and do color our responses in the present confronting the traumas as a means to curing the ailments was not reliable, there were other causes which at the time had not been discovered, and in some circumstances trying to confront those traumas that did exist could make things worse.

    There was also the problem of generating false memories, a problem that still exists today when poorly trained people try to get people to identify traumas as a root cause for their issues, the main reason why this practice has limited application in main stream therapy; it was discovered that people could manufacture false memories which they then believed to be true when pressured to find a trauma that did not exist. Such incidents include children believing parents abused them when they didn’t; famously most children were removed from their families on a Scottish Island because of an episode of hysteria in which children came to believe they were being used in satanic rituals.

    The problem of false memories is exacerbated in dianetics because it allows for past lives and demands that the trauma must exist. There are numerous accounts of delusions being created thanks to this. One person reported that as a 10 year old they came to believe that their headaches were the result of them being a Roman tax collector who would “bash people’s brains in” who couldn’t pay. It doesn’t help that in Scientology it is forbidden to question these beliefs, indeed such beliefs are encouraged.

    The current treatment for psychological issues is to deal with the now, rather than trying to identify past causes. In dealing with the now past causes may be identified but that is incidental to the treatment which aims to recondition the responses.

    The bulk of the current treatments come under the umbrella term of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT and you can get self help books quite cheaply on the subject if you don’t fancy seeing a therapist.

    The current treatments also recognise their limitations, therapists have in place protocols to identify and flag potentially deeper psychiatric issues which may require additional therapy and or drug intervention.

    On the subject of drug intervention, much is made of the psychiatric industry and “big pharma” wanting to drug everyone. While there are doubtless business pressures to do this there is also a demand from a public that want a simple pill solution to their problems.

    Lastly a mention of the placebo effect. Any treatment you believe will cure you will certainly help you feel better and for some ailments that’s all that is needed. The danger to such people of Dianetics is not that they may make themselves better it’s that they will come to worship the church of scientology (it works so there must be something to it).

    I strongly recommend anyone thinking of using dianetics to research the church of scientology on the Internet and ask themselves how much smoke does there need to be?

    • scientologyb

      Thanks for your comment. In an essay titled The Research and Development of Dianetics, ( , LRH wrote, “Much earlier in my life I’d had the privilege of studying under someone taught by Sigmund Freud himself.” If you read the essay you will see he was aware of Freud’s theories and their limitations, hence his development of Dianetics. The book “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health,” the handbook of Dianetics procedure, is now published in 50 languages. Last week was the 61st anniversary of the publication of the book and for six decades its popularity has continue to grow. More than 21 million copies have been sold, and it has appeared on 116 bestseller lists, making it a publishing phenomenon sparking a grassroots movement in countries around the world.