Scales and Scientology

The basic books of Scientology contain many scales that people can use.

Not the dreaded music scales that aspiring musicians have to practice, practice, practice, until they just come out of their fingers without thinking. Personally, I loathed practicing music scales as a child, when I did not understand the scales and did not want to practice them.  I think the whole fascination of young boys with baseball and other sports, is simply a response to being made to sit and do something one truly despises, for hours on end.  I know I would much rather have been out in center field, myself!

But the scales of Scientology are useful tools, worth studying, worth memorizing, and worth figuring out how to apply them to life.

The scales are called “gradient scales” because they mark the gradients (gradual amounts of more or less quantity) of some observable thing.

The first scale one usually learns in Scientology, and the most useful, is the Emotional Tone Scale.  When I first started studying this scale, my understanding of human emotions was (an understatement) very confused.  A better description might be that I viewed human emotions as a chaotic, dangerous mystery, something that could not be understood.  Certainly nothing I had ever read in college textbooks on psychology shed any light on them.

Yes, I knew that some people were apathetic, and some people were sad, some were angry, some were bored, and some were cheerful.  It’s never hard to think of examples of people that are pretty much manifesting one of those emotions most of the time.

My maternal grandfather was chronically angry.  My mother was chronically sad.  My older sister was, when young, bored most of the time.  But when she hit puberty she became apathetic.

But I never considered that these emotions formed any kind of a *scale*.

And I always wondered what made people move from one emotion to another, or fail to do so when they ought to.  If you give someone who is bored some really good news, it ought to make them happy, right?  But it doesn’t always.

What L. Ron Hubbard L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, did was to actually observe people moving through the whole gamut of human emotions, and see that it formed a pattern.  He was the first person to actually make that careful observation, and write it down, so that others could understand it.

  • The scale (which you can read for yourself at the link above) starts at the bottom, down near Death.
  • Then it goes up slightly from there to Apathy. (To a person in apathy, it seems nothing can be done about anything.  It’s all “too much”.  They feel completely overwhelmed by the smallest things.)
  • The next level up is Grief.
  • From Grief the scale goes up to Fear.
  • From Fear up to Anger.
  • From Anger up to Antagonism.
  • From Antagonism up to Boredom.
  • From Boredom up to Conservatism.
  • From Conservatism up to Cheerfulness.
  • From Cheerfulness up to Enthusiasm.

There are many little steps between these bigger ones, such as “sympathy”, the tone that resides between grief and fear.

There’s a whole book about these various emotional tone levels, called book about the emotional tone scale Science of Survival  that I highly recommend to anyone wishing to know more about what makes people tick, and how to *predict* what someone in a particular emotional tone level will say and do, whether they can be trusted with your car or your kids, whether they will be act responsibly or be a jerk.

After a study of the emotional tone scale, the subject of human emotions is not so mysterious any more.  Anybody can understand it, and use it.

Scientologists USE the tone scale to figure out weighty issues like, “Should I take on this prospect as a client?” or “Should I hire this person?” or “Is this babysitter going to be okay to leave in charge of my kids?” or “Do I want a job working with that woman as boss?” or “Should I marry this person?” or even mundane things like “Is this actress going to be able to play this role in the school play?”

From studying the Emotional Tone Scale, and observing the people one comes into contact with, and figuring out which tone level they are at, and knowing what to expect from that tone level, one knows ahead of time the answers to such questions.  One can predict how things will turn out in the hands of someone at a particular emotional tone level.

The emotional tone scale would be extremely useful to know, even if one just used it for the purpose of figuring out to whom you want to be connected in daily life.

But the really good news is, it’s not a static scale. It is very possible for someone to MOVE on this emotional tone scale.  Among other factors, good news (“You got the promotion!”) will elevate one a bit on the scale.  Bad news (“You’re being laid off!”) will push one down the scale.  Severely bad news (“Your mother died, I’m leaving you and taking the kids and the dog with me!”) can really push one down, sometimes to a new chronic lower level.

As a young man, studying this emotional tone scale closely for the first time, I was appalled and embarrassed to spot my own chronic emotional tone level as being between fear and anger, at a little stepping-stone called “covert hostility”.

I was angry, for reasons that I did not then understand, and I was also at the same time too afraid of others to really express my anger, so it came out as sarcasm, ridicule, sniping comments, and cutting innuendo (very much like the anonymous comments you will find on so many blogs and Youtube videos these days).  There was no filter between my thoughts and what came out of my mouth.  The result was something of a mixture of fear and anger, and that was “covert hostility” in a nutshell.  That was me then.

That level on the emotional tone scale was where I *lived*.

Nobody ever said to me, “Hey, you’re covertly hostile!  Knock it off!” but I figured it out myself by observing what I was saying to others, and noticing the effects it had on them.  Over the course of the next few months, as a direct result of doing some drills on a communication course, making a bunch of friends, and participating in some fun and interesting activities, I observed that my chronic emotional tone level had risen to Cheerfulness.

I can say with absolute confidence that cheerfulness is a much better place to live one’s life than covert hostility.  And enthusiasm is an even better place to live.

All of Scientology is geared to helping people actually move up that scale and stay up at the top.   And it is just one of the many scales we Scientologists study and try to apply in daily life.

So, from now on, whenever someone tells you to “cheer up!” – you know what they mean by “up!”

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