Well, I’ve survived the first few pages of Marty’s book without catching pneumonia! (Of course, I haven’t gotten to the stuff about OT3 yet…)
Actually, I think this first chapter is a must-read, and the good news is that you can read the part I’m going to talk about here for free by using the “Look Inside!” link at Amazon.com.
What makes it a must-read? Because Marty’s “non-gradient” explanation of Dianetics does a beautiful job of showing just how riduculous Hubbard’s scam really is. Marty explains Hubbard’s analytical/reactive mind concept, which based on a proven (and previously discovered) idea — that we have a subconscious that influences our actions without our realizing it. But Marty adds in the ridiculous bits that Scientology is careful to cover up to brand-newbies (“the gradient”) — such as Hubbard’s notion that the subconcious (reactive mind) is based on evolution, not brain chemistry. Per Marty (and Hubbard), “The reactive mind was presumably created in tooth-and-claw times, where constant stimulus-response reactivity was vital to survival.”
Next, we get to see an example of the reactive mind at work. A kid is hit on the head with a baseball, and while he’s unconscious, his coach says he was “knocked senseless.” Years later, he’s a lawyer, drinking in a bar in a situation that vaguely reminds him of the baseball game, and this forgotten memory is “restimulated” — and the next day he suddenly and for no apparent reason drops the succesful legal strategy he was pursuing, simply because his subconcious has told him his approach is “senseless,” and then loses the case.
Seriously, is that the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard? And yet Scientologists really believe that “wogs” do these kind of oddball, random things, because we haven’t “cleared” our reactive mind. Never mind that if people really functioned this way, the world would look like one big Benny Hill sketch — that doesn’t stop Scns from believing Hubbard’s screwball examples rather than their own eyes. (So much for oft-used the Indie mantra “look, don’t listen,” which they happen to be quoting out of context.)
And lest you think Rathbun has come up with a poor example, I’d say he’s done even better than the Ol’ Fraud Hisself. Here’s one of L. Ron Hubbard’s examples of subconcious phenomenon from Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health:
“An engram received from father beating mother which says ‘Take that! Take it, I tell you. You’ve got to take it!’ means that our patient has possibly had tendancies as a kleptomaniac.”
— L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics, 2007 ed., p. 260
Seriously, outside of badly-written B-movies, do people really yell that sort of thing when they beat their wives? (Did Hubbard?) And if this really worked, don’t men have a moral obligation to start hitting their pregnant wives while yelling things like “Cure cancer! Cure cancer, I tell you. You’ve got to cure cancer!” (Not that I am condoning spousal abuse, but Hubbard did emphasize the good of the many over the good of the few.)
This is where it seems that the book is aimed more towards derailing would-be ex-Scientologists on their way out of the Church — surely newcomers would see right through this hogwosh. Hubbard knew they would, which is why he made the path to Scientology more elaborate, with sub-scams like the Hubbard-authored “Oxford Capacity Analysis” (the dreaded Personality Test) and the introduction film — what Hubbard termed “the gradient.” Granted, Marty isn’t trying to attract people like you and I — Hubbard called us “raw meat” — but I think it’s possible that Marty just doesn’t realize that sane, rational, non-brainwashed people will see right through this. This is what Scientology does to people… to a dedicated Scientologist, that whole “senseless” story makes perfect sense.
Anyway, Marty then covers the cure: Go back and talk about the incident that causes pain. Again, this is a concept common in psychotherapy, one that long pre-dates Hubbard’s Dianetics book. This is the reason that Scientology does not take people who have had psychiatric care. The Church says such people are too messed up, but the truth is they might recognize the techniques and know that Hubbard’s claim of authorship is a lie. And if they tell that to fellow Scientologists, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.
That’s not all of Chapte r1, but that’s all the reading I could stomach in one sitting. More coming soon.
Related: The truth about “Look, don’t listen”