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DIANETICS: Release or Clear

Reference: Hubbard 1950: Dianetics TMSMH

These are some comments on the chapter “Release or Clear” from  DIANETICS: THE MODERN SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH.

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Comments on
Release or Clear

Dianetics lays down the milestones of “release” and “clear,” but these are quite general. Actually, a person improves on a gradient. His unwanted conditions get handled as he improves. The improvement continues beyond any “milestones.” In fact, there is no limit to improvement. 

The improvement occurs in terms of clearing a person’s upsets, pain, psychosomatic illnesses, fixed ideas, aberrations, and general ignorance.

Hubbard insists that a clear has complete recall of everything which has ever happened to him or anything he has ever studied. It is not quite that simple. The memory is not a recording of perceptions that get stored in the mind. The sensations from environment simply get assimilated in a mental matrix in real time and become perceptions. Memories are the reconstruction of perceptions on ad hoc basis. The clearer is the mind the more precise is the reconstruction. 

There is no ready made storage  of memories in the mind. Actual memories are ad hoc reconstruction of perceptions in the mental matrix.

The sensations of traumatic experience do not get assimilated, and therefore, they never become perceptions in the first place. Traumatic sensations remain in the mind as unassimilated impressions. There is no memory of them. The whole idea of clearing is assimilating such sensations when one does not even know what they are. This is tricky. It is only upon their assimilation that one becomes aware of them.

Clearing is the process of assimilating unknown sensations of traumatic experiences. It results in the improvement of personal condition.

Dianetics “clear” is an idealized state imagined for an individual. It has never been realized in Dianetics or Scientology. Dianetics “release” is a state of release from an unwanted condition. It is an improved personal condition.

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DIANETICS: The Mind’s Protection

Reference: Hubbard 1950: Dianetics TMSMH

These are some comments on the chapter “The Mind’s Protection” from  DIANETICS: THE MODERN SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH.

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Comments on
The Mind’s Protection

It has been known for centuries that when one is in a secure environment and does not interfere with the mind, then the mind takes care of itself by gently unwinding its stress. That is why meditation has been successful over the centuries.

The mind is a self-protecting mechanism as long as it is not interfered with. Many of older practices of psychiatry and hypnotism have been injurious to the mind when they have heavily interfered with it. Basically this chapter is saying that Dianetics is safe to apply because it is designed not to interfere with the mind. But it does not mean that Dianetics cannot be injurious when it is misapplied.

Dianetics cautions one against the use of drugs and hypnotism. It also has a theory that provides one with a better understanding of the mind. However, Dianetics is much safer when its principles are applied by oneself in meditation, rather than getting audited by another. The recommended approach is Subject Clearing.

The goal of Dianetics is to assimilate the unknown sensations from the traumas in one’s life. 

These sensations are unknown because they do not become perceptions until they are assimilated. Therefore, it requires certain skill to sort out these sensations while still in the dark. Subject Clearing provides a simple but very effective approach to applying the Dianetic techniques. A person can safely apply the meditative and contemplative approach of subject clearing to heal oneself. 

The comments in the subsequent chapters examines the Dianetics techniques for their use through the subject clearing approach. 

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DIANETICS AXIOMS 151 to 165

The remaining axioms of Dianetics are now presented here. These axioms were put together by Hubbard to demonstrate the preciseness of Dianetics.

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DN AXIOM 151: Whether an organism has the goal of surviving or succumbing depends upon the amount of plus or minus randomity it has reactivated. (Not residual.)

DN AXIOM 152: Survival is accomplished only by motion.

DN AXIOM 153: In the physical universe the absence of motion is vanishment.

DN AXIOM 154: Death is the equivalent to life of total lack of life-motivated motion.

DN AXIOM 155: Acquisition of prosurvival matter and energy or organisms in space and time means increased motion.

DN AXIOM 156: Loss of prosurvival matter and energy or organisms in space and time means decreased motion.

DN AXIOM 157: Acquisition or proximity of matter, energy or organisms which assist the survival of an organism increases the survival potentials of an organism.

DN AXIOM 158: Acquisition or proximity of matter, energy or organisms which inhibit the survival of an organism decreases its survival potential.

DN AXIOM 159: Gain of survival energy, matter or organisms increases the freedom of an organism.

DN AXIOM 160: Receipt or proximity of non-survival energy, matter or time decreases the freedom of motion of an organism.

DN AXIOM 161: The control center attempts the halting or lengthening of time, the expansion or contraction of space and the decrease or increase of energy and matter.

This is a primary source of invalidation, and it is also a primary source of aberration.

DN AXIOM 162: Pain is the balk of effort by counter-effort in great intensity, whether that effort is to remain at rest or in motion.

DN AXIOM 163: Perception, including pain, can be exhausted from an area of plus or minus randomity, still leaving the effort and counter-effort of that plus or minus randomity.

DN AXIOM 164: The rationality of the mind depends upon an optimum reaction toward time.

DEFINITION: Sanity, the computation of futures.

DEFINITION: Neurotic, the computation of present time only.

DEFINITION: Psychotic, computation only of past situations.

DN AXIOM 165: Survival pertains only to the future.

COROLLARY: Succumb pertains only to the present and past.

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DIANETICS: Preventive Dianetics

Reference: Hubbard 1950: Dianetics TMSMH

These are some comments on the chapter “Preventive Dianetics” from  DIANETICS: THE MODERN SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH.

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Comments on
Preventive Dianetics

When one knows the cause of aberration and psychosomatic illness, he can do a great deal toward preventing them. The cause are engrams. When an engram has verbal content, it becomes most severely aberrative. When it contains antagonism on an emotional level, it becomes very destructive. When it is intensely pro-survival in content it is most certainly capable of thoroughly deranging a life. Understanding engrams, we may prevent them or, at least, hold them to minimal content.

Engrams are traumatic sensations of shock, injury and confusion that did not get assimilated. They manifest as aberrations and psychosomatic illnesses only when restimulated continually. 

Engrams can make one accident prone. Preventive Dianetics addresses this problem in two phases: first the prevention of engrams, and second, the prevention of the key-in. 

Engrams are prevented by maintaining silence in the presence of injury. Do what has to be done for the injured and do it in silence. Maintain silence in the presence of birth. Say nothing while a person is being operated upon. Say nothing when there is a street accident. Don’t talk! To speak, no matter what is said, is to threaten his sanity. And the maintaining of silence does not mean a volley of “Sh’s,” for those make stammerers. 

The maintenance of silence around any “unconscious” or injured person is second in importance only to preventing the “unconsciousness” in the first place.

Preventive Dianetics, in the sphere of the home, must place emphasis on the woman in order to safeguard the child. A woman who is pregnant should be given every consideration. If she falls, she should be helped—but silently. She must not be expected to carry heavy things. Women who lead peasant lives, doing heavy labor, are subject to all manner of accident. When it is known that any injury to the mother can create an engram in the unborn child, it should be the concern of all those present during such an injury, including the mother, to maintain a complete and utter silence. Any remark is aberrative in an engram.

The mother, then, should be extremely gentle on herself during pregnancy and those around her should be entirely informed of the necessity for silence after any jar or injury.

Preventive Dianetics, then, on the level of the individual, asks for cleared parents and then precaution against the aberrating of the child, and further precaution against the keying-in of any aberration the child might have received. Key-in is prevented by providing a calm and harmonious atmosphere which is not restimulative. If the child appears to be restimulated despite kindly treatment, he can be removed to another environment. Drooling sympathy, when the child is sick or hurt, should be avoided.

A kind, affectionate and unrestimulative environment is necessary for a child’s growth. 

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DIANETICS AXIOMS 141 to 150

The next ten axioms of Dianetics are also presented here. These axioms were put together by Hubbard to demonstrate the preciseness of Dianetics. Revisions are proposed based on consistency with Buddhism.

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DN AXIOM 141: A control center effort is aligned toward a goal through definite space as a recognized incident in time.

The mental matrix forms the control center of the organism. It operates optimally when in sync with the natural laws. Its primary goal is to evolve by resolving anomalies as it comes across them. 

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DN AXIOM 142: An organism is as healthy and sane as it is self-determined.

The environmental control of the organism motor controls inhibits the organism’s ability to change with the changing environment, since the organism will attempt to carry forward with one set of responses when it needs by self-determinism to create another to survive in another environment.

Everything operates according to the laws of nature. The environment seems to control the organism only when the organism is unable to assimilate the effects of the environment. That is an anomaly.

DN AXIOM 142 (Proposed): An organism is as healthy and sane as it is able to resolve anomalies in real time.

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DN AXIOM 143: All learning is accomplished by random effort.

At the beginning of evolution, learning was accomplished by random efforts of trial and error. As natural laws evolved, the effort became mainly to understand and apply the natural laws. Random effort was required only when natural laws needed to be extended to resolve anomalies fully. 

DN AXIOM 143 (Proposed): All learning is accomplished by knowing natural laws and resolving anomalies.

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DN AXIOM 144: A counter-effort producing sufficient plus or minus randomity to record is recorded with an index of space and time as hidden as the remainder of its content.

Anything not assimilated in the mental matrix will appear to be hidden. “Recording” exists only in the form of unassimilated traumatic sensations. Space and time index is assigned only upon assimilation.

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DN AXIOM 145: A counter-effort producing sufficient plus or minus randomity when activated by re-stimulation exerts itself against the environment or the organism without regard to space and time, except reactivated perceptions.

A counter-effort producing sufficient plus or minus randomity is actually the traumatic sensation that did not get assimilated. Therefore, when activated, it generates the same counter-efforts as were originally felt by the organism, without regard to space and time.

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DN AXIOM 146: Counter-efforts are directed out from the organism until they are further enrandomed by the environ at which time they again activate against the control center.

Restimulation of counter-efforts makes the organism behave the same way as before, even when the environment is now different. So, additional misalignments come about that the control center must handle.

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DN AXIOM 147: An organism’s mind employs counter-efforts effectively only so long as insufficient plus or minus randomity exists to hide differentiation of the facsimiles created.

The control center sends out effective guidance to the organism as long as the mental matrix is not overwhelmed by the intensity of restimulated counter-efforts.

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DN AXIOM 148: Physical laws are learned by life energy only by impingement of the physical universe producing randomity, and a withdrawal from that impingement.

The laws of the universe are learned when anomalies are properly recognized and resolved.

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DN AXIOM 149: Life depends upon an alignment of force vectors in the direction of survival and the nullification of force vectors in the direction of succumb in order to survive.

COROLLARY: Life depends upon an alignment of force vectors in the direction of succumb and the nullification of force vectors in the direction of survive in order to succumb.

The ultimate goal is evolution. Survive and succumb depends upon whether the organism is able to resolve anomalies or not.

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DN AXIOM 150: Any area of randomity gathers to it situations similar to it which do not contain actual efforts but only perceptions.

An area of randomity is an area of misalignment and confusion. It gathers to it similar perceptions by association.

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Summary of Axioms

The mental matrix forms the control center of the organism. Its primary goal is to evolve by being fully aware of the natural laws and to keep learning by resolving anomalies in real time. The environment seems to control the organism only when the organism fails to assimilate the effects of the environment. Anything not assimilated is hidden from awareness, but it upsets the functioning of the organism and generates anomalies. Resolution of anomalies assimilates the effects of the environment.

An organism is as healthy and sane as it is able to resolve anomalies in real time.

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Durant 1926: From Aristotle to the Renaissance (Francis Bacon)

Reference: The Story of Philosophy

This paper presents Chapter III, Section 1 from the book THE STORY OF PHILOSOPHY by WILL DURANT. The contents are from the 1933 reprint of this book by TIME INCORPORATED by arrangement with Simon and Schuster, Inc.

The paragraphs of the original material (in black) are accompanied by brief comments (in color) based on the present understanding.  Feedback on these comments is appreciated.

The heading below is linked to the original materials.

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I. From Aristotle to the Renaissance

When Sparta blockaded and defeated Athens towards the close of the fifth century B. C., political supremacy passed from the mother of Greek philosophy and art, and the vigor and independence of the Athenian mind decayed. When, in 399 B. C., Socrates was put to death, the soul of Athens died with him, lingering only in his proud pupil, Plato. And when Philip of Macedon defeated the Athenians at Chreronea in 338 B. C., and Alexander burned the great city of Thebes to the ground three years later, even the ostentatious sparing of Pindar’s home could not cover up the fact that Athenian independence, in government and in thought, was irrevocably destroyed. The domination of Greek philosophy by the Macedonian Aristotle mirrored the political subjection of Greece by the virile and younger peoples of the north. 

The Greek philosophy and art, and the vigor and independence of the Athenian mind decayed after Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.

The death of Alexander (323 B. C.) quickened this process of decay. The boy-emperor, barbarian though he remained after all of Aristotle’s tutoring, had yet learned to revere the rich culture of Greece, and had dreamed of spreading that culture through the Orient in the wake of his victorious armies. The development of Greek commerce, and the multiplication of Greek trading posts throughout Asia Minor, had provided an economic basis for the unification of this region as part of an Hellenic empire; and Alexander hoped that from these busy stations Greek thought, as well as Greek goods, would radiate and conquer. But he had underrated the inertia and resistance of the Oriental mind, and the mass and depth of Oriental culture. It was only a youthful fancy, after all, to suppose that so immature “and unstable a civilization as that of Greece could be imposed upon a civilization immeasurably more widespread, and rooted in the most venerable traditions. The quantity of Asia proved too much for the quality of Greece. Alexander himself, in the hour of his triumph, was conquered by the soul of the East; he married (among several ladies) the daughter of Darius; he adopted the Persian diadem and robe of state; he introduced into Europe the Oriental notion of the divine right of kings; and at last he astonished a sceptic Greece by announcing, in magnificent Eastern style, that he was a god. Greece laughed; and Alexander drank himself to death.

Alexander, through the force of his armies, may have secured victories in the Orient, but he could not overcome the inertia and resistance of the Oriental mind, and the mass and depth of Oriental culture. 

This subtle infusion of an Asiatic soul into the wearied body of the master Greek was followed rapidly by the pouring of Oriental cults and faiths into Greece along those very lines of communication which the young conqueror had opened up; the broken dykes let in the ocean of Eastern thought upon the lowlands of the still adolescent European mind. The mystic and superstitious faiths which had taken root among the poorer people of Hellas were reinforced and spread about; and the Oriental spirit of apathy and resignation found a ready soil in decadent and despondent Greece. The introduction of the Stoic philosophy into Athens by the Phoenician merchant Zeno (about 310 B. C.) was but one of a multitude of Oriental infiltrations. Both Stoicism and Epicureanism—the apathetic acceptance of defeat, and the effort to forget defeat in the arms of pleasure—were theories as to how one might yet be happy though subjugated or enslaved; precisely as the pessimistic Oriental stoicism of Schopenhauer and the despondent epicureanism of Renan were in the nineteenth century the symbols of a shattered Revolution and a broken France. 

Instead of Alexander influencing the Orient with Greek culture, the Oriental cults and faiths poured into Greece along those very lines of communication which the young conqueror had opened up. 

Not that these natural antitheses of ethical theory were quite new to Greece. One finds them in the gloomy Heraclitus and the ”laughing philosopher” Democritus; and one sees the pupiIs of Socrates dividing into Cynics and Cyrenaics under the lead of Antisthenes and Aristippus, and extolling, the one school apathy, the other happiness. Yet these were even then almost exotic modes of thought: imperial Athens did not take to them. But when Greece had seen Chreronea in blood and Thebes in ashes, it listened to Diogenes; and when the glory had departed from Athens she was ripe for Zeno and Epicurus.

Greek philosophy went from being practical and extroverted to extolling apathy (the apathetic acceptance of defeat) and happiness (the effort to forget defeat in the arms of pleasure).

Zeno built his philosophy of apatheia on a determinism which a later Stoic, Chrysippus, found it hard to distinguish from Oriental fatalism. When Zeno, who did not believe in slavery, was beating his slave for some offense, the slave pleaded, in mitigation, that by his master’s philosophy he had been destined from all eternity to commit this fault; to which Zeno replied, with the calm of a sage, that on the same philosophy he, Zeno, had been destined to beat him for it. As Schopenhauer deemed it useless for the individual will to fight the universal will, so the Stoic argued that philosophic indifference was the only reasonable attitude to a life in which the struggle for existence is so unfairly doomed to inevitable defeat. If victory is quite impossible it should be scorned. The secret of peace is not to make our achievements equal to our desires, but to lower our desires to the level of our achievements. “If what you have seems insufficient to you,” said the Roman Stoic Seneca (d. 65 A. D.), “then, though you possess the world, you will yet be miserable.” 

Zeno (of Citium) founded Stoicism which laid great emphasis on goodness and peace of mind gained from living a life of virtue in accordance with nature.

Such a principle cried out to heaven for its opposite, and Epicurus, though himself as Stoic in life as Zeno, supplied it. Epicurus, says Fenelon, “bought a fair garden, which he tilled himself. There it was he set up his school, and there he lived a gentle and agreeable life with his disciples, whom he taught as he walked and worked. … He was gentle and affable to all men … He held there was nothing nobler than to apply one’s self to philosophy.” His starting point is a conviction that apathy is impossible, and that pleasure—though not necessarily sensual pleasure—is the only conceivable, and quite legitimate, end of life and action. “Nature leads every organism to prefer its own good to every other good” ;–even the Stoic finds a subtle pleasure in renunciation. ”We must not avoid pleasures, but we must select them.” Epicurus, then, is no epicurean; he exalts the joys of intellect rather than those of sense; he warns against pleasures that excite and disturb the soul which they should rather quiet and appease. In the end he proposes to seek not pleasure in its usual sense, but ataraxia—tranquillity, equanimity, repose of mind; all of which trembles on the verge of Zeno’s “apathy.” 

Epicurus, on the other hand, started with the conviction that apathy is impossible, and that pleasure—though not necessarily sensual pleasure—is the only conceivable, and quite legitimate, end of life and action. Both Stoicism and Epicureanism became mainstream after exposure to the Oriental culture.

The Romans, coming to despoil Hellas in 146 B. C., found these rival schools dividing the philosophic field; and having neither leisure nor subtlety for speculation themselves, brought back these philosophies with their other spoils to Rome. Great organizers, as much as inevitable slaves, tend to stoic moods: it is difficult to be either master or servant if one is sensitive. So such philosophy as Rome had was mostly of Zeno’s school, whether in Marcus Aurelius the emperor or in Epictetus the slave; and even Lucretius talked epicureanism stoically (like Heine’s Englishman taking his pleasures sadly), and concluded his stern gospel of pleasure by committing suicide. His noble epic “On the Nature of Things,” follows Epicurus in damning pleasure with faint praise. Almost contemporary with Caesar and Pompey, he lived in the midst of turmoil and alarms; his nervous pen is forever inditing prayers to tranquillity and peace. One pictures him as a timid soul whose youth had been darkened with religious fears; for he never tires of telling his readers that there is no hell, except here, and that there are no gods except gentlemanly ones who live in a garden of Epicurus in the clouds, and never intrude in the affairs of men. To the rising cult of heaven and hell among the people of Rome he opposes a ruthless materialism. Soul and mind are evolved with the body, grow with its growth, ail with its ailments, and die with its death. Nothing exists but atoms, space, and law; and the law of laws is that of evolution and dissolution everywhere. 

No single thing abides, but all things flow.
Fragment to fragment clings; the things thus grow
Until we know and name them. By degrees
They melt, and are no more the things we know.

Globed from the atoms, falling slow or swift
I see the suns, I see the systems lift
Their forms; and even the systems and their suns
Shall go back slowly to the eternal drift.

Thou too, O Earth—thine empires, lands and seas—
Least, with thy stars, of all the galaxies,
Globed from the drift like these, like these thou too
Shalt go. Thou art going, hour by hour, like these.

Nothing abides. Thy seas in delicate haze
Go off; those mooned sands forsake their place;
And where they are shall other seas in turn
Mow with their scythes of whiteness other bays.

To astronomical evolution and dissolution add the origin and elimination of species. 

Many monsters too the earth of old tried to produce, things of strange face and limbs; … some without feet, some without hands, some without mouth, some without eyes. … Every other monster … of this kind earth would produce, but in vain; for nature set a ban on their increase, they could not reach the coveted flower of age, nor find food, nor be united in marriage; … and many races of living things must then have died out and been unable to beget and continue their breed. For in the case of all things which you see breathing the breath of life, either craft or courage or speed has from the beginning of its existence protected and preserved each particular race. … Those to whom nature has granted none of these qualities would lie exposed as a prey and booty to others, until nature brought their kind to extinction. 

Nations, too, like individuals, slowly grow and surely die: “some nations wax, others wane, and in a brief space the races of living things are changed, and like runners hand over the lamp of life.” In the face of warfare and inevitable death, there is no wisdom but in ataraxia,-“to look on all things with a mind at peace.” Here, clearly, the old pagan joy of life is gone, and an almost exotic spirit touches a broken lyre. History, which is nothing if not humorous, was never so facetious as when she gave to this abstemious and epic pessimist the name of Epicurean. 

From Greece, these philosophies were transmitted to Rome where even the Epicurean philosophy was presented stoically. There was evolution and dissolution everywhere.

And if this is the spirit of the follower of Epicurus, imagine the exhilarating optimism of explicit Stoics like Aurelius or Epictetus. Nothing in all literature is so depressing as the “Dissertations” of the slave, unless it be the “Meditations” of the emperor. “Seek not to have things happen as you choose them, but rather choose that they should happen as they do; and you shall live prosperously.” No doubt one can in this manner dictate the future, and play royal highness to the universe. Story has it that Epictetus’ master, who treated him with consistent cruelty, one day took to twisting Epictetus’ leg to pass the time away. “If you go on,” said Epictetus calmly, “you will break my leg.” The master went on, and the leg was broken. “Did I not tell you,” Epictetus observed mildly, “that you would break my leg?” Yet there is a certain mystic nobility in this philosophy, as in the quiet courage of some Dostoievskian pacifist. “Never in any case say, I have lost such a thing; but; I have returned it. Is thy child dead?—it is returned. Is thy wife dead?—she is returned. Art thou deprived of thy estate?—is not this also returned?” In such passages we feel the proximity of Christianity and its dauntless martyrs; indeed were not the Christian ethic of self-denial, the Christian political ideal of an almost communistic brotherhood of man, and the Christian eschatology of the final conflagration of all the world, fragments of Stoic doctrine floating on the stream of thought? In Epictetus the Greco- Roman soul has lost its paganism, and is ready for a new faith. His book had the distinction of being adopted as a religious manual by the early Christian Church. From these “Dissertations” and Aurelius’ “Meditations” there is but a step to “The Imitation of Christ.” 

The exhilarating optimism of Epicureanism also degenerated into the pessimistic acceptance of Stoicism. The next step was Christianity.

Meanwhile the historical background was melting into newer scenes. There is a remarkable passage in Lucretius which describes the decay of agriculture in the Roman state, and attributes it to the exhaustion of the soil. Whatever the cause, the wealth of Rome passed into poverty, the organization into disintegration, the power and pride into decadence and apathy. Cities faded back into the undistinguished hinterland; the roads fell into disrepair and no longer hummed with trade; the small families of the educated Romans were outbred by the vigorous and untutored German stocks that crept, year after year, across the frontier; pagan culture yielded to Oriental cults; and almost imperceptibly the Empire passed into the Papacy. 

With this decay of spirit the Roman Empire passed into the Papacy.

The Church, supported in its earlier centuries by the emperors whose powers it gradually absorbed, grew rapidly in numbers, wealth, and range of influence. By the thirteenth century it owned one-third of the soil of Europe, and its coffers bulged with donations of rich and poor. For a thousand years it united, with the magic of an unvarying creed, most of the peoples of a continent; never before or since was organization so widespread or so pacific. But this unity demanded; as the Church thought, a common faith exalted by supernatural sanctions beyond the changes and corrosions of time; therefore dogma, definite and defined, was cast like a shell over the adolescent mind of medieval Europe. It was within this shell that Scholastic philosophy moved narrowly from faith to reason and back again, in a baffling circuit of uncriticized assumptions and pre-ordained conclusions. In the thirteenth century all Christendom was startled and stimulated by Arabic and Jewish translations of Aristotle; but the power of the Church was still adequate to secure, through Thomas Aquinas and others, the transmogrification of Aristotle into a medieval theologian. The result was subtlety, but not wisdom. “The wit and mind of man,” as Bacon put it, “if it work upon the matter, worketh according to the stuff, and is limited thereby; but if it work upon itself, as the spider worketh his web, then it is endless, and bringeth forth indeed cobwebs of learning, admirable for the fineness of thread and work, but of no substance or profit.” Sooner or later the intellect of Europe would burst out of this shell. 

For a thousand years, under Papacy, there was peace under a common faith exalted by supernatural sanctions. An unvarying creed and dogma controlled the adolescent mind of medieval Europe. It was within this shell that Scholastic philosophy moved narrowly from faith to reason and back again. Even Aristotle’s wisdom was subjugated to uncriticized assumptions and pre-ordained conclusions.

After a thousand years of tillage, the soil bloomed again; goods were multiplied into a surplus that compelled trade; and trade at its cross-roads built again great cities wherein men might cooperate to nourish culture and rebuild civilization. The Crusades opened the routes to the East, and let in a stream of luxuries and heresies that doomed asceticism and dogma. Paper now came cheaply from Egypt, replacing the costly parchment that had made learning the monopoly of priests; printing, which had long awaited an inexpensive medium, broke out like a liberated explosive, and spread its destructive and clarifying influence everywhere. Brave mariners armed now with compasses, ventured out into the wilderness of the sea, and conquered man’s ignorance of the earth; patient observers, armed with telescopes, ventured out beyond the confines of dogma, and conquered man’s ignorance of the sky. Here and there, in universities and monasteries and hidden retreats, men ceased to dispute and began to search; deviously, out of the effort to change baser metal into gold, alchemy was transmuted into chemistry; out of astrology men groped their way with timid boldness to astronomy; and out of the fables of speaking animals came the science of zoology. The awakening began with Roger Bacon (d. 1294); it grew with the limitless Leonardo (145~1519); it reached its fulness in the astronomy of Copernicus (1473-1543) and Galileo (1564-1642), in the researches of Gilbert (1544-1603) in magnetism and electricity, of Vesalius (1514-1564) in anatomy, and of Harvey (1578-1657) on the circulation of the blood. As knowledge grew, fear decreased; men thought less of worshiping the unknown, and more of overcoming it. Every vital spirit was lifted up with a new confidence; barriers were broken down; there was no bound now to what man might do. “But that little vessels, like the celestial bodies, should sail round the whole globe, is the happiness of our age. These times may justly use plus ultra”—more beyond—“where the ancients used non plus ultra.” It was an age of achievement, hope and vigor; of new beginnings and enterprises in every field; an age that waited for a voice, some synthetic soul to sum up its spirit and resolve. It was Francis Bacon, “the most powerful mind of modern times,” who “rang the bell that called the wits together,” and announced that Europe had come of age. 

Ultimately, the improved production, economy and trade opened Europe to the outside world, and the influx of goods and knowledge doomed asceticism and dogma. A new age of achievement, hope and vigor, spirit and resolve began. It was Francis Bacon’s voice that announced  Europe’s coming of age.

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SUBJECT CLEARING STEP 9—Subject: Enlightenment

Reference: Course on Subject Clearing

Looking at Buddha and other spiritual masters we wonder, “What is enlightenment?”

Enlightenment is a deep personal realization of the laws underlying our spiritual nature. It seems that subject clearing (especially steps 7 and 8) may speed up the path to enlightenment.

The key to subject clearing is contemplating over the fundamental concepts in any subject and mediating over personal anomalies (doubts and perplexities) until they resolve. The anomalies are discovered when one places different interpretations of the same concept side by side. This is very apparent when one looks at concepts like God and self from different cultures, religions and philosophies.

One may have certainties in a subject when considering broad concepts; but, as one starts to look deeper, doubts and perplexities may arise. As one resolves these anomalies greater certainties are established; but there are always doubts that carry one’s quest forward. Each time a certainty is established it is a point of enlightenment because one simply lights up. Many such points are minor, but some are major, and finally, there may be a point of enlightenment that simply blows one’s mind. Thus, one may accomplish a lot, and still the quest may continue. It is doubtful if the quest for certainty will ever end.

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Key Words

Enlightenment, Contemplate, Concepts, Meditate, Anomaly, Interpretation, Emptiness, Certainty, Light up, …

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Reading Materials

  1. The Quest for Certainty
  2. Meditation
  3. The Meaning of Enlightenment
  4. Emptiness

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Glossary

Enlightenment
To enlighten is to give intellectual or spiritual light to; instruct; impart knowledge to. There may be a major point of enlightenment, such as, the realization of the laws underlying our spiritual nature, but further enlightenment is always a possibility.

Contemplate
To contemplate is to think studiously, or consider deliberately.

Concept
Concept has the basic sense something “taken together,” or conceived through thought or imagination. It is an idea or mental picture of a group or class of objects formed by combining all their aspects.

Meditate
To meditate is to engage in deep thought or contemplation; reflect. See SUBJECT CLEARING STEP 4—The Discipline of Meditation.

Anomaly
An anomaly is something that is perplexing and leads to some doubt. The anomaly fundamentally consists of

  1. A disharmony,
  2. An inconsistency,
  3. A discontinuity.

Interpretation
To interpret is to explain or translate. Interpretation is the action of explaining the meaning of something.

Emptiness
Emptiness is the ultimate reference point from which all phenomena can be understood objectively without any preconceived notion.

Certainty
Certainty is a firm conviction that something is the case. It is achieved by resolving all known anomalies. There is no such thing as absolute certainty.

Light up
To brighten with animation or joy, as the face or eyes. One lights up as certainties are established.

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