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Einstein 1938: The Quanta of Light

Reference: Evolution of Physics

This paper presents Chapter IV section 3 from the book THE EVOLUTION OF PHYSICS by A. EINSTEIN and L. INFELD. The contents are from the original publication of this book by Simon and Schuster, New York (1942).

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.


The Quanta of Light

Let us consider a wall built along the seashore. The waves from the sea continually impinge on the wall, wash away some of its surface, and retreat, leaving the way clear for the incoming waves. The mass of the wall decreases and we can ask how much is washed away in, say, one year. But now let us picture a different process. We want to diminish the mass of the wall by the same amount as previously but in a different way. We shoot at the wall and split it at the places where the bullets hit. The mass of the wall will be decreased and we can well imagine that the same reduction in mass is achieved in both cases. But from the appearance of the wall we could easily detect whether the continuous sea wave or the discontinuous shower of bullets has been acting. It will be helpful, in understanding the phenomena which we are about to describe, to bear in mind the difference between sea waves and a shower of bullets.

An impingement can be continuous or discontinuous with the same overall effect.

We said, previously, that a heated wire emits electrons. Here we shall introduce another way of extracting electrons from metal. Homogeneous light, such as violet light, which is, as we know, light of a definite wave-length, is impinging on a metal surface. The light extracts electrons from the metal. The electrons are torn from the metal and a shower of them speeds along with a certain velocity. From the point of view of the energy principle we can say: the energy of light is partially transformed into the kinetic energy of expelled electrons. Modern experimental technique enables us to register these electron-bullets, to determine their velocity and thus their energy. This extraction of electrons by light falling upon metal is called the photoelectric effect.

Light impinges on metal surface to extract electrons. Is that impingement of light continuous or discontinuous?

Our starting-point was the action of a homogeneous light wave, with some definite intensity. As in every experiment, we must now change our arrangements to see whether this will have any influence on the observed effect.

Let us begin by changing the intensity of the homogeneous violet light falling on the metal plate and note to what extent the energy of the emitted electrons depends upon the intensity of the light. Let us try to find the answer by reasoning instead of by experiment. We could argue: in the photoelectric effect a certain definite portion of the energy of radiation is transformed into energy of motion of the electrons. If we again illuminate the metal with light of the same wave-length but from a more powerful source, then the energy of the emitted electrons should be greater, since the radiation is richer in energy. We should, therefore, expect the velocity of the emitted electrons to increase if the intensity of the light increases. But experiment again contradicts our prediction. Once more we see that the laws of nature are not as we should like them to be. We have come upon one of the experiments which, contradicting our predictions, breaks the theory on which they were based. The actual experimental result is, from the point of view of the wave theory, astonishing. The observed electrons all have the same speed, the same energy, which does not change when the intensity of the light is increased.

Increase in the intensity of light increases the number of electrons emitted. It does not increase the velocity of the electrons emitted. If we consider that as an increase in the intensity of the electron beam then that intensity depends on the number of electrons and not on their velocity.

This experimental result could not be predicted by the wave theory. Here again a new theory arises from the conflict between the old theory and experiment.

Here the confusion is between energy and momentum. Total energy may be looked upon as increasing because of increase in the number of particles of same velocity. Or increase in velocity of the same number of particles. Basically we have confusion between inertia and velocity.

Let us be deliberately unjust to the wave theory of light, forgetting its great achievements, its splendid explanation of the bending of light around very small obstacles. With our attention focused on the photoelectric effect, let us demand from the theory an adequate explanation of this effect. Obviously, we cannot deduce from the wave theory the independence of the energy of electrons from the intensity of light by which they have been extracted from the metal plate. We shall, therefore, try another theory. We remember that Newton’s corpuscular theory, explaining many of the observed phenomena of light, failed to account for the bending of light, which we are now deliberately disregarding. In Newton’s time the concept of energy did not exist. Light corpuscles were, according to him, weightless; each colour preserved its own substance character. Later, when the concept of energy was created and it was recognized that light carries energy, no one thought of applying these concepts to the corpuscular theory of light. Newton’s theory was dead and, until our own century, its revival was not taken seriously.

Energy is the capacity to create effect. Substance can create affect through its substantiality (inertia) and its activity (velocity). In both cases the affect is created through impact. Both inertia and velocity contribute to this impact as momentum. A wave is mostly velocity, but it cannot exist without some substantiality.

To keep the principal idea of Newton’s theory, we must assume that homogeneous light is composed of energy-grains and replace the old light corpuscles by light quanta, which we shall call photons, small portions of energy, travelling through empty space with the velocity of light. The revival of Newton’s theory in this new form leads to the quantum theory of light. Not only matter and electric charge, but also energy of radiation has a granular structure, i.e., is built up of light quanta. In addition to quanta of matter and quanta of electricity there are also quanta of energy.

For homogenous light to be composed of energy-grains there must be an absolute definition of energy, which is not the case for energy in material domain. Kinetic energy is defined in terms of velocity, which is conceived in relative terms only. We are then left with the “innate force” concept of inertia. It is possible that light is composed of force-grains, or by “lines of force”. This will make Faraday happy.

The idea of energy quanta was first introduced by Planck at the beginning of this century in order to explain some effects much more complicated than the photoelectric effect. But the photo-effect shows most clearly and simply the necessity for changing our old concepts.

In my opinion, Einstein’s reference to “energy quanta” can be better understood as “force quanta”. I truly respect Faraday’s insight here. And I greatly respect Einstein.

It is at once evident that this quantum theory of light explains the photoelectric effect. A shower of photons is falling on a metal plate. The action between radiation and matter consists here of very many single processes in which a photon impinges on the atom and tears out an electron. These single processes are all alike and the extracted electron will have the same energy in every case. We also understand that increasing the intensity of the light means, in our new language, increasing the number of falling photons. In this case, a different number of electrons would be thrown out of the metal plate, but the energy of any single one would not change. Thus we see that this theory is in perfect agreement with observation.

The frequency of photons remains the same. The kinetic energy of the electrons remains the same. Increase in light intensity results in increased number of extracted electrons. Therefore, increase in light intensity increases the number of impinging photons and not their energy.

What will happen if a beam of homogeneous light of a different colour, say, red instead of violet, falls on the metal surface? Let us leave experiment to answer this question. The energy of the extracted electrons must be measured and compared with the energy of electrons thrown out by violet light. The energy of the electron extracted by red light turns out to be smaller than the energy of the electron extracted by violet light. This means that the energy of the light quanta is different for different colours. The photons belonging to the colour red have half the energy of those belonging to the colour violet. Or, more rigorously: the energy of a light quantum belonging to a homogeneous colour decreases proportionally as the wave-length increases. There is an essential difference between quanta of energy and quanta of electricity. Light quanta differ for every wave-length, whereas quanta of electricity are always the same. If we were to use one of our previous analogies, we should compare light quanta to the smallest monetary quanta, differing in each country.

The photon is absorbed in the process of extracting the electron. The quantum of the photon depends on the color of light. The lesser is the “inertial energy” of the absorbed photon, the lesser is the “kinetic energy” of the extracted electron. Therefore, its “inertial energy” is changing and not the “kinetic energy”. This means that “inertial energy” of photon is converting into the “kinetic energy” of electron. In other words, “mass” is converting into “energy” in the photoelectric process. 

Let us continue to discard the wave theory of light and assume that the structure of light is granular and is formed by light quanta, that is, photons speeding through space with the velocity of light. Thus, in our new picture, light is a shower of photons, and the photon is the elementary quantum of light energy. If, however, the wave theory is discarded, the concept of a wave-length disappears. What new concept takes its place? The energy of the light quanta! Statements expressed in the terminology of the wave theory can be translated into statements of the quantum theory of radiation. For example:

The state of affairs can be summarized in the following way: there are phenomena which can be explained by the quantum theory but not by the wave theory. Photo-effect furnishes an example, though other phenomena of this kind are known. There are phenomena which can be explained by the wave theory but not by the quantum theory. The bending of light around obstacles is a typical example. Finally, there are phenomena, such as the rectilinear propagation of light, which can be equally well explained by the quantum and the wave theory of light.

The wave theory and the quantum theory can both exist together if the light quantum is a “line of force” and not a ball like particle. A line of force can have wavelength as postulated by Faraday. A line of force can also be a discrete quantum as postulated by Einstein.

But what is light really? Is it a wave or a shower of photons? Once before we put a similar question when we asked: is light a wave or a shower of light corpuscles? At that time there was every reason for discarding the corpuscular theory of light and accepting the wave theory, which covered all phenomena. Now, however, the problem is much more complicated. There seems no likelihood of forming a consistent description of the phenomena of light by a choice of only one of the two possible languages. It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either. We are faced with a new kind of difficulty. We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do!

How is it possible to combine these two pictures? How can we understand these two utterly different aspects of light? It is not easy to account for this new difficulty. Again we are faced with a fundamental problem.

This fundamental problem of wave-particle arises from the assumption that a light quantum is ball-like and it can have no wavelength. But a light quantum can be string-like and it can have wavelength. The contradiction is only because of a wrong assumption.

For the moment let us accept the photon theory of light and try, by its help, to understand the facts so far explained by the wave theory. In this way we shall stress the difficulties which make the two theories appear, at first sight, irreconcilable.

We remember: a beam of homogeneous light passing through a pinhole gives light and dark rings (p. 118). How is it possible to understand this phenomenon by the help of the quantum theory of light, disregarding the wave theory? A photon passes through the hole. We could expect the screen to appear light if the photon passes through and dark if it does not. Instead, we find light and dark rings. We could try to account for it as follows: perhaps there is some interaction between the rim of the hole and the photon which is responsible for the appearance of the diffraction rings. This sentence can, of course, hardly be regarded as an explanation. At best, it outlines a programme for an explanation holding out at least some hope of a future understanding of diffraction by interaction between matter and photons.

The diffraction rings are explained when we consider the light quantum to be a string-like line of force. It is continuous in one dimension and discrete in another.

But even this feeble hope is dashed by our previous discussion of another experimental arrangement. Let us take two pinholes. Homogeneous light passing through the two holes gives light and dark stripes on the screen. How is this effect to be understood from the point of view of the quantum theory of light? We could argue: a photon passes through either one of the two pinholes. If a photon of homogeneous light represents an elementary light particle, we can hardly imagine its division and its passage through the two holes. But then the effect should be exactly as in the first case, light and dark rings and not light and dark stripes. How is it possible then that the presence of another pinhole completely changes the effect? Apparently the hole through which the photon does not pass, even though it may be at a fair distance, changes the rings into stripes! If the photon behaves like a corpuscle in classical physics, it must pass through one of the two holes. But in this case, the phenomena of diffraction seem quite incomprehensible.

A photon is a wavy string-like particle that can cause diffraction.

Science forces us to create new ideas, new theories. Their aim is to break down the wall of contradictions which frequently blocks the way of scientific progress. All the essential ideas in science were born in a dramatic conflict between reality and our attempts at understanding. Here again is a problem for the solution of which new principles are needed. Before we try to account for the attempts of modern physics to explain the contradiction between the quantum and the wave aspects of light, we shall show that exactly the same difficulty appears when dealing with quanta of matter instead of quanta of light.



In the photoelectric effect, an increase in the intensity of light only increased the number of electrons emitted and not their energy (velocity). This implies an increase in the same type of interactions between light and electrons. Hence, light must also be composed of particles like electrons.

When the wavelength of light was increased, it lowered the energy of the electrons emitted, and not their number. This implies that the energy was supplied by the composition of light particles and not by their kinetic energy. In other words, the inertia (innate force) of light particles converted into the velocity of the electrons. It is like a conversion from “mass” into “energy”.

A constant velocity is an outcome of balanced forces. Inertia is the innate force of the substance It balances the acceleration of the quantum particle. As this balance shifts, so does the velocity. Thus, underlying the exchange of energy there is a balance of forces in terms of momentum.

Einstein refers to these light and electricity particles as “energy quanta”, but, much earlier, Faraday referred to them as lines of force. These lines of force may be viewed as string-like “force quanta”. This view explains the wave properties of light and generates no conflict with its quantum properties.  


OT 1948: Engram Chains

Reference: DIANETICS: The Original Thesis

This paper presents Chapter 14 from the book DIANETICS: THE ORIGINAL THESIS by L. RON HUBBARD. The contents are from the original publication of this book by The Hubbard Dianetic Foundation, Inc. (1948).

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.


Engram Chains

More than one engramic chain will be found in every aberree. When this person becomes a preclear the dianeticist does well to discover the earliest chain. It is not always possible to do this with accuracy since a preclear is sometimes in such a nervous condition that he cannot be worked on his basic chain but must be alleviated in a greater or lesser degree by the exhaustion of a later and more available chain. This last, however, is not the usual case.

The model of many aberrated nodes in a mental matrix of data elements works much better.

The dianeticist should clearly understand certain working principles and definitions. By an engram is meant a moment of unconsciousness accompanied by physical pain and conceived  antagonism. The basic engram is the earliest engram on an engram chain. Also there may be engrams of the same character and kind on the same driveline as the basic engram of the chain. An engram chain is composed of a basic engram and a series of similar incidents. Engram chains also contain locks which are instances of mental anguish more or less known to the analytical mind. These are often mistaken by the preclear for the cause of his conduct. A true engram is unknown to the conscious computer of the preclear but underlies it as a false datum on which are erected almost equally unknown similar incidents and an enormous number of locks.

From the perspective of the auditee an engram is a physically painful experience that is not assimilated in the mental matrix. It forms an engramic node that corrupts other nodes of the matrix it is linked to.

In order to release an engram chain it is vital and absolutely necessary to discover the basic of that chain. An individual will have more than one engram chain but he has a basic chain. This must be released as soon as possible after auditing is begun on the preclear.

The dianetic theory aims for the “basic of the chain”, which violates the principle of gradient. The mindfulness approach lets the mind unwind without interference at the proper gradient.

When an engram is discovered by the dianeticist, he must examine the aspect of it to determine whether or not it is the basic. Discovering it is not, he must immediately determine an earlier basic, and so forth until he is obviously on the scene of the basic engram.

The mind can do this automatically better than the dianeticist.

There are certain tests which he can apply. A basic engram will rise to laughter, “sag” slightly, and then rise to tone four and vanish. Successive engrams will then erase from that chain with very little work. Almost any engram on an engram chain can be exhausted, but if it is not a basic engram it will recede and vanish at times but will rise in part again when the basic engram has been reached and the preclear is brought forward into its area.

The mind will unwind in the order necessary. No order should be imposed from the outside.

An engram not basic is subject to “sag.” Which is to say that it may be brought to the two point zero (2.0) tone, but after a certain length of time has elapsed— from one to two days—it will be found to have “sagged” and to be, for instance, in a one point one (1.1) tone. It can be successively lifted until it is apparently in a three point zero (3.0) tone, at which point much of its content will disappear. This is reduction.

Any engram chain can be reduced to some degree without reaching the basic but when it has been reached the basic itself and subsequent engrams can be brought rapidly to tone four providing no engrams are skipped on the return up the time track.

When an engram chain has been brought to tone four, it can be considered to have vanished. The preclear can no longer find it on the time track (he may even be unable to recall some of its most painful and disheartening aspects). The mind apparently has been proofed against the data it has contained. A search for an engram chain after it has been exhausted and a tone four has been achieved should, for purposes of auditing, be entirely fruitless.

Engramic node vanishes when its contents are merged with rest of the mental matrix.

Once the basic has been discovered and the engram chain has been brought to tone four the locks will vanish of their own accord. If this does not occur then there is something remaining or the auditor has been too optimistic about the selection of his basic engram for the chain and has not, in reality, discovered it.

All engram chains should be exhausted from a preclear. These may be discovered to lie along the various dynamics but any chain may influence more than one dynamic.

Another type of engram is the cross engram. This is usually a childhood or adult engram which embraces more than one engram chain. The receipt of the cross engram, containing as it does the convergence of two or more engram chains, is often accompanied by a “nervous breakdown” or the sudden insanity of an individual. A cross engram may occur in a severe accident, in prolonged or severe illness under antagonistic circumstances, or a nitrous oxide operation. Cross engrams are very easy to locate but should not be addressed by the dianeticist as such since an enormous amount of work upon them will not exhaust them until the basic and the chains on which the cross engram depends have been brought to tone four.

Post-battle neurasthenia is almost always traceable to the receipt of a cross engram. This must be, of course, an engram in its own right on more than one chain. It is conceivable that it may be so severe that it “breaks” the individual even if it lies on only one chain.

No complications come about when the mind is allowed to freely associate without interference.

There are certain rules the dianeticist may employ to establish the basic engram of a chain. In first entering a case these rules apply as well to the first goal which is the location of the basic engram of the basic chain.

Number one: No engram will lift if the basic of that chain has not been lifted.

Number two: The basic engram will not lift until the basic instant of the basic engram has been reached, which is to say, the first moment of the engram. Ordinarily this is the most obscure.

Number three: If after two or three test recountings of an engram it does not seem to be improving, the auditor should attempt to discover an earlier engram.

Number four: No engram is valid unless accompanied by somatic pain. This may be mild. Incidents which do not contain somatics are either not basic (the chain having been suspended by some such command as “can’t feel” in the basic) or else it may not even be an engram.

The goal is to assimilate all data into the mental matrix. One knows when this goal is being accomplished.

Cases should be entered as near as possible to the basic engram. Then they should be returned to earlier incidents until the basic is discovered.

The running of locks themselves may accomplish some alleviation of a case.

The case is entered with the awareness of the difficulty.



The Dianetic theory believes that engrams exist in chains and that the whole chain can be removed rapidly by finding the basic of the chain and removing it. It, therefore, aims at finding the basic of the chain. This gets the dianetic procedure into a lot of difficulties. These difficulties come about because this dianetic procedure violates the principle of gradient.

The Mindfulness model looks at engram as a node that could not be assimilated in the mental matrix. Whenever this engramic node is used as part of any circuit of the mental matrix, it leads to aberration. This generates aberrated nodes around the engramic node. Thus, engramic and other aberrated nodes are networked together, and they do not exist in simple linear chains.

The auditee first decides the difficulty he wants to handle. He then enters his case fully aware of his difficulty. He concentrates on the difficulty while letting the mind freely associate all related data.  No complications arise when the mind is allowed to freely associate without interference. This allows the mind to follow its natural gradient in assimilating the aberrated circuits.

The goal is to assimilate all data into the mental matrix. Aberrated and engramic nodes vanish when their contents are assimilated into rest of the mental matrix. One is fully aware of the progress.


Einstein 1938: Elementary Quanta of Matter and Electricity

Reference: Evolution of Physics

This paper presents Chapter IV section 2 from the book THE EVOLUTION OF PHYSICS by A. EINSTEIN and L. INFELD. The contents are from the original publication of this book by Simon and Schuster, New York (1942).

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.


Elementary Quanta of Matter and Electricity

In the picture of matter drawn by the kinetic theory, all elements are built of molecules. Take the simplest case of the lightest element, that is hydrogen. On p. 66 we saw how the study of Brownian motions led to the determination of the mass of one hydrogen molecule. Its value is:

0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 0033 gram.

This means that mass is discontinuous. The mass of a portion of hydrogen can change only by a whole number of small steps each corresponding to the mass of one hydrogen molecule. But chemical processes show that the hydrogen molecule can be broken up into two parts, or, in other words, that the hydrogen molecule is composed of two atoms. In chemical processes it is the atom and not the molecule which plays the role of an elementary quantum. Dividing the above number by two, we find the mass of a hydrogen atom. This is about

0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 0017 gram.

Mass is a discontinuous quantity. But, of course, we need not bother about this when determining weight. Even the most sensitive scales are far from attaining the degree of precision by which the discontinuity in mass variation could be detected.

The elementary quanta of the mass of an element are called atoms.

Let us return to a well-known fact. A wire is connected with the source of a current. The current is flowing through the wire from higher to lower potential. We remember that many experimental facts were explained by the simple theory of electric fluids flowing through the wire. We also remember (p. 82) that the decision as to whether the positive fluid flows from higher to lower potential, or the negative fluid flows from lower to higher potential, was merely a matter of convention. For the moment we disregard all the further progress resulting from the field concepts. Even when thinking in the simple terms of electric fluids, there still remain some questions to be settled. As the name “fluid” suggests, electricity was regarded, in the early days, as a continuous quantity. The amount of charge could be changed, according to these old views, by arbitrarily small steps. There was no need to assume elementary electric quanta. The achievements of the kinetic theory of matter prepared us for a new question: do elementary quanta of electric fluids exist? The other question to be settled is: does the current consist of a flow of positive, negative or perhaps of both fluids?

The idea of all the experiments answering these questions is to tear the electric fluid from the wire, to let it travel through empty space, to deprive it of any association with matter and then to investigate its properties, which must appear most clearly under these conditions. Many experiments of this kind were performed in the late nineteenth century. Before explaining the idea of these experimental arrangements, at least in one case, we shall quote the results. The electric fluid flowing through the wire is a negative one, directed, therefore, from lower to higher potential. Had we known this from the start, when the theory of electric fluids was first formed, we should certainly have interchanged the words, and called the electricity of the rubber rod positive, that of the glass rod negative. It would then have been more convenient to regard the flowing fluid as the positive one. Since our first guess was wrong, we now have to put up with the inconvenience. The next important question is whether the structure of this negative fluid is “granular”, whether or not it is composed of electric quanta. Again a number of independent experiments show that there is no doubt as to the existence of an elementary quantum of this negative electricity. The negative electric fluid is constructed of grains, just as the beach is composed of grains of sand, or a house built of bricks. This result was formulated most clearly by J. J. Thomson, about forty years ago. The elementary quanta of negative electricity are called electrons. Thus every negative electric charge is composed of a multitude of elementary charges represented by electrons. The negative charge can, like mass, vary only discontinuously. The elementary electric charge is, however, so small that in many investigations it is equally possible and sometimes even more convenient to regard it as a continuous quantity. Thus the atomic and electron theories introduce into science discontinuous physical quantities which can vary only by jumps.

The elementary quanta of negative electricity are called electrons.

Imagine two parallel metal plates in some place from which all air has been extracted. One of the plates has a positive, the other a negative charge. A positive test charge brought between the two plates will be repelled by the positively charged and attracted by the negatively charged plate. Thus the lines of force of the electric field will be directed from the positively to the negatively charged plate. A force acting on a negatively charged test body would have the opposite direction. If the plates are sufficiently large, the lines of force between them will be equally dense everywhere; it is immaterial where the test body is placed, the force and, therefore, the density of the lines of force will be the same. Electrons brought somewhere between the plates would behave like raindrops in the gravitational field of the earth, moving parallel to each other from the negatively to the positively charged plate. There are many known experimental arrangements for bringing a shower of electrons into such a field which directs them all in the same way. One of the simplest is to bring a heated wire between the charged plates. Such a heated wire emits electrons which are afterwards directed by the lines of force of the external field. For instance, radio tubes, familiar to everyone, are based on this principle.

Many very ingenious experiments have been performed on a beam of electrons. The changes of their path in different electric and magnetic external fields have been investigated. It has even been possible to isolate a single electron and to determine its elementary charge and its mass, that is, its inertial resistance to the action of an external force. Here we shall only quote the value of the mass of an electron. It turned out to be about two thousand times smaller than the mass of a hydrogen atom. Thus the mass of a hydrogen atom, small as it is, appears great in comparison with the mass of an electron. From the point of view of a consistent field theory, the whole mass, that is, the whole energy, of an electron is the energy of its field; the bulk of its strength is within a very small sphere, and away from the “centre” of the electron it is weak.

The energy of the electron is its “mass” as determined from its inertial resistance. This “mass” is spread out from a center and becomes weak rapidly.

We said before that the atom of any element is its smallest elementary quantum. This statement was believed for a very long time. Now, however, it is no longer believed! Science has formed a new view showing the limitations of the old one. There is scarcely any statement in physics more firmly founded on facts than the one about the complex structure of the atom. First came the realization that the electron, the elementary quantum of the negative electric fluid, is also one of the components of the atom, one of the elementary bricks from which all matter is built. The previously quoted example of a heated wire emitting electrons is only one of the numerous instances of the extraction of these particles from matter. This result closely connecting the problem of the structure of matter with that of electricity, follows, beyond any doubt, from very many independent experimental facts.

It is comparatively easy to extract from an atom some of the electrons from which it is composed. This can be done by heat, as in our example of a heated wire, or in a different way, such as by bombarding atoms with other electrons.

Suppose a thin, red-hot, metal wire is inserted into rarefied hydrogen. The wire will emit electrons in all directions. Under the action of a foreign electric field a given velocity will be imparted to them. An electron increases its velocity just like a stone falling in the gravitational field. By this method we can obtain a beam of electrons rushing along with a definite speed in a definite direction. Nowadays, we can reach velocities comparable to that of light by submitting electrons to the action of very strong fields. What happens, then, when a beam of electrons of a definite velocity impinges on the molecules of rarefied hydrogen? The impact of a sufficiently speedy electron will not only disrupt the hydrogen molecule into its two atoms but will also extract an electron from one of the atoms.

Let us accept the fact that electrons are constituents of matter. Then, an atom from which an electron has been torn out cannot be electrically neutral. If it was previously neutral, then it cannot be so now, since it is poorer by one elementary charge. That which remains must have a positive charge. Furthermore, since the mass of an electron is so much smaller than that of the lightest atom, we can safely conclude that by far the greater part of the mass of the atom is not represented by electrons but by the remainder of the elementary particles which are much heavier than the electrons. We call this heavy part of the atom its nucleus.

In a hydrogen atom the electron is smeared around its nucleus.

Modern experimental physics has developed methods of breaking up the nucleus of the atom, of changing atoms of one element into those of another, and of extracting from the nucleus the heavy elementary particles of which it is built. This chapter of physics, known as “nuclear physics”, to which Rutherford contributed so much, is, from the experimental point of view, the most interesting. But a theory, simple in its fundamental ideas and connecting the rich variety of facts in the domain of nuclear physics, is still lacking. Since, in these pages, we are interested only in general physical ideas, we shall omit this chapter in spite of its great importance in modern physics.



The elementary quantum of hydrogen is an atom. This atom may be stripped off an electron, which is the elementary quantum of electricity. This leaves a positively charged nucleus behind. The electron has hardly any mass compared to the nucleus.

The electron, therefore, appears to be a surface phenomenon of outward radiating mass. When it is removed, it seems to leave an inward radiating groove on the surface of the nucleus.

This outward radiating mass seems to form the negative charge. The inward radiating groove seems to form the positive charge for the lack of better explanation. They have a tendency to join back together.


OT 1948: Exhaustion of Engrams

Reference: DIANETICS: The Original Thesis

This paper presents Chapter 13 from the book DIANETICS: THE ORIGINAL THESIS by L. RON HUBBARD. The contents are from the original publication of this book by The Hubbard Dianetic Foundation, Inc. (1948).

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.


Exhaustion of Engrams

The technique of exhausting an engram is not complicated but it must be adhered to. An engram is an unconscious moment containing physical pain and conceived or actual antagonism to the organism. Therefore, that engram before it is discovered will exhibit antagonism toward the auditor trying to discover it. When it is first discovered, it may be found to be lacking in its essential data. There are many techniques by which this data can be developed. In a prenatal engram the analytical mind apparently must redevelop the situation. Many returns through the incident are therefore necessary.

The Dianetic method is: force your way to the engram by “clever guesswork” and then eliminate it by recounting it repeatedly. The logic is: once you eliminate the engram the cleaning up of aberrated circuits around the engram is easy and swift. In reality, this is not possible in most cases because it violates the gradient.

The proper gradient is achieved naturally through mindfulness auditing.

When an engram will not exhaust, the first thing the auditor should suspect is an earlier engram. It is actually possible for a later one to contain essential information which will not permit the information to rise. In the course of auditing, when an engram is restimulated by the auditor but will not rise above apathy and does not seem to contain all the necessary data, the auditor must look for an earlier engram, and it almost inevitably will be found to exist. This precursor is then developed as the basic engram. If it follows the same behavior pattern of not lifting or becoming complete, another previous to it must be discovered. If at last the auditor is entirely certain that there is no engram ahead of the one being run, some possible locking mechanism later on may be found and exhausted, at which time the basic may show itself. Continual application of energy to the basic will at length bring it into full view and continual recounting of it will gradually develop it, raise its tone and lift it into tone four.

There are no neat chains in the mind as assumed above. The data is networked like in a matrix.

The principle of recounting is very simple. The preclear is merely told to go back to the beginning and to tell it all over again. He does this many times. As he does it the engram should lift in tone on each recounting. It may lose some of its data and gain other. If the preclear is recounting in the same words time after time, it is certain that he is playing a memory record of what he has told you before. He must then be sent immediately back to the actual engram and the somatics of it restimulated. He will then be found to somewhat vary his story. He must be returned to the consciousness of somatics continually until these are fully developed, begin to lighten and are then gone. Tone four will appear shortly afterwards. If the preclear is bored with the incident and refuses to go on with it, there is either an earlier engram or there is other data in the engram which has not been located.

The method of “returning” is somewhat hypnotic and not optimum. Recounting amounts to associating data in a linear fashion.

The auditor will discover that occasionally an engram when lifted into a three, or even erased, without reaching laughter, will sag. This is a certain sign of an earlier basic on that chain. Any kind of sag from a tone four is impossible if tone four has truly been reached. 

Tone four will not be reached if there are earlier basics. The engram may vanish and be erased, but there will be no cheerfulness or laughter about it at the end if it is not the basic.

Full erasure takes place only when the whole engramic node is assimilated in the mental matrix. This happens only when the engramic node is approached on the natural gradient of the mind.

Once the basic has been reached and brought into tone four, it will disappear. The next engram on the chain will be located and rather easily brought into tone four. If one is accidentally skipped, the third in line will be found to hold or sag. The intermediate must then be located and brought into a tone four. In such a way the chain will gradually come up into a complete tone four. At this time the locks, the merely mentally painful incidents in the person’s life, will begin to release automatically. These will erase or lift without any attention from the auditor. While these are releasing, the auditor must concern himself with secondary engrams. These would be engrams on their own if they had not had forerunners. They therefore do not relieve after the removal of the basic but must be located as themselves. These in turn will start a chain of releasing locks which again need no attention. There may be entirely distinct engramic chains in the reactive mind which are not appended in any way to the original basic.

Most complications are generated by the dianetic procedure itself.

So long as a preclear retains any part of a reactive mind, he will be interested in himself (in the condition of his mind) and be introverted. Therefore, so long as he is interested in his own reactive mind, he is impeded in his dynamic pursuit of survival. A guarantee of a tone four is the patient’s interest in positive action along his dynamics, and his application of himself to the world around him. Introversion is not natural nor is it necessary to the creation of anything. It is a manifestation of the analytical mind trying to solve problems on improper data, and observing the organism being engaged in activities which are not conducive to survival along the dynamics. When a Clear has been reached, the basic personality and self-determinism of the individual will have asserted itself. No chronic somatics in the present will remain (excepting those which can be accounted for by actual disease, injury or malconstruction of the brain).

Introversion lessens as the mind assimilates aberrated nodes through free association. The mind knows how to handle itself best.

Though more germane to Child Dianetics, it is of help to the auditor to know that a child can be considered to have formed his general basic purpose in life somewhere around the age of two. This purpose is fairly reliable, as at that time his engrams have probably not gained much force over him since his responsibilities are slight. He will have tried to hold his main purpose throughout his life but it will undoubtedly have been warped both by his reactive mind’s experience content and by his environment. The time when the purpose is formed varies and may indeed never have been manifested, as in the case of amentia. As the preclear is normally interested in this purpose and its rehabilitation, he will often take a more intense interest in auditing if there is an attempt made to discover it. This purpose is quite valid and the preclear can be expected to rehabilitate his life along its dictates unless he is too oppressed by his environment. (It can be remarked that a Release or Clear will ordinarily order or change his environment.)

The basic purpose arises from the fully assimilated mental matrix. It manifests as the mind increasingly assimilates aberrated nodes through free association.

Vocational therapies have as their source the tenet of the rehabilitation of the general purpose of an individual or the establishment of a false purpose in order to allay the activity of his reactive mind. It has little bearing on Dianetics, but an auditor, for the term of auditing may engage his preclear along the purpose line of becoming a Clear. This is not necessary and is indeed often automatic since the basic personality beholds at last a chance to manifest itself. However, it will occasionally aid the auditor.

The individual always wants his mental matrix to become fully assimilated.

The auditor should be prepared to have to solve many individual problems since above the basics are almost as many problems as there are cases. For example, in the case of a preclear who has several very nasty prenatals it will be found that the formation of the body in the womb has overlaid or confused the time track so that a later prenatal must be partially lifted before an earlier prenatal can be exhausted. This is often true of a later period of life. In one case an entire series of prenatals was held down by a dental operation under nitrous oxide at the age of twenty-five. Until some portion of this was removed, the bulk of the prenatals were not available. In short, the circuits of the mind can become entangled to a point where even the motor control time track is confused.

The aberration can be so mixed up that they may have to be resolved together. This is why the free association approach of mindfulness is more workable than the discrete engram approach of Dianetics theory.

Dispersal of purpose by some engram along some dynamic or purpose line is a common situation and is indeed the basic concept. As a stream of electrons would behave if they were to encounter a solid object in their path, so does a drive or purpose disperse. These many varied and faint tracks after impact with the engram are symptomatic. Along dynamic two, the sexual drive, promiscuity inevitably and invariably indicates a sexual engram of great magnitude. Once that engram is removed promiscuity can be expected to cease.

Dispersal of purpose is a very common and a serious aberration.

Anxiety is established in the preclear’s mind by such dispersals and he dramatizes because of the dispersal. This is one of the manifestations of his malady. No pervert ever became a pervert without having been educated or abused by a pervert. And that abuse must have been very thorough. The contagion of engrams is an interesting manifestation which the auditor should and must observe. It can be said that insanity runs in families, not because this is a eugenic truth but because a standard patter during emergencies or stress creates certain types of engrams which in turn create types of insanities. Insanities are so definitely contagious that when a child is raised by aberrated parents, the child becomes aberrated. As would be delineated by Child Dianetics, the best way to guarantee a sane child is to provide it with cleared or released parents. This is of definite interest to the auditor since he will discover that in cases of severe prenatals and birth the engrams were also received by the mother exactly as they were received by the child. The child will thereafter be a restimulator to the mother and the mother a restimulator to the child for the severe incidents. The mother, having received the exact wording of the engram, also contains the engram. Restimulation by the child will occasion the use of the engramic language toward the child. This brings the infant and child and adolescent into the unhappy situation of having his birth engram or his prenatal engrams continually restimulated. This occasions dire results and very great unhappiness in the home and is one of the main sources of family difficulties.

A child, even if he despises them, will dramatize the actions of his parents when he himself is married and when he himself has children. In addition to this the other partner in the marriage also has his or her own engrams. Their engrams combine into doubled engrams in the children. The result of this is a contagion and a progression of aberration. Thus any society which does not have a high purpose finds itself declining and gaining greater numbers of insane. The contagion of aberration is at work progressively, and the children become progressively aberrated until at last the society itself is aberrated.

The dramatization of engrams easily leads to a contagion of aberration when a society is in disarray as to its purpose.

While the fate of society belongs definitely in Social and Political Dianetics, the auditor is interested in the fact that he can take the prenatal and birth content of the engrams of his preclear and run them to discover post-birth locks and secondary engrams. The mother will normally have used much the same data whenever the troubles of the child impinged upon her reactive mind; this of course accounts for the locks.

The auditor will also discover that where he has a married preclear who is aberrated, he should have two preclears, which is to say, the partner. It is useless to return a preclear to his or her aberrated spouse and expect domestic tranquility to result. While the release cannot and will not pick up his old engrams from the spouse in whom he has implanted them, he will, nevertheless, find his life made unbearable by the mere existence of a spouse that he himself may have aberrated.

Further, the children of these people will also need auditing, since they will be found (if the parent’s aberrations were of any magnitude) to be sickly or aberrated or deficient in some way. The auditor should therefore, when he undertakes a case, be prepared to audit the family of his preclear, should an investigation of that preclear make it seem necessary.

Aberrations are contagious and where a person has been aberrated, his environment will to some degree also have become aberrated. The preclear may, for one thing, be somewhat victimized and impeded by his reactive mind which is now existing in his associates.

The auditor should not permit such terms as “psychoneurotic,” “crazy,” or “mentally exhausted” to exist for long in the preclear’s mind. These are depressive and are actually aberrations in the society. It is true and provable that the preclear is on his way to being, not a person who is crazy or neurotic, but an individual who will have more stability and self-command and ability, possibly, than those around him. To be blunt: this is not the process of reviving corpses into a semblance of life. It is a process which, at its best usage, is taking the “normal” and “average” and giving them their birthright of happiness and creative attainment in the world of man.

In the face of this contagion of aberration a method of rapid large scale clearing is needed. This need may be met by mindfulness auditing approach.



Most difficulties encountered in the Dianetic procedure are generated by the procedure itself. The mindfulness auditing approach may overcome those difficulties, and provide a method by which engramic nodes can be cleared up rapidly on a large scale.


Einstein 1938: Continuity—Discontinuity

Reference: Evolution of Physics

This paper presents Chapter IV section 1 from the book THE EVOLUTION OF PHYSICS by A. EINSTEIN and L. INFELD. The contents are from the original publication of this book by Simon and Schuster, New York (1942).

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.



A map of New York City and the surrounding country is spread before us. We ask: which points on this map can be reached by train? After looking up these points in a railway timetable, we mark them on the map. We now change our question and ask: which points can be reached by car? If we draw lines on the map representing all the roads starting from New York, every point on these roads can, in fact, be reached by car. In both cases we have sets of points. In the first they are separated from each other and represent the different railway stations, and in the second they are the points along the lines representing the roads. Our next question is about the distance of each of these points from New York, or, to be more rigorous, from a certain spot in that city. In the first case, certain numbers correspond to the points on our map. These numbers change by irregular, but always finite, leaps and bounds. We say: the distances from New York of the places which can be reached by train change only in a discontinuous way. Those of the places which can be reached by car, however, may change by steps as small as we wish, they can vary in a continuous way. The changes in distance can be made arbitrarily small in the case of a car, but not in the case of a train.

The output of a coal mine can change in a continuous way. The amount of coal produced can be decreased or increased by arbitrarily small steps. But the number of miners employed can change only discontinuously. It would be pure nonsense to say: “Since yesterday, the number of employees has increased by 3.783.”

Asked about the amount of money in his pocket, a man can give a number containing only two decimals. A sum of money can change only by jumps, in a discontinuous way. In America the smallest permissible change or, as we shall call it, the “elementary quantum” for American money, is one cent. The elementary quantum for English money is one farthing, worth only half the American elementary quantum. Here we have an example of two elementary quanta whose mutual values can be compared. The ratio of their values has a definite sense since one of them is worth twice as much as the other.

A quantum is a definite, discrete amount.

We can say: some quantities can change continuously and others can change only discontinuously, by steps which cannot be further decreased. These indivisible steps are called the elementary quanta of the particular quantity to which they refer.

We can weigh large quantities of sand and regard its mass as continuous even though its granular structure is evident. But if the sand were to become very precious and the scales used very sensitive, we should have to consider the fact that the mass always changes by a multiple number of one grain. The mass of this one grain would be our elementary quantum. From this example we see how the discontinuous character of a quantity, so far regarded as continuous, can be detected by increasing the precision of our measurements.

If we had to characterize the principal idea of the quantum theory in one sentence, we could say: it must be assumed that some physical quantities so far regarded as continuous are composed of elementary quanta.

The region of facts covered by the quantum theory is tremendously great. These facts have been disclosed by the highly developed technique of modern experiment. As we can neither show nor describe even the basic experiments, we shall frequently have to quote their results dogmatically. Our aim is to explain the principal underlying ideas only.



Some quantities can change only by steps which cannot be further decreased. These indivisible steps are called the elementary quanta of the particular quantity to which they refer.

Some physical quantities so far regarded as continuous are composed of elementary quanta. This is the principle idea of quantum theory.