The Thetan


Reference: A Critique of Scientology Philosophy

From Scientology 8-8008, section THE BEINGNESS OF MAN:

“The personality and beingness which actually is the individual and is aware of being aware and is ordinarily and normally the “person” and who the individual thinks he is, is the thetan; and this awareness can continue, is clarified and is not interrupted by a detachment from the body which is accomplished by standard processing.”

In an out-of-body experience (OBE), a person feels that he is outside the body. He can view his own body from a distance. He can perceive the environment also from that vantage point. Scientology interprets this phenomenon to assert that the person has moved out of the body. This person is the “thetan”, which can exist all by itself without the physical body.

In reality the viewpoint has shifted from the frame of reference of the body to a frame of reference that surrounds the body. The metaphysical viewpoint has not separated itself from the physical body. This would be inconsistent.

Most people look at the world from the frame of reference of their body all the time. When, all of a sudden, this frame of reference happens to shift from body to the environment, the person experiences the dramatic phenomenon of OBE.

In the out-of-body phenomena the viewpoint shifts from the frame of reference of the body to a frame of reference that surrounds the body.

Scientology Filter: It is an arbitrary assumption in Scientology that the spiritual beingness of a person can be separated literally from the physical beingness.

Human viewpoint has many dimensions. Spatial view is just one aspect of it. We can get a better idea of this aspect from the following example.

Let’s look at an atom. When the viewpoint is limited to the nucleus we are subjectively aware of the nucleus, but not much else. When that viewpoint expands to the first electronic shell of the atom we can objectively see the nucleus. When that viewpoint expands beyond the electronic region, we can objectively see the whole atom – a nucleus surrounded by electronic shells. If we expand that viewpoint beyond the electromagnetic field, we can objectively see atoms as “whirlpools” in the electromagnetic field.

The spatial aspect of human viewpoint can easily expand beyond earth. What one sees is a good approximation of reality. It is very vivid in case of OBE.

The Scientology thetan is simply the spatial aspect of the human viewpoint.


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