OT 1948: The Tone Scale

Reference: DIANETICS: The Original Thesis

This paper presents Chapter 7 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.


The Tone Scale

The tone scale denotes numerically, first the status of an engram in the reactive mind, next its erasure or reduction, and provides a measure for sanity in an individual.

The derivation of this scale is clinical and is based upon observation of engrams being worked. When an engram is located and developed, the extreme range it can follow begins with apathy, develops into anger (or the various facets of antagonism), proceeds into boredom, and arrives at last in cheerfulness or vanishes utterly.

The tone scale is essentially an assignation of numerical value by which individuals can be numerically classified. It is not arbitrary but will be found to approximate some actual governing law in nature.

Zero is equivalent to death. An individual with a zero tone would be dead.

Ranging upwards from zero to one then is that emotional bracket which may be denoted as apathy along its graduated scale from death to the beginnings of apathetic resentment.

From one to two is the range of antagonism, including suspicion, resentment, and anger.

Boredom and its equivalents, by which is denoted minor annoyance, begin at two and end at three.

From three to four are the emotions which range from carelessness to cheerfulness.

The term tone four denotes a person who has achieved rationality and cheerfulness.

Each engram residual in the reactive mind has its own independent tonal value. Serious engrams will be found in the apathy range. Dangerous engrams will be found in the anger range. Above two point five an engram could not be considered to have any great power to affect the analytical mind. Each engram in the reactive mind then can be said to possess a tone value. The composite sum of these engrams will give, if added, a numerical value to the reactive mind.

Engrams can be computed as they lie along the dynamics, and to each dynamic may be assigned a tone. The sum of the tones of the dynamics, divided by the number of the dynamics, will give a potential numerical value for an individual. This, of course, is variable depending on the existence of restimulators in his environment to reactivate the engrams.

The probable average of mankind at this writing may be in the vicinity of 3.0. Complete rationality depends upon exhaustion of the reactive mind and complete rationality is invariably the result of reaching tone four.

The initial diagnosis is done by the assignation of a general tone to denote the condition of an individual’s reactive mind. His methods of meeting life, his emotional reaction to the problems in his environment, can be evaluated by the use of the tone scale.

In auditing, as will be covered later, an engram normally can be expected to run from its initial value in the apathy or anger range to tone four. Very shortly after it reaches tone four it should vanish. If it vanishes without attaining the laughter of tone four it can be assumed that the individual’s basic engram has not been erased.

The tone scale has value in auditing and should be thoroughly understood.


KEY WORDS: Tone, Tone Scale, Tone Four.

A person’s tone generally changes in the following sequence as he improves:

0 to 1 ………. Range of Apathy
1 to 2 ………. Range of Antagonism
2 to 3
………. Range of Boredom
3 to 4 ………. Range of Cheerfulness

A dead person is assigned a tone level of 0. A person who has achieved rationality and cheerfulness is assigned the tone level of 4. In general, a person has a chronic tone level somewhere between 0 and 4. His actual tone fluctuates around this chronic tone level. The chronic tone level can be improved with mindfulness meditation. Dianetics auditing is a form of guided meditation.

When you are handling an engramic node in meditation or in auditing, your tone may reflect the tone of the painful experience but it will soon discharge with the real tone taking its place. The more the tones from the painful incidents are discharged, the greater is the improvement in the real tone. Progress may be measured by the improvement in the real tone.


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