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.

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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.

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FINAL COMMENTS

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.

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