OT 1948: Prenatal, Birth and Infant Engrams

Reference: DIANETICS: The Original Thesis

This paper presents Chapter 15 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.


Prenatal, Birth and Infant Engrams

The human mind and the human anatomy are enormously more powerful and resilient than has commonly been supposed. Only incidents of the greatest magnitude in physical pain and hostile content are sufficient to aberrate a mind.

It takes quite a shock to aberrate the mind.

The ability of the mind to store data can scarcely be overrated. In early life before sound is analyzed as speech a human being receives and stores exact impressions of everything which occurs. At some future date, when similar perceptics are encountered, the reactive mind re-analyzes—on the basis of identities only—the content of the early mind. This becomes the foundation of the post-conception personality. The actual personality in the individual is powerful and very difficult to aberrate. Unlike animals which can be driven mad by minor mechanisms of experimental psychology, a man must be most severely handled before he begins to show any signs of derangement. That derangement proceeds from the ability of the reactive mind to store perceptions from the earliest moments of existence and retain them on either the analytical or the reactive plane for future reference.

The mental matrix originates from DNA like all other aspects of a human baby. Exact impressions do not exist in the mental matrix as that takes more storage. Exact impressions exist only in perceptions before they get assimilated in the mental matrix as perceptual elements. This assimilation minimizes storage by storing only the original of each perceptual element. New associations of these perceptual elements are made with later experiences and, thus, new meanings are acquired by older perceptions. The personality of the person develops as the mental matrix develops.

The basic personality does not proceed from engrams, and the dynamics of the individual are impeded not enhanced by engrams. The dynamics are entirely separate and are as native to the individual as his basic personality, of which they are a part.

The basic personality of the individual, and his dynamics, are the expressions of the assimilated mental matrix.

Information falls into two categories: the educational or experience level, banked and available to the analytical mind on at least its deeper levels; and aberrational, or data stored in the reactive mind and often used but never reached by the analytical mind, save through auditing. There would seem to be two types of recording. The first is cellular recording in which the cells would seem to store data. In that cells in procreating become themselves again—which is to say that when cell A divides, both halves are still cell A—cellular intelligence is not lost. Personal identity is duplicated. In the case of individual men, procreation is far more complex and individual identity is lost—the son is not the father but a genetic composite of vast numbers of ancestors.

The assimilated matrix contains nodes of unassimilated shocks. Circuits passing through such nodes are influenced more by the singular content of the shock than by the logic of the assimilated matrix. This mental matrix extends into the cellular matrix of the person. Combinations of it are passed to successive generations through DNA.

The cells of the human being shortly after conception are capable of enormous perceptic and retentive power. After a very short time in the womb, the brain and nervous system are already operating. From then until birth the human being is apparently capable of computations of a rather complex nature on the analytical mind level. Far more certainly he retains information on the reactive level.

The mental matrix starts forming soon after conception, and continues to develop during the prenatal period in the womb.

Fear, pain, and unconsciousness extend the range of perception of the individual. When the human being in the womb is injured his senses extend so as to record sounds outside the mother’s body. He records them so well that their precise nature is stored for future reference. The human being in the womb responds exactly as it does after birth to the receipt of engrams, storing the data with precision and reacting to it.

Many perceptions (sound, pressure, etc.) from outside the womb reach the rapidly developing mental-cellular matrix and become part of it, especially when there is shock and injury.

The repair facilities available to a human being before birth are greatly enhanced by the presence of ample connective tissue, oxygen and sustenance. These repair facilities are unimaginably great so that a prenatal human being can be severely torn and ripped without becoming structurally deficient. It does, however, receive engrams and these are subject to restimulation. In many cases of attempted abortions it was found that large sections of the prenatal human being’s brain could apparently be injured without the brain being deficient or even scarred after birth. These repair facilities do not however lessen the extreme severity of the engrams which can be received by the prenatal human being. The word foetus is dropped at this point and it is advised that it should be dropped from the language as a description of a pre-birth human being. Insufficient evidence is at hand to make an outright declaration that attempted abortions are responsible for the bulk of our criminal and insane aberrees. But according to the cases at hand the attempted abortion must be accounted responsible for the majority.

Hubbard, in his research, found many instances of engrams from the prenatal period generated by attempted abortions.

The attempted abortion is the most serious aberration producer. So exact is the recording of the pre-birth human being that the reactive mind makes no errors in recognizing its enemies after birth. The mind becomes aberrated in having to depend upon these same enemies for the ordinary sustenance of life while the child is a helpless infant. The diagnosis of a prenatal case is relatively simple. Nearly all preclears will be found to have at least one prenatal engram and the case will not solve unless that prenatal is reached and exhausted.

The dianeticist can usually establish the attempted abortion preclear by an investigation of the conduct of the infant and child. Uneasiness or unhappiness in the home, a feeling of not being wanted, unreasonable fear, and a strong attachment to grandparents or another non-parental member of the household are often signs of an attempted abortion. Fear of the dark is usually but not always a part of the attempted abortion case. The auditor should suspect an abortion attempt in every preclear he audits, at least for this next generation. Whether or not the preclear disbelieves the diagnosis is of no importance to the auditor as the prenatal engrams may very well contain the words, “Can’t believe it.” The parents themselves, as well as society, mislead the individual as to the enormous prevalence of this practice at this time. The attempted abortion preclear may not be discovered to be such until considerable auditing has already been done. Any auditing done on an attempted abortion preclear, unless it is solely addressed to making the case workable, is wasted until the attempted abortions are reached.

The post-birth aberree presents a somewhat different case than the prenatal since his case can be entered at any point and the earliest moments of it can be attained easily. This is not true of the attempted abortion preclear. Attempted abortions may run to any number. Since they are easily the most prevalent dramatization of engrams in the society, they are repeated time and again. The auditor will find it necessary to “unstack” the prenatal period. He will ordinarily reach the latest prenatal injury first. As he finds and examines it, it places itself on the time track. By going to earlier and earlier attempts, more and more of these engrams are revealed until at last the earliest is discovered. The auditor must be prepared to spend many hours of hard work in unstacking injuries. He will many times believe that he has reached the basic of that engram chain only to discover that another type of abortion was attempted prior to that moment. He need not address these engrams for any length of time before he goes on to the earlier one. He should only get some idea of them so that they will be easily locatable on the return. The basic engram on the attempted abortion case may be found shortly after the first missed period of the mother.

Its emotion will be exactly that of the person or persons attempting to perform the abortion. The prenatal human being identifies himself with himself but an adult returned to the prenatal period is reinterpreting the data and will find that he has and is confusing himself with other people associated in the attempts. This engramic data may have slumbered for years before it became violently restimulated and may indeed never have been awakened. It must be removed, however, before a release can be obtained. The auditor should be prepared to unstack fifty or more incidents before birth if necessary.

The mindfulness approach may work better than the dianetic approach in case of pre-natal engrams too.

When he is at last in the vicinity of the basic, even the most skeptical preclear (one who has skepticism as part of the prenatal engram chains) will have no further question as to what is happening to him. The auditor should be prepared to encounter difficulty in the ability of the preclear to hear voices or feel pain, as it is quite common for the engramic content to contain such phrases as “Unconscious” and “Can’t see, can’t feel, can’t hear,” this having been the misconception of the society regarding prenatal life.

The auditor should never be appalled at the damage the prenatal human being has received and so question the validity of his preclear’s data. Unless the umbilical cord is severed or the heart is stopped it is apparently the case that no damage, particularly in the earlier months, is too great for the organism to reconstruct. In that parents performing abortions are usually dramatizing attempted abortions which have been performed on them, rationality of content in the engrams should not be expected. Even the data given for it by the abortionist father, mother or professional is often entirely inaccurate.

The test of an engram is whether or not it will lift and whether or not the somatics which accompanied it disappear and a tone four is obtained. Rearranging data into other sequences will not obtain this. The exact content must be brought out. The attempted abortion human being is often struck unconscious by the earliest part of each attempt since the head is so available to the knitting needles, hat pins, orange-wood sticks, buttonhooks, and so forth which are employed. These periods of unconsciousness must be penetrated and will quite ordinarily release slowly.

The number of prenatal engrams should not particularly appall the auditor for when the basic has been discovered and a tone four achieved, the succeeding experiences will lift with greater and greater ease. The periods of consciousness interspersed between the prenatal engrams, being locks, will vanish.

In the mindfulness approach, the auditor and the auditee let the mind freely associate without much significance given to the nature of data.

Birth is in itself a severe experience and is recorded by the human being from the first moments of pain throughout the entire experience. Everything in a birth is engramic since the human being conceives the ministrations to be more or less antagonistic when they are accompanied by so much pain. A birth must be lifted as a matter of course but not until the presence or absence of prenatals has been established. Even after birth has been lifted, prenatals should be looked for, since prenatals may often be found only after birth has been exhausted. The habits of obstetricians, the presence of sound and speech in the delivery room, the swabbing of an infant’s nostrils, the examination of its mouth, the severe treatment administered to start its breathing and the drops on the eyes may account in themselves for many psychosomatic ills. A cough, however, although it is present in birth and seems to be alleviated by the exhaustion of the birth engram, is quite ordinarily blood running down the throat of the prenatal during an attempted abortion. Any perception during birth, when difficulty is encountered with breathing, may become a restimulator for asthma. Clean fresh air and electric lights may cause allergies and may be the principal restimulators. Everything said during birth, as well as everything said during prenatal experiences, is recorded in the reactive mind and acts as aberrational matter which can and does cause psychological and physiological changes in the individual. Because the parents are not greatly in evidence at birth, this experience may not be restimulated for many years. Prenatals, on the other hand, restimulate more easily.

Birth is a painful experience that may result in an engramic node.

Infant life is very sentient. Delay in learning to talk is delay in learning the complexity of handling vocal muscles rather than an inability to record. Everything in infant life is recorded and the engrams received in it are extremely valid.

The auditor will find himself dealing mainly with prenatal, birth, and infant life. The cases are very rare which have many important basics in childhood or adult life. These last periods contain mainly other engrams which, though they must be addressed to create the release, should not engage much initial attention on the part of the dianeticist. Most of the experiences of mental anguish in childhood and adult life are founded on very early engrams and are locks which are almost self-removing.

Most aberrated nodes come about from the very early part of life.

Moments of unconsciousness which contain physical pain and conceived antagonism lying in childhood and adult life are serious and can produce aberration. Engram chains complete with basic may be found which will, all by themselves, exhaust.



KEY WORDS: DNA, Prenatals, Birth

This information is important from the viewpoint of Dianetic procedure, because that procedure always looks for an earlier painful experience on the time track, when it runs into difficulty with auditing. But in mindfulness approach any such data, when it exists, is automatically included in the free association. It is, however, good to know that such data exists and its assimilation is important for case resolution.


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