SCN 8-8008: Identity versus Individuality

Reference: SCIENTOLOGY 8-8008

This paper presents Section 10 from the book SCIENTOLOGY 8-8008 by L. RON HUBBARD. The contents are from the original publication of this book by The Church of Scientology (1952).

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.


Identity versus Individuality

The most common confusion on the part of a preclear is between himself as an identified object and his beingness. One’s beingness depends upon the amount of space which he can create or command, not upon his identification or any label. Identity as we know it in the MEST universe is much the same as identification, which is the lowest form of thought. When one is an object and is himself an effect, he believes that his ability to be cause is dependent upon his having a specific and finite identity. This is an aberration; as his beingness increases his individuality increases, and he quickly rises above the level of necessity for identity for he is himself self-sufficient with his own identity.

In this society people make their first impression of you from your outward appearance and how you interact socially. The real you is recognized only after deeper interaction when you come to be known for your viewpoint and your abilities to solve problems.

It appears that Hubbard is using the word “identity” to mean the “outward appearance and social behavior”; and the word “individuality” to mean the “actual viewpoint and abilities to solve problems”.

According to Hubbard, aberration comes about when a person loses his individuality and becomes an identity. But as his individuality increases, the desire to have identity drops off. The person then becomes more himself. This is a very good observation.

The first question a preclear undergoing theta clearing asks himself is quite often: “How will I establish my identity if I have no body?” There are many remedies for this. The worst method of having an identity is having a body. As his individuality increases and his beingness expands—these two being almost synonymous—he is less and less concerned with this problem; that he is concerned with the problem tells the auditor where he is on the tone-scale.

According to Hubbard, the worst method of having an identity is having a body. I hope he doesn’t mean it literally since one cannot just do away with the body. I shall interpret it to mean, the worst method of having an identity is “having one’s attention fixed on the body.” As a person’s individuality increases (viewpoint broadens) the fixed attention goes away.

One of the control mechanisms which has been used on thetans is that when they rise in potential they are led to believe themselves one with the universe. This is distinctly untrue. Thetans are individuals. They do not as they rise up the scale, merge with other individualities. They have the power of becoming anything they wish while still retaining their own individuality. They are first and foremost themselves. There is evidently no Nirvana. It is the feeling that one will merge and lose his own individuality that restrains the thetan from attempting to remedy his lot. His merging with the rest of the universe would be his becoming matter. This is the ultimate in cohesiveness and the ultimate in affinity, and is at the lowest point of the tone-scale. One declines into a brotherhood with the universe. When he goes up scale, he becomes more and more an individual capable of creating and maintaining his own universe. In this wise (leading people to believe they had no individuality above that of MEST) the MEST universe cut out all competition.

According to Hubbard, the spiritual aspect of the person is a thetan; in fact, the person is solely this thetan, because the physical aspect (body) has little significance. Thus, Hubbard’s entire attention is on making the thetan more powerful, such that it gains the ability to create his own universe and be anything in it. It is very obvious that Hubbard was very afraid of other individualities for the fear of “merging” with them.

Hubbard’s ultimate in individuality is then to get completely submerged in oneself and become subjective, instead of broadening the viewpoint and becoming objective.



The goal of Buddhism has been to attain one’s objective beingness in total harmony with the universe. Buddha knew that a human being was at the evolutionary peak of the universe, and was responsible for evolving the universe further. To Buddha, the human being was the universe.

To Hubbard individuality was the most important thing that needed to be preserved at all costs. Harmony with the rest of universe, and cooperation with it, meant merging with the universe and losing one’s individuality. Therefore, to Hubbard the goal of Scientology became:

“To make a person free to attain the subjective beingness he wants despite the universe.”

The error in Scientology is to put too much attention on self. It interiorizes a person into his self rather than exteriorizes him as Buddhism does.

This section really throws light on Hubbard’s case. Hubbard was very careful about preserving his own individuality. From my personal observation, Hubbard either kept others under his control, or simply threw them out. There was no middle ground.


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