PHOENIX LECTURES: Chapter 1

Project: Hubbard 1954: The Phoenix Lectures

This paper presents Chapter 1 from the book THE PHOENIX LECTURES by L. RON HUBBARD. The contents are from the original publication of this book by The Church of Scientology (1954).

The paragraphs of the original material (in black) are accompanied by brief comments (in color) based on the understanding from Buddhism.  Feedback on these comments is always appreciated.

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SCIENTOLOGY, ITS GENERAL BACKGROUND (Part 1)

The word SCIENTOLOGY is one which you might say is anglicized. It comes from the Latin SCIO and the Greek LOGOS, with SCIO the most emphatic statement of KNOW we had in the western world. And OLOGY (from LOGOS) of course means “study of”.

SCIO is “knowing in the fullest sense of the word” and the western world recognizes in it and in the word science something close to a truth.

This is not “science-tology” — and it is not “scio-tology”, simply because that is not close enough to English. So we use a word which is fairly easy to say, which is simply Scientology.

For quite some time we have not used the word Dianetics, but certainly not because Dianetics does not belong to Scientology. It does, one hundred per cent. It is the subject of the mind and says so. It says DIA-NETICS from DIA NOUS (with an engineering twist on it — “ETICS”) and DIA NOUS means no more and no less than through mind.

Here Hubbard is explaining the root meanings of SCIENTOLOGY and DIANETICS.

Of course, the western world thinks of mind as something that mental cases have, something of that kind, and we weren’t particularly interested in continuing to concentrate upon this thing called mind, although mind is a perfectly useful word.

In Scientology we are not going “through mind”, we are talking about knowledge. Dianetics was a study of the mind, there’s no doubt about that, and there is no doubt about it that it is a very legitimate ancestor of Scientology, but Scientology is a thing of considerable amplitude, where Dianetics in comparison was a very narrow thing indeed. And Dianetics belongs, in a sense, in the world of psychology, and Scientology does not belong in the world of psychology and is not “an advanced psychology” and cannot be defined in the framework of psychology. Psychology is an anglicized word, not today true to its original meaning.

DIANETICS is limited to engram running. It is narrowly focused on handling the mind. SCIENTOLOGY deals with knowledge in a broad sense.

Psychology is composited from psyche and ology, and psyche is mind or soul, but leading psychological texts begin very, very carefully by saying that today the word does not refer to the mind or to the soul. To quote one, it “has to be studied by its own history”, since it no longer refers to the soul, or even to the mind. So we don’t know what psychology refers to today. It simply got lost. And so we have to step out and take a word which actually means what we mean, which is a study of knowingness, a study of wisdom. We have to take the word Scientology because that is what we are doing.

Subjects like psychology cannot be referenced from their root meaning. The subjects of SCIENTOLOGY and DIANETICS, however, are true to their root meaning.

Now philosophically, there is a word called epistemology, and epistemology is quite separate from ontology, another word in the same category. In philosophy matter is considered to be separate. The physical universe is considered one direction thought another direction and so it goes. The available words do not encompass enough.

Thus we are already looking at a cloudy vocabulary when we look at the field of western philosophy. In fact, nowhere in the west can we find any qualification for a study which assumes to reach the highest possible level of knowledge which can be attained by Man or Life. We find nowhere in the western world a word or a tradition which will embrace Scientology. This makes some difficulty for an auditor (Auditor: trained Scientologist. Auditor means “one who listens” and is a person who applies Scientology auditing technology to individuals for their betterment) when he is trying to communicate to people in the society around him, since they want to know what Scientology is, and then he speaks to them, in the west, without this tradition.

Western Philosophy arbitrarily divides the universe into a “physical universe” and “thought”. It is mired in a cloudy vocabulary. It does not have the tradition of knowledge on which Scientology is based.

They assume that the word psychology embraces all sorts of eccentrics found in mental behavior. They assume this so they could not possibly understand how anything related to thought could be said to exceed or not be the same as psychology, and they are left in the dilemma of non-recognition. You have just not communicated in the west when you have said “we study wisdom”. You see, if you just said that, they would say, Oh yes, that’s all very well, I did that in third grade.

People in western society assume that psychology defines the behavior of thought. So, they have difficulty associating wisdom with thought.

Now, in view of the fact that you go out of communication, in a society which has no standard of communication on the subject about which you are talking, it is necessary to resort to various shifts in trying to describe what you are doing. You have to find the background which actually leads to an understanding of your subject.

You can understand a subject only from a reference to its background.

There would be many ways in which this could be accomplished, but let’s take up something that is quite important to us and is not limited to any ignorance that we discover in western civilization. Let us take up what amounts to probably ten thousand years of study on the part of Man of the identity of God or gods, the possibility of truth, the inner track mystery of all mysteries. In other words, the mystery of life itself. We find that for ten thousand years, which figure, by the way does not agree today with certain historians (but then they don’t know much of the data I am referring to) man has been on this track. We find that the material which is extant even in western civilization and in Asia, has gathered to itself an enormous verbiage, you might say. There are somewhere between — and I think it would be adventurous to state an exact number — 125,000 and 150,000 books which comprise the Vedic and Buddhist libraries. Now that’s a lot of books. Here is a tremendous amount of data.

There is probably ten thousand years of study on the part of Man of the identity of God or gods, the possibility of truth, the inner track mystery of all mysteries. But the western world does not have all records of it.

One could say, if all this data is in existence, then why doesn’t the western world know more about it? And we have to go back and take a brief look at what happened about ten thousand years ago, and of course, that’s rather cloudy too, but let’s put it into the field of anthropology rather than in to the field of history. And we discover that perhaps much earlier than ten thousand years ago, there was a division of peoples here on earth, and the division point was evidently the Ural Mountains. This is material that was given to me by a Professor of Ethnology at Princeton University.

There was evidently a split of races somewhere in the vicinity of the Ural Mountains. Part of the population which is now in the northern hemisphere went east, and part of it went west. The borning spot of the human race has been variously disputed but if we don’t worry about the borning spot and just say — that is more or less what occurrred at that time, that there was a sharp division, and that part of the northern hemisphere’s people went east and part of them went west — we discover that a singular difference of personality occurrred which is in the northern hemisphere the most observable difference.

Looking into the reason why the western world doesn’t know more about this track of knowledge, we find that perhaps much earlier than ten thousand years ago, there was a division of peoples here on earth near Ural Mountains. Part of people went east and part of them went west.

The people who went into the steppes, into the Gobi, into China, India, and into the various islands, were faced by an enormous chain of deserts. They were faced by privations of great magnitude, and they developed a philosophy of enduring. That was the keynote because that was what their environment demanded of them. They had to endure and so we find these races colored in a certain way so as to thwart the onslaught of sun and snow. We find them without natural protection in their environment and therefore we find them able to survive long after those who went in the opposite direction.

And so it is, their colorations, their customs, and so on, are different from ours just to the degree that they can survive in tremendously arduous surroundings, and the surroundings of those lands is arduous. They are, those races that are there, able to endure. And if you said anything about them, this is certainly a clear statement of fact.

They also are tremendously practical. Their practicality is such as to stagger a westerner. The explanations that they will suddenly and innocently voice to a query are always of such sweeping simplicity that they leave a westerner standing there staring with a slack jaw.

Now the races which went in the opposite direction from the Urals, evidently went in to a country which had a heavy forestation. It had a great deal of game and the philosophy of the western world became that of striking a hard blow. If you could strike a blow of great magnitude hard enough and fast enough you could kill game and so you could live. Because of the vegetation and because of many other factors, they did not particularly need coloration. Their own customs did not need to be as thoroughly practical and they were able to dispose of their lives much more easily, you might say, since food was plentiful, as it was not in Asia. And we discover western philosophy building up on the behavior pattern of striking a hard blow. Get in quick, hit hard, your game drops and you eat. And beyond that, not very much thought or practicality.

We discover that a singular difference of personality occurred which is in the northern hemisphere the most observable difference. People who went east had to endure a very harsh environment. So, they developed a philosophy of enduring that is simple and practical. But those who went west met heavy forestation with plenty of game. So, their philosophy became one of striking a hard blow and not much thought or practicality beyond that.

However the truth of this may be, here certainly is something which is said to have preceded a period of 10,000 years ago. It might or might not have truth. But it is a very fast explanation of this — and we discover immediately, as we look at these two worlds, that one of these worlds, having to endure, being faced with enormous privation, would of course develop a certain patience and an ability to philosophize. An ability to think. It would take a long time for anyone to think all the way through something. And a man who is merely accustomed to striking a hard blow is not likely to think all the way through something. When we are up against philosophy, we are fortunately or unfortunately up against an Asian tradition.

When we are up against philosophy, we are fortunately or unfortunately up against an Asian tradition.

This is a tradition which is not necessarily that of colored peoples or strangers. This by the way, would come as a great shock to some people in the western world, to discover that in India the ruling caste is quite as white as any Norseman.

Well, they have, because they have a tradition of enduring, preserved records. We do not know what went on in North America. We can only guess. We do not know what went on in South America. There are a few ruins kicking around but beyond, this we don’t know very much. We get down in to the Mediterranean basin and we discover that there was a certain traffic with Asia and therefore there is quite a bit known about the Mediterranean basin. This philosophy of endurance came forward into the Middle East — very poorly, but it was to be found there. The records of Europe we can hold in tremendous question. They do not, for instance, know where or when they had ice ages. They actually cannot trace from one millennia to the next, who was where and owned what. Every now and then they have to write a history, so everybody gets in a good state of agreement and somebody writes a history — but so unreliable that Voltaire dubbed history A Mississippi of Lies. Now where the western world is concerned, we have records which go back — written records — supposedly 3,500 years. This may or may not be true but certainly the schools in the western world teach us that we can go back that far with written records. And in Egypt they go back to Isis, I think, which for the west is quite early. And they have found records in that particular area and they hold these up as being very old. But be very careful, be very, very careful that you do not leave the western world, if you are looking for early records. In order to have a blackout of history and a blackout of knowledge, you have to stay west of the Ural Mountains.

This philosophy of endurance came forward into the Middle East — very poorly, but it was to be found there. Written records in the Western world go back not more than 3,500 years.

East of the Urals you discover no such blackout. You discover a recorded tradition of wisdom which reaches back about 10,000 years. And that is the oldest trace that we have.

Now true enough we don’t necessarily have to recognize that there are written works any older than any anthropologist in the western world knows about. It does happen, however, that there is a set of hymns which as I recall were introduced into the societies of earth in about 8212 B (The favorite western figure puts it after Egyptian!) These are hymns, and it would seem that if we spoke of hymns then they would contain largely modes or rites of worship, since they are religious, but that would only be our western interpretation of what is religious. These were religious hymns and they are our earliest debt in Scientology. Our earliest debt, because the very early hymns contain much that we know today and which checks against what we have rediscovered, or what we have followed back to, and this material included such a common thing as the cycle of the physical universe, known to you in Scientology as the Cycle of Action (Cycle of Action: the creation, growth, conversation, decay and death or destruction of energy and matter in a space. Cycles of Action produce time.) And this is contained in “The Hymn to the Dawn Child”, variously captioned and translated by western translators, but all this information is there.

East of the Urals you discover no such blackout. You discover a recorded tradition of wisdom which reaches back about 10,000 years. It contains religious philosophy that goes way beyond any religious practice.

Furthermore, we find in that same set of hymns, the theory of evolution which was brought forward in the west only a hundred years ago, or slightly less, by Charles Darwin. In fact, as we look at these hymns, we discover almost any information you want to discover later. Whether you call it science or what you wish, here is a tremendous body of knowledge. They are supposed to have come forward in spoken tradition, memorized, from generation to generation, and finally to have been set down. Now this is a western interpretation of what happened to them. I would not care to say how exactly correct this is but I can tell you that today these hymns are still in existence. They are very hard to acquire in the western world. You have to find the specialized translations of them and they are studied as curiosa more than anything else, but we do not know what sciences would suddenly open their doors should someone sit down and begin to study the Veda. We don’t know what would happen. But information seems to have leaked from that direction into the Middle East and into Europe rather constantly over the thousands of years.

Here is a tremendous body of knowledge which seems to have leaked from that direction into the Middle East and into Europe rather constantly over the thousands of years.  We are still rediscovering it today in science and humanities.

Man is fond of believing that yesterday’s man was unable to walk, to travel, to move. We find, however, that as late as 1200 B certainly, he had horses, and horses can go almost anywhere. He was able to make his way here and there across the surface of Earth and naturally when you get this, you get a transplantation of information. For instance, today anyone who knows China discovers nothing very strange in Italian cookery. And he would not discover it very strange that Italian cookery suddenly came into being shortly after the return of Marco Polo and many other travelers who had been in the same area. Just because one person wrote about it, is no reason a lot of people weren’t there. It is always a matter of astonishment to some member of the Explorer’s Club to go in and pick up all the information he needs about an area which is now wild and “completely unexplored”, from a white man or a Chinese — particularly the Chinese — who has been living there for the last forty years. And the explorer brings back the information and publishes it in journals and makes it available to people. The information collected by that white man or Chinese on the ground, would probably only be told to his family when he got home and not particularly broadcast at all. So we have to recognize that certain information is broadcast broadly and some is merely carried around. Marco Polo and even Batuta happened to be writers, and like writers, they wrote, but that is no reason to assume they were the only people in motion during the last 3,500 years.

There was considerable mobility among people of yesterday, which resulted in transplantation of information.

Thus it is no wonder that we discovered the various wisdoms of Egypt appearing as the earliest wisdoms of Greece. It is no wonder why we look into the Christian bibles and find ourselves reading the Egyptian Book of the Dead. It is no wonder that we look into the middle of the Romantic period of Europe and find that the Arabian Nights had just been translated and discover that European literature did a complete revolution at that point. We’re not stressing that nothing has ever been thought up in Europe — but Europe has made tremendous strides forward, immediately that its doors were opened to Eastern information.

We discover various wisdoms of Egypt appearing as the earliest wisdoms of Greece; and Europe making tremendous strides forward, immediately that its doors were opened to Eastern information.

Because the Eastern tradition says that you can sit and think, and sometimes somebody in the western world is reminded of this, and when he is reminded of it, he is struck by the fact that he can sit down and think too.

And if we have been taught anything, it is the patience of the East which permitted itself to stop acting long enough to find out how and why.

And it’s that tradition alone for which we are most indebted to Asia.

It is the tradition to sit and think patiently for which we are indebted to Asia.

But are we indebted to Asia? Is it to Asia at all, or is it merely to man on this planet, who, breaking into two halves, you might say, went east and went west — the common ancestors of Man. All of us have the same potentials, but it happens that the information which has been collected over the years is available in Asia. It has not been preserved in the Western world. Therefore, we look to such things as the Veda. We look to such things as the Buddhist text, to the Tao-Teh-King and other materials of this character from Asia, to carry forward to us information of the past. Who knows but what these materials did not come out of Europe in the first place and go over to Asia. We could follow very dubious tracks in all directions, but we do know as we sit here in the western world, that man has a tradition of wisdom which goes back about 10,000 years, which is very positively traceable. And we find Scientology’s earliest certainly known ancestor in the Veda. The Veda is a very interesting work. It is a study of the whereins and whereases and who made it and why.

In reality, we are simply indebted to common ancestors of man on this planet. It just happens that the information which has been collected over the years is available in Asia, but not preserved in the western world.

It is a religion. It should not be confused as anything else but a religion. And the very word Veda simply means: Lookingness or Knowingness. That is all it means. That is all it has ever meant. And so, we can look back across a certain span of time, across a great many minds and into a great many places where man has been able to sit still long enough to think, through this oldest record, and find where it joins up with the present and to what we, in Scientology, are rightly indebted. For to say that out of whole cloth and with no background, a Westerner such as myself should suddenly develop all you need to know to do the things they were trying to do, is an incredible and an unbelievable and an untrue statement. Had the information of the Veda not been available to me, if I had not had a very sharp cognizance of earlier information on this whole track, and if at the same time, I had never been trained in an American university, which gave me a background of science, there could not have been enough understanding of the western world to apply anything Eastern to and we would have simply had the Eastern world again. But the western world has to hit with a punch. It has to produce an effect. It has to get there. Nobody urged Asia to get there. You could sit on a mountain top for a thousand years and it was perfectly all right with everybody in the whole neighborhood. In the west, they pick you up for vagrancy. So, we combine the collective wisdom of all those ages with a sufficient impatience and urgency, a sufficiency of scientific methodology. I think, by the way, that Gautama Sakyamuni probably had a better command of scientific methodology than any of your Chairs of Science in western universities. We had to depend, though, upon scientific methodology and mathematics to catalyze and bring to a head the ambition of 10,000 years of thinking men.

In Scientology, we combine the collective wisdom of all those ages available in East with a sufficient impatience and urgency, a sufficiency of scientific methodology of West, to catalyze and bring to a head the ambition of 10,000 years of thinking men.

And if I have added anything to this at all, it has simply been the urgency necessary to arrive, which was fairly well lacking in the Eastern world.

Hubbard has done a wonderful job of clarifying and organizing the eastern wisdom so that it can be applied with the urgency it requires.

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FINAL COMMENTS

When we are up against philosophy, we are fortunately or unfortunately up against an Asian tradition.

Here is a tremendous body of knowledge which seems to have leaked from that direction into the Middle East and into Europe rather constantly over the thousands of years.  We are still rediscovering it today in science and humanities.

In reality, we are simply indebted to common ancestors of man on this planet. It just happens that the information which has been collected over the years is available in Asia, but not preserved in the western world.

In Scientology, we combine the collective wisdom of all those ages available in East with a sufficient impatience and urgency, a sufficiency of scientific methodology of West, to catalyze and bring to a head the ambition of 10,000 years of thinking men.

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Comments

  • Sam Ayers  On January 27, 2020 at 9:15 PM

    Hubbard is entirely too condescending to the West. The USA has contributed, by far, more knowledge and invention than any past or present Eastern Civilization, including the very invention of the Internet, following a long, long list of other major advancements and accomplishments. Hubbard thought the Eastern cultures were so advanced, that he decided to live in Clearwater, FL, USA, and to base Scientology there and in Los Angeles, CA, USA. There you have it.

    • vinaire  On January 27, 2020 at 9:34 PM

      USA has definitely contributed in the field of science and technology. But Hubbard is talking about overall knowledge that includes spiritual wisdom.

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