Project: Hubbard 1954: The Phoenix Lectures

This paper presents Chapter 7 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.



All we need to know about existence is that it is. Whatever complexity it has, it still is. It isn’t ever was, which is a most interesting thing about this particular nomenclature. There isn’t any will-be-ness and there is no was-ness. There is simply Is-ness. Speak about existence, and people spontaneously add to it will-be-ness and was-ness. So existence is not the word we want. We want the word Is-ness. We want just the word we’re using. We want that which is.

The Dhyana makes the error of “beginningless and endless time” but that’s not really an error. Probably it is an error as far as the translation of the symbols is concerned. We don’t know that the symbols that were used by Gautama to describe this manifestation add up into English as beginningless and endless time. We’ve already crossed one language jump and so we know that much less of what he was actually saying. But it was an interesting thing that you could represent this by a continuous line which joined itself. Any kind of a complexity of circle, in other words, would represent the fact that we had a beginningless and endless somethingness.

Now, that is too complicated an explanation. In view of the fact that time depends upon a postulate you could say, yes, it is beginningless and endless. You could say as well that it is linear. You could say, as well, that it is continuous. You could say as well that it is Eastern Standard, or Sidereal — it doesn’t matter now how you qualify it, having once made the postulate, you can then go on making further postulates. Nobody is going to limit anybody in making postulates.

The existence is simply IS-NESS. It is never “was-ness” or “will-be-ness”. Time represents the enduring of energy. Therefore, “beginningless and endless time” actually means “beginningless and endless energy.” It means that the universe can neither be as-ised nor not-ised to nothing. This is also expressed the law of conservation of energy. The basic postulate here is energy and not time as Hubbard assumes. Please note that matter is simply a condensed form of energy.

But there happens to be, strangely enough, a true flying back of time. Time is a postulate. It doesn’t even have to be agreed on. You could have a time span all by yourself. You could shut your eyes and say, “and now I’ve sat here for a million years”. “In the next two seconds”, you could say, “I’m going to sit here for a million years”.

There’s nothing unheard of about this — that’s real time. Don’t be too baffled if you dream for five seconds about a five-hour time span. You’ve just re-postulated some time, that’s all.

Unless you continue to postulate time, you haven’t got any. And that’s the first and foremost thing you can know about time. That fellow who depends on a clock up there to move time for him, is going to get in trouble sooner or later. He’s going to get, “stuck on the track”, and “out of pace with his fellow man”, because he’s depending upon their agreement on time to give him time. The only way he can have time is to continue to postulate time.

A dream does not have to be consistent with reality. But a postulate that describes reality must be consistent with reality. IS-NESS is made up of all shades of duration of energy. Therefore, when we span attention over the whole IS-NESS, there is no past or future. You have time as the duration of energy, but you may not have the energy you want. You have to postulate energy to have time.

One of the roughest things that you will discover with anybody who is having trouble with his case is to have him put something on the future time track. He’ll look at that and say, “OH NO!” You say to someone, “Let’s make an appointment. Let’s make it at 2.05 this afternoon”. Oh no. That’s upsetting. That’s why when you talk to somebody on the street, you don’t tell him to come around to “see you later at your office”. You’ve undoubtedly picked up somebody who has attention on the subject of postulating time. The thing for you to do is take him right over to your office right now, if you possibly can. Don’t put something on the future time track for him any more than you can help, because the person here who is really in difficulty, who has all the usual human difficulties, psychosomatic ills and so forth, has stopped postulating time. And the moment he stops postulating time, he doesn’t have any.

Now, how much time has the fellow got and how much time is he rushing and how much time is he sitting still with — all these questions are very interesting except that it all depends on just this one fact: your individual is or is not postulating time for himself.

Looking over a very busy career I can see definitely the speed factor of composition as derived from strictly one postulate. I used to write about 100,000 words a month by writing three hours a day three days a week. Now, that’s a lot of words, but it never occurred to me that it was a lot of words. If you simply postulate that there’s that much action and it can fit into that much time, you have postulated the time. There’s nobody sitting there agreeing with you or disagreeing with you. Actually, you’re just walking free. Well, one might as well postulate eight million words in one hour per month. This was just saying how much physical universe time could be allocated to the time span which I was using in which to compose. You get that as a difference.

Let’s take somebody doing a job of work — you will find something very, very peculiar. You find somebody who is working like mad, he’s just working, working, working, he’s just got to get it all done got to get it all done — and the end of the day comes, and he’s got nothing done. It’s all in a confusion. He was awfully busy all day, but nothing happened.

And the next day he goes out and he’s so busy, he’s just got to do this, and he’s got to do that, and eventually you find him just sitting still, presenting a very funny and silly picture. He’s sitting still, not even moving, not even talking, not even writing, accomplishing absolutely nothing, and now he is telling you how awfully busy he is and how he hasn’t got any time and he’ll eventually collapse down to the point where he has no time of any kind whatsoever to employ on anything, and that’s why he’s sitting there. But that is perfectly reasonable to him. That’s perfectly reasonable.

He’ll get so that he can’t start anything. He has no time in which to start it, much less to finish it. So he starts in originally by saying, Well, I haven’t got time to finish it, then, I haven’t got time to do it well, then, I haven’t got time to do it, then, I haven’t even got time to start it. Then finally, I can’t think about doing it.

Putting something on the future time track is postulating certain energy and condensing it into reality. A writer is doing this when he is writing a long novel in a short span of mechanical (physical) time. When a person looks very busy and nothing is getting done, he is just running around in confusion. He is in figure-figure about how to postulate energy and put it in reality.

And that’s what happens to a person’s doingness. It’s his ability to postulate the amount of time, and the only confusion that you get into about this is the fact that we have an agreed upon time span.

But you might recognize that the time for an entire nation and an entire earth could thereby go awry.

How much can you do in an hour? What’s an hour? An hour is the length of time it takes for the sun to move fifteen degrees in the sky. Now the sun isn’t doing anything. What’s this co-ordination?

When a country can still postulate time or a world can still postulate time, then an hour would be a tremendous amount of doingness. They would have a festival at sunrise and a couple of games, and then along about noon, why, have a feast, and that leaves them all afternoon, that leaves them all afternoon completely empty and that would be a good time to go boating, and then they would have time to practice up for the dance they were giving that night. And then they would finish up about midnight and say, my, what an idle day! This is the amount of time they could postulate in terms of doingness. Do we have time to do it, or don’t we? That is the question.

It all boils down to postulating energy and condensing it into reality (within a mechanical time span) that produces the real sense of time. A person who is operating mechanically on fixed beliefs is not postulating fresh thoughts and putting them into action. He is not making any spiritual progress. He is stuck in time. This can happen to a whole group, or a whole nation.

Now in view of the fact that time itself is merely a postulate this is very simple to understand. If it’s a postulate — does it have an anatomy as such? Well, yes — it’s a complexity of postulates, the way you look at it in this particular universe at this time, but not really very complex. Time depends on change. In order to have time, you have to alter things, because Is-ness has a condition following it called Alter-is-ness — which has to take place for something to persist. This is the way the postulates have gone together which make up this universe — not the theoretical way in which they could go together to make up a universe.

Get these as different things. You could go about this just all out in an entirely different fashion and postulate time and still have time, but it would not necessarily be the postulates which were made, and are made, and are in this universe right here and now. It wouldn’t necessarily be the same set of postulates, if we suddenly just dreamed it up.

Mechanical clock time depends on mechanical changes. In order to have a real sense of time of making progress you have to change things by postulating energy and condensing them into reality. When we are as-is-ing we are postulating energy. When we are alter-is-ing and not-is-ing we are letting conditioning take over.

So, we have to subject the postulates of time to a little subjective proof and get ourselves a test on it. And we find that we can make things persist by changing them. If we keep on changing something and change it and change it and change it and change it we’re getting persistence. But actually, what we’re doing is postulating the time for it to persist in.

And when an individual has stopped postulating time, he has stopped perceiving. Perception and the postulate of time are identical phenomena. Perception and postulation are the same thing here.

You should recognize, in auditing, very clearly, that time is a postulate. When you are working with a preclear who is having difficulty perceiving, you know that there is something wrong with the time postulate. Therefore, there is something wrong with change.

Underlying mechanical change, we have conditioning. Things simply persist in a fixed manner. Real changes occur when one is continually postulating energy. Things then persist as they are postulated. But any postulation of fresh energy must be consistent with earlier postulations of energy.

Alter-is-ness is that part of the time postulate which we can most evenly and closely observe. And we find that changing things brings time into being. It causes a persistence and the mechanism of Alter-is-ness gives us a perception of time.

In alter-is-ness the changes are rather mechanical. They are like the changes in the position of the hand of a clock, or the changes in the position of Earth around the Sun. They are like the continuation of a lie. Therefore, the mechanical time is continuation of the duration of energy that is otherwise fixed.

We find that somebody who is in a state where he believes he is about to perish will then try to change everything in his vicinity, right up to the point where he knows certainly that he is perishing, at which moment he will simply succumb, bang, and he will cease to exist or persist as that particular individuality and he as himself without that individuality will proceed on and pick up another body.

We get the tremendous amount of change or accomplishment which has to take place immediately before death. Here we have people all around the place who aren’t doing anything. Their affairs are in horrible condition.

If we were to carry a little black bag and a stethoscope (that’s the Badge of Office — a little black bag and a stethoscope. One doesn’t quite know what they do with the stethoscope but it’s interesting. It won’t detect even whether a person is dead or not. A stethoscope is actually a reactive dramatization of the Serpent of Caduceus) and we walk up to somebody and say, “My dear fellow I must inform you,” having tapped the stethoscope against his chest so he knows he’s being hit by a snake, “I must inform you that we have just learned through this diagnosis that you only have three months to live.” The odd thing about this is that you would see a busy man promptly. He’ll really get busy. He’ll sit down in a slump for a moment or two. That’s just the impact. And then he’ll say, Let’s see. Time. Time. Oh. Alter-is-ness, Alter-is-ness, Alter-is-ness, Alter-is-ness, Alter-is-ness, change, change, got to get my will straight, got to get this straight, got to get that straight, got to get Mary moved out of that house into the other house I’m having built. Gotta have this and that, and the months go by and the years go by and he’s still alive.

Well, he’d say the doctor was wrong. No, the doctor wasn’t wrong, as of the conditions of that moment, the experience of the doctor demonstrated to him that people who had this illness (who had not been told that they had only three months to live) died in three months. What he’s left out of it is the factor on people who have been told they only have three months to live. You tell somebody that he has only three months to live and he will throw into gear the only mechanism available to him to cause persistence in this universe. And that is Alter-is-ness. And he would change, change, change. He right away has to change his condition. That is the first thing he thinks of. One might think that it is just natural that he would do that. No. We’re talking on a higher echelon of philosophy. You tell him he’s only got three months to live, this is an unacceptable fact to him you say, therefore he’s got to change his condition. No — worse than that. Worse than that. If he has no time persistence, he has to change his condition. The one thing he can do from which he can gain persistence is Alter-is-ness.

When a person believes he is about to perish he will try to change everything in his vicinity to get the feeling of persistence. There is a tremendous amount of accomplishment at this point. When he perishes, he simply ceases to exist as that individuality. His atoms, molecules and energy particles may continue.

If he would simply change the furniture around in his office because he can do that successfully, he’d live a little longer. It’s unsuccessful changes which fixate a person and cause a Not-is-ness to occur. Now unsuccessful and successful are themselves postulates. “I am this individual and this individual is supposed to persist” versus “I am this individual and this individual is not supposed to persist”. You could make up your postulate that way just as well as the other way.

But the accepted chain of considerations which go to make up, for example, art criticism, appreciation, win-lose and so on — we just have a set of considerations. These changes are successful as long as the individual is doing it, and the changes are unsuccessful as long as somebody or something else is doing it. And that’s very much part of the win-lose factor and also of the time factor. That’s self-determinism. One merely has made the postulate that as long as one does it one is successful. As long as one is able to accomplish the postulate this makes up wins. I am now going to pick up my right finger. I pick up my right finger. I won. That is, I made the postulate good.

What has happened to the preclear is that he has made the postulate and then something has contraried [opposed] the postulate to such a degree that he is fixed. He is fixed and cannot change.

Changes that a person makes are successful in making him persist when he is postulating energy to make time. But when changes are simply being made mechanically without energy being postulated, then such changes are unsuccessful in making the individual persist.

It just works out that way in this universe — not necessarily the most optimum set-up that could be made. When you made a postulate and then didn’t accomplish the goal postulated in that postulate (remember you were postulating time to postulate a goal) when you were unable to reach that particular attainment, then, of course, you hadn’t changed anything.

Time is made by changing the position of something in space and so we get all of the neutrons and the morons vibrating at a vast rate of speed, but a uniform rate of speed, changing their positions in space. Well then, we can look around at several of these particles such as the sun, earth and other things, see that they’re changing their relationships to each other in space at a uniform rate, and having perceived this, why then of course, we are looking at a change in time.

There is no such commodity as time, it isn’t anything that could be poured from one bucket to the other but then this does not take place until a postulate is made concerning it. And in this universe the postulate had to do with change of location in space. And when it occurred, then time occurred.

There is mechanical change that leads to mechanical time, and then there is the change that a person decides to make and accomplishes it. This gives the person time that is postulated into existence. Time is duration or persistence of energy.

You could change — the location of something in space simply by lying about it. And you’d get a persistence. You’d come off of the As-is-ness. The moment you change something’s location in space you come away from As-is-ness and it doesn’t unmock and so you get persistence.

The moment you come off As-is-ness, what you are saying is something different than what is. This is a change (lie), and that change shall now persist. Thus, there is time postulated.

Now an individual is as well off as he can change things in location in space. Looking at the Pre-Logics, which precede the Logics and Axioms of Dianetics, we find that they have to do with an energy, and they tell you that a thetan is an energy-space production unit, that a thetan can change objects in location in space, and right next to that we have the fact that a thetan can create objects to change in space of his own creation. In other words, he can do all of these things and we get, in this universe (and this is pretty common in universes) those postulates as the conditional postulates upon the universe. Then one makes another postulate, that something can persist, and this postulate is represented as time, so when we locate something in space, we are actually working with the time postulate. Persistence.

Change in space means change in the extents of energy, for space represents the extents of energy. Hubbard postulates “thetan” as the cause of change, but all we know is that there is a change beyond conditioning. It is the universe changing on its own. This is the spiritual characteristic as opposed to the conditioned (mechanical) characteristic.

Hubbard separates spiritual and mechanical characteristics, which is typical of western philosophy. But per Eastern philosophy, spiritual/mechanical characteristics are integrated in the universe. It is the universe that is changing itself. That change is persisting as evolution.

If you observe that somebody has failed often, then what do you mean by failed? He has decided to move something in space and then hasn’t. In this universe, that’s the total anatomy of failure. Of course, he could simply postulate that he’d fail and that’s another anatomy of failure. He’s always free to do that. You can yourself do that. Not to remedy anything as an auditing procedure or anything of the sort — just simply say to yourself that you failed, for any cause, reason or anything else, just, “I failed and therefore I have to feel a certain way” and then feel that way.

A person represents that part of the universe that is trying to evolve. He may or may not succeed in making a change beyond the conditioned change.

You could do that, or you could simply postulate, I’ve won, I’ve not won something, just postulate that you’ve won, and the conditions of winning are feeling good, which is part of the woof and warp of postulates, “And therefore I feel good” — giving you a reason to feel good. Why don’t you just postulate that you feel good?

You cannot just make an arbitrary change. Any change you make must continue the evolution that has taken place; it must be in harmony with what exists; and it must not generate an inconsistency. That is the law of evolution.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a winner, doing this. There is no sensible concatenation here, we are only talking about an agreed upon concatenation. This universe, and the postulates which formed it, is not necessarily the best universe that could be made. It just happens to be the universe we’re sitting in and it happens to be the universe in which our postulates are being made and unmade and it just happens that it went together on these four conditions of As-is-ness, Alter-is-ness, Is-ness and Not-is-ness, and these four conditions woven together make this universe act as it does and behave as it does and give you ideas of what a win is and what a lose is and it’s all on a postulate basis.

You may postulate anything, but it may not necessarily be consistent with the environment around you. To make it consistent you’ll have to change the environment too, otherwise, you are simply conditioning your mind. It is like self-hypnotism.

But the most curious manifestation in all of this is the manifestation of time, and we have this matter of time occupying a considerable part of the field of aberration. And that is because time is the one postulate when an individual begins to depend on other determinisms more than any other.

Time represents what is persisting. And what is persisting is either an actual evolution of knowledge or a conditioned (deluded) mind. In other words, you are either going up the Know-to-Mystery scale, or you are going down.

We see the sun moving and we take our cue from the sun as to how much time we have. We see clocks moving and we take our cue from them as to how much time we have. And that tells us how much persistence we have. So, we’re being told by these objects whether we can live or not. And that’s just the most curious of things in this universe, that one would take his cue as to whether or not he was going to persist, from whether or not the sun moved a certain direction and distance. It’s idiotic. So, the sun did a figure eight. If I’m not dependent upon sunlight I am certainly not going to cease to live just because of the sun. And a thetan is not dependent upon sunlight. Quite the contrary, a thetan is dependent for his well-being on manufacturing his own jolly old energy. He’s not dependent on the sun manufacturing his energy for him. That’s just an intricate hook-together. And that again depends on postulates.

To reflect sanity, any postulate you make must be continuous, harmonious and consistent with the universe that exists.

The postulate of time could be simply cleanly made, in some universe, saying “Well, there will now be a continuance for one and all”, and that would be that. But that wasn’t the way it was made in this universe. It was made on the basis that when As-is-ness is postulated, in order to get a persistence, we have to practice Alter-is-ness. We have to change the location of something to get a persistence.

Hubbard is trying to separate the abstract notion of persistence from whatever is persisting. The abstract notion of persistence is TIME. What is persisting is ENERGY.  You cannot have TIME without first postulating ENERGY. It is like trying to separate the abstract notion of GOD from the UNIVERSE that is being abstracted. You cannot have GOD without first postulating the UNIVERSE.

People get inverted on this in this universe, so that they take an Is-ness and they change it in location, and it starts disappearing. Suppose you have a person move a postulate around with a mass of energy. He starts moving it around — and the energy mass starts disappearing. But what started disappearing was the energy mass, wasn’t it? It was not the postulate, particularly. He just got used to that postulate and he finally took it over as his own postulate. And a person could finally say, well if I move something around, it will disappear. He has made a counter-postulate.

He is perfectly at liberty to make a counter postulate, but this is not the postulate on which this universe is made. This universe is rigged so that that postulate will avail not, to an individual. That’s part of the considerations that make it up. If you’ve got something and then you say it doesn’t exist — you’re stuck with it. That’s this universe.

Hubbard is basically talking about conditioned thinking versus creative thinking, which refers to different views of time. Conditioned thinking is operating on mechanical alter-is that is fixated attention. Creative thinking operates on “seeing things as they are” basis of As-is-ness. Here the attention is free.

Alter-is-ness produces a persistence, but then we get two types of persistence. We get persistence as Is-ness and we get a persistence as Not-is-ness. The fellow is persisting, but he doesn’t want to be there. Well, he’s persisting because he doesn’t want to be there. This, too, is a change, although he’s fixed in a locale. And secondly there is the fellow who is persisting because he wants to be there and he’s persisting because of change. They’re both Alter-is- nesses. An individual’s desire to change continues his persistence in the spot he’s in, if he continues his persistence in the spot he’s in, if he cannot move. But he had to postulate that he couldn’t move before this could happen. And so, we get the dwindling spiral of the MEST universe.

Hubbard is sounding abstruse here because he does not see that As-is-ness also brings about a change, but that change is opposite in direction to the change brought about by Alter-is-ness. Hubbard is looking at As-is-ness as complete disappearance, rather than disappearance (of misinterpretations) on a gradient.

We sometimes see the manifestation of accumulating energy on a preclear. Every time a preclear has said, Now I am going to move, and hasn’t moved, or has said, Now I am moving and I am going to continue moving, and he is stopped (walking down the street, walks into a lamp post) — any time this has occurred, he has lost, which is to say, he has got a counter-postulate. So, he adds up loss as stationary.

Failure occurs when one is unable to postulate energy and condense it into reality.

This universe, you see, brands everything which isn’t moving as innocent. And things that are moving are guilty, always. So, he’s lost. Well how do you lose, then? By getting fixed in a location. That’s how you lose. An individual who is unable to move objects out of a certain location eventually gets to a position where, when he is trying to move these objects out of this location, he recognizes a failure and so he goes into apathy. He says, “I don’t have enough energy to do this”.

Then the person goes into apathy and stops postulating.

What nonsense! If he doesn’t have energy enough to move energy, why doesn’t he just postulate it someplace else? But that’s another thing. He could say it is as it is and it would disappear and then he could postulate its existence somewhere else, and then change that around so it couldn’t be disappeared again, and he’d be all set. What’s he doing picking things up?

Hubbard is ignoring the fact that postulation of energy needs to be condensed into realty, otherwise, it reduces to a mere mental game.

A drill — simply in moving things and putting them back in the same place again — will resolve this consistent continuous failure and so you get a process such as Opening Procedure by Duplication and its tremendous effectiveness. If it is done with a little bit heavier objects than is ordinary then an individual recognizes very thoroughly that he can pick up and put back into place the same object and win, not fail. You’ve changed the basic postulate by which he is working in this universe, which is saying that if he can’t move, and that he has failed.

When a person decides to do something but is stopped from doing it, he is stuck with an incomplete cycle of action. The person gets fixated on that cycle and goes into apathy. Opening Procedure by Duplication teaches a person that one can come out of fixation by moving things and putting them back in the same place again. In other words, he can disengage, regroup and try again.

However, that may be, we have these various conditions and the immediate point here is that time depends, in this universe, on Alter-is-ness. At least the desire to change. Anybody who is desiring to change is persisting in time, and people who do not want to change do not persist in time. The whole universe is rigged around these postulates.

Time simple equates with persistence. The change, which is made, persists. That change can be negative (alter-is-ness), or it can be positive (as-is-ness).



In this chapter Hubbard is talking about change and persistence. Once a change is made, it persists over what was there before. We observe this persistence as time. This is the IS-NESS of the universe. The IS-NESS is always persisting. The ancients mention it as “beginningless and endless time”. IS-NESS is made up of all shades of duration of energy. Therefore, when we span attention over the whole IS-NESS, there is no past or future.

Postulating fresh thought energy and condensing it into reality is a spiritual characteristic. Such a postulate is consistent with the existing reality and simply enhances it. This characteristic is reflected in the evolution of the universe.

You cannot just make an arbitrary change. Any change you make must continue the evolution that has taken place; it must be in harmony with what exists; and it must not generate an inconsistency. That is the law of evolution.

You may postulate anything, but it may not necessarily be consistent with the environment around you. To make it consistent you’ll have to change the environment too, otherwise, you are simply conditioning your mind. It is like self-hypnotism.

Time represents what is persisting. And what is persisting is either an actual evolution of the universe or simply the mind’s delusion of change. In other words, you are either going up the Know-to-Mystery scale, or you are going down.

Hubbard is basically talking about conditioned thinking versus creative thinking. Conditioned thinking sees delusionary change (alter-is-ness). Creative thinking translates into actual change (as-is-ness). The change, which is made, persists. That persistence appears as time.


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  • Sam Ayers  On February 14, 2020 at 8:38 AM

    From the industrial revolution through the information revolution and on to today there has been massive change.

    Steve Jobs of Apple Computer brought massive change during the information age. But now he is dead, expressing his life regrets on his death bed.

    Time is not about man’s relationship with the variants of is-ness. Rather, time is about man’s relationship with God. Restoring Hubbard and mapping LRH 2.0 into Buddhism is an alter-isness that will not add a second to your life. In the end, you will regret every moment spent on that work, wishing you had spent more time with your wife, family and friends. As your soul persists beyond death you will long for eternal life with Jesus.

    God is not bound by time. God is not bound by the speed of light. If Einstein’s equations are correct, and even if they are not correct, God is not bound to a specific directional flow of time. God is the master and creator of time.

    “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.


    Revelation 22:12-13 NIV


    • vinaire  On February 14, 2020 at 9:20 AM

      The trouble with your logic is that you think you know God. But God is undefined.


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