E-Meter and OT Auditing

Reference: Scientology Grade Processes

The E-meter (Electropsychometer) used in Dianetics and Scientology auditing is described as follows.

“An electronic instrument for measuring mental state and change of state in individuals, as an aid to precision and speed in auditing… the meter tells you what the preclear’s mind is doing when the preclear is made to think of something. The meter registers before the preclear becomes conscious of the datum. It is therefore a pre-conscious meter.”

The preclear (person being audited) holds two cans that are connected to the E-meter. The meter reads when the mind of the preclear reacts to the auditing question. Obviously, this reaction is automatic, and not the result of any conscious thought.

So, the meter cannot tell you anything about what the preclear’s mind is doing beyond registering an automatic reaction.

E-meter is useful at the beginning, when one is starting to resolve one’s case. At this stage the reactions are pretty sharp. So it is useful in tracing down and resolving engrams. But engrams on a case are few. As those engrams are resolved and the awareness of a person increases, he gains confidence in recognizing his own automatic reactions faster, more accurately and in a more intimate fashion. This kind of knowingness is accompanied by recognition of outpoints.

Reaction of the e-meter may point only to some tension. This has limited usefulness since no definite conclusion can be drawn about the question being asked.

The meter itself does not discover any datum. It is the investigation triggered by the detection of the mental reaction that helps one discover the data in auditing.

For example, when you study you know intimately when something does not make sense. You can narrow down any misunderstanding from a chapter to a paragraph to a sentence to a word. You can do this precisely without the aid of an e-meter.

The intimate reaction in the mind is always accompanied by the person’s own knowingness. You never have to search for an answer when there is knowingness.


E-meter versus Knowingness

It seems that Hubbard never considered the possibility that the preclear could himself sense the mental reaction in auditing. This is because the people he started his research with were patients in hospitals who were quite sick. So, he did not have much cooperation from the research subjects. This research of Hubbard led to Dianetics, which explores the psychosomatic cause of disabilities. Here the E-meter is demonstrably a useful tool.

E-meter is a useful research tool in that it may help select an area for further inspection from a list of items. But this is useful only when that list is small and complete.

But later, when Hubbard’s research expanded into Scientology, he was no longer dealing with a few Dianetic engrams that existed below the level of awareness. He was dealing with a large quantity of fixations in people. The auditing approach allowed easier gradient for spotting things. The people on whom these auditing processes were applied were more willing and cooperative.

The fact is that by the time a person is through basic Scientology exercises such as TR0, and some auditing, his internal senses are trained enough to detect mental reactions. And after he has achieved the state of Clear, he can be expected to perceive mental reactions better than the E-meter.

Knowingness increases with auditing and it, ultimately, supersedes the practicality of the E-meter.

But Hubbard continued with the use of E-meter in Scientology.


Background Noise

There is always a background noise in the mind in the form of constant mental chatter. If you sit still for a moment and not think, you will soon become aware of this chatter that goes on continuously. This background noise also makes the meter needle move randomly at high sensitivity, which appears like “static.”. In auditing, the auditor is reading the meter against this background static.

One may read the meter usefully only when the meter reaction is distinct from the background static.

But as the preclear moves up the Grade Chart, the meter reaction get smaller and become more difficult to differentiate from the background static. Therefore, the reads to auditing questions are more often missed or taken up falsely. This leads to “overrun” in auditing and case difficulties, which now require “correction lists” to handle.

There is no evidence that Hubbard investigated this background noise.


Correction Lists

E-meter still is a handy device when auditing new people on the lower grades in Scientology. But as the person moves up the Grade Chart, the successes become fewer and far in between, and the use of “Correction Lists” proliferates. The very fact that one has to use correction lists in auditing points to errors. These errors become more frequent as one goes up the Grade Chart.

This situation of errors becoming more frequent led Hubbard to introduce complex administrative actions as part of the auditing procedure so one could trace the causes of errors and prevent them from occurring. But this did not handle the situation.

Correction lists become less accurate in spotting the cause as they became lengthy with lots of items.

Hubbard always blamed auditors for making errors, because from his viewpoint the auditing processes could not be faulted. However, in spite of the best efforts made to train auditors, the errors in auditing continued.

Hubbard never suspected that the problem was with the limited capability of the E-meter.



The principle of auditing is that one should take up only those items to which the mind reacts. The reaction and answer to auditing question follows almost immediately. Ask yourself for your favorite vacation spot, and the mind will immediately react followed by the knowledge of that favorite spot.

When you ask the preclear a question to which there is no reaction, the preclear does not have knowingness for the answer. But there may be an E-meter reaction due to background noise, and the preclear may think there is an answer not known to him. He then starts to randomly search for an answer in his mind, and when he doesn’t find the right answer anxiety sets in. This is called “self-auditing” in Scientology.

Self-auditing occurs in an auditing session in the form of a random search for an answer when the meter is not read correctly.

Hubbard had placed strict injunction against self-auditing because things can go dangerously awry when a person engages in it. But he could not stop it from happening in auditing sessions.

Unfortunately, Hubbard never suspected the inherent limitation of the E-meter.


The Discipline of Auditing

Hubbard considered Buddhism to be the ancestor of Scientology, and thought that he could improve upon it. The discipline taught by Buddha twenty-five centuries ago was mindfulness.

Mindfulness simply means, “Observe things as they are.” We find this concept appearing in Scientology as OBNOSIS (observing the obvious) or AS-IS-NESS. When this principle is applied in auditing, a “no reaction” should be observed as a “no-reaction” and no further action should be taken.

The questions to which the mind does not react should be strictly left alone. When in doubt it is safer to leave the question and not take it up.

Hubbard knew this principle, but he ignored the fact that the E-meter could react but to specifically to the question being asked. This is where the knowingness of the preclear becomes important. But Hubbard did not trust that knowingness. He wanted a mechanical procedure that was fool proof.

The knowingness is very important and it can be developed further by training on the following 12 aspects of mindfulness:

  1. Observe without getting influenced by your expectations and desires.
  2. Observe things as they are, without assuming anything.
  3. If something is missing do not imagine something else in its place.
  4. If something does not make sense, do not explain it away.
  5. Use physical senses as well as the mental sense to observe.
  6. Let the mind un-stack itself.
  7. Experience fully what is there. 
  8. Do not suppress anything from yourself.
  9. Associate data freely.
  10. Do not get hung up on name and form.
  11. Contemplate thoughtfully.
  12. Let it all be effortless.

With mindfulness, a person can easily differentiate the mental reaction from the background noise even when it cannot be so determined by the meter. The preclear will know when there is no reaction.

When the person feels that there is no-reaction to a question or an item, he must not take it up, even when it reacts on the E-meter.

This enables a person to become free of the liability of the E-meter and audit himself much faster up the OT Levels.


OT Levels

By the time the person reaches the OT Levels in Scientology, the auditing becomes so extensive that it may take years to complete a level. The person must note down all the meter reads and perform other administrative details in his solo auditing to be able to trace back any errors. This becomes a big distraction, but he is required to do it.

OT Level 1 attempts to broaden the viewpoint of a person by the use of OBNOSIS, so the use of E-meter is minimal. But on OT Level 2, the E-meter is used heavily to flatten the reads on an incredible number of significances generated by large permutations and combinations of basic concepts. It is a grinding process.

When a read is generated by some emotional reaction or a misunderstood word then simply grinding that read down makes no sense. This makes OT Level 2 a shot gun method to handle some valid reactions on significances. But most of the time one seems to be chasing questionable reads on a whole lot of significances.

E-meter errors are much more probable on OT Levels, and they go unhandled.



The use of E-meter is increasingly unnecessary as one moves up the Grade Chart of Scientology. By the time one reaches the OT Levels, E-meter becomes more of a liability than aid. The E-meter should be replaced by the discipline to develop knowingness as described above.

When the person feels that there is no-reaction to a question or an item, he must not take it up, even when it reacts on the E-meter.

This conclusion is vital when it comes to the OT Levels.


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  • vinaire  On August 8, 2022 at 4:41 AM


    When the e-meter’s needle reacts on a question it doesn’t necessarily means that the answer to the question be interpreted as YES or NO. It simply means that there is a charge on how the question is interpreted by the mind.

    A needle reaction does not even mean that the question being asked is correctly being interpreted by the mind. It could be interpreting the question in a way that it was not meant. When dating people using the e-meter come up with a date of some incident like 3,296,843,125 years ago. This is highly doubtful as being correct. It simply means that the person, in locating that incident, has encountered some kind of misalignment with the background; but the person does not necessarily have an idea what that misalignment is. The e-meter is not reacting to that particular number in the person’s mind.

    Hubbard got the past track data contained in the book: HISTORY OF MAN, with E-meter’s help. But all that data is suspect, because when you ask a question, such as, about your identity in a past life, you may get a picture, but that picture may represent something else just like a dream does. 



    Unfortunately, Hubbard used the E-meter to validate whole track’s content. That was a waste and a misdirection.


  • vinaire  On August 8, 2022 at 4:43 AM

    It is my view that the E-meter may be used effectively in LIFE REPAIR and DIANETICS R3R. It is very likely that the person goes clear on Dianetics. After that Subject Clearing may be used and no E-meter is necessary.


    • Chris Thompson  On August 19, 2022 at 10:57 AM

      I know the Scn definition for Clear, but what definition are you using for Clear? If you’ve already stated it, please just remind me.


      • vinaire  On August 19, 2022 at 12:45 PM

        In my view, a CLEAR is a person who has realized that he is responsible for his own case. He is now taking responsibility for it. There is still a lot to handle on the case. One is now struggling against confusion mostly.


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