Project: Hubbard 1954: The Phoenix Lectures

This paper presents Chapter 9 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.



The four conditions of existence are actually variations of existence itself. They are certain attitudes about existence, and they are the basic attitudes about existence. Now we could include a great many more attitudes, and we would find that we were deriving them all from these four. But we could take these four and find out that we were deriving them all from one — Is-ness, or reality.

The basic condition of existence is Is-ness, or reality.

There has to be an Is-ness before you can do an Alter-is-ness. There has to be an Is-ness before you can do a Not-is-ness — unless of course you want to postulate it in reverse.

But we are talking now about this particular universe and how it got here and we discover as we look along the track, that these four conditions of existence, that all existence, presupposes the postulate known as TIME.

Now time is just a plain ordinary postulate which says that out of a non-consecutive beingness, which doesn’t exist forever, we would get then a parade of time. A time continuum.

TIME is the endurance characteristic of Is-ness.

There’s no forever, it would just be there — no forever, no instant involved. There just isn’t any consecutive existence at all. And then out of this we would have to make a postulate that there would now be consecutive existence, existences, or a consecutive series of states.

There is a continuity of varying states of the same thing, with those states having durations.

Now an individual who is simply occupying space without any energy involved whatsoever doesn’t have a good feeling about this. Without any space he could have a good feeling about it. No space, no energy, no continuum — he could have a fairly good feeling about this, but when he gets into the occupying of a space, now he has this feeling of foreverness unmocked. He makes that uncomfortable for himself, so he will now go on creating consecutive states of existence. He can have a game. Space is necessary to start this game but when you’ve just got space and nothing else, it’s rather unbearable. You’re already occupying, so there is an existence there, but it isn’t an existence which has any consecutive difference of state. And that’s real poor. This is a kind of feeling you run into in space-opera.

Nothing can occupy space without energy involved because space is the EXTENT of energy. If an individual is occupying space, then that individual must consist of energy. Space without energy is an inconsistency. The feeling of “foreverness” is really the feeling of nothing (no energy, no time, no space). To occupy space the individual must identify with some energy, which gives him duration. To have the feeling of forever, this duration must be infinite. To have infinite duration that energy must continue to exist in one shape or another. Thus, come about phenomena. The feeling of “space-opera” is a single cycle of infinite wavelength and infinite duration.

Here we have, then, a state of existence being conditional upon a time postulate which would include a space-energy manifestation, and this would be a simultaneousness.

Energy-space-time must be simultaneous. This must be so for physics too.

There would be no question about whether you made the postulate for space and energy before you made the postulate of time. There is no question of any postulate before or after because you have not postulated the postulate which causes a before or after, and that postulate would be time. So actually, to have a game, there must be a simultaneous action whereby you postulate space-energy-time — space, energy, continuous existence. Which is an As-is-ness of space — altered, energy — altered, time — altered. So these items have to have the time postulate with Alter-is-ness in them in order to get a persistence. That’s how it’s done in this universe. You don’t “just have to do this all the time”. But when those three consecutive postulates are made simultaneously, why we then have a continuum of existence, demarked by differences of position of the particle in the space and we have time being marked out for us very neatly. We have to alter positions in order to get a continuousness. We have to say it is here, now it’s here, now it’s here, now it’s here.

All three, energy-space-time, must maintain continuity at the fundamental level.

There’s another way of making time come true. We say space, no space, space, no space, space, no space, space, no space. You’re postulating, however, that you can do this before you can say space, no space, space, no space. Well now, this postulate is so easy for a thetan to make, it might be considered a native part of his makeup. So, we have before this an ideal state, that is to say an idealized or theoretical state. We have this theoretical state whereby we merely have a Static which has no space, no mass, no wavelength, no motion, no time, which has the ability to consider, and we are dealing with the basic stuff of life. Just by definition.

Buddha’s concept of EMPTINESS goes deeper then Hubbard’s concept of Static, because it is empty of thought (THETA) too, which Static is not. THETA (thought) and MEST (matter, energy, space and time) are not separate, but are integrated together. They cannot exist without each other. THETA-MEST are simultaneous and continuous. They have no beginning or end.

It is very peculiar that: “We, mixed up in all of this energy and so forth and way on down the track from the time this postulate was made” — do you see anything specious about the way that remark hangs together — “Way on down the track from the time this postulate was made” — “Very difficult and very strange that we could even discuss this higher state of existence which was made trillions of years ago”? No. You see, it must have been concurrent with this, right here, and so we don’t use the word existence, we use the word “is”. We don’t use the word “then” or “will be”, we don’t go back into the past or go into the future for this continuousness at all. It just is.

There is no one making postulates. There are simply certain principles that seem to underlie the structure of this universe.

Now, in past ages it was just: “Well, reality is reality and you’ll have to accept it. There’s nothing more you can know about it than that.” Oh yes, there is a lot more you could know about reality than simply, it is.

So, is is not a complete and embracive definition of reality. It’s not complete and embracive because reality has a certain mechanical structure and that structure is composed of these four states of existence. And it would actually take all these four states of existence to make the kind of existence which we are now living and that is to say, we would have to have Is-ness then Not-is-ness and Alter-is-ness and did it strike you before that we might have forgotten and might never have known about and it might not have had called to our attention directly, this other state? We’ve always had these three states, Alter-is-ness, Not-is-ness and Is-ness.

Alter-is-ness and Not-is-ness, of course, are variations of Is-ness and depend upon Is-ness. But there is a fourth one and that is As-is-ness. And that condition natively exists at an instant of creation, yet it also can be made to exist again any time anybody wants to make it exist again, simply by saying AS IS. If anybody had truly and actually accepted reality and had got all of his fellow beings to simply accept reality, we wouldn’t have any. But whose reality? Whose reality in each case? Somebody else’s. So, this reality was actually another condition, other-determined As-is-ness. Other determined. Which is Not-is-ness!

There is a certain Is-ness associated with each point on the Know-to-Mystery scale. That Is-ness moves upwards on the scale when As-is-ness is practiced. It moves downward on the scale when Alter-is-ness is practiced.

Too much Alter-is-ness results in Not-is-ness. It produces the unreality of total subjectivity. In the opposite direction, too much As-is-ness results in the Universal viewpoint, which produces the reality of total objectivity.

The way you get Not-is-ness is to say “as is created by you”. That’s an awful one, that’s a big curve, and that is Not-is-ness. It’s an As-is-ness created by somebody else, which of course isn’t an As-is-ness at all. It’s a very specious As-is-ness, and naturally the world would sort of look unreal to everybody if Joe Blow and Doctor Stinkwater and the Heavily Laden Order of Pyramids all said “This is reality and this is As It Is and you’d better accept it.” That’s a Not-is-ness, isn’t it?

So if everything starts to sort of dim down on you and you kind of find things going out, and getting sort of resistively thin — all transparent-but- they’re-there, or, they’re “all hung with black sheets” — you must assume at that time that you have faced up to too many As-is-nesses which somebody else created.

Not-is-ness is putting responsibility elsewhere, whereas, As-is-ness is taking responsibility. The two are opposite of each other.

Somebody else says, “This is the way things are.” And you’ve had that. You get that operation in conversation: “And yesterday you said to me, just when I got up, you said to me, you never work, you are a dirty loafer, you remember that, don’t you?” I think every familial unit of thetans should always have, not a Bible, but so and so’s Rules of Evidence, lying right there to be resorted to at any time, and there ought to be a Court in every neighborhood to which you could repair and decide whether or not this was an As-is-ness or a Not-is-ness.

Now what is a Not-is-ness? A Not-is-ness comes about in that exact manifestation, or simply by the separate postulate: “Well, it is and I regret it. It isn’t.” You know, you could have made it and then said it wasn’t. Oddly enough, if you made it and you know you made it, you have a special case of being in a position to say any time, “It doesn’t exist now,” and it won’t — if you have also accepted responsibility for having created something and said, “I made it.” So we see that there are two different conditions of Not-is-ness.

One is just vanishment.

The other one is an Is-ness which somebody is trying to postulate out of existence by simply saying “It isn’t.”

Not-is-ness, the way it is being used here, is not vanishment.

A Not-is-ness, in our terminology, would be this second specialized case of an individual trying to vanish something without taking responsibility for having created it. Definitive, positive and precise definition.

And the only result of doing this is to make it all unreal. To make it forgotten. To make it “back of the black screen”. To make it transparent. To make it dull down. To give it over to a machine. To wear glasses. Anything that you could possibly do to get a dimming- down of an Is-ness.

And that is done by saying just this, just this precise operation and no other operation: “I didn’t make it. It isn’t.” “I didn’t do it, so it doesn’t exist.’,

And that will always bring about this second condition, the one we give the term of Not-is-ness.

“I didn’t create it. I had nothing to do with it. I have no responsibility for this at all, so it doesn’t exist as far as I am concerned.”

An individual doesn’t have to operate on these postulates at all, but he is running on this makeup of postulates. He, of course, then will trigger in all the rest of his postulates and they’ll cross-reference in to sticking him right there with it. He’s Not-ised it and he’s got it.

Now he thinks the only way he can get rid of it is to dim it down, dim it down.

Not-is-ness by force simply dims down the Is-ness.

You can process a preclear on a gradient scale of change on something — and this is of great interest to us — if the gradient scale is back toward his acceptance of responsibility for having created it. It would not be far enough to go, as in Dianetics, simply to find out that your mother did it, that “it was what your mother said”. That wouldn’t be far enough to go. This is built into the woof and warp of the track, the very composite of postulates on which an individual is running.

You would have to go back this far: you would have to postulate: (1) that the time Mother said it was NOW, and, (2) that the time when Mother said it caused the time when I said it (a million or fifteen billion years ago) to key in. (key in (Verb): An earlier moment of upset or painful experience is activated, restimulated, by the similarity of a later situation, action or environment to the earlier one.)

To take responsibility means to sort out the situation objectively.

Every time somebody else can put one of your own pieces of mental machinery or one of your engrams into restimulation, it is only because he can work on something which was natively created by yourself. All things carry the germ of their own destruction.

So, any engram, as we were operating with it in Dianetics, was actually a key-in. When I discovered that the whole track ran back, back, back, back, BACK, it was, “Oh! We’re back to where the guy did it in the first place!” Well, that was very interesting, and one result was the essay on responsibility in Advanced Procedure and Axioms.* The essay on full responsibility.

When you are blaming the situation on somebody else you are not taking the responsibility for sorting it out to find the right cause. It doesn’t matter if you created that condition millions of years ago.

Well, a fellow did. He created the condition from which he is now suffering, and he didn’t even create it in other wise than he is now suffering it. But it has been keyed in and he has consented even to its being keyed in.

Nothing really is sneaking up on anybody. That’s a horrible thing, isn’t it? People haven’t even made it worse. But we’re having a good game. If that game is a game called psychosomatic illness, bereft lover, neglected baby, it’s still a game. And as such, the individual is still playing all roles.

A condition is created by certain factors coming together in a certain way. This is what needs to be sorted out.

Now what happens is that as an individual goes along the line, he starts identifying himself with the source point and receipt point of the communication line. As a child, he identifies himself as the one who is talked to. Very seldom do you discover a little child giving mother a good lecture. If you had, you probably would remember with great satisfaction, the good lecture you gave your mother.

Here is a condition in which the individual has identified himself with a continuous effect point, or a continuous cause point, and having said “I am now on this point,” he now makes his considerations below the level of that point. He has considered he is on that point. Henceforth all further considerations are monitored by this consideration that he’s on the point, as long as he considers he’s on that point. And he would have to recognize that he was on the point (an As-is-ness) before he would come off the point.

A process immediately occurs to us on such a level. If you just simply ask an individual a question such as this over and over and over and over:

“Where could you be, where you would be willing to recognize and realize that you were?”

And you would just run a gradient scale all the way back up the line, to the point where the individual recognizes, finally, “You know, I’m sitting right here!” There wouldn’t be any mysticism involved in this.

One simply has to take a pan-determined view to resolve a situation.

Now, these conditions of existence are composited up in an inter-dependency one upon another. An Is-ness exists only because of As-is-ness. As-is-ness took place in the first place. It got created. Then we had to alter it slightly to get an Is-ness. We had to give up some responsibility for it and we had to shift it around. A Not-is-ness then exists in order to provide a game.

Things are what they are. We just have to recognize them for what they are. That is As-is-ness. If we refuse to recognize them for what they are, then that is Not-is-ness.

A game is an Is-ness which is being handled by Not-is-nesses. A football game could be added up in terms of these conditions of existence. One side has the ball and the other side must Not-is the side that has the ball, and the side that has the ball has to win — in other words, has to arrive at a receipt point.

A game is simply a contest of skills to reach a goal.

We get the communication formula itself as being below the conditions of existence and we get affinity, reality and communication as simply being the methods by which existence is conducted. It is not the interplay of existences. So, we’re dealing with a higher echelon than ARC right now.

Affinity really is merely the consideration of how well it’s going. In the agreement or reality, itself we’re talking about Is-ness and that is the corner where we enter this ARC triangle. We just slide into that triangle of Affinity-Reality-Communication on that Is-ness point of reality, and then it is modified by affinity and communication, which of course come in simultaneously with it. We discover then that these conditions of existence would add up to all manifestations of behavior. There would be a great many of them. There would be a finite number, however. It would be the number of possible combinations, singly, doubly, trebly or quadruply, of these four conditions of existence. We get this individual who in only 75% of his life is trying to say Not-is to, another 10% of his life he’s giving an Alter-is, one hundredth of one per cent he’s giving an As-is, or trying to give an As-is to — and the remainder is Reality. Acceptable reality. And that would be just one makeup of a personality.

If we say that there is a gradient scale of Is-ness, a gradient scale of Alter-is-ness, a gradient scale of As-is-ness (which there isn’t) and a gradient scale of Not-is-ness, why we can see then that you could take these gradient scales and in one combination and another, have a character composited from them.

It is not true that there isn’t a gradient scale of As-is ness. A person goes up the Know-to Mystery scale toward the Universal viewpoint on a gradient of As-is-ness.

Characterization must be made up, in great degree, from these conditions of existence. Some space, some energy, and his considerations of Is-ness, Not-is-ness and Alter-is-ness. We would not say that any part of his characterization was made up of As-is-ness, because if it was it wouldn’t be there.

Characterization is made up of the position on the Know-to-Mystery scale.

One also has been trained to believe that loss is bad. This is just a reverse postulate, made just to keep life interesting. Loss is bad, therefore he has a tendency to avoid As-is-ness. Therefore, he will avoid duplication — he’ll avoid all kinds of things. He’s afraid he’ll unmock. He’s afraid he’ll vanish. Here he is struck in, eighteen feet thick, and you couldn’t get him out with a pneumatic drill, all scheduled to go back to the between-lives area (Between-lives area: The experiences of a thetan during the period of time between the loss of a body and the assumption of another. See A History of Man by L. Ron Hubbard) and pick up another baby. Silly, isn’t it? But it doesn’t matter too much. Any life or continuance, to him, has begun to be better than no life at all.

Such manifestations are part of Know-to Mystery scale that prevent a person from rising up the scale.

You could say, well then why would you process somebody? Well, let’s look at that. In order to accomplish a two-way communication, just after the basic and most rudimentary chitter chat, I would start asking somebody why he was being processed. And you know, I’m just wicked enough to go on asking the person why he is being processed for hours. Until he can at least find one reason why he is being processed. It’s a very interesting process. A preclear comes in saying, “Process me,” and you have always supposed they knew. Well, at this point they don’t have any idea at all why they want to be processed.

The desire to be processed goes against the desire to maintain status quo. Just sorting out this inconsistency may lead to some interesting results.

A process which would be quite powerful would be: “What wrongness or what wrong thing would you find other people would accept from you?” or “What could you do that was wrong that other people would accept?” and then “What wrongness could you accept from other people?” — back and forth and back and forth. Here goes the guy’s manners, his social pattern, his behavior pattern, and everything else will just go by the boards running that process but he won’t be able to tell you, first and foremost, why he’s being processed.

Processing resolves a person’s fixations, but the person is not aware of that.

He won’t be able to tell you he wants to feel freer. He won’t articulate any of these things. He’ll just sit there and want to be processed. What toward? Until you’ve gotten him to put a little time on the track, he will use “forever” in processing, because he’s sitting in forever.

The person just wants to be processed forever.

He isn’t moving on the time continuum. Well, if you can’t get him processing toward some goal or other or in some direction, he just makes processing the end all of everything and he’ll just go on being processed forever. But if he’s going to be processed forever, he’ll have to hold onto his aberrations forever, otherwise he couldn’t be processed forever, could he? And that’s why some cases stay so long in processing. It’s actually as elementary as that.

And so, he wants to hold on to his aberrations forever.

So, I have been sorely tempted to alter that early auditing step to just this: “Well now, give me some goals you have in processing.”

And just keep it up until it’s no longer forever, and the preclear has a future.

The person must have a goal in processing to have a future.



The basic condition of existence is Is-ness, or reality. Time is duration of Is-ness. Space is extents of Is-ness. Thus, space is occupied by is-ness. Is-ness consists of energy.  If an individual is occupying space, then he is part of this is-ness, and he has the characteristics of energy.

The feeling of “foreverness” is really the feeling of nothing (no energy, no time, no space). To have the feeling of forever, the individual must continue to exist as energy in one shape or another. Energy-space-time are simultaneous and continuous at the fundamental level. Going deeper, THETA-MEST are simultaneous and continuous with no beginning or end.

There are certain principles that seem to underlie the structure of is-ness. When alter-is-ness is practiced, the is-ness moves downward toward Not-is-ness of unreality on the Know-to-Mystery scale. And, when As-is-ness is practiced, the is-ness moves upward toward a Universal viewpoint of objectivity. As-is-ness is taking responsibility whereas, Not-is-ness is putting responsibility elsewhere.

A condition is created by certain factors coming together in a certain way. To take responsibility means to sort out those factors objectively from a pan-determined viewpoint. It doesn’t matter if you created that condition millions of years ago. Things are what they are. We just have to recognize them for what they are. That is As-is-ness.

Processing resolves a person’s fixations, but the person is not aware of that. The person simply wants to be processed forever, and so, he holds on to his aberrations. Therefore, a person must have a goal in processing to have a future.


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