Project: Hubbard 1954: The Phoenix Lectures

This paper presents Chapter 17 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.



Although you discover in examining existence that consideration is senior to all other things, you have in any preclear who is living in the physical universe, who is still associating with a body, an enforced mechanic. In other words, the mechanics of existence are enforced upon him consistently and continually. Therefore, mechanics are much more important to this individual than considerations. He goes on an inversion. He is found not really considering — he is not making a postulate and having something come true — he is trying to figure out who’s to blame — that’s one of the main things he’s trying to do. He’s trying to figure out when that ridge in front of his face is going to go away. He’s waiting until the auditor does something spectacular.

He’s doing a lot of things, but first and foremost he is contactable in the field of mechanics, not in the field of considerations. Considerations are prior to mechanics. This is obvious. But your preclear has gotten to a point where he is inverted on the subject and by his day-to-day living he is closer into contact with mechanics than he is considerations and yet there he is considering.

Well, he’s never going to recover from anything considering. He might figure he’s way out of the trap. He might think he’s way out of it, but as long as we approach the problem as really a purely mechanical problem of a set of convictions rather than considerations, we’ll be successful with the preclear.

Considerations are at the Theta end of the spectrum. Mechanics are at the MEST end of the spectrum. They are part of the same spectrum and they influence each other. Existence is made up of both considerations and mechanics. A person gets increasingly fixated as he goes down the Know-to-Mystery scale. Instead of considering he is operating more by convictions. He is prone to blaming others.

And the first and foremost of his convictions is that it is very aberrative to communicate. This he’s certain of. He may have lots of other certainties, but that one he’s actually very certain of and we discover that the only thing that is punishable in this universe is communication — non-communication is not punishable.

We discover that the inanimate object is not guilty. It was the animate object which was guilty. We discover that the driver who was going faster than the other driver was always to blame.

This, by the way, is not even vaguely true. It’s just the way people look at things to keep them turned around so that they don’t have to take responsibility and make everything disappear.

So, we discover, as we look over this problem, that our preclear is certain that if he communicates, he will be punished. He has communicated in the past. He has tried to talk to people. And he has met with the greatest contribution of psychiatry, for instance, the pre-frontal lobotomy. It would do just as much good to cut up some calves’ brains lying in the butcher’s window, as it would to cut up someone’s brain and psychiatry knows this. They know it very well. They have never made anybody well with pre-frontal lobotomies or trans-orbital leucotomies.

They go on doing it because a psychotic’s condition is desperate, and they compute that they of course have to be desperate in treating it. They have therefore nothing but solid failures behind them. That is not a condemnation. That is just the truth of the matter.

By the way, the only reason they do a pre-frontal lobotomy is — because people can often survive it. That is what is stated in the original case history on this.

Just as long as I’ve mentioned that subject, I might give you a little data on it. The first and original case history of this, and the only case history that’s quoted in psychiatry, is of an idiot blacksmith’s helper who approached the forge, and the forge exploded, and a crowbar flew through the air and drove into his right temple and came out at his left temple. And he survived this. You look in vain in that case history to discover whether anything happened to his idiocy. We find that no change occurred with regard to his idiocy. But a part of his brain had been removed and he did survive, and this is the sole authority to this day for doing prefrontal lobotomies.

In another case they did a pre-frontal lobotomy on a fellow, and they put him on display, and somebody asked him whether he noticed any change in himself as a result of the pre-frontal lobotomy. And he looked very solemnly and somewhat covertly around, and he said, “Yes. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut.”

So that is the basic lesson anybody learns in this universe. They learn to keep their mouths shut, and it’s the wrong lesson. When in doubt, talk. When in doubt communicate. When in doubt shoot. And you’ll be very successful all the way along the line if you just remember that.

There’s no compromising with this. A thetan is as well off as he can communicate, and he’s no better off than that. And when a restraint comes upon his communication, then he starts to wind up and finish up and that is the end of him. So, our preclear sits there, and he is sure that if he communicates, he’ll be punished. Anything he says will be used against him. They’ve told him so for many lives. Anything that he cares to bring up — he knows that the person he brings it up to is going to make fun of it, going to dive on it, going to challenge him with it and so on. He’s certain of this, and that if he happens to impart any immediate secret of his existence, he knows it will undoubtedly be on the radio by four o’clock that afternoon. So, he will approach a session with considerable diffidence. He will not be sure what he should say. As an extremity of human duress which can be used to illustrate this, let’s take the case of a psychotic. This person had a terrible obsession. It was just a fantastic obsession. He would not talk because he knew that if he said anything, the person he said it to would carefully store it up and wait for the right time to use it against him. And this was all this person would tell you! This person would utter that sentiment in one way or another — it was a one hundred percent psychotic dramatization — but it lay straight across his communication line. This person was utterly insane, could not take care of the body or perform menial tasks or anything else, and yet this person would just go over and over that record — “Well, if I said anything you would store it up and you’d wait for the right time and you’d use it against me.” And then the person would clam up. Try to get him into communication again — he’d go through this same routine.

Well, let me assure you of something, a person doesn’t have to be psychotic to have that basic manifestation in this universe. They’re not even vaguely psychotic and they have it. They adjudicated their own sanity by knowing when to talk and when not to talk, and it starts to peel down to a point where they know. They know when not to talk, and when to talk. And then they know WHEN NOT TO TALK, you see, and when to talk. And then — silence. And that’s the way the cycle goes.

So, don’t for a moment suppose that Step 1 (Get into two-way communication with the preclear) is included as just a handy way to start a session. It’s processing.

Your preclear is accessible ordinarily on the Third Dynamic — groups. This is probably the last dynamic to fold up. They carry a social dynamic all the way through. Processing itself is a Third Dynamic situation, and so is aberration. It’s the thetan plus the body that can bring about an aberrative state. It’s the thetan plus the Sixth Dynamic, the physical universe, that causes a difficulty, and so on.

All right, we have then Two-Way Communication as Step 1 simply because it is the most difficult step. It is the most arduous step. And it is the step which was missed by everybody from the Aesculapians (Roman medicos) to the most recent psychiatry out of Wundt, Leipzig, 1869. Around that time in Germany they got started on the first idea that the mind could be approached on a scientific basis. That was the original premise of psychology, and a good one brought up by a fellow by the name of Wundt. There was nothing wrong with this. It was a good hunch. It has never been followed up by that particular field.

One of his convictions is that it is very aberrative to communicate because he will get punished if he communicates. So, he is very reluctant to talk freely in an auditing session. But the truth is that a person is as well off as he can communicate. Therefore, the first step in auditing is to get into two-way communication with the preclear. It is the most difficult step.

Scientific methodology was actually not, there and then, immediately classified, and if he had sat down and classified scientific methodology at that moment, he would have been all right. But what they did was unregulated, uncontrolled, wildcat experiments, fuddling around collecting enormous quantities of data, which data was supposed to amount to something one day. But that field was never able to do anything in the field of a two-way communication, never knew the parts of communication, and doesn’t to this day. They are more and more “The Only One”. They never solved communication, so they don’t go into communication. They don’t have Step 1.

When we come to psychoanalysis we find that in that field they used various methods — originally Breuer and Freud did — to produce a two-way communication, and then they went all out, and they decided, Gee, if you could just get somebody talking — but their first approach to it was the hypnotist’s and that is a very poor approach and not only a very poor approach, it’s a very inhibitive approach.

If you have ever had anybody as a preclear who had been hypnotized you would appreciate this, for instance, running 8D (8D: Standard Operating Procedure 8D, 1954. Primarily for heavy cases, the goal of this procedure was “to bring the preclear to tolerate any viewpoint.” See The Creation of Human Ability by L. Ron Hubbard.) Running this on “Where would a … be safe?” you could put in “hypnotist”. You’d get some idea of the aberrative nature of hypnotism.

In psychoanalysis they actually didn’t solve two-way communication. They got a system by which somebody simply talked endlessly, and talked, and talked, and talked, and there was no communication from the analyst. You may have seen the cartoon where one analyst is cheerful and he had been so every afternoon at quitting time, and the other analyst said, “My goodness. How can you be so cheerful sitting there all day long listening to those patients?” and the other said, “Who listens?” Psychoanalysis had this idea that if they could just make the person outflow, outflow, outflow, outflow outflow, this would solve it. It doesn’t solve it.

It’s TWO-WAY communication. What success psychoanalysis did have was just due to the fact that they did specialize in trying to get somebody into communication one way or the other. But they again didn’t have any idea of the anatomy of communication.

And we move on forward to various thoughts and philosophic endeavors on this subject and we discover that an individual very rarely is found in a good state of communication when he sits down on the couch and I don’t care who this person is, they’re just not in a good state of communication. They’re either obsessively communicating, or they’re inhibited — they haven’t got a good balance on this subject. And you take the most average preclear in the world, he’ll give you ordinarily just social responses. You say “How are you?” and he’ll say, “I am fine”, Forty-five minutes later the oddity is this person says to you, “I feel terrible”. You first got a social response, and then the preclear answered the question. The question sometimes, if you’ll notice it carefully, will come up as non-sequitur entirely, and, for instance, forty-five minutes after you ask him how he is he tells you. And the gap in between is filled with social responses. It’s just trained social response — a little machine. So that isn’t two-way communication with the preclear at all, is it? You’re talking to social machinery.

Well, you’ve done this all too often, much longer than you should have, in plain social activities. You went around to ask somebody about a loan or ask him about something or other, and you went on talking, and this person went on talking, and actually you were not talking to anybody and then you wake up with a great shock to discover that you have just been arguing with somebody, or been trying to make somebody be better, be nicer to you, be kinder to their neighbors or something of the sort, and after a long dissertation on the subject, and you think you’ve had a two-way communication with this person, he comes up with some completely disrelated remark, although he seems to have been agreeing with you. He seemed to have said “Yes, that’s fine, I’ll be a better boy,” or something of the sort. You just never reached an agreement, because the actual truth of the matter is if you’d reached an agreement with him he would have been a better person. You weren’t talking to anybody. You were talking to some social machinery. Well, that’s just in the social world.

How about an auditor? Should he be able to spot this? Well he should, but he would never spot it if he didn’t recognize that there was something very definitely there to spot, and that is: who’s talking? Are we talking to the preclear? Or are we talking to an education from Harvard? Are we talking to the preclear, or are we talking to Mama? It’s a nice thing to have a very, very high on the Tone Scale attitude toward preclears, but there’s one point there where the column (Chart of Attitudes) reverses, and that’s where it’s Trust at the top and Distrust at the bottom. When you’re working preclears, you keep with all the top buttons of the Chart of Attitudes except that one — you just reverse that column. It goes right straight across — Distrust is the top for an auditor as far as a preclear’s concerned, and it’s a remarkable thing how many times you can actually crack a case if you’ll just simply say, “How are you doing that?” or “What are you doing?” “Who is talking?” “Did you do that?” “Who touched the wall?” “How did you do that?” Once in a while you’ll find there’s a File Clerk (File Clerk: Dianetic auditor’s slang for the mechanism of the mind which acts as a data monitor. Auditors could get instant or “flash” answers direct from the “file clerk” to aid in contacting incidents) or something of the sort and he’s taking every response he gives you as a flash answer from the File Clerk. If he’s been trained in Dianetics he will sometimes do this to the exclusion of any answer himself. Well, these are social responses, and that is not a two-way communication. That’s two-way communication between you and a circuit maybe, or between you and a machine, but it’s not a two-way communication between you and the preclear, and it says specifically in Step 1 that we begin a two-way communication with the preclear. Well, how many ways could there be to start a two-way communication with the preclear?

One of the ways to do it is to talk about his problems. He’s fairly interested in these, and you get away from the social responses.

The hypnotist’s approach is a very poor approach because it is quite inhibitive. Also, simply getting a person to talk endlessly doesn’t solve it. A person usually gives trained social responses instead of communicating. One way to bypass the social machinery is to get flash responses. Here a “file clerk” type mechanism comes into play. Another way is to talk about his problems. He is fairly interested in these.

And he’s there because he’s being a problem, so we get step 2 as an assist to Step 1. Step 2: PRESENT TIME PROBLEM. But of course, Step 2 is more important than that. You sometimes miss on a preclear by processing him when he’s dog tired or he’s emotionally upset or something very bad has just occurred, and he wants to be processed so that he can run away from it, and if you don’t ask whether or not he has any Present Time Problems, you’ll miss sometimes, and have a whole session, or two or three sessions, wasted. I remember processing somebody who seemed to be rather frantic, and he finally came up with an astonishing fact. The case was not making progress, you see, and I got very interested in this and the person would not, just would not give me any clue. And I just kept pounding it and pounding it and talking about it any upset the person had in his current life — you know, yesterday or today, or something that’s going to happen tomorrow — I just kept talking about it, you see, and saying, “Is there anything that is occurring that I should know about,” and so on, because the behavior of the case just simply said that this case is so restive and so upset that he just doesn’t seem to listen to my auditing orders and he seems to be distracted all the time by something, and certainly this person is either completely off his base, or he’s really a psycho, or he has some very bedeviling Present Time Problem. And finally, the guy got the communication and gave me an answer. That processing session series was being very badly interrupted because he was being sued for divorce. He was being sued for divorce over the period I’d been processing him. And he would leave there and go down and talk to his lawyers and he wanted to keep this very secret, and he thought there was something very horrible about this, and so he wouldn’t even tell his auditor about it. Now, you see, he’s punished for communicating, and thus we get right back to that. He doesn’t impart the data about what’s going on because he’d be punished for communicating.

Occasionally you will run into someone for whom medicine could do something. The person has an acute illness of one sort or another and is so afraid of any possible treatment that would be offered to him medically, because medical treatment may not be particularly kind, that he has not told anybody about it.

This again will be giving him a sufficient Present Time Problem that he would not gain well in auditing and is the most important reason why you do not audit a person who should be getting a condition handled medically which can so be handled. But it is the fact that in this universe he is punished for communicating that makes this something to watch for and to see to it that a medical situation is handled medically before you do any auditing.

Step 2 is present time problem so we can use step 2 to help us with step 1. But there could be a problem the preclear may want to keep to himself. But you can guess from his behavior that there is something going on, which he is not telling you. It could be an embarrassing situation, or even a situation that requires medical handling.

In order for any gain or release to take place by reason of communication alone on any kind of subject there has to be a two-way communication, not one-way communication. Therefore, the neatest trick in the whole book of tricks of auditing is knowing how to start and continue a two-way communication. It is dependent in its skill on the auditor’s ability to grant beingness and actually talk on both sides of the conversation.

Communication is opened first and foremost by any sensory perception. Any sensory perception. Get the preclear to touch something — you have opened communication with the preclear. If you could take his hand and he could register the pressure of your hand on his hand, and this in the case of a semi-conscious person is very workable, you would be communicating with the preclear. A two-way communication doesn’t have anything to do with — and quite incidentally when it does — with words. It’s a communication. You’re there. He’s there. His trouble is inhibited communication, and the trouble you’re going to run into is getting a two-way communication started. Any perception can be used in a two-way communication. Just sight is enough. If he simply registers the fact that you are there in the room with him — if he’ll just look at you — that is a communication. If we define communication by: awareness across a distance, no matter how minute that distance is between the preclear and the auditor, we discover that starting a two-way communication is actually much easier.

Continuing with examples — “the worst it gets” type of situations — not that these are what you’ll be auditing — if you want to start a fairly perfect communication, of course, you would simply physically duplicate what the preclear’s doing. He’s lying still — you just lie down and lie still. You’d be surprised how odd this will seem to him after a little while. He’ll get real curious about you. He’ll go into communication with you. He picks up the stool and he heaves it at the door with a terrific crash. You pick up the stool and heave it at the door with a terrific crash. That’s a bottom-scale level of entrance into communication — mimicry — because of course duplication enters into the formula.

But if your preclear is sitting there in complete silence, do you think that if you pour out a great flow of words you’re going into communication with this preclear? No, because he’s putting out a communication already — silence. If you suddenly admit that as a communication, it will disturb him a little bit, and it’s likely to stir him up into a communication. If you will sit there silent while he sits there silent, sooner or later you’re going to go into communication. You can make a preclear enter into communication with you simply by doing whatever the preclear is doing.

A two-way communication can be started through any perception and not just through words. Any perception can be used in a two-way communication. In the worst case, mimicry may be used. You can make a preclear enter into communication with you simply by doing whatever the preclear is doing.

Now it’s necessary for you to turn around and have the preclear register a communication back. It’s just as important for the auditor to go into communication with the preclear as it is for the preclear to go into communication with the auditor, and the auditor can do it by mimicry because he knows how. It’s harder for the preclear to do it. Time spent at the beginning of a session just getting a two-way communication going until you really know you’re talking to the preclear and he’s talking to you is some of the best time you ever spent.

Opening Procedure 8-C is a considerable assist to this. Improvement of communication is the keynote of all auditing.



The first situation you may encounter in an auditing session is that the person is very reluctant to talk freely. Instead he gives you trained social responses. Improvement of communication is the keynote of all auditing. Therefore, the first step in auditing is to get into two-way communication with the preclear.

A person is usually interested in talking about his problems. That may provide the entrance point to establishing two-way communication. But there could be a problem going on in present time with the preclear that he may not be willing to talk about, such as a divorce proceeding, or a medical situation. His behavior will give you clues to this. The trick then is to grant beingness and actually talk on both sides of the conversation.

A two-way communication can be started through any perception and not just through words. In the worst case, mimicry may be used. You can make a preclear enter into communication with you simply by doing whatever the preclear is doing. Time spent at the beginning of a session just getting a two-way communication going until you really know you’re talking to the preclear and he’s talking to you is some of the best time you ever spent.


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  • vinaire  On March 27, 2020 at 8:09 AM

    In Subject Clearing, you are your own preclear. You assume that you are in two-way communication with yourself, but that is not always the case. You have to examine if you are in two-way communication with yourself.

    Getting introverted into your mind or yourself is not two-way communication. Introversion is actually quite damaging. So you need to extrovert your attention to get into two-way communication with yourself. That is quite a trick.


  • vinaire  On March 27, 2020 at 9:07 AM

    Subject Clearing is the extroverted version of Solo Auditing. It replaces all solo auditing of Scientology including OT Levels, which are quite introverting.


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