Project: Hubbard 1954: The Phoenix Lectures

This paper presents Chapter 18 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.



It is utterly fascinating what you can do with a process which is apparently as permissive as the Opening Procedure of SOP 8-C. The exact details of the process are given in Issue 24G of the Journal of Scientology.

The number of case factors which are handled in 8-C is fascinating, because here you are processing straight toward simplicity.

We know that what is wrong with a person is his subjective universe. That has gotten into trouble. Now, in view of the fact that he could mock up a tremendous amount of space if he had to, he could mock up lots of energy, he could mock up objects, and he could do this any number of times, then why he’s lugging around something called “his universe” is a little bit difficult for a reasonable man to understand, and yet that is what people are doing. You get a sort of idea of somebody walking around with a great many clanking chains, old tin cans, old cigar butts, and so forth and calling these possessions. “His universe” looks like a kid’s toy box. If you’ve ever looked into a three-year old’s choicest possessions, that’s about the order of havingness the thetan pulls along with him.

He gives these things up with the greatest of reluctance, yet his total health, you might say, is dependent upon his ability to make, to have, new fresh things, and to do almost anything he wants to with them.

What is wrong with a person is his subjective universe. He is attached to certain considerations and lugging them around even when he can mock them up any time.

But, remember, it was always very, very difficult for him to get an object into such a circumstance that it was actually somebody else’s object. To procure an object which was somebody else’s is what he has to do in order to have that object. If we look at the four conditions of existence, the “Ises”, we discover just exactly why these things are so very valuable to him. They are so valuable because they mean to him a period when he was actually in communication with thetans as such, and he could blame them, and if he could blame them then he could have something. And if he couldn’t blame them then he couldn’t have anything — unless he duplicated himself, and so had another thetan to blame. This way he would get a persistence, he would get survival in terms of motion. Otherwise it would all seem completely motionless to him.

Now again all of these things are simply considerations, and in view of the fact that they are all considerations, we can get enormously baffled as to how considerations could be so important.

Remember they are only important because of the considerations which one held in common with others.

It would be one thing simply to change one’s own considerations all over the place, and it would be quite another thing to do this when one has a series of considerations which have been thoroughly agreed upon with others.

So the thetan, with his old cigar butts, torn playing cards, and clanking chains — you see he’s been in communication one time or another and the system of communication was all established and therefore he could have an other-determinism so true and so convincing that even he, would not be able to question its convincingness. Nobody could possibly question the validity of these objects he was carrying around.

It’s simply, then: he will have some way of blaming somebody else for having put that mass of energy there, and then that energy mass will persist. If he can’t blame anybody else, why it can too easily be As-ised and so disappear. Other-determinism becomes vital.

Now, when we look over this problem, we discover that an individual can go just so far down this line, and then he becomes himself disabled. He begins to count on other-determinism more and more and more heavily to produce his own survival. We can see this in terms of attention — an individual in this society without any attention from anybody else would not have much chance of surviving. An individual, just on the basis of food alone, would have great difficulty, but he’s gotten down to where those objects really have to be solid, and so we get this physical universe, and the particles of this physical universe are so beautifully lost, so completely confused, so misplaced away from point of origin that they can be subjected to a law in physics known as the conservation of energy: that energy cannot be destroyed, can only be converted. Anything that’s lost, misplaced, confused, can only be converted, unless you discover the point where it was actually manufactured.

This universe thus becomes valuable. It becomes valuable because we’ve gone to so much trouble to lose enough things that we then have a continuance of objects.

A thetan who has become upset about the various agreements in existence believes that he no longer can communicate with something. He is a nothingness; therefore, he has to communicate with a nothingness, he thinks. The communication formula places him at fault.

Here we have an individual who is living by the communication formula and yet cannot recover his own ability easily to follow the basic of communication, which is all things are on the same point. When you consider a consideration, you find out it doesn’t have any dimension whatsoever. And a thetan has no dimension. So, he’s gone to a lot of work, to make a universe that’s as heavy as this one. And he’s blamed it all on God, and he’s blamed it all in various directions, and he has made what amounts to a considerable investment. He has a big investment. And now he has gone so far that having made this investment he can no longer look at it, because he has to follow the communication formula. He cannot occupy the same space as an object. Two objects cannot occupy the same space. Therefore, he is not a thetan- plus-body. He is a body.

And once in a while we run into some materialist, in processing, and just the barest thought that he is something other than a body is completely, completely contradictory to him. It’s utterly assaulting. You’d think that you’d held a gun on the man and asked him for his money. He’ll become very excited. “I am a body. I know I am a body. That is all I am. I am one,” exclamation point, exclamation point. He gets real worried about it.

This person at the same time is likely to be the one who is most concerned with God. This is curious isn’t it? Well, he has to have an other-determinism. He has to avoid responsibility. His field of awareness will be relatively black, by the way.

That’s not a criticism of the individual. That is just the state he is in. Why is he in it? He knows two things can’t occupy the same space. Obviously if he is there, and the body is there, then he must be the body. That’s the most elementary thing we could possibly put together. This individual has himself mocked up as something and is being something so thoroughly that he cannot disassociate himself from it. So, you tell him to be three feet back of his head — and he can’t be three feet back of his head.

Hubbard thinks that the person is doing so because he wants these things to persist continually all the time in thorough agreement with others. The person accomplishes that by blaming others for it. This is how this universe has become solid for which he blames God. But this deteriorates his ability to communicate because as a nothingness he cannot communicate with somethingness. So, he comes to see himself as a body.

Now, we’re processing something which has four parts: (1) the thetan, (2) his machinery, (3) the body, and (4) the reactive bank. The reactive bank is a stimulus-response machine of some magnitude.

The body actually is something capable of collecting an enormous number of molecules and electrons and converting energy and doing all sorts of interesting things.

An auditor occasionally makes a gross error in that he processes any one of these things other than the thetan.

So, there are that many engrams? — well, does this so assault our sensibilities, that these things exist, that we must vanquish and make every one of them, one by one, disappear? Actually, what we want to do is improve the thetan’s ability to handle reactive banks.

Or an auditor comes along and he starts processing “the body”. The body, the body, the body. What kind of auditor would this be?

It would be an auditor who had to have something. This auditor can’t possibly have nothing, yet if he’s auditing he’s actually auditing a nothing. He’s trying to free a nothingness. And if he can’t conceive of a nothingness and has to go in the direction of a somethingness he will not actually audit the preclear.

Every once in a while, some preclear has such an observable surplus of thetan machinery that an auditor just can’t stand leaving that machinery alone. He just can’t stand it. He’s got to get in there and get all these mechanisms out of the road, get ‘em all mopped up and wiped out, and the next thing you know the thetan is very, very sad indeed. Look at all the years he’s spent blaming this machinery on somebody else. But when you’ve gotten through processing all this machinery, what’ve you done anyway? You’ve just processed some machinery. And it wasn’t sick!

So, we have these four major parts, but we are processing the thetan. He doesn’t have any mass, he can make space, he can make energy, and he can locate objects in space. He has very definite capabilities. Very positive, definite capabilities. And by the improvement of these capabilities we improve his ability to communicate, and so, improving his ability to communicate, we make him able to handle not just the reactive bank he’s mixed up with at the moment, not just the body he happens to be inhabiting or hanging around at the moment, and certainly not his bank of machinery. We make it possible for him to handle large quantities of things — other people’s machinery and anything. It’s very interesting what he can do. But he cannot possibly be hung up on the basis of “two things can’t occupy the same space”. He couldn’t be hung up on that one. Another thing he couldn’t be hung up on, if you’re going to separate him easily, is that it’s all other-determined. You see, if it’s all other-determined, then he would depend on other things to place him in space, and if he’s depending on other things to place him in space, he will sit there and “wait for the auditor to exteriorize him”. So our point of approach here is the thetan. Now, the easiest way to approach this is simply to make and break communication with the immediate environment.

Essentially a person’s thinking has become more mechanical. Auditing does not address mechanical thinking. Instead it addresses the person’s ability to handle mechanical thinking. The person is usually sitting there and waiting for the auditor to do something for him. The easiest way to approach this is simply to make and break communication with the immediate environment.

Environment is the physical universe, security, it’s right there, it’s solid. This is the space of the room, the floor, the ceiling, the walls, the objects there, and if we happen to be looking through these things, then it’s the walls in the next room, and up through the roof, the air about the house and down through, it’s the earth underneath the house. And environment means how far can this individual perceive with great certainty in the physical universe. And that’s what we’re interested in when we say environment. We don’t have the preclear in Chicago, for instance, and then because he is an inhabitant of Iowa, process him in the environment of Iowa. Now this sounds, this sounds too utterly stupid, that anybody could do this, but believe me, it has happened. And what would they be processing? They’d be processing a set of facsimiles.

There is an immense ratio between the amount of facsimiles or energy masses a person has, and his ability to communicate. The more energy masses and more facsimiles which a person has, whether white, or green, or purple, or whether they’re black curtains or actual apparent solid objects — we don’t care what these are — the more energy mass the individual has, the less he is capable of communication. A fellow runs a concept — and gets a flow past his face. He feels something moving past his face. Ah, we’ve got a case of energy masses. How did they get there? They got there by the thetan directing his attention in various directions, manufacturing energy the while — and you’re going to process this case as a preclear, this thetan in such a way that he sprays out new energy masses around his body? That would be a curious thing wouldn’t it? And you know there are processes that you could run — not any listed in Intensive Procedure — which would lead an individual to immediately mock up more, and more, and more and more energy masses in the vicinity of his body. You could actually artificialize his condition.

He’s as well off as he doesn’t have to have energy masses.

A preclear has to have energy masses to the degree that he believes he cannot create space and energy. That’s a direct index. So, we find somebody who has large floating ridges and that sort of thing and this individual is having just that much difficulty. No question about it and no exceptions. It doesn’t matter what manifestation he’s exhibiting at this particular moment; a person is as bad off as he has these energy masses which are not placed but are floating. You could say they are “floating” energy masses because — everywhere he walks he’s got them. Now he’s as well off as he can simply take or leave the walls and other items of the physical universe wherever he finds himself. He can take them or leave them, see them or not see them at will. He’s well off when he can do that.

A person has to have energy masses to the degree that he believes he cannot create space and energy. The more energy mass the individual has, the less he is capable of communication. The immediate environment provides stable data. He’s as well off as he can simply take or leave the walls and other items of the physical universe wherever he finds himself. This helps him align his considerations.  

What process would you tailor up in order to accomplish this? Well, you could simply have a preclear sitting in a chair and looking around the room spotting spots in one location after another. It’s a fantastic technique. It’ll do quite a bit for a preclear, just to have him do this. And actually, you are applying this further when you have him get up and walk around and PICK OUT the spots, and TOUCH them, and then at will, BREAK COMMUNICATION with them. And SOP 8-C is actually a gradient scale, and 8-C’s Opening Procedure is a gradient scale of getting this done.

There is an additional process that could go along with this. You could have him close his eyes and start checking off spots in the environment.

The case that has had his perception turn on very fully, and then promptly turn off and it has never been on since, has simply practically scared himself out of his wits. His perception turned on and that was too much Is-ness. It was too steep a gradient, he could see everything too clearly, and this made him nervous, it upset him, it has disturbed his thetan digestion, and made him very unhappy — and what is this? This is just simply a case of too much, and instantly he said “It isn’t”. He said “Not-is”. He took a look at all this environment and said, “Dull down. Get real dull. It better be unreal around here, it’s just too bright, it’s too loud,” and so on.

Well, what happens if we have this person sitting there in the chair with his eyes shut and we just have him look around and spot spots in the room, and a facsimile shows up? We just have him go on spotting spots in whatever he can see. We don’t suddenly stop and say, “Oh, you’ve got a lot of blackness. Let’s spot some spots in the blackness”. No, you just keep hounding him for some sort of perception of the room. That’s what you want. And he keeps spotting spots in the room and spotting them and spotting them and spotting them and spotting them. Just that and no more. Spotting them behind him, above him, below him. If you don’t watch him a little bit he’ll spot them all in front of him. You’ve got to direct his attention behind. A thetan has a 360 Deg periphery of vision. There is no “behind” or get thee behind me thetan.

Now, here we have in a thetan, then, a possibility that the moment he really saw the room he’d turn it off again. He’d flinch. And then you keep right on processing in the direction of the room. You see what this would be. They’d flinch, their perception would go off, and you just take it from there and have him spot spots in the room. So, he says his perception is all turned off — well, you just have him find something he can perceive. He says, “I think it’s a facsimile. I don’t know what it is, really. It doesn’t seem to me to be terribly real…” You just say, “Close your eyes. Now spot some spots in the room.” The preclear says, “I… what d’you mean close my eyes and spot…”

“Well, can you see anything when you’ve got your eyes shut there?” “No… of course not.”

“Well, why don’t you look around. Get an impression of anything?”

“Mmmm. Well, what do you know. It’s all black.” He never noticed this before.

You say, “Well, all right. How about this now — you say it’s all black — well, is there any place where the black is thinner?” Behind you for instance, or above you or below you? Do you make out anything at all about this room?”


“Well, as you’re sitting there with your eyes closed, do you know the location of anything in this room?”

“Yea, well, I know where my body is.”

In course a case like this will probably assert to you violently, if he wasn’t prepared otherwise, that he was a body, had always been a body, would always be a body, had never been anything else but a body, and that you live but once. And he would also tell you that during his study of Korzybski’s Science and Sanity he agreed with him entirely that two things could not occupy the same space. He’ll tell you all these things. It would be a very informative conversation if you let him proceed. You only let him proceed on such a conversation, by the way, long enough to keep two-way communication going, then you get him doing something.

“All right,” you’d say, “Well, do you know of the location of any object in this room?” And the fellow says, “Well, there’s a table right over there, I know that.”

“All right. Look at that table.”

Probably his eyes will pop open and he will stare at it — but you have him keep his eyes closed. You’d get an exchange something like this: He knows there’s a table over there, and you say “Spot some spots in it.”

He says, “I can’t possibly spot any spots in the table if I can’t see it.” “Do you know it’s there?”

“Yes, I know it’s there. I saw it when I came in.”

“Well, all right. Spot some spots on it.”

“But I’ll have to open my eyes.”

“Go ahead and spot some spots on that table.”

He finally does. And the blackness starts to get a tattle-tale grey around him, and then it flickers on and flickers off, and perception comes on and all of a sudden he’s aware of the fact that it’s all real, and then he convulsively shuts off all of his perception, and then he lets it turn on again, and then he shuts it off again, and then he flinches this way and flinches that way. Why? He knows it’s dangerous to look at things. He knows that. He knows, again, that it is dangerous to communicate. And he shuts it off before something else shuts it off. He’s there ahead of ‘em. But after it goes on and off and on and off a few times, it’s likely to be more and more upsetting to him for the time, because it’s likely to be getting more and more real. The room is likely to be getting more and more real, more and more solid.

Now you don’t let him completely fly out through the doors and the walls on this process and let him spot at unreal distances — spotting at a thousand yards, when a thousand millimeters would be much too great, and three millimeters is about what he can tolerate. So we keep him in the immediate environment, and we mean the physical universe when we say environment, and we mean objects that he’s fairly sure are there, and we just work him on that basis, and then, the first thing you know, the walls will start to disappear on him and then they’ll flicker on again and then they’ll flicker off, and it gets more and more real, and he gets upset about it and then he becomes calm about it and he goes through a lot of variations — and doing what? Just sitting right where he’s sitting and you don’t care where that is, spotting spots in the room whether the room is black, green, purple, or whether he’s got facsimiles that he’s really spotting or not. We don’t care what this preclear’s doing as long as he continues to spot spots. If he’s got a facsimile sitting there, and he shifts his attention on the facsimile he’ll go of it. He gets rid of some of this mass.

If he’s really just spotting into blackness, really changing his perception direction, you see, then Boooom, he’ll start looking through the blackness. If you have him look at the blackness and spot spots in the blackness you are validating these masses of energy which a thetan is as bad off as he has. What he’s witnessing with all these possessions and masses of energy is his own inability to really mock up something and have it belong to somebody else. That’s what he’s witnessing.

To accomplish this, you get the person to carefully observe his immediate environment and then have him close his eyes and visualize that environment as best as he can. He may sit in a chair and just look around observing one location after another. He may even get up and walk around and pick out the locations and touch various things there and feel them. The basic idea is to really become aware of his environment first using his physical perceptions. And then returning to the chair, closing his eyes, and visualizing mentally the whole environment in 360 degrees periphery of vision. The whole idea is to attain better coordination among physical and mental perceptions.

During this process long forgotten memories and startling facsimiles may show up. The person may acknowledge them but then he must continue with the process of improving perception of the immediate environment in as much detail as possible. He should not to get distracted by those memories and facsimiles and get involved with them.

In the beginning the mental visualization may just be spotty, turning on and then turning off. But with practice it would continue to improve and stay turned on. Finally, the mental visualization may become as good as the physical perceptions. The visualization may then start to increase to larger distances from him. But he must let it happen gradually and naturally.

Essentially, he is becoming aware of one spot, letting go of it and then becoming aware of another spot continually. He then learns to do the same thing with his facsimiles—spotting them and then letting them go continually. The physical environment acts as stable data to help him do that.

So there is that process. And out of this basic you get Opening Procedure of 8-C. But you can also do Opening Procedure of 8-C with the thetan, without moving the body. You could have the thetan touch things in the room. But actually, you don’t have him touch things and let go, you have him look at and look away. And you can carry through all the steps by more or less drilling the thetan in the room — preclear sitting there with eyes closed, and this becomes a tremendously workable procedure.

Actually, its most simple form is to just tell him to close his eyes, and if he knows of any object in the room at all while he has his eyes closed, spot spots in it.

Now the classic Group Processing example of this is a very simple one and that is “Three spots in the body, three spots in the room”. Have them spot three spots in the body, three spots in the room three spots in the body, three spots in the room, back and forth and at the end of this time, at the end of an hour’s group processing on perfectly green people, you’ll have four or five out of the twenty of them exteriorized — the usual run of people you run into.

8-C done with the body, however, and with no further tricks, its most elementary auditing commands as given in Intensive Procedure, is the only process—please mark this one down, please remember this—it’s the only process to use on the very, very low or difficult case. Let’s put that down, and recognize that when a very low level preclear comes in he has already determined exactly the processing he’s going to get. It’s down below Two on the Tone Scale, and what it takes to handle this case is Opening Procedure of 8-C, because in essence it is a purity of communication and is a very simple process to use, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be an artist to use it.

A person’s attention is usually fixed on his body, and his considerations are usually fixed on himself. This is introversion and interiorization. The whole purpose of this process is to get his attention extroverted towards his environment, and his considerations exteriorized from himself towards the universe. This is the most elementary auditing process that you can do. This works with everybody.



What is wrong with a person is his subjective universe. His attention is introverted on his body and his considerations are fixated on himself. His thinking has become more mechanical. The procedure to remedy this condition is as follows:

The person carefully observes his immediate environment. He sits in a chair and just looks around observing one location after another. He may even get up and walk around and pick out the locations and touch various things and feel them. He then returns to the chair, closes his eyes, and visualizes mentally the whole environment in 360 degrees periphery of vision. The idea is to attain better alignment among physical and mental perceptions and become more aware of the environment.

During this process all kind of mental pictures and thoughts may turn up. The person may acknowledge such facsimiles, but he must not get distracted. He must continue with the process of becoming aware of the immediate environment in as much detail as possible. In the beginning the mental visualization may be spotty, turning on and then turning off. But with practice the visualization may continue to improve and stay turned on. Finally, it may become as good as the physical perceptions. The visualization may then start to expand to larger distances from him.

The purpose of this process is to get the person’s attention extroverted from the body towards the environment, and his considerations exteriorized from himself towards the universe. This is the most elementary auditing process you can do. This works with everybody.


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