DIANETICS: Introduction

Reference: Hubbard 1950: Dianetics TMSMH

These are some comments based on the Introduction of Dianetics from the book, DIANETICS: THE MODERN SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH.

NOTE: Winter wrote the introduction to the first edition of the DIANETICS book. A year later, he critiqued only minor assumptions and outrageous claims of Hubbard. After about 70 years, we are now in a position to navigate the hype, and really strengthen the actual discovery of Dianetics—that there are impressions in the mind that underlie consciousness and influence human behavior.

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Comments on
Introduction

This introduction by physician J. A. Winter says, “In the creation of any New Idea, there is one step which is highly important. It is so obvious as to be frequently overlooked. This step, the sine qua non of any idea, consists in examining the basic assumptions of the subject and determining whether or not they need to be revised. The creator of a New Idea asks, ‘What would happen if I assume that this belief which everyone has had for centuries isn’t necessarily so?’”

What makes Dianetics so revolutionary, and at the same time evolutionary, is that it examines the basic assumptions underlying the subject of life and the functioning of the mind. Dianetics exposes some of these assumptions. One of the assumptions has been that the mind cannot record what is happening in the environment when the person is unconscious.

In Dianetics therapy, impressions  from the periods of unconsciousness were found to exist. This led to the discovery of impressions from prenatal existence of the fetus. 

It is interesting to note that, in Buddhism, the mind is considered to be an organ of perception. The mind is capable of perceiving directly. We, therefore, have six organs of perception—touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste and the mental sense.

They key discovery of Dianetics is that the mind is capable of recording details of events, such as, severe injury, delirium, or surgical anesthesia that remain below the level of consciousness.

Such recordings, called ENGRAMS, are susceptible to reactivation during future periods of mental anguish. The engram, hidden beneath unexplored layers of “unconsciousness,” possesses a power of command not unlike that of a post-hypnotic suggestion, in a far more insidious and tragic effect. This fact has been found to be a single, direct source of aberrated behavior in Man. 

Winter says, “We should feel free to examine the basic assumptions of any body of knowledge we wish, without fear of committing lese majeste. If any system of thought is going to wither in the light of investigation, it does not deserve the title of Authority.”

Soon after a very successful publication of Dianetics in May 1950, Hubbard, the originator of Dianetics, started to act as an Authority. Dr. Winter, who served as as the medical director of the Hubbard’s Dianetics Research Foundation, resigned in October 1950, stating “there was a difference between the ideals inherent within the dianetics hypothesis and the actions of the Foundation.” He published A Doctor’s Report on Dianetics in 1951 (see the image above), that was critical of Hubbard’s Authority. Some detail’s of Winter’s book may be found at Early Scientology / Dianetics – 1950.

It is important to look beyond the Authority of Hubbard at the actual scientific facts that support or deny the claims made in the subject of Dianetics.

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Comments

  • Watchful Navigator  On April 19, 2021 at 2:25 PM

    As a minor point, note that this book you have pictured is what Dr. Winter wrote year or so after he was involved in Dianetics, and that he did write the original introduction to Dianetics, which is a different writing. It only came with the first edition of the book, and it was a supplement or forward to the book. I think this is what you intended to critique.

  • vinaire  On April 19, 2021 at 5:24 PM

    You are right, and I hope it is obvious from my critique.

    Winter makes the point that New Ideas are born from critically examining the existing ideas for assumptions and correcting those assumptions. This, actually, qualifies as an axiom. Dianetics was born from the application of this axiom. Dianetics even acknowledges this axiom.

    A year later, Winter turned around and applied this axiom to Dianetics itself. But he only critiqued certain minor assumptions of Hubbard. He was not in a position to correct them.

    After about 70 years, we are now in a position to really strengthen the discoveries of Dianetics by correcting its major underlying assumption of “eternal individuality” and its survival.

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