DIANETICS: The Reactive Mind

Reference: Hubbard 1950: Dianetics TMSMH

These are some comments on the chapter “The Reactive Mind” from  DIANETICS: THE MODERN SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH.

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Comments on
The Reactive Mind

It is observed that when a person is unconscious he is not aware of his surroundings, and when he returns to consciousness he cannot recall the events from that period of unconsciousness. Therefore, it has long been assumed that nothing gets recorded in the mind during the periods of unconsciousness, such as, those caused by anesthesia, drugs, injury or shock. 

Hubbard discovered that the mind not only records data during the periods of unconsciousness, but such data acts like hypnotic commands later in that person’s life. More exactly, this data containing painful emotion and physical pain is recorded below the level of “consciousness”. It is called engram. It gets triggered when something similar appears in the environment. 

The engram makes a person act according to its recording. Such action is “rational” in the context of the recording, but it is irrational in the broader context, which the person is unable to see.

These engrams define the contents of the reactive mind. The whole effort in Dianetics is to discharge this content.

Hubbard concludes,

“1. The mind records on some level continuously during the entire life of the organism.”

The mind does not record, but it breaks down the incoming perceptions into data elements and assimilates them with rest of the data in a mental matrix. Only engrams exist as recordings because they do not  break down and get assimilated with other data. 

2. All recordings of the lifetime are available.

Only recordings are engrams, and they are not available as memories. All assimilated perceptions are available as memories.

“3. ‘Unconsciousness,’ in which the mind is oblivious of its surroundings, is possible only in death and does not exist as total amnesia in life.”

The mind disintegrates upon death. Neither consciousness nor unconsciousness remains after death.

“4. All mental and physical derangements of a psychic nature come about from moments of ‘unconsciousness’.”

All perceptions are assimilated with other data. Therefore, they can be differentiated and understood in a wider context. Engrams are not assimilated, Therefore, they cannot be so differentiated outside their specific narrow context. 

“Unconsciousness” is the single source of aberration simply because no differentiation and understanding exists in “unconsciousness”.

“5. Such moments can be reached and drained of charge with the result of returning the mind to optimum operating condition.”

Hubbard says,

“There is no such action as ‘mental conditioning’ except on a conscious training level (where it exists only with the consent of the person).”

A person holding fixed ideas, prejudices or biases is “mentally conditioned.”  He is fixated on the narrow context of his ideas and is broadly “unconscious.” This is the case with all “mental conditioning,” including training patterns. 

“Mental conditioning,” which is “rational” in a  narrow context only, also generates errors in thinking and behavior in a wider context.

Hypnotic suggestion comes across rational within a narrow context, and it appears normal to the person. Later, the suggestion always occurs to the person fixing his attention on that narrow context. Different people may act differently upon that suggestion, but they see their actions as rational. However, other people, viewing those actions in a broader context, see them as irrational.

A hypnotic suggestion makes a person act irrationally, while he thinks he is acting rationally. 

Engrams are “hypnotic suggestions” that are almost hard wired into the body-mind system. Originally, simple engrams provided the organism with an ability to react fast under certain situations so the organism could survive. Engram that include language are a lot more complicated and they have a lot more power to aberrate the person. Homonymic words are supposed to be interpreted in terms of their context. But the context of the engram being fixed, the homonymic words lead to the strangest behavior.

Language gives engrams a lot more power to aberrate.

Painful emotion and physical pain characterizes the engram. Pain is a measure of the misalignment in perception. It makes the perception difficult to break down and assimilate in the mental matrix. The shock of accidents, the anesthetics used for operations, the pain of injuries and the deliriums of illness are the principal sources of engrams. Once an engram gets activated by a similar experience it get its hooks into the circuits of the mental matrix and aberrates them.

Aberration starts and spreads through the body-mind system as engrams gets hooked up into the mental matrix.

Engrams may be categorized as follows:

Contra-survival engram — contains apparent or actual antagonism to the organism.
Pro-survival engram (Sympathy engram) — a sympathetic address to an artificially unconscious subject.
Painful emotion engram — caused by the shock of sudden loss such as the death of a loved one.

The most dangerous category is the “sympathy engram” as it pretends to support the person’s survival. This is the mechanism used in hypnotism. This engram may be installed when sympathy is shown to a sick person.

A sick person should be tended to efficiently with compassion, but without verbal sympathy.

“Unconsciousness” is related to the body, and “unawareness” is related to the mind, but the common denominator of both is inability to differentiate. Under this condition the mind associates different things as being identical to each other. Thus, under the influence of the engram, the body-mind system operates on much simpler, rugged principles. 

Pain knocks out the ability to differentiate and keeps the engram out of sight and moored below the level of “consciousness.” The pain also drives the actions of the engram. If the command of the engram is resisted, the pain overwhelms the organism.

Engram retains its power as long as it stays below awareness. Engrams are not really deleted; they are resolved by bringing them up to awareness and assimilating them in the mental matrix. No engram has any constructive value until it is assimilated. 

Engrams do not become part of the experience until they are assimilated.

Hubbard says,

“It is not very complicated to understand what these engrams do. They are simply moments of physical pain strong enough to throw part or all the analytical machinery out of circuit; they are antagonism to the survival of the organism or pretended sympathy to the organism’s survival. That is the entire definition… The engram is the single and sole source of aberration and psycho-somatic illness.” 

Any material that has not been fully assimilated in the mental matrix functions like an engram to greater or lesser degree.

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DIANETICS AXIOMS 61 to 70

The next ten axioms of Dianetics are also presented here. These axioms were put together by Hubbard to demonstrate the preciseness of Dianetics. Revisions are proposed based on consistency with Buddhism.

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DN AXIOM 61: An organism is rejected by THETA to the degree that it fails in its goals.

DN AXIOM 61 (proposed): An organism becomes extinct to the degree it fails to evolve or support evolution.

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DN AXIOM 62: Higher organisms can exist only in the degree that they are supported by the lower organisms.

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DN AXIOM 63: The usefulness of an organism is determined by the alignment of its efforts toward survival.

DN AXIOM 63 (proposed): The usefulness of an organism is determined by the alignment of its efforts toward evolution.

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DN AXIOM 64: The mind perceives and stores all data of the environment and aligns or fails to align these according to the time they were perceived.

DEFINITION: A conclusion is the THETA FACSIMILES of a group of combined data.

DEFINITION: A datum is a THETA FACSIMILE of physical action.

All perceptions received in the mind are assimilated in a mental matrix. Any perception that cannot be assimilated stays as a recording waiting to be assimilated. Conclusions are the signals emanating from the mental matrix.

DN AXIOM 64 (proposed): The perceptions arriving at the mind are either assimilated in the mental matrix, or they remain as a recordings yet to be assimilated. The signals emanating from the mental matrix act as conclusions.

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DN AXIOM 65: The process of thought is the perception of the present and the comparison of it to the perceptions and conclusions of the past in order to direct action in the immediate or distant future.

COROLLARY: The attempt of thought is to perceive realities of the past and present in order to predict or postulate realities of the future.

The present is whenever a perception is assimilated in the mental matrix and a signal is emanated as the conclusion. The mental matrix consists of all perceptions assimilated up to that point. They have certain time indexes, but all assimilated perceptions are in the present. We are simply looking at input and output. The process of thought is mainly the assimilation of perceptions. There are many perceptions waiting to be assimilated. These are anomalies waiting to be resolved.

DN AXIOM 65 (proposed): The process of thought is the resolution of anomalies and assimilation of perceptions. The assimilated mental matrix processes the thought instantly.

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DN AXIOM 66: The process by which life effects its conquest of the material universe consists in the conversion of the potential effort of matter and energy in space and through time to effect with it the conversion of further matter and energy in space and through time.

DN AXIOM 66 (proposed): The process by which universe evolves consists in the conversion of the potential effort of matter and energy to effect further conversion of matter and energy. Life is a part of this process.

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DN AXIOM 67: THETA contains its own THETA UNIVERSE effort which translates into MEST effort.

DN AXIOM 67 (proposed): The signals from the mental matrix translates into physical efforts of the body.

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DN AXIOM 68: The single arbitrary in any organism is time.

DN AXIOM 68 (proposed): The arbitrariness consists of the postulates made to align data.

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DN AXIOM 69: Physical universe perceptions and efforts are received by an organism as force waves, convert by facsimile into THETA and are thus stored.

DEFINITION: Randomity is the misalignment through the internal or external efforts by other forms of life or the material universe of the efforts of an organism, and is imposed on the physical organism by counter-efforts in the environment.

The physical universe is perceived through the sense organs. These perceptions break down and get assimilated in the mental matrix and are thus stored. The misalignment existing in these perceptions requires resolution before they can be assimilated. Pain and efforts provide measures of misalignment. The source of this misalignment is the existing state of the physical universe and the life in it. 

DN AXIOM 69 (proposed): The perceptions break down and get assimilated in the mental matrix and are thus stored. Pain and efforts provide the measure of misalignment to be resolved. 

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DN AXIOM 70: Any cycle of any life organism is from static to motion to static.

DN AXIOM 70 (proposed): The life organism takes birth, lives and ultimately dies. Its goal is to attain the static viewpoint and evolve.

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Summary of Axioms

The primary goal of the life organisms is to accelerate the evolution of the universe. This is accomplished by resolving all the misalignment extant in the universe. For this, the life organism must attain the static viewpoint first. An organism becomes extinct to the degree it fails to evolve or support evolution.

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Comments

  • Chris Thompson  On May 11, 2021 at 7:38 AM

    I enjoyed reading your Summary of Axioms.

  • Chris Thompson  On May 11, 2021 at 9:12 AM

    In our universe, each discrete thing eats and in turn is eaten.

    At the atomic scale, we have charges resulting in atoms. Gravity seems to be present in all matter resulting in accretion. At larger micro scales, there begin organisms. As the scale increases, so does the complexity. Complexity and scale increase and then ebb only to increase again. Mankind did not always exist and will not always exist for it it continues, it may evolve beyond what we know as mankind into what will then be known as mankind.

    Mentally, what we call epiphany, what Dianetics calls Clear, seems to be simply the reducing of cognitive dissonance by an equilibrium of mental forces. I do not know the action of this quelling, but it seems to be structure of mental forces and seems to result in, as you say, a broadening of viewpoint.

    Because these mental states have mental structure, they seem to expand and contract. Hubbard wrote in THETA-MEST THEORY that the thetan collides or mixes with MEST, then removes itself from MEST, thus gaining experience. Possibly, experience is in fact the building and expansion of mental matrix structure. When the assumptions put in place by experience take an unworkable turn, perhaps it is then that the cognitive dissonance sets in.

    Dianetic auditing seems to drain cognitive dissonance resulting in epiphany or equilibrium of mental forces in the mental matrix. Therefore, I believe it may be accurately said that sudden reduction in mental matrix may be the action of epiphany or mental equilibrium. Also, I believe that mental matrix, being constructed of MEST may have an upper limit of size and mass. Therefore, intelligence being domain specific, or emphasizing a particular domain of intelligence over others may be a clue to this idea of mental matrix limitation.

    Hubbard postulated the definition of Theta and Thetan. This is similar to other postulates of spiritual center as believed in other religions. It is hard me to know what I should think about asserted constructs which have not yet observable structural characteristics. Like other placeholders such as dark matter and dark energy, I suppose that theta and thetan can also be used to placehold for these mental and spiritual attributes that we don’t yet understand.

    • vinaire  On May 11, 2021 at 3:52 PM

      I shall make one little correction: An atom results from condensation of energy. There is sudden condensation, or a high gradient of condensation, from the innermost electrons to outermost nucleons (protons) in the nucleus. It seems that charge is the manifestation of this high gradient. This high gradient is a quantum phenomenon.

    • vinaire  On May 11, 2021 at 5:21 PM

      “Mentally, what we call epiphany, what Dianetics calls Clear, seems to be simply the reducing of cognitive dissonance by an equilibrium of mental forces. I do not know the action of this quelling, but it seems to be structure of mental forces and seems to result in, as you say, a broadening of viewpoint.”

      epiphany = a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.

      Epiphany takes place when an anomaly is resolved. It will take the resolution of hundreds and thousands of anomalies before the real state of Clear may be achieved. Hubbard grossly underestimated the state of Clear. There is only the state of Clear. If you are really Clear then you are OT also.

      cognitive dissonance = anxiety that results from simultaneously holding contradictory or otherwise incompatible attitudes, beliefs, or the like, as when one likes a person but disapproves strongly of one of his or her habits.

      ANOMALY = presence of an inconsistency, discontinuity or disharmony in what is observed.

      Anomaly is a broader concept that includes cognitive dissonance and more. Of course, anomaly may or may not cause emotional reactions. I prefer anomaly to cognitive dissonance.

      The problem is not some vague “imbalance of mental forces”. The problem is due to the inability to freely associate the data elements in the mental matrix. This happens when data elements are extremely misaligned due to pain, shock and extreme confusion.

      Nothing short of the full resolution of an anomaly will clear it up. This means full alignment of data elements so that they can be freely associated. Quelling is a general term, which could mean suppression of the cognitive dissonance.

      So anomalies must be resolved for good to obtain complete clarity. Resolution means bringing up to awareness, whatever data related to that anomaly is below awareness. This will definitely result in a broadening of viewpoint.

    • vinaire  On May 11, 2021 at 7:48 PM

      “Because these mental states have mental structure, they seem to expand and contract. Hubbard wrote in THETA-MEST THEORY that the thetan collides or mixes with MEST, then removes itself from MEST, thus gaining experience. Possibly, experience is in fact the building and expansion of mental matrix structure. When the assumptions put in place by experience take an unworkable turn, perhaps it is then that the cognitive dissonance sets in.”

      The only structure in my understanding is the mental matrix consisting of perceptual data elements. I can’t visualize this mental structure expanding and contracting. But I can visualize it getting modified. Maybe you can explain the model you are using.

      If Theta energizes MEST then how can there be a collision between THETA and MEST. There can only be collision among MEST structures energized by Theta. Theta is just like electricity energizing different structures. Experience is part of the body-mind system and not of Theta. Experience certainly modifies the mental matrix. Cognitive dissonance sets in only when free association among different experiences cannot take place because of extreme misalignment.

    • vinaire  On May 11, 2021 at 9:22 PM

      “Dianetic auditing seems to drain cognitive dissonance resulting in epiphany or equilibrium of mental forces in the mental matrix. Therefore, I believe it may be accurately said that sudden reduction in mental matrix may be the action of epiphany or mental equilibrium.”

      Dianetic auditing simply handles the extreme misalignment of pereptual data elements within the engram. Cognitive dissonance exists because of this misalignment. “Equilibrium of forces” actually means the alignment of data elements. In other words, it is regaining the ability to differentiate by bringing the engram from unawareness to awareness.

      I don’t know if there is a “sudden reduction” in mental matrix. There is certainly a sudden alignment. If anything is removed it is the misalignment. Now the perceptions within the engram can be differentiated because one is now aware of them. This may be what you are calling epiphany / equilibrium.

  • Chris Thompson  On May 12, 2021 at 2:00 AM

    I appreciate your comments toward my opinions, thank you.

    I can’t visualize this mental structure expanding and contracting. But I can visualize it getting modified. Maybe you can explain the model you are using.

    I like metaphors especially similes. They can help me communicate about things we wonder about but for which there is no real understanding.

    One metaphor that I like to use for this is my “Hermit Crab Model Our World View.” In this I take the idea of the hermit crab as the little animal which does not make his own shell but rather lives in the abandoned shells of others. The metaphor activates because like our little friend who lives within the shell, we in turn adopt and live within the world view which we have learned throughout our growing years and possibly for our entire lives. Like the hermit crab, as he grows his shell becomes too tight and can no longer contain him and he must look for another larger shell. Similarly, at times in our lives we may find that we too have grown or changed and our world views no longer fit us. Similarly, we too must abandon our old world view and find another which fits us better. This is just a device for communicating something about how we all have a world view.

    You’ve constructed the simile of a “mental matrix.” I like that and it is easy for me to visualize. I use an idea like that to help me visualize and to understand the geometry of space, especially space modified by gravity. Here’s one that I like:

    • Chris Thompson  On May 12, 2021 at 2:15 AM

      oops, I thought I could insert a gif but I failed. I believe going to this link will show it: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File%3AGeneral_relativity_time_and_space_distortion.ogv

      • vinaire  On May 12, 2021 at 4:57 AM

        Yes. I like your Hermit crab model and this gif. You explained the Hermit crab model really well.

    • vinaire  On May 12, 2021 at 5:05 AM

      I think that the Matrix Model is much more powerful than Hubbard’s Standard Memory and Reactive Bank Model.

      • Chris Thompson  On May 12, 2021 at 1:45 PM

        Agreed. It is much more neurological.

        While Hubbard had his Sea Org keep a lot of records, his RESEARCH AND DISCOVERY SERIES was supposed to be a definitive and complete work as the title suggests.

        That this series was never finished and has been abandoned for me is a clue as to the inconsistencies that arose from trying to create it. I believe that COS has opted to print less complete, more consistent, slicker, more modern, less expensive puff pieces about what a genius Hubbard in every area of life. Much better than the enormous, less appealing last century encyclopedia work that may have been complete but enormously inconsistent. I agree with their decision.

        • vinaire  On May 12, 2021 at 4:16 PM

          Hubbard did discover some stuff in 1950s, but there was mostly hype by Hubbard that made Dr. Winter quit his Foundation.

          Today’s research has gone far beyond Hubbard’s discoveries. Scientology is still stuck in the past.

  • chris giantelectric.net  On May 12, 2021 at 2:22 AM

    This is the model of space curvature in the proximity of a moving mass that I really like. ________________________________

  • Chris Thompson  On May 12, 2021 at 8:27 AM

    Vinaire: “Anomaly is a broader concept that includes cognitive dissonance and more. Of course, anomaly may or may not cause emotional reactions. I prefer anomaly to cognitive dissonance.”

    DIANETICS is a subjective study. Anomaly in the context of Dianetics is personal and subjective. Auditing consults an individual person’s individual reality. The Key Question which follows every auditing session is, “Would you want others to experience the gains you now have?” The evidence that Dianetics works is in the form of testimonials or “Success Stories.” This is anecdotal in the same way that any subjective subject is anecdotal. This is not a problem until that subject offers objective scientific results. What one person experiences as an anomaly may very not be what others from a sample group thinks of as an anomaly.

    Cognitive dissonance is simply the disharmony that one feels when they have ideas in conflict. We could also write that cognitive dissonance springs forth from mental anomalies. I am not understanding why you want to define anomaly in a broader context than you do cognitive dissonance.

    I get the sense that you want to push some of these subjective ideas over into the objective realm. I do not understand if that is the case. Subjective experiences have relevance and value. They are not more relevant or valuable if they become touted as objective. We just need to keep this straight and remember in which domain our information belongs.

    • vinaire  On May 12, 2021 at 5:19 PM

      I can see where you are coming from. A person can be both objective and subjective depending on how he is interpreting what he is looking at.

      Mental impressions exist below the level of awareness. Fixed ideas, prejudices, biases are examples of that. This fact is scientifically objective.

      Dianetics made the discovery that painful incidents exist below the level of awareness that can be related to psychosomatic illnesses. That is a scientifically objective statement. But all the other hype of Hubbard and his Theta-MEST theory is subjective.

      Any questions?

    • vinaire  On May 12, 2021 at 5:25 PM

      The dictionary definition of ANOMALY is “an incongruity or inconsistency.” By definition, cognitive dissonance is due to experiencing an anomaly.

      But a person could be holding an anomaly without being aware of it. A prejudice or a bias is an example of that. Cognitive dissonance may come about when a person becomes aware of his own prejudice for the first time.

      I hope this clarifies the relationship of cognitive dissonance to anomaly.

    • vinaire  On May 12, 2021 at 5:32 PM

      People are subjective because they are holding anomalies that they are not aware of. They are even below the level of having cognitive dissonance.

      A person with static viewpoint is not only aware of all anomalies, but he is also capable of resolving them. The whole purpose of Subject Clearing is to be able to see anomalies from as close to a static viewpoint as possible.

      It doesn’t matter if a person’s anomaly is not another person’s anomaly. Each epiphany is a moment when a person has resolved some anomaly.

      The fact is that when a person spots an anomaly and resolves it, his case improves.

      I am sure you have had epiphanies.

  • Chris Thompson  On May 12, 2021 at 9:51 AM

    <em<Mental Matrix is a construct. It is formed by gathering information and organizing it in some apparently cogent manner by the process of learning or other mentally impactful activity. When one learns, their mental matrix grows. When they discredit or discard information, their mental matrix shrinks.

    Unlike Hubbard’s assertions or myths about the mind, one’s mental matrix seems to be located in the brain. Hubbard once asserted in a taped lecture that if every molecule in the brain were to contain “one memory,” then the brain could only handle about 4 months of information. This assertion seems to arise from a complete vacuum of knowledge regarding neurology. Indeed, information in the brain is networked about the brain in what we possibly could refer to as modules.
    Therefore, the concept of “blue” may be a combination of information points whose group may be referred to as a module in the sense that module can be shared with other concepts and memories requiring the inclusion of the idea of “blue.”

    This is quite complicated due partly to the enormity of the information module combinations possible. Consider the enormous complexity of 64 bit encryption and I think one can begin to embrace the volume of information that could possibly be contained within the brain and the human body as a whole.

    • vinaire  On May 12, 2021 at 6:46 PM

      It seems that mental matrix will always grow as data is being added continuously. The only change that occurs later is that misaligned data getting aligned. Does it contribute to a shrinkage, is a question to be researched.

      Certain mental functions are definitely concentrated in the brain, but the mental matrix could very well be a field that penetrates and surrounds the whole body. I take Hubbard’s statements about memory as speculations. Neurology also has its own models and they can evolve too.

  • Chris Thompson  On May 12, 2021 at 10:04 AM

    One answer to your question for me is that I think of Mental Matrix not as a volume of points, but rather a volume created by the networking of points.

    If the networking of points in one’s mental matrix increases, then so does the volume, and vice versa.

    I always remember that in a discussion like this one, I am at all times dealing with and describing concepts using similes, metaphors and the like.

    • vinaire  On May 12, 2021 at 6:49 PM

      Of course, a mental matrix has elements and all those elements are associated with each other in some way. So it a network of data in a broad sense. I am sure future research will tell us more about it.

  • Chris Thompson  On May 12, 2021 at 11:20 AM

    At the heart of this discussion, possibly I think that there is not a negative something specific such as the Reactive Mind that operates differently and that is in conflict with the Analytical Mind. Or maybe there is.

    It seems to me that Hubbard did not give credence to, nor apply himself to serious study in the way that you (Vinay) have. Hubbard was a story teller and other kinds of not so charming liar. His storytelling was his charm and his dead-ends resulted in his ossification.

    • vinaire  On May 12, 2021 at 6:54 PM

      I see reactive and analytical as two ends of a spectrum of associations among data. At the analytical end the data is very finely differentiable. At the reactive end the data is not differentiable at all. In between there are different gradients of differentiability.

      Hubbard was a pioneer. He made some contribution scientifically but he made a lot more contribution in hyping up the subject and making it popular.

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