DIANETICS: Keying-in the Engram

Reference: Hubbard 1950: Dianetics TMSMH

These are some comments on Book Two, Chapter 9, “Keying-in the Engram” from  DIANETICS: THE MODERN SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH.


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Keying-in the Engram


The aberrations and the psychosomatic illness of the organism persist simply because their source is not known. The individual attributes his troubles to certain known incidents, because he cannot perceive the actual source—the hidden engrams. He does so because the known incidents are the key-ins.

The key-in is a mild incident that activates a dormant engram. 

The engram was received some time in the past. But it was dormant waiting to be processed. Now it is activated by an incident that contains something similar to the content of the engram. There could  be many more similar incidents, but none of them are the source of his troubles. The individual is not “conditioned” to act in a certain way because of these “memories.” All such incidents stay in his memory only because of the hidden engram. Nothing short of the processing of the hidden engram shall handle his troubles. When the engram is finally processed and assimilated, all these troubling memories also go away and become a part of experience.

The conscious level incidents described as the causes of trouble, are never the actual cause.

A person may spend an entire youth without displaying any aberration. Then a normal event, such as, marriage and having children, takes place. And, suddenly, we find him acting in a very abberated manner. Maybe something happened when he was weary or ill, that keyed-in the first engram. This may then have the effect of keying-in more engrams. 

We are looking at a key-in when a sudden decline occurs without a traumatic incident present.

Any operation under anaesthetic, any drugging, or hypnotizing of a patient may bring about the keying-in of engrams. Any time the body is tired and weary, an engram may be keyed-in. It is possible that a new engram may key-in old engrams. Engrams are timeless things unless they are arranged properly on the time track. 

These conscious-level experiences are at best guide-posts leading toward the actual seat of trouble.

Corporal punishment shuts down the consciousness to some extent. It restimulates old punishments as minor engrams, which rest usually on major engrams. Punishment only causes reactions, which take one of five forms: attack, flee, avoid, neglect or succumb. Man is usually quite resilient  and acts rationally in spite of engrams. But only when the law of affinity begins to be broken and becomes part of engrams, do human beings become a punishment source and make matters worse in the long run.

Keep up the punishment cycle and the prisons will get more numerous and more full.

The cycle begins with a large number of engrams before birth. It gathers more in the dependent and rather helpless condition post-birth. Punishments of various kinds during childhood key-in the engrams. New engrams enter that also involve the earlier ones. Similar incidents accumulate. Illness occur, and aberrated actions set in.

Short of processing the engrams, some relief may be brought about through environmental change, education and physical treatment. 


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