Scientology and Memory

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Reference: Course on Subject Clearing


The technique used in running Scientology Grade processes is Straight Memory. Many people have trouble recalling specific moments from their memory of the past. It is, therefore, important to understand the subject of memory.

When one is thinking and computing in the normal course of life, one is using data from one’s memory. Therefore, the purpose of memory is to support the computations of the mind. The better is one memory the more rational are one’s computations. If your thinking is quite rational, then, you can be rest assured that you memory is in good shape.  You do not have to test your memory by recalling individual incidents. You may be simply be recalling very fast in terms of wholesale patterns.

The regular dictionary defines MEMORY as “the mental capacity or faculty of retaining and reviving facts, events, impressions, etc., or of recalling or recognizing previous experiences.” In Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health (DMSMH), Hubbard says, “Anything which, perceived, is filed in the standard memory bank and can be recalled by the analytical mind.” Thus, there are two essential aspects of memory: (a) retaining of experiential data in the mind, and (b) retrieving of that data from the mind. This data is continually retrieved in the background for the purpose of computations (thinking).



In Dianetics: The Original Thesis (DTOT), Hubbard says, “In the physio-animal section of the brain, a complete time track and a complete memory record of all perceptions for all moments of the organism’s existence is available.” In DMSMH, he further elaborates, “In a release, the case is not progressed to the point of complete recall. In a clear, full memory exists throughout the lifetime, with the additional bonus that he has photographic recall in color, motion, sound, etc., as well as optimum computational ability.” This seems to assert that (a) memory is recorded in the mind in precise detail, and (b) every moment of one’s whole past is recallable in vivid detail. This emphasis on vivid recall seems to be unnecessary in view of its support role to thinking. But let us take a closer look at memory.



In DMSMH, Hubbard says, “The auditor, with precision methods, recovers data from the earliest ‘unconscious’ moments of the patient’s life, such ‘unconsciousness’ being understood to be caused by shock or pain, not mere unawareness. The patient thus contacts the cellular level engrams. Returned to them and progressed through them by the auditor, the patient re-experiences these moments a few times, when they are then erased and refiled automatically as standard memory. So far as the auditor and the patient can discover, the entire incident has now vanished and does not exist. If they searched carefully in the standard banks they would find it again but refiled as ‘Once aberrative, do not permit as such into computer.’ Late areas of ‘unconsciousness’ are impenetrable until early ones are erased.”

According to the above, engrams exist as literal impressions. They are aberrative because they stand alone and are not assimilated with rest of the experience. It is only upon erasure that these literal impressions are assimilated with standard memory. 



Assimilation means that literal impressions are broken down into perceptual elements, which are then interconnected with the perceptual elements of the experience (standard memory). In the process of assimilation, all duplicate perceptual elements are eliminated, and we end up with a multi-dimensional matrix of perceptual elements. This is the mental matrix that supports the mental functions of recall and thinking. Each element of this matrix is stamped with a time signature, such that, the original memory can be recreated in recall. But at the same time these elements may be recombined in different orders for thinking purposes.



When Hubbard describes memory as “a recording of the physical universe,” he is only partially correct. The literal impressions are a recording of the physical universe but only as they enter our sense channels. At that moment they appear to us as sensations and the content of their recording is not visible to us. Such content become visible only when the impressions are assimilation in the mental matrix. This is when sensations get more precisely defined as perceptions.

Traumatic impressions do not get assimilated and, therefore, never get converted into perceptions. The deep unassimilated impressions are called engrams. Engrams are sensations and not perceptions. Sensations are recordings but perceptions are not. Memories are reconstructions of perceptions from the mental matrix.

Engrams exist as sensations only. A secondary is the emotional aspect of an engram. An Engram is like a huge iceberg, whose tip is visible as locks. With processing the engram gets erased. This erasure is actually the assimilation of engram into the mental matrix. It is only at the point of erasure that one becomes fully aware of the content of the engram. The assimilated data is no longer a recording; but recordings may be recreated using the time signatures.



In the Scientology technique of Straight Memory when one is asked to recall something, he gets a reconstructed memory from the mental matrix, plus unassimilated impressions as sensations. The unassimilated impressions are not all visible, but there is a faint sensation of a discontinuity, inconsistency or disharmony. We call this an anomaly.

An anomaly is any violation of the integrity of reality, such as, discontinuity (missing data), inconsistency (contradictory data), or disharmony (arbitrary data). An anomaly flags the presence of a hidden impression in the form of an assumption. When the assumption, and the underlying impression is discovered it produces a realization that resolves the anomaly.

The relevant part of the Straight Memory is noticing the anomalies in recall and seeing how they add up. The Self Analysis lists encourage the recall of specific moments from our past while remaining in the present time. One soon becomes aware of memory as a reconstruction of the past and gaps (anomalies) in that reconstruction. The following Self Analysis exercise, when done repeatedly, helps resolve some of those anomalies: Visualization Exercise.


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  • vinaire  On February 13, 2022 at 9:20 AM

    Hubbard’s definitions of memory:

    MEMORY, 1. a recording of the physical universe. Any memory contains a time index (when it happened) and a pattern of motion. As a lake reflects the trees and moving clouds, so does a memory reflect the physical universe. Sight, sound, pain, emotion, effort, conclusions, and many other things are recorded in this static for any given instant of observation. Such a memory we call a facsimile. (Scn 8-80, p. 13) 2. memory in Dn is considered to be any concept of perceptions stored in the standard memory banks which is potentially recallable by the “I.” (DMSMH, p. 61) 3. memory usually means recalling data of recent times. (NFP, p. 26) 4 . memory would have the connotation of you simply know it had happened. (SH Spec 84, 6612C13)


  • vinaire  On February 13, 2022 at 9:23 AM

    The great shift from Dianetic approach to Straight Memory approach occurred with the publication of Science of Survival in 1951. The first application of Straight Memory was Self Analysis later in 1951. All the Grade processes are developed from the Straight Memory approach. Grade 0 uses Straight Memory to improve communication. It is very important to understand what memory is.


  • Michael  On May 29, 2023 at 11:00 PM

    Did you find that Self-Analysis and Dianetics processing gave you a complete recall of your past?


    • vinaire  On May 30, 2023 at 7:04 AM

      Self-Analysis and Dianetics processing gave me access to data from my past that was surprising.

      Dianetics processing involved tracking down certain sensations and exploding them into perceptual elements. It was only after the assimilation of these exploded perceptual elements that I knew the detailed content of those sensations.

      Self-Analysis simply brought into focus experiences that matched the question asked. It was easy to imagine an incident matching what was asked, but it was usually created by putting together projections from existing perceptual elements. However, a convincing memory involved actual perceptual elements of matching time stamps coming together. But in such memories not all content was necessarily present.

      I know I do not have perfect recall, because there are holes in my memories. Also, I still get dreams, which make me wonder where such projections are coming from.

      A whole research can be done on the subject of perceptual elements that do not become accessible right away. But, it seems, that recall is a function of concentration of attention. Some people have a better concentration than others; consequently, their recall is better.

      With deepening concentration of attention as achieved through Buddhist practices, it is possible to have complete recall of your past. As recorded below in MN 4, Buddha could recall all his past lives.

      MN 4 Summary


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