The Definition of OPERATING THETAN

Reference: Subject: Scientology Fundamentals

Here are Hubbard’s definitions related to the Operating Thetan, which are taken from the Technical Dictionary of Scientology. Let’s look at each definition carefully. 

“OPERATING, able to act and handle things.”

This means that an operating thetan is a thetan who is able to act and handle things.

“O.T., operating thetan, highest state there is.”

The means that the highest state of thetan involves the ability to act and handle things.

“OPERATING THETAN, 1. a thetan exterior who can have but doesn’t have to have a body in order to control or operate thought, life, matter, energy, space and time.”

A thetan without a body is simply a potential. So this definition presents an anomaly. Here we require more information.

“EXTERIOR, the fellow would just move out, away from the body and be aware of himself as independent of a body but still able to control and handle the body.”

An operating thetan is not affected by the body in his operations because he is “away from it.” An operating thetan is not a MEST object; therefore, he cannot be away from the body in a physical sense. Secondly, he is still operating the body, so he is still manifested in the body, in some way. From this viewpoint, “away from the body” can only mean that the operating thetan’s attention is not fixed on the body.

“THETAN EXTERIOR, 1. a being who knows he is a spirit with a body and not just a body.”

A thetan exterior is aware that he is not a body. But he knows that he is manifested in the body and operating it.

“THETAN EXTERIOR, 2. he’s out but if the body were to be injured he would be back in.”

When the body being operated is injured, the thetan exterior’s attention is back on it because he cannot operate it that well.

“THETAN EXTERIOR, 3. a being not influenced by a body.”

Well, the thetan exterior is influenced by the body when the body is injured; but, otherwise, his attention is not fixed on the body.

“THETAN EXTERIOR, 4. a thetan who is clear of the body and knows it but is not yet stable outside.”

This is the state of thetan exterior, where he is not fixated on the body, but he does care about the body.

“OPERATING THETAN, 2. willing and knowing cause over life, thought, matter, energy, space and time. And that would of course be mind and that would of course be universe.“

So, the operating thetan has his mind and his affairs well under control.

“OPERATING THETAN, 3. an individual who could operate totally independently of his body whether he had one or didn’t have one. He’s now himself, he’s not dependent on the universe around him.”

A thetan is a potential. It cannot operate unless it is manifested in a body. So, this definition presents an anomaly.

“OPERATING THETAN, 4. a Clear who has been refamiliarized with his capabilities.”

A clear is one who no longer has unassimilated impressions, so he is not impeded by them. He can now learn to operate and utilize his capabilities.

“OPERATING THETAN, 5. a being at cause over matter, energy, space, time, form and life. Operating comes from “able to operate without dependency on things” and thetan is the Greek letter theta (ø), which the Greeks used to represent “thought” or perhaps “spirit” to which an “n” is added to make a new noun in the modern style used to create words in engineering.”

A potential has to depend on MEST to operate. He just doesn’t have to be fixated on it. Here we have the anomaly in Hubbard’s thinking that operating thetan can operate MEST without MEST.

“OPERATING THETAN, 6. by operating thetan we mean theta clear plus ability to operate functionally against or with mest and other life forms.”

This definition depends on the understanding of the state of theta clear.

“THETA CLEAR, 1. it is a person who operates exterior to a body without need of a body.”

As described above, operating exterior simple means operating without fixation on the body.

“THETA CLEAR, 2. that state wherein the preclear can remain with certainty outside his body when the body is hurt.”

So, this state is one step above the state of thetan exterior (see above).

“THETA CLEAR, 3. a theta clear, then can be defined as a person who is at cause over his own reactive bank and can create and uncreate it at will. Less accurately he is a person who is willing to experience. Theta clear is stable.”

A Theta Clear has no unassimilated impressions. He can prevent new unassimilated impressions from forming. He can easily clear himself of new traumas (unassimilated impressions).

“THETA CLEAR, 4. theta clear would mean clear of the mest body or cleared of the necessity to have a mest body.”

Well, a theta clear has been cleared of any fixation on the body.

“THETA CLEAR, 5. there are two types of theta clear, the theta being which is cleared of its necessity or compulsion to have a body and a theta being which is cleared all the way on the track.”

So, a theta clear could have been cleared of his fixation on the body, but may still have unassimilated impressions from way back on his track.

“THETA CLEAR, 6. the basic definition of theta clear is: no further necessity for beingnesses.”

If a thetan is an individuality then he must have a beingness. This definition presents an anomaly.

“THETA CLEAR, 7. this is a relative not an absolute term. It means that the person, this thought unit, is clear of his body, his engrams, his facsimiles, but can handle and safely control a body.”

So, a Theta Clear can control his body without being fixated on it. This makes sense.

“THETA CLEAR, 8. in its highest sense, means no further dependency on bodies.”

Well, a thetan needs a body to manifest in. So this definition can cause confusion.

“THETA CLEAR, 9. an individual who, as a being, is certain of his identity apart from that of the body, and who habitually operates the body from outside, or exteriorized.”

Again, this definition does not realize that “exterior” can only mean “free of fixation.” This point causes a lot of confusion among Scientologists.

“OPERATING THETAN, 7 . this state of being is attained by drills and familiarity after the state of Clear has been obtained. A real OT has no reactive bank, is cause over matter, energy, space, time and thought and is completely free.”

See OPERATING THETAN definition 4 above.



A thetan is a potential that must manifest in a body in order to operate. Some of the definitions above say that an operating thetan is totally independent of the body. That is not so.

A thetan not a MEST object; so, it cannot be exterior to the body in a physical sense. The word “exterior” in this context  can only mean that the operating thetan’s attention is not fixed on the body. The definitions above do not clarify this.

If a thetan is an individuality then he must have a beingness. The definition THETA CLEAR #6 presents an anomaly.



We may define an OPERATING THETAN as follows:

“An OPERATING THETAN has his full potential manifested in a body; but he has no attention fixed on the body. He is free of his unassimilated impressions, and he can act and handle things freely without any fixations. He has his mind and affairs well under control.”


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