When a person has committed an overt act and then withholds it, he or she usually employs the social mechanism of justification.
We have all heard people attempt to justify their actions and all of us have known instinctively that justification was tantamount to a confession of guilt. But not until now have we understood the exact mechanism behind justification.
Short of Scientology Auditing there was no means by which a person could relieve himself of consciousness of having done an overt act except to try to lessen the overt.
Some churches used a mechanism of confession. This was a limited effort to relieve a person of the pressure of his overt acts. Later the mechanism of confession was employed as a kind of blackmail by which increased contribution could be obtained from the person confessing. Factually this is a limited mechanism to such an extent that it can be extremely dangerous. Religious confession does not carry with it any real stress of responsibility for the individual but on the contrary seeks to lay responsibility at the door of the Divinity — a sort of blasphemy in itself. I have no axe to grind here with religion. Religion as religion is fairly natural. But psychotherapy must be in itself a completed fact or, as we all know, it can become a dangerous fact. That’s why we flatten engrams and processes. Confession to be non-dangerous and effective must be accompanied by a full acceptance of responsibility. All overt acts are the product of irresponsibility on one or more of the dynamics.
Withholds are a sort of overt act in themselves but have a different source. Oddly enough we have just proven conclusively that man is basically good — a fact which flies in the teeth of old religious beliefs that man is basically evil. Man is good to such an extent that when he realizes he is being very dangerous and in error he seeks to minimize his power and if that doesn’t work and he still finds himself committing overt acts he then seeks to dispose of himself either by leaving or by getting caught and executed. Without this computation Police would be powerless to detect crime — the criminal always assists himself to be caught. Why Police punish the caught criminal is the mystery. The caught criminal wants to be rendered less harmful to the society and wants rehabilitation. Well, if this is true then why does he not unburden himself? The fact is this: unburdening is considered by him to be an overt act. People withhold overt acts because they conceive that telling them would be another overt act. It is as though Thetans are trying to absorb and hold out of sight all the evil of the world. This is wrong-headed, by withholding overt acts these are kept afloat in the universe and are themselves as withholds entirely the cause of continued evil. Man is basically good but he could not attain expression of this until now. Nobody but the individual could die for his own sins — to arrange things otherwise was to keep man in chains.
In view of these mechanisms, when the burden became too great man was driven to another mechanism — the effort to lessen the size and pressure of the overt. He or she could only do this by attempting to reduce the size and repute of the terminal. Hence, not-isness. Hence when a man or a woman has done an overt act there usually follows an effort to reduce the goodness or importance of the target of the overt. Hence the husband who betrays his wife must then state that the wife was no good in some way. Thus the wife who betrayed her husband had to reduce the husband to reduce the overt. This works on all dynamics. In this light most criticism is justification of having done an overt.
This does not say that all things are right and that no criticism anywhere is ever merited. Man is not happy. He is faced with total destruction unless we toughen up our postulates. And the overt act mechanism is simply a sordid game condition man has slipped into without knowing where he was going. So there are rightnesses and wrongnesses in conduct and society and life at large, but random, carping 1.1 criticism when not borne out in fact is only an effort to reduce the size of the target of the overt so that one can live (he hopes) with the overt. Of course to criticise unjustly and lower repute is itself an overt act and so this mechanism is not in fact workable.
Here we have the source of the dwindling spiral. One commits overt acts unwittingly. He seeks to justify them by finding fault or displacing blame. This leads him into further overts against the same terminals which leads to a degradation of himself and sometimes those terminals.
Scientologists have been completely right in objecting to the idea of punishment. Punishment is just another worsening of the overt sequence and degrades the punisher. But people who are guilty of overts demand punishment. They use it to help restrain themselves from (they hope) further violation of the dynamics. It is the victim who demands punishment and it is a wrong-headed society that awards it. People get right down and beg to be executed. And when you don’t oblige, the woman scorned is sweet-tempered by comparison. I ought to know — I have more people try to elect me an executioner than you would care to imagine. And many a preclear who sits down in your pc chair for a session is there just to be executed and when you insist on making such a pc better, why you’ve had it, for they start on this desire for execution as a new overt chain and seek to justify it by telling people you’re a bad auditor.
When you hear scathing and brutal criticism of someone which sounds just a bit strained, know that you have your eye on overts against that criticised person and next chance you get pull the overts and remove just that much evil from the world.
And remember, by and by, that if you make your pc write these overts and withholds down and sign them and send them off to me he’ll be less reluctant to hold on to the shreds of them — it makes for a further blow of overts and less blow of pc. And always run responsibility on a pc when he unloads a lot of overts or just one.
We have our hands here on the mechanism that makes this a crazy universe so let’s go for broke on it and play it all the way out.