The following article appeared recently in the London City Press. It may be used by City Offices and Area Offices for information to papers.
One best-seller is often the real beginning in the story of a publishing house. But to come into existence because of another publisher’s best-seller is unusual. This is what happened in the case of the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International.
The HASI and all its concerns is founded on the work of one man, L. Ron Hubbard, engineer, explorer, nuclear physicist and writer. Holding in his mind a knowledge of Eastern thought gained in his travels, his instruction in psychology from a medical doctor who had studied personally under Sigmund Freud, and his training in mathematics and nuclear physics, L. Ron Hubbard found himself convalescing in hospital towards the end of the second world war, after a distinguished career in the United States Navy.
During the year he spent in hospital he reviewed earlier work he had done on the fundamentals of knowledge. He was also confronted with the deplorable nervous reactions of his friends who had been through the war. He concluded, after many experiments, that his ideas could help people towards greater ability and greater happiness.
He coined the word Scientology, to mean the science of knowing how to know.
Then followed several years of experiment, which he supported by writing fiction. His ideas, like most new things, met with complete disbelief in official quarters in spite of the fact that they had by this time been practised, proved, tested and documented.
A thesis he wrote in 1948 was ignored. However, people began to hear of his work and to get hold of carbon copies of his thesis and make more copies of it and hand them to friends. Hubbard’s correspondence grew to embarrassing proportions as more and more people found out that Dianetics (the branch of Scientology he wrote about at that time, the branch which deals with mental anatomy) really worked in practice. They asked him for lengthy explanations.
In 1950 L. Ron Hubbard thought of writing a popular text book on Dianetics to relieve him of the task of writing dozens of long letters every day. A publisher offered to print the book, but demanded the manuscript within three weeks. The book was duly written and delivered — 180,000 words of it — within three weeks.
This book, DIANETICS: THE MODERN SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH, was expected to sell 6,000 copies and sold 100,000 almost immediately. It went to the top of the best-selling lists and stayed there during the summer of 1950.
The book tells the layman how to use Dianetics. Thousands of people began to use it. Hundreds of people wrote, spoke, and ranted for and against it. Interest in Dianetics reached hysteria level in the United States and various organizations were set up, with and without L. Ron Hubbard’s approval, to deal with the demand for treatment and training.
To combat this confusion of commercial exploitation, Hubbard went back to the broader subject of Scientology and founded the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International as the official organization which would treat people, train people and supervise research.
Books and more books were demanded. Hubbard duly wrote them and the HASI duly published them under its own name or under the name of one of its offices. Since 1950, more than thirty books by L. Ron Hubbard and many other Scientologists have been published by the HASI.
Perhaps the best-known titles are DIANETICS: THE MODERN SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH, SCIENCE OF SURVIVAL, SELF ANALYSIS IN SCIENTOLOGY, PROBLEMS OF WORK and THE CREATION OF HUMAN ABILITY.
It is fitting that the main part of HASI’s publishing output should be written by the man who founded it, and that all the books it publishes should be about Scientology in its various aspects, whether applied to helping the individual and training professional practitioners, or to more topical subjects such as those dealt with in ALL ABOUT RADIATION and HOW TO LIVE THOUGH AN EXECUTIVE.
The ‘international’ at the end of the HASI’s title is well earned. Few publishers have offices in, and books printed in, Washington, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Auckland, Johannesburg, Paris and Berlin. And this within nine years.
Scientology books have been translated into many languages and the London office (which is now the central office of the organization) receives enquiries from all parts of the world and has on its staff people from Australia, Greece, New Zealand, Mauritius, Rhodesia, South Africa, Spain and the United States. Students come from far and near, east and west, for training to become professional practitioners in Scientology or ‘auditors’ as they are called (an auditor: one who listens and computes). When trained, they qualify to help other people improve their lives and their abilities by doing simple mental exercises under their skilled supervision; and many of them go back to their own countries and set up offices, groups, training centres and clinics of their own. A large part of their training consists of the study of texts published by the HASI.
The publication of DIANETICS: THE MODERN SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH in 1950 started, not just a publishing house, but a world movement. The long-ignored work of one man now suddenly affects the lives of people from Malaya to Manchester. And the HASI becomes a very busy organization indeed.