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ENGLISH DOCS FOR THIS DATE- Basic Reason - Basic Principles (DAB-2-3) - DAB510900

Volume 2, No. 3
September, 1951
Official Publication of
The Hubbard Dianetic Foundation, Inc.
Wichita, Kansas

Basic Reason - Basic Principles

From a Lecture by
L. Ron Hubbard

By their very nature basic principles, every time they are examined, tend to become more basic. Critical exploration uncovers simple underlying fundamentals. Yet, in spite of this fact, the tendency of the greater number of people is to complicate a subject in relaying it. Rarely does one try to advance knowledge by making it simple. The usual fate of a new postulate is building it up into a complicated hokus-pokus that would stagger the original creator of the postulate!

Original thinkers of the stature of Newton presented their ideas very simply. Newton stated that there are three laws of motion: Inertia, interaction and acceleration. In relaying these laws some struggling scientists feel that if everybody understands it as well as they, their prestige is thereby lowered. So they strike learned attitudes before students: “Of course, there may possibly be some of you who can understand this — or part of it.... During the next four years there may be a possibility that I can instill some of the pattern into your minds, but of course you can’t be expected to grasp it....” It’s the same urge that navigators have for declaring navigation too difficult for the average person. Or a typical college text on elementary physics that starts out with “… the kinesthetic aspects and persistence of masses…” and goes on and on for pages and pages with words that stun the reader. Suddenly it is realized that the presentation is of the simple law of inertia — the tendency of a body to remain in motion if it is in motion or to remain still if it is still; a whole chapter to make that law complicated! Many individuals are upset, evidently, by going “backwards” in a subject toward simplicity, and insist on going “forwards” toward incomprehensible complexity and confusion.

This reaching back for earlier simplicities is the direction that any seeker after truth must take. Reaching a simpler fundamental, he takes the props out from under the thousands of complex, unworkable formulations which previously existed. The moment earlier simplicity is reached, complex data falls apart and becomes simple.


When a person has been taught scholastically by authoritarian teaching methods a mass of facts forced down the student’s throat on threat of failing — he finds himself confused when a new fundamental appears because he has to re-evaluate everything he knows about the subject. This may be characteristic of that group of people who complain that Dianetics is over-simplified. They are in reality complaining that a new fundamental has been discovered which makes it necessary to re-evaluate and jettison some thousands of ideas which before would not work properly. It took years for those individuals to accumulate, memorize and study the ideas, and, just as it is difficult to coax persons to give up some of their MEST, so it is very trying to be asked to give up some of their facts and ideas. Robbing a man of money is no more difficult than robbing a man of such a collection of ideas and facts. A complicated unworkable mass of doctrine has made the student feel important. He has not tried to resolve problems with his new-found knowledge, but has assumed that he knows all that is necessary to be known about the subject. A new simplicity is an attack upon this self- assuredness. He will resist. Thus it is that progress in the field of thought or of physics or chemistry is met, usually, not with acclaim, but with suspicion. What is acceptable to men is something within their frame of reference fitting a majority of their facts. Something which puts new facts into the field and removes old facts is usually combatted.

Dianetics is basically epistemology, the study of knowledge. Man’s behavior is based on knowledge, or lack of it. The very act of trying to study without knowing what knowledge is is nonsense. We study the human mind because the mind is a computer for knowledge. A clarity of vision, an ability to absorb, recall and compute with data is absolutely necessary before the individual can adequately handle knowledge. Without these abilities, he is powerless against his environment. In order to assure this ability to use knowledge in the race of man, the computers of individual men must be brought up to a high level of efficiency. The aberrated mind is a problem of Dianetics because it is an imperfect computer. How can men learn what knowledge is when they are violating the basic principles of data?


The goal of Dianetics is to spread some knowledge through the societies of men so that, improbable as it may seem, the species might survive and might even evolve into something better. So long as individuals have imperfect computers which cannot even recover the data most arduously impressed into them, the normal course of human events will, unfortunately, continue. The address of Dianetics to aberration is for the purpose of achieving reason in the individual. Any process which helps an individual to reason and work and live better is a valid process.

The dianetic auditor should evaluate for himself what he is trying to do with his preclear. He should evaluate all theory in this light. Dianetics is not tender and fragile; it does not have to be approached with the awe and reverence which is demanded in some fields. In Dianetics all theory and technique should be submitted to this test: Does it make people more reasonable?


Education can lie along two lines: The first is to give the student data. The second is to teach the student to reason with the data he has. Much modern education hardly recognizes the second method — developing the ability to reason in the student. When we ask why a man needs reason, we find that reason is the ability to extrapolate new data from the existing data. Knowing “all there is to know” about a subject is not enough. The individual must have the ability to know, as the necessity arises, the things that are not known by extrapolating them from data. There is a difference between memorizing and rationalizing. Knowledge is more than data; it is also the ability to draw conclusions.

The confusion between reason and memory has entered into Dianetics. People think that if they could just recall everything they had ever read they would be reasonable. They think that they must have perceptics to be reasonable. But many a wide-open case in which the individual has the ability to recall practically everything that has happened to him is extremely unreasonable in behavior. Memory is not reason; it is a different order in the field of epistemology.


Reason, the ability to extrapolate, is hand-in-glove with self-determinism. As soon as an individual feels that he has a right to reason, to extrapolate on data, he will do so. As his right to reason is inhibited, his self-determinism is inhibited in direct ratio. As self-determinism is inhibited, not only does he feel that he has no right to move where he wishes or do what he wishes, but he feels that he cannot use the data he observes. The rehabilitation of a person’s self-determinism is the rehabilitation of his ability to reason. They are almost the same thing. His ability to move and act at his own command approximates his ability to reason at his own will on his own data. Processing is not getting data out of the preclear; it is not assembling his life for him as a complete, consecutive play — it is increasing his self-determinism and his right to reason. A man whose self-determinism has been three-quarters rehabilitated may still have arthritis which hurts, but the auditor has done a good job. But if the arthritis is gone and self-determinism is diminished, the auditor has done a bad job.


There are two ways that an individual can be dominated. First, he can be made to do things with his physical environment or prevented from doing things with it. Second, he can be left alone, ignored. One becomes the occluded case, the other the wide-open case low on the tone scale.

The wide-open case has been invalidated during his lifetime until he feels worthless as an individual. He has been ignored and has been unable to get the attention he needs. One such case, at 0.2 on the tone scale, had been more or less deserted as a child. She was put into the sickroom and seldom attended except to be fed. Nobody played with her or read to her. Lack of strength or power to improve her position brought a complete invalidation as a person. She was not interfered with, just neglected. As an adult her perceptics were excellent, but ARC and reasoning were shattered.

The occluded case has had self-determinism interrupted by being manhandled with regard to MEST. He is told to get up, to go to bed, to pick something up, to put something down, to come in the house, to go outside. He is given shoes but is told exactly when to wear them and where not to put them and when he must polish them and how he must not scuff them. He is told that his clothes are his but that he has to take care of them and not get them dirty. When he receives any MEST, he is controlled in how to use it. He himself is controlled as MEST. He begins to handle his thoughts as he handles MEST; they begin to be moved off the time track and shunted here and there into occluded areas. His ARC may be quite good, but all his data is gone. He has a hard time in school because the educational system is based on the memorization of facts, and he had been forced to forget and remember so much that his command of data is poor. However, he has been forced to learn to reason at the same time, mainly by having to be shifty-footed! Any time he has entered the vicinity of older people, he has had to have an explanation for something he has or has not done. Not having much data to fall back on, and always having the necessity to come up with an answer, he has learned to extrapolate conclusions from the data in present time. He has learned to reason on an emergency basis.

Hence the occluded case extrapolates well on practically no data. He has confidence in his ability to fill in the blanks by reasoning things out. On the other hand, the wide-open case extrapolates hardly any at all, even though it has nearly all the data it has ever contacted. This case more or less worries about the correctness of data, and corrects the words of others because any departure from the known data is very uncomfortable for him. MEST is unreal to this case; he is careless and destructive of it. The occluded case, on the other hand, will acquire MEST.

These are the two main types of cases for processing. Sometimes one encounters a mixed type, but rarely. Sometimes one encounters an open case that is temporarily occluded, but never an occluded case that is temporarily open.


Which of these cases is easier to rehabilitate? What responses can be expected in processing? The occluded case will show more benefit in terms of reasoning ability than the wide-open case. Processing recovers data for him. The more data he gets the more actively he starts reasoning. However, this is not true of the wide-open case. Here the auditor must realize that he is trying to rehabilitate the preclear’s reality as against the occluded case in which he is trying to draw data and perceptics into view. Perceptics then are no index of the ease with which the auditor can restore reason to the preclear.

It is an unfortunate thing in this society that women as recently as fifty years ago were considered chattel, MEST. There seem to be more wide-open cases among women than men for this reason. Society and the family expect something by routine in the culture of men. They don’t expect as much of women. This is completely unfair. Many women have a whole lifetime of invalidation. They are given a 1.1 education; they are dominated so much that their only recourse is often covert hostility. The fact that they do not uniformly act at this level is a sign of their ability to rise above their education.

The little boy of the family who may be far more delicate than the daughter gets no sympathy when he is beaten up by the kid next door. He is told to take care of himself. All the hero tales he reads, from King Arthur to Hopalong Cassidy, tell him to be a 1.5. So we have the battle of the sexes: 1.5 against 1.1 ! Their education on the average postulates that this condition will exist. An auditor, in processing an inharmonious married couple, can predict with usual accuracy that this 1.5—1.1 conflict is taking place.

Some girls, on the other hand, are raised well and are found high on the tone scale; others are mauled around as thoroughly as the boys, and the result is the occluded case in women.

A test of perceptics should tell; the auditor whether the preclear is stronger on memory or on reason. He will then know whether to start on ARC processing or on MEST locks. Since a completely reasonable individual should be able to recall everything in his life and reason on it to the fullest extent, in the aberrated person who can recall everything, the auditor must rehabilitate the right to reason on that data in order to have a whole being. In the individual who is occluded, the auditor makes efforts to help bring data into view.


The consolidation of data and the resolving of problems relating to the survival of an organism, group or species is functionally simple, so simple it has been overlooked. So long as people failed to compartment function from structure, the confusion between the two prevented either from being satisfactorily identified.

The mind could be called the command post of an organism. Gradually, through the ages, it evolved greater and greater structural complexities in order to accomplish a functional simplicity which itself never changed. This evolution of the mind has increased the number of ways the mind could do this thing it was trying to do.

There is no reason to doubt that plankton thinks. Its thinking is not obvious because the organism cannot easily be observed to react to changes in the environment. In 1937 over a period of six weeks, certain experiments were made to demonstrate the thought processes of monocellular organisms. The subjects for the experiment were some slightly mobile bacteria in a drop of water. When cigarette smoke was applied to the drop of water, the bacteria were observed to retreat. This was repeated a few times, then steam was substituted for the smoke. The same reaction was observed. When the steam was first used, before any smoke had been applied, the bacteria did not respond to it in any way. This is obviously a process of learning — at a microscopic level.

These experiments seemed clearly to support the postulate that the basic unit of life was a cell and that as the cell behaved, so the most complex life organism behaved. That which is the purpose of a monocell is also the purpose of the largest and most complex organism that exists. This functional definition of thought, with no regard to size or structure, was maintained and bore fruit. The monocell is trying to survive and procreate. It must, therefore, approach and stay in the vicinity of pleasure and it must avoid pain. The two vectors of approaching pleasure and avoiding pain combine into one vector which is the survival not only of one cell but of the whole line of monocells through many generations. This is no different than the function of any other organism, no matter how large. The apparent differences are only those of complexity of the same function. A big organism has evolved so many ways to be mobile and so many ways to perceive and can combine them so much more intricately that it is easy to overlook that the purpose of the monocell and the larger organisms is the same. The growing complexity of life organisms has been a development of better and better ways of approaching pleasure and avoiding pain in order to survive. This is a fundamental concept. It is a very simple concept.


It is unfortunate that many schools of thought propagate the theory that the purpose of life is to adapt and that the person who does not is maladaptive. The purpose of life is not to adapt. An individual or a society which could get such an idea would be confessing that he or it was defeated by the environment and was propitiating the environment in the vain hope of not being killed for a little while anyway. Adjustment to the environment! If man had begun with the idea of adjusting to the environment he would have had to adjust to sabre-toothed tigers and mastodons; and that adjustment would have been even more unpleasant and fatal than adjusting to one’s environment today. There wouldn’t be any men around any more!

If adaption is the goal of life, what more beautiful life form is there than the plankton and the algae? They are very well adapted. There is nothing wrong with them. There is no reason for them to have gone on in any direction except as monocells. They floated on the surface of the sea and nothing menaced them. The plankton live on minerals and sunlight. They convert eighty-six percent of the sunlight which strikes them into energy for their own use. This is very, very efficient — ten times as efficient as the operation of the human organism. The efficiency of the plankton is so high, according to the work of a great biologist, that food could be produced by photosynthesis to support one hundred persons for every one which is supported now in the world. An acre of algae, raised in a vat, will produce somewhere between two hundred and five hundred tons of food per year. It can be pitchforked out of the vat straight into the mouths of cattle. This is really an ideal life form. It is completely adapted to its environment.

But life does not seem to know that it is supposed to adapt to the environment: it keeps trying to adapt the environment to itself. Whenever an individual stops trying to adapt the environment to himself, he is on the road to an early grave.

The handiest and quickest way to estimate the tone of a preclear is by his relationship with his environment: Is he adapting it or adapting to it? If he is still trying to adjust his environment to himself, he will come up the tone scale easily. If not, he will try in every way possible to succumb, despite the efforts of the auditor. A person who is merely trying to adjust to his environment is dying. Any species which thoroughly adjusts to its environment dies.

A monocellular animalcule cannot adjust the environment to itself very well. A monocell is not very mobile; it cannot swallow up a continent or get to the moon or the planets — which same might some day be necessary for survival. It becomes, therefore, very dissatisfied with being a monocell and works its way up to being a sponge. As a sponge it discovers that it is still held down by MEST and cannot control MEST to any degree so it becomes an invertebrate; then it goes up and lies on the beach and becomes a quadruped and then a bird and so on. All this in the interest of controlling MEST.


One must see this continual necessity of the organism to be in advance of the environment before one can appreciate the value of reason. The organism cannot discover how the environment is going to evolve test species to see if they survive. This is Darwin’s natural selection. But it is only a small part of the process of evolution.

There are too many data about the development of various species that just do not fit into natural selection. In order to put forth the theory of natural selection, all the data which points to direction and planning in evolution has to be hidden and disregarded. It has long been known to paleontologists that the horn of the rhinoceros cannot be accounted for by natural selection. There are many things in evolution which evolved slowly and smoothly for no apparent reason unless it is admitted that planning and experimentation was going on as a part of the life process. All of life is a process of thought. There is every reason to think that theta, at least, is capable of planning. Man is on the highest level of reason known, but every life organism is using reason. The idea that “man thinks but all the rest of the universe just happened” is absurd.

The effort to explain life in terms of organisms adjusting to their environment leads to hopeless confusion. But when it is assumed that the organism is adjusting the environment to it, everything falls into place with great ease. In order to survive an organism must be theta, not MEST. It must be a causative agent. The individual who can change his environment can reason. If he cannot reason, he cannot change his environment. The wide-open case low on the tone scale will only be able to change the environment by destroying it, but he is still trying to change the environment. One way or another the organism will go on changing the environment until death.


The better a man can reason the better he can improve his survival potentialities in his own environment. This may seem a rather obvious point to stress, but actually there is a philosophy which teaches, “Ignorance is strength, war is peace, freedom is slavery.” Knowledge, learning, the ability to think and reason are not dangerous; quite the contrary. But how does one go about controlling a piece of MEST which is resisting, which is hitting back? One tries to destroy the means the MEST has of hitting back. And what do men hit back at men with? Reason. In order to control human beings as MEST one has to convince them that they have no need to use reason, that they only have to adjust to their environment. There doesn’t seem to be any way to convince a human being of this through reason, so it is done with the use of MEST force. Whenever an individual is found to be thinking, he is cured of this “bad” habit by the application of a greater or lesser amount of MEST force.

The essential difference between a piece of MEST and a successful organism is the ability to reason, the ability to keep the environment under control. A successful organism cannot be owned, it has to be worked with. Whenever one tries to own a successful organism, the organism tries to gain control of the owner. The effort to own, control and motivate an organism as though it were MEST must be attended by a cancellation of that organism’s ability to reason, because the reason of that organism has as its sole aim survival through the control of its environment. Most marital trouble comes from the effort of one of the partners to own, control and motivate the other. The partner who is being so dominated then retaliates with the use of nullification and covert hostility.


Any processing which is done on an authoritarian basis is an effort to control and dominate the preclear. It may succeed in turning off chronic somatics, but it will inevitably lower the ability of the preclear to reason. Even good co-auditing contains some lowering of the self-determinism of the preclear. For this reason, the co-auditing team must be kept clear as a group at all times in order to minimize this reduction of self-determinism. ARC must be maintained at a very high level.


The word self-determinism itself is misleading. The individual is not just determining himself. If he is to survive he must determine everything in his environment as much as possible. Pan-determinism is what theta is seeking. Theta evidently feels that it owns the whole physical universe. Human beings spend their lives acquiring and controlling MEST. For minimal output of energy they want maximal action and control of MEST. Why do people buy big, flashy inefficient automobiles? They have in these automobiles thousands of pounds of active metal — roaring monsters of MEST that respond to the touch of a little finger. They will work thousands of hours and go without all sorts of pleasures in order to acquire one of these expensive-to-operate toys. If they were really properly adjusted to their environment, they would walk!

Maximal control of MEST for minimal output of energy is the output-input formula of theta. When theta undertakes to control too much MEST all at one time the MEST kicks back, and the theta for a short time will have to adjust to the environment. But this is a sign of failure. Very soon theta will be back on the offensive.

In processing, the auditor regains for the preclear his freedom of choice in the physical universe. This freedom of choice allows him to reason.


Let us consider a fictitious monocell and call it the “mono-percept”. It has just one perceptic. It can perceive light. It has to have light to live and it will die in darkness. This is fictitious as you know, because there is always more than one perceptic in an organism. If this cell has any ability to move at all, it will go in the direction of light and it will go away from darkness. Sight in this organism means: light equals survival, darkness equals non-survival. The basic unit of life lives on light. Moths and animals and even man all seem to have a turn-toward-the-light mechanism.

Let us consider, secondly, an organism of one cell which has only the perceptic of smell. With this sense of smell, the organism would be able to detect, let us say, food and poisonous substances.

Let us consider, thirdly, an organism which has only the perception of sound. If this organism lives in the sea, there would be two general classifications of sound. In one quarter would be surf, waves, tumult, noise, danger, non-survival — jagged sound waves. In another quarter would be quiet. Somewhere in the course of evolution, organisms developed an impulse to go toward a smooth sound, but in general organisms go away from noise. Jagged sounds mean surf, rocks, reefs, anger, tumult, storm, avalanche, boulders. Throughout evolution noise has meant death.

In the field of tactile the smooth, the silky, the velvet has a definite attraction for the organism. The rough causes a repulsion.

Each of these perceptics helps the organism to move toward survival and away from pain. The ordinary pain is a force impulse which drives the organism away from danger. The experiencing of pain is necessary to tell the organism when to avoid non- survival. The experiencing of pleasure is necessary to tell the organism when to seek survival. When all these perceptics are combined in one organism, as they normally are, the organism meets problems which must be reasoned out. For example, the organism may encounter a situation in which darkness (non-survival) and the smell of good food (survival) lie in the same direction. This is a conflict. Darkness means “no.” Good food means “yes.” Now these two answers must be compared to a third factor: Is the organism so hungry that it will die if it does not eat? If not, the organism can go further in search of food. This is the weight factor of basic reason. There is a yea-nay decision on every datum, according to the weight that datum has. When the data are so equally weighed that no decision is possible, the organism becomes anxious and uncomfortable until a new datum is found which throws the balance one way or another. Each perceptic which comes to the organism, whether light, sound, smell or temperature, has weight on either the yes side or the no side. This is all added up very quickly, and the reaction appears almost immediately in movement toward survival or away from non-survival. This process is reason. No matter how complex the reasoning becomes, it is still this same process. The greatest problems of the world, on an international level, still resolve on the basis of “How light is it? How dark is it? How loud is the noise? How good does the food smell? How long have I gone without food? How cold is the water?” The answers to these questions come up in terms of action: yes or no, approach or retreat.


There is a system of algebra called Boolean algebra used for setting up telephone switchboards. It is organized on the basis that to every question there can be a yes or a no answer. The operation of the mind can be demonstrated to be very much like Boolean algebra. If one asks every question that he must ask of the universe so that it can be answered with a yes or a no, he gets answers rapidly because this seems to be the basic operation of the mind. The most complicated problems can be worked out with Boolean algebra; pages and pages are required, but it can be done. The mind, however, has no problem about lack of space and equipment. Every computation in the mind is probably being run three or four times simultaneously. Nature is very lavish. A man building a machine tries to get the most function for the smallest amount of construction. Nature, on the other hand, if the job requires one piece of equipment will use five or five hundred or, in some cases, millions.


What is the efficient way then of destroying the ability of an organism to reason? It is to prevent these yes or no answers from being arrived at. It is to prohibit an individual from reaching his own conclusions from his own data. It is to inhibit him from acting upon his own data and to cause him to act upon data which is forced upon him. This is the most fundamental level of aberration: “If the food smells good, go away from it!” This is directly against the survival intention of the organism. This must be enforced with pain. When the organism attempts to run a series of computations on its own data, if this arbitrary datum is introduced, confusion and indecision result. When an organism is in this confused condition, another organism, or piece of theta, can take control of and direct this organism for its own ends. The less self-determined the organism is, the more it becomes MEST, and the more it can be controlled by othe