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- How to Study Scientology (ABM-90M) - ABM590200

Issue 90 M
[1959, ca. late February]
The Magazine of
from Washington, D.C.

How to Study Scientology

L. Ron Hubbard

The first thing that a student has to find out for himself and then recognize, is that he is dealing with precision tools here in the courses. It isn’t up to someone else to force this piece of information on him. The whole subject of Scientology as far as the student is concerned is as good or bad in direct ratio to his knowledge of it. It is up to a student to find out how precise these tools are. He should, before he starts to discuss, criticize or attempt to improve on the data presented to him, find out for himself whether or not the mechanics of Scientology are as stated, and whether or not it does what has been proposed for it.

He should make up his mind about each thing that is taught in the school. The procedure, techniques, mechanics and theory. He should ask himself these questions: Does this piece of data exist? Is it true? Does it work? Will it produce the best possible results in the shortest time?

There are two ways to answer these questions to his own satisfaction: Find them in a preclear or find them in himself. These are fundamentals, and every auditor should undertake to discover them himself, thus raising Scientology above an authoritarian category. It is not sufficient that an instructor stand before him and declare the existence of these. Each and every student must determine for himself whether or not the instructor’s statements are true.

As an example of a science in an Authoritarian Category, in the field of medicine some instructors declare that multiple sclerosis is the decay of nervous fibers, and that it is incurable, and that people who contract the “disease” die in a relatively short period of time. It must be answered in just this way on the examination paper or the student will find himself with less than a passing grade. This is not instruction — this is obstruction. In the first place, no one in a medical school knows anything about multiple sclerosis. A good instructor would expect his students to question such a statement and to find for themselves what can be done about multiple sclerosis.

There are two ways Man ordinarily accepts things, neither of them very good. One is to accept a statement because Authority says it is true and must be accepted, and the other is by preponderance of agreement amongst other people.

Preponderance of agreement is all too often the general public test for sanity or insanity. Suppose someone were to walk into a crowded room and suddenly point to a ceiling saying, “Oh, look! There’s a huge, twelve-foot spider on the ceiling!” Everyone would look up, but no one else would see the spider. Finally someone would tell him so. “Oh, yes, there is,” he would declare, and become very angry when he found that no one would agree with him. If he continued to declare his belief in the existence of the spider he would very soon find himself institutionalized.

The basic definition of sanity in this somewhat nebulously learned society is whether or not a person agrees with everyone else. It is a very sloppy manner of accepting evidence, but all too often it is the primary measuring stick.

And then the Rule of Authority: “Does Dr. J. Doe agree with your proposition?

No? Then, of course, it cannot be true. Dr. Doe is an eminent authority in the field.”

A man by the name of Galen at one time dominated the field of medicine. Another man by the name of Harvey upset Galen’s cozy position with a new theory of blood circulation. Galen had been agreeing with the people of his day concerning the “tides” of the blood. They knew nothing about heart action. They accepted everything they had been taught and did little observing of their own. Harvey worked at the Royal Medical Academy, and found by animal vivisection the actual function of the heart.

He had the good sense to keep his findings absolutely quiet for a while. Leonardo da Vinci had somehow discovered or postulated the same thing, but he was a “crazy artist” and no one would believe an artist. Harvey was a member of the audience of a play by Shakespeare in which the playwright made the same observation, but again the feeling that artists never contribute anything to society blocked anyone but Harvey from considering the statement as anything more than fiction.

Finally, Harvey made his announcement. Immediately dead cats, rotten fruit and pieces of wine jugs were hurled in his direction. He raised quite a commotion in medical and social circles until finally, in desperation, one doctor made the historical statement that, “I would rather err with Galen than be right with Harvey!”

Man would have made an advance of exactly zero if this had always been the only method of testing evidence. But every so often during Man’s progress there have been rebels who were not satisfied with preponderance of opinion, and who tested a fact for themselves, observing and accepting the data of their observation, and then testing again.

Possibly the first man who made a flint axe looked over a piece of flint and decided that the irregular stone could be chipped a certain way. When he found that flint would chip easily he must have rushed to his tribe and enthusiastically tried to teach his fellow tribesmen how to make axes in the shape they desired instead of spending months searching for accidental pieces of stone of just the right shape. The chances are he was stoned out of camp.

Indulging in a further flight of fancy, it is not difficult to imagine that he finally managed to convince another fellow that his technique worked, and that the two of them tied down a third with a piece of vine and forced him to watch them chip a flint axe from a rough stone. Finally, after convincing fifteen or twenty tribesmen by forceful demonstration, the followers of the new technique declared war on the rest of the tribe and, winning, forced the tribe to agree by decree.


Man has never known very much about that with which his mind is chiefly filled: Data. What is data? What is the evaluation of data? For instance, if you have been in Scientology very long the chances are that someone has glibly told you that he knew from psychoanalysis that if one could remember childhood experiences one could be

relieved of certain psychosomatic pains. His conclusion from this tiny scrap of information was that Scientology is not new. In 1884 when Breuer first presented this tiny fact to Freud, he was unable to convince the eminent Doctor, but he managed to convince Freud in the next ten years. Then Freud convinced his friends. Medicine then fought Freud to a standstill, but eventually psychoanalysis emerged from the imbroglio.

All these years in which psychoanalysis has taught its tenets to each generation of doctors the authoritarian method was used, as can be verified by reading a few of the books on the subject. Within them is found, interminably, “Freud said ....” The truly important thing is not that “Freud said” a thing, but “Is the data valuable? If it is valuable, how valuable is it?” You might say that a datum is as valuable as it has been evaluated. A datum can be proved in ratio to whether it can be evaluated by other data and its magnitude is established by how many other data it clarifies. Thus, the biggest datum possible would be one which would clarify and identify all knowledge known to Man in the material universe.

Unfortunately, however, there is no such thing as a Prime Datum. There must be not one datum, but two data, since a datum is of no use unless it can be evaluated. Furthermore, there must be a datum of similar magnitude with which to evaluate any given datum.

Data is your data only so long as you have evaluated it. It is your data by authority or it is your data. If it is your data by authority, somebody has forced it upon you, and at best it is little more than a light aberration. Of course, if you asked a question of a man whom you thought knew his business and he gave you his answer, that datum was not forced upon you. But if you went away from him believing from then on that such a datum existed without taking the trouble to investigate the answer for yourself — without comparing it to the known universe — you were falling short of completing the cycle of learning.

Mechanically, the major thing wrong with the mind is, of course, the turbulence in it, but the overburden of information in this society is enforced education that the individual has never been permitted to test. Literally, when you are told not to take anyone’s word as an absolute datum you are being asked to break a habit pattern forced upon you when you were a child.

Your instructor in Scientology could have told you what he found to be true and invited you to test it for yourself, but unless you have tested it you very likely do not have the fundamentals of Scientology in mind well enough to be comfortable in the use of any or all of the techniques available to you. This is why theory is so heavily stressed in Scientology. The instructor can tell you what he has found to be true and what others have found to be true, but at no time should he ask you to accept it — please allow a plea otherwise.

Test it for yourself and convince yourself whether or not it exists as truth. And if you find that it does exist, you will be comfortable thereafter; otherwise, unrecognized even by yourself you are likely to find, down at the bottom of your information and education an unresolved question which will itself undermine your ability to assimilate or practice anything in the line of a technique. Your mind will not be as facile on the subject as it should be. It is not through courtesy that you are being asked to check your data — you are being asked to become much better auditors by resolving your basic and fundamental concepts.

Any quarrel you may have with theory is something that only you can resolve. Is the theory correct, or isn’t it correct? Only you can answer that; it cannot be answered for you. You can be told what other auditors have achieved in the way of results, and what other auditors have observed, but you cannot become truly educated until you have achieved the results for yourself. The moment a man opens his mouth and asks, “Where is validation?” you can be sure you are looking at a very stupid man. That man is saying, bluntly and abruptly, “I cannot think for myself. I have to have Authority.” Where could he possibly look for validation except into the physical universe, and into his own subjective and objective reality?


Unfortunately, Scientology is surrounded by a world that calls itself a world of science, but it is a world that is in actuality a world of Authority. True, that which is science today is far, far in advance of the Hindu concept of the world wherein a hemisphere rested on the backs of seven elephants which stood on seven pillars, that stood on the back of a mud turtle, below which was mud into infinity.

The reason engineering and physics have reached out so far in advance of other sciences is the fact that they pose problems which punish Man so violently if he doesn’t look carefully into the physical universe.

An engineer is faced with the problem of drilling a tunnel through a mountain for a railroad. Tracks are laid up to the mountain on either side. If he judges space wrongly the two tunnel entrances would fail to meet on the same level in the center. It would be so evident to one and all concerned that the engineer made a mistake that he takes great care not to make such a mistake. He observes the physical universe, not only to the extent that the tunnel must meet to a fraction of an inch, but to the extent that if he were to misjudge wrongly the character of the rock through which he drills, the tunnel would cave in — an incident which would be considered a very unlucky and unfortunate occurrence to railroading.

Biology comes closer to being a science than some others because, in the field of biology, if someone makes too big a mistake about a bug the immediate result can be dramatic and terrifying. Suppose a biologist is charged with the responsibility of injecting plankton into a water reservoir. Plankton are microscopic “germs” that are very useful to Man. But if through some mistake the biologist injects typhoid germs into the water supply, there would be an immediate and dramatic result.

Suppose a biologist is presented with the task of producing a culture of yeast which would, when placed in white bread dough, stain the bread brown. This man is up against the necessity of creating a yeast which not only behaves as yeast but makes a dye as well. He has to deal with the practical aspect of the problem, because after he announces his success, there is the “yeast test”: Is the bread edible? And the brown- bread test: Is the bread brown? Anyone could easily make the test, and everyone would know very quickly whether or not the biologist had succeeded or failed.

Politics is called a science. The punishment for a mistake in the “science” of politics is so tremendous that this whole culture is on the verge of being wiped out! There are natural laws about politics. They could be worked out if someone were to actually apply a scientific basis to political research.

For instance, it is a foregone conclusion that if all communications lines are cut between the United States and Russia, Russia and the United States are going to understand each other less and less. Then by demonstrating to everyone how the American way of life and the Russian way of life are different, and by demonstrating it day after day, year after year, there is no alternative but a break of affinity. By stating flatly that Russia and the United States are not in agreement on any slightest political theory or conduct of Man or nations the job is practically complete. Both nations will go into anger tone and suddenly there is war.

Russia is very, very low on the tone scale. She is a totalitarian slave state and about as safe to have in the family of nations as a mad dog at a cocktail party. We as a nation could be very, very clever — we could try to put Russia back together again.

We are a nation possessed of the greatest communications networks on the face of the Earth, with an undreamed of manufacturing potential. We have within our borders the best advertising men in the world. But instead of selling Europe an idea we give machine guns, planes and tanks for use in case Russia breaks out. The more threats imposed against a country in Russia’s tone level, the more dangerous that country will become. When people are asked what they would do about this grave question, they shrug and say something to the effect that “the politicians know best.” They hedge and rationalize by saying that after all, there is the American way of life, and it must be protected.

What is the American way of life? This is a question that will stop almost any American. What is the American way of life that is different from the human way of life? We have tried to gather together economic freedom for the individual, freedom of the press, and individual freedom, and define them as a strictly American way of life — why hasn’t it been called the Human Way of Life?

In the field of humanities Science has been thoroughly adrift. Unquestioned authoritarian principles have been followed. Any person who accepts knowledge without questioning it and evaluating it for himself is demonstrating himself to be in apathy toward that sphere of knowledge. It demonstrates that the people in the United States today must be in a low state of apathy with regard to politics in order to accept without question everything that happens.


When a man tries to erect the plans of a lifetime or a profession on data which he himself has never evaluated, he cannot possibly succeed.

Fundamentals are very, very important, but first of all one must learn how to think in order to be absolutely sure of a fundamental. Thinking is not particularly hard to learn. It consists merely of comparing a particular datum with the physical universe as it is known and observed. How, for instance, would you find out for your own satisfaction that there exists such a thing as a mock-up. Find a preclear who is also interested in verifying such existence of mock-ups or have someone run you on them.

Your instructor has done this a sufficient number of times, and has seen it done to others a sufficient number of times to satisfy himself that mock-ups exist and can be run and bettered on a preclear. But just because they exist for him and he informs you of his knowledge does not mean that it exists for you. Unless you have made up your mind through comparison of the information with the known universe, you will not be able to handle mock-ups properly. When there is an authoritarian basis for your education you are not truly educated.

Authoritarianism is little more than a form of hypnotism. Learning is forced under threat of some form of punishment. A student is stuffed with data which has not been individually evaluated just as a taxidermist would stuff a snake. Such a student will be well-informed and well-educated according to present-day standards, but unfortunately he will not be very successful in his chosen profession.

Indecision underlies an authoritarian statement. Do not allow your Scientology education to lie on the quicksand of indecision.

Unless you have looked into the matter of engrams and unless you have actually run a preclear into an engram — the realization that (I) there is a time track, and (2)

that physical pain can be stored and can be recovered, and (3) that all the perceptics are registered during these moments of unconsciousness, will not be yours. Your knowledge concerning the engram depends exclusively upon what you have observed about that engram.

There have been volumes of articles written about techniques of running engrams. There are many techniques in existence which run them. Make up your mind whether or not they work for you.

First of all, find out to your own satisfaction whether or not there is an engram in existence. Then determine whether or not the technique in question will discover the engram for you, and whether or not the technique really runs the engram. Having made certain that there is an engram, ask yourself what kind of technique you would evolve if you decided to do something about this object, the engram. How would you go about it? Unless you have asked yourself this question and tried to come to a definite conclusion about it, you will never come into agreement on the technique of running engrams! You will be performing an authoritarian rote. You can learn how to run an engram by rote, but unless you decide from your own observation that there is an engram to be run you will be simply performing some ritual in which a mistake is very easy to make.

An auditor who does not understand memory has no business attempting to improve a preclear’s memory. He could hardly know what the anatomy of memory is. It cannot be done well by rote. About the worst thing that could happen to a preclear is to drop into something and then feel that the auditor is thinking, “Now, let’s see — it was page 62 . . . or was it 63? . . . and the question was . . .” while the preclear sits there, suffering, and thinking, “Do something! Say something!” An auditor who is auditing by rote will make mistakes like that because he does not have the basic fundamentals as a part of his background of training.

A truly good auditor doesn’t have to think twice. He knows “instinctively” how the auditing session itself should be run. When the basic fundamentals are securely the auditor’s own there is no need for him to be told what must be done.

You are asked to examine the subject of Scientology on a critical basis — a very critical basis. It is not to be examined with the attitude that when you were in school you learned that such and such was true, and since you learned that first, the first learning takes precedence. A prime example of this is the literary critic who says, after reviewing a book, that the book is not a novel because it is not a cross section of life. His professor in literature gave him a passing grade because he answered the question “correctly” on his examination paper, and therefore a book is not a novel unless it is a cross section of life.

There is yet to appear a good definition for aesthetics and art, and yet they parrot a definition for a specific form of art!

Do not make the mistake of criticizing something on the basis of whether or not it concurs with the opinions of someone else. The point which is pertinent is whether or not it concurs with your opinion. Does it agree with what you think?

Nearly everyone has done some manner of observing of the material universe, and there is surely no one in Scientology who has not done some small amount of observation of organisms. No one has seen all there is to see about an organism, but there is certainly no dearth of organisms available for further study. There is no valid reason for accepting the opinion of Professor Blotz of the Blitz University who said in 1933 that schizophrenics were schizophrenics, and that made them schizophrenics for all the time.

If you are interested in the manifestation of insanity, there is any and every form of insanity that you could hope to see in a lifetime in almost any part of the world. Study the peculiarities of the people around you and wonder what they would be like if their little peculiarities were magnified a hundred fold. You may find that by listing all the observable peculiarities you would have a complete list of all the insanities in the world. This list might well be far more accurate than that which was advanced by Kraepelin and used in the United States today.

If sanity is rationality and insanity is irrationality, and you postulated how irrational people would be if certain of their obsessions were magnified a hundred fold, you might well have in your possession a far more accurate and complete list of insanities and their manifestations than is currently in existence.

If you will take the time and effort, then, of making a complete examination of your subject, introspectively and by observation, you will find that you have suddenly become an excellent auditor. The hard way is to sit down and memorize a third of a million words contained in Science of Survival — the method all too many educational systems employ in this age.

So then we ask you to look at Scientology, study it, question it, and use it as we present it and you will have discovered something for yourself. And in so doing you might well discover a lot more. What you will be doing in Scientology, the techniques and the theories are highly workable, but they are not highly workable just because we say so!

Since Scientology is a very precise science based on proven data, axioms, and precise procedures, it must be used exactly as stated in order to gain the results which have been obtained. By using it with understanding the student can observe for himself its workability. When you have applied it as it should be, and applied as it is taught at the school, and still find it unworkable, it is your privilege to question it and, if you like, reject it.

But it is a very funny thing, in the history of Scientology the only people who have shouted out against Scientology are those people who know little or nothing about it or they have been given some erroneous data about it and had used a very bad perversion of Scientology and said, “This is the way it is.”

So, the only advice we can give to the student is study Scientology for itself and use it exactly as stated, then form his own opinions. Study it with the purpose in mind of arriving at his own conclusions as to whether or not the tenets he has assimilated are correct and workable. Compare what you have learned with the known universe. Seek for the reasons behind a manifestation, and postulate the manner and in which direction the manifestation will likely proceed. Do not allow the Authority of any one person or school of thought to create a foregone conclusion within your sphere of knowledge. Only with these principles of education in mind can you become a truly educated individual and a good Scientologist.


[The above article was reissued under the same title in Ability 139, ca. June 1962. Parts of the above text were originally issued as Dianetic Auditor’s Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 1, July 1951, Education and the Auditor — see Volume I, page 124.]