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ENGLISH DOCS FOR THIS DATE- Randomity and Automaticity (ABM-36) - ABM561000
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Issue 36 [1956, ca. mid October]
The Magazine of
from Washington, D.C.

Randomity and Automaticity

L. Ron Hubbard Prepared from a lecture to the 4th London ACC, 2 November 1955, entitled “Randomity and Automaticities.”


In all scientific systems you have a number of code words which operate as communication carriers, and when a person does not know these words well, he's having difficulty with the science itself. I've seen a senior in science falling down in his comprehension of a later part of the science because he had never gotten the nomenclature of the science straight to begin with. He did not know exactly what a British Thermal Unit was, or something like that — therefore later on when he's solving some vast and involved problem there's a datum rambling around in his head and it's not stable at all — it's getting confused — it's mixed up with all other data. And that is only because he didn't understand what the term was in the first place.

So just as you learn semaphore signals, just as you learn Morse Code, just as you learn baby talk, so, when you become conversant with any particular specialized subject, you must become conversant with its terminology. Your understanding of it then increases. Otherwise understanding is impeded by these words rattling around and not joining themselves to anything. If you know vaguely that such and such a word exists and yet have no definite understanding of what it means, it does not align. Thus a misunderstanding of a word can cause a misalignment of a subject and this really is the basis of the primary confusion in Man's understanding of the mind.

There have been so many words assigned to various parts of the mind that one would be staggered if he merely catalogued all of these things. Take for instance the tremendous background and technology of psychoanalysis. Overpoweringly complicated material, most of it merely descriptive, some of it action terminology, such as the censor, the id, the ego, the alter-ego, and what not. Most of these things lined up, each one meaning a specific thing. But the practitioners who began to study this science did not have a good founding in the exact sciences — in other words they didn't have a model of the exact sciences. And in the humanities they could be as careless as they liked with their words, because the humanities were not expected to be precise or exact — not a criticism of them — it just means that you could have a looser command of the language.

When they got into the study of Freud they got into this interesting thing — to one person an id was one thing and to another person it was something else. And alter-ego was this and it was that. The confusion of terms, there, practically all by itself, became the totality of confusion of psychoanalysis.

Copyright (©) 1955 by L. Ron Hubbard. All Rights Reserved.

Actually psychoanalysis is as easy to understand certainly as Japanese. Japanese is a baby talk — very, very hard to read, very, very easy to talk. If you can imagine a language which tells you which is the subject, which is the verb, which is the object, every time it speaks, you can imagine this baby-talk kind of a language. One that doesn't have various classes or conjugations of verbs. A very faint kind of a language. Nevertheless, it merely consists, in order to communicate with a Japanese, of knowing the meanings of certain words, and if you know the meanings of those words precisely, then when a Japanese comes up to you and says, “Do you want a cup of tea?” you don't immediately get up because you thought he said, “Wet paint.” You have a communication possibility.

Well, similarly, with the language of psychoanalysis, the great difficulties inherent in understanding such a thing as psychoanalysis became much less difficult when one viewed psychoanalysis as a code system to relay certain meanings. It did not then become a problem of whether or not these phenomena existed or didn't exist. It simply became a problem of words meaning a certain precise thing. And if they meant that thing to everybody, then everybody was talking psychoanalysis, and if it didn't mean this thing to everybody, then people weren't talking psychoanalysis. Who knows what they were talking. The next thing you know they were talking Jungianism — the next thing you know they were talking Adlerianism — and the amount of difference between these various items is minute to say the least. But the language difficulties then made many practitioners in that field at odds with the theory, which they did not at any rate understand.

You find out in Scientology that a rather arduous background in mathematics and in what is at least laughingly called the exact sciences nevertheless made for a very arduously firm choice of word definition. There are certain phenomena named, and these phenomena are specific. They are not random, they are very, very precise. For instance, an engram is an engram. It is a mental picture of a moment of pain and unconsciousness. That is an engram, and if you know that you can find an engram.

But we have had, in the case of the word engram, something of a cross-up, since there was an early use of the word in biology, although it seemed to have gone out of usage, so that a biologist will come along now and then and look at the word engram and say, yes I know what an engram is.

Well, they know what they MEAN by the word engram, but they have never seen one. The engrams we are talking about in Dianetics and Scientology we can see, but they wouldn't ever quite know what we were talking about if they thought it was an energy trace on a cell. This was not discoverable with microscopes or anything of the sort, so I considered it a lost word and quite accidentally crossed up this word with the earlier biological use.

I remember one time learning Igoroti in a single night. I sat up by kerosene lantern and took a list of words that had been made by an old missionary in the hills in Luzon — the Igorot had a very simple language. This missionary had phoneticized their language and he had made a list of their main words and their usage and grammar. And I remember sitting up under a mosquito net with the mosquitos hungrily chomping their beaks just outside the net, and learning this language — three hundred words just memorizing these words and what they meant. And the next day I started to get them in line and align them with people, and was speaking Igoroti in a very short time.

The point here is, that it is not difficult to learn a language if you understand that you are learning a language. The first way to learn the language of Scientology is to understand clearly that you ARE learning a LANGUAGE and that it has in it perhaps fifty, sixty or seventy words, and that each of these words has a PRECISE DEFINITION.

As far as nomenclature is concerned in Scientology, what we usually did was to take a verb and make a noun of it so that there wouldn't be any cross-up of definition. It's an interesting system that has been employed. We try to minimize the number of words introduced. That might sound strange, but we have tried to minimize it. In giving a special terminology, we have only named those things which were really important to the auditor, phenomena which an auditor really had to understand. Therefore a knowledge of the exact definition of a word brought exact understanding of the phenomenon. It's that simple.

A knowledge of Scientology first and foremost, then, is a vocabulary knowledge.

There are probably not more than sixty words in Scientology of special meaning.

We have not named to any extent invisible phenomena. An engram is a very viewable phenomenon. If you've ever run one on a preclear you know how visible it is, to the preclear and to you.

The first word we have, however, in the entire language of Scientology, is, unfortunately, a NON-viewable thing — the Static. It is non-viewable but it is experienceable, so it isn't completely removed into the never-never land. But from there on we do have almost all of our terminology in VIEWABLE form. It's examinable. It can be measured.

A fellow by the name of Wundt, in 1879 in Leipzig, Germany, invented a thing called psychology, which was mainly — his main interest seems to have been — the study of mental behavior through physiology. The subject which has come down to us from there called psychology has not been defined much differently since Wundt, and that is the way the mind has been studied — through physiology. Well, the man's hunch wasn't too far wrong, in that practically everything in the mind is viewable and does have some mass and does exist in space and is something that you could put your hands on very easily and say “that is THAT.”

We don't know whether Wundt knew this or not. The psychologists don't know it even vaguely today, and they think that what they are dealing with is a totally abstract, theoretical, never-never land subject, and that's why they choose it.

But if YOU don't know this then you're apt to go adrift on the terminology of Scientology and on Scientology itself. You're apt to go very badly adrift and believe that we're dealing with abstracts and intangibles. This may be an overlooked supposition on your part. Psychology studies abstracts and intangibles. We're not studying, however, psychology.

We're studying hearable, measurable, weighable, meterable phenomena — right below the level of Static. From the Static you go immediately into experienceable, viewable phenomena. And even the Static is experienceable.

So we're not outside the realm of experience anywhere in Scientology. Everything we deal with is something that can have concrete form or example. This is an interesting thing.

I've given you this fast summary on terminology itself so that you could see that if this word randomity and if the word automaticity cannot be clearly understood it must be being viewed then as some abstract thing, and it's not an abstract thing.


We find the earliest introduction of the subject randomity in the Dianetic Axioms in the fall of 1951.

The word RANDOMITY was needed as a further expression of MOTION. I've been talking to you recently of “things that were too motionless”—tolerance of things which were too motionless and tolerance of things which had too much motion. We find that we have to increase people's tolerance of these. It shows us that if people had difficulties with the tolerance of things that were too motionless and too motionful, we had with this word randomity a rather upset circumstance people didn't like to grasp this word. Well, we have a further explanation of it today, and as a result of that further explanation we have a better chance of gripping this and using it.

Randomity means in essence COMPARABLE MOTION. Comparable to what? Comparable to the consideration of motion. So we have PLUS randomity and we have MINUS randomity. In other words we can have, from the individual's consideration, too much or too little motion, or enough motion. What's ENOUGH motion measured by? The consideration of the individual. Take, for example, a man eating a meal in the presence of two friends. He thought he was eating about right. The fellow next to him thought he was eating too fast and the fellow across from him thought he was eating too slow.

So, it's a consideration of motion. A traffic cop views the field of automobile traffic with a consideration of minus randomity compared to the motorist's idea of motion of cars. The motorist's consideration of optimum randomity is plus randomity compared to the cop's consideration.

If you've ever driven down a deserted highway you may remember having a little, vague suspicion that there was something not quite right about going down that road all by yourself. No other traffic to view. This tells you at once that it may or may not be a road. You know that you consider it a road — but do other people? An eight- lane highway could give you this idea that the road was closed, under repair, or that it wasn't considered by everyone else to be a road at all, if there were no traffic in sight for very many miles.

There is a certain amount of traffic randomity that a motorist is used to and is comfortable about. A New York cabbie, if you put him in a cab out in the middle of Arizona, would be outside his area of optimum randomity. He'd want at least a hundred and fifty cars stacked up at the next intersection, and here he has to drive a hundred miles to get any intersection at all. It's his consideration of motion.

Well, he has a certain tolerance for the random particles which in the case of traffic follow certain channels, but which nevertheless are pretty random on those channels. So he has the idea of randomity in traffic.

Randomity also contains the aspect of UNEXPECTEDNESS. Unexpectedness is inherent to the idea of randomness. In other words you have to have ENOUGH unexpectedness. You have your idea of how much unexpectedness there should be in life. Well, so does the New York taxi driver have his idea of how much unexpectedness there should be in traffic, and if he were to drive in a totally orderly community where the unexpectedness was zero this man would probably go to sleep or go unconscious or do something — he would eventually run off the road. But maybe after he was at it for many, many weeks he would “get used to it.”

So then this word randomity contains the idea of CONDITIONING. It is the only place where we find the subject of conditioning in Dianetics and Scientology.

The reason I'm talking about randomity here is that it is one of the wider concepts, and a little harder perhaps to grasp than any other. Yet you can set it up and view it very easily.

We could set up something like this: a table that a person could sit in front of which would have all kinds of holes and runways in it for marbles. We could have these marbles popping up through the holes and taking different paths and bumping around at different levels and rates of speed and abundance.

In other words, we could have a table set up that would present a person with a certain level of randomity and we could include a controlled unexpectedness factor.

We could find out from this actually what the person's idea of optimum motion was. We could find out what amount of unexpectedness and rapidness of motion he would be comfortable about.

After a while the person starts to get nervous if you pop too many marbles out of those holes. They're coming out of the holes, and there are lots of them, and they're disappearing and appearing completely unexpectedly, smashing and cracking together and so forth, and he's likely to sit there and say, “There's just too damned many marbles!” He doesn't like it.

Just below that level of motion he'll say, “That's interesting.”

And just below that level he sits there and says, “… marbles....” One pops up and runs across the table, another one pops up, the first disappears, another one pops up and runs across the table, etc., and he says, “Ho-hum… marbles.” That is MINUS RANDOMITY.

When he was interested, that was HIS randomity; that was optimum randomity. Where you had too many marbles moving too fast you had PLUS RANDOMITY. With relationship to what, though? With relationship to this person, this thinkingness, this mind. His idea of randomity was what it was.

You see that it has to be this way when you test a youngster who likes action on something like this. His reaction to the test would be that you would have to have the marbles popping up and shooting across there with such a suddenness and such a blur and such a whirr and such a snap that you yourself would probably stand there and watch and feel slightly uncomfortable. And this kid says, “My, how interesting.” But you drop it down to the number of marbles that was optimum for this other fellow and the kid will say, “Oh, let's go out and play ball.”

Now we have to have this thing called randomity. It's an unfortunate thing if it is incomprehensible at times. We have to have these things — plus randomity, minus randomity and optimum randomity.

What is his idea of unexpected motion necessary to the living of a life? How much randomity does he have to have to live? Which at the same time would say — stay interested in life. How much would he have to have?

A guy in space opera? WOW! Well, you have to have a fight between fleets at least once a week. You didn't have a good liberty at all unless five men were killed. That time was no fun at all — after they shot all the women there was just nothing left to do.

Idea of the amount of motion, unexpectedness, sudden event, the twist and turn to life is very, very high there. Therefore you have space opera engrams very easily in suspense on the track. They look like confusion. A fellow has been in space opera, and now he looks at the engram, and he says, “No-sir, that's confusion.”

Now the only reason we're resurrecting this word and dusting it off and using it more frequently is that it is a better statement of confusion than the word confusion.

The word confusion means at once PLUS RANDOMITY, and it's therefore a specialized kind of randomity. It means: motion unexpected above the tolerance level of the person viewing it. And that is the definition of the word confusion.

So if a STABLE DATUM is necessary to the alignment of data, and if a stable datum can be pulled out of an area of aligned data with the result of confusion, we have to have a better understanding of what we mean by confusion. If we're going to process it we certainly had better understand it. It better be a nice, clear thing to us, because we are likely to look at a preclear and consider that he is under a confusion. When as a matter of fact, he might be in a MINUS RANDOMITY.

A good statement of a minus randomity would be: things are too slow. Things are certainly slow around here. Life is dull. There is nothing happening.

A consideration of how much motion and unexpectedness of motion there is in the environment — how much unexpected happenstance, how much pattern of action— and this would be minus when there was too little for the tolerance of the individual.

So we need to have a word to match confusion. It looks like there is a hole in the English language. Thus once more we have this word randomity. It's describing something which has been viewed which is not adequately described in English. And that we are viewing it and describing it and naming it somewhere within the bounds of comprehensibility is quite remarkable.

MINUS RANDOMITY is the opposite of CONFUSION. “Things are too stable.” “Do you know that little Benny has not fallen out of the window for three days!” “Do you realize I have not burned myself all morning!” “Do you realize there hasn't been a single accident out there on the highway all afternoon!” “How dull— everything is travelling only at rocket speed!” That could be one fellow's idea of minus randomity, or opposite of confusion. Things are not sufficiently confusing, random, unexpected, in motion, so he's saying, “How dull.”

This other chap looks at one horse walking down one street and says to himself, “Horse! ! ! Things are going too fast around here for me !”

Unless you understand that there can be a difference of consideration about this you would have a hard time trying to grasp the preclear's idea of how much stable data he needs. Now how much stable data do you think this fellow needs? One horse going down one street. He needs ONE STABLE DATUM PER PARTICLE. Therefore, he needs an ENORMOUS amount of information to keep the world from falling in on him and turning upside down and spilling in his lap. He just needs a tremendous quantity. He needs dictionaries full, he needs encyclopedias full, he needs libraries full, he needs scribes working on every side continually to catalogue, catalogue, catalogue, catalogue. And each word to him is not only a stable datum, it's a Sacred Datum. If we moved just one word out of line in a cataloguing of a hundred million words this fellow would become extremely uncomfortable.

We have whole sciences which are cataloguing sciences. If Francis Bacon hadn't wanted to give an example of what science was, we would probably never, even today, have had a science of botany. But Bacon used once, as an illustration of what a science would be, a science of botany. He used the classification of flowers as his illustration and instantly it became a science and from there on it is catalogued. For a fellow to be willing to study botany he has to be willing to tolerate a tremendous lack of motion, from most of our viewpoints. But from his own viewpoint his ability to tolerate motion or no motion never comes in question. He's perfectly happy going along with one- stable-datum-per-item.

To most of us this would be unthinkably arduous. So you can see that we have an intolerance for that little randomity.

The bottom line of this gradient scale would appear to be one-stable-datum-per particle. That should be the bottom of the randomity scale — but it isn't. The bottom would be no particle, no space. And we would be back to a static. And out of this you at once recognize why a static wants havingness and particles: you have a game.

Below minus randomity is NO RANDOMITY. Of any kind. People do not usually like this at all. Starting up scale we get — a few particles. One could be at this point for two reasons: because he is shuddering away from confusion and therefore is getting a stable-datum-per-particle, or he could be at that point because he has a tremendous tolerance for confusion AND for motionlessness.

Now if he is cataloguing one stable datum per particle at the minus randomity end of the scale, then he is doing this interesting thing: This fellow is shuddering away from all confusion and particles because he's trying to USE UP all existing particles and stable data. He's trying to match these two things. So he's trying to use up all possible confusion.

If this same fellow had a high tolerance of confusion in the first place and had used up all these particles in this fashion, matching particle for stable datum, with everything catalogued, everything in order, he would run out of confusions. And he would have a SCARCITY OF confusion. So, taking another look at this randomity scale: we could have a scarcity of confusion, or a scarcity of motionlessness. A scarcity at either end. We could have either condition or both conditions, and NOT depending upon which end we were viewing it from.

Then we ask this: What is plus randomity and what is minus randomity?


Now, how he gets into these states is the entire subject of scarcity.

For example: the fellow who falls into a plus randomity with great speed. His tolerance of motion is so slight that almost any motion is a plus randomity to him. A second horse gets into the street and he practically has a nervous breakdown. That fellow will have a tendency to do this: instead of matching a stable datum for a particle, he will take all particles and stop them (he starts to apply force) and then bring all of these particles into a mass so that they are each taken care of. He can look at this whole group of particles and say, “That's a table.” “That's a rock.” Now he's got ALL of the particles named. He's named it a rock. He's not going to do anything about these particles. He's going to just mass them. That is the state of mind which gets you mass.

Unless you simply mock it up to have a mass — there's always that going on— mock up a universe to have a universe, etc., or you can evolve them or have reasons for them. But this is usually the case: that an individual who is obsessively making mass has an intolerance of motion to the degree that a second horse on the street would give him a nervous breakdown. So he takes any particles that are in motion and he is actually ill about this until he can take the particles and push them together and say, “Ah, a rock. Whew! Now we can have some peace around here.”

At the other end, the fellow in space opera: There's been a riot that morning, there's been a fire in Bunker 4, three prisoners have escaped and were shot in the courtyard, and so forth, and this fellow is saying, “Gee, things have slowed down around here! Let's create some confusion and get some motion started. Let's drop a false message into the message center: WE ARE ABOUT TO BE ATTACKED BY THE PRUVIANS or something. Let's get something GOING around here.”

Well now, that individual will DISPERSE things. He'll disperse things preferably with an unknown. And then he has an enormous amount of data, none of which has any identification at all. His level of expectedness and unexpectedness is way up. He'll have a wonderful time wondering if he can possibly make head or tail of any of this: “Gosh, look at that! The president shot, and I'm plugged, and gee, you know, I can't make any sense out of it at all?!?!?!?!?”

You get the idea, then, how people vary unexpectedness and motion to fit their own considerations. There is, however, such a thing as a state of good health in connection with this. That sounds odd, but there is one, and that is: for an individual to act in either capacity by changing his consideration on the subject of randomity itself. In other words, retain or attain liberty of increasing or decreasing tolerance on motion at will. You can look at two horses on the street and say, “That's too many,” or look at a morning in space opera and say, “That's too slow,” with no difficulty whatsoever. Or you can say that the morning in space opera was too fast and the two horses on the street were not enough. You could do anything you wanted on it. That would be a state of health regarding tolerance level of randomity. But where an individual has lost his ability to vary his considerations of confusion and motionlessness, which is to say, his plus and minus randomity, he has lost his ability to have a game, and will then find himself being put out of games which do not fit his fixed opinion. Therefore he has limited himself in the number of games into which he can enter. As an individual can shift his consideration of randomity, so he can play large numbers of games. And as his consideration on the subject of randomity becomes more and more fixed, so that there is just a certain amount of motion he can tolerate, just a certain amount of motion that he can't tolerate, when he's fixed right there somewhere on the scale between total confusion and total motionlessness, and that's IT, he has to find a game which fits that idea of a game, his idea of an optimum randomity. What, then, is a game? A game is an optimum randomity. That is a satisfactory game— optimum randomity. What is an end- of-game? Un-optimum randomity — without regard to whether it is plus or minus, too fast for him or too slow for him. That's just both sides of a fixed consideration.

An individual's ability to LIVE, then, will to a marked degree depend upon his ability to shift his consideration of what is confusion, what is motionlessness. And if he can't shift this opinion — he is sunk.

The organization or the person which tells the individual to conform to the environment, tells him to FIX his opinion of randomity to that environment, has asked that individual to die the moment the randomity factor alters in the environment. It's asked him to run out of games.

Another factor enters into this which is the saving grace, and that is, the emergency factor or the NECESSITY LEVEL. A necessity level is a sudden increase of randomity to a sufficiency that the individual makes a momentary adjustment to it — in other words, momentarily increases his tolerance for unexpected motion. The unexpected motion there is so great that it puts him into a higher level of motion and he takes care of it. That is necessity level — it is the randomity itself driving the person. When the randomity kicks the person, he knows he must move.

But necessity level only occurs where the individual is in a total stimulus- response condition with the randomity itself. And it is nothing to count upon at all. Give them that much more motion and people are just as likely to stay fixed as to go faster.

Create TOO MUCH randomity TOO FAST, and people WILL stay fixed. They will not react on a necessity level at all.

Unfortunately there is no such thing as a “non-necessity level” or a “non emergency level,” where things suddenly move too slow for the individual. We don't have any mechanism to take care of that.

So people try to build up their tolerance for speed by going faster and faster and faster, and they think they then can go faster and faster and faster, and they never drop back toward tolerance of motionlessness. It's actually more important in this time and place to adjust people's ideas of motionlessness and the tolerance of motionlessness than the tolerance for speed. There are very many ways you could do this — you could have a person SIT motionless for a very long time, but he usually can't tolerate that. It exceeds his tolerances instead of building his tolerances on a gradient scale. Certain processes have done this to some extent for quite a while now, to considerable benefit.

One way you could do this is have the preclear say things are going fast when they are practically standing still, and then he tolerate