The Autumn Garden dramaturgy: Dianetics

Table of Contents

Dianetics (428) – is a set of ideas and practices regarding the relationship between the spirit, mind and body that were developed by L. Ron Hubbard. According to Hubbard the word “Dianetics” is derived from the Greek διά (dia) meaning “through” and νους (nous), mind; so it literally means “through mind”. Hubbard is said to have discovered that all mental aberrations and psychosomatic illnessed are caused by traumatic recordings called engrams that are stored in the reactive mind. The goal of Dianetics is to erase these engrams in the reactive mind to achieve the state of Clear. A Clear is one who no longer posesses his reactive Mind. Once this state of “Clear” is achieved, according to Hubbard, an individual is able to function at his or her full potential.


Hubbard first introduced Dianetics to the public in April 1950, in an article published in the May 1950 issue of the magazine Astounding Science Fiction. In his subsequent book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (1950), Hubbard presented Dianetics as a revolutionary and scientifically developed alternative to conventional psychotherapy and psychiatry that can increase intelligence, eliminate unwanted emotions and alleviate a wide range of illnesses he believed to be psychosomatic. The central practice of Dianetics is “auditing,” in which a “pre-clear” attempts to confront the engrams in his reactive mind (with the assistance of a counselor called an “auditor”). As a result, a wide variety of unwanted conditions are said to be treated, initially including arthritis, allergies, asthma, some coronary difficulties, eye trouble, ulcers, migraine headaches, and sex deviations.

Scientology churches and missions provide workshops and seminars in Dianetics auditing to help people learn the rudiments of Dianetics techniques by forming teams to co-audit which is to give and receive auditing using the techniques described in the Dianetics book. Other more advanced applications of Dianetics auditing employ a device called an E-meter.

Though Dianetics preceded Hubbard’s classification of Scientology as “applied religious philosophy,” as early as 1951 in the Dianetics text called Science of Survival he began to focus on the capabilities of “the theta body or, as it might otherwise be called, the individual soul.”

Dianetics is also practiced by independent groups, collectively called the Free Zone. The Church disapproves of Free Zone activities and has prosecuted them in court for misappropriation of Scientology/Dianetics copyrights and trademarks.

Basic concepts

Hubbard coined Dianetics from the Greek stems dia, meaning through, and nous, meaning mind, resulting in a word similar to the already-existing Greek adjective dianoētik-os διανοητικ-ός, meaning “mental”. Hubbard described Dianetics as “an organized science of thought built on definite axioms: statements of natural laws on the order of those of the physical sciences”. Unlike conventional therapies, Hubbard said, Dianetics would work every time if applied properly and “will invariably cure all psychosomatic ills and human aberrations.” In April 1950, before the public release of Dianetics, he wrote: “To date, over two hundred patients have been treated; of those two hundred, two hundred cures have been obtained.”

In Dianetics, the unconscious or reactive mind is described as a collection of “mental image pictures,” which contain the recorded experience of past moments of unconsciousness, including all sensory perceptions and feelings involved, ranging from pre-natal experiences, infancy and childhood, even the traumatic feelings associated events from past lives and alien cultures. The type of mental image picture created during a period of unconsciousness involves the exact recording of a painful experience. Hubbard called this phenomenon an engram, and defined it as “a complete recording of a moment of unconsciousness containing physical pain or painful emotion and all perceptions.”

Hubbard’s original book on Dianetics attracted highly critical reviews from science and medical writers and organizations. The American Psychological Association passed a resolution in 1950 calling “attention to the fact that these claims are not supported by empirical evidence of the sort required for the establishment of scientific generalizations.”


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