Scientology’s War with Psychiatry Part 1

If you happen to be running some machinery that uses electricity, if you use too much, what will probably happen is that either a fuse or a circuit breaker will blow. The reason this happens is to prevent even greater damage from occurring. It costs less to replace a fuse or circuit breaker than a computer or other sensitive piece of equipment.

Many scientists think the brain works much the same way. If someone is subjected to too much stress and trauma, particularly emotional trauma, part of the brain shuts down to prevent permanent damage. The events that caused this to happen don’t go away, but they are placed in a special part of the memory so the person doesn’t think about them all the time, so he or she can continue to function.

This is what Sigmund Freud called the “subconscious” and L. Ron Hubbard referred to as “the reactive mind.” It is noteworthy that neuroscientists are only now finding out that the brain really does work this way, so many years after Dr. Freud and L. Ron Hubbard theorized that it did. Freud was primarily an internist at the time, and Hubbard was primarily a writer of cheap western novels and space operas (some would maintain that he remained a writer of space operas all his life).

While it’s a good thing that the brain has this way of protecting itself from trauma, it’s important that these repressed memories eventually become reintegrated into the person’s consciousness, otherwise they can still cause emotional difficulties, up to and including multiple personalities. This article will examine how Mr. Hubbard’s theories are embodied in the religion he helped found, Scientology, which has recently been in the news amid some controversy.

Man is recognized as the most intelligent and rational creature in the history of the planet. Man’s intelligence and ingenuity have allowed him to split the atom and develop rockets to send probes billions of miles out into the universe, yet that same intelligence and ingenuity have allowed him to develop bombs that can destroy all life on earth as well as the rockets to deliver them to their targets.  It doesn’t seem to be the mark of an intelligent species, which Man undoubtedly is, to spend half of his treasure on producing weapons whose only possible use could be to destroy the world he lives in.

Many philosophers and thinkers have attempted to explain why this is so. Albert Einstein is said to have remarked that the reason mankind is in danger of extinction is because his emotional development has failed to keep pace with his intellectual development. Hubbard, in his book Dianetics, published in 1950, theorized that this was due to the “reactive mind,” which evolved early in our history when man was faced by constant threats to his survival by creatures that were bigger and faster than he was, and by the harsh conditions of his environment.

Though these creatures are no longer around, other threats are, and whenever modern man encounters a situation that is, or that he thinks is, a threat to his survival or that knocks out his logical mind, like an accident or even a severe emotional trauma, the memory of this event gets stored in his reactive mind, even if he is unconscious at the time. Whenever a similar situation occurs in the future, the reactive mind takes over, and causes him to behave as if he were still in the earlier trauma, causing him to do things that aren’t optimum for his survival.