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Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health

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DMSMH 1st ed
Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. First edition cover
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Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (often abbreviated as DMSMH) is a book by L. Ron Hubbard which sets out self-improvement techniques he had developed, called Dianetics, now part of the wider subject of Scientology.

In the book, first published in 1950, Hubbard wrote that he had isolated the "dynamic principle of existence," which he states as "Survive," and presents his description of the human mind. He identifies the source of "human aberration" as the "reactive mind," a normally hidden but always conscious area of the mind, and certain cellular recordings, "engrams," stored in it. Dianetics describes counseling (or "auditing") techniques which Hubbard claimed would get rid of engrams and bring major therapeutic benefits. (See the main article on Dianetics for a fuller description of its conceptual basis).

The book proved a major commercial success on its publication, although figures have since been inflated by unscrupulous practices[1]. but also aroused considerable controversy over Hubbard's claims.

Publication historyEdit

Dianetics was first published May 9 1950 by Hermitage House, a New York-based publisher of psychiatric textbooks whose head, Arthur Ceppos, was also on the Board of Directors of the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation.[2] Hubbard said that he wrote the book in only six weeks [3] (though according to another Scientology source he wrote all 180,000 words in only three weeks [4]).

The book became a nationwide bestseller, selling over 150,000 copies within a year. Due to the interest generated, a multitude of "Dianetics clubs" and similar organizations were formed for the purpose of applying Dianetics techniques. Hubbard himself established a nationwide network of Dianetic Research Foundations, offering Dianetics training and processing for a fee.

Although it received a positive public response, Dianetics was strongly criticized by scientists and medical professionals for its scientific deficiencies. The American Psychological Association passed a resolution in 1950 stating of Dianetics "the fact that these claims are not supported by empirical evidence of the sort required for the establishment of scientific generalizations."[5] In response to such criticism, Hubbard's Dianetic Research Foundation issued a survey of "patients" to support his claims that Dianetics could achieve remarkable health benefits. See scientific evaluations of Dianetics for more on the scientific debate. The Daily Telegraph called the book a "creepy bit of mind-mechanics," suggesting that the book might cause the reader to feel unhappy, depressed or "Ill at ease with others".[6]

The original edition of the book included an introduction by J.A. Winter, M.D., an appendix on "The Philosophic Method" by Will Durant (reprinted from The Story of Philosophy, 1926), and two other appendices by John W. Campbell and Donald H. Rogers. These contributions are omitted from editions of Dianetics published since about the start of the 1980s. It is unclear how many editions there have been, but at least 60 printings are said to have been issued by 1988, almost all having been printed by the Church of Scientology and its related organizations.[7]

Current editions are published by Bridge Publications, a Church-owned imprint. Over twenty million copies have been sold, according to the cover of the latest paperback books. The following statement is included on the copyright page of all editions: "This book is part of the works of L. Ron Hubbard, who developed Dianetics spiritual healing technology and Scientology applied religious philosophy. It is presented to the reader as a record of observations and research into the nature of mind and spirit, and not a statement of claims made by the author..."

According to Nielsen BookScan, Dianetics has sold 52,000 copies between 2001 and 2005.[8] The book has been very aggressively marketed, for instance appearing as one of the twelve sponsors of the Goodwill Games under a $4 million agreement between Bridge Publications and Turner Broadcasting System.[9] Bridge Publications also sponsors NASCAR racer and Scientologist Kenton Gray, who races as the "Dianetics Racing Team" and whose No. 27 Ford Taurus is decorated with Dianetics logos.[10]

Doubts have been expressed about whether the book's continued sales have been manipulated by the Church of Scientology and its related organizations. According to a Los Angeles Times exposé published in 1990, "sales of Hubbard's books apparently got an extra boost from Scientology followers and employees of the publishing firm [Bridge Publications]. Showing up at major book outlets like B. Dalton and Waldenbooks, they purchased armloads of Hubbard's works, according to former employees." [11]

Dianetics todayEdit

Scientologists regard the publication Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health as a key historical event for their movement and the world, and refer to the book as "Book One." Hubbard himself regarded its publication as such an important event that he created his own calendar based on the publication date of Dianetics, dating his Scientology writings from that time. For instance, Hubbard uses "A.D. 13" to mean 1963 – literally "year 13 After Dianetics."

Dianetics is still heavily promoted today by the Church of Scientology and has been advertised widely on television and in print. Indeed, it has been alleged that the Church has asked its members to purchase large quantities of the book with their own money, or with money supplied by the Church, for the sole purpose of keeping the book on the New York Times Best Seller list.[12] Hubbard described the book as a key asset for getting people in Scientology:

People who had read Book One and wanted Dianetics, when delivered enough Book One auditing, training or co-auditing, then started to reach for Scn [Scientology] services. Given sufficient quantity and quality of Book One, these people naturally started to WANT and reach for Scn services![13]

The Church of Scientology has been explicit about using Dianetics' sponsorship of the Goodwill Games to boost Scientology membership. The Church's internal journal for Scientologists, International Scientology News, has stated that

In order to create an enormous international impact, Dianetics has become a major sponsor of the upcoming Goodwill Games... All these dissemination actions are being done with the sole purpose of getting more and more people introduced to LRH's TECH so they will go into orgs [Scientology churches] and rapidly move up The Bridge to Total Freedom [advancing through Scientology's levels].[9]

The Dianetics volcanoEdit

Newspaper reports and critics of Scientology have said that the volcano on post-1967 editions of Dianetics refers to the story of Xenu, who is said by Hubbard to have placed billions of his people around Earth's volcanoes and killed them there by blowing them up with hydrogen bombs.[14][15] A representative of the Church of Scientology has confirmed in court that the Dianetics volcano is indeed linked with the "catastrophe" wrought by Xenu.[16]

According to former Scientologist Bent Corydon, the purpose of including the volcano on the cover of the book was to "restimulate" gene memories of Xenu's genocide and make Dianetics irresistible to purchasers. A variety of other symbols associated with Xenu were added to other Scientology book covers. Corydon writes:

A special "Book Mission" was sent out to promote these books, now empowered and made irresistible by the addition of these supposedly overwhelming symbols or images. Organization staff were assured that if they simply held up one of the books, revealing its cover, that any bookstore owner would immediately order crateloads of them. A customs officer, seeing any of the book covers in one's luggage, would immediately pass one on through.[17]

The volcano has also featured on billboards advertising Dianetics; in Australia, the Church of Scientology built a giant billboard in Sydney depicting an erupting volcano with "non-toxic smoke," measuring 33m (100 ft) wide and 10 m (30 ft) high.[18]

See alsoEdit

References Edit

  1. "Costly Strategy Continues to Turn Out Bestsellers," June 28, 1990
  2. Atack, Jon (1990). A Piece of Blue Sky. New York, NY: Carol Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8184-0499-X.
  3. "L.R.H. Biography", Sea Org Flag Information Letter 67, October 31, 1977
  4. Hubbard, Child Dianetics, p. 178. Publications Organization Worldwide, Edinburgh (1968 edition)
  5. "Psychologists Act Against Dianetics", New York Times, September 9 1950
  6. 50 best cult books. The Telegraph (2008-04-25). Retrieved on 2008-04-25. “Do you often feel unhappy? Depressed? Ill at ease with others? You will if you read this.”
  7. Frontispiece of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, 1988 edition (New Era Publications, Copenhagen)
  8. Maul, Kimberly (2005-11-09). Guinness World Records: L. Ron Hubbard Is the Most Translated Author. The Book Standard. Archived from the original on 2007-07-04. Retrieved on 2006-12-03. “According to Nielsen BookScan, Dianetics has sold 52,000 units since BookScan began collecting data in 2001.”
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Selling Good Will, Or Dianetics? Major Games Sponsor Outrages Some By Its Link To Scientology," The Seattle Times, August 3, 1990
  10. "Cruise's Religion Sponsors Race Car", The Augusta Chronicle (Georgia), June 8, 2006
  11. "Costly Strategy Continues to Turn Out Bestsellers," June 28, 1990
  12. "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power", Time, May 6, 1991
  13. Hubbard, "The Ridge on the Bridge," LRH ED 344R INT of March 10, 1982, revised October 21, 1982
  14. "Travolta's Religious Battlefield Critics say movie bolsters Scientology," San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 2000
  15. "Weird Scientology," New Haven Advocate. September 22, 2005
  16. Cross-examination of Warren McShane, Religious Technology Center vs Factnet et al, September 12, 1995 (Linked page is gone, archived version: [1])
  17. Corydon, Bent. L. Ron Hubbard: Madman or Messiah?, p. 361. Lyle Stuart, Inc. (1987)
  18. "Scientologists' message goes up in hi-tech smoke," Sydney Morning Herald, May 4, 1996

Further reading Edit

External linksEdit


Scientology bibliography
edit
Dianetics: Dianetics, the Original Thesis | Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health | Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science | Notes on the Lectures | Science of Survival | Child Dianetics | Self Analysis | Advanced Procedure and Axioms | Dianetics 55!
Scientology: Handbook for Preclears | A History of Man | Scientology: 88 | Scientology: 8-80 | Scientology 8-8008 | The Creation of Human Ability | The Phoenix Lectures | Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought | Have You Lived Before This Life | A New Slant on Life | Introduction to Scientology Ethics | Mission Into Time | Scientology 0-8
E-meter: The Book Of E-Meter Drills | Introducing The E-Meter | E-Meter Essentials
Other: How to Live Though an Executive | The Problems of Work | Hymn of Asia | All About Radiation | The Way to Happiness | Clear Body, Clear Mind
Not by L. Ron Hubbard : Fundamentals of Scientology | Child Scientology | Dianetics Today | Brainwashing | Electropsychometry | The Hubbard Electrometer | This Is Life | Sanity for the Layman | Miracles for Breakfast | How to Choose Your People | Ups and Downs
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