Hubbard explains in Dianetics: The Original Thesis, that the Tone Scale:
1) Is a numeric representation of the status of an engram in the reactive mind,
2) Is a numeric representation of the status of the engram's progress during work,
3) Provides a measure of sanity in an individual.
Every engram in the reactive mind is said to possess a tone value. The composite sum of all these engrams will give a numerical value to the reactive mind. The initial diagnosis for a person in Scientology is done by the identifying their general tone in order to denote the condition of their reactive mind. The Tone Scale was derived clinically, from "observation of engrams during work." In the tonal range, an engram can fluctuate from apathy, into anger, proceeding into boredom, and finally arriving in cheerfulness or just vanishing completely.
The Tone Scale
Tone 0 - Death. Engrams with a 0 tone are death engrams. An individual with a 0 tone would be dead. (If a living person registers Tone 0, one should test the e-meter's batteries).
Tone 0-1 - Apathy. Graduated between death to the beginnings of apathetic resentment.
Tone 1-2 - Antagonism. Includes suspicion, resentment, and anger.
Tone 2-3 - Boredom. Can also be understood as minor annoyance.
Tone 3-4 - Emotions between carelessness and cheerfulness.
The term "Tone 4" describes an engram or individual which has achieved total rationality and cheerfulness. Very shortly after reaching Tone 4, an engram should vanish. If the engram vanishes without attaining "the laughter of Tone 4," it can be assumed that the basic (the first, earliest) engram has not been erased. Meaning, there are engram chains, "a series of similar engrams on one or more dynamics which impede the overall dynamic of the individual." If you are working on a particular engram, and it seemingly vanishes from the engram bank without the individual achieving complete rationality and cheerfulness within the respective dynamic, it should be assumed that the deleted engram was not the first engram in that chain, and that, therefore, further exploration is needed to locate and discover that initial engram.
Serious engrams will be found in the apathy range.
Dangerous engrams will be found in the anger range.
Engrams with a value above 2.5 are not considered to have any great value in affecting the analytical mind.
Hubbard's directions order the auditor to find the "general (average) tone" of the individual by:
- Using the e-meter, computing and recording the tonal number for various engrams that are found.
- Assign those tone numbers into whichever one the eight dynamics (personal, sexual, group, species, all life, the physical universe, spirituality, infinity/God) the engrams fell into. (If an engram was from the group dynamic, assign the number to the "group dynamic" category, etc)
- Find the tonal average for each dynamic (add all the tonal number together within a dynamic, then divide by the number of tonal numbers. [Average = (1+4+4+3) / 4 ] = 3).
- Find the tonal average for the individual (add all the averaged tonal numbers together from each dynamic, then divide by the number of dynamics.) Do not make this calculation until you have actually found a numerical value for each dynamic. Don't guess values just to expedite the process, nor assign them whatever your average tonal number is for the other dynamics, and don't ignore dynamics if you are unable to uncover their tonal value. If you are unable to find a numerical value for a dynamic, keep trying until you succeed. Every dynamic has a real value, and all dynamics are equally important.
It is stressed that this numerical value representing an individual's "general tone" is variable, depending on the presence of restimulators in their environment that can reactivate engrams. The general tone of an individual is important for diagnosis as well as establishing a resolution to the individual's case. Achieving complete rationality depends upon exhaustion of the reactive mind and complete rationality is invariably the result of reaching Tone 4.