Scientology: From Enneagrams to Thetans - Science Fiction Theology
L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, first gained notoriety in the minds of Americans as the author of numerous science fiction novels.
He would later use his skills to tightly weave the web of science fiction and religion. His theology, which today is accepted by millions, eventually leads to tales of preincarnate souls trapped in ice cubes from the planet Mars.
"One preclear (student of Scientology) said that this thetan (somewhat similar to `soul' or `spirit') had inhabited the body of a doll on the planet Mars 469,476,600 years ago.
"Martians seized the doll and took it to a temple, where it was zapped by a bishop's gun while the congregation chanted `God is Love.'
"The thetan was then put into an ice cube, placed aboard a flying saucer, and dropped off at Planet ZX 432, where it was given a robot body, then put to work unloading flying saucers.
"Being a bit unruly, it zapped another robot to death and was shipped off in a flying saucer to be punished. But the flying saucer exploded, and the thetan fell into space" (story as reprinted in Kingdom of the Cults, Dr. Walter Martin, p. 346, 985 ed.).
While this may be where the theology of the Church of Scientology eventually leads, it is not explained to the initiate in these precise words. Rather, it is touted to the world as the cure for all of man's problems and a way to gain every desire.
The Watchman Fellowship library contains several hundred pieces of material from the Church of Scientology. One explains: "Today, Scientology philosophy provides the tools and technology to solve this puzzle and frees one from the unwanted conditions and situations in life.
"There has never before been such a technology to help man help himself towards greater happiness.
"It provides exact principles and a practical technology for improving one's confidence, intelligence, abilities and skills... awareness, health and success in life.
"Scientology gives the only answers and solutions to the age-old questions of why people have trouble facing up to situations; why they have difficulty communicating with others; the causes of conflicts; and the solutions to why people don't use all the abilities and potentials they have.
"Scientology is a religion by its basic tenets.
"All denominations are welcome in Scientology. The common denominator of all religion is the human spirit and Scientology can attain the long sought religious goal of knowing one's potential" (Scientology: What Is It? p. 1, 1990 ed.).
While the claims are appealing, it is not until the basic theology is examined that potential students begin to realize that reaching these goals is to become a never-ending trek.
Scientology's Basic Theology
According to Scientology, Man is, at the core of his being, a Thetan.
Hubbard's Dianetics and Scientology: Technical Dictionary explains, "The Thetan is immortal and is possessed of capabilities well in excess of those hitherto predicted for man.
"It is the individual, the being, the personality, the knowingness of the human being. ...in the final analysis what is this thing called thetan? It is simply you before you mocked yourself up and that is the handiest definition I know of" (p. 432).
The Thetan is thus that part of each individual which is immortal and which has become contaminated and debased by outside influence. What is this outside influence? MEST!
As another of Hubbard's numerous books states, "By MEST is meant the physical universe of matter, energy, space, and time, as we know them in the physical sciences" (Science of Survival, Book Two, p. 264).
Scientology is filled with words which were either coined by Hubbard (e.g. Thetan) or are acrostics (e.g. MEST from Matter, Energy, Space, Time).
Not only is the Thetan immortal according to Scientology, but also "Hubbard discovered the means of separating the human personality from the body and mind (a process called astral travel by non-Scientologists).
"The theta has the power to create MEST, that is, matter, energy space and time, or the basic stuff of existence" (Encyclopedia of American Religions, Vol. 2, p. 222).
Hence, Hubbard and Scientology would have America and the World believe that Man is an immortal Thetan, able to create MEST! However, not all MEST is good MEST. Sometimes MEST comes into conflict with the Thetan, resulting in an engram.
As Scientology endeavors to render this MEST mess intelligible they write, "An engram comes about when the individual organism suffers an intense impact with MEST.
"Every moment of physical pain contains with it a partial or major shutdown of the analytical function of the mind" (Science of Survival, Book Two, p. 28).
The engram is that memory which is caused by having an accident (be it major or minor), or when any tragic event (again major or minor) is experienced. However, at the instant that the engram is formed, often the person (or Thetan) is unaware of the event. How is this possible?
In a series of lectures given during August and September of 1950, Hubbard explained the process in this manner.
"An engram is a moment of pain and unconsciousness which contains perceptics.
"Actually there are thousands of moments of pain with just a little unconsciousness. Even a little thing such as someone burning his finger still causes a flick of attenuation of the analytical mind.
"The engram has one common denominator above all else, unconsciousness<193>. But unconsciousness is common to every single engram, because unconsciousness does just one thing; it closes down the analytical mind.
"So, we have coined the word anaten.... It is a contraction of the two words analytical attenuation. (Attenuation means shutting or closing down)" (Research and Discovery Series: A Running Record of Research into the Mind and Life, Vol. 3, p. 114-115).
This engram is thus that "mental picture" which "...contains, as part of its content, unconsciousness and physical pain" and is stored in the individuals mind (Dianetics and Scientology: Technical Dictionary, p. 114). But which mind?
As Hubbard explained, every person has two minds - the analytical mind and the reactive mind. Both having very specific functions, though not necessarily beneficial functions.
In the booklet Basic Dictionary of Dianetics and Scientology the two minds are defined in the following ways:
"analytical mind: In Dianetics and Scientology the analytical mind is the one which is alert and aware and the reactive mind simply reacts without analysis."
It continues with, "reactive mind: the portion of the mind which works on a stimulus-response basis....
"It consists of locks, secondaries, engrams and chains of them and is the single source of human aberrations and psychosomatic ills" (pp. 2, 23).
Basic Theological Tenants
What then are the basic theological tenants of the Church of Scientology?
Man in his true nature is an immortal thetan. The thetan is responsible for creation of MEST (matter, energy, space and time). Though man created the MEST, sometimes the MEST collides with the thetan which results in the acquisition of an engram.
Because every engram is accompanied by unconsciousness to a greater or lesser degree, not all engrams are known to exist by the thetans's analytical mind. Rather the engram or painful memory is stored in the reactive mind of the thetan. As a result of the build-up of thousands of known and unknown engrams man seems to experience problems throughout his life.
Thus, it is Scientology's purpose to rid the thetan of these unwanted engrams.
The stated purpose of Scientology is quite clear.
Under the heading Aims of Scientology, Hubbard wrote, "We seek only evolution to higher states of being for the individual and for Society" (Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought, p. 120).
What is this higher state of being? In Scientology it is known as Clear.
In his Technical Dictionary, Hubbard uses an interesting analogy. Clear is "The name of a button on an adding machine. When you push it, all the hidden answers in the machine clear and the machine can be used for a proper computation.
"So long as the button is not pressed the machine adds all old answers to all new efforts to compute and wrong answers result. Really, that's all a Clear is.
"Clears are beings who have been cleared of wrong answers or useless answers which keep them from living or thinking.
The Clear, "...can create energy at will, and can handle and control, erase or re-create an analytical mind or reactive mind."
A Clear is "a person who can have or not have at will anything in the universe.
"The Clear has no engrams which can be restimulated to throw out the correctness of computation by entering hidden and false data in it" (Dianetics and Scientology: Technical Dictionary, pp. 75-76).
Hence the person or thetan who has reached the desired state of Clear has, in actuality, become a blank slate simply waiting for new data to be entered.
As Hubbard explained in his 1950 lecture series, "Don't expect that the process of clearing is a process of re-educating.
"It is a refiling of existing education, and you have to have a new education if you are going to change a clear's viewpoint" (Research and Discovery Series: A Running Record of Research into the Mind and Life, Vol. 2, p. 408).
Thus, the new data, given by Scientology is not merely a rearrangement of already existing beliefs and ideas. Rather, it is completely "new" material, which is precisely what is needed for the "new education."
Without this new education it is impossible to reach the state of Clear. But if Clear is the ultimate or higher state of being to which all should desire to evolve, then how is this to be accomplished?
By the Scientology practice of Auditing.
Remember the reactive mind consists of "locks" and chains of engrams. In order for each person (thetan) to be declared clear, the reactive mind with its engrams must be removed by auditing.
"The reactive mind is removed by `returning' the pre-clear to the engram, and laying its contents before the scrutiny of the analytical mind" (Dianetics: The Original Thesis, p. 54).
Once the engram is openly expressed by the pre-clear (Scientology student), then "Auditing gets rid of unwanted barriers that inhibit, stop or blunt a person's natural abilities as well as gradiently increasing the abilities a person has so that he becomes more able and his survival, happiness and intelligence increase enormously.
"An activity of an auditor taking over the control of and shepherding the attention of a pc (pre-clear) so as to bring about a higher level of confront ability" (Dianetics and Scientology: Technical Dictionary, p. 28, parenthesis added).
After the thetan has remembered the engram (bad experience), it is then removed from the reactive mind during the auditing session with the aid of the Scientology E-Meter.
This device, similar in function to a lie-detector, is said to be "An electronic instrument for measuring mental state and change of state in individuals, as an aid to precision and speed in auditing" (Basic Dictionary of Dianetics and Scientology, p. 11).
To summarize the basic theology of Scientology in a few words is truly a difficult task.
In the beginning were the thetans. These were to eventually create the MEST, which in actuality would not be the best thing they could have done.
For when the thetan (person), who inhabits the MEST (a body) comes into conflict with other MEST, an engram (bad experience) is recorded in the reactive mind.
This engram, whether it be remembered or not (due to unconsciousness which accompanies every engram), is stored in the reactive mind and causes the thetan to believe false data (erroneous ideas).
It is the purpose of Scientology, through its auditing efforts to rid the thetan (person) of all engrams (bad experiences, memories) so that in turn the thetan, who now possesses a new educational perspective on reality (as a result of auditing), may advance to a higher state of being.