Friday, October 10, 2014

Self Analysis – Yet One More Cult Classic from L. Ron Hubbard

The first line of the introduction to L. Ron Hubbard’s Self Analysis is: “Self Analysis cannot revive the dead” (p. 5), and I admit I am a little disappointed. I had obtained this book specifically to bring the dead back to life, and it’s already failed me. Of course, I expect all my books to revive the dead, so I am familiar with this particular disappointment.

So the book cannot revive the dead. Okay. But check out what this book can do. It can speed up a person’s reaction time, improve his memory and help with illnesses. I bet you didn’t know that allergies, poor eyesight and arthritis are actually psychosomatic illnesses. Well, they are! L. reveals that amazing bit of information in the book’s introduction, and I get excited about what else will be revealed in this magnificent tome. But before I can become too excited, I come across this warning: “If you are fairly stable mentally, there is no real danger. But I will not mislead you. A man could go mad simply reading this book” (p. 8). Oh no, this book can cause harm as well as cure psychosomatic illnesses like poor eyesight. Perhaps it’s too dangerous to be allowed into the hands of the masses.

L. also explains in the introduction that the book contains some tests. “You can take the first one. It will give you a figure which will place you on the chart. Don’t blame me if it’s a low score. Blame your parents or the truant officer” (p. 8). Okay! And he gives us this description of the book: “It’s simply an effort to write in American a few concepts about the mind based on a lot of technical material in Dianetics, but made more palatable” (p. 9). And it’s written in impeccable American. Even if you’re not completely fluent in American, your life will likely improve from reading this book. However, if you’re just beginning to learn American, like at a low-level college course, there is a good chance this book will make you go mad. Or worse, for L. writes, “Don’t be too harsh on me, however, if you get grounded up some long-lost river and eaten by cannibals or engrams” (p. 9). More than a few novice speakers of American have been devoured by wandering tribes of engrams. Don’t tell me you haven’t read about this in newspapers, for I’ll know you’re a liar.

To begin this self-analysis, L. first suggests the reader come to know himself. And don’t worry, for “You do not need to know atomic physics to know yourself” (p. 14). What a relief! L. reveals a bit of a cynical streak when he writes, “But even a subversive will change his political coat if you offer him enough money.”

Getting back to the psychosomatic illness of poor eyesight, L. writes: “Glasses are a symptom of the decline of consciousness” (p. 28). And I thought glasses were a solution to bad eyesight. No, they’re a symptom. So interesting! And about pain, L. offers this: “What is pain? Pain is the warning of loss. It is an automatic alarm system built into life organisms which informs the organism that some part of it or all of it is under stress and that the organism had better take action or die” (p. 45). Exactly. And people say I overreact when I stub my toe. Hey, buddy, that pain tells me I’d better take action or die. And then later even the memories of pain can cause problems. L. gives some examples. “Arthritis of the knee, for instance, is the accumulation of all knee injuries of the past. The body confuses time and environment with the time and environment where the knee was actually injured and so keeps the pain there” (p. 48). L. offers this second example: “Take a bad heart. The person has pain in his heart. He can take medicine or voodoo or another diet and still have a bad heart” (p. 48). That’s true. I had a relative who took voodoo for his bad heart, and ended up dead twenty-three years later, having been eaten by a tiger.

Hey, the sorrow-drenched lady of thirty-eight is mentioned again in this book. I wonder if L. had someone in particular in mind. He mentioned her in Scientology: A New Slant On Life, and then actually includes the exact same paragraph in this book. She must be someone pretty important for L. to want to include the exact same sentences about her in two separate books.

This book is quite handy. As already mentioned, there are tests, but there is also a chart, the incredibly useful “The Hubbard Chart Of Human Evaluation.” Who better to turn to for personal evaluation than a science fiction writer? L writes: “Now, just beyond the chart there are some tests and graphs. You should answer these. They will help you to locate yourself” (p. 60). I recommend answering those questions. I did, and it turned out I was in Norway. That explained a lot. As L. points out, “This chart can also be used in employing people or in choosing partners” (p. 66).

Here is a photo of a portion of the chart:

It’s interesting that L. grouped “Sexual Behavior” together with “Attitude Toward Children.” I wonder exactly what L. was revealing about himself when he created his chart. In column 16, under the heading “Method Used By Subject To Handle Others,” someone at 0.1 on the Tone Scale “Pretends death so others will not think him dangerous and will go away.” It’s alarming when you come across one of those people in the produce aisle of the grocery store.

Even though this book is titled Self Analysis, L. points out that “This is actually not ‘self-auditing.' It is auditing done on the reader by the author. Actually, the reader is being audited by L. Ron Hubbard” (p. 65). I love writers who speak of themselves in the third person, like the amazingly talented Michael Doherty.

The book also includes several lists of questions, which are to aid the reader in improving his memory. L. writes: “If, while answering these questions, you begin to yawn, that is good. Yawning is a release of former periods of unconsciousness. You may yawn so much the tears come out of your eyes. That is progress” (p. 105). If being bored to tears is progress in Scientology world, I am progressing swiftly.

One of the first questions under the “Can you recall a time when” heading is “You stopped a thief” (p. 112). Can you recall a time when you stopped a thief? No? Well, the one right below it is a little easier. Can you recall a time when “You stood under something”? There is also the question, Can you recall a time when “You went upstairs”? That one is a bit cruel for folks recently confined to wheelchairs.

L. asks, can you recall a time when “You licked a larger boy” (p. 129). Oh, L. and his fondness for children, especially the larger boys! Later he asks if the reader can recall a time when he smelled a child (p. 139). There L. goes again, sniffing and licking the boys. And then he asks if the reader can recall a time when he felt or touched a child. I’m beginning to get the sense there was little L. enjoyed recalling more than the times he smelled, licked or touched a boy. Later he asks if the reader can “recall an incident when you felt (touched) a happy child” (p. 148). And still later he comes right out and asks if the reader can recall a time when he “enjoyed a child” (p. 226).

Here are some other questions of interest:

  • Can you recall an incident when you got out of the cage? (p. 171)
  • Can you recall a time when you got it up? (p. 175)
  • Can you recall a time when you watched a child being trained? (p. 188)
  • Can you remember a time when you did what you pleased with a smaller person? (p. 202)
  • Can you recall an incident when you touched a forbidden thing happily? (p. 208)
  • Can you recall a time when you lifted a child? (p. 241) And then, Can you recall a time when you lifted up a child? (p. 249)
  • Can you recall a time when you were glad you came too soon? (p. 245) 

He also asks, “Can you recall a time when you and a friend did the impossible” (p. 235). The answer is No, because it never happened, because it’s impossible. And then: “Can you recall a time when you tied somebody to a stake” (p. 245). Maybe, maybe not, but I’m certainly not going to tell you. And: “Can you recall a time when you found you had no invisible enemies” (p. 250). Oh yes, what a relief that was, I can tell you. For years I was convinced invisible beings were out to get me. And then one day I found that not to be the case. And then he asks if the reader can recall a time when “Lightning didn’t strike you” (p. 292). I can recall many times when lightning didn’t strike me.

Can you recall a time when you gave an animal a drink” (p. 259). One time I gave a badger a whiskey, and have regretted it to this very day.
Can you recall a time when you made an animal obey you” (p. 265). That badger wouldn’t listen to a word I said after it got a taste for the drink.
Can you recall a time when you pulled an animal out of water” (p. 268). Every time that badger got drunk, he liked to go into the neighbor’s swimming pool and torment the teenage daughter, making crude remarks and the like.
Can you recall a time when you tied an animal to a stake” (p. 268). As I explained to the police, that was to keep it out of the neighbor’s pool.

Toward the end of this book, L. tells us, “Imagination is a good thing, not a bad thing” (p. 277). Oh? Hmm, I’m going to have rethink things here. Thanks, L. 

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