Lecture: Story of Dianetics and Scientology
Author: Hubbard, L. R.
Document date: 1958, 18 October
Document title: Story of Dianetics and Scientology
Document type: lecture transcript
Event: London Clearing Congress
Document ID: LCC-01
Description: Hubbard recounts an incident of madness and violence aboard a ship during the war; talks about his experiences and Dianetics research at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital; tells how he gained access to his medical records by cooking up a toothache; tells how he gained access to the medical library at Oak Knoll by impersonating a medical doctor; brags about how he influenced the endocrine research then being conducted on returning POWs; talks about how he funded his Dianetics "research"; says he achieved clearing in 1947, while in practice as a Hollywood swami; claims he cleared a psychiatrist; talks about the success of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.
And during the war – during the war, I had some very interesting experiences on the subject of the mind. I was on one ship that had about seven hundred men on it, and we were getting two people a week going mad. Two people a week went mad on that ship. That’s an awful lot of people going mad. But in view of the fact that we had no replacements, they were simply left on duty for the most part.
We particularly contested taking off duty one chap who had had the bad taste to want shore leave in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and had come up to request it of the executive officer, and had found the executive officer in a shower. The executive officer was not well liked on this ship. And the executive officer, from the lather and spray of his shower, said something coarse and uncouth to this fellow. And this fellow whipped out a knife, dived into the shower, chased the executive officer out, and we had the wonderful view of the executive officer running round and round the deck with this madman behind him brandishing a knife. I remember stepping out of my cabin with the gunnery officer where we’d been playing cards or chess or something, and watching this pair go by on their first round.
And the gunnery officer said, “Here,” he says, “I’ve got a – I’ve got a gun. Let’s stop this.”
And I said – I said, “Why?”
About that time, why, two masters-at-arms entered the parade and it became very, very amusing. So we watched it go by. There hadn’t been any amusement for a very long time and we – Finally we got tired of it and the gunnery officer and I checked the madman by putting out a foot, and the crew wouldn’t speak to us for a week. But this fellow had to stay on duty.
The medical doctor of that ship and I had the same cabin. And I’d been studying the mind for quite a while, and the men in the crew would come up to get bandaged up or something like that at all hours of the day or night. When the medical officer was out, they would get me, you see. And I’d process them one way or the other. And when he was there, why, he’d give them pills and sew them up. So they had a good time of it.
And I had an awful lot of subjects matter to study. The medical officer turned it all over to me. He was kind of bored with it all anyway. He was on the verge himself. And at the end of the war I had the misfortune of standing in the wrong place. It’s always your fault, you know; you’re standing in the wrong place at the wrong moment and something else arrives and tries to occupy the same space. This is always embarrassing.
But the end of the war I spent about a year in the hospital recuperating from an accumulation of too much wartime Scotch and overdoses of lead and things like that, you know. Oddly enough, they gave me a psychiatric examination as they gave all veterans and found out… By the way, that scared me to death – scared me to death. I went in, took the psychiatric examination, and when he finished up – he was very pleasant – he started writing. And when he finished writing two pages worth – very interesting – he finished writing two pages worth. . You generally took your own records back to the ward. And I was watching this, you know, saying, “Well, have I – have I gone nuts after all?”
And he took these two pages worth and put them in my folder, and I said very smartly and happily – the way you get; you get to be an awful 1.11 after you’ve been around the armed services for a while – and I said, “Well, I’m going right back to my ward.
I’ll take the folder back.” He said, “Oh no, it will be taken back by a messenger.”
I didn’t sleep much that night. Next morning after breakfast I said to myself, “Hubbard, think.” So I thought for a while and all of a sudden realized that I had better cook up a toothache and get a dental appointment and have all of my records be given to me so I could take them over to the dental clinic. So they gave me all the records and I tucked them under my arm and I went out to the dental clinic – toward
that direction. There was a nice little evergreen sitting outside the door. And it was out of public view, and as soon as I got near that evergreen, I just ducked, see, real quick and opened the records, you know. Oh, here it is, see. And this almost indecipherable scrawl goes on for two long, arduous pages. And I waded through these terrific technical terms, you know. I read it all very carefully and got to the last paragraph, and it said… Oh, there were words in it that long, and the page – and the page was only that wide. And I got to the end and it said, “In short, this officer has no neurotic or psychotic tendencies of any kind whatsoever.”
So I sat down weakly on a bench and said, “Well, I have evidently survived it, you know.”
And I was feeling very, very good, when at that moment a marine walked up to me, took me by the arm, and he says, “You have a dental appointment and I have been sent to find you.” So they took me down and filled a tooth. Well, that’s what you pay for curiosity.
But during that last year, I studied at the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital library. And I found out by the simple expedient of taking off one collar ornament I became an MD, you see – very simple. And they don’t let anybody in a medical library except doctors, you see, of the MD class. But by stepping up to the desk with only one collar ornament, you see, on the Left side – and for a couple of bucks having a marine on crutches come by and say, “Good morning, Doctor” – I was able to get in a year’s study at the medical library.
I studied the endocrine system and studied this and studied that and dreamed up a few experiments of one kind or another. I wrecked a whole research project, by the way. There was a doctor with the improbable name of Yankewitz, and Yankewitz was conducting a series of studies on prisoners of war who were being released by that time from German camps and from Japanese camps that had been overrun. And this Yankewitz was trying to fix them up with testosterone and other endocrine compounds. Well, I had all of his records available to me, because he and I were – we played dominoes and things together evenings. And all of his records were available and he was keeping very, very sharp metabolism tests and other things to show the results of endocrine fluids and extracts on prisoners, you see.
Well, it’s very simple. All I had to do was get the name of one of his series, take him out in the park, sit down and do some psychoanalysis and the beginnings of Dianetics and Scientology on him, pull the second dynamic apart and put it back together again, see, and then have him go in and take his metabolism test, you see – Yankewitz said to me one day, he says, “Good heavens!” he said, “Something has gone wrong with these records.” He said, “The cases just aren’t turning out right; some of these fellows are getting well.”
Well, I found out by those experiences that function monitors structure, that thought monitors matter and that matter does not monitor thought. Because those people who were given injections and treatment in the absence of psychotherapy didn’t recover; they went the same level. Was an interesting condemnation of the therapy; But those people that I had caught behind a tree or on a park bench and had slipped a few yards of Freud to – and a little bit of the beginnings of Dianetics and Scientology – would all of a sudden go up scale, you see.
In other words, by treating thought and thinkingness, I found out that I could monitor the experiences and the condition of the person, but I found out similarly that the drugs did not. And that is a very significant series of experiments, which are unfortunately not totally available to us, but are probably still on file in a folder with a great big question mark on it in the Navy Department in Washington, DC – because it was a failed project as far as Yankewitz was concerned.
Now, if – this was the first – the first broad test of it all. Thought was boss. Thought was king. Thought could change structure, but matter could not really change matter – but thought could change matter. Isn’t this fascinating? You could vary somebody’s weight by changing his thinkingness. If you could do that, then, what did we study? Did we study more structure to make man well, change his behavior pattern, follow it through? Did we go on studying the brain? No, No, never. Never. It would only be thought.
Well, a short time afterwards, the government decided to give me all of my back pay. And they’d been holding my back pay from me. I’d been on combat duty for a couple of years without being promotable. Every once in a while I’d receive a set of orders and it’d say, “Go to the front lines,” or the equivalent thereof you know, and I would say to the medical doctor, I’d say, “All right.” And I’d say to the personnel officer, I’d say, “I’ll go, but where’s my other stripe? You’re sending me to a job that requires an awful lot of gold lace, and if you inspect this carefully with a microscope you’ll find there isn’t very much on my sleeve.
And it isn’t the rank I worry about, but I’ve blown the fortune, you know, and that extra hundred or two dollars a month would come in handy.” And they would say to me, the equivalent of “Orders is orders, Hubbard. I know you’re not in fit condition to pass an examination for further advance in rank, but nobody said you weren’t in a fit condition to go out and fight for your country.”
So I went out and fought for the country. Got bored after a while with that, too. But all of a sudden at the end of the war they decided to change their mind. By that time I was out of the service, so that, of course, was the time to be very helpful and promote a fellow’s morale so that he would serve his country because he was no longer in the armed services. See how this works out? So they gave me a nice big thick sheaf of treasury checks. Well, in addition to that, I hadn’t had it too bad; I’d sold a movie – Dive Bomber – you may have seen the thing. Wallace Beery, so forth, way back. And I’d sold it right at the beginning of the war and I’d opened up a safe deposit box and I’d never told any of my relatives about it and I’d popped ten thousand dollars in one thousand dollar bills into it and closed the lock tight.
So when I got out of the war I didn’t take that for finance. I must confess to you that this subject “study of finance and advance” was not really by the sweat of the brow. I took that and bought a yacht and went down for a cruise in the West Indies when the war was over. But when that was gone I realized I had to have some money. So I collected my treasury checks and that was what financed the first of the research from which we benefit now. It’s very funny but that was what financed it.
I went right down in the middle of Hollywood, I rented an office, got ahold of a nurse, wrapped a towel around my head and became a swami. And I said – oddly enough, I gave nobody my name, I didn’t say what I was doing, and by 1947, I had achieved clearing.
I worked like mad. And in Los Angeles occasionally, the local operation there will once in a while, occasionally, receive a call saying, “You know, I’ve seen a picture of Dr. Hubbard, and there was somebody who looked quite like him that operated over in Hollywood years ago and that did something or other with me and I have been quite well and happy ever since. Is it the same man?” And, of course, they have orders to say no. They’d spoil the whole series.
Those people were never told anything, and yet some of them were Clears.
Now, those were the first Clears. And they were left there without further education or anything of the sort to act as a progressive series.
My office in Washington got turned upside down just a few weeks ago when I suddenly found out that the name and address of one of them had been lost. And there must have been something psychic about it all, because at the end of the week this person wrote in to me, not having written me for some years. Told me that they were fine, living a very successful life, everything was going along beautifully, gave me a full report on the case and so forth. And even my office started to look at me peculiarly.
But these people serve as the long series of cases, and they are not tampered with in any way; They were cleared; they’ve stayed that way – those that I’m still in contact with. Some of them have been lost in the shuffle.
One of them was a psychiatrist. When Dianetics was first published in the United States, this chap said, “You know, a fellow processed me to a state called Clear some years ago, so it must be a very ordinary thing. He was down in Hollywood at the time. Of course, I’ve never done any psychiatry as such since, but I don’t see what everybody’s so excited about. This fellow Hubbard undoubtedly learned from this fellow in Hollywood.” He was so right. Well, coming on up the track – coming on up the track, looking it over. Wrote a book finally in 1950 in the United States and put it out and the next thing you know it was a bestseller and it rode at the top of the list in the New York Times and everything was going along fine and it was a total boom and it was a tremendous success and it was sweeping]y, catastrophically successful – and I found out I had no administration, practically no organization, I had nothing. And the world fell in on our heads in the United States and we’d had it.
Dianetics became very well known overnight. Very well known. A lot of people pitched in and started helping. And from that time on up to now, these wonderful people have continued to help, and it’s stopped being a sort of an “only one” deal. There are lots of names in the hat now and a lot of people in the game. Makes one feel rather good, because they’re very good people. And what’s happened, simply, is there was a hole in man’s knowledge, you see. And somebody moved into the vacuum, you might say. But there were a lot of other people who became aware of the fact that there was a hole in man’s knowledge, too, and who saw that the vacuum was being partially filled and who pitched in and gave it a great big hand in finishing it up.
Hubbard, L. R. (1958, 18 October). Story of Dianetics and Scientology. London Clearing Congress, (LCC-01). Lecture conducted from London.