Lecture: Review of Progress of Dianetics and Dianetics Business (1)
Author: Hubbard, L. R.
Document date: 1952, 25 February
Document title: Review of Progress of Dianetics and Dianetics Business
Document type: lecture transcript
Event: Summary Course
Location: Wichita, Kansas
Document ID: 5202C25A
Description: Hubbard's review of Dianetics include statements about the relationship between Dianetics and General Semantics.
The earliest stages of Dianetics (it might amuse you) came when a study of General Semantics indicated that there was some possibility that words themselves were very aberrative — just words. And the first effort of Dianetics, along the line of going back down the time track and so forth, was to clarify the definitions which people had of certain words, was to de-emotionalize words. That was its first effort. And by the way, to this day you can take a patient and work with a patient for many hours (maybe ten or fifteen hours), redefining words — just that — and then finding out where he heard this word first, where he learned it and so on, and then running him through the incident.
And you will find out every word he gets wrong, or every word he fails to hear when you are talking to him, occurred in an emotional incident or occurred at a time when he was punished for having defined it or misdefined it, like in school and so on.
That is still a therapy; I mean, you can still work with this therapy.
However, one parted company very, very swiftly with semantics on this basis: Semantics believes that words are labels and that you must differentiate between the object and the label. That is all very well, but words are actually descriptive code phrases of existing states or states of change or potential states of change. There is not just the label.
There is something more to General Semantics. They claim that words are undefined, that people cannot define certain words, and that when you talk in an undefinable term the other person can’t understand what you are saying.
And again, this is not quite right; it is very close. But what happens is a person gets an emotional charge surrounding a word and then and thereafter is incapable of facing the word as a definition. It becomes an emotional state to him.
You take a Republican talking about a Democrat: Republicans back in the thirties, you used to say, “Well now, Franklin Delano Roosevelt…” You got no further than that with an industrialist, or something, up in Wall Street — no further than that — and he would say, “That blankety-blank Roosevelt!” and he would start to explode.
And you say, “Why don’t you conduct a campaign to lick the Democrats along the line of the fact that this shouldn’t be a socialism, that American freedom, way of life and so forth . . . And you can then demonstrate that the policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt “
“That blankety-blank Roosevelt!” That is all you would get. And so the Republicans can’t win. But it isn’t because they don’t know what Franklin Delano Roosevelt means — they know what that means — but the subject has been surrounded with so much emotion that they won’t permit it to be used, even in their own minds, as a definition.
All undefinables have precision definitions. Every word in the English language is precisely defined, and every human being, if he is not terribly emotional about it, can get the definition for that word.
Voltaire, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, did a very good job of defining freedom, liberty, democracy. You go back through their letters, you find this definition repeated over and over and over. They are not undefinable words, but they are emotional words1
So, there is an old therapy in Dianetics.
Hubbard, L. R. (1952, 25 February). Review of Progress of Dianetics and Dianetics Business. Summary Course, (5202C25A). Wichita, Kansas.
- Desensitizing “emotion words” is a feature common to Scientology “study tech,” “word-clearing tech,” and to wide array of corrective actions. ↩