Author: Hubbard, L. R.
Document date: 1955, 23 February
Document title: Scientology and Ability
Document type: lecture transcript
Event: Public Lectures and Group Processing
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Document ID: 5502C23
Description: Hubbard remarks on several significant incidents in his "long psychiatric record." He talks about a 1947 incident at the VA when and where he was confronted with doing personality tests and finding out about the electric shocking that was going on there. At that time he thought of his "old pals William Allen White and Commander Thompson." He talked about finding out the cost of psychoanalysis, and then quitting and going on a yacht trip which he funded with money he "should have used on experimentation." This is an obvious reference to his confidence trick on Jack Parsons. Hubbard talks about a conversation he had with a psychiatrist in San Diego, the only time when he ever had any question about his own mind. He also getting Dianetics auditing in 1949 when he found himself in front of the Psych Clinic at the Bethesda Hospital saying, "Well, now I know I’m going mad."
I was very starved for funds in 1947. I was writing in order to cover research expenses, I was conducting something of a practice. I was going along, and working along, and it cost quite a bit of money to research and investigate various fields, particularly since nobody seems to be interested. But I thought they knew, and I thought I’d covered a lot of ground, you see, which had already been covered. And I was just being stupid, you know? I was being real dumb covering this ground, but I had to because I had to, and I went on. And one day I thought, “You know it’d be an awfully nice thing.
There’s quite a bit of government money being given in this area for grants, you know, to take care of certain psychological problems in the area. And I can. And these couple of kids that are with me, we can do quite a bit, you know, in the field of straightening out vets and so forth. Why don’t I get some of this money for a grant, and do something of this sort?” So I investigated this money for the grant, and found out that a sum of eight thousand dollars a month was being invested in a psychological guidance center.
And I thought that was very fine, that’s interesting, that’s a hopeful thing, and I went over to the guidance center saying, “Well, we could at least, probably I could learn something from these boy, you know?” And I could find out what they were doing for these, because this psychological guidance center had been founded to assist the rehabilitation of veterans.
So I had a long talk with a fellow, and I was getting the funny feeling that I wasn’t talking to anything somehow or another. Kind of going out in the air. So I finally asked him, I said, “Now what do you do here?” And he said, “Well we take these people in and we give them a test and so forth. That’s what we do, and that’s what our budget calls for, and that’s eight thousand a month. And we take care of that and that’s what we take care of and that’s what we do. And why are you asking?”
“Well,” I said, “I just wanted to know what the functions and operations of the center were and what’s demanded of the center, in order to get your appropriation and so forth.” And I said, “Now let’s go over it again. Now you take these fellows in and you test them, you straighten them out and so on.” “No,” he sounded annoyed. “What are you talking about?” And I said, “Well let me go over this slowly. You get this appropriation from the government, and you run this big center. And you have these tests and these batteries. And the people come in and they take the tests and then you take the tests and you probably forward them over to your other clinical division, and they do…” “Oh no,” he says, “there’s no clinical division here.” “Oh,” I said, “well somewhere in the city there’s a clinical division.” “No, no,” he says, “there’s no; what are you talking about? Clinical division. We haven’t anything to do with clinical psychology!”
And I said, “Well, what are you doing?” Utterly fabulous! The government was paying this group eight thousand dollars a month just to maintain the premises, to give some personality tests to veterans. And the tests were never forwarded to anybody. Anywhere! And nobody treated the veterans. And nobody did anything for anybody anywhere, but the did the tests and put it in a file, and they didn’t even have a statistician on their payroll to add up the results of the tests! This was wonderful. And I says, “Now I’m crazy. Now I’d better go find an analyst.” And I went around and consistently and continually looked into this field to find somebody doing something, and it was only then that I determined I’d better not associate the name of what I was doing with the word psychology. I’d better not.
In the first place, which I didn’t care about, the psychologist would object, but in the second place I wasn’t in an active company if I did, you see? I had just learned that the whole division over here was missing. And if that isn’t a spooky feeling. So I said, “Well, insane, psychiatry, the neurotic and so forth, my old pals William Allen White and Commander Thompson, these boys got that nailed down anyhow. Maybe these fellows can’t do much for active people over here, but this division, that’s solid!” Where? It was wonderful.
I found out for the first time that they electric shocked the insane. Imagine working for all these years in the mind to realize at last that the treatment which was used was not psycho analysis, which sometimes has some workability, but a couple of electrodes, by a “doctor” who didn’t know an ohm from a home. Who didn’t; I asked one of them one day, I investigated this field fairly thorough. I asked him, I said, “What voltage do you use?” And he says, “Position one.” And I said, “Yeah, well what voltage is that?” And he says, “What are you talking about?”
A boy right here in town by the way, a short time ago, had a machine go out of whack. And I think he killed fifteen or twenty patients before they found out the machine was over loading them. It’s fantastic.
And what about the neurotic? What about this neurotic? Well I found out that is costs nine thousand some-odd dollars to treat a neurotic by psycho analysis. And that it took a period of a couple of years, and at the end of the time he wasn’t well. And I found out there was nothing in that sector. And if you don’t think this didn’t make me feel rather uncomfortably like these marines, with five miles of flank to the right, and five miles off flank to the left, totally exposed!
I almost quit. As a matter of fact I did. I went on a yachting trip. I took some money that I should have used on experimentation, and I bought me some stuff, an old pair of boots and a couple of fish hooks, and went yachting. I couldn’t believe all this. It was too much for me. I felt very funny, let me assure you, that myself and my very few associates would be the people who had applied, being very well trained in it, scientific methodology over here to the field of the mind. And that actually this sort of a thing had happened.
A fellow, thinking he was in company with a great many people, had wandered on through this dark, dark forest, and through these dark caverns and chasms, and had walked on and on and on, cheerfully thinking that he had somebody over here and somebody over here, and that it was all well covered, and that it was mapped territory. Thinking he was just having to go through this mapped territory, because he was stupid. And finding out that he’d had to cross all this territory, and that there were lions and tigers and everything in it. And he didn’t even have a pop gun! That’s a shock.
When you’re doing original research in the field of the mind and you’ve felt that there are people in the world who can do something for the field of the human mind, you always feel that if you yourself got in too deep or went crazy, or did something of this sort, somebody on the right or left could reach over and say, “That’s alright boy. Run this or that and you’ll straighten out.” But I finally got to an opinion.
One day I was being audited with Dianetics, old time Dianetics, toward the end of 1949. And I was down at Bethesda Naval Hospital. And I’d come out of the classification of almost totally disabled, up to fit for duty. And just on Dianetics, nothing else. And, war casualty. Anyhow, I was all set. I had nothing to do with the mind, I mean they kept putting me down as mentally responsible just to show you how much they knew about it, you know?
I’d got a long psychiatric record, by the way, in the navy, all of which says “Mentally responsible, return to duty.” Any time you come in as a casualty into a naval hospital they usually send around the psychiatrist, you know? And he just checks you off as; and then the clinic for teeth checks you off, and you know, they check you off on all your parts. Grease when another thousand miles have occurred. And they kept writing this down. And a very funny thing.
The only time I ever had any question about my own mind, by the way, just to digress on that basis, I talked to a psychiatrist. They sent me over, I was going through all the clinics, one after the other, in the naval hospital in San Diego. And I went through all these, and I was all set. And I went into the psychiatrist’s office, and he took the piece of paper, and he got to talking about his liver. So I talked to him about his liver, and we had a big conversation about his liver. And it was all very interesting.
And I got ready to walk out, and I started to pick the piece of paper up in front of his desk and he said, “Oh no. Wait a moment.” So he pulled it in close, and he wrote a typical, medical hand, you know, unreadable. And he kept writing and writing and writing and writing and writing and writing, and he turned it over and he wrote and he wrote and he wrote and he wrote and he wrote and he wrote and he wrote, and then I said, “Now,” I said, “Give me that, I’ll put it in my file and take the file back to the ward where it’s…” “Oh no. This will have to go back by messenger.” Well that was late afternoon when that occurred, and I went back to my ward saying, “Do you supposed there really is something? After all, it’s been a long war. I had never quite been certain whether or not the war isn’t unsettling. Do you suppose it’s happened at last?” And all that, and I lay there and worried.
Next morning I dreamed up an appointment with the dental clinic, so that the ward would have to give me my record. And I got outside, and I quick as a flash slipped behind a bush, sat down on a bench, opened it up, started to try to read this. Most horrible garbage you ever tried to wade through, you know? And I turned it over, and I couldn’t make head or tail out of it. And I said, “Well I’m gone, I’m done.” I was almost sold the middle of the last page, ‘til I noticed the last paragraph. And it says, “No, no psychotic or neurotic tendencies of any kind whatsoever.” But it took him a page and a half of bad writing to say so. So well, I said to myself, “That’s the last time I’ll ever worry about my mind.”
Until I was at Bethesda Naval Hospital, and I had an auditor, and this auditor was running me through an early incident, a tonsillectomy. And time was growing short and I had to report to the hospital that day. They were checking me over for retirement, whether they were going to return me to duty or retire me. And this auditor was working away and working away, but this was a tough engram. Real tough. We weren’t doing too well on it. So he says, “Well I’ll finish it up this afternoon when you come back.” So I walked with the ether mask, and I got down to the hospital.
And of course you could realize that going to the hospital, having had my tonsils out in the hospital was the most gorgeous piece of restimulation you ever wanted to see. And I walked down the hall, and walked down the hall, and the hall started to go this way, and then the floor started to ripple. And I said, “Well, now I know I’m going mad.” And I leaned heavily on a door trying to steady myself, saying, “Well I’ll just have to kind of quit right here in my tracks.” And I raised my face and I saw the legend on that door. And it said “Psychiatric Clinic.” So I straightened myself up, and walked on down the hall.