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I was the first casualty home from the South Pacific. I turned myself in at the hospital, got some adhesive tape glued on me, and I was all set to go home in a hurry and see the wife and kids. But the doctor said, “No, you go to bed.” “Why?” “Well, you’ve got to have a routine checkover, routine checkover.”
Any time the navy says “routine,” this means it is unavoidable. So I proceeded to turn myself in. I woke up the next morning and there was the most horrible character I had ever seen, saying, “How many fingers do you see? What time is it? What is your name?”
I was smart enough not to give him some flip sarcastic answers, or I would probably be there yet! I said, “Two fingers. It’s seven-thirty,” or some ridiculous hour. But what I couldn’t get over was the eagerness of this person. He was so eager and he looked so disappointed every time I answered him rationally!
I saved the anger that was building up inside of me until I saw the officer of the day outside. And I said very “politely” to him, “What’s the idea?” And he said, “Didn’t you know?” No, I didn’t know. He said, “You are the first casualty home from the South Pacific. Everybody knows that the stress and strain of modern war is such that the human mind can’t stand it! “
This was one of these “everybody knows” things!
I got away from the hospital after a while. I was insulted. But I really needn’t have been insulted, because they needed data. The data finally worked out this way: The people who were carrying forward the war in combat areas had a pretty low percentage of psychotics compared to the people who were standing idle in rear areas, on supply ships and other places. War neurosis came up and slapped those people who had not enough to do, who were merely there being worried. They wanted to do something and nobody would let them.
In the navy, the big combat cargo vessels just cruised around endlessly; even when they made a beachhead landing they could see action over there on the beach, but they weren’t ducking very many shells. The menace in the area at most would come from a few aircraft. There was no big necessity level; there was just frustration. There was something going on and they should alert to it and then immediately close with the enemy and tear him to bits and that sort of thing, but that was being prevented.
For instance, take a soldier out of the front lines where he has been wounded and treat him at a first-aid station. He will be all right; he is right up near the lines where the guns are going and everything else. He is an effective social unit (or an antisocial unit—the army). He is right up there in the front lines, but he is sane. Now let’s move him to the rear area to a base hospital. There he goes. He will cease to have a target for his necessity level.
It is interesting to you as auditors to realize, then, that man is baffled and confused by indefinites or too-definitenesses, not by violence. He can stand up to any quantity of punishment so long as he knows what it is and where it is from. It is when he doesn’t know or when he knows too well that he is really upset.
In other words, you are going up against two kinds of mental aberration which are very general and which apply very definitely to your business. One is when the danger is unknown, unselected and unrecognized—indefinite. He can’t find it, he can’t fix his mind on it, he can’t locate it. The other one is complete fixation on one thing as dangerous to the exclusion of any other dangers in the environment.
In the first one, the mind is hunting. It can’t extrovert, because the danger might be back there down the time track too. Just where is it? Is it this? Is it that? That is why people pick up associative restimulators and things like that.
On the second one, you will run into somebody, for instance, who is clutching to his bosom this fact that the reason everything happened to him was “because his libido was down.” It is all libido and the answer is contained in Sigmund Freud; it must be contained there, and it has to do with his libido, and don’t disturb him any because here it is and this is all that is wrong, and this is the whole environ, and this told him everything!
Now you just try to pull this out and say, “This is good writing and everything; it is done in English and it is published with hard covers and so forth, but why don’t you look around the environment and really take a look? You realize that your wife nags you and your kids get on your nerves and so forth—let’s go into this a little more practically and . . .” “No sir! It has got to be this!” In other words, he has selected himself a point of reference because he can’t find out what is wrong. So he goes into the delusion of postulating that this is wrong.
You will also find that people will fixate on a cure. They know something is wrong, and then somebody comes along and describes this new disease called “bettahugen.” “Bettahugen is a terrible disease that invisibly attacks the cranial clavichord.” And the fellow says, “That must be me!” He knows something is wrong but he can’t locate the real source of danger as far as he is concerned, so he picks one up; this is the danger. First you sell him the disease and then you sell him the cure.
Psychiatry and medicine think we are doing that in Dianetics because that is all they have ever done. You postulate that this is what is wrong, and then you do something about what you have postulated. Whether it produces results or not is beside the point. It at least keeps a lot of people busy and interested. Just giving something into somebody’s hand and saying “This is cause, and we are going to fix it up with this”—just doing that for somebody who is completely unfixed, who can’t fix on any menace in his environ—is therapeutic! You have said, “This is the danger.”
This fellow has had terrible stomach aches all of his life, and it is horrible and he hasn’t any reason for it at all. Somebody comes along and says, “Well, fellow, what’s wrong with you is very obvious. You have inflammation of the interior lufwuttapumps.” And the fellow says, “I have? What is this caused by?” “Well, as a matter of fact, it is caused by eating too much popcorn. Now, you just knock off that popcorn and take these pills three times a day— nasty-tasting things, aren’t they?—and you will be fine.”
As a matter of fact, for a while, this fellow will be fine. He will be perfectly satisfied to nail down all of these unfixed attention units for the environ into “stomach inflammation because of popcorn.” You could even train him up to a point where, when he walks down the street and sees a popcorn stand, he will go clear across the street rather than go near one.
You will see people who have been told it is poison ivy that causes that skin rash, when it is actually the measles he had when he was a child. The fellow will just see a picture of a poison ivy plant and begin to swell up. That is his good, solid selected cause, and when you try to take that one away from him, you are really going to have a time! You are going to have to show him another, more valid cause.
That is why people come along and tell you “You better run an engram out of me! “ They want to be rolled up in a ball right away. They want to have this cause. They want to have this proven to them.
You know what you are working with; you have seen enough of them. You have seen enough engrams and secondaries and you have seen what happens when they get relieved and so forth.
That is good enough for you but it isn’t good enough for him.
That is where charlatanism starts coming in, in any profession: the demand of the public, the demand of the individual, to be given a cause which can then be cured.1
Hubbard, L. R. (1951, 28 June). The Complete Auditor Part II. First Annual Conference of Hubbard Dianetic Auditors, (5106C28B). Wichita, Kansas.
- Dianetics and Scientology auditing includes assesments and listing where preclears must articulate causes for and factors of their unwanted conditions. Auditors take these answers and tailor processes to find and “erase” the engrams responsible, or use other processes to flatten their emotional affects. ↩