The major contributions of dianetic theory to the ﬁeld of psychology and psychotherapy are seven fundamental assumptions:
1. The primary drive in human beings is directed toward survival for the individual, his family, his group and his species, all of which are equally important. Human beings solve problems of survival perfectly, in the light of data they have, unless prevented from doing so by external forces or by aberration. The analytical mind is postulated as the function of the individual which solves problems of survival and directs behaviour during non-emergency situations.
2. When forces external to the individual directly and immediately threaten his survival, or that of his family, group or species, he opposes them with violent emergency reactions, until those forces become so strong that they injure him physically and he can no longer resist them. At this point he becomes “unconscious” to some degree, that is, his analytical mind no longer functions. This happens, of course, during accidents, injuries, severe illness and operations. The reactive mind is postulated as the function which directs the emergency reaction of an individual under severe stress. The nearer the individual approaches unconsciousness and death, the more completely the reactive mind controls his behaviour.
3. When an individual is “unconscious”, he continues to record sensations in detail, though these do not become “conscious”. The recording includes all sounds and tactile impressions, as well as the pain which accompanies the injury or illness which cause the “unconsciousness”. The unconsciousness may be momentary and mild or protracted and deep. The engram is postulated as the recording of any moment of pain and unconsciousness, long or short, with its accompanying sensations of sound, pressure, and so on. There is no assumption as to the location of this recording, though there are indications that it may be located in the cells, or in the mid-brain. The material in the engram is not available to the analytical mind under ordinary conditions, since the analytical function was interrupted during the recording.
4. After the individual has recovered from the period of unconsciousness, if a situation similar to the engramic situation occurs, the engram will be “keyed in”; that is, the individual will interpret the new situation as a dangerous one, due to its similarity to the old incident which actually was dangerous. When that happens, the reactive mind takes over the direction of behaviour, as it does in actual emergency situations.
5. After the key-in situation, any stimulus similar to one present in the ‘engram will act as a sign of an emergency, the engram will be restimulated, the analytical mind will be attenuated, and the reactive mind will direct behaviour. Thus, the individual will act as if there were an emergency present when there is none.
6. When such restimulation occurs, the individual literally obeys phrases recorded in the engram. The reactive mind does not evaluate or differentiate. Since the analytical mind is not functioning to solve problems, the engram itself becomes the pattern of behaviour, rigid, repetitive and irrational.
7. The aberrative effect of these engrams can be removed if the individual is returned to the moment of the occurrence and can recall the engram in perfect detail, while fully conscious, and recount it several times. ln this way, perceptions and sensations which were not previously available to the analytical function become available, and are open to adequate analytical interpretation and evaluation by the individual. Thus they will no longer be interpreted by the individual as signs of an emergency situation, and will no longer have the power to awaken the reactive mind to emergency behaviour.
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