Is the physical universe an illusion? You can test this one. If a man loses his last dream, you’ve got a corpse on your hand. Don’t kill a man with bullets because you don’t really kill him at all. We can test that and prove that on an E-meter.
No, sir. Kill him by taking his dreams away one by one. Take his goals and dreams. What’s the commonest thing that you hear from people? “I lost my illusions. I haven’t any illusions any more..” They know what’s wrong with them. they’ve lost their illusions. They’re telling you in just that many words. That.. that was.. that was them. They lost themselves when they lost their illusions. And a man is dead when the last of his dreams is dead and that’s about the long and short of it.
You go down here on skid row. Look at the bums. You just take that line of bums and you’ll find out that they don’t have any dream anymore of having anything. There isn’t anything they can be or anything except a bum.
When you go down to the prison we’ll find out that the criminal uniformly has lost his self-respect.
And when we ask him what his self-respect is, and ask him rather closely, he says, “One day I found I couldn’t trust myself.”
“How did you find that out?”
“I struck my mother.”
If you put it on an E-meter, you’ll find that just as answering up along that line.
Or, “I found out that I betrayed a comrade. I did something. And therefore I was no longer worth anything.”
He didn’t measure it in terms of how much MEST he had. The lousiest criminal down here didn’t measure it in the terms of how much MEST he had or was. He measured it in this degree: his.. I have discovered that there was bad experience for which I was cause and it thereafter cannot BE anything because I won’t permit myself to be anything. And there’s your criminal.
You want to start processing criminals anytime, they’re very easy to process. All you have to do is rehabilitate a man’s belief in himself. It’s so simple. He’s lost it.
And what was that belief in self? It was the ability to garb self with an acceptable illusion, an illusion which other people would accept. In the MEST universe that always has to be added on and is an arbitrary limiter; that which other people can accept. That is not true in one’s own universe, it only has to be acceptable to himself. And that’s.. HE KNOWS that, that’s a level of certainty. Does he accept it himself? Yes. Or no. There’s no question mark: is it accepted by somebody else?
One of the big tricks in the MEST universe is, “Prove it or we don’t accept it,” or, “We’ll agree to that if you’ll agree to this.” Trades in terms of illusion. And so you get a new universe going.
All right. The world around a child is a bright, bright world. A child comes in with the idea that he is free. He has a new start, he’s got a new chance. This time he will do something in the universe that is spectacular. He will make a go of it and so on. He’s got that new hope. And that child goes downhill and becomes impossible to the degree that he loses that hope. And the things are very bright to that child at first. He can in other words put a perception there and perceive it with great facility. The world is beautiful to him, he has a certain freedom, and so on.
And then they start working on him and they say, “Johnny, why do you overwork your imagination? You know very well that there’s no battleship out there in the back yard.” He knows there’s no battleship out in the back yard. He’s never made a mistake on it in his life.
But he wants to put a battleship out in the back yard, let him put a battleship out in the back yard, instead of making this..
Why.. why does this MEST universe and people who really get MEST-ified.. Uh.. people that really get MEST-ified why, why are they so insistent that we not imagine anything?
Why? Because if a fellow really started out along this line, they know, basically they know that the only way that they can be smashed to smithereens is to all of a sudden be presented with an illusion which they have to accept. And that’s a terrible danger.
Why Johnny’s liable to come in the house and.. he’s.. he’s dangerous. He keeps imagining he shoots tigers out there in the back yard. Now, what.. what if he.. went out there in the back yard and he thought up this tiger and he brought the tiger in the house? That’s actually a paramount thought.
Actually, you can.. you investigate Momma and you’ll say, “Now what did he used to think up?”
“Oh, he used to think up these terrible things, these bad men and everything else and these.. all.. all this and he used to think this up.”
“What’s.. what’s.. what objection is there to that?”
“Oh, but they’re terrible people!” She’s gone right off along the line. She knows exactly what might happen.
If Johnny were really hot, he could think up Jesse James and Jesse James would come in there and there probably wouldn’t be any silver left in the house. And if the battleship Missouri got placed out in the back yard, by gosh! It’d be in the back yard. And it’s so hard to grow flowers on turrets.
So, is it an illusion? Well, here we’re on a communication level.
An illusion has been defined in the past as something that didn’t exist. Therefore, an illusion has no existence. All right, everybody kind of understands that word illusion to mean something that Doesn’t exist, and when you say something has no existence, you mean something cannot be experienced. And I show you immediately that you can experience an illusion, that illusion exists. So existence can be an illusion, can’t it?
Here it is. It can exist because it can be experienced, if we define illusion to mean something which can be experienced.
You have to have something that can be experienced before somebody can agree upon it.
There has to be an experience there. So when we talk about experience, we’re talking several cuts above the MEST universe. We’re talking way up the line from the MEST universe, we’re talking above the line of energy, space, because an idea does not have to exist in space.
You know that. You don’t have to have space to have an idea.
And when you make an illusion, that’s the first requisite is to have space. Well, space is an experience, so what one makes, one can experience. What is made can be experienced. So you can make anything and it would exist if it could be experienced.
Now, I’m not trying to just shuffle words around; I’m just trying to get a better communication level on this thing. It is not fair to say, “All right, yeah, I haven’t any better word than illusion.” I could call it a whodunit and you’d probably.. well you’d probably come to a better agreement on this.
When I say that wall is an illusion, I don’t say that wall cannot he experienced. That wall can be experienced, it obviously can be experienced. And when I say it doesn’t exist, I am only saying it does not necessarily, arbitrarily, have to exist independent to experience, that’s all.
Now, it’s a very funny thing about space and about things like that. People can make an agreement and that agreement just keeps on rolling. That doesn’t say you don’t have to feed that again. You don’t have to feed more agreement to it in order to perceive it some more.
And if you really want to look something over, you want to go over and get it.. what you say, close. In other word; you want to look it over real good. What’s that mean? I want to experience it better.
So, if we just lay off any confusion about “Is this illusion?” or “What do we mean by illusion?” we merely mean by illusion the technical definition, that which one makes which can be experienced.
And what do we mean by reality? We mean that which is made and which is commonly experienced by agreement. That which is made or one or many make and can be commonly experienced. That we will define as reality just for our purposes.
And what’s delusion? That which somebody else makes and tries to push off on us as an arbitrary necessary experience. Arbitrary, necessary experience.
So.. uh.. what we’re trying to do with processing and with this slight dissertation on illusion here, what we’re trying to do with processing is to give the preclear back a choice. We’re giving him back his power of choice on whether or not he has to experience THIS. And we’re giving him back that by one route only, and that’s rehabilitating his power to create and experience a universe.
If we can get him to create and experience a universe independently, the odd part of it is.. is he has greater choice on his ability to experience this: it isn’t as bright as people tell him it has to be, it’s as bright as he wants to make it.
An awful lot of people have an awful lot of trouble with this stuff you know. People go around, they say, “The light’s too bright, the dust is blowing too hard.. uh.. I’m too warm, it’s too cold, I’m uncomfortable, I’m too fat, I’m too thin, I’m this, I’m that, this, I..” They’re complaining all the time about an arbitrary necessity to experience.
They’re saying, “I don’t like to experience that dust. I don’t like to have to experience, without any consultation with me, this, that, warmth, heat, cold. I.. I.. that’s.. it’s.. it’s just these darn arbitrary experiences uh.. that.. uh.. I just don’t like it that’s all.
Now, how do you get up their level of selection? By letting them run away from them? No, because to run away from something is to agree even further not only that it exists, but that it exists and is dangerous.
So, you see, that’s an extension of agreement.
You know that you can frighten a person suddenly and they go into a hypnotic trance. And if you were to frighten a person suddenly and to say something real fast to them, you’d lay in a beautiful engram? You show them “this is dangerous”; they desert it quickly. You put right in that spot an experience; when they try to move back over and take over that spot they just move right back into that. And that thing commands them thereafter.
That is the TRICK on making an agreement. You could say.. you can.. watch this in experience: people become that of which they are afraid. People create that which they fear.1
- Hubbard, L. R. (1952, 2 December). Gradient Scales of Handling Space, Energies and Objects. Philadelphia Doctorate Course (PDC-05). Lecture conducted from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ↩