But I decided to investigate human memory. I’d had a touch of the brush from Commander Thompson of the navy who had studied with Sigmund Freud, and who was a very swell guy, and he taught me there was something called Freudian analysis. We actually didn’t get much further than that. But I find out I know more about it today than most analysts.
But anyhow, that was mostly because I didn’t have much of a via there, you see. I had this one officer who had studied with one man who had originated a theory. And this officer was perfectly willing to relay that theory directly since he just went over there to pick it up so that it could be put into the United States Navy as a practice, and perhaps used in flight surgery.
Flight surgery is the practice of mental health in the navy—in the Naval Air Force and so forth. They call it flight surgery: it amputates flights from people or something.1 The military crime of desertion is a neurotic symptom. It is a manifestation of one of the devices made use of by the neurotic to bring about an escape from reality. […] At least half the deserters are definitely weak minded and mentally defective. They exhibit many forms of childhood behavior. […] The sole object of the interviews is to get at the grievances the recent recruits seem to be confronted with. The vast majority of these grievances the department may rest assured will be found to be of a fictitious nature, based upon phantasy and motivated by unconscious unfulfilled wishes, and not due to actual food, living or disciplinary conditions.”]2
- Commander J. C. Thompson’s paper Desertion: Observations of a Psychoanalyst was published in The Military Surgeon, Volume 53, 1923: “This article touches upon the cause of desertion from the viewpoint of a psychoanalyst; also a thoroughly practical working plan, which, if given a trial, may be counted upon to markedly decrease desertion at a large army camp or naval training station. [… ↩
- Hubbard, L. R. (1954, 28 December). History of Dianetics. Unification Congress of Dianeticists and Scientologists, (5412C28C). Lecture conducted from Phoenix, Arizona. ↩