In this lecture about Scientology’s psychogalvanometer, Hubbard mentions Dr. Pottenger’s style of diagnosis.
I want to give you a talk and indoctrination on the use of a psychogalvanometer.
Anyone who pretends to a knowledge of auditing should also at least pretend to a knowledge of how to use one of these machines. This machine is a small edition of those machines employed by police departments and which they call “lie detectors,” The difference between this machine and a police department machine is elementary: a police department machine is just more of it.
A police department machine measures respiration, blood pressure, normally electronic impulse. They measure maybe as many as four or five factors. The point is, this machine measures solely the electrical resistance of the body.
Many auditors failed consistently and the only reason they failed was because they were not piloting, assessing, inventorying properly.
In the medical field this is called diagnosis. Any medical doctor can tell you that there are many practitioners, but very, very few diagnosticians. A good diagnostician is worth all the jewels of the Indies in the medical profession. And yet a diagnostician has to depend, to a large degree, upon something like – well, maybe even his psychic sense.
Old Doc Pottenger1, the greatest tuberculosis expert in the United States, diagnoses by laying on his hands. This man never fails to locate a case. He doesn’t use x-rays, he doesn’t use anything. Somebody walks into his office and says, “Do I have TB?” And he pats him on the chest, “Hm?” he says, “No, you’ve got a long time yet.” How does he do it?
Well, a large assembly of doctors one time had old Doc Pottenger up on the stage in front of them. And they lined up twenty-seven patients, I think it was, and these twenty-seven patients were supposed to be diagnosed by old Doc Pottenger. And some of them had TB in advanced stages, and some of them had TB in arrested stages, and some of them had it in just beginning stages and some of them didn’t have it at all. And an audience of many hundred doctors sat there and watched old Doc Pottenger go straight down the line, tap them on the chest, lay on his hands and say, “This is the condition of this patient,” And he was right, X-ray machines, laborious diagnosis afterwards, said that he was right.
But you understand that other doctors treating tuberculosis do not have this facility. Somehow or other they don’t have it. Now, you would not expect a doctor, without this facility lying to hand, never to use an x-ray machine so long as x-ray machines were in existence. You wouldn’t expect him to just take a hit-or-miss shot into the blue and say, “This person has tuberculosis, this person doesn’t have tuberculosis” No. No, he’d send them down to the x-ray lab – he’d make sure. That x-ray machine in the majority of cases will show up tuberculosis in its various stages.
Well, this will show you incidents in its various stages. And as long as you guess, you are liable to this: that you will diagnose the preclear as you ought to be diagnosed. I know doctors, by the way, who are treating all of their patients for their own disease. Don’t do that!
This takes it out of the category of guess. Even though it does, however, a certain expertness – a mechanical expertness – has to be learned about this machine. This machine does not automatically and immediately tell you or tell an operator who knows nothing about it, what’s wrong with a case. You have to know how to run it. And this machine has peculiarities.
From machine to machine, as in any electronic equipment, you have individualities. And for various reasons, when you get your machine, take very, very good care of it and don’t let other people use it. And use just that machine, and learn its characteristics and learn to operate it by experience. There’s lots you can do with it. You can bring in your wife and say, “Dear, I’d like to diagnose your case. We’re going back into earlier lives,” and so forth. And then suddenly say to her, “Uh, were you out with a man last night?” The machine bops – there you are. (audience laughter)
This machine is also a “lie detector,” completely in addition to being a diagnostic instrument. But oddly enough, in spite of the good work that Mathison put in on this machine to adapt it to Dianetic and Scientological use, in spite of that, the machine had relatively little use in comparison to its use now, because huge-charge incidents were unknown in Scientology and Dianetics. In Dianetics particularly, there were no hugely charged incidents.2
- See also: Navy Department Personal History Statement: Robert Heinlein ↩
- Hubbard, L. R. (1952, 8 March). Indoctrination in the Use of the E-Meter. Summary Course Lectures, (520308B). Lecture conducted from Wichita, Kansas. ↩