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Dianetics divides the mind into three parts: the conscious "analytical mind", the subconscious "
Practitioners of Dianetics believe that "the basic principle of existence is to survive" and that the basic personality of humans is sincere, intelligent, and good. The drive for goodness and survival is distorted and inhibited by aberrations "ranging from simple neuroses to different psychotic states to various kinds of sociopathic behavior patterns." Hubbard developed Dianetics, claiming that it could eradicate these aberrations.
When Hubbard formulated Dianetics, he described it as "a mix of Western technology and Oriental philosophy". He said that Dianetics "forms a bridge between"
Dianetics predates Hubbard's classification of Scientology as an "applied religious philosophy". Early in 1951, he expanded his writings to include teachings related to the soul, or "
L. Ron Hubbard published Dianetics on May 9, 1950, as a "branch of self-help psychology". In Dianetics, Hubbard introduced the "phenomena known as 'engrams'" as the source of "all psychological pain, which in turn harmed mental and physical health." He also claimed that individuals could reach the state of "clear", or a state of "exquisite clarity and mental liberation, by exorcising their engrams to an 'auditor,' or listener acting as therapist." While not accepted by the medical and scientific establishment, in the first two years of its publication, over 100,000 copies of the book were sold. Many enthusiasts emerged to form groups to study and practice Dianetics. The atmosphere from which Dianetics was written about in this period was one of "excited experimentation". Roy Wallis writes that Hubbard's work was regarded as an "initial exploration" for further development. Hubbard wrote an additional six books in 1951, drawing the attention of a significant fan base.
Hubbard always claimed that his ideas of Dianetics originated in the 1920s and 1930s. By his own account, he had been injured by the premature detonation of a primer mechanism on a small depth charge that had become stuck in the launch rack aboard the navy ship he was assigned to in 1941. His injuries were mainly flash burns to his eyes and so was despatched ashore and he spent a great deal of his recovery time in the
In his 1955 Phoenix Lectures Series, Hubbard himself, explains that he took the opportunity to enter an office where research papers on the US Naval Medical Research Division's work on PTSD were kept in a filing cabinet and he spent the lunch hour free to read the notes left lying on the desk of the Naval Medical Officer involved. Much of what he learned then, along with his recent mastery of hypnotherapy technique by mail order, was influential in his later development of ideas and concepts for Dianetics Therapy from 1947 onwards. All he needed was medical and scientific testing and approval from any source. However, his several attempts were blocked by several luminaries of the (AMA) American Medical Association in the years 1948–1958, such as Professors Duncan Cameron and Allan Whyte (White), who both were senior authorities within the AMA-funded Psychiatric Research Department, then conducting their own research into drug therapies and controversial psycho-surgical techniques on severely traumatised war veterans.
Hubbard claimed in his several public lectures during the 1950s to have "undertaken clinical research at several of the institutions" they, Cameron and Whyte, had directed. Historical AMA records show that LRH was never officially involved in any approved clinical trials or research into PTSD. It is thought that Hubbard simply privately visited patients and conducted unauthorised interviews with several war veterans suffering from Trauma, Psychosomatic illness and practiced some of the newly identified PTSD techniques being clinically tested by several AMA medical institutions after WW2. (from personal Interviews with Joseph A. Winter, in Peoria,1959).
In April 1950, Hubbard, and several others, (Marjorie Cameron, De Mille, Art Ceppos, AE Van Vogt, Joseph A. Winter, MD.), established the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in
Hubbard first introduced Dianetics to the public in the article
When Dianetics was published in 1950, Hubbard announced in the opening pages, "The first contribution of Dianetics is the discovery that the problems of thought and mental function can be resolved within the bounds of the finite universe, which is to say that all data needful to the solution of mental action and Man's endeavor can be measured, sensed and experienced as scientific truths independent of mysticism or metaphysics." This was in line with Hubbard's initial presentation of Dianetics as a science, almost four years before he founded Scientology.
Publication of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health brought in a flood of money, which Hubbard used to establish Dianetics foundations in six major American cities. Dianetics shared The New York Times best-seller list with other self-help writings, including Norman Vincent Peale's The Art of Happiness and Henry Overstreet's The Mature Mind. Scholar Hugh B. Urban asserted that the initial success of Dianetics was reflective of Hubbard's "remarkable entrepreneurial skills." Posthumously, Publisher's Weekly awarded Hubbard a plaque to acknowledge Dianetics appearing on its bestseller list for one hundred weeks, consecutively.
Some of the initial strongest supporters of Dianetics in the 1950s were John W. Campbell, editor of Astounding Science Fiction and Joseph Augustus Winter, a writer and medical physician. Campbell published some of Hubbard's short stories and Winter hoped that his colleagues would likewise be attracted to Hubbard's Dianetics system.
In January 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners instituted proceedings against the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth for 'teaching medicine without a licence', which was quickly resolved when the courts were made aware that the HDRF deputy director Winter was registered as an MD in the state of Michigan and New York. .
The Foundation closed its doors when Hubbard ditched the Foundation, causing the proceedings to be vacated, but its creditors began to demand settlement of its outstanding debts. Don Purcell, a millionaire Dianeticist from
In 1954, Hubbard defined Scientology as a religion focused on the spirit, differentiating it from Dianetics, and subsequently Dianetics Auditing Therapy, which he defined as a counseling based science that addressed the physical being. He stated, "Dianetics is a science which applies to man, a living organism; and Scientology is a religion." When Hubbard morphed Dianetics therapy into the religion of Scientology, Jesper Aagaard Petersen of Oxford University surmises that it could have been for the benefits from establishing it is a religion as much as it could have been from the result of Hubbard's "discovery of past life experiences and his exploration of the thetan." The reason being to avoid copyright infringement issues with use of the name Dianetics then held by Don Purcell. Purcell later donated the copyright ownership back (to Hubbard) after Winter and Van Vogt had independently negotiated charitable debt relief with the disenchanted oil millionaire Purcell.
With the temporary sale of assets resulting from the HDRF's bankruptcy, Hubbard no longer owned the rights to the name "Dianetics", but its philosophical framework still provided the seed for Scientology to grow. Scientologists refer to the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health as "Book One." In 1952, Hubbard published a new set of teachings as "Scientology, a religious philosophy." Scientology did not replace Dianetics but extended it to cover new areas: Where the goal of Dianetics is to rid the individual of his
In 1963 and again in May 1969, Hubbard reorganized the material in Dianetics, the auditing commands, and original Volney Mathieson invented
In 1978, Hubbard released New Era Dianetics (NED), a revised version supposed to produce better results in a shorter period of time. The course consists of 11