Happy Birthday, Dianetics! 

This month, the world marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, the landmark bestseller by L. Ron Hubbard.

Dianetics, the product of years of research, entered into a world that still thought the be-all and end-all of mental therapy was psychiatry, a pseudoscience that packaged various tortures and sold them as mental therapies. From convulsing the victim (electroshock), to carving out his prefontal lobes (lobotomy) to destroying the nerves behind his eyeballs with an icepick (transorbital leukotomy), psychiatry ran the gamut from soup to nuts. And with the government and the school system kowtowing to it as the “authority” on mental health, and with no competition in sight, the American Psychiatric Association had reason to puff itself up and celebrate at its annual convention in 1949.

Dianetics book

In the works for the celebrants was nothing short of total domination, they hoped: psychiatrists on every school board in the land, psychiatrists monitoring each and every house of worship and consulting psychiatrists in every congressman’s office in Washington. And the cherry on the cake, the psychiatrist’s dream, was a legislative bill quietly percolating—the so-called “Siberia Bill,” which would have granted them the power to seize any citizen deemed mentally ill and ship them off to special “rehabilitation camps” in the then territory of Alaska.

Little did they know that their little roadhouse bash was about to be raided by several hundred pages of a new, actually workable, fact-based, result-driven technology of the mind. Dianetics was a sensation. Dianetics groups sprang up by the dozens, then hundreds, thousands. Headlines such as “Dianetics—Overnight Whirlwind Success” and “Dianetics—Taking U.S. by Storm” became commonplace as the book climbed The New York Times Bestseller List and took up residency on its peak.

At first the psychiatrists didn’t know what hit them. Then they did, and it shook them all the way down to their deep vested-interest pockets.

Dianetics correctly points out that the enemy of Man is not Man, but Man’s own fears and insanities. 

And thus began decades of harassment—of Mr. Hubbard, of the Church of Scientology and of Scientologists: smear campaigns, government suppression, immigration barriers, hostile media, unwarranted search and entry of churches, illegal arrest and detention and attempts to censor or confiscate church materials, to name a few. But despite unprecedented, heavily financed and often coordinated attacks on its very existence, the Church of Scientology has continued to expand exponentially across the globe, leading one observer to remark, “Scientology is an anvil that will wear out all the hammers.”

L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard

Not only has the Church of Scientology endured, but L. Ron Hubbard’s discoveries, beginning with Dianetics, have woven themselves into the fabric of our culture. Before 1950, conventional wisdom decreed that one’s intelligence was genetically determined at birth and could never change, a falsehood that unfairly stigmatized millions. Hubbard’s researches and techniques proved conclusively and consistently that not only was intelligence fluid and changeable, but could, with Dianetics, reach heights hitherto unimagined.

Before Dianetics, it was accepted scientific fact that a child was incapable of memory until the formation of the myelin sheath at age four—that a person’s emotions and mental acuity exactly paralleled his physical growth, and that an unconscious person is just that: unconscious. These fallacies, too, hit the dustbin in the wake of Hubbard’s discoveries, so much so that today many emergency medical personnel and surgeons take care to work in silence, having been taught that the mind continues to record while the body is unconscious. Further, it is now “common knowledge” that one’s memory is not restricted to the development of the brain stem, and that prenatal memory is not the exception but the rule.

To say that Dianetics has accomplished much in its 70 years is like saying that a volcanic eruption produces a bit of soot: an understatement of understatements.

Dianetics correctly points out that the enemy of Man is not Man, but Man’s own fears and insanities. 

As Mr. Hubbard wrote, “How much can Man conquer? He loses if he conquers Man. He wins if he conquers his own fears and conquers then the stars.”

Happy Birthday, Dianetics

Author

Take Action

COMBAT HATE SPEECH
& DISINFORMATION

If you have encountered hate speech and disinformation online, in the media, or in any public venue, take action by reporting it here.

PROMOTE
FREEDOM OF RELIGION

Urge adoption of the Charter on Journalistic Ethics in Relation to Respect for Religion or Belief. Make your voice heard.

ABOLISH DISCRIMINATION
OF ANY KIND

The first step in fighting intolerance and discrimination is raising awareness. Report discrimination of any kind to STAND here

Sign Up for Updates