What’s the Magic Word?

There’s a beautiful word that represents a concept, a viewpoint, a way of looking at things. I’ve been growing gray waiting for the world to pick up a Scientology book and learn this word and, I recently decided, I shall wait no longer.

A chess board with brown pieces lined up against white pieces

We all know the usual definition of “self-determinism”: independence, self-reliance, resolution. In this blog, it will simply mean: “determining the actions of oneself, for better or for worse.” A decision to listen to and enjoy a song one likes or indulge in a favorite meal are examples of this. One could also make a self-determined decision to steal or harm another for one’s own benefit.

A person who is not self-determined would allow someone else to determine his actions—we could call that “other-determined.”

With that in mind, I’ll introduce you to your new word: “pan-determinism.” This literally means “all-determined,” but we are still talking about a character trait of one person, not many.

How, you might ask, can one person be “all-determined?”

Pan-determinism is really about rising above the isolation and separateness of a single viewpoint and building the harmony that is, in fact, possible between individuals and groups.

The principle is defined by L. Ron Hubbard as “wider determinism than self” and also “determining the activities of two or more sides in a game simultaneously.” (He’s using “game” here to mean any part of life consisting of freedoms, barriers and purposes.)

Mr. Hubbard writes: “To become Pan-determined, rather than only Self-determined, it is necessary to view both sides.”

Here are some examples.

1. Let’s say you need help with an electronic device you purchased and you call up tech support. You want the representative you speak to to have the following attitude: I’m going to listen to, acknowledge and understand my customer. They want help with our product and, by whatever means, I want them satisfied and happy with our product. I help this customer, they win, we win. (Kind of dreamy, isn’t it? Don’t we wish that was always the attitude?) That’s pan-determinism. The rep wants to guide his side of the game and yours to a win. The self-determined tech support rep, on the other hand, is interested in his side of the game ONLY: I’ll answer this call. It’s fine if I can help, but if not… oh well. It’s almost the end of my shift and I get paid no matter what. The rep gets what he needs, but the other parties involved—the employer and the customer—might not.

2. We’ve all been in the position where we needed to learn something from someone that wasn’t interested in truly teaching it. Perhaps they were more interested in putting their own knowledge on display for others to behold. Can you think of a teacher/instructor who was not actually aiming to bring about an understanding on the part of the student? That person was being entirely self-determined. On the other hand, a pan-determined teacher wants the student to understand and win in the game of learning. He or she is interested in creating enlightenment and education in another human being.

Mr. Hubbard explains that the pan-determined person is willing to take responsibility for others and even has a willingness to actually “be” the other guy. Fascinating concept, isn’t it?

Two opposing soccer players

3. Have you ever had a player on your team that wasn’t willing to let anyone else shine? He or she was only interested in displaying his or her own talents, or was obsessed with making the other team look bad. That person was determining an outcome for one party only… self. Who was important? Number one, of course! Conversely, most of us like the pan-determined players on the team who can experience the success of others, too. They even respect the opposing team’s players and recognize that the exhilaration of a great game, well-played, is senior in importance to any selfish interests.

4. Finally, and more pertinent to the purpose of STAND, games like “my religion is better than your religion” or “no religion is better than your religion” should be replaced with some pan-determinism as in: “Let’s all achieve spiritual freedom in our own chosen way, while respecting the ways chosen by others.”

Pan-determinism is really about rising above the isolation and separateness of a single viewpoint and building the harmony that is, in fact, possible between individuals and groups.

Now think, for a moment, about any game you may have felt a bit stuck in or couldn’t rise above. Do you have any “ME-against-THEM” situations that won’t resolve? If you thought of one and instantly rejected it, reel it back in and take another look. Could you entertain the idea of being a bit more pan-determined about it? If you don’t necessarily fight or choose sides, but instead take responsibility for both sides of a game, then you’ve got it. And you will also have helped me with my game and the game of all Scientologists: taking responsibility for you and, beyond you, the future of this world.


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