ant to invite you into an introduction to the basics of Scientology. A lot of this will seem familiar to you, for our philosophy uses knowledge that already exists in ourselves to create new knowledge.
The word Scientology is formed out of the Latin scio, which means to know or to differentiate, and the Greek logos, which could be approximated as meaning “reasonable observation of structure. “
Scientology was developed for people like you and me to get a new viewpoint about existence and achieve realizations about it. The ability to learn about life and convert realizations into action is of vital importance for every individual and every group, because you are as alive as you are able to learn.
These lines are intended as an encouragement to take a new view of yourself, think about it and get some new understanding about yourself. And maybe you will eventually gain a new slant on life.
The Spiritual Being
Everybody has questions like: What is the essence of man? What is motivating him? What makes him human, what makes him inhuman? What is at the bottom of his individuality?
Is man just the sum of his experiences? Is aware existence just an illusion? Is every impulse ultimately based on experience? The assumption that the spiritual part of man comes from the physical part and is dependent on it only brought about more confusion and was not ultimately demonstrable.
Obviously the characteristics that constitute an individual and make him unique stem from a source which we cannot perceive in a physical way; we cannot see, smell or feel it. You can call it whatever you like: spirit, spiritual being, soul, psyche, individual or the self – all of these are names or synonyms for the phenomenon generally viewed as “I.” By experiences or education it can be strengthened, weakened or even seemingly vanish – but it is always there. This seeming inexplicability of the psyche has always been an inspiration for lyricists and mystics, but it can be perceived by every sensitive being.
In Scientology we regard man as a spiritual being, not as a body or a part of the body. The spiritual being – we call it “thetan” – owns a body and uses it as a means to play in this physical universe.
Man is an individual spiritual being with special abilities, he is subject to external influences and often he is also formed by his experiences to a marked degree. Man as a whole is a composite of all these factors, mingled with each other, which form his individuality.
Every ingenious system, every computer no matter how cleverly designed, every smart calculation of human behaviour would be utterly helpless and unable to act without an intelligently thinking being like YOU. There will never be a machine or a system that can control itself as intelligently as a spiritual being.
And only a spiritual being can have and care for LIVE relations to persons and things.
During the last decades there was an approach of the scientists toward the phenomenon of the spiritual being. Medical doctors like Raymond Moody and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross proved with their research on people with near-death experiences that man is clearly a spiritual being who can perceive and store everything. On thousands of persons it was clearly found that, after leaving their bodies, they experienced themselves as spiritual beings and also found abilities to be normal which surprise us: Communication was fully free and no longer bound by the laws of space and time, the telepathic abilities were very marked and the persons could exactly recount all circumstances of their near-deaths. This last fact also refutes the postulate of many medical doctors that near-death experiences are mere hallucinations, caused by lack of oxygen in the brain.
Man is not just the sum of his genes, he is not only a body and also not the mere result of socialization. All these things play an enormous role in our lives, but the main role is played by you: you, the individual.
Although not always clear to view, everybody feels the inner urge to find out who he actually is, what the essence of himself is. And this is an attribute of all beings: They want to experience, to learn from their former actions and improve the quality of their existence.
The Motivation of Life
Every one of us will ask himself many questions: Is my work performance good enough? Am I being egotistical when I don’t want to work overtime? How can I get my children to do their homework? Does my wife still love me? Why put so many people, as well as nature and the environment, at stake just for power and profit? Why is the husband of my friend so mean to her? Why do I always get so angry about injustice? Obviously questions like these are on the minds of every man, woman and child.
WHY do these things touch us so intimately? Much of this is not our business at all…. But why, then, are we so relieved when the black hat in the movie is defeated, or when the teacher commends our child, or when the boss pats our back approvingly? Why is this so – aren’t these totally different areas and situations?
Actually they have a common denominator, and this common denominator is SURVIVAL! And survival for us means the continued existence of things or states which we want to keep, even if it is “only” about the little daughter’s favourite toy, the 12-year-old car that carries so many memories or the marriage of a colleague that is in a looming crisis. If something we liked or to which we were emotionally attached vanishes, we experience a loss. It might not be very threatening when grandma’s coffee pot breaks, we don’t get a raise in salary or our child gets a bad mark in history. But for us it means a reduction of our viability. And look at this: How lively do you feel when you are newly in love, when you get a nice raise in your salary or when a friend thanks you for your help?
All of this has to do with SURVIVAL, with your survival and the survival of all which is dear to you – beginning with your body and continuing through the well-being of your friends up to the yellow photos of your grandparents. We want all these things to continue to exist, to “survive.” Thus our mood depends very much on whether there are things in our environment that are pro- or counter-survival. The environment is perceived differently from person to person, because the perception of the environment is combined with experiences and conclusions from the past.
There are numerous examples of the force with which this urge to survive comes into play in man, but also in plants and animals. The flower that pushes through the asphalt to reach sunlight, the adaptations that men or animals go through to survive when their environment changes – the examples are so numerous that we often are amazed by it.
We all try day by day to adjust our lives and our actions to an optimum of survival, and our minds work frantically to find the best possible solutions for emerging problems that could impede survival. But the reactive mind, to which we will soon turn, also has survival as its senior principle; it follows that principle in another way, however, by taking power of choice away from you, the spiritual being. But we will come back to that later.
Where did you look when you thought about that? Probably you looked to some part of the space around you and viewed a picture of your holiday, didn’t you? Here is the storage for your memories and your pictures, for your thoughts and your emotions: your mind. The mind is a network of pictures which were made from experiences of the individual and kept by him. The mind thoroughly stores and manages these records and uses them to draw conclusions regarding current problems. Today the mind is easily described with words from computer technology. Apparently it is not by chance that modern computers have a similar structure to what we use, because their functions have some similarities to our minds – but the mind is much more complex.
For every subject and every sort of perception there are infinite files and storage space. A driver has specialized “files” for the different perceptions like car sounds, traffic situations and speed. When driving, he reacts “automatically” but nevertheless knowingly to different situations. You could say the driver steers his car with the help of an automaticity, but this automaticity is also part of his mind. All acquired data like memories and things which were learned are put together with the respective conclusions of the individual that are also part of his mind. If in the past, for example, you made a conclusion that driving in the dark is risky, you will instinctively drive more slowly in the twilight.
The mind has several parts, which we will now examine.
The Analytical Mind
Thanks to the ability to think analytically and to steer oneself consciously, we can learn; without this, we certainly would still live like wild animals. The analytical mind, also called conscious mind, is where the willful acts come from and it is the most important tool of the thetan. It is a control unit which every second connects current perceptions with memories, and in doing that, tries to create solutions for the near or distant future. The analytical mind takes the data of the past, evaluates it and develops solutions out of it.
Thus, before every conscious action there is a certain process of thinking in which the respective data is used and transformed. Only rarely are we aware of the amount of data we deal with daily, and how quickly we do it. Have you ever oriented somebody on his new job? Then you might have noticed how many data you had to relay so that the new colleague had good instructions.
When the car breaks down for example, and we need help, in an instant we think: “Is it dangerous to stop here?” “I have to put up a warning triangle.” “What could have caused the failure…did I forget to fill up?” “Do I have the right tool?” “What is the phone number of the breakdown service?” And immediately we have a vast array of data which the analytical mind presents to us, which we can think about consciously and combine into solutions. We have quite good control over what happens in such moments; we perceive conciously, take conscious decisions and act consciously.
To act sensibly and consciously man needs data in the form of memories, perceptions and creativity.
Without creative exercise, learning becomes a rote cramming of sentences, formulas or vocabulary. Only by meaningful learning which is directed to doing something will the newly acquired knowledge really be integrated into the analytical mind. When you learn how to do a new activity, the mind is fed a huge amount of data which must be analysed and interconnected. With thorough practise, abilities eventually are achieved which ideally can be used without much thinking.
All of this is very well, but why can’t we always use the analytic mind in a way which benefits us? What lies behind the fact that sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we are the effect of something to a greater or lesser degree, and our power to act by our own will is impeded?
Here the reactive mind comes into play. We will now look at this part of the mind.
The Reactive Mind
The analytical mind enables us to manage memories and experiences in an intelligent way and thus solve everyday problems. The analytical mind acts, its actions are based on real observations that it has made, and it decides what to do. The actions of the analytical mind are also flexible. They can be changed.
The reactive mind, on the other hand, as the word already tells us, re-acts. Its activities are pure inhibition or compulsion.
Man can bear quite a lot of grief, shock, pain and harm. But when the amount of stress and burden which the individual can take is exceeded, the analytical mind is shut off to a certain degree. At this point the reactive mind comes into play. Like the analytical mind, it records all perceptions and conditions in a moment of decreased awareness, and – fatally – files them in a logical (to the reactive mind) chain of similar events. Its principle is SURVIVAL, as well, but in the sense that it wants to protect the individual by assuming that similar incidents will have similar consequences. Of course this is a tragical mistake.
Mr. Smith is not like one’s father, although he looks similar, and it is not of benefit to dodge Mr. Smith like one earlier dodged the blows of his father. But the reactive mind tries to avoid further harm, and sounds an alarm signal in the mind: Attention, this is a similar situation to that time, when… There is no time for the reactive mind; there are only similarities to earlier traumatic situations or moments in which the individual was overwhelmed by physical or mental pain and his survival was in danger to a greater or lesser degree.
In this way, incidents which restimulate (reactivate) earlier, serious incidents can have an influence on the individual:
Through the existence of incidents which contain real pain or real loss, the person opens himself on the occasion of such a restimulation to a negative interpretation of the ongoing event by the reactive mind. In other words, when the current situation approximates an incident which was a real threat to SURVIVAL, the power of the analytical mind is decreased, and the reactive mind enforces a certain behaviour pattern on the individual. The more similarities there are between the two incidents, the heavier the restimulation.
The Reactive Mind is not able to differentiate. It can only re-act to moments of harm or danger.
This power of the unconscious is based on the unknown and on timelessness. There exists no time for the reactive mind; for it, the things exist now.
Upon any injury and especially during deeper unconsciousness, the reactive mind records the incident thoroughly, with all perceptions which are part of it, like spoken words, smells and sensations. If only a few things in present time resemble those in the incidents recorded in the reactive mind, these incidents are activated, suggesting to the individual that this threat or this harm exists in present time. It was proven that patients even under anesthesia record talking and comments in their memories. Fortunately, more and more doctors have changed their behaviour in this regard.
Lawrence West describes in his book “Understanding Life” the interesting case of a woman who was operated on. While she was under anesthesia, the surgeon started the operation with the words, “Oh my god, what an unsavoury meat mountain they have served me again!” After the operation, her recovery was inhibited by tension, irritation, slight temperature, bad appetite and digestion trouble. Seven days later, she suddenly remembered (for reasons unknown) the insult and complained to a nurse about it. She found out that such remarks really were made, and within 12 hours all the complications resolved and she was discharged.
The French gynaecologist and obstetrician Frederic Leboyer revolutionized obstetrics with his idea of “gentle birth,” meaning birth in an environment which burdens the baby with as few stimuli as possible – no bright light, no talk during birth, etc. Meanwhile, it has been proven that this form of birth avoids creating a traumatic incident for the baby and that the child will look forward to healthier development as a result.
This demonstrates the power which our subconscious – or let us better say our reactive mind – has over us. All inexplicable fears, all compulsions, inhibitions and unwanted sensations, stem from the reactive mind. It is responsible for the existence of psychosomatic illnesses.
The ways that traumatic incidents affect a person vary widely and depend on several factors:
Furthermore, there are factors in life which can intensify the grip of the reactive mind on your life and your power of choice:
Thus by employing the following simple remedies, you help decrease the influence of the reactive mind:
You can do many of these on your own; for others, you will need help. The important thing is to become aware that there are points in your life worth improving and that you as a spiritual being are able to change them.
In auditing we specifically work at discharging traumatic incidents stored in the reactive mind, thus decreasing the grip of the reactive mind on your life and your power of choice.
You can find out how this works in the section “Auditing.”