The Church of Scientology as the Cult of Electropsychometry
Ron Hubbard’s great sleight of hand was to superimpose his metaphysical-psychotherapy Dianetics model upon a natural phenomenon, i.e. changes in galvanic skin resistance. That he so adroitly superimposed his model upon a natural phenomenon happened because the general public, and the medical community at large, were not familiar with the arcane subject of psychogalvanometry. Volney Mathison had helped by changing the name of the device from a psychogalvanometer to an electropsychometer. Hubbard added a further remove by changing the name to the “e-meter.” Thereafter, the e-meter became synonymous with Scientology.
In our view, the basic and fundamentally correct understanding of Scientology is this: What Ron Hubbard called the “Tech” is actually the practice of electropsychometry as applied to Hubbard’s system of metaphysical psychotherapy as it evolved from 1952 forward. We stay with the term “electropsychometry” to acknowledge Volney Mathison’s central contribution that allowed Hubbard to morph his bankrupt and failing Dianetics movement into Scientology.
What the Church of Scientology has copyrighted and is protecting and defending is Ron Hubbard’s unique version of electropsychometry. That’s it. “Squirrel Scientology” is therefore any practice of unorthodox electropsychometry which departs from Hubbard’s rules. The mind boggles when one gets down to the bedrock definitions of what is actually going on in Scientology: How can there even be such a thing as unorthodox electropsychometry?
Scientology is actually this simple and basic at its core. The complexity of Scientology has to do with the ponderous, greed-driven, stat-centric, paranoid bureaucratic organization and deviant operational programs Ron Hubbard constructed and conducted over time to surround and protect his core business of selling electropsychometry-based auditing.
The Scientology Bridge from Life Repair, to Grade 0, and all the way up to OT VIII is delivered by use of the e-meter. So are non-Bridge actions such as the L’s as well as sec checking. Scientology auditors are actually electropyschometrists who have been trained in, and adhere to, Hubbard’s “Standard Tech” rules for practicing electropsychometry.
Why was Ron Hubbard unable to peacefully practice his version of electropsychometry and leave it at that? He had clients and a marketing department. There were plenty of existing Scientologists who wanted auditing and were willing to pay. Scientology Marketing had proven itself capable of selling Ron’s books and bringing in new people.
Why was all of this complexity and paranoia added to Scientology in the first place?
Ron Hubbard created enormous problems for himself by the outlandish claims he made for Dianetics. The medical and psychiatric associations criticized Dianetics and Hubbard as did the newspapers. In his opening to Dianetics, Hubbard ridiculously wrote:
The creation of Dianetics is a milestone for Man comparable to his discovery of fire and superior to his invention of the wheel and arch.
Ron could not walk back these claims without utterly and permanently destroying his reputation. Therefore, he went on the offensive and created the conspiracy theory at the core of Dianetics and Scientology: The global Psychiatric and Medical establishment were out to destroy the technologies of Dianetics and Scientology.
The establishment had to destroy Dianetics and Scientology, Hubbard averred, because his new technologies were so powerful, revolutionary, simple, and effective that they would destroy the existing multi-billion dollar monopoly over mental health and medicine enjoyed by the establishment.
Hubbard further elaborated upon his conspiracy theory: The technologies of Dianetics and Scientology had the power to free people from the implants, drugs, and other machinations used by the Political-Psychiatric establishment to enslave the masses. While we hear these same things today, in the 1950’s there was an extraordinarily hostile reaction among a faction of Americans when local and state governments across the US began adding fluoride to the water to combat dental disease. American reactionaries believed this was a Communist plot to destroy the health of Americans. There were other forms of hysteria, paranoia, and fear with which Hubbard’s message resonated, particularly that of nuclear war and a fear that hidden Communist agents were everywhere and were acting to destroy America from within.
Stanley Kubrick brilliantly parodied the reaction to fluoride and the fears of nuclear war in his timeless film Dr. Strangelove. While gunfire rages outside and US B-52 are bombers headed into Russian airspace and on course to initiate a nuclear war, the insane General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) informs Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) that he only drinks rainwater in order to protect the purity of his precious bodily fluids. General Ripper had bypassed the President and ordered the nuclear airstrike to, among other things, protect the precious natural fluids of all Americans. This famous scene can be seen in archetypal terms: Group Captain Mandrake symbolizes the forces of reason and rationality trying to convince General Ripper, who represents the forces of irrationality and destructive insanity, that the correct course of action is to stop the insanity before the world is destroyed. This is the struggle of our age and of all ages. Indeed, the Pandemic of 2020 sees humanity caught in the incredible expanse between the polarities of Reason and Insanity in which human Consciousness exists.
By creating and promoting his paranoid conspiracy theory, Hubbard accomplished five things as we see it:
1. He created an aura around Dianetics and Scientology as something “They” didn’t want you to know about. The idea that an evil cabal of super-wealthy bloodline elites secretly owns and controls the entire world and wants to keep you from discovering the real truth that would expose them is hardly unique to our era. Hubbard played heavily upon this motif in creating his conspiracy theory.
2. Hubbard cast himself as a hero, a singular courageous explorer of the mind, who was being persecuted and attacked for bringing humanity a new body of knowledge. Hubbard sensationally portrayed himself as a war hero, a nuclear physicist, and a combative populist out to bring the truth to the world no matter the cost to himself personally. Controversy sells and Hubbard was never afraid to create controversy as it played to his followers. Ron Hubbard was yet another anti-establishment firebrand with extremist views who have very real and fanatical followers.
3. Hubbard’s conspiracy theory cleverly acted to take attention off the subject of electropsychometry altogether. Ron used his conspiracy theory as a form of misdirection to place the public’s attention upon both himself and his revolutionary new body of knowledge. In doing so, Hubbard was creating his monomyth in which he was a persecuted Savior figure. Ron could save Earth if he were not opposed by the SP’s in government that were the agents of the wealthy bloodline elites that controlled the banks, mental health, and everything else.
4. Hubbard used his conspiracy theory to create an “Us Against Them” culture within Scientology. This allowed him to radicalize Scientologists who didn’t see a conspiracy theory but rather saw themselves as the noble, brave, unconquerable, and elite cosmic soldiers in an ancient and wholetrack war against good and evil. Hubbard taught Scientologists to believe that they were in a fight to the death against the Global Enslavers he called the Psychs. The early 1950’s radicalization of Scientologists became the basis of the future Guardian’s Office and the Sea Organization. The goal of the Sea Org is to put in Scientology Ethics on the planet and destroy its enemies. Hubbard and his radicalized followers are out to take over the planet by the use of the social engineering component he had built into Scientology. According to Hubbard, everyone 2.0 or below on the Tone Scale needs to be “disposed of quietly and without sorrow” as they are Suppressive Persons. See: Targets, Defense for Hubbard’s basic outline.
5. Hubbard’s conspiracy theory allowed he and his followers to consider themselves as the experts on everything. Scientologists believe that they possess a vastly superior body of knowledge. This allows them scoff at, ridicule, and dismiss mainstream science as the lying tool of the Global Enslavers. We see this same anti-scientific arrogance with Flat Earthers, Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, and the followers of other extremist movements and ideologies. Hubbard and his followers took great pleasure in flattering themselves that they saw right through the lies of the establishment’s fake science and its goal to enslave the masses. Hubbard took particular delight in skewering Psychiatry for teaching that Man is an animal and not a spirit. Psychiatry became the favorite punching bag of Hubbard and his followers. One of Scientology’s main goals today remains the destruction of Psychiatry.
Just as he had made outlandish claims for Dianetics, Ron Hubbard did the same thing when he introduced the e-meter in 1952:
The nimble needle of the electropsychometer can detect with accuracy things which would have been otherwise hidden from man forever.
The invention of the electropsychometer, like so many important things in this cynical and dull age on Earth, is not cited by our generation as very important. Yet in a future time historians may well spend pages and pictures upon it.
For if the truth be known, the electropsychometer utterly dwarfs the invention of the microscope, for Leeuwenhoek found the way only to find bacteria; the electropsychometer provides the way for man to find his freedom and to rise, perhaps, to social and constructive levels of which man has never dreamed, and to avoid perils in that route which man, in going, would have found more deadly than any bacteria ever evolved or invented. — L. Ron Hubbard, Electropsychometric Auditing Operators Manual, June 1952.
Given the global pandemic of 2020 in which we are living, Hubbard’s words fall flat: A novel coronavirus is proving itself to be more deadly in disrupting and killing jobs, the social order, and the global economy than nuclear weapons or ideologies. The Church of Scientology is quickly receding in the rear view mirror of history as its Volunteer Ministers desperately give out small bottles of hand sanitizer in the hopes of staying even remotely relevant.
MISDIRECTION FROM RON
When he launched the e-meter in 1952, Ron Hubbard barely skimmed the surface in explaining what the e-meter what actually does, i.e. it detects changes in galvanic skin resistance. Instead, Hubbard engaged in misdirection and told Scientologists that the e-meter did something else:
The E-Meter works on a very easily understood principle. It measures the relative density of the body. The relative density is changed as the facsimiles change. The E-Meter then registers shifts in thought. And it registers in particular shifts in thought relating closely to the questions asked by the E-Meter operator. The operator asks, the facsimiles shift under his asking. The E-Meter measures the shift. Thus the mind is read. — L. Ron Hubbard, Electropsychometric Auditing Operators Manual, June 1952.
What exactly does the E-Meter read? It reads the degree of mental mass surrounding the thetan in a body. A thetan accumulates mental mass, pictures, ridges, circuits, etc, to the degree that he misassigns responsibility. – HCOB 28 January 1960, The Key to all Cases — Responsibility.
Hubbard knew exactly what the electropsychometer did. However, he deliberately told Scientologists that the e-meter read facsimiles in 1952. He claimed that his invented “facsimiles” changed the relative density of the body. As an aside, in the 1950’s Hubbard was, for some reason, obsessed with the idea that Scientology processing could change the weight of the body:
Just mock up something, pull it in, mock it up and pull it in, mock it up and pull it in. Mock up heavy planets, mock up dense things and pull them in. You shoot a person’s weight up – if he’s working pretty well, and you do this very insistently, and you insist on density and mass – you can put a person on a set of very accurate Toledo scales, have him do this process for a few hours, put him back on the scales and find out his weight has gone up about thirty pounds. — L. Ron Hubbard, Introduction to 9TH ACC – Havingness
In 1961 he said the e-meter read “the degree of mental mass surrounding the thetan in a body.” Again, this was a demonstrable misdirection for the e-meter reads changes in galvanic skin resistance and not facsimiles or mental mass. However, Hubbard’s misdirection allowed him to reinterpret changes in galvanic skin resistance as mental mass and the other phenomena he describes in Scientology’s arcana. Scientologists believe all of this because it reads on the meter. Hence, the e-meter serves as a biofeedback mechanism which validates the confirmation bias of Scientologists.
The secret engine behind all of Scientology auditing is the human body and its changes in galvanic skin resistance.
THE SUBJECTIVE PROBLEM OF INTERPRETING NEEDLE MOVEMENTS
Hubbard gave away one of his key secrets in the 1952 Electropsychometric Auditing Operators Manual (emphasis ours):
The art and skill all lies in the interpretation of the meter needle.
This is the main secret of Scientology: Changes in galvanic skin resistance read on the e-meter and can be interpreted as anything. This is a subjective problem and not a scientific one. It all depends upon how the needle moves according to Hubbard. Over the course of decades, then, Hubbard devoted a great deal of time in creating, elaborating upon, correcting, and fine-tuning his interpretations for the movements of the meter needle.
In 1952, he said there were only “five characteristic actions of the needle which are of interest to the auditor.” These were the single drop; the stuck needle; the theta bop; the wide, gradual upswing; and the sudden jump to the left.
By 1962 there were 10 needle reads described in the e-meter training manual.
By 1965 there were 18 needle reads described in the e-meter training manual.
THE FLOATING NEEDLE
Through the early years Hubbard had described the “idle needle.” This ultimately became the Floating Needle (F/N) that is so central to Scientology auditing sessions, i.e. sessions should ideally end with an F/N. HCOB of 21 October 1968 was entitled FLOATING NEEDLES. This was reissued in 1977 without changes. One of the problems Ron identified with a floating needle was that it could be confused with an ARC Break needle. An ARC Break in Scientology occurs when a Scientologist has a break of Affinity, Reality, or Communication with another person, group, a situation, etc. Hubbard wrote in his Floating Needles policy:
An F/N can be in normal range and still be an ARC Brk Needle. The thing which determines a real F/N is Good Indicators. Bad Indicators always accompany an ARC Break Needle.
As in the case cited above, needle reads in Scientology often require additional interpretation or clarifications. Thus, needle reads can become quite esoteric and arcane in Scientology. The skill of the auditor plays an enormous factor as well.
David Miscavige infamously changed the definition of a Floating Needle (F/N) when he released GAT I in 1996. Whereas Hubbard said an F/N was a “rhythmic sweep” of the needle, Miscavige said the needle had to swing back and forth three times. Miscavige’s squirreling caused great consternation in the Scientology field. Many Scientologists were disaffected and left the Church. See the 2010 Scientology-Cult.com article: Tech Corruption: Floating Needles.
THE ROCK SLAM
Our point here is that Hubbard’s continuous work to fine-tune needle reads shows Scientology electropsychometry to be subjective in nature, prone to error, and open to abuse. One infamous example occurred with the “List 1 Rock Slam” needle read. Hubbard of List 1 Rock Slammers (R/Sers):
There are, for our purposes, two kinds of R/Sers. (a) Those who R/S on subjects not connected with Scientology and (b) those who R/S on subjects connected to Scientology. The latter is a “List One R/Ser” and it is of great importance to us that they be located and moved off lines when they are part of staffs as their intent is solely to destroy us whatever else they say: Their long-run actions will prove it. — HCOB 1 November1974RA, Rock Slams and Rock Slammers.
To illustrate how the Church of Scientology management can abuse needle reads, a notorious incident from Scientology’s history bears repeating. After the Church purchased the Cedars of Lebanon hospital a/k/a Big Blue in 1977, the place was a dump and in need of extensive renovation. A large labor force was needed. Suddenly, several hundred Sea Org members were sec checked and found to be “List 1 Rock Slammers.” They were assigned to the RPF and put onto the labor force to renovate Big Blue. As work was winding down, it was found that an auditor had “misread” the meter and those who were List 1 Rock Slammers suddenly weren’t. This was a self-serving and cynical ploy to create a fast and free slave labor force.
REVERSE-ENGINEERING THE OT LEVELS WITHIN HUBBARD’S ELECTROPSYCHOMETRIC FRAMEWORK
In our view, the reason why Ron Hubbard created “body thetans” was because he needed to link the OT levels to Scientology’s engine of the galvanic skin resistance. Had Ron located his discarnate spiritual entities elsewhere, they would not read on the e-meter as they could not generate changes in the galvanic skin resistance of the preclears. We consider that Ron Hubbard’s Xenu narrative was so spectacular, in part, to take the attention of Scientologists from the underlying requirements at work in Hubbard’s mind. Here is how we analyze the OT levels:
By 1965, Scientologists were going Clear in ever-increasing number. At Clear there are no more engrams left to run. Therefore, Ron had to give Scientologists something new to run in session. In other words, he needed to replace engrams and the Reactive Mind with something else. He needed to do this to keep the money coming in and to give Scientologists a new goal and thereby keep them busy and out of trouble. Hubbard knew the dangers of bored followers and had written in HCO PL of 12 Feb 67, The Responsibility of Leaders:
When the game or the show is over, there must be a new game or a new show. And if there isn’t somebody else is jolly well going to start one and if you won’t let anyone do it the game will become “getting you.”
In order to give Scientologists something new so the game didn’t become getting him, Ron had to stay within his framework of the e-meter and galvanic skin resistance. Therefore, the body of each Scientologist had to be involved. Hence, body thetans were the perfect answer.
Just as Ron had said the Reactive Mind was a universal problem that affected everyone on the planet as an unseen and hidden problem that only Dianetics could solve, he also needed to make the next new thing a universal problem that affected everyone on the planet as an unseen and hidden problem that only Scientology could solve.
In order to have this be a universal problem, Ron had to create a source from which trillions of unseen and unsuspected body thetans originated. He also needed a dispersal mechanism to explain how body thetans became attached to every man, woman, and child on Earth. Ron’s solution: The overpopulation problem on the 76 planets in the 75 million year old Galactic Confederation.
Xenu, as the ultimate SP, kidnapped these trillions of people and transported them to Earth. Once here, he threw them into volcanoes and implanted them. Thereafter, the implanted BT’s were scattered to the winds and thereafter alighted in mass quantities upon the bodies of all humans. Each of these BT’s has their own case which needs to be audited by the Scientologist on OT VII. SOLO auditing one’s BT’s can take years or decades; for some Scientologists it is like draining the ocean with a teaspoon.
When we reverse engineer the Xenu narrative we find it fits Hubbard’s requirements to do something new and financially lucrative within his existing electropsychometric platform. A further benefit of the Xenu narrative is that Hubbard was able to copyright it and claim it as a trade secret.
Hubbard had earlier taught that facsimiles had no mass, however, he said “a facsimile has this ability: it can cause a reaction in the material universe by imposing itself again upon the physical universe.” Hubbard imbued his massless body thetans with this same ability to impinge upon the physical body of Scientologists. This, in turn, causes changes in galvanic skin resistance which read on the meter. Thus, the physical body of the Scientology OT becomes the medium, or via, between body thetans and the e-meter. Hubbard further taught Scientology OT’s to telepathically communicate with their BT’s during auditing sessions. This communication takes the form of questions and commands the Scientologist directs to his or her BT’s.
Ron Hubbard knew he had a reliable and inexhaustible engine to move the needle on the e-meter by taking advantage of the human body’s changes in galvanic skin resistance. Ron knew he could use this engine across the entire Grade Chart, in non-Bridge actions, and in sec checks. So long as Ron could generate some level psychotherapeutic value, fear, and obedience as a function of auditing, Scientologists would focus on the results and not the actual biological engine of their own bodies that drives the needle on the meter.
Once a Scientologist goes Clear all of their engrams are gone. Once a Scientologist reaches OT VII all of their body thetans are gone. There should be nothing left to read on the e-meter. Indeed, the ability gained on OT VII is “Cause Over Life.”
There should be nothing left to read on the e-meter. And yet there is.
Even OT VIII completions who’ve done all three L’s still go into session to handle ARC breaks, bypassed charge, etc. And it all reads on the meter. This is because no amount of Scientology auditing can ever erase the body’s constant changes in galvanic skin resistance. Until the very moment a Scientologist dies and their nerves become incapable of conducting electrical current, they will read on the meter about something.
Coming in our next installment: Why and how Ron Hubbard turned galvanic skin resistance and his particular form of electropsychometry into a religion.
All levels on Scientology’s Grade Chart are audited on the e-meter. Therefore, the entire Scientology Bridge is anchored in changes in galvanic skin resistance. The physical human body is so utterly devalued in Scientology and yet it is central to going up the Bridge. Without a human body you don’t even have hands to hold cans.
Categories: The Scientology Money Project