American Journal of Digestive Diseases
Dianetics book review
Because a considerable mass of non-medical people have been puzzled
by this book, and some of them seek the opinion of physicians with
respect to its value, it might be an advantage if the physician could
have it appraised without being forced to read it. This review, made
for that purpose, takes the attitude that Hubbard has not produced any
scientific proof to support his theories and consequently "dianetics"
is unacceptable as a means of psychotherapy.
He replaces the unconscious mind of psychoanalysis by a sub-mind
("reactive mind") which is always conscious, even when the individual
is unconscious. The impressions made upon this "reactive mind" by
environment and experience are called engrams. Though dormant,
engrams may be reactivated by a repetition, during consciousness, of
the experience originally producing them. This reactivation gives the
engram "command power" over the individual, blocking all attempts of
the conscious mind to disobey such command. The upshot is that
everyone's power to think is interfered with by such engram activity
(pain records) so that few persons possess more than 10 percent of
their "potential awareness."
This sad state of affairs, however, ought not to give us the
slightest concern because dianetic therapy deletes all the pain from a
life-time, causing all aberrations and psychosomatic illness to
vanish. How? In reverie, with a professional therapist nearby, the
patient returns and re-lives the experience of the engrams. This
simple process removes the pain and blocking effect of the engrams
which are now "filed" as useful memory. The individual is thus
"released" and becomes a "clear," or normal.
That the dynamic principle of existence is survival will be easily
accepted by most biologists. That the fundamental and basic nature of
man is good (which Hubbard states as an irrefutable axiom) is by no
means easy to prove or deny. That even the most severe psychological
blocking readily yields to a process resembling meditation is quite
out of line with the experience of most, if not all, psychologists.
Physicians would be wise to advise patients enquiring about
"dianetics" to leave the subject alone. Introspective activities,
even when assisted by a lay or "professional" therapist, are harmful
to many individuals. The book is written in a vein of such optimistic
euphoria as to cast suspicion on its fundamental soundness. In all
psychoanalytic experience, if one thing is agreed upon, it is this -
that the blocked complex seldom is relieved easily.