“What Are People For?” – A Scientology Pamphlet by L Ron Hubbard from 1966

What Are People For? An Introduction to Scientology | L Ron Hubbard |Pa - coverrinted and Published by the Hubbard College of Scientology| Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, Sussex | 1966
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L Ron Hubbard founded Scientology circa 1952. It proved to be so profitable that, in 1959, he was able to buy an English country estate called Saint Hill Manor.

In 1966 (when this pamphlet was published in England) ‘Students’ of Scientology were flocking there from all over the world. Hubbard had what he craved – money, power and security.

This was not to last  –  only a year later,  the US tax authority stripped Scientology of its tax-exempt status. This, and other legal difficulties, forced Hubbard to hide out at sea, and marked the beginning of his physical and mental decline.

This pamphlet seems to have been offered as a recruitment tool. Even today, potential recruits are encouraged to buy Hubbard’s book “Dianetics”. “What are People For?” seems to have been employed as a cheaper alternative, rather than allow prospects to leave with nothing.

The Promise

This pamphlet reveals how Scientology’s pitch has changed over the years.hubbard quill

Scientology  is presented here as a practical philosophy which has sweeping powers to change the world for the better. New recruits would be joining an organisation with a urgent mission to “save the planet”.

Exactly how Scientology could make a difference is not made clear. Typically, Hubbard asserts a lot, and implies more,  but exactly what Scientologists can do to fulfil his promises is left a mystery.

Hubbard could be successful with this approach in 1966 because the details of Scientology practice were largely unknown to the general public back then. The OT levels, for example (and their incredible cost) were still a closely-guarded secret. This was advantageous for Scientology because:

  • It represented an intriguing mystery
  • It served to draw people in by persuading them to sample the relatively cheap introductory ‘courses’

In contrast to the brief, bland an uninformative video presentations used by Scientology recruitment today, this pamphlet seems to be designed to appeal to literate people and seems to have succeeded – in this period,  Scientology attracted a significant number of professional and educated individuals.

Since then, of course, information about the Church of Scientology has become readily available through the Internet, and the ‘mysterious promise’ pitch no longer works.

The Content

This consist of six sections entitled:

  1. My Philosophy
  2. What is greatness
  3. Personal Freedom
  4. Times Must Change
  5. The Challenge of Scientology
  6. Scientology Definitions

All but the last2, 5 and 6 are stated to be “by L Ron Hubbard”. However, the Scientology definitions are probably drawn from a Scientology dictionary. and the others, although uncredited was likely written by Hubbard as well. He had a habit of backing up his own assertions with passages presented as having been written by others.

“My Philosophy”

profile_chronology_41_l-ron-hubbardAfter making sweeping claims for Scientology as a philosophy, Hubbard sets to establishing his personal myth as ‘universal genius with the common touch’.

[…] for 15 years I have had mankind knocking on my door. It has not mattered where I have lived or how remote, since I first published a book on the subject, my life has not been my own.

I like to help others and count it as my greatest pleasure in life to see a person free himself of the shadows which darken his days.

I have seen much human misery. As a very young man I wandered through Asia and saw the agony and poverty of over populated and underdeveloped lands. […] Later, in Western universities I saw man obsessed with materiality and with al his cunning […] I have been through a terrible way and saw its terror and pain uneased by a single word of decency or humanity.


  • Hubbard ‘travelled’ with his family who followed the postings of his Father, a Naval officer.
  • He only saw a Western University for 2 years leaving without a degree after having scraped through his first year
  • He never saw combat, and was removed from the command of a small anti-submarine vessel after shelling a small Mexican island for ‘target practice’

Despite this, Hubbard tells an incredible story about curing his injured optic nerves (a feat still beyond the ability of scientific medicine)

Blinded with injured optic nerves, and lame with physical injuries to hip and back, at the end of World War II, I faced an almost non-existent future. My service record states: ‘This officer has no Neurotic or psychotic tendencies of any kind whatsoever, but it also states ‘permanently disabled physically’.

Actually Hubbard was discharged uninjured, and spent many years trying to convince the US government that he had a stomach ulcer and other minor ailments which deserved a pension. The claims about his service record are false too, and reveal a strange insecurity. Why should he be so afraid of being thought insane that he had to exploit the authority of the US Navy to ‘prove’ his sanity?

Luckily for the US taxpayer, Hubbard goes on to claim to have ‘cured’ his own terrible injuries.

I yet worked my back to fitness and strength in less than two years using only what I know and could determine about man and his relationship to the universe.I had no one to help me; what I had to know I had to find out. And it’s quite a trick studying when you cannot see.

“What is Greatness?”

To do one’s task without becoming furious at others who seek to prevent one is a mark of greatness – and sanity. […] If there is any saintly quality, it is not to forgive. ‘Forgiveness’ is a much lower level action and is rather censorious.

True greatness merely refuses to change in the fact of bad actions against one […]

Justice, mercy, forgiveness, are all unimportant beside the ability not to change because of of provocation or demands to do so. […] Let the ignorant laugh; the ignorant always do so. We have the answer and we are using it.

Hubbard was well known for never forgiving even the mildest critics, and here encourages a kind of fanaticism. The ends justifies the means, and anyone who is harmed to effect the progress of Scientology is’ ignorant’ and does not count in the eyes or the ‘church’.

“Personal Freedom”

orwell-freedom-is-slavery2This section proposes that ideas of right and wrong are merely “considerations” – illusions held by your ‘reactive mind’.

Scientology is presented as absolute truth, which must be accepted by anyone who has  ‘trained’ and is free from considerations. Freedom, then, consists of behaving according to the revelations and demands  of Scientology, not your own feelings.

Doing what you are told by Scientology is true freedom. George Orwell already disposed of this kind of manipulative argument in his classic novel “1984”.

“Times Must Change”

This section is so full of pious generalities that it is practically content-free. It’s basic message seems to be that Scientology (and only Scientology)  is the answer to all mankind’s ills, and anyone thinks differently is a dangerous, oppressive bigot who will come to a bad end. It contains this telling passage:

No pressure of governments, no campaign by the incompetent ‘healers’ who have already failed, no threat of ridicule or punishment must be let stand in our way.

We have the technical materials. We are making our way already – all the way There is not one more single thing we need to know to accomplish this.

This is another manifesto for fanatical inflexibility – and Hubbard also gets in his traditional  pop at psychologists and psychiatrists, whom he perceived as rivals and never forgave for their scathing reviews of his book “Dianetics”.

“The Challenge of Scientology”

This uncredited page is probably written by Hubbard to boost himself (a tactic he often used in Scientology publications) e.g.

It is only fifteen years since L Ron Hubbard announced to the world the results of a lifetime spent in the study of philosophy, allied with his training in nuclear physics .  The past fifteen years have been years of phenomenal growth and progress in Scientology particularly in recent times with the discovery of the levels of release, the levels of Awareness, and finally the ultimate achievement of the state of Clear.

Hubbard’s “training in nuclear physics” was actually a single small module in the first year of a civil engineering degree in 1930 (you can see his transcript here).  It was entitled “Modern physical phenomena: atomic and molecular physics”. This imparted very slight knowledge, which was completely out of date after the war, due to the advances in basic science made during the development of nuclear weapons. In no sense was he a nuclear physicist.

Hubbard never progressed beyond the first year, and left without a degree in civil engineering, let alone nuclear physics.

“(Some)Scientology Definitions”

george-orwell-6Once again, like the ruling party in George Orwell’s “1984”, Scientology is known for changing the meaning of words to suit themselves, so no Scientology publication is without a glossary.

Some of the entries (e.g. the ‘definition’ of sanity as “The ability to evaluate importances in life”)  are incoherent and funny. Others are clearly manipulative – e.g.

Scientologist: One who knows he has found the way to a better life through Scientology and who, through Scientology books, tapes, training and processing is actively attaining it.

This section (and the pamphlet) ends with the leading question:



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