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In the previous part of this series, we examined the January 1951 issue of “Astounding”. This contained the last article about dianetics by L Ron Hubbard that “Astounding” would publish. It was entitled “Dianometry” It begins on page 76, and it is a curious text.
Since its introduction in the May 1950 issue of “Astounding”, dianetics had boomed. At the beginning of 1951 money was pouring in and the “Hubbard Dianetics Institutes”, which were supposed to research and develop this ‘new science’ were expanding, .
This was not to last. Hubbard treated the income from the institutes as if it were his own money and, as the fad for dianetics passed, the institutes went bankrupt.
After this bankruptcy, Hubbard was to temporarily lose the copyright to dianetics. Undeterred, he arranged to have the institutes mailing lists stolen for him, and used then to recruit for his new enterprise, which he called Scientology.
Dianometry was the last gasp of Dianetics. For various reasons (discussed in this post) the fad could not be sustained beyond a certain point. The bankruptcy of the dianetics institutes was, in the long run, a stroke of luck for Hubbard – it enabled him to start again with a relatively clean slate, and avoid the mistakes that he had made the first time around.
It seems to me that Hubbard had left himself nowhere to go after the first two dianetics articles in “Astounding”. He had nothing in reserve after presenting all of of the attractive and accessible parts of his pitch, namely that:
- ‘Engrams’ not only cause physical and mental disease but also compromise an individual’s personal abilities
- They can be removed by ‘dianetic therapy’ which will cure almost all disease and restore the patient to their natural state, which includes high intelligence and a perfect memory
All that now Hubbard could do now was to try could do to keep the ball rolling was by elaborating his pitch with articles like “Dianometry”.
This article clearly did not have the popular appeal of his earlier appearances. It was for for enthusiasts of dianetics only. As such, it was an even less appropriate for a science fiction magazine. The declining ‘pulling power’ of dianetics articles could have contributed to Campbell’s loss of interest.
It seems that Dianetics itself had run out of steam.