The Pulp SF Magazine “Amazing Stories” Assesses 20 years of Dianetics / Scientology in 1970

amazing-stories-malzbergAmazing Stories November 1970 | “Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science” – A Personal Report by Barry N Malzberg | Pg 75 | Download as .pdf (to download, click on the grey ‘Download through Browser’ button which will appear in a new tab).

In this issue Barry Malzberg marked the (more-or-less) 20th anniversary of the publication of  the iconic article by L Ron Hubbard in “Astounding Science Fiction” which kicked off the dianetics fad in May 1950.

Malzberg used the same title as Hubbard for his critical article – Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science”. However, he employs it with heavy irony:

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Narconon UK Promotes its Services to Practitioners of Alternative Medicine

narconon-ukFor today’s post, I am indebted to an supporter of osteopathy, who has provided some interesting information about the activities of Narconon, which recently opened a small facility in the UK

Narconon is a  Scientology front group, which claims to provide paid drug rehabilitation treatment, but actually delivers Scientology indoctrination.

The website Osteobiz, aims to coach osteopaths on the business side of their occupation. In one entry, the author warns about a range of cons and swindles which osteopaths are liable to be exposed to.

One of these is headlined “The Drug Rehab Centre Scam”… and that’s where Narconon comes in. Continue reading

“Ruthless”, a Book by the Father of Scientology’s Leader and “20/20 -A Father’s Story”

RuthlessUS_UK

US edition (left) & UK edition (right)

Ruthless: My Son David Miscavige and Me (UK Edition) | Ron Miscavige with Dan Koon | Silvertail Books | 2016

This book is based upon the experiences of Ron Miscavige, the father of David who is presently the ‘leader’ of Scientology. In it he discusses how he took his family into Scientology, how his son rose to power, and how he eventually escaped from a guarded Scientology compound.

From an outsider’s point of view this is an essential text for the things which Ron Miscavige reveals but, overall, a frustrating read.

The problem is with Ron himself. He is what people who study literature call an ‘unreliable narrator’ – he’s telling the truth as he sees it. Unfortunately, in his version of reality, Scientology should be taken seriously, and there are valuable insights in its early teachings.

Also, he is still impressed by writers who were big names in the (now largely forgotten) ‘New Thought‘ movement (AVA “Higher Thought). A list of recommended books appears at the end of his volume and recommends early works by Hubbard and some antique fringe writers of the ‘New Thought’ movements.

I happen to have one of the ‘New Thought’ texts he recommends (and will be putting it online in my next post). It’s a crude wish-fulfilment fantasy which depends on magical thinking. It claims that, if you follow the author’s instructions, you will be able to acquire anything you want, as long as you wish for it hard enough.

I’m not being sarcastic here. That’s literally the argument presented. If you are looking for a book with philosophical depth, or for a critical analysis of Scientology itself, you won’t get much out of this one.

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What Did L Ron Hubbard Learn From The Failure of Dianetics?

failureIt’s said that venture capitalists are unwilling to finance entrepreneurs who do not have a failed business or two under their belts. These clients will already have made the obvious mistakes, and will not fall into those traps again.

The same can be true for would-be gurus, and L Ron Hubbard’s career is a good example of this.

I have followed the early development of dianetics in a series of posts which examine the first articles written on the subject by Hubbard. These appeared in the popular pulp magazine “Astounding Science Fiction, where they were strongly promoted by “Astounding’s” legendary editor John W Campbell.

After the publication of Hubbard’s book, “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in May 1950”, there was a brief (and lucrative) fad for dianetic therapy. This resulted in the creation of an substantial organisation, the “Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation”.

The narrative the Church of Scientology would like you to believe is that Dianetics was an immediate and enduring success and, as Hubbard refined his ideas, it gradually gave way to a more advanced version – Scientology.

In fact,  the “Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation” collapsed into bankruptcy after only a few years trading and Hubbard temporarily lost the copyright to his creation. Scientology only emerged because he used his contacts to ‘acquire’ the valuable mailing lists of the “Hubbard Dianetics Foundation” and started over.

In this post, I will describe some of the mistakes Hubbard made when he created  dianetics, and how he corrected these with Scientology, giving rise to an organisation that was completely different in  number of crucial aspects. Continue reading

The Lincolnshire Echo (A UK local Newspaper) Falls For a Scientology Front Group – Why Does This Happen?

Press ReporterThe Lincolnshire Echo | Citizens Commission on Human Rights claims ADHD is a fake condition | August 29 2015  | Download as .pdf |
View Online | Download as .pdf

The Lincolnshire Echo is a UK local Newspaper which was recently  taken in by a Scientology front group dedicated to attacking psychiatry.

It published the brief article above, which reports a claim that  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is  a fraud, but presents no supporting scientific evidence whatsoever. All it says is:

A mental health watchdog group has claimed that ADHD is a fake condition and could be costing the taxpayer more than £119m a year in benefits payments. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights has said in a statement that ADHD benefits claims are providing families with a benefits boost which is difficult to resist.

The Citizen’s Commission for Human Rights (CCHR) is not an official ‘mental health watchdog’ – it’s a anti-psychiatry front group wholly owned by the Church of Scientology, and the CCHR are claiming that parents are conniving with psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies. The parents are supposedly drugging their own children for the sake of the state benefits they receive and the psychiatrists are accused of peddling unnecessary medication.

This is an insult to every parent who strives to look after a child with challenging behaviour and to the psychiatric profession – and it is being reported in a respectable local newspaper. You really would think that the journalists at the  Echo might have asked for evidence to support of this sensational and almost libellous accusation. They didn’t. Why not? And why did they report this story in the first place (it’s hardly local news)? Continue reading

The Mainstream Press Reaction to L Ron Hubbard’s “Dianetics”

dainetic therapyA Book Review of “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health”
by L Ron Hubbard
Dr Martin Gumpert | “New Republic” | August 15 1950
View Online | Download as .pdf

Dianetics: Science or Hoax? | “Look” (Magazine)
December 5, 1950 | Albert Q. Maisel
View Online | Download as .pdf

My recent series of posts about dianetics in “Astounding Science Fiction” have covered the 1950s fad for ‘dianetic therapy’ from the point of view of those who promoted and believed in it – predominantly SF readers and writers.

Although little or no dissenting opinion was published in “Astounding” this was by no means the case in the mainstream press. The reaction to L Ron Hubbard’s book there was almost universally hostile.

This post will examine two articles from the period. the first was a book review written by a doctor, which appeared in the serious US magazine “New Republic”. The second was an article written by a journalist published in  the popular publication “Look”. They are representative of the ridicule and condemnation that dianetics attracted accross the whole range of the mainstream press.

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Dianetics in “Planet Stories” – Dianetics and Scientology in “Astounding Science Fiction” (Pt 14)

planet stories november 1950“Dianetics: A Door To The Future” | James Blish | “Planet Stories” November 1950 | Download as .pdf

This series of posts is nominally about dianetics and Scientology in “Astounding Science Fiction”. However, I could not resist including this book review from another pulp science fiction magazine, “Planet Stories“.

It discusses L Ron Hubbard’s book, “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health”. Hubbard’s book had been published in May 1950 and was was reviewed in “Planet Stories”by James Blish, who was an imaginative and well-respected science fiction writer.

It demonstrates, once again, how intelligent, capable people who took a scientific, sceptical view of the world, nevertheless somehow accepted the unsupported claims Hubbard made for his creation and embraced dianetics (a phenomenon that I have discussed in this post).

During this series, we have seen this happen to John W Campbell (the editor of “Astounding Science Fiction”) and, elsewhere in this blog, the author William Burroughs.

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