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This review is from: Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (Paperback)
L. Ron Hubbard has been grossly underestimated as a writer of Science Fiction. He is possibly one of the greatest fiction writers of the 20th century. With "Dianetics," Hubbard has been able to weave a complex, believable tale of the science of the mind, essentially forming the basis for what would come to be taken to be a religion. How many other Science Fiction writers have done something of that magnitude with such far reaching effects? Darn few.
"Dianetics made an early appearance in the magazine "Astounding Science Fiction" back in May of 1950. It garnered a lot of press and created a buzz that eventually garnered the attention of a wider audience.
Hubbard created a whole mythology around himself. It is said he was a bronco buster at the age of three, a teenage explorer, a blood brother of the Blackfeet Indians of Montana, a Nuclear Physicist, and a World War II hero, among other things. But above all, he was a writer of pulp Science Fiction.
Interestingly enough, there's plenty of documention that many of the ideas put forth in this book are not original. Many may not be aware that at the root of Dianetics are the discoveries of Dr. William Sargant (a psychiatrist). Sargant's research observed post traumatic stress syndrome in World War II soldiers, leading to a cure known as Abnormal Reaction Therapy. This entailed re-experiencing traumatic events (Hubbard called these "engrams") utilizing a hypnotic (or drugged) state to confront these real or imagined items with the aid of a facilitator. If you are interested in exploring Sargant's work, his book is called "Battle for the Mind: A Physiology of Conversion and Brainwashing." There are many very close similarities between the two texts.
The key is to become "Clear." Getting to the state of clear comes via "auditing" (a confessional) to remove engrams, thus destroying one's reactive mind. This is the portion of the mind that Dianetics states is the cause of mental and physical ailments. A Dianetics auditor questions the "pre-clear" with the use of an e-meter (a simple lie detector) to assist with this process.
It's been debated that either George Orwell or Ron Hubbard said: "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." Well, Hubbard did just that. And he did indeed make millions. And here is the book that started it all, compliments of the extremely imaginative mind of Science Fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard, and a few uncredited Psychiatrists.
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Initial post: 14 Apr 2008 22:36:37 BDT
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