Man Revolts at Forced Changes

Ideals Lose in Clashes with Environment

Perhaps there are as many different answers to the problem of why the popularity of Dianetics was so short lived as there are persons trying to answer the question. |n 1950, mention of the fact you were a Di-aneticist could arouse interest in almost any group anywhere, but today, its once-popularity has gone into occlusion, and the word can stimulate no more than a mild curiosity should other topics of conversation be lagging. This, despite the fact that some of the medical profession, the most bitter denunciators of Dianetics five or so years ago, now accept some of its tenets — such as pre-natals and cellular recordings—without giving credit, of course. In the accompanying article, Rev. James Welgos, at one time a student and follower of Dianetics back during its more effervescent days, offers his own conclusions as to why Dianetics failed to attract general acceptance. Although these ideas do not quite coincide with our own ideas on the matter, we found them interesting.—THE EDITOR.

A MAN GETS an idea for a new product. He goes to a research laboratory and tells them how frozen foods can be protected for the consumer. The device is a chemical compound that will go thru freezing only once without changing color. It is non-toxic, has no food value, and has a very unusual property in it that will turn orange should the frozen food ever be frozen again after thawing. This means that consumers would be protected in getting only freshly frozen foods that have not had the cellular structure broken down thru thawing and refreezing.

The research laboratory develops the idea. Then the trouble starts. They can find no food processors who will dare institute this protective device in their frozen foods. The processors claim they cannot vouch for the handling of their food once it gets into the hands of the distributor or retail store, and that such a device would give their product a bad name if the distributors and retailers were to mishandle it in any way.

This is not just a fanciful illustration designed to make a point. Such a product was developed, and just such a series of events took place in reference to it.

A situation very similar to this took place when the field of Dianetics was propounded hy Ron Hubbard in his book, “Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health”. The book was on the best seller list for a short time, selling close to 200,000 copies. Almost a half-million persons became interested in the work and tried to put it to use.

Dianetics did not have a lasting effect on our culture or on the mental sciences of today because of the pressure it put upon the present practitioners to change and benefit themselves before they began to work with others. Consequently, Hubbard was asked to modify the concepts he had presented. He refused to do so and, because of the “interference”, began to lash out at the medical, the religious, and the psychological professions. The result of this action was some most unfavorable editorial comment by men who were highly respected in their respective fields. Such vehement denunciation lost Dianetics many friends and contributed to the rapid dissolution of most of the following that Hubbard had gathered.

But those who remained saw any denunciation of Dianetics as personal affronts. They became slightly fanatical about holding to the cause. Resentment between themselves and the members of the other professions grew and caused them to become even more dogmatic about their ideas. The result was a further rejection of Dianetics by the general public. The groups and individuals who were a part of these developments began to drift away because of their basic drive to be at one with their environment.

None of this had anything to do with the rightness or wrongness of the concepts that Hubbard was presenting. It had nothing to do with the effectiveness of the techniques he was developing, or with the number of people following him. The only point in question was the fact that the acceptance of Dianetics called for some changes in people’s thinking. It meant that the evidence previously accepted as valid had to be re-examined. Actually, the prior evidence had only to be realigned to include the new data hy expansion. No one asked that it be rejected. But most of the people who rejected Dianetics did so because they thought they had to throw away all of their previously acquired evidence.

Still another element which influenced this series of occurrences was the fact that Hubbard tried to take all of the credit for developing the ideas on which Dianetics rested. Many metaphysicians, occultists, and spiritualists had been aware of these principles for years before Dianetics was heard of, so any claims to discovery rubbed them the wrong way.

After all this, what do we have as the true picture of Dianetics? Hubbard was a highly creative individual who had bought the idea, as have so many others in our world, that mankind wants to advance and have new things. Prom a specific viewpoint, this is quite correct. We are developing such a drive for newness and creative action, but for the most part it is not yet prevalent. The beginnings are evident, but the full fruition of this striving has hy no means been attained. The wisdom of the East has contained the basics of Dianetics for many centuries, and while Hubbard used some quite novel ways of presenting these ideas, he tried to force changes in our present structure to conform to the ideals of progress and advancement.

Let us not delude ourselves. Man does want fulfillment of his ideals, but he is in conflict within himself because of other social values that are more important than the fulfillment of these ideals --such as the values of a stable society, the upholding of the evidence of the past, and the various ways that the senses are placated.

This is what Hubbard was bucking without realizing it. Had he realized it and looked at his actions to see whether or not they were really designed to fit the present culture, he would have made definite changes in his approach and would have been more successful. He was far out in front with his own development, but had not gone quite far enough to see the values upon which our present culture is based and to realize that one has to learn to support them before he can change them. Once one has learned to appreciate these values, does he then want to make changes? Much as it may surprise you, the answer to that is a resounding “no”. The only people who want to make changes in the world are those who do not know the structures of the world and who have not learned to face life and accept it on its own terms. They are the malcontents who cannot get along with others or with themselves.

Here in a nutshell we have the reason for the adage that “geniuses are neurotic”. Those who are highly creative are all too often rejected despite the value of the things they create. But they are geniuses precisely because they have not learned to accept life as it really is and are trying, even desperately, to change life to conform to a pattern that will enable them to be comfortable.

Dianetics could have been accepted had it been aligned with the various fields of man’s present knowledge. The insistence upon using new terms was a good idea in that it made it easier to accept the newer Dianetic concepts by removing the possibility of prior associations, but it was a method for forcing acceptance of many ideas which were already in existence and for which new terms were unnecessary.