Inside Scientology/Dianetics, by Robert Kaufman - Next - Previous

Scientology Sickness

This is a universe of force. It is not a universe of reason. Brutal, unthinking, without decency or mercy, MEST force awaits with punishment any being with a weakness.

Only when the train pulled out of Edinburgh Station did I allow myself to think forbidden thoughts, feel the resentment and disgust. I wanted to heave their lines, their ethics, their stats up in one big ball.

Ron's bombastic voice still filled my head -- Source, who had nothing but contempt for the world and had taught me to see only danger and ugliness. Did I forget something? Say the wrong thing? Leave my briefcase unlocked, unguarded? And fear: fear of not escaping the Trap; fear of not being able to afford auditing; fear of sec checks, the soul stripped bare by the meter; fear of being down-stat, subject to ethics penalty; fear of destroying the preclear and myself; fear of the unconfrontable wog world.

Ron's followers were not spared his contempt. I had been seared by it when I split myself into a pathetic creature called "auditor-preclear."

I had hammered down my feelings, paralyzed myself with fear whenever my mind tried to tear itself free. How many times I'd shuddered as I was about to think what I shouldn't, and intercepted and aborted the thought; how many times I had said "Yes, oh yes," and felt the horror. Horror at myself, my own voice whispering, "Why, this is wrong, all wrong."

As the train carried me away from the AO and my Doubt penalty, I took out some notebook paper and started to write. I had denied myself self-expression for three months that seemed like three years. The notes I wrote were criticisms of Ron, Tech, the Sea Org.

That night I shared a hotel room in London with a salesman from the north of England whom I'd joined up with near the railway station to look for a cheap lodging. He wanted to know what had brought me to Great Britain. When I told him Scientology, he showed surprise, since he had read scathing articles about the group.

My indoctrination took over; I rose to the defense. "Those articles are slanted to appeal to the public's sensationalistic taste. Don't believe everything you read in the newspapers."

"But the Minister of Health said that Scientology breaks up families, damages minds."

"That gentleman has an axe to grind. We don't know what his real motives are, do we? `Damages minds' -- that's a consideration on his part."

"Well, what do you yourself think of Scientology? How did you like it?"

"I got up to one of the highest levels they have."


I asked the location of the Home Office from a Londoner wearing a bowler hat. He walked me almost to my destination. The wog world was inexplicably buzzing along as usual; my courteous guide, the buses and trucks and flocks of people. Return to the wog world seemed unreal.

A woman handed me my passport and consulted a list. "I see that you're in Scientology. I must inform you, if you don't already know, that you're classified as an undesirable alien now."

"I know. I've left the group and I'm going back to the States today."

I tried called the Dalmases for the tenth time. No answer. I was worried about them, but perhaps they were simply out enjoying the countryside for a day or two.

Before checking out my bags at the railway station, I had the urge to pick up some reading material. I hadn't read any of my old friends, the Oriental sages, in many months, and, feeling and intense longing for something other than Scientology, purchased a translation of the Tao Te Ching and a book of essays by Krishnamurti.

I chatted with the middle-aged couple seated next to me on the plane. I could disagree with anything they said, turn my head away whenever I pleased; I didn't have to keep my eyes frozen on theirs while acknowledging everything they said. I let some of their remarks dangle in the air unacknowledged.

I needed a place to stay in New York, but great caution was in order. I was carrying the confidential materials around in my head, like the OT III bomb, and my presence might harm others. The truth was sickening and degrading. Those close to me must be spared such awakening.

I called Dag Lildberg from Kennedy when I deplaned around 10 p.m. Dag was a serious student of yoga; he had once hinted of methods for warding off evil forces, and I could be near him with minimal risk of causing damage.

When I entered Dag's apartment, he looked at me strangely. "What that funny odor?" he asked.

"Sweat, I guess."

"No, it's not like ordinary body odor. For crissake, it's fear. I smell fear coming out of your pores."

I told Dag I was through with the organization, omitting any details of my experience. We talked into the morning. I lay down for a long-awaited restful sleep. I awoke three or four hours later in terror. The "thing" had followed me to New York! But now I could tell someone about it. I woke up Dag and begged him to talk with me.

Dag knew something about inner fear. At divinity school he had become disenchanted and had gone through a long period of spiritual unrest. Through the months of soul-searching he had gradually grown stronger, and his eventual victory over the negative forces was a turning point in his life. Dag's story struck a distant bell. His desire to help me was unquestionably sincere, and I stretched my mind to identify with his experiences. After two more wretched nights, over his protests, I called the franchise.

A theta being produces considerable voltage and amperage, enough to give somebody a very bad shock, or put out his eyes or cut him in half.

"I just don't get it, your honor," said Gerald. "You graduated the Dianetics Course here, and you were happy and healthy and a terrific auditor. Now you seem rather caved in, sire."

Felicia remarked that my "powerful negative flow" almost knocked her down when I entered the penthouse.

"I'm in Doubt, but they may have placed me in a Lower Condition by now, and I'm sure I'm either an Enemy or a Degraded Being. Do you think they'll do anything to me?"

"I never heard of them actually doing anything -- maybe a little harassment at worst," Felicia replied. "But don't get yourself Declared unnecessarily. A girl I knew did , and she's never been the same since. Anyway, cheer up! She smiled. "I don't think you're a Degraded Being!"

I gave them a history of my case, stopping short of OT III. Gerald had a theory. "You know, you were probably clear long before your Solo Audit. In fact, when you left New York last May you must have been close to it. I took off so much charge in those review sessions that you were in really great shape, high on the Tone Scale and almost Thetan Exterior. There's a good chance you pulled in the Upper Levels at Saint Hill before you ever did them -- OT III and beyond, maybe everything up to OT VI and god knows what else! You're probably an OT III or higher right now. Why don't you go into the bedroom, give yourself a rehab and see where you stand."

Holding the single tin can, I asked myself, "Are you an OT I? II? III? IV? V? VI?" and got floating needles on all but VI. I wondered how the meter knew all this when I'd never seen the IV, V and VI materials.

"Now that you're definitely a III," said Gerald, "you can go to the new AO in Los Angeles and get everything straightened out. Whenever you attest to an Upper Level you're automatically in Condition of Affluence, by-passing Doubt or any other penalty."

"I don't think I ever want to see them again."

"Well, in that case, my good man, I'll do what I can to help you."

"You mean review?"

"Precisely -- and it's on the house. But you mustn't breathe a word of this to anyone. It could get pretty hairy for me if they ever found out."

Rehabilitate the thetan and the entity problem vanishes. Start auditing entities and they increase in power.

Gerald wanted to check OT III. I was reluctant to divulge the secrets to him, but he assured me that, since he had done a lot of research for Hubbard, he knew the basic idea behind them.

I described the body thetans and the incidents. "You know," he said, "these body thetans are really much the same thing as the Genetic Entities Ron wrote about in his History of Man in the early '50s. This is nothing new to me a-tall, a-tall."

He checked the body thetans I had run so exhaustively. "Did this body thetan leave you at any time?"

"It could have. I had a hunch it left on the seventh or eighth run."

"Now that's very interesting. I'll check it on the meter. Did the body thetan leave on the seventh run? The eighth? Wait a minute. Just how many times did you run it on the first incident?"

"About 63 times."

"Good lord! Thank you. Your needle is floating. That means you overran yourself on the incident about 56 times. Put down the cans a moment. In my experience as a Saint Hill intern, I saw this happen time and time again. You know Edward Douglas, the Australian? That poor old bloke did a hundred runs of the entire Clearing Course, over eighty of them unnecessary. He was on it for months. I thought they'd carry him away in a basket. As for me, I overran clear, OT I and OT II. I was on II for weeks on end and feeling worse and worse. One night I got fed up and guzzled down almost a litre of Scotch while I audited myself on II, and staggered in to attest at noon the next day with the king of all hangovers. The young snot-nose Examiner tried to tell me I couldn't possibly be an OT II in the state I was in. I screamed at her, `I don't give a flaming fuck what you say. I'm an OT sodding II!' Now, pick up the cans, your majesty. I want to try something else."

Gerald gave me a Search and Discovery. We quickly got to the suppressives: Scientology and Ron Hubbard.

"That's pretty funny," I said.

"Why, not at all. Ron often shows as the suppressive on Search and Discoveries. Won't you write him a disconnect letter?" He handed me pen and paper.

"This is silly. I don't need to `disconnect' from anybody." I wrote on the sheet a simple "Fuck you, Ron."

As I was leaving the franchise I saw on the hall table the latest edition of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. On the jacket was a colorful picture of an erupting volcano. Was this another one of Ron's jokes?


I stayed at Dag's for two weeks, then got a furnished room, and a music job.

I had thought that in New York the old me would return with loving familiarity and I would make a quick recovery, but, despite Gerald's review, the sickness lingered. I inhabited two worlds simultaneously, and thought the wog world seemed much the same as before, I had changed.

Only a few friends guessed that something was wrong. Renzo Lancia sensed right away that my trip had gone badly, but didn't try to probe, to get me to talk about it. Alan Ottoman was more outspokenly against Scientology than ever. Dag Lildberg insisted that Scientology had nothing to do with spirituality because "they scare the shit out of people."

Morton Morvis was still saving up his money to go clear. I had to warn him about the organization. He listened to me as unevaluatingly as a Scientologists should, carefully observing tenet number ten of the Scientologist's Code: Engage in no unseemly disputes with the uninformed on the subject of my profession. I pleaded with Morton to reconsider. He thought I was nattering, and suggested I write a letter to Hubbard telling my story. There was a box near Reception at every org for communications addressed to Ron, and all letters were supposed to reach him sooner or later.

I felt stupid. I should have known better than to try to talk to Morvis.


Restful sleep remained unbearably elusive. I awoke around six each morning, regardless of how late I had gone to bed. The bed itself seemed cursed, and I couldn't find a comfortable position. After a while, the "charge" would come, a pillar of vile substance running from my head down through my neck, casing the nerves with fiery entities. I would jump out of bed as though possessed, pull on some clothes and walk slowly down the avenue, keeping my eyes on faces, traffic and window displays. Sometimes while waiting for a light to change, a pressure would quickly mount in my head, threatening to topple me over. I could resist it only by taking small steps in place. Sometimes I felt about to rise off the pavement, or that my mind was going to disintegrate and fly off into space in several directions at once, like The Objects on the Clearing Course.

At the ballet studios, the rehearsal music looked strange, and I cringed at some of my own sounds on the piano. In the orchestra pit at night, I fought the dizziness that made me feel like falling off the piano bench during the performance. After the show, I would slowly walk uptown, tingling with the fear of waking up with the "presence" still there. The fear crescendoed as I unlocked the door to my hallway. I might find a suppressive order in the day's mail on the table just inside. One night as I entered my room I felt that something was dreadfully wrong there, and looked around. It was the Scientology books still sitting on a shelf. I grabbed them and threw them into the garbage can in the kitchen. I had already torn some bulletins into shreds in a minor ritual performed at Dag's apartment.

I would put off going to bed, in the hope that this would somehow make me wake up later. When I finally retired, I would lie on my back, spread-eagled, and imagine I was opening myself to the blessed forces that would come during the night to heal me.

Time was an enemy. There were hours to kill each morning before rehearsals began, and a free day each week to survive. To keep active, I started writing an arrangement. My music notations looked as blurry as fronds in a dirty aquarium. I reread a few of my old notes on piano playing and was saddened and ashamed at the bravado I had once affected. I put down the notebook, overcome by memories. After that I gave up working on projects in my room.

I thought back further to those happy months before my departure for England. I had disseminated Scientology to friends, hoping they would share my vision of an expanding world; and had given a piano recital, expecting success to follow automatically, like the gains from auditing. When the concert came to nothing, I had dropped my music plans. I hadn't admitted to myself that I was discouraged and disillusioned -- as I was now -- that my life during those months was basically no different than before Scientology.


I stared at the entry I had made in my datebook just a few months ago at the franchise: "Talk yourself out of it." I must cure myself. The sickness was emotional; the cure lay in identifying and understanding my emotions. I had enough information. Failure and loss were involved. I had spent my savings and submitted to numerous indignities to find a solution to my life. I had failed, proven myself a weakling, and was now punishing myself, siphoning up an inner reservoir of guilt, humiliation, self-hate. I searched for the key that would unlock the sickness. But the feelings weren't really "mine"; they were mixed in with Scientology, and I had never yet made the separation.

I must take an objective look at Scientology itself, sifting out from its components -- Ron, Tech, Ethics -- the true and the false. However, I was still too fettered by my indoctrination to step outside for that kind of look. My "scrutiny" consisted of posing a few questions within the Scientological context, always in their terms: Why were the Lower Grades so structures, engrams, then communications, problems, etc.? After overts, withholds, present-time problems and ARC breaks were released on the Lower Grades, why did these trouble spots reappear on clearing and the Upper Levels, to be dealt with again and again on green-forms and in review sessions? And why were there "incidents" on OT III when the bank was presumably "erased" on the Clearing Course?

But there was something I was missing, even with these questions.

Ron, with the overts and withholds, had smeared everyday human occurrences with a sordid coloration. I dimly recognized Ron's own "overt." It appeared in vague form, immense and unidentifiable. I knew only that Ron repudiated the human spirit in is unaudited state; he had maligned the world with all its good people and lovely things. His creation was a blasphemy.


I often thought about Felicia and Gerald. Thus far they were the only ones I felt completely safe talking to. Yet there was an ambiguity about them, something I couldn't place. They straddled a gulf. They never challenged anything I told them, or criticized me. I could confide my worst fears to them and they did their best to comfort me, treating my most extravagant delusions with gentle, sympathetic humor -- like parents quieting their child's fears. Gerald stressed that the secret materials were nothing but a bunch of words on paper and could only help or harm one who gave them the power to do so by believing in them.

But just as they would not "invalidate" me, neither would they invalidate Ron's Tech and the Upper Levels. To do so would have compromised their own long commitment and the good living they were making at the franchise. They wanted me to think of my symptoms as a "sign of progress," and that once I got over the shock of my OT awareness, I would start enjoying it. Felicia had herself suffered post-clearing effects -- floating sensations, difficulty getting about on public transportation, and the constant runny-nose peculiarly known as a "clearing cold."

Then, chameleon-like, they would about-face, admitting that my story had cast a shadow over Scientology, causing in them such disturbing doubts that they were close now to cutting their connection with the organization. Something had gone horribly wrong. Had Hubbard or the organization gone mad? Perhaps, like other great teachings throughout history, Hubbard's message had been warped by followers. Or had Ron disappeared and someone else taken over? Of course, the Founder and Commodore was not above suspicion either. Just who was this man Ron?


I went to an M.D., who gave me a physical exam and ineffectual tranquilizers. Then I visited a chiropractor I'd last seen in 1966, who was a devout follower of a Middle Eastern holy man. As he adjusted my spine, he said: "I don't know what you did over in England but you've abused your nerves and glands terribly. You're not the same person you were before you went over there for "Sky-entology.'"

"Its Scientology. It come from a Greek word meaning "to know."

"I know. I had one of them in here the other day badgering me for an hour. Well, what's this `Sky-entology' all about, anyway? I couldn't get it out of him. What's their main idea, their pie-in-the-sky?"

"That man is basically a spirit, an immortal soul. Scientology restores his soul. They have another name for `soul.' They call it the thetan."

"`Thetan.' Now, that's funny. Sometimes the mind hears the things it wants to hear. Just then I heard you say the word I was thinking all along. I heard you speak with a lisp. I heard you say SATAN."

This very instant I know of three cases with whom I am in daily contact whose lives would be changed by finding and running the incident necessary to solve their case.

I was stuck in OT III, beyond help. I had ruined myself self-auditing while out of my senses, opening myself to the noxious material. I had seen the reads, felt the charge, the electricity, even as I did now. There was still an unflat engram, the incident that would resolve my case, the one only Ron himself could find and erase.

I had been an intruder in the group, concealing my selfish motives, caring nothing about Clearing the Planet, feeling covert pleasure when others rejected Scientology. I had given myself away because I couldn't audit myself properly.

I remembered with dread the assumed understanding. I feared the looks the stares, their insane longing to make me one of them. They would never stop wanting something from me. They would never let me go.

The Sea Org was on the move. New orgs were springing up, thousands joining. It was spreading like a malignant tumor. I recalled Ann Dalmas' tale of zombies sent from another galaxy to enslave earth. They would take over our planet. Dressed in Sea Org white they would come to claim me, one of their own.

Your preclear has been guilty himself of any crime or action he protests occurred to him -- for by his worry he confesses that whether or not it happened to him, he did it to others.

I had tried to bring others into the group. Innocent, lovable wogs. The knowledge of what I had done, what I had given myself to, made my whole former life suspect. I had been living in a dream. How sick at heart and in need of punishment I'd been, how little I'd known about myself -- my very existence an attempt to hide from the fact that there had been something radically wrong with me -- jobs, schemes, romantic feelings, every waking moment an escape from this awful truth ... my whole life was spinning around me.

We had something in common, Ron and I. He too was afraid, and his fear had taught him how to ensnare us. Beyond the dream of infinite love was Ron's hatred, as scorching as the OT III hydrogen bomb. With brutal contempt he milked his slaves of all they had. But that was not enough for him.

I was getting close to Ron's overt. Along with everything else in Scientology, the overt came from Source. Ron had created the overt. And the withhold, the Time Track, the charge, the implants, the body thetans, the Degraded Beings of the universe whom even Scientology couldn't salvage -- all a world of his own crafting. It was Ron who had created the reactive mind. He played with us as he played with his pack of creatures, and the evil he accused others of was his own creation. I had trusted him and become sick and loathsome in my own eyes. A thetan was not a human being -- to be human was to be corrupt, contaminated. I had been betrayed by this man whom I had seen only on film.

With self-hatred gnawing at my insides, I identified my foolhardy mistakes with Ron's crimes against humanity. His sin was of such magnitude that I did not comprehend it until in my morbid state, as in a vision, I finally beheld the astounding power of Ron's overt.

The vision came to me with the memory of premonitions I had had as I sat in my room in Edinburgh, calling and spotting the thetan: the bulletins on implants, beings from the outer worlds, their enslavement of mankind, and the thetan's fall.

It had been Ron all along, claiming that his own deeds were committed by others. He told us what we were, erasing our old identity and implanting a new one. At his command we caromed off of stars, or slithered down into the sinewy gray coils of the Time Track. Ron was an amorphous thing, creating thetans by enslaving human beings, then eating their minds and souls, engorging them back into Source, bloating himself with thetans in his insatiable craving. This was being At Cause. This was the grotesque culmination of our noble, naive desire for freedom.

The creature was inside me now, the thing Ron had taught me to create by spotting. When I perceived the world around me, the people, the buildings, the vehicles, about to split and fly apart, it was the thetan, created and warmed by false love, trying to pull itself away and fly back to Source.

The act of creation was hideous because of what I had helped to create. My fanciful ideas of my former life, of what was lofty and pure, were tinged with the repugnancy. The love, the beauty had been a grandiose delusion, the attempt of a foolish, obstinate soul to clutch at things.

Ron said in a bulletin that a thetan would do anything to prove itself right. I had had to create to justify my own existence and fill in the dreaded void. Like Albert Ward, sulking at the table at Fyfield Manor, like Richard Stiles, burnt to ash in the Edinburgh Crematorium, I was a bitter, fallen thetan blown about the universe.

I wanted to thank Ron for this awareness he had given me of my true self. He could never accuse me of being one of the ungrateful ones.


The visitations appeared more frequently. I often caught myself hallucinating. My mind was damaged. Something had been taken away and something put there. At times I could feel the thing in my head trying to eat its way out. Once I had the notion that my brain was quicksand, with a puckered hole through which it sucked itself down with gurgling noises. Once it was a hole in a sofa, left by a burning cigarette, the faint trickle of smoke wafting up through charred shreds of fabric.

My perceptions carried to me a profound disgust: colors, thoughts, memories, passing faces -- infected with the disease. I was aghast at the power of Ron's creation, as I began to see things with his mad vision. A street corner recalled to me a past life on another world. Time and proportion had lost their meaning. It was the same -- our beloved earth and another beloved planet. A great ache welled up in me as I saw a vivid green meadow and a spaceship departing into an alien sky with my loved ones aboard.

The sickness was wearing me down. It was harder to get through each day. I longed for sleep and sometimes dozed off on the subway. I had no strength left to fight. Finally I gave way to the depression. I awoke each morning disconsolate. There was nothing I wanted to do anymore. The wog world had no more meaning. I walked on Broadway weighted with the sorrow and futility of everything around me.

I used to pray that I could be as I'd been before, full of weaknesses and hopes, never knowing what I was doing. My crazy, blessed life, stumbling about, planning, whoring, wasting time. I observed with clarity the things my brain was doing, and remembered the way it had worked before -- its first thoughts in the morning, the way it responded to sights and sounds. I couldn't bring it back and I missed my beloved old brain. I envied most people for their earth-bound consciousness, their everyday cares. I had thought I would be different from them. Why hadn't I just been thankful for what I had?


These were my thoughts during the week or two before I decided to take my own life, and as a last gesture on my own behalf committed myself to a psychiatric ward in Rochester, New York, where I joined the nerve-ridden and depressed people of the wog world.

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