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

Appendix M


George Orwell, author of 1984, knew well the insidious uses to which language may be put.

Robert J. Lifton also writes tellingly on this subject in Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism.

Anthony Burgess contrived a bizarre language in Clockwork Orange to tell his story of the frightening future superstate.

With the creation of what I call "Scientologese," L. Ron Hubbard took the traditional despot's lies and threats into a subtler realm. Hubbard did not employ the brute force of a militia to enslave people, rather, his own pseudo-scientific creation, the terminology of which proved a powerful vehicle for his purposes.

"Subconscious mind" and "abreaction therapy" are English terms. "Reactive mind" and "Dianetic auditing" are Hubbardian terms, quite similar in meaning to the former but usable only in his context -- what Robert J. Lifton calls "thought-terminating phrases." They are cornerstones for Scientologese, a distortion of the English language that has distorted many minds.

I don't surmise that Hubbard had diabolical intent with language when he wrote Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health almost half a century ago. Innovative language is bread and butter to science fiction writers; and in Hubbard's case, also necessary to support his conviction -- megalomaniacal, if you will -- that his material was unique. Later, Hubbard must have realized, or intuited, that changing the language in other people's minds was central to his increasing control over them (Lifton: "thought reform"). Hubbard's empire expanded concurrently with the development of Scientologese. Like other cult leaders, tyrants and con artists, Hubbard became hypnotized by his own words. And the newcomer's acceptance of and identification with this new language is a giveaway that he is buying a ticket for an extended stay in Hubbardsville.

With the exception of a few vintage words, Scientologese does not consist of exotic items but, rather, common English words redefined or combined in phrases so they relate to auditing and the reactive mind ("auditing" and "reactive mind" themselves illustrate such usage!). Other, non-technical, words are given mystic overlay, esoteric import ("Handle," "Communication," "Intention," "Flow"). Grammar is changed. A verb becomes a noun ("overrun"). In Dianetics, Hubbard bludgeoned "clear" (an adjective or verb transitive) into a noun, "Clear"; and shortly thereafter "overt" (adjective) and "withhold) verb transitive) also into Scientologese nouns.

Prepositions get a workout in the idiom: Grades, Postulates, Gains, TRs, Ethics, etc. are In or Out. "On" and "At" suffer: On Course, At Cause. There is a deluge of abbreviations and acronyms.

Scientologese may, of course, be used in discussing any topic. Scientologists sometimes kid around with it (ex-members kid around a lot with it) to relieve their nerves from the cumulative pressures of the org and their "case."

Apart from the Scientologist's Letter at the beginning of this book -- which approaches the extreme -- I limited the language here to what was essential to the events (thus obviously excluding the profusion of post-'69 jargon that probably dwarfs the pre-'69!). I also used restraint with acronyms, choosing, for example, "preclear," "Suppressive," "Director of Processing," "Director of Training," "Search and Discovery," "tone-arm" and "Reliable Items" over the acronyms that Scientologists are much more apt to use: "pc," "SP," "D of P," "D of T," "S & D," "TA" and "RIs." Nor did I use a small circle with a line through it to represent "thetan."

For these reasons, this dictionary is much abridged. A comprehensive glossary of Scientologese would be a book in itself.

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