Understanding Scientology, by Margery Wakefield - Next - Previous

Chapter 11

Ethics -- The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number of Dynamics

Hubbard does not bother to justify the inhumanity of his Ethics. If families are broken up, if friends are turned against friends, if suicides occur, if an entrapment of the very spirit that makes humans human should occur, then that is subsidiary to the aim to prove Hubbard right. After all, as he is careful to instill into the outlook of his followers, anything that happens to anyone is fully and totally that person's own responsibility, they pull it in on themselves, don't they?
-- The Mindbenders, by Cyril Vosper

-- Scientology's execution procedure, from Creation of Human Ability, by L. Ron Hubbard

The systems of thought and mind control devised by Hubbard in Scientology were very good -- but not perfect. As in all organizations, there would inevitably be a few troublesome souls who would question, doubt, and generally resist the program. It was to deal with this troublesome remnant that Hubbard developed his system of "ethics," a system which would effectively close the loop of social control in Scientology.

Like being sent to the principal's office in grade school, the order "to go to ethics" strikes certain terror in the soul of a Scientologist. This is because the Ethics Officer holds the ultimate power in Scientology, the power to apply the dreaded label of "Suppressive Person" and to cast a member out of Scientology and into spiritual oblivion for millions of lifetimes to come. A Scientologist will do almost anything to stay out of trouble with Ethics.

"Ethics" is defined in Scientology as rationality toward the highest level of survival along the dynamics. But in Scientology, ethics has to do primarily with the group -- the group being Scientology. Anything that promotes Scientology or benefits Scientology is therefore defined as "ethical," whereas anything which is contra-survival for Scientology becomes, by definition, "unethical."

Similarly, there is a phrase frequently heard in Scientology, "the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics," meaning that which is good for the group (Scientology) and for mankind is more important and takes precedence over that which is good for the individual. A dangerous philosophy.

The chart of "ethics conditions" in Scientology is as follows, in descending sequence:

The theory in Scientology is that a person will always be in one of these conditions with regard to any area of life. So a person could be in a condition of Affluence at his job, a condition of Emergency in his marriage, a condition of Nonexistence in his finances, a condition of Normal Operation with his health, etc.

And for each of the conditions, Hubbard devised a formula which, if applied, is supposed to cause the person to progress to the next higher condition. That some of these formulas may not make much sense does not matter. Because Ron (Hubbard) has said this is what they are, they must be right. Right?

The formula for the condition of Confusion is, simply: FIND OUT WHERE YOU ARE.

Once that has been done, the person will move "up" to Treason, for which the formula is: FIND OUT THAT YOU ARE.

In Enemy, the formula is: FIND OUT WHO YOU REALLY ARE.

The formula for Doubt is a bit more complex.

When one cannot make up one's mind as to an individual, a group, organization or project a condition of Doubt exists. The formula is:

  1. Inform oneself honestly of the actual intentions and activities of that individual, group, project or organization brushing aside all bias and rumor.

  2. Examine the statistics of the individual, group, project or organization.

  3. Decide on the basis of "the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics" whether or not it should be attacked, harmed or suppressed or helped.

  4. Evaluate oneself or one's own group, project or organization as to intentions and objectives.

  5. Evaluate one's own or one's group, project or organization's statistics.

  6. Join or remain in or befriend the one which progresses toward the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics and announce the fact publicly to both sides.

  7. Do everything possible to improve the actions and statistics of the person, group, project or organization one has remained in or joined.

  8. Suffer on up through the conditions in the new group if one has changed sides, or the conditions of the group one has remained in if wavering from it has lowered one's status.

Now "upgraded" by the Ethics Officer to a condition of Liability, the formula is:

  1. Decide who are one's friends.

  2. Deliver an effective blow to the enemies of the group one has been pretending to be part of despite personal danger.

  3. Make up the damage one has done by personal contribution far beyond the ordinary demands of a group member.

  4. Apply for re-entry to the group by asking the permission of each member of it to rejoin and rejoining only by majority permission, and if refused, repeating steps 2-4 until one is allowed to be a group member again.

When a person first begins a job in Scientology, he starts off in a condition of Non-existence, for which the formula is:

  1. Find a comm (communication) line.

  2. Make yourself known.

  3. Discover what is needed and wanted.

  4. Do, produce and/or present it.

In other words, find out what needs to be done and do it.

Having done that, one is now in a condition of Danger. This condition applies when an activity is in trouble. The formula is:

  1. Bypass (ignore the junior in charge of the activity and handle it personally).

  2. Handle the situation and any danger in it.

  3. Assign the area where it had to be handled a danger condition.

  4. Handle the personnel by ethics investigation.

  5. Reorganize the activity so that the situation will not repeat.

  6. Recommend any firm policy that will hereafter detect and/or prevent the condition from recurring.

When the person has gotten his activity out of danger, he or she is then in a condition of Emergency, for which the formula is:

  1. Promote and produce.

  2. Change your operating basis.

  3. Economize.

  4. Then prepare to deliver.

  5. Stiffen discipline or stiffen ethics.

If the person has successfully applied the Emergency formula, the condition of Normal Operation now applies and its formula is:

  1. Don't change anything.

  2. Ethics are mild.

  3. If a statistic betters, look it over carefully and find out what bettered it and then do that without abandoning what you were doing before.

  4. Every time a statistic worsens slightly, quickly find out why and remedy it.

If things are going well and the formula for Normal Operation has been applied for a period of time, then the person could be said to be in a condition of Affluence, for which the formula is:

  1. Economize. Be sure you don't buy anything with a future commitment to it.

  2. Pay every bill.

  3. Invest the remainder in service facilities, make it more possible to deliver.

  4. Discover what caused the condition of affluence and strengthen it.

If things are going really well, the person may make a Power Change into another area of endeavor. If not, the person is in a condition of Power for which the only rule is: Don't Disconnect. Take ownership and responsibility for your connections.

These are the Ethics Conditions in Scientology and they are taken very seriously. Each week, each person working for the organization (i.e, "on staff") will turn in his or her "stats" to the Ethics Officer. The person will be assigned a condition by the Ethics Officer, and will be required to apply the appropriate formula for that condition to their job. In addition, the Ethics Officer can assign a person a condition in any area of his personal life, and the person must apply the appropriate formula and submit a written application to the Ethics Officer for "upgrading" to the next higher condition. For the Scientologist, the ethics conditions and their formulas is a way of life.

Another function of ethics in Scientology is the administration of "security checks" to members. Security checks, called "sec checks," are administered with the member on the E-meter, and in this case the E-meter is used as a lie detector.

The first sec check encountered by a member will be the Staff Questionairre which is given when the person first joins staff. Some of the items on this questionnaire are:

1. Name

2. Life history

3. How did you come into Scientology?

4. History in Scientology

5. Do you have any psychiatric institutional history?

7. Do you have a criminal record?

8. Do you have any crimes for which you could be arrested?

9. Do you have any physical disabilities or illnesses?

10. Do you have any record of insanity?

11. Are you connected to anyone who is antagonistic to Scientology or spiritual healing?

17. Have any of your family members threatened to sue or attack or embarrass Scientology?

26. What are the details of your 2D (second dynamic, or love life) history over the last year with names and dates.

27. Have you any homosexual or lesbian history -- when and with whom?

28. Drug history.

31. Are you here for any different purpose than you say?

Sec checks are a fact of life in Scientology. It must be remembered that should a member defect, their ethics folders with the written answers to these questions can be used, per Guardian's Order 121669, to blackmail or otherwise intimidate the defector.

One of the earliest sec checks was called the "Joburg," which was developed in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was a much feared security check for many years. Sample questions from this interrogation include the following:

Have you ever stolen anything?
Have you ever been in prison?
Have you ever embezzled money?
Have you ever been in jail?
Have you ever had anything to do with pornography?
Have you ever been a drug addict?
Do you have a police record?
Have you ever raped anyone?
Have you ever been involved in an abortion?
Have you ever committed adultery?
Have you ever practiced homosexuality?
Have you ever had intercourse with a member of your family?
Have you ever slept with a member of a race of another color?
Have you ever bombed anything?
Have you ever murdered anyone?
Have you ever been a Communist?
Have you ever been a newspaper reporter?
Have you ever ill-treated children?
Have you ever had anything to do with a baby farm?
Are you afraid of the police?
Have you ever done anything your mother would be ashamed to find out?
How do you feel about sex?
How do you feel about being controlled?

Later the contents of this security check were revised into "The Only Valid Security Check" which contains many of the same questions with the addition of several others such as:

Have you ever practiced cannibalism?
Have you ever peddled dope?
Have you practiced sex with animals?
Have you ever attempted suicide?
Do you collect sexual objects?
Have you ever practiced sex with children?
Have you ever practiced masturbation?
Have you ever killed or crippled animals for pleasure?
Have you ever had unkind thoughts about L. Ron Hubbard?
Are you upset about this security check?

As if this weren't enough, there is the lengthy "Whole Track Sec Check" designed to ferret out "overts" a person has committed during his thousands of past lives. Of the 346 questions on this form, a sample few are:

Have you ever enslaved a population?
Have you ever sacked a city?
Have you ever raped a child of either sex?
Have you ever bred bodies for degrading purposes?
Have you ever deliberately tortured someone?
Have you driven anyone insane?
Did you come to Earth for evil purposes?
Have you ever made a planet, or nation, radioactive?
Have you ever maimed or crippled other people's bodies?
Have you ever torn out someone's tongue?
Have you ever blinded anyone?
Have you ever punished another by cutting off some part of his body?
Have you ever smothered a baby?
Have you ever had sexual relations with an animal or a bird?
Have you ever castrated anyone?
Have you ever applied a hot iron to another person's body?
Have you ever beaten a child to death?
Have you ever eaten a human body?


There is even a special security check for children from ages 6 to 12, who are asked questions like:

What has somebody told you not to tell?
Have you ever decided you didn't like some member of your family?
Have you ever pretended to be sick?
Have you ever bullied a smaller child?
Have you ever been mean to an animal, bird or fish?
Have you ever broken something belonging to someone else?
Have you ever done anything you were very much ashamed of?
Have you ever failed to finish your schoolwork on time?
Have you ever lied to a teacher?
Have you ever done anything to someone else's body that you shouldn't have?
Have you ever felt ashamed of your parents?
Have you ever lied to escape blame?
Have you ever told stories about someone behind their back?


Similar to security checks is another assignment frequently meted out by the Ethics Officer, and that is the assignment to write up one's "OWs" (overts and withholds), which in Scientology means all the things one has ever done wrong (overts), and especially those which someone else almost found out about (withholds).

This will commonly be assigned to a person who is in the process of "working out of a condition of Enemy." The Ethics Officer is usually not satisfied until many pages of "OWs" have been produced by the properly repentant member. At one point in Scientology it was the practice to lock the member in a closet for two or more days while he wrote up his sins.

If a person in Scientology should become querulous, especially should he find fault with something written by Hubbard, or should he doubt some point of dogma, that person will be quickly isolated from the other students and dispatched to Ethics until his overts can be discovered and dealt with.

Anything authored by Hubbard ("Source") is assumed to be valid and true; therefore, anyone who has a disagreement with anything written by Hubbard must have personal overts which are causing him to find fault.

It is the job of the Ethics department of Scientology to assign the person the appropriate lower condition and have him write up his OWs until he has come to see the light and can be returned a more obedient and humble member of the group.

In the case of serious deviation from the norms of the group, there are more severe penalties which can be applied to provide the motivation for a member to more obediently conform. Some of these penalties have in the past included:

In the case of persons who become actual enemies of the organization, the Ethics order of Fair Game can be applied, which means that these persons may be "deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued, lied to or destroyed."

At one time Hubbard ordered the ultimate punishment for thirteen people who had defected as "enemies" from the organization. Hubbard ordered that "auditing process R2-45" be used on these people if they were seen by any Scientologist.

"R2-45" is a term understood by every Scientologist. When he first demonstrated it, it is fabled that Hubbard shot a Colt 45 revolver through the floor of the stage he was lecturing from. Routine #2-45 refers to the act of shooting someone in the head with a Colt 45 and is the execution procedure in Scientology. In defending themselves, Scientologists will say to outsiders that Hubbard meant this as a joke; however, in a document called Racket Exposed, Hubbard did in fact order thirteen people to be shot on sight.

Other aspects of the system of social control enforced by the ethics arm of the organization are "Knowledge Reports" and "Committees of Evidence."

Knowledge Reports were introduced by Hubbard in 1965, and the system of Knowledge Reports is not unlike the system used in a communist country in which everyone spies on everyone else.

In Scientology, if you see someone doing something "wrong," you are obligated to write up a Knowledge Report on that person to be sent to Ethics for "handling."

Hubbard justified this system in a policy letter called Knowledge Reports, in which he says:

To live at all, one has to exert some control over his equals as well as his juniors and (believe it or not) his superiors.

And get a REAL group in return that, collectively, can control the environment and prosper because its group members individually help control each other.

A person in the organization suspected of being a dreaded "suppressive person," will be called before the Scientology version of a jury trial, called a Committee of Evidence, or "Comm Ev" for short. A Comm Ev, however, will have little to do with justice, as the results have frequently been determined ahead of time, and the Comm Ev is itself just a formality through which the offending person can be officially declared "SP" and ousted from the organization.

A Suppressive Person in Scientology is defined as one who "actively seeks to suppress or damage Scientology or a Scientologist by Suppressive Acts." A Suppressive is basically anyone who is an enemy of Scientology. It is hard to convey the terror that the words "suppressive person" arouse in a Scientologist. It means a person who is thoroughly evil beyond redemption, and whose soul is doomed for eternity.

Even being around an "SP" can be bad for one's health, spiritual and otherwise, and a person connected to an SP is known as a "PTS," or Potential Trouble Source.

When a person becomes ill, or is doing badly for any reason, it is assumed that the person is connected to an "SP." When a Scientologist becomes ill, an auditing action such as an "S and D" (Search and Discovery) might be ordered to discover the identity of the "SP" in the person's environment. Once the "SP" is located and disconnected from, according to Scientology theory, the person should recover. It is a strange brand of medicine.

It is always assumed that Scientology itself is good, and that those who are against Scientology are by nature evil. In an article called Why Some Fight Scientology, Hubbard wrote:

Scientology had no enemies until the word was out that it worked! Criminals, Communists, perverted religionists alike swarmed to support a "new fraud," a "hoax," a brand new way of extorting money from and enslaving Man. And then in 1950 they found that the new sciences worked with, to them, deadly accuracy. And with a shudder of terror they faced about and struck with every weapon possible. The press, the courts, shady women, insane inmates, politicians, tax bureaus, these and many more were used in a frantic effort to beat down what they had found to be honest, decent and accurate.

The unthinkable thought in Scientology is that something said by Hubbard is wrong. Doubt in Scientology is a "lower condition" to be punished. Scientology is a group in which there is no room for individuality, only conformity. And this extends to the act of thinking itself.

What was most frightening for most people about the novel 1984 by Orwell was that the one sacrosanct territory belonging to a man -- his thoughts -- had been violated, invaded by the "state." In the real world, we are only responsible for and have to fear the consequences of our actions; but in Orwell's world a man had to fear the consequences of his thoughts as well. Most of us would have to agree that living in a world in which we could be punished not only for what we did, but also for what we thought, would be a frightening world indeed.

Scientology comes very close to being this kind of world. As Hubbard once said, "The E-meter sees all, knows all, tells everything." With Scientology auditing, there is a constant invasion into the privacy of the thoughts of members.

In Scientology, the Road to Total Freedom, Hubbard has created a world frighteningly similar to the nightmarish world of Orwell's fantasy.

And in Scientology, it is the system of "ethics" which is Big Brother, constantly watching over all.

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