7. About the Function of the SC Vocabulary

Among the most important characteristics of totalitarian movements are the linguistic, totalitarian doctrine interposed between the tightly-knit inside and the distance-producing expansion outside of the group. Its own inventions of understanding, connotations of available concepts, and figures of speech achieve a great meaning, because they release suggestive powers, and develop their own concept of life which is inaccessible to verification and experience, which Hannah Arendt has described as a "fool's hell", in which people "are never rewarded with any peace in which they are able to confront the reality of the tangible world" (Arendt, 1955, p. 159).

Whoever goes through the textbooks of the SC quickly comes upon an abundance of technical concepts. "Clear", for instance, means someone who has successfully completed the Scientology course, "auditing" is the advisement of customers by the auditors of SC. An "operating thetan" is "a state of existence above clear in which the clear has made himself familiar anew with his original abilities. An operating thetan is knowingly and willingly at cause over life, thought, matter, energy, space and time" (What is Scientology, p. 814). PTS is the acronym for Potential Trouble Source, "someone who has a connection in some way to a suppressive person and is detrimentally influenced by him" (What is Scientology, p. 815).

These technical concepts avoid internal or external criticism in that they are absolutely fixed. They are not subject to a permanent process of reflection, rather they amount to accomplishments of insights and inalienable truths. For instance, the logic of "Scientology ethics" is said to be "incontestable" (What is Scientology, p.241).

If one follows the tone of criticism of the SC, it has to do with a number of technical concepts concerning ideological contexts because they have been extenuated or distorted in a suggestive manner. The contrast of esoteric and general definitions in the following table gives an exemplary impression of the problems of the SC technical vocabulary.

Table: glossary of the SC esoteric definition and several examples of the critical definition.

Concept: Aberration.


"A deviation from rational thought or conduct. In essence it means to err, to make a mistake, or, more precisely, to have a fixed idea which is not true. ...Aberration is opposed to mental health, which would be its opposite" (What is Scientology, p. 819).


"Idea which was forged in Dianetics. Hubbard used it to signify the deviation from "normal," irrational behavior. 2. By this is meant any transaction or way of thinking which does not correspond to scientologistic concepts. 3. Sickness which can be cured only through auditing. Every non-Scientologist is "aberrated", therefore sick. According to Hubbard the same holds true for society (Political Dianetics: The aberrated Society, 1951)" (Potthoff, 1993, p. 116).

Concept: Clear


"A very desirable state for an individual which is attained by auditing and was never possible before Dianetics. A clear is someone who no longer possesses his reactive mind and therefore does not suffer the disadvantageous effects which could be caused by the reactive mind. The clear does not have engrams, which, if they are restimulated, nullify the accuracy of his thinking in that they introduce hidden and wrong data" (What is Scientology, p. 811).


"Although many thousands of people have allegedly reached the state of clear, the thunderously announced public changes have, naturally, never been credibly presented. Not only individual people are supposed to be clear, so is the world: so there is a program, 'Clear Europe', in which 'Clear Germany' plays a special role. A former member reports: the code word 'Clear'... means nothing other than the seizing of power by Scientology" (Overbeck, 1994, p. 209).

Concept: Suppressive person (SP)


"Someone who produces a determined set of characteristics and mental attitudes which motivates him to suppress other people in his environment. This is the person whose behavior is designed to bring about catastrophic consequences. Also is called 'antisocial personality'" (What is Scientology, p. 816).


"Hubbard divides people into two categories: those who advocate Scientology and take part in its expansion of power count as 'constructive', 'social' and 'good'; critics of Scientology are perceived as 'catastrophic', 'antisocial', 'evil', and 'suppressive'. 'Anti-Scientologists' and 'suppressives', according to Hubbard, count for 20 percent of humanity, but 'create every other difficulty.' People who openly criticize Scientology are seen as the most dangerous type of suppressive persons" (Overbeck, 1994, p. 215).

Concept: Ethics


"The logic of Scientology ethics is incontestable and stands on two important concepts: good and evil. As is the case with ethics and justice, good and evil have long been a question of perception, insecurity and confusion. But along with that if one really wants to understand Scientology ethics, one must understand that good is a constructive act of survival... Now that we have defined what 'good' is, let us describe 'bad' as the opposite. Everything is bad which, relatively speaking, destroys more than it builds in the dynamics. Something which produces more destruction than construction is 'bad' from the viewpoint of an individual, from the future generation, the group, the species, life or the physical universe, which it destroys" (What is Scientology, p. 241).


"The purpose of Scientology ethics is not a philosophical-scientific theory of good and evil, but of 'the removal of counter-intentions and foreign intentions from the environment." The fight against critics and opponents is the goal of Scientology ethics as is the eradication of inside criticism. Hubbard's book, 'Introduction to Scientology Ethics' is seen by critics as a 'mafia-like prescription' (Abel), because it more or less summons up cryptic criminal action, for example it describes the possibility that a critic 'makes a dull thud in the dark upon the pavement or that the entire enemy camp go up in flames as a birthday present' (Overbeck, 1994, p. 210).

The list of SC-specific technical concepts is not easily pursued. Through it is founded an independent world view which entails a whole series of functions. For those concerned these mean a more or less strong ideological absorption of their person and of their personality.

"Out of the many teachings only those which use the power of Scientology are selected. Essential parts are left out and substituted through their own, in particular the black-and-white theory which forces people into two camps. Into the good, productive people (who are recognizable in that Scientology acknowledges them), and into the rest (recognizable by refusal of Scientology). A basis of great evil is hereby established. And while the member is in Scientology it is impossible to escape. Through the continual handling with the teachings of Hubbard, one is always in this perfidious, finely-meshed group-think, and dealing with other people is denied since one does not want to compromise the progress of Scientology. Access to other teachings is completely closed, as is the chance to gain continuing perceptions. The prison is perfectly constructed. Through this egotistical exclusion of the rest of the mental world and the imprisonment in the power machine and in the consciousness machinery of Scientology the personal, spiritual and mental aura of a person is malformed into complete dependence and blindness" (Voltz, 1995, p. 38).

Pothoff reports on the acceptance stage of Scientology as he was confronted with his new technical vocabulary:

"Ideas were completely filled with new concepts and imaginations. The 'social personality', the 'antisocial personality', 'suppressive' and 'roller coaster' (a person for whom things sometimes go well and sometimes bad) -- these concepts came from a different program, a different view of life. They were not only new, but also alien, and I was aware that I would have to desert my accustomed world if I wanted to grasp these concepts. ... The 'new person' seemed close to the griffin, the 'clear' is someone who has brought order into his life, who no longer had his 'reactive mind' at hand. According to Hubbard's conceptions, each person has an 'analytical' and a 'reactive mind' (comparable to the subconscious). In the reactive mind all negative experiences and concepts of life are stored. Through auditing this information is supposed to be discovered in the unconscious and then extinguished. When all 'wrong' information is extinguished then you have a 'cleared' person who, from now on, can act 'rationally.' I also wanted to be clear in order to finally be able to live in peace and to bring peace to the world. ...When one first graduates from the stringent communications course, then one has learned to think and to feel in this new vocabulary; then the way out is so difficult and complex that one would rather stay in" (Potthoff, 1994, p. 23ff).

The vocabulary of the SC suggests from within, directed at its own membership, the exactness of allegedly scientific processes. "E-meter", "auditing" or "engram" promise a tested, unique, optimistic program and celebrate the news of dependability and scientific expertise of true practical instruments. SC as a "technology" is a frequently used figure of speech. It pretends that the process of "auditing" is done according to exact, planned, precisely-led procedure without deviation and without mistakes. The claim of a "technology" in accordance with the preconception of technical scientific procedure in connection with communications processes is ideological in so far as the hermetic plane of human communication, which constantly dovetails misunderstandings, lack of understanding, problems of understanding and a plurality of perceptual understandings, is suppressed. "Clear" or "thetan" are visionary, object-oriented concepts which connote a human and socio-political ideal circumstance which is worthy of achieving. They are the real legitimizing central concepts because they encompass the sense, purpose and justification for existence of the SC.

From the inside looking out the vocabulary of SC takes on a political and demagogic quality. "Aberration" is the vague transcription for all that contradicts the goals of SC, a "suppressive person" is just as vague of a transcription of a person who, in some way, disturbs the SC. SC can defend itself against every criticism not only in that people can be declared to be "suppressive persons", organizations and institutions, but that also competitive or critical ideas and thoughts can be declared to be "aberrative." Served with such a declaration, any type criticism can be pushed back or shut off.

Developments in the past years have shown that in the stronger day-to-day fields of politics, SC can take on as a rhetorical figure an aggressive, demagogical quality. In 1994 and 1995 SC tried to discredit the German nation and the German government in the American media by alleging that they had used National Socialist methods in the persecution of minorities - of which SC saw itself as one. At the beginning of 1995 SC started an advertisement campaign in the prestigious New York Times. A series of advertisements were placed in the congressional newspaper "Roll Call" between April and June, 1994 (SC, 1994). Twenty full-page advertisements appeared under the headline "Stop the Hate in Germany - Don't let history repeat itself!" The goal of both campaigns was to place criticism and measures against SC in Germany in the context of Nazi persecution of the Jews, by that the German republic and the German government were to be pilloried, and the SC to present itself as a persecuted minority. A half a century after the Nurnberg trials Germany finds itself in a similar scenario ("a similar scenario is being repeated in modern Germany", New York Times, Jan.4, 1995). Target of the encroachment - the situation is reminiscent of pre-war Germany - is said to be Scientologists, among others. In Germany there were, similar to the hostility against the Jews in the Third Reich, considerable encroachments against ethnic and religious minorities in a never-ending campaign of intolerance and hate. "But most of whom suffer from it are the members of Scientology" (New York Times, Jan.11, 1995). The discrimination against the members of SC resemble "in a frightening way a time more than fifty years past, when Hitler's Nazi party came to power", was to be seen one week later (New York Times, Jan. 18, 1995).

The campaigns emphatically indicate that SC is a political organization. They serve to show, in the combative speech of demagoguery and of politics, that the opponent - in this case the Republic of Germany - is to be hit and attacked at the sorest point and is to be humiliated and discredited. According to Robert Vaughn Young, one of the highest ranking ex-members, this campaign is modelled on the secret campaign "Operation Snow White", which was developed by Hubbard in 1973, which is based upon the concept that a conspiracy exists against SC which is led by ex-Nazis and psychiatrists from Germany (Young, 1995). The demagogic conception that the alleged persecution of minorities in Germany resembles the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany now leads to the question of what SC thinks of democracy in general.


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