| LA Free Press
William S. Burroughs on Scientology
March 6, 1970
In view of the fact that my articles and statements on Scientology may have influenced young people to associate themselves with the so called Church of Scientology, I feel an obligation to make my present views on the subject quite clear.
Some of the techniques are highly valuable and warrant further study and experimentation. The E Meter is a useful device ... (many variations of this instrument are possible). On the other hand I am in flat disagreement with the organizational policy. No body of knowledge needs an organizational policy. Organizational policy can only impede the advancement of knowledge. There is a basic incompatibility between any organization and freedom of thought. Suppose Newton had founded a Church of Newtonian Physics and refused to show his formula to anyone who doubted the tenets of Newtonian Physics? All organizations create organizational necessities. It is precisely organizational necessities that have prevented Scientology from obtaining the serious consideration merited by the importance of Mr. Hubbard's discoveries. Scientologists are not prepared to accept intelligent and sometimes critical evaluation. They demand unquestioning acceptance.
Mr. Hubbard's overtly fascist utterances (China is the real threat to world peace, Scientology is protecting the home, the church, the family, decent morals ... positively no wife swapping. It's a dirty Communist trick ... national boundaries, the concepts of RIGHT and WRONG against evil free thinking psychiatrist) can hardly recommend him to the militant students. Certainly it is time for the Scientologists to come out in plain English on one side or the other, if they expect the trust and support of young people. Which side are you on Hubbard, which side are you on?
This statement which appears in my forthcoming book The Job needs considerable amplification. I quote from Freedom Scientology number 11 ... (no date) PSYCHIATRY No. 1 - beliefs and aims.
An expose of this weird cult(Next edition: Psychiatry No. 2 Murder by 'Treatment.')
Note: Not all psychiatrists are bad. Many would like to reform the practices inflicted by the few on the many. We shall publish their views.Now what is all this flap about psychiatrists? At worst psychiatrists are the defenders of the establishment 'adjusting' or coercing 'deviants' back into socially accepted norms. At best they urge a more liberal and humane approach to human problems and may even clash with the establishment. The Mental Health psychiatrists for example put a block into Nixon's stiffer drug laws. Doctor Chisholm seems to me to be making very good sense. The concept of national boundaries, of NATIONS is of course the war formula. Dogmatic RIGHT and WRONG is the tool of psychological enslavement used by all establishments. I did not know that Julian Huxley had taken up the study of medicine and obtained a licence to practice psychiatry. When I last visited his home he was a 19th Century Darwinian biologist and not at all subversive. I am quite sure the Special Branch does not keep a man on him. Kinsey, when I knew him, was a statistical psychologist with no pretensions to psychiatric qualifications. 'A man may be angrily against racial equality, financial and technical aid to backward countries, organized labor ETC.' Translate: 'A man can be a decent church going cop loving creep doesn't want any Niggers in his union ... Why are we giving away good American dollars to a lot of immoral foreigners?.. As for Hippies, dope freaks and long hairs I say shoot them so who cares? Well a decent-Wallace folk like that could suddenly be kidnapped off to Alaska brain washed castrated by international Communistic psychiatrists.'
"Most of them psychiatrist fellers is Jews ain't they Clem?"
"Sure are. The Jews don't believe in Christ, Luke. I read about it in my Masonic home work."
All this is uneasily reminiscent of the Protocols of Zion and the Volkischer Beobachter. (The Protocols of Zion is an anti-Semitic forgery first published in St. Petersburg in 1903. In 1921 the Protocols were established as a forgery. The Nazis insisted that the Protocols were genuine and produced this document in support of their anti-Semitic measures. Anti-Semitic propaganda poured out of the Der Sturmer and Der Volkischer Beobachter daily cartoons of hideous Jews raping Christian girls and eating Christian babies as they plot world conquest. The Protocols outline the following steps in the master plan ... Fomenting world wide subversion and undermining authority by fostering liberal ideas, breaking down the family by encouraging every sort of license, permissiveness and immorality, undermining and discrediting religion. Gentiles are to be encouraged to be atheists. Gentiles are to be encouraged to be atheists.) We can read and appreciate Ezra Pound's poetry without sharing his political views. Can we make a similar distinction between Mr. Hubbard's publicly expressed opinions and the technology and practice of Scientology? No, we cannot.
A separation between Mr. Hubbard's work and his opinions is ruled out by Mr. Hubbard's grandiose claims ... 'Galaxy upon galaxy billions of light years away have no bridge no route to freedom ... Scientology is the one and only road to total freedom and total power ... Scientology has the answers to all the problems of the universe including the method of solution' ... When the Founder, Controller and Guardian of the 'road to total freedom' starts spouting John Birch talk, his road is called in question and we have every right to ask precisely what his 'method of solution' is. If Mr. Hubbard were content to be a technician who has made some important discoveries we could afford to ignore his personal opinions. When he sets himself up as the savior of all possible universes we cannot. The shoddy presentation, the reactionary opinions, the preposterous claims, the atrocious writing are so immediately repellent that few intelligent people can be persuaded that Scientology is worth a second glance. And should anyone wish to make an objective evaluation, he would find it difficult to do so owing to the structure of the Scientology Organization. To begin with, the techniques actually in use are not described in Mr. Hubbard's books. To learn these techniques one must take courses at a Scientology Center. And one does not simply pay the tuition, obtain the materials and study. Oh no. One must JOIN. One must 'sign up for the duration of the universe' ... (Sea Org members are required to sign a billion year contract) ... The advanced courses are not only unpublished but 'confidential', and any student revealing this material is subject to expulsion and exclusion from further training. These materials can only be obtained by undergoing the training and the conditions for training laid down by Mr. Hubbard. In order to gain access to the materials of the Clearing Course, I had to undergo a series of Security Checks (at my own expense of course) carried out on a lie detector ... ('Do you have any doubts about Scientology? Do you have any unkind thoughts about L. Ron Hubbard? Do you know any Communists personally? - No one asked whether I knew any CIA men personally - Are you connected to a Suppressive Person? ... A Suppressive Person is anyone in disagreement with Scientology ... Are you here for any other reason than what you say you are? Do you consider these security measures unnecessary? ETC. for twenty three hours) ... You have to swear and believe on some level that the organizational policy is correct and that the materials are as Mr. Hubbard says they are before you can see them. It's like a physicist saying 'you can't see my formula unless you first agree that they are correct sight unseen.' The practice of Security Checks has been discontinued. However, anyone expressing doubts about Scientology would find himself excluded from the advanced courses. And the practice of assigning 'Conditions' is still in effect. These conditions, 'Non-existence', 'Liability', 'Treason', 'Doubt', are assigned for misdemeanors and crimes against Scientology. A student assigned to an advanced condition must wear a dirty grey rag around his arm, may not bathe, shave or change his clothes, must remain on the premises, must perform manual work, deliver a 'paralyzing blow to the enemy', admit his errors and petition every member of the center for forgiveness. Does Mr. Hubbard seriously expect mature scientists, artists, and professional men who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields to submit to this prep school nonsense?
Furthermore, whole categories of people are automatically excluded from training and processing and may never see Mr. Hubbard's confidential materials: Suppressive Persons, that is anyone who has ever publicly attacked Scientology together with all their families and connections. Anyone 'sitting in judgment on Scientology.' Anyone who has come to find out 'if Scientology works.' No one who has used cannabis within the last six weeks or LSD within the last 3 months may be processed. Such are the unique difficulties encountered by anyone who wishes to inform himself on the subject of Scientology.
As to my personal evaluation, after six months of study: I would not be writing this article unless I was convinced that Scientology is worth serious consideration. I feel that I have benefited greatly from Scientology processing. In an earlier article in Mayfair I said that Scientology can do more in ten hours than psychoanalysis can do in ten years. For what this is worth I still think so. Scientology is incomparably more precise and efficient than any method of psychotherapy now in use. But unfortunately, Scientology has duplicated some of the basic errors of conventional psychotherapy. Any aberration that effects the human mind must have a three dimensional coordinate point in the human nervous system. Otherwise it could not producer an effect any more than a television or radio broadcast could be seen or heard without a receiving set. When Western psychiatrists turned away from Pavlov's lead and postulated Super Egos, Ids and Complexes without locating these entities in the human nervous system they foundered in mystical abstractions. And where, for that matter, is Mr. Hubbard's Reactive Mind? (When I suggested that the Reactive Mind must be located in the hypothalamus my suggestion fell on unresponsive ears. Mr. Hubbard is not interested in suggestions. He states flatly that he has never known any suggestion from a student to contain the slightest value.)
The Reactive Mind, as set forth by Mr. Hubbard in the Clearing Course, is a model control instrument well worth the attention of anyone who is looking for inner freedom. Familiarity with this artifact gives one a considerable emancipation from crippling automatic reactions. Mr. Hubbard places the Reactive Mind in unimaginable antiquity, thus making any examination of its origin impossible. In view of a dim rusty label 'Made in USA September 17, 1889,' I cannot go along with this. My guess is that this control artifact was set up around the turn of the century. That is was largely the work of one man. That its purpose was and is to keep people enslaved on this planet, to block the exploration of space and to ensure a parasitic ersatz immortality for the founder and his confederates. As long as anyone reacts to the Reactive Mind, HE is there. I have, in fact, an identical picture of this man. He was neither very famous nor completely obscure. He was neither very rich nor poor. He was probably a mathematician, perhaps a composer of music, almost certainly a Mayan scholar. The tip off came from the Mayan codices. To summarize my personal impression: I feel that Scientology has scratched some surfaces and turned up some leads. Experimentation and research carried out by workers in the fields of electronics, virology, cybernetics, biology, and operant conditioning could result in revolutionary advances.
Mr. Hubbard says that the mere sight of his confidential materials would make any WOG - (His revealing term to designate those unversed in Scientology) - violently sick. I can claim some experience and skill in the scrivener's trade, but I could not undertake to write a few words guaranteed to make any appreciable number of readers physically sick. So, if this claim is justified, it is certainly a matter for investigation. I am sure that volunteers in abundance would step forward. Who would pass up an opportunity to read such potent prose? A headache or a cold or the loss of the last supper is a small price to pay. This is not a frivolous suggestion. If words can make people vomit how are these particular words effecting the vomiting centers in the hypothalamus? Or is this claim put forward to give his followers a feeling of importance and to justify rather substantial fees? Only an actual test can give us the answer.
If the Scientologists persist in a self-imposed isolation and in withholding their materials from those best qualified to evaluate and use them, they may well find themselves bypassed. Mr. Hubbard says he wants recognition for his discoveries. Well, let him then show his confidential materials free of charge and without any restrictions to qualified workers in other fields. He says he has the road to freedom. Others have been a long time on that road. At the Edinburgh Writer's Conference in 1952 Alex Trocchi coined the phrase 'astronauts of inner space.' Let him show his confidential materials to the astronauts of inner space: Alex Trocchi, Brion Gysin, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, to anthropologists like Castaneda and shamans like Don Juan. Let him show his material to mathematicians, computer programmers, biologists and virologists, to students of language like Marshall McLuhan and Noam Chomsky. Let him show his material to those who have fought for freedom in the streets, Eldridge Cleaver, Stokely Carmichael, Abbie Hoffman, Dick Gregory, to the veterans of Chicago and Paris and Mexico City.
Above all, young people have a right to see his materials. So let him set up a center and give his processing and materials free of charge and without restrictions of any kind to anyone under the age of 35. If he has what he says he has, the results should be cataclysmic. And the mass application of other techniques now available should produce even more interesting results. In my forthcoming book, The Job, I describe the experiments of doctor Neal E. Miller who has taught rats to lower blood pressure, reduce rate of heart beats, control digestion and breathing and brain waves. He has taught rats in one hour to do what yogis take 20 years to learn. Anything a rat can do you can do better, as subsequent experiments with human subjects have demonstrated.
Quote from TIME, July 18, 1969, page 59 ... 'Through the cerebrospinal nervous system, the mind is able to dominate much of the body, how a man walks, talks, etc. But the body's glandular and visceral processes, run by what the scientists call the automatic nervous system, have long been considered beyond the reach of conscious control. Now though, experimental psychologists have proved that the body's automatic nervous system can be taught.'
The results of such experiments tend to support the theory of mind over matter so long ridiculed by modern science. "People are reexamining old concepts like mind/body dualism" says Dr. Bernard Engel of the National Institute of Child Health in Baltimore. Engel's work in "automatic shaping" has enabled him to alter heart rates, and rhythms to alleviate irregular heart beats and high blood pressure. Other researchers have proved that man can learn to control even such functions as sweating, blood pressure, intestinal contractions and brain waves.
The vistas are staggering. Dr. Joe Kamiya of the Langley Porter Neurological Institute in San Francisco, who has experimented with conscious regulation of brain waves, looks forward to the day when men will have "an internal vocabulary, a language he can use to explain more effectively and completely how he feels inside. In time we should be able to talk fluently about feelings such as brain wave production, blood pressure and so on."
In one test eight of ten subjects were able to control the tone, emitting or suppressing brain waves as requested. Dr. Peter Lang has applied automatic learning to control the human heart rate. The subject becomes able, as Lang puts it, "to drive his own heart."
"Man may be able to control his internal processes, to relieve insomnia, regulate digestion and improve sexual response."
But, warns Dr. Neal Miller of the Rockefeller Institute ... "The question now is whether automatic learning can be effective enough. We don't know yet."
Well, why not find out? Let's condition people on an assembly line to control brain waves and bodily processes. This could lead to complete mood control. Any trip you want without drugs. Both psychiatric and Scientology processing are based on the assumption that a conflict brought into conscious focus loses power. Undoubtedly it does lose power temporarily. This method is rather like mending an interminable fence that keeps falling down behind you. So, instead of directing attention to the brain waves that accompany conflict, why not direct attention towards the brain waves that accompany calm and relaxation? Millions of people emitting alpha brain waves could cool the whole scene. Instead of going where the trouble is, why not go where the trouble isn't? It is time to get down to the bioelectronics of the actual brain mechanism and tune conflict out.
In his book, The Teachings of Don Juan, Castaneda described hallucinogenic drugs of devastating potency, drugs unknown to modern science. These drugs should be investigated and made available.
Unimaginable extensions of awareness are now possible in terms of existing techniques. Let's set up a center where all these techniques are pooled and interchanged. Let's explore and chart inner space. Your inner space belongs to you. It is time to demand what is yours and to challenge anyone who claims to have knowledge of inner space to come out and show what he has.
This brain wave control is not property. Alpha waves are the waves of sleep and dream, a relaxed calm state of mind. So we hold Alpha Festivals where 400,000 brains get together and emit alpha waves. Many other brain waves can be isolated and subjects trained to emit them. Any kind of wave you want. Find a wave you like and emit it. Epileptic fit waves if your thing is fits. And the ever popular sex waves. Emit pot waves and put the narcs out of business. The Woodstock Festival portends a new mass consciousness. This consciousness with the mass emission of brain waves can produce far reaching effects. Everywhere people pool their funds and buy an encephalographic unit. Tinkers make their own. Whole cities are dreamy and somnolent with alpha waves. Sex wave orgies sweep the world. You can feel the aura of an epilepsy fit for miles; horses paw the ground, and dogs howl. There are pop festivals to rock and roll brain waves. Peace, love, and beauty waves engulf the cops. They are throwing away their guns. A blizzard of sugary benevolence about to blow. The president calls for a nationwide alpha day. The ESP waves have been isolated. Mass telepathy breaks out. Any waves you like.
What both I and William Burroughs, wished we knew then....
The Real Sources for Scientology
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