A book about modern science, mental health

By Alex P. Vidal

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” — Melody Beattie

THOSE who regularly visit the bookstores, especially the ones selling old and second hand books and magazines, will probably agree that L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics can compete with the Holy Bible and Webster’s Dictionary in terms of visibility and probably number of copies displayed and sold.

In major book sales, Dianetics was always dominant and affordable; sometimes it costs an incredible P9. (In some areas in California, copies were distributed for free but you have to listen first to the “lecturers” in coat and tie who would expound the topic about Scientology in a casual conversation. I personally experienced this in downtown Los Angeles.)

On September 28, 2011, our late lawyer and philosopher friend, Ernesto Dayot, got a hardbound “anniversary issue” for only P12 in a book sale in Atrium Mall in Iloilo City. A brand new copy was priced at P375.

Dianetics is a set of ideas and practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body that was invented by the science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard and is practiced by followers of Scientology.

Hubbard coined Dianetics from the Greek stems dia, meaning through, and nous, meaning mind.

It explores the existence of a mind with three parts: the conscious “analytical mind,” the subconscious “reactive mind”, and the somatic mind.

The goal of Dianetics is to remove the “reactive mind”, which Scientologists believe prevents people from becoming more ethical, more aware, happier and saner.

The Dianetics procedure to achieve this is called “auditing”. Auditing is a process whereby a series of questions are asked by the Scientology auditor, in an attempt to rid the auditee of the painful experiences of the past which scientologists believe to be the cause of the “reactive mind”.


Dianetics grew out of Hubbard’s personal experiences and experiments and has been described as a mix of “Western technology and Oriental philosophy,” according to Wikipedia. Hubbard stated that Dianetics “forms a bridge between” cybernetics and General Semantics, a set of ideas about education originated by Alfred Korzybski that was receiving much attention in the science fiction world in the 1940s.

Hubbard claimed that Dianetics can increase intelligence, eliminate unwanted emotions and alleviate a wide range of illnesses he believed to be psychosomatic.

Among the conditions purportedly treated against are arthritis, allergies, asthma, some coronary difficulties, eye trouble, ulcers, migraine headaches, sex deviations and even death. Hubbard variously defined Dianetics as “a spiritual healing technology” and “an organized science of thought.”

Dianetics predates Hubbard’s classification of Scientology as “applied religious philosophy”. Early in 1951, he expanded his writings to include teachings related to the soul, or “thetan”. Dianetics is also practiced by independent groups, collectively called the Free Zone. The Church of Scientology disapproves of Free Zone activities and has prosecuted them in court for misappropriation of Scientology/Dianetics copyrights and trademarks.


Hubbard always claimed that his ideas of Dianetics originated in the 1920s and 1930s. By his own account, he spent a great deal of time in the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital’s library, where he would have encountered the work of Freud and other psychoanalysts.

In April 1950, Hubbard and several others established the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth, New Jersey to coordinate work related for the forthcoming publication. Hubbard first introduced Dianetics to the public in the article Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science published in the May 1950 issue of the magazine Astounding Science Fiction. Hubbard wrote Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health at that time, allegedly completing the 180,000-word book in six weeks.

The success of selling Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health brought in a flood of money, which Hubbard used to establish Dianetics foundations in six major American cities. The scientific and medical communities were far less enthusiastic about Dianetics, viewing it with bemusement, concern, or outright derision. Complaints were made against local Dianetics practitioners for allegedly practicing medicine without a license.

This eventually prompted Dianetics advocates to disclaim any medicinal benefits in order to avoid regulation.

Hubbard explained the backlash as a response from various entities trying to co-opt Dianetics for their own use. Hubbard blamed the hostile press coverage in particular on a plot by the American Communist Party.

In later years, Hubbard decided that the psychiatric profession was the origin of all of the criticism of Dianetics, as he believed it secretly controlled most of the world’s governments.


The antics of a 35-year-old congressman-elect from one of our districts in Queens, New York who lied about his resume and family background reminds us of a young member of the Philippine congress who also faked her credentials.

But the Filipino House member neither denied nor admitted the deception by opting not to answer the issue during the campaign period. Because of her silence, no one has brought up the issue again.

New York Post called wrote on its headline, “Liar Rep.-elect George Santos admits fabricating key details of his bio” in an “exclusive” story dated December 26, 2022.

Santos’s professional biography was called into question earlier this month after the New York Times reported that he misrepresented a number of claims, including where he attended college and his alleged employment history with high-profile Wall Street firms.

The sad part was he admitted that he lied.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)