I’m doing an extension course on the book “Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health”.
The last time I read this book was about 30 years ago. I’d forgotten how much info was in it, and what a kick it was to read this book. The work you do on the extension course makes sure that you “get” the important points from each chapter, so you can retain and use them later on. There’s a terrific glossary so you don’t have to run to the dictionary constantly — they’ve got the words defined as they are used in the text, so you get the full conceptual understanding of the theory and practice of Dianetics. I’m nearly done with the course, having done two or three chapters per week, so it hasn’t been a strain. (I confess I also read the new biography of Mark Twain over the holidays, so I missed a couple of weeks of lessons.)
Dianetics burst on the scene in 1950, and a small army of Dianeticists started listening to each other (“auditing”) each other, and applying the techniques in that book to remember what had happened to them while they were injured, unconscious or ill. Today there is a LARGE army of people doing the same thing, all over the world. The book continues to sell extremely well — millions of copies of it have been published and sold over the years, and it has been revised and re-translated recently into 15 languages. The revisions (covered in an earlier blog posting) concerned typographical errors that had been in the book since it was first published (they went all the way back to the original manuscripts and primitive 1950’s wire tape-recordings from the author, L. Ron Hubbard).
In any event – I’m really enjoying reading the book. The Dianetics techniques have been improved over the years (instead of hundreds of hours to achieve the end result, it may take only tens of hours now). But the underlying info is as useful today as it was then, just as true and just as brilliant.
I gave you the Mark Twain book! How was it?
Hi, Desi –
The book about Mark Twain by Ron Waters was terrific. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Mark Twain in detail and at a depth that was sometimes stunning. I was awed by the level of detail that Ron Waters seemed to have completely mastered about every aspect of Twain’s life. I know Twain has been a focus of dozens of biographers, and that there’s tremendous archival information about him, so there’s a lot of data to plow through, sort out, and talk about. But Waters put it all back together very well. He also did an excellent job of staying in chronological sequence, so the time track of Twain’s life is not all mixed up, but clearly laid out and easy to follow.
I also received for Christmas a copy of the book “Listening is an Act of Love” (which I had seen for sale at Starbucks and passed up.). Now there’s a “history” book that didn’t need to be written, certainly not with the reverential treatment that it gives to the reminiscences of the average people it details.
It’s a book based on a project that attempts to bring pathos to the everyday lives of average people, by interviewing them about their lives, recording their answers, and saving it for posterity as “history”. Nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but it’s not like Dianetics, where listening to them actually helps them get better. The people running this project have no technology for actually helping people. An experienced and knowledgeable listener (“auditor” in Dianetics terms) would actually have helped these people become more able. Instead they just let them ramble – you could occasionally “hear” some of the phrases that these people were using — a Dianetic auditor would have had them repeat these phrases until the incident (containing pain and unconsciousness or loss) that these phrases came from was revealed to them.
In any event, I couldn’t finish reading the book — some of these people were in real pain and no one was helping them. Knowing what we know of Dianetics, it was gruesome, like listening to psychiatrists chop up communication from their patients and evaluate for them.
I have finished the Dianetics book today and the Extension course that covers it. Wow! What a book! Hubbard not only figured out what makes men crazy, but worked out a technique almost anyone can use to help other people. It’s an incredibly impressive achievement.
As one who has received a lot of Dianetic auditing (counseling) over the years, I can say that the techniques work exactly as advertised.