Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health

Dianetics

I first noticed the TV ads for the book (which was published in 1950) in the late 80s during the cartoon/syndicated sitcom hours of 4-6pm, if I remember correctly. A strange block of airtime to flog a strange belief system. The ads asked some pretty pointed questions, queries to which the answers were supposedly to be found within the pages of the book, like verses from the Bible. And then there was an animated erupting volcano, which I guess can mean whatever you want it to. It was very simple, but effective–if you are of a certain age, you probably remember these ads. As far as book sales went, they were tossing around numbers that would shame even McDonald’s (34 Billion copies sold or something) but heck, the Sci-Fi writer with the ship’s captain hat and deplorable oral hygiene was never anything less than grandiose.

Of course, in those days you couldn’t just hop on the internet and find out how impossibly silly the entire thing is, although I guess you could have bought the book and read it and found out pretty quick. I never did that. However, I like to think I have a closer connection to Scientology than most other non-believers thanks to the person at my gym who keeps leaving various “members only” periodicals in the communal magazine rack, organs with titles like “Source” and “Impact.” I take them home with me every time I see one and have built up quite a library! The words within, written in a version of English stuffed to bursting with words that are barely comprehensible to the layperson, are nevertheless endlessly fascinating. Am I tempted sometimes, as I page through these magazines late at night, to dig the platinum fillings out of my molars and sell that precious metal for the cash that will then allow me to take that first step onto the “Bridge?” Of course I do! But I’m never quite able to make the jump…

I’m a skeptic by nature, and I remember thinking to myself how hard it must be for the higher-ups responsible for promulgating this endlessly profitable scheme of psychological battery and financial slavery to keep a straight face while they prattle on about Thetans and Engrams and Xenu and Sea Org and OT Levels and Going Clear, but then I watched some clips of a few of their meetings and realized that David Miscavige–the current “Master,” if you will, and prime beneficiary of all those donated dollars– is pretty much grinning ear to ear during every speech he gives. Hell, wouldn’t you be?

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