What Can Possibly Go Wrong?

Scientology 1.0.0 – part 7

Infinite games vs. finite games

Essentially, when discussing philosophy, or ethics, or religion too, what one is talking about is how to play infinite games as different from finite games, and when one form is optimum, and when it isn’t. I’d guess this is at the root of knowing how to be in the world.

In Scientology 1.0.0, a game is not just for children, or adults in their leisure time, but is defined as anything any person, or group (or team), gets involved with to achieve some specific goal or purpose, and, to be playable, must consist of specified, or agreed upon, or at least known, freedoms and barriers (rules, whether followed or broken). So, football is a game, and so is war.

A finite game is a game to be “won” where there will be definite winners and clear losers, such as in football and war, and then the game is over. An infinite game, on the other hand, is a game that can go on for a long time, like the creation and reinvention of culture (art) or the development of new technologies to help people (science). This is a game where everyone and everything wins.

Infinite games, though, require the participation, generally, of an increasing number of people who are intrinsically motivated. That is to say, self-starters.

The purpose of any good educational system, as well as any effective therapy, must be to nurture, or rehabilitate, as the case may be, the intrinsic motivation on the part of the individual. Extrinsic motivation has generally been the human norm, sort of the default setting, you might say, due to the pressures of basic survival. Whereas intrinsic motivation has been the realm of the very few, such as artists and inventors.

But as civilisation has advanced, that is to say, improved (and it has improved enormously, despite what the mass-media and politicians say) and as individualism1 plays such a primary role in this advancement, it has become increasingly necessary that more humans begin developing intrinsic motivation as their primary mode of being.2

True virtue can only be obtained by means of intrinsic, that is to say, self-motivated, action. Doing something because it is valuable and useful in and of itself, rather than for the potential rewards. There is no virtue as long as one’s actions are mostly motivated by outside forces, like avoiding punishment or getting a reward.

In Scientology 1.0.0, this optimum condition, living with virtue, is called self-determinism and can only really be achieved by the eventual cognisance and realisation (attainment) of pan-determinism. But as simple as that may sound, this is a hugely complex problem.


I don’t know if all the ingredients necessary to achieve such high standards of education and therapy are entirely contained within the subject of Scientology 1.0.0, but I do know that the goal of pan-determinism is the whole point of it, as it has been with any truly philosophical and ethical exercise since the beginning of history.

It should be easy to evaluate the actual value of any educational system or therapy: does it assist in the development of, or rehabilitate, self-determinism? If it doesn’t, then it’s not very useful.

This catastrophically normal, sheep-like behaviour is what motivated, in part, my father to embark on his project with Dianetics and Scientology. But when one goes up against the status-quo, then the self-appointed custodians of society get angry, the sheep can become wolves, and so one is bound to get into trouble. It’s this part of the story that I hope to assist in telling.

Alright. Now on to the main point of this article.

Group dianetics

Often, when I am talking to people who don’t like Scientology, I get the impression from them that we are discussing something sitting in some sort of strange historical vacuum. Perhaps we are, or perhaps this is just a recent symptom of our modern thinking; to the extent that modern thinking sees the past as an ocean of irrelevant religions, superstitions, and myths, and that our forefathers were merely ignorant fools; similar to how older children, knowing everything there is to know about the world, view their younger siblings.

I believe that viewing Scientology as “just a weird cult” or some kind of cultural aberration, a freak of nature, is a serious problem. This casual contempt for seemingly unusual religious practises and groups is possibly more dangerous than people are aware, and probably prevents any genuine investigation into man’s long and difficult journey to the present. As a result, this attitude may block the prospect of better solutions to man’s condition going forward. If a person decides to believe that Scientology is weird and strange, then alright, fine, that’s their right. But they either do not know their history or choose to ignore it. Shame, though, because everything that led up to its creation is really vital information, the ignorance of which can distort a proper view of reality.

But before looking at any of that earlier history, I’d like to discuss a little-known subject called group dianetics.3

Group dianetics is a detailed therapy that attempts to resolve the age-old problem of when groups, nations, and so on, perhaps starting out more or less free and liberal, or at least vital and dynamic, spiral, almost inevitably, into decadence, authoritarianism, and, finally, extinction. This is in part due to group engrams, which are sustained by the group rather than the individual.

In psychology, an engram is, a memory trace. In dianetics: an engram is, a moment (or memory trace, if you will) of pain and/or unconsciousness that may, when triggered, act upon the individual or group in present time, possibly causing non-survival behaviour. From en-, into, or in, and gram < French gramme < Late Latin gramma a small weight < Greek grámma division, letter as a division mark (for example, “group A”); (originally) letter < gráphein write.

Engrams, in order to have their destructive power, must be hidden from the view of either the individual or the group (an interesting aspect of occultism, to be discussed later). Bringing an engram properly into full view results, always, in the “aha!” phenomenon.

They say we study history so as not to repeat past mistakes, which we often do anyway, because a lot of history is either inadequately recorded (hidden), altered (hidden), or just plain wrong (really hidden). Or people just aren’t taught it (another way things get hidden).

For instance, the founding fathers of the United States were very interested in what happened to the Roman Republic and, with limited records, divined as much as they could of all its mistakes in an effort to try and prevent the United States from falling prey to the same errors (group engrams).

The Roman Republic had been cascading from one kind of emergency (group engram) to the next, where special emergency powers (dictatorship) were given to one general or another. Finally, Gaius Julius Caesar grabbed power and became Rome’s first authoritarian dictator for life, and that was the end of the Republic.4

In 1933, about three years after the stock market crash of 1929 (group engram), the president, Franklin Roosevelt, took emergency powers and these powers have never been given up, effectively destroying, seemingly forever, the U.S. tripartite system (group engram). Clearly, the founding fathers did their best to set up a government that would not repeat the Roman Republic’s mistakes, but engrams are a fact of life, and if you don’t manage to keep on top of them, then history will indeed repeat itself. (By the way, I reviewed high school history books back in the ‘80s and was horrified by what I found. There was nothing of the above, that’s for sure, and now look at where we are.)

You may say, this is all too simple, but if it was, we wouldn’t be continuously cascading from one emergency to another, endlessly repeating past errors with such reckless abandon and, even, enthusiasm (the U.S. response to 9/11 comes to mind, then there was the so-called housing crash, and now puffed-up pandemics).

There are ways to get at the information, ways to bring it into the light for the group, and ways to discover whether the process has been achieved successfully. How? Well, it is all too common for us to “discover the problem” and yet not achieve any improvement in the situation or condition. This means that you haven’t completed the process because when you do, you always get an improvement in the condition (“aha!”). It’s a mechanic of the process, not a whim or matter of chance. You can no more avoid an improvement in the condition by this means than you could avoid flying safely from New York to Los Angeles if the plane was well designed, properly maintained, and piloted by experts (not that any sane person wants to be in Los Angeles or New York anymore, which doesn’t say much for me, haha).

Anyway, the idea behind dianetics, as applied to groups, is that they won’t repeat past errors and make things worse if you get the story straight and make it known to all members of the group, especially after emergencies (engrams).

The word “history” comes from histōr which means “learned, wise man.” Wisdom means, among other things, not repeating errors, which, by the by, is another way of describing the state of Clear. (To be sure, Clears continue to make plenty of mistakes in life; to avoid error, and even failure, is to not learn; they just don’t repeat them as often, giving them a more optimal learning curve.)

Ever been part of a group? Well, you can’t be born without being part of a group, even if it’s just you being born to your mother in the middle of nowhere. Often, it is much more difficult to be a part of a group than it is to be a self, an individual, quite a lot more so. This is because so much more of what is happening in the group is generally unknown to its individual constituents. Just as you, the individual, know almost nothing about what your body is doing, so groups also have a similar ignorance about the group. But there are things that normally should or ought to be known in order for it to function well, especially in the case of upsets. If the group expects to continue to function smoothly, then the upset must, at least eventually, be discussed by the constituent members, the incident picked over, and new policies, if required, agreed upon. Just as a correct diagnosis for an illness will lead directly to a cure, if available.

Summing up, Dianetics applies every bit as much to groups, of whatever size, as it does to individuals: it’s to help get at the facts that ought to be known and in view by all members. If you can get the story straight and keep it straight, a group could survive and evolve for an indefinite time, like an infinite game (unlike the individual who usually has only a scant four score years or so). This is what you want for long-term projects like republics.5

So, what’s one example of the things that could possibly go wrong besides a general failure to apply group dianetics?

The group that built up around the subjects of dianetics and scientology, which I am calling “Scientology 2.0”, goes back to the publication of Scientology: A New Science (which was eventually re-titled Dianetics: The Original Thesis). That’s really when this particular group began, in 1948. What happened after that is what happens to every group of every kind, like it or not: it met with various emergencies and did what it could to deal with them. But over time (in this case, three decades) this group failed to apply group dianetics, and now there’s all this trouble. Why was this group therapy not applied, given that, having the theory and technique, it could have known better? Well, one reason is the same reason it wouldn’t be applied in almost any other kind of group where the emergencies being met would end up in a court of law.

This is one of the problems with jurisprudence. To survive in court, an individual or group is rarely given the opportunity to come clean for fear of inviting their own demise, so trials often only add to the confusion of the original emergency (engram). The defense attorney or prosecutor that can successfully hide information by introducing the most confusion, obfuscation, and misdirection will win the case (this is why nearly everybody hates lawyers).

Some years ago, audiences were treated to a rousing film about an intrepid and tenacious lawyer named Erin Brockovich. Spoiler here: she wins the case, the audience laughs and/or weeps, the end. It was based on a true story about an actual person, Ms. Brockovich, who indeed did “win” the case. What the audience never learns, though, is that, despite the town’s “winning,” nothing was ever fixed or changed, and today it is almost a ghost town. Nothing changed except that now you’ve got a destroyed town (one engram) and a pointless court appearance (another engram). These sorts of things pile up and up until eventually the law collapses, the courts collapse, and the whole legal system falls apart. Sad.

Another example, the so-called “O.J. Simpson murder trial” was won by the defense by misdirecting the attention of the jury from a brutal double murder to a question of racism, further eroding Los Angeles race relations, which had already deteriorated after the riots that resulted from the sham trial of the cops involved in the Rodney King beating. Again, sad.

So, some sort of group is created, and it becomes a success. Another person or group claims they were injured by said group, and off they go to court. There is, obviously, some sort of lie or lies involved, but it doesn’t matter to either side, or the law, or the court, so long as the case is “settled,” which, of course, just adds to the original lies, which are, from the dianetic perspective, hidden data (engrams).

Naturally, not only do court cases impugn the discovery of optimum solutions to real emergencies, but many other factors do as well. Part of the reason I am bringing up these examples of legal obtuseness is that the Church of Scientology (Scientology 2.0) is famous for its litigative energy and fervour.

These lies add to the original emergency, compounding the growing confusion. With Scientology 2.0, only little bits of the story are ever told, or worse, lied about, whether in court, in the media, or on the internet.

I’ve seen many discussions on the topic of Scientology 2.0 where the interviewees, many of whom I personally know, conveniently omit all of their own errors and, in some cases, crimes from the stories they are telling, because, of course, they are completely innocent victims. In some cases, these innocents are the very people responsible for creating the emergencies suffered by the group! Let me tell you, this is a long list of people. These people omitting such information, even lying about the facts, is understandable and only human (sigh), but it is not very useful when one is interested in the true story in order to actually improve things by playing the infinite game rather than the finite game.

Besides all that, to make things really complicated and confusing, the story of Dianetics and Scientology is, of course, intricately bound up with all the earlier stories of man’s search for truth over the past ten millennia or more, with the thousands of battles fought over belief and religion and the millions of lives spent in the effort. Figuring out how to properly be in the world is a very difficult project, much more so than founding kingdoms or building empires, which are childishly simple projects in comparison.

Come up with a programme, a therapy, to properly get at the problems of the mind and the soul (and here I’m referring to all practises of whatever stripe) and see what you run into; you won’t be bored, I assure you. If you survive, that is. But if such a therapy, any actually useful and helpful programme of the mind and soul, is to survive long enough to get any real answers, then the story of that programme, the people and groups involved, and also those of its predecessors, must eventually be told and told straight.


Group dianetics is generally not taught nor practised in Scientology 2.0 because if it were, it would probably evolve into Scientology 3.0. This process could potentially open the door to multiple suits against 2.0, and so it is unlikely to happen. But if group dianetics were applied, and version 3.0 had resulted, then that could be equally disruptive, for change is always hard, and is rarely what you’d expect it to be.

Change is often mysterious and dangerous, which is why people quite naturally resist it and also why so many social agitators, usually political “progressives”, try to go backward to earlier and familiar times rather than actually progress forward into the terrifying unknown; such is the human condition. Again, no way around it. But without change, everything dies. Change is the only constant in this universe and so it is going to happen anyway, even if it means an extinction for those things unable to “get with the programme.”

My hope is that Scientology 2.0 does eventually figure out a way to get with it, one way or another, and then perhaps Scientology 3.0 will actually come into existence, and that it will be more accessible to the world at large. But for that to happen, there would need to be a rigorous application of group dianetics.

In the next article, I’ll attempt to discuss a little about religions, magic, the occult, and so on in an effort to convey to the reader just how normal such things are, despite living in a world consumed by scientism and materialism, which are, in fact, cults in the most pejorative sense, though without the “charismatic leader” aspect (discounting Fauci, that is).

1 Individualism: One has to be careful with this word nowadays. It is a term hijacked by socialists to mean self-centric, or whatever term that basically indicates behaviour that occurs at the expense and injury of others. This alteration comes down to us as a consequence, in part, of the 1960s, when individualism came to mean “do your own thing,” which actually meant “every man for himself.”

2 This paradigm shift will become more important as automation and artificial intelligence (AI) do more of the jobs that used to be done by people.

3 I switch around between dianetics and scientology as common nouns and Dianetics and Scientology as proper nouns; this is because one is the subject of scientology, just like, say, the subject of psychology, and the other refers to the specific group and its activities.

4 It is interesting to note that titles like “Caesar” and “Czar” resulted from this catastrophic group engram.

5 So far, in the West, the longest-currently running project of this size is the United Kingdom, I believe, going on 955 years at the time of this writing. I could be wrong, but still, any group of this type lasting a thousand years is pretty impressive.

Note to readers: an excellent book is Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse

17 responses to “What Can Possibly Go Wrong?”

  1. Thank you Arthur, very well written and shared to our groups for ao-gp.org on Facebook. We look forward to your next post 🙂


  2. Thank you so much! It’s so refreshing to read all this especially when it comes from you!

    I will promote this blog to all Independent Scientologists.

    But what made my day today is that there is a blog like this and this blog speaks in a rather simple but sensible and humanistic way, something that we miss so much today.

    Thanks again


  3. Hi Arthur! It is extremely refreshing to read your blog above. I didn’t get into the Dianetics part yet, because I have to do something, but will come back to it.
    But, I am so completely pleased to read sane deductions. Thank you for being there and bringing clarity.
    I love your father. I love his amazing genius technology, and I apply everything, especially the study technology in my teaching. Having been in Dianetics and Scientology since 1950, the data is integrated. I believe you know my father, Knox Martin. He is 98 now, and still painting. He had a Museum show in Arlington, Texas called, Knox Martin, Living Legend. This was in 2020. He has an upcoming show in NY.


    • Thank you, I really appreciate it.
      Yes, I remember Knox! It’s been a long while and perhaps I’ve gotten a bit fuzzy recalling some of the people I knew back in the day but not him, he’s a larger than life kind of fellow. Please give him my regards and congratulations on his art exhibitions!


  4. I came across Goodhart’s Law while reading an article about the over-production of ‘peer-reviewed’ publications. It struck me as incredibly applicable to the current direction of events. For that reason, I wanted to share this with you. It is beautifully summarized here: https://sketchplanations.com/goodharts-law


      • Goodhart’s Law. It’s good to learn there’s a term for this phenomenon: “gaming” statistics, something I am very familiar with. I certainly wouldn’t want any peer review to get Scientology 1.0.0 all wrong, rather I’d like to see what disinterested research groups come up with putting the procedures to the test; this in an effort to make these processes a mainstream conversation rather than to necessarily “prove” anything. As it is I often come across variations of Scientology therapies in other practices, yet no mention as to from where they may have been derived. It would be good if it were common for some other publishing therapist to say, “Well, yes, I’ve studied some of Mr Hubbard’s work and although I don’t agree with everything he makes some very good points. Such as…”. My whole idea is, eventually, to see dianetics and scientology off of the “fringe” shelf and on to the “mainstream” shelf, so to speak, to facilitate a loud, global discussion.
        Thanks again for the reference.


  5. Wilfried does not seem to know who you are.

    Also, the technology, when applied standardly, is genius. And only those who have not experienced the remarkable results that bring spiritual awareness, can believe another person’s negative viewpoint. I appreciate you, Arthur.


  6. Thank you. I think you can guess where I am going with these blog articles. By far most objections to Scientology that I have personally dealt with and encounter online seem to come from people who, 1) object to religion in general, 2) object to spirituality in general, 3) were mishandled by the C of S in a justice or staff matter (this one is easy to understand), 4) heard something out of context about the advanced levels to make them seem silly. Or, very common this, 5) never read anything by Ron. In short, almost no one is objecting to the technology! Funny world.

    Liked by 1 person

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