What Can Possibly Go Wrong?

Scientology 1.0.0 – part 6

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. This is at the root of knowing how to be in the world.

In Scientology 1.0.0 a game is not something 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 football and war, and then the game is over. An infinite game, on the other hand, is a game to be played forever, such as the invention and reinvention of culture (art) or the development of technologies to better mankind (science), a game wherein everyone and, ultimately, everything wins.

The purpose of any good educational system and effective therapy must be to nurture, or rehabilitate as the case may be, intrinsic motivation on the part of the individual. Extrinsic motivation has generally been the human norm, sort of the default setting, 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 – improved – (and it has improved enormously, despite what the mass-media and politicians say) and as individualism† plays a key role in this advancement, it has become increasingly necessary that humans begin developing intrinsic motivation as the primary mode of being.

Now, true virtue can only be obtained by means of intrinsic, that is to say, self, motivated action. Doing a thing because it is valuable and useful of itself rather than for what rewards it may bring is what is meant by virtue. As long as one’s behaviour is too much driven by external forces such as avoidance of punishment or the obtaining of reward then there is no virtue.

In Scientology 1.0.0 this optimum condition, living with true virtue, is called self-determinism and can only be achieved by the eventual cognisance and realisation, attainment, of pan-determinism (see the earlier article “Pan-determinism At Last”). But as simple as I may make it sound this is a deeply, deeply complex problem.

(Note: in Scientology 1.0.0 self-determinism is not merely the determining of oneself despite all other vectors of determinism but rather the first step of bringing into harmony the self with all other determinisms, such as groups or nature, without losing one’s own determinism as an individual self, which is pan-determinism. This may seem a tad paradoxical, self-determinism/pan-determinism, because, at the end of the day it actually has to be both: you don’t get to be one without achieving the other, not for long anyway.)

I don’t know if all the ingredients necessary to achieve such high standards of education and therapy are contained within the subject of Scientology 1.0.0 but I do know that the goal of pan-determinism was and is the whole point of it – and any other truly philosophical and ethical (or religious) exercise since the beginning of history.

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

During the past year or so of this SARS-CoV-2 situation I did a lot of research to discover what the problem really consisted of. As I observed my fellow citizens here in Los Angeles, California, though, I was not very encouraged to discover that, as usual, quite a few of them were just doing what they were told, despite the fact that vast amounts of contrary information was easily available (this was before all the censorship by the media, et al) thus challenging such draconian measures as extended “lockdown”. Just doing what you are told only applies to extreme emergencies where time is very short (“man the guns!” or “abandon ship!”) and not to situations that actually allow time to consider the problem at hand. The sort of compliance demonstrated during the SARS thing runs in the opposite direction of self-determinism and because of this leads to finite games where they don’t apply. Ultimately, continuing on this course and given enough time, this sort of misbehaviour leads inevitably to gulags and death camps, no joke.

This catastrophically normal sheep-like behaviour is what motivated, in part, my father to embark on his adventure 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 I hope to assist in telling.


Group Dianetics

Often when I am talking to people about Scientology I get the impression that we are discussing something sitting in some sort of strange historical vacuum, and maybe we are. Or maybe this is just a recent symptom of our modern thinking; to the degree that modern thinking sees the past as an ocean of irrelevant religions, superstitions and myth and that our ancestors were merely ignorant fools; sort of the way that older children, knowing all there is to know about the world, view their younger siblings.

This might be a real problem, this viewing Scientology as some kind of anomalous phenomenon in the world, “just a weird cult” or some kind of a cultural aberration, a freak of nature along with all those other “weird cults”. This casual contempt for seemingly unusual religious practices and groups is possibly exceedingly dangerous and probably prevents any genuine investigation into Man’s journey and, as a result, may seriously block the possibility 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 are choosing to ignore it. Shame though, because everything that led up to its creation is really vital data, the ignorance of which can distort our current prevalent (read: “sensible”) view of reality.

So before looking at any of that earlier history, I’d like to discuss the little known subject called group dianetics‡.

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

Engram: In psychology: a memory trace. In dianetics: 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.

I said a little about Dianetics (“Stories For Redemption”) in a previous article, about how an individual’s history, undisclosed (hidden) and undiscussed, can upset that person’s existence so much so that they cannot live normally, despite the inevitability of life’s catastrophes. I described how these past moments of upset need to be revealed, revisited and reviewed until enough pain and upset is brought to view, “cleaned up”, so that life may be able to go on to evolve and improve. Well, the same goes for groups; this is basically why we should study history.

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 – and this is mainly and usually the case – 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 with 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 another where special executive powers were acceded to one general or another until, finally, Gaius Julius Caesar became Rome’s first totalitarian dictator for life and that was the end of the Republic §. In 1933, about three years after the stock market crash of 1929 (group engram), the president, Franklin Roosevelt, took emergency power and these powers have never been given up, effectively destroying, seemingly forever, the U.S. tripartite system. Clearly the founding fathers didn’t get at the whole incident of the Roman republican era. (By the way, I reviewed high school history books back in the ‘80s and was horrified by what I found, you’ll find very little about 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 repeating past errors; which we do with such regularity and, even, in some cases, reckless abandon and, even, enthusiasm (U.S. response to 9/11 comes to mind). There are ways to get at the hidden 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 the condition. This means that you haven’t completed the process because when you do you always get improvement in the condition (“aha!”). It’s a mechanic of the process, not a whim or matter of faith. 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 they won’t repeat past errors and make things worse if you get the story straight and get 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. (Clears still go through life making plenty of mistakes, to be sure, for to avoid error and even failure is to not learn – they just tend to not repeat the big ones so much, which gives them a more optimum 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 by 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. Just as a correct diagnosis for an illness will lead directly to a cure, if available.

So. Dianetics applies every bit as much to groups, of whatever size, as it does to individuals: it’s to help get at the story that ought to be known and into view by all members. If you can get the story straight, and keep it straight, a group could survive to 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 ††.


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, 1948. What happened after that is what happens to every group of every kind, like it or not: it met with various emergencies, did what it could to deal with them but over time failed to apply group dianetics and now there’s all this trouble. Question is, why did this group therapy not get 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 can rarely come clean for fear of inviting their own demise so trials often only add to the confusion of the original emergency, engram, whatever it might have been. The defense attorney or prosecutor that can successfully hide information by introducing the most confusion, obfuscation and misdirection will win the case.

Some years ago audiences were treated to a rousing film about an intrepid and tenacious lawyer name Erin Brockovich. Spoiler here: she wins the case, audience laughs and/or weeps, the end. It was based on a real life story about an actual person, Ms. Brockovich who indeed did “win” the case. What the audience never learns though is that, for the town sustaining the damage, nothing was ever fixed or changed and today is almost a ghost town, bwah, bwah, bwah.

In real life, the so called O.J. Simpson murder trial was won by redirecting the attention from a brutal double murder to a question of race and racism. Again, sad. (The case did go on to a “successful” conclusion with a civil suite, however.)

Sadly, this is business as usual for all too many grievances that go to court. The citizens of the United States would probably be shocked to learn that many of our current woes go back to another court case, Brown Vs. Board of Education, a 1954 Supreme Court decision that, while laudably striking a massive blow against Jim Crow and racial segregation in the southern states yet also destroyed the right of free association, a fundamental aspect to the ownership of property. Ownership of property, as most of you know, starts with owning your own body, extends to ownership of one’s labour and must include, also, freedom of association with others (amongst other things). These are actual Rights rather than privileges and which are absolutely fundamental to the United State’s monumental experiment that holds individual rights as paramount. Jim Crow = group engram. Brown Vs. Board of Education = another group engram. B Vs. BA led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which, whilst probably well intended (remember those paving stones that lead to Hell), is arguably the greatest redistribution of private property, monetarily speaking, in history! The U.S. has been spiralling downward ever since, though not only for that one reason. And so it goes.

So, to sum up: some sort of group is created, it becomes a huge success. Another person or group claims they were injured by said group and off they go to court. Now 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.

Naturally not only court cases impugn the discovery of optimum solutions to real emergencies, many other factors do as well. I bring up these examples of legal obtuseness as the Church of Scientology is famous for its litigative energy and fervour.

These lies add in 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. I have seen many discussions on the topic of Scientology 2.0 where the interviewee, who I personally know, omit all their own errors and, in some cases, crimes from the story; this is quite a list of people, let me tell you. People omitting such confessions is understandable and is only human (sigh) but not very useful when one is interested in the real story and making things better by tracking with the infinite game, rather than the finite game.

Beside 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 best to be in the world is a very difficult project; much more so than founding a kingdom or building an empire, childishly simple projects in comparison.

Come up with a program to get at the problems of the mind and the soul (and here I’m referring to all practices 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 program, any actually useful and helpful program of the mind and soul, is to survive long enough to get at any real answers, then the story of that program, and also those of its predecessors, must be told and told right.


Group dianetics is generally not taught nor practiced in Scientology 2.0 because if it were it would it probably evolve into Scientology 3.0. This process could potentially open the door to multiple suits against 2.0 and so is unlikely to happen. But if group dianetics were applied and version 3.0 did result 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 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 it, change, all things die. Change is the only constant in this universe and so is going to happen anyway even if it means an extinction for those things unable to “get with the program”.

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 actually could come into existence and that it would be more accessible to the world at large. But for that to happen there would need to be a rigorous application of group dianetics.

My whole purpose here is to try and tell as much of the story of Scientology (1.0.0) and the Church of Scientology (2.0) as I know, including my own errors and misdemeanors (oh no!), in an effort to assist the dissemination of dianetic and scientologic ideas and therapies to the world at large where it can be debated, peer-reviewed and properly discussed; unlike some other critics, I have no other axe to grind.


In the next article I’ll try to pontificate a little about religions, magic, the occult and so on in an effort to indicate to the reader just how normal such things are despite living in a world consumed by scientism and materialism – which are actually religious cults in the most pejorative sense themselves, though without the “charismatic leader” aspect.

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

† 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, from the 1960s where individualism came to mean “do your own thing” which actually meant, “every man for himself”.

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

§ It is interesting to note that the titles like  “caesar” and “czar” resulted from this catastrophic group engram.

** Possibly this could be a big improvement for about 80% of the population but that’s just a guess. About 4 out of 5 people I’ve ever met with whom I’ve discussed their lives seem to suffer unwanted personal habits and patterns of behaviour that they apparently are trapped in, one way or another.

†† 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.

Published by aconwayhubbard

Painter living in Los Angeles.

17 thoughts on “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.


    1. 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


      1. 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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