Scientic American story from 50 years ago...

29 Dec 2000

"frank howell" <fhowell1@elp.rr.com>

Scientific American, January 1951
By Isaac Isidor Rabi

DIANETICS: THE MODERN SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH, BY L. RON HUBBARD. Hermitage House ($4.00). This volume probably contains more promises and less evidence per page than has any publication since the invention of printing. Briefly, its thesis is that man is intrinsically good, has a perfect memory for every event of his life, and is a good deal more intelligent than he appears to be. However, something called the engram prevents these characteristics from being realized in man's behavior. During moments of unconsciousness and pain and at any time from conception onward, the "reactive mind" can still record experience, but experiences so recorded -engrams- are a major source of man's misery, his psychosomatic ills, his neuroses and psychoses, his poor memory, and his generally inefficient functioning. By a process called dianetic reverie, which resembles hypnosis and which may apparently be practiced by anyone trained in dianetics, these engrams may be recalled.

Once thoroughly recalled, they are "refiled," and the patient becomes a "clear," who is not handicapped by encumbering engrams and who can thenceforth function at a level of intellect, efficiency and goodness seldom if ever realized before in the history of man. The system is presented without qualification and without evidence. It has borrowed from psychoanalysis, Pavlovian conditioning, hypnosis and folk beliefs, but, except for the last, these debts are fulsomely denied. The huge sale of the book to date is distressing evidence of the frustrated ambitions, hopes, ideals, anxieties and worries of the many persons who through it have sought succor.

I.I. Rabi, winner of the Nobel prize in physics in 1944, is professor of physics at Columbia University. http://nobel.sdsc.edu/laureates/physics-1944.html


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