International Viewpoints (IVy), Issue 35 - January 1998

Ross's Reminiscences -- 1

My Discovery of Dianetics
by Bob Ross, USA

WHEN RON CAME out with DMSMH in 1950, I was already a strong fan of his. Not only that, but I had just finished reading Science and Sanity, by Alfred Korzybski, (AK), whom I had been introduced to in the pages of Astounding Science Fiction by the Null-A stories of A.E. Van Vogt. Ron thrilled me with the idea of clear and his statement in DEOS (Dianetics, Evolution of a Science) that he had discovered the source of identity thinking which AK had said was the source of all human non-sanity.

AK in his Non-Aristotelian Philosophy, General Semantics, had stated that non-sanity resulted from unaware use of language, and in particular from unawarely making statements that incorrectly stated that one thing was identical to another, when in fact it was not. According to AK the major culprit was the "is" of identity.

General Semantics is a philosophy created by Polish born mathematician and philosopher Count Alfred Korzybski, which concerns itself with the relationship between language and the people who use that language. Korzybski taught that many human behavioral problems could be fixed up, by changing language behavior.

AK said such obvious things as "The word is not the thing" and "The map is not the territory." He taught sanity drills such as making quotation marks with one's fingers when saying or hearing words, which have many more meanings than the one currently being referred to by the speaker as a warning to use that word with care.

After leaving LRH's church in 1983 I began to put more attention on language training as the Road to Sanity. I realized that clear was not identical with sane.

Dianetics, Evolution of a Science

Initially of course, I read DEOS not DMSMH. I read it as a fact article in the May issue of Astounding Science Fiction. On the first page of this article there was a footnote stating that the book, Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health, was being published by the Hermitage House Publishing Company. My excitement over GS as the answer to human misery was transferred tentatively to this new book, for Hubbard had said, "know your General Semantics well. Same thing, except we take in more perceptics". At the bottom of that page in the magazine article, General Semantics was defined as the philosophy of Count Alfred Korzybski.

In more recent printings of DEOS, this footnote has been altered to eliminate reference to AK and misdefines and so denigrates GS. For many years from 1950 until about 1965 Ron mentioned and praised AK and General Semantics. LRH stopped praising GS, calling it bad, in one paragraph on the first page of the first policy letter of the Data Series. That could be taken as one of the major points heralding the change from an effort to help humanity and increase sanity, to an effort to control humanity.

At the time (1950) that I read that reference to Hermitage House Publishing company, exciting though the article was, I wasn't at all sure, that such a publishing company even existed. I was all too familiar with fantasy authors such as H.P. Lovecraft and Manley Palmer Hall, who referred to books, publishing companies and universities which were as purely imaginary as all the characters in their stories!

I want it now!

Being suspicious, and not yet certain that the so-called fact article was not an author's trick, the first thing I did was to pick up a Manhattan phone book, to find out if the publishing company even existed. I found a listing, called them up and asked if they were publishing a book titled, Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health. I heard "Yes, but..." and I didn't wait to hear the girl say that the book wasn't out yet, but immediately hung up and went down into the nearest subway station, to travel to their offices located on Madison Avenue, near Fourteenth Street in Manhattan.

I found when I got there, that the book was still on the presses being printed and no copies were yet available. I saw several people in the office who turned out to be waiting for the book to come out, as if their presence there would make it come out faster. I left money and asked that the book be sent to me, when copies were available. This was about the middle of April. My copy arrived on May 20th, 1950.

That day, May 20th 1950, is the date I assign to my entry into the world of LRH.

An early dianetic auditing adventure

I've covered elsewhere some of my early adventures with dianetic auditing. I'll only mention here, that the first demo I saw of dianetic auditing was in a private apartment and was being done by a student from the Dianetic Academy at Elizabeth, on a young woman who had had a dental extraction done using nitrous oxide to knock her out. She of course had no conscious memory of the details at the time, but did recount it all in session.

Not in the book -- demo

A noteworthy demonstration was the one I gave a young man who came in to the office of the N.Y. Dianetic Association, where I was ensconced to receive phone calls and give demonstrations, much as I had been given one earlier, in an office space rented by the NYDA. This was about November 1950, a large rather empty area, equipped with a telephone and two chairs, in an apartment building, located about 83rd Street a few doors east of Fifth Avenue, within walking distance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue.

A young man came in one day with a loudly blaring portable radio. He wanted to have a demonstration, so I got him in session and as usual immediately asked him to return to conception. As he recounted the incident, he came to a point where he drew a good sized knife, stood up and began to walk toward me brandishing the knife. This alarmed me considerably but I managed not to panic, as I considered what to do.

I immediately came to the conclusion that he was dramatizing the incident he had been running. In fact he was running the incident from the viewpoint of one of the people in it, suggesting that his conception was the result of rape.

What to do? I kept my TR's in, (though they hadn't been invented/named yet). An answer came to me, I'll give God credit because I don't recall that Ron had mentioned anything quite like this in DMSMH. I simply said, quite calmly, "return to the beginning of the incident." He immediately put the knife away, sat down, and began to recount the incident from the start of the incident.

We went through this little scene, half a dozen times I think, before I felt able to end the session and send him on his way, with his radio blaring again. No doubt, I should have run out the incident completely, but I was satisfied at the time to have gotten through the experience with a whole skin.

I came to the conclusion that he had the loudly blaring radio to drown out his own thoughts, i.e. it helped him to stay in present time and not attack people!

The New York Dianetic Foundation, was a few blocks further down town also just off Fifth Avenue. I visited there one day and spoke to the Doctor in charge, who had been the resident physician at a mental hospital on Long Island. He told me how he had become convinced that dianetic procedures worked after running one of the patients on the incident he was dramatizing after which the patient promptly got better.

Doctor Joe Winters and CO2 therapy

Another incident worth preserving was the first visit I made to become acquainted with Doctor Joe Winters, who had written the original introduction to DMSMH. This introduction, incidentally, has been omitted in more recent editions, along with some articles at the back of the book. Dr. Winters, it turned out, was a brother-in-law of ASF Editor John Campbell Jr.

Doc Winters was interested in exploring the uses of Carbon Dioxide/Oxygen breathing mixture, the use of which had been described in a book by Meduna called Carbon Dioxide Therapy. Apparently, if one gave a psychotic patient a breathing mask and allowed him to breathe Oxygen with high percentages of Carbon Dioxide the psychotic individual became temporarily sane. In fact I had a brief conversation about this with the doctor at the NY Dianetic Foundation. He told me that experiments had been tried of equipping an entire room with Oxygen/CO2 mix and having patients live in the room.

Such patients would remain sane for a period of time and then despite the high oxygen content would eventually resume their psychotic behavior.

Well, Doctor Winters was quite interested in testing O2/CO2 mixtures in conjunction with dianetic engram running. So he offered me the opportunity to try some. I agreed and lay down on an examining table in his office and when we were ready, he put a breathing mask on my face and I began to breathe in the O2/CO2 mixture from a steel medical oxygen cylinder.

I discovered then, that the standard mixture supplied to patients consisted of 20% CO2 to assist the breathing reflex, but that it could also be obtained with 30% CO2. Higher percentages of CO2 were unstable and had to be mixed from separate cylinders of O2 and CO2 and combined at room pressure in the mask.

I lay on the table inhaling pure oxygen and found that my breathing became very deep and rapid. Next thing I knew, I was bodyless in space, without much perception of my surrounding, I'd say I was in a kind of grey fog, but I dimly sensed that I was hovering in the air over Fifth Avenue near Forty-Seventh Street, dimly being aware of traffic noises and people's voices.

Then while still focused on that perception, I felt myself being pulled back to Dr. Winters' office. I experienced successive sensations of light and dark and eventually became aware of my body and a spot on the wall of the office.

Making a change

This was highly exciting, to say the least. I didn't know what had happened but was eager to experience it again. However, this second time I wanted to experience the sense of space and freedom for a longer period of time. So, when Joe Winters put the mask on my face again, I attempted to breathe more of the mixture, to fuel me onto a longer Out-Of-Body trip. Instead of breathing stertorusly (stertorous, making a heavy, snoring sound. World Book Dictionary), or gaspingly and very deeply, the usual Cheyne-Stokes reaction (Cheyne-Stokes breathing: a type of abnormal breathing found in certain cerebral and cardiac disorders, characterized by alternating periods of heavy, agonized breathing and of temporary suspension of breath. World Book Dictionary), I resisted that impulse, and breathed deeply but normally, hoping to stay out longer.

Instead, after a few more conscious breaths, Joe pulled the mask off my face, and demanded to know what had happened. It seems that instead of going out longer, I didn't go out at all.

I recognized at that moment, that my own decision or focus had a great deal to do with what happened when I breathed in that mixture. The O2/CO2 sort of fueled my body or energized it, but my intention or effort controlled where I went or what I experienced.

So, when Joe gave me the mask again, I selected a feeling I knew I had some control of and could create at will. Then,while I let my body react to the O2/CO2 mixture, I focused on the emotion of anger.

Next moment I found myself on a platform in front of a lectern and a large audience, haranguing that audience. I did not hear anything or know what I was saying, I was only aware of being on that platform in front of that audience apparently attempting to stir them up, undoubtedly to make them angry. Whenever I think of that scene, I think of Adolph Hitler at Berchtesgaden, where an attempt was made to assassinate him, about 1940. In 1940 I was a college student in New York City.

When Joe pulled the mask off my face, I described the scene to him, after which he put the mask on my face again. Again I focused on anger, and again found myself on that platform in front of that audience.

That was the end of that experiment. But, I bought a mask and rented O2/CO2 cylinders which were easily available from a medical supply company for use of patients. At that time, no doctor's prescription was needed. I don't know if any is needed today. So much for CO2 Therapy and Dr. Joe Winters