From International Viewpoints (IVy) Issue 12 - July 1993
See Home Page at http://www.ivymag.org/
A View from the Bridge
By Eric Townsend, England
Body, Mind And Thetan - The Basic Combination(1)
Despite the fact that many people have considerable disagreements
with traditional religions, most will at least accept the proposition
that they personally have some form of spiritual life and awareness.
The three elements of Body, Mind and Spirit inevitably come up quite
early in ones exposure to Scientology, although confronting the idea
of being a spirit can be avoided for a while if one is involved
in the area of Dianetics. Nonetheless when the idea of the three in
combination first comes up it is usually accepted quite readily and
To look at this proposition more closely we need to start with the
idea of UNIVERSES. Prior to contacting Scientology, we probably
of universes only as 'the universe', that is the one made up of stars,
planets, space and galaxies. The definition in the Technical
does of course include that universe but it goes further to point
out that there can be and are many universes. The basic definition
of a universe is a 'whole system of created things'.
An example of another universe would be the game of Chess. Here we
have whole set of rules about players and pieces together with
about what can and can't be done. These conventions can be said to
be a 'whole system of created things' which have been created and
agreed upon by the potential players. The games of chess can then
go on in this self-contained world, in which there are an enormous
range of possibilities, without reference to anything outside it.
What is known as 'the universe', made up of stars and space, also
includes our planet. The basic ingredients of this universe are
ENERGY, SPACE and TIME. This definition is not exclusive to
but within Scientology it is usually referred to as the MEST UNIVERSE.
The MEST universe includes not just the substance of this planet,
its rocks and waters, but also everything to be found here. We can't
make a distinction between whether it is inert, like stone, or MOBILE,
like a plant or an animal. Both are made up of atoms and molecules,
which we now know have a very similar structure to stars and planets.
The human BODY, too, is part of the MEST universe and its components
obey the same rules as all other parts of the MEST universe.
With the knowledge of physics, biology and medicine that we have
the functioning of the human body holds few secrets. If we contrast
our knowledge and technology in these areas with 100 years ago, we
can foresee a time when it will be possible to construct a working
model of any part of the human body. This is because it is a chemical
engine that runs on food, water and air. All its parts and all its
functions follow the rules of the MEST universe. The question which
is not yet answered is what starts the machine working and keeps it
Next we come to the Mind. In this area we can't be so certain what
we are dealing with. There is a strong confusion for many people
the mind and the brain. Physiological experiments on brains show that
certain parts of the brain are connected to certain body parts. So
a small impact on one part of the brain will produce a sensation in,
for example, the left hand. Beyond this, not very much is known for
There are a wide range of mental activities for which we have
no explanations. How do we do mental arithmetic, what part of the
brain do we use when we make a decision, and where are memories kept?
The enormous range of activities that we do with our minds is out
of all proportion to the few pounds of sloppy grey matter that is
the the human brain. It is true that we can to-day mimic certain
functions with a computer. On the other hand, even with to-day's
a computer to carry out just a small part of the mind's routine
would fill a very large room.
The difference between where we think the mind operates from, the
brain, and what it does, is an indicator that it is only partly a
phenomenon of the MEST universe.
It has been a function of the new science known as Psychology to try
to persuade us that the mind is all contained in the brain. Psychology
also tries to explain all mental activity as routines which the brain
learns in the same way as our hands learn to tie shoe laces. It could
be that the brain operates on a mechanical basis that is way beyond
anything our science has so far analysed. Most people however cling
firmly to the belief that some of the perceptions they receive through
the mind could not possibly be learnt, mechanical routines.
Have you noticed how uncomfortable most people seem to get when you
mention the functioning of the mind and particularly mental health?
This could be their uncertainty about where their mind fits in the
scheme of things. There is another indicator of the disquiet which
people feel about mental health. What is it that virtually everybody
knows in any locality you visit in the so-called developed world?
It is the name of the local Mental Hospital! Yet the emergence of
Psychology has not really helped people since it gives them very
help in controlling a wide variety of those mental conditions that
they don't want, such as depression, phobias or anxiety.
Until a little over 100 years ago, there was no such thing as
It is a much newer field of study than Medicine or Biology.
however the term Psychology is derived from the word 'Psyche' which
was the Greek term for the human Soul or Spirit.
The word used for the soul or spirit in Scientology is THETAN. This
is because both of the words have been utilised by various religions
and given overtones of meaning that relate to those religions. By
taking a completely new and clean word like Thetan we can look at
what it is and does without any preconceptions.
Even in to-days materialistic world, it is likely that a larger number
of the world's population believe that they have a spiritual life
than the number who don't. In the last century Anthropologists have
contacted many isolated tribes that had had little or no previous
contact with the outside world. Without exception they all have some
religious belief system and the vast majority believe in some form
of life after death. Modern man has tried to wipe away these beliefs
by claiming they are unscientific or irrational, but somehow they
keep coming back!
The Christian religions evolved a belief that man has an immortal
soul that only comes into existence when his body is born but does
live on after body death. In addition to this, it has played down
the identity element of this soul so that the person is portrayed
as existing separately from his soul while he is living on earth.
This traditional view is given a strong jolt in Scientology when one
is presented with the proposition that the Thetan is you. This is
best stated in the C/S1 Definitions with the words: 'The thetan is
the 'I'; one doesn't have or own a thetan, one is a thetan'.
We can only decide if this proposition is true or not by our own
response to it. I have never heard of anyone disagreeing or
We cannot prove it, however, by any physical demonstration. This is
because we have now moved out of the MEST universe. We cannot point
to a thetan or say where it is located because it would have to have
material form, which it has not, or a location in space, which it
has not. Nevertheless we can still know it exists. It exists in a
different universe, known in Scientology as the universe of THETA.
What is the Theta universe? It is a complete system with its own
and rules which are quite different from those of the MEST universe.
It is the universe of THOUGHT. This may sound inconsequential but
as we shall see, without thought there is no LIFE. Thought is the
motive force of what we call Life. Theta or Thought is what gives
life to MEST. The primary ingredients of theta are affinity, reality
and communication. Theta is curious and wants to understand. It finds
out about things by exerting life force and reasoning. Theta is a
huge potential life force to which we belong as individual identities.
We as individual Thetans have chosen to participate in an enormous
task. That task is the mastering of the MEST universe. This task could
be likened to the conquest of South America by the Spanish in the
fifteenth century. Unlike that conquest however, the MEST universe
does not contain an indigenous population of beings who already
live there. All it contains are matter, energy, space and time. In
our terms we could say that it was and is totally inert, that it is
not able to move, act or think. There was no life there because life
is a characteristic of the Theta universe. The Theta universe then
set about the mastering and harnessing of the MEST universe for its
own purposes. We are its soldiers and we have come with as much
and arrogance as the Conquistadores who followed Cortez.
Why this came about and how the MEST universe came into existence
is outside the scope of this book but an explanation is available
within the subject of Scientology.
We started this chapter by looking at the Body and working up through
the Mind and to spirit or Thetan. Now let us look at the combination
from the Thetan's viewpoint. Unfortunately I will have to refer an
individual Thetan in the masculine because we have in our language
an enforced sexual division. Thetans of course do not have a sex and
only choose a sexual identity with each body. The word 'it' will not
do since at the moment in the development of our language it denotes
an inanimate object or a very low life form, which is in complete
contradiction to the nature of a Thetan. For the moment 'he' and 'him'
will have to be used but it is to be hoped that this quirk of our
language will not always be the case.
We as thetans decided to take on the challenge of the MEST universe.
As thetans we have enormous abilities but they are not immediately
applicable in this foreign environment. That is why we are here, to
find out how to handle it. The MEST universe is not of itself a
environment but it is extremely conservative. Its elements work on
very predictable lines and any disturbance can have severe
It can be compared to stepping out of a space probe into an
about which we know very little. The difference is that we have no
Mother Ship or Mission Control to supply us and we have to make do
as we go along. To continue the Lunar analogy, we have devised,
evolved the bodies we have today as our equivalent of the Moon Buggy!
All the other life forms in the MEST universe were devised by us to
provide a total ecology to support us as the leading life form in
at least this part of the MEST universe. In case you think all this
a bit of far-fetched fancy on my part, I would mention that these
basic ideas were presented to the world as early as 1951 by Ron
in the Science of Survival.
So the thetan has evolved the organism of a Body for somewhere to
be. This gives the thetan a location in space, you can usually find
him in or around his body! To that extent he is in the MEST universe,
looking after his creation, his body, and using it do things which
interest him. As a busy thetan, he would find it a bit tedious to
be constantly pumping lungs in and out and keeping red and white blood
corpuscles in balance. So he developed a SOMATIC MIND (Soma is Greek
for body) to do these mechanical body functions for him. The Somatic
Mind takes care of the physiological matters mentioned above and can
be taught basic body skills like balancing on a bicycle or hitting
a ball with implements of varying length.
The Thetan can also use the Somatic Mind as a Caretaker for his Body.
It gave him the opportunity to temporarily vacate the area of his
Body to go somewhere else in the MEST universe or to turn his
somewhere else and leave the MEST universe altogether.
The next stage was to develop this intermediary capacity into a MIND
to do various things without constant reference to the thetan. This
would include driving cars, household chores, typing, reading and
various kinds of work. This Mind is a very clever device. It learns
by storing an enormous number of pictures and operates by referring
to these to make decisions. So capable and competent is the Mind that
the Thetan can leave it to do a wide range of activities. The Mind
is delighted to be given the responsibility but if unsupervised for
too long, like any caretaker, it can become careless or irresponsible.
Middle position of mind
The mind occupies a middle position between the universes. It is
into existence initially by the body and starts accumulating pictures,
or impressions, in the womb. It accumulates pictures continuously
and by the age of four or five it is very knowledgeable about its
environment. It doesn't store these pictures in a physical place but
in a kind of 'no-man's' land between the two universes. We know the
pictures have tiny amounts of mass to keep them available but they
cannot be found unless the mind calls them up. In Scientology we say
these are kept in memory banks but as far as we know the banks cannot
be located in space.
The thetan monitors the progress of the body in these early stages.
It doesn't seem to interfere provided the body/mind is developing
in the direction it wants it to go to pursue the thetan's interests
and purposes. It seems content at this stage, in most cases, to just
sit back and enjoy all the new and vivid experiences that a child
has in the MEST universe. To help things along the thetan may give
an occasional hint of a wider awareness or even lend the mind some
pictures of his own, since he too has his own bank of pictures which
he has been collecting while in different life forms over a very long
The usual pattern seems to be that at a later time, in late
or early adulthood, the thetan starts to make its existence known
and to require some influence over the body and its activities in
order to pursue it aims and purposes.
It can be seen already that there is scope for conflict, confusion
and misunderstanding on several fronts. Firstly who is giving
to which parts of the body at any particular time? Secondly, whose
pictures are being consulted for making decisions and drawing
Thirdly, are MEST rules being followed to handle MEST and theta rules
followed to handle theta, or are the two being mixed up? Then there
is often uncertainty by the Mind and Body about what the Thetan wants
them to do. Further complications also arise when the thetan is also
somewhat confused and cannot himself remember exactly what he wanted
These confusions unfortunately can have serious consequences and
the Thetan to sort them out is what we deal with in auditing. This
the subject of the next chapter.
From: Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary: Universe,
Matter, Energy, Space, Time, Mest, Mest Universe, Body, Theta, Theta
Universe, Thought, Life, Thetan, Somatic Mind, Mind,
HOB 15.7.78RA (Revised 25.3.81 & 10.3.84) Scientology Auditing CS1
Science of Survival - Prediction of Human Behaviour(1951)
Appendix of Definitions - Evolution
Note: The book A View from the Bridge can be obtained from
Anima Publications, PO Box 10, Bramhall, Stockport SK7 2QF, England
The price is 10 English Pounds plus 10% for postage (surface mail)
(1)Introduction to this seriealised book is in IVy 11, page 24
Tue Jul 11 20:29:22 EDT 2006