The following first appeared in the private email list IVy-subscribers,
which was available to all those who subscribed to the
printed magazine, International Viewpoints.

The awful power of words
by Phil Spickler
23 Nov 00

       As we travel down Memory Lane, chers amis, we find that in a previous
century, the 20th that is, L. Ron Hubbard, with a little help from his
friends, created a soft-cover manual called _The Group Auditor's Handbook_.
Anyway, one of the processes in it was called "The awful power of words."
And, like many of the processes in the manual, it was intended to help or
improve the lot of those receiving group auditing.

       The process was the height of simplicity to run: you simply  asked
your audience to put their hands in front of their mouths and say, with great
feeling, "The awful power of words," and after they said, that you would then
ask them to examine their hands and see if there was any damage.  Whilst
doing this, you would generally notice quite a few smiles on the faces of
various people, and once again you asked the group to put their hands at some
close distance in front of their mouths and say, loudly and forcefully, "The
awful power of words."

        This was done repetitively for awhile, each time asking the people to
carefully examine their hands to see if there was any damage occurring.
Well, after awhile it just got sillier and sillier, until folks would scream
these words at their hands and triumphantly hold them up to show that really,
no damage was occurring.  And usually, in such a group, if you didn't
continue the process too long, people had an astoundingly wide range of
cognitions about words and their power.

        Most folks, human and otherwise, usually have, under the banner of
"I." a number of valences or personalities that help make up the totality of
the grouper called "self," a number of valences or personalities that fall on
the Know to Mystery Scale at Symbols.  At that level, words of course do have
an awful power, a power that is often greater than sticks and stones that can
break some bones.  At this level, words are like bullets and bombs, and
possess tremendous and terrible and powerful force with which to damage.  At
this level, the symbol has become, for such folks, the thing that it's
supposed to represent.  Thus, when we speak of a war of words, among such
folks real harm seems to be possible.

       There is also to be found, under the being's banner, quantities of
machinery not visible to the human eye, but called "thetan (or being)
machinery" -- machinery being defined as constructions that are created to
take over the work of doing something so that the creator or possessor of
such machinery does not have to give a great deal of time or attention to the
activity that the machinery is doing for said being.

        For example, and in a more obvious sense, if human beings did not
ultimately develop a great deal of machinery with which to drive an
automobile, if they had to consciously and separately and selectively make
all the changes, gross and minute, that are required to successfully drive a
car or a bicycle, the result would not only be physically, mentally, and
emotionally exhausting, but cataclysmically humorous.  If you don't believe
me (or L. Ron Hubbard), try sometime taking over the act of driving from your
machinery that does most of it, and if you're in a safe place like a large
empty parking area, you'll probably shortly find that it's almost impossible
to drive a car.

       Similarly, beings and human beings and inhuman beings develop very
sophisticated and complicated machines to automatically, in hearing or
ingesting words, assign very rapidly meaning to individual words and
collections of words, including giving and assigning weight as well as
meaning.  In many folks, this reaches a state so rapidly and with so little
real volition from "you" or the creator of these machines that the machines
end up mastering their creator or master, to the point where they become
virtually impossible to turn off (we call this "the monkey mind"); and these
machines are incessantly symbolizing (thinking), evaluating, re-evaluating,
constructing words and groups of words as weapons, and in general providing
the master (the former master, that is) with something that could be properly
described as an automatic or reactive mind.

       I'll close for now, since there's too much to say about this in one
posting, by saying that when unscrupulous people like myself find other
people who are dominated by such machinery, it becomes a simple matter, just
by using words, to make such people feel absolutely wonderful or make them
feel they have been terribly harmed or insulted, while remaining free of the
effects that injured parties may wish to redirect at said unscrupulous
person.   And so it's just symbols, words, electronic abstractions, ink
printed on paper, that truly possess the power to kill or cure.

       Well, there's more to the story than this, and you can count on
getting the rest before you leave the between-lives area (also called the
Bardo -- not as in Brigitte) that is this place called Planet Earth.

       Adieu, from the unscrupulous one