This book was first published back in 1950. The subtitle touted it as the Modern Science of Mental Health,
and from what I gather, the Church of Scientology bases the majority of its teachings on the ideas presented by Mr. Hubbard.
Dianetics is based on the theory of an engram. An engram, according to Mr. Hubbard, is an external faulty instruction that our brain internalizes. These engrains short circuit our thoughts and are the cause of all aberrations, such as irrational, abnormal, and even criminal behavior. Engrams latch on to our thought processes by traumatic events and painful experiences in our early years. Mr. Hubbard likens the brain and its functions to that of a machine or computer of sorts. Engrams prevent the human from performing at peak efficiency, but through Dianetic Therapy the engrams can be removed and you can eventually be a "Cleared" individual. The "Cleared" individual will have extremely IQ because his brain no longer will have malfunctions (engrams) to limit its vast computing power.
There were a lot of intriguing and thought-provoking ideas presented in this book. A lot of his ideas carried the same theme as many other self-help books I have read. Mr. Hubbard just coined some catchy phrases for them. The "Cleared" individual would most likely be similar to Abraham Maslow's "Self-Actualized" individual, or David Grudermeyer's "Self-Responsible" person, or Dr. Wayne Dyer's "Erroneous-Zone Free" personality.
Where Mr. Hubbard differed in his theory was the process he described to remove these engrams. His Dianetic Therapy believed in going back to our prenatal period to address and extract the engrams. For example, you would have to travel back to when you were a zygote in your mother's womb. Dianeticists believe the vast majority of our engrams are implanted at this stage of our lives.
This difference in theory is what lost me as a reader. 1 felt there was no sense of personal responsibility for our actions, and that everything we did throughout our lives that was abnormal could be attributed solely to these engrams. 1 do not agree with that; basically there is no sense of accountability for anyone. Although I did not agree with a lot of Mr. Hubbard's ideas, there are a lot of people that have adopted his teachings as their spiritual and religious guidance. I am trying not to view it in terms of right or wrong, but just simply another way to view life. Personally I prefer more factual data, but as long as they are personally fulfilled without harming others, who am I to judge? I should just be mindful and respectful towards others' beliefs, as I would like them to be in mine.