Only one thing happened

This is a reminiscence about Ian Tampion, who worked with L. Ron Hubbard at Saint Hill in the mid-1960s. Ian and his wife Judy had been among the first to complete the Clearing Course and OT sections 1 to 4, and they returned to Melbourne in late 1968 to re-establish a Scientology organisation there. At first they held regular Sunday evening meetings with a presentation and/or a tape play at their home in Hawthorn.

One of Ian’s talks that I remember from that period was entitled Only One Thing Happened.

He said that when several people observe the same incident, each one has their own perception and understanding of what happened. They all saw this incident from different viewpoints, they noticed different details, and they may have differed widely in their background knowledge and ability to observe. To hear their accounts you might even wonder if they were talking about different incidents.

They may consult together and arrive at a consensus, the kind of broad agreement glossing over contradictory details that we call reality. A consensus can be workable, it may give an adequate understanding of the actual incident. But it will never be the same thing as that original incident.

Consensus approximates truth, but it's not the same thing

Consensus approximates truth, but it’s not the same thing

For example, several witnesses to a car crash might have differing accounts of it when they give evidence in court. The court may make a reasonable decision based on consensus and balance of probabilities; but it cannot know with certainty and precision what actually occurred.

Ian made the point that an objective reality exists out there in the world before anyone observes it and generates their own mental image of it. There can be many views, but only one thing happened. This can be a stable datum if others try to shake your reality and convince you that their view is the only correct one. Or, ‘truth is the exact time, place form and event’, as Hubbard wrote.


One Comment on “Only one thing happened”

  1. D'Martin says:

    Cool – two (or more) subjective views don’t add up to one objective reality. And “science by consensus” can be misleading. Though dozens of mediaeval scholars agreed that the earth doesn’t move around the sun, it still moves.

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