‘The Unstacking Procedure’ by Dennis Stephens

This is a new transcription of a talk by Dennis Stephens as discussed in a previous post.

You can download the 115Kb pdf file from this link.

The title may need some explanation. Stephens was asked to comment on William Nichols’ unstacking procedure, a technique that not much is heard about now, 30 years later. In his reply he needed to foreshadow material that he would explain in detail 18 months later in the Insanity and Sensation series – because these, and Nichols’ unstacking procedure, are both developments of L. Ron Hubbard’s theory of goals problem masses (GPMs).

Hubbard’s work on GPMs was ambitious, heroic, insightful and flawed. It drove him round the bend, and caused grief to those who tried to follow him. But it had to be done. Fundamental advances in knowledge are not made by some inspired genius who pops up with all the right answers. They are the result of bold guesses that are known to be tentative; candid gathering of data to test those guesses; and a willingness to be proved wrong. Non-scientists often assume that it is a scientist’s job to be always right: it’s closer to the truth to say that science progresses by being wrong. A theory that can never be tested by attempting to disprove it is useless. Hubbard and his co-workers at Saint Hill deserve our respect and gratitude for opening up a new frontier, the postulates that form the deep structure of the mind.

In this article Stephens points out where GPM theory went wrong in the 1960s, with similar flaws in Nichols’ unstacking procedure in the 1990s, and how we can see a way ahead.


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