Force or free will

The surest way to mess up someone’s mind is to force them to do something that they already want to do. Or to forcibly prevent them doing something that they don’t want to do. Either way, they have to make an intolerable choice between submitting to force, or acting against their own will.

This is the essence of insanity, this is a double bind. As L. Ron Hubbard said in one of his better moments, fundamental aberration is the enforcement of basic truth.

But the converse is also true. If your mind is doing things outside your control, for example bringing up unwanted images or emotions, the solution is to do deliberately and consciously whatever the mind has been doing automatically. This will bring that automaticity under control so it can be used, or not, as appropriate. If someone is haunted by an unpleasant memory, they need to recall that memory by their own free will until its apparent power over them vanishes.

‘The Resolution of Mind’ by Dennis Stephens

I would like to present another public domain edition of The Resolution of Mind by Dennis Stephens.

You can download the 600Kb pdf file from this link.

Dennis Stephens (1927 – 1994) was one of the first dianetic auditors in England, where he worked with L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s and contributed to the development of scientology in that period. He later acknowledged Hubbard as “the man who took psychology out of the brain and gave it back to the people.” His other major influence was the mathematician George Boole, “the man who took logic out of the esoteric.”

Stephens developed Hubbard’s dianetic techniques for viewing the past under control of a therapist into a simpler procedure that he called timebreaking. Timebreaking is done solo because a person must take responsibility for their own mind if they are ever to become cause over it. Many of us who have found timebreaking valuable had the benefit of previous experience with dianetics and scientology, but Stephens intended this technique to also work for people with no knowledge of these sciences.

His second breakthrough was to extend Hubbard’s ideas on game theory and goals. In his opinion, research in scientology went astray in a search for the opposing goals and identities that form the core of the mind. Stephens realised that the basic goal package had been there all along in the two basic abilities of life stated in Hubbard’s first axioms of scientology: to create things to be known, and to know things that have been created. He then used Boolean algebra to analyse the structure of games that arise from opposing and complementary goals; I have found this theory to be workable and valid.

In several ways the life of Stephens was a contrast and complement to that of Hubbard. Stephens’ goal in life was to know, rather than to be known. He was passionate about learning and finding the truth, but didn’t give a shit about becoming rich or famous. His childhood in the semi-slum neighbourhood of Tottenham had taught him a disgust for capitalism and a desire to find “a better way”. He founded no group or movement, he never claimed to be the source of all wisdom, but quietly wrote up his discoveries for anyone who might find them useful. And he expected users of his system to think for themselves, take responsibility for their own progress, and make new discoveries.

Stephens’ system is known by the acronym TROM from the title of this, his only published book. It is available at several places on the web as noted below, as are his other research notes which he recorded as audio tapes in the last years of his life. I’m posting this edition as one more source of The Resolution of Mind, hoping that many others will pass it on – in any medium, in English and other languages. It began as my working copy, with typographical errors from earlier editions cleared up to make reading easier. I have also arranged the four addendum sections in chronological order, added a table of contents and used a font that I hope readers will find easy on the eyes.

Other editions of The Resolution of Mind are available as free downloads from:


Further reading

Boole, G. (1854) An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, on which are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities. (Macmillan: London). This is the original Boolean algebra.

Hubbard, L.R. (1956) The Fundamentals of Thought. (HASI: London). This summarises Hubbard’s version of scientology at the time when he and Stephens were working together. The discussion of postulates and games is very relevant to TROM.

Hubbard, L.R. (1957) 18th Advanced Clinical Course. A year on, and Hubbard was considering a theory of how memory works very similar to the one Stephens later adopted.

Turing and Dianetics

On December 24 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II finally pardoned the late Alan Turing for his ‘crime’ of being gay. After helping to shorten the Second World War by his work in breaking the codes used by the German military, Turing was persecuted by the British police and courts until he suicided in 1954. His overdue pardon had been in preparation for months during 2013, and it would be cynical to assume that the British Government chose to announce it on Christmas Eve in order to minimise public attention. Too, too cynical, even though the first rule of insecure authority is ‘never apologise, never admit a mistake’.

One of Turing’s most original ideas was a thought experiment that is now known as the Turing machine. This was an imaginary computer with unlimited memory capacity in the form of a tape carrying a linear sequence of symbols past a read/write head. At any moment only one symbol is in contact with this head, which may alter it and/or move the tape back or forward in a way determined by the symbol. The data symbols can therefore function as commands and encode a program of unlimited complexity with each command directing the machine to the next one in logical sequence even if this is physically located some distance away on the tape.

This was in the 1930s, before the technology to build a working digital computer existed. But it is no exaggeration to call Turing a founder of the computer age, since the Turing machine was the forerunner of all digital computer CPUs. However complex these have become, they still use linear programs that are loaded as input data. From the Turing machine came the concept of a stored program computer, in which input data could also act as instructions to the machine.

The early stored program computers developed in the late 1940s influenced Hubbard’s model of the human mind in dianetics. Dianetics is an empirical science of the mind, and it addresses the mind’s contents as reducible to a single linear time track (Hubbard, 1963) analogous to the tape in a Turing machine. It stresses the importance of action phrases: verbal content in past incidents that the mind interprets as instructions to move on the time track. For example, a painful past incident that contained the phrase “go away” would be abandoned whenever the person tries to contact it. On this model the contents of the mind may be considered as a stored program that can be modified – debugged, in fact – by an appropriate therapy.

The analogy with digital computers can only be taken so far. The mind is not linear, of course. It is more like the Buddhist metaphor of a three-dimensional net of diamonds where each gem reflects every other one. But the linear model first proposed by Turing has been very useful over the last 60 years in understanding the mind. First because the simple techniques of dianetics are workable in therapy, where a somatic can be traced back in time along an arbitrary chain of incidents to its basic occurrence. And secondly because it was a necessary step toward more sophisticated models of the mind – as a network (Gerbode, 1988), or a universe (Stephens, 1979), in each case indexed by the linearity of time.


Gerbode, F.A. (1988) Beyond Psychology: An Introduction to Metapsychology.

Hubbard, L.R. (1963) The Time Track. Saint Hill Special Briefing Course Lecture 293, 16 May 1963.

Stephens, D.H. (1979) The Resolution of Mind: A Games Manual.

Petition: Un-trademark Scientology

Geir Isene has opened the following online petition:

Petition: Un-trademark Scientology
To: United States Patent and Trademark Office Petition to cancel the trademark SCIENTOLOGY

Words designating a science such as biology, gerontology etc. should not be trademarked for obvious reasons. Such is the case with Scientology if  one considers the following:

1) scientology is a word  designating a science, as evidenced by the publication of Scientology, science of the constitution and usefulness of knowledge, by Dr. A Nordenholz (1934). Later it was defined as a  science – the study of the human spirit in its relationship to the  physical universe and its living forms – by L.Ron Hubbard in Ability Magazine 146 and in numerous other publications.

2) scientology in the 21st Century has become a generic term describing the philosophy, science and theories used by many people considering themselves scientologists (incl. independents).

3) the trademark holders  have abused the rights in an attempt to deny other scientologists, not affiliated with the trademark holder from using the term describing the science.

Scientology is the study of knowledge: of yourself as the knower, of how there is anything there to know and of how you know it. It’s close to being a synonym for epistemology, metapsychology, or prajñāpāramitā – all these words carry the idea of using thought to examine the process of thinking. Another good definition comes from L. Ron Hubbard in the first edition of his book The Fundamentals of Thought: “that branch of psychology which treats of (embraces) human ability”.

I’ve noticed the paradox that most of the people who have any claim to the title of scientologist these days avoid that term. No wonder, when the word itself has been brought into disrepute by the Church and its Sea Org. The true scientologists, however they choose to identify themselves, are almost all outside the Church. They are the people who have continued to study and develop the subject and to relate it to other areas of knowledge.

As a scientologist, I am personally insulted when a man like David Miscavige calls himself not just a scientologist but the ‘Leader of Scientology’. In fact, Miscavige is the de facto leader of an American corporation trading under the business name ‘Church of Scientology’ and claiming intellectual property rights in the words scientology and dianetics as well as all published works attributed to L. Ron Hubbard. And this corporation uses its claim to restrict the freedom of people around the world to access and discuss these works.

Rediscovering a “lost” version of OT1

I don’t doubt that New OT1, which was released in 1984, is better preparation for the following two OT sections than the earlier versions of OT Section 1. It’s a much longer level that gives a preOT some experience of solo auditing on the meter in a formal session. When I audited this level at AOSH ANZO in 1988 I noted that soloing gave gains of the same magnitude as I had got from being audited by HGC auditors, even though I had very little prior experience as an auditor.

But the 21 July 1968 release of Operating Thetan section 1 has its own value too. It addresses a different area, and consists of 13 simple processes done off the meter while observing things out in the world. Its stated end phenomenon of freedom from inability to identify self in relation to others and the physical universe has long interested me because it goes straight to a key characteristic of what might be called the autistic case. In my opinion, this is a subset of what Hubbard (1951) called the wide-open case; or what Stephens (1979) characterised as the must know personality.

Compared to most people, we have a soft-edged sense of our identities; the boundary between our selves and our world is not as obvious as it seems to be for some. Our minds have no evident boundary, but extend at least as far as we place our attention. We tend to be more aware of ourselves as thetans than as humans of a particular age, sex, nationality etc. One of the best expressions of this came from Barbara McClintock:

“The body was something you dragged around. I always wished that I could be an objective observer, and not be what is known as ‘me’ to other people.”

Since I was already far beyond OT1 on the ‘bridge’, it seemed safe to run these processes and observe any changes they could still produce. So six weeks ago I solo-audited the 1968 OT1 exactly as laid out in LRH’s handwritten instructions.

The biggest win came on the fifth process. An artificial boundary that I had been setting up between self (safe) and not-self (dangerous) vanished, and I felt relaxed about whether the people I saw were part of me or separate beings. I had been doing this action while walking around the campus where I work, and on the way back to my office was surprised to find people greeting me with smiles or approaching me as if I’d suddenly become visible to them.

The next day I ran some of the later processes of the level while waiting for a flight at Adelaide airport, and noticed that other people are not necessarily full of wrongnesses. It brought back the F/N of the previous day, and I had a marvellous flight, exterior and watching the sea below as if it was within my own mind while simultaneously feeling at ease with the other people on the plane. I continued on to Kingscote – it was an even more pleasant town than I’d remembered from previous visits, and the board meeting that I was attending was great fun. These are positive and stable gains of the kind that I had always expected from the OT levels.

I would emphasise that no-one who is not yet Clear should try to run these processes as they require an ability to look at present time without a reactive mind in the way. I’ve not found any other accounts of people who have gone back and run the “old” OT1 after doing the current lineup of OT sections, and it would be interesting to know if anyone else has had successes from doing this. Above all, these processes should not be allowed to become “lost tech”.


Classification Gradation and Awareness Chart of Levels and Certificates. June 1970

Hubbard, L.R. (1951) Science of Survival.

McClintock, B. Quoted in Keller, E.F. (1983) A Feeling for the Organism.

Stephens, D.H. (1979) The Resolution of Mind: A Games Manual.


I wrote the above text two months ago, but had been hesitating to post it. I don’t want to encourage anyone not yet clear to experiment with processes that may confuse them.

But after the contemptuous dismissal of this same version of OT1 yesterday by Headley and Ortega, it seems more important to make the point that no knowledge that can benefit even a minority of those who apply it should ever be discarded.

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.

Sensory overload and Unimportances

Axiom 58 of Scientology states:

Intelligence and judgment are measured by the ability to evaluate relative importances.
Corollary: The ability to evaluate importances and unimportances is the highest faculty of logic.

One application of this axiom that L. Ron Hubbard developed is the objective process of Education by Unimportances, which used to be on the Student Hat course.

“To teach someone a subject just have him select out the unimportances of the subject. He will start to think everything is important but coax him on with affinity, reality, communication and good control and he will eventually come up with something unimportant, that is, you are teaching him how to drive a tractor. He will find the coat of paint on the crank unimportant. You acknowledge and ask him to find something else unimportant. Keep at this, repeating it and repeating it, and eventually “allness” will start to disintegrate. He will select down to the most important controls of the tractor and the next thing you know he can drive a tractor! He won’t have a craving to know anxiety and won’t be nervous at all. You are teaching by de-evaluation of importance”.

As well as its use in education, this little process could be of use to autistic people in dealing with the sensory overload that can occur in environments with many confusing sights and sounds competing for attention. This is because we don’t automatically filter or ‘censor’ perceptions – if someone is speaking within earshot, we can’t avoid hearing them, for example. The reason may be an attitude of fearfulness: as if it might be risky to dismiss any incoming sensory data as unimportant. Sensory overload can lead to mental confusion, mistakes and even extreme misemotion such as anger or tears, sometimes called a ‘meltdown’.

I wondered if the process of Unimportances might be a remedy, at least for some people. It’s many years since I’ve had any problem with sensory overload but I can easily turn on the phenomenon if I want. Would spotting unimportances in present time turn it off?

I tried this out one day in a shopping mall, a place as autism-unfriendly as its designers could make it. To begin with it was a cavernous space in which sounds reverberated from all directions. Hard shiny surfaces were all around. And worse, it was filled with multicoloured signs and shop windows all competing to call attention to themselves, and with people all moving in different directions and talking at once.

So I sat down on a bench and passively opened up to all the sights and sounds until they made me feel uncomfortable and disoriented. Then I began running ‘spot something unimportant’, conceptually rather than verbally, as a repetitive process.

This remedied the disorientation and discomfort in a few minutes. A few more minutes and I was starting to get some theta perceptics. I was looking through the thin painted or laminated colours of the shop fronts and signs to the unfinished concrete and steel, dirt and cabling behind. The mall owners expected customers to consider this tawdriness as unimportant, and so pretend not to be able to see it. But now I was just fascinated to be seeing through (in both meanings of the phrase) their game.

Maybe this would be workable for others, maybe not. It’s just a suggestion for further consideration.

As a sidelight, it might also be pointed out that for many years the Church of Scientology has been running this process in reverse on its students and staff. To force them under threat of punishment to treat all LRH writings as equally (and infinitely) important stymies their ability to think with the data and apply it intelligently.

“It is interesting that a person who has never selected out the importances of Scientology, or any subject… has a history of being punished within an inch of his life.”


Hubbard, L. Ron (1975) Dianetics Today (Publications Organization: Los Angeles). ISBN 0884040364