Action and Perception

Action and Perception

Page last updated: Jan 15, 2021 @ 4:44 pm

The numerous problems in Scientology connected to the subject of “overt act” are covered on page: Overts and Withholds. In this section we are going to talk about some solutions.

The PURPOSE of addressing actions (or any form of expression) in auditing should be to restore and empower preclear’s self-determinism (causative ability) with respect to any form of action or expression and its evaluation – freedom to form perception and to evaluate (reason) as well as to have the power to create different forms expression.



The actual, valid and problematic phenomenon that people observe and so may feel it validates Hubbard’s claims does not have to do with “justification” per say, but with a FIXED THOUGHT CONSTRUCT that justifies something regardless of the circumstances involved. There are plenty of such constructs in Scientology itself. For example, regardless of the way someone criticizes Scientology and what arguments they may offer, the FIXED THOUGHT CONSTRUCT among Scientologists is to label and picture (perceive) such a person in a negative way and attack or “disconnect.” This is but one example.

When someone is STUCK in a FIXED THOUGHT CONSTRUCT, they are in fact UNABLE TO REASON and so actually unable to form a more realistic perception and freely reason about a given situation and persons involved, instead, continuously responding with the same, programmed perception and the same, programmed course of actions.

The problem is NOT with REASONING; the problem is in being so STUCK that one is UNABLE TO REASON in a self-determined fashion. So it is an AUTOMATICITY of sorts (a concept Hubbard himself talked about), and perhaps the best way to produce these “automaticities” is to inhibit individual’s ability to reason in a self-determined fashion – ability to form one’s own perception and a line of reasoning, including about reasoning and perception in themselves (of self and those of others) – a form of SELF-REFLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE that is the central theme behind meditation and many other forms of spiritual enhancement – ability to self-reflect on one’s own THOUGHT PATTERS AND CONSTRUCTS in order to liberate oneself as a form of consciousness.

Justification can also form and become fixed in response to being made wrong for something. Someone was or is making an individual wrong – (s)he develops reasoning in response as a form of protest or disagreement. In that way, it can become fixed as being a part of the “argument” with another source (person, group, some form of teaching). This can be unfixed by asking a person:
– Is there anyone who was trying to make (or making) you wrong for something? or
– Is there anyone who made you wrong for this? (if it is evident that one is stuck on insisting some reasoning as a form of protest).

Justification can also be a form of SELF-DEFENSE TO AVOID PUNISHMENT, and so can also become fixed on this note since maintaining this (fixed) justification becomes a factor of survival. In this way it can even form in response to ANTICIPATED JUDGMENT by others.

A given form of reasoning should not be invalidated – it should be unfixed if it has become fixed (such as by addressing underlying reasons why it has become fixed) so an individual can regain self-determinism over formulating one’s reasoning and perception.

There is also a REALITY-BREAK angle to this. An individual holds certain concept(s) of oneself, then finds oneself being involved in something that is in conflict with the idea of self and so is unable to reconcile that reality or exercise full control over the conflicting reality (such as some activity or situation that one may be or have been involved in). In this case, concepts of self need to be addressed along with the reasons why someone may be holding on to some concept of oneself and so may become unable to entertain and assume responsibility (assume a position of cause / ownership) over conflicting realities.

There are multiple angles to this problem that have never been explored or discussed in Scientology.

Since justification is a product of reasoning and perception, it also directly cuts into the subject of how perception and reasoning are formed to begin with which in turn directly relates to the subject of SANITY AND INSANITY.

With respect to reasoning, there may be cases where auditing is simply not enough, for a person may actually need some kind of education to enhance one’s ability to reason and to form perception more effectively. The issue can also cut into the “reactive mind” phenomena when someone’s reasoning and/or perceptions may be inhibited and/or fixed due to accumulated trauma.

Hubbard narrowed everything down to “commission of overts” as some ultimate cause in the decline of perception-ability (awareness) and what could be considered as “bad reasoning,” but there are actually so many factors to consider when trying to understand how both PERCEPTION and REASONING are formed throughout one’s experiences and education.


A Major Technical Difference between an ENGRAM and an OVERT ACT

There is a major technical difference between engrams (recorded traumatic experiences) and “overt” acts. A traumatic incident is a moment of LOSS OF CONTROL especially of one’s mental functions where the neural network of the mind is overwhelmed with shock and is unable to make sense of the experience and organize all the factors involved into a meaningful and accessible “perception construct.” Going over a traumatic experience is an act of “pushing through” and regaining control over an overwhelming experience. Trying to recall specific details is regaining control of PERCEPTION of the details surrounding an incident of overwhelm. Once a traumatic experience can be fully reconstructed, it “discharges” – the mind has now regained full control of all the “forces” and factors involved in the incident. The effect of “discharging,” at least in part, comes about from liberated flow of energy through now reconstructed neural circuitry which before was blocked and inhibited (hence rising resistance to the flow of electrical current as measured by an e-meter when attention is placed on an incident before it is “discharged”). The previously unavailable neural circuitry also gets connected to the overall neural circuitry of the mind resulting in heightened intelligence and new insights as new data and new forms of computation become available.

The nature of an “overt act” situation is inherently different. Commission of an act considered to be an overt is an issue of a COURSE OF ACTION that someone performed in a given situation and EVALUATIONS that surround it. It does not, ordinarily, have to do with being overwhelmed with forces that knock one’s “neural circuitry” into oblivion which then needs to be remastered and reconstructed with an auditing procedure. Unlike with an engramic memory recording, recalling exact details surrounding an overt act can be irrelevant and even counter-productive. What is actually being audited is preclear’s PERCEPTION of the TARGET of one’s action as well as preclear’s PERCEPTION or EVALUATION of the ACTION taken. There is also a factor of INTENTION and the REASONING behind the SELECTED COURSE OF ACTION, as well as reasoning regarding a given situation or a set of circumstances.

These are the important factors:

– PERCEPTION OF THE TARGET of one’s action

– The INTENTION behind the action(s) taken [what the pre-clear intended to accomplish by engaging in a given course of action]

– The REASONING or logic that the preclear relied upon in choosing a given course of action.

– Preclear’s EVALUATIONS OF THE ACTION before and after the fact and the source(s) of these evaluations [it could be Scientology, Biblical rules (sins), societal norms or laws, parents or one’s own conclusions based on some reasoning].

Also see the SELF-DETERMINATION FORMULA. which can be used successfully to formulate effective processing logic and approach. What was the observation(s), evaluation(s), decision(s) that lead to a given course of actions.

Perception or evaluation of some action as being wrong can often be linked to actual engramic content such as:

1) a LOSS and/or

2) incidents or threat of PUNISHMENT

A committed act in itself may be found to be a dramatization of engramic content.

If a chosen course of action resulted in a loss, it will then be usually subject to REGRET.

A performed action for which one was punished before or knows (s)he can be punished will usually serve as a KEY-IN and a RESTIMULATOR of traumatic incidents of punishments associated with the action in one way or another.

All of these factors must be taken into account in choosing an appropriate form of processing. In fact, it would be best to drop the term “overt” all together and come up with a number of descriptive designations to describe different forms of action and methods of addressing them:

REGRETTED ACT: something a preclear has done or withheld oneself from doing that (s)he regrets. This is having caused something (s)he wishes s(he) didn’t cause or did not cause something (s)he wishes s(he) did cause.

– having withheld oneself from doing something a preclear believes (s)he should have done could also be understood as FAILED CAUSE.

PUNISHABLE ACT: an act that a preclear associates with some form of punishment either based on past experience or anticipated outcome or both.

WRONG ACT: an act that a preclear believes to be wrong for one reason or another.

PROHIBITED is another key term that could be used to identify problematic actions or forms of expression.

Note, these are temporary designations for the purpose of auditing and refer to PRECLEAR’S PERCEPTION or EVALUATION of some actions, not necessarily to some supposed objective criteria. And these designations are not mutually exclusive: an act could be regretted, punishable and wrong all at the same time in the mind of a preclear, or it may feel punishable and be regretted but not considered wrong by the preclear; it may be considered wrong and punishable, but not regretted – any combination is possible.



A PUNISHABLE ACT is an ACT that one believes (feels, senses) (s)he will be punished for, and it acts as a KEY-IN and a RESTIMULATOR of engramic incidents of PUNISHMENT.

Any act can become a punishable act in the mind of a preclear. If one has been punished or somehow attacked (including verbally with degrading labels) for, say, expressing disagreement, then expressing disagreement can become a punishable act. If one has been punished for expressing criticism or negative thoughts then even entertaining a critical or negative thought can become a punishable act.

And it doesn’t have to be “engramic” necessarily – a person having committed a crime, for example, will analytically understand that if it is discovered, he can be judged and punished with deprivation of liberty or worse.

From this mechanism we can get the sudden and unexplained departure phenomenon (known as a “blow-off” in Scientology) – someone getting an urge to leave in order to AVOID A CONTRA-SURVIVAL SITUATION (i.e. some form of punishment). GETTING SICK, getting “psychosomatics,” is another phenomenon (due to restimulation of engramic content) or urging to FIGHT a source of perceived danger. “Scathing criticism” could be a form of aggression, but it is not “criticism” itself which is the underlying factor – it is a person’s aggressive response to a perceived SENSE OF DANGER.

In 2010 “How to Use Dianetics” there is a scene demonstrating the mechanism of an engram which validates the logic above:

“The pain is her reactive mind’s stupid attempt to warn her that she is in a dangerous place, that she should leave.”

So the logic above is in line with the basic tenets of Dianetics, and explains WHY going over one’s “overts” (as related to punishable act specifically) CAN actually be beneficial as it can KEY-OUT ENGRAMS that came into restimulation, BUT it must be done in a non-judgmental atmosphere; otherwise, simply disclosing one’s punishable acts without addressing the underlying engrams in an atmosphere filled with judgmental can RESTIMULATE the person even more.

From this we can also get a “missed withhold phenomena” – someone “nearly found out” – it means they RESTIMULATED some engramic area, but did not address it and so we can get a (reactive) FLIGHT OR FIGHT response.

Commission of a punishable act by itself may not at all be an issue; the ENGRAMS – past traumatic experiences related to PUNISHMENT that are in turn connected to JUDGMENT – are. That’s why JUDGMENT in itself is RESTIMULATIVE, and that’s why an atmosphere filled with JUDGMENT and THREAT OF PUNISHMENT creates a sense of a DANGEROUS ENVIRONMENT and is counter-productive to DIANETIC PRACTICE.


JUDGMENT and PUNISHMENT are two key areas that can have any form of expression tied to them depending on someone’s upbringing, cultural settings, personal convictions, etc. The following are sample questions that can be used to effectively address these areas and liberate a causative position with respect to forms of expression that have become associated with judgment and punishment:

What could you be judged for?

What could you be punished for?

Who could judge you? Who could punish you?

Who judged you? Who punished you? Could you recall a time when you were judged / punished?

Who / what have you judged / punished?

Who / what would you like to punish?

Who / what could you punish?

Is there anyone that you wanted to punish?

Could you recall a time when someone else judged / punished another?

The theme of Judgment and Punishment is directly connected to the subject of SUPPRESSION, both – as possible means of suppression (using judgement and punishment to suppress some form of expression) and as a possible target of suppression (such as suppressing someone’s judgement of someone or something).

Within this context Punishment and Judgment can be defined as:

Punishment: a destructive or suppressive act in response to some (unwanted or disapproved) form of expression (or a perceived offense).

Judgment: harsh disapproval of something usually accompanied by a desire to stop or end it.



A preclear will not be able to evaluate an act that is tangled up with a lot of engramic content; hence, the engramic content must be discharged to bring a preclear up to a point where (s)he can view and evaluate a given action in a self-determined fashion.

Heavy loss is a form an engramic content, so it must be resolved before any action(s) associated with it may be addressed. An act that resulted in a loss will commonly be accompanied with regret and usually some form of self-blame.

Regretted acts can be located with simple questions:

1) Have you done anything that you regret?

2) Have you withheld (or prevented or stopped) yourself from doing something that you feel you should have done?

It can be directed toward specific areas across the dynamics by adding: …toward self, intimate partner, children, family, groups, mankind (or some other civilization one may have been a part of on the track), life forms, physical universe, and consciousness itself.

The overall question could be simplified with:

Is there anything that you regret?

If the preclear says “Yes” but seems unwilling to share the event, suspect a punishable act and ask:

Do you feel you can punished for what you have done?

If the answer is “Yes” then associated incidents (or anticipation) of punishment and judgment must be discharged before proceeding any further.

A more detailed description of how to handle a “withhold” phenomena can be found on this page:  AUDITING HANGUPS.



Have you done anything you believe was wrong?
– could be a question to bring to view actions that a preclear considers to be wrong.

Why do you believe this was wrong?
– could prompt a preclear to reflect on one’s own evaluations and the source of those evaluations.

What is (or would be or could be) considered wrong?
– could even be a better question to pick up all the different evaluations that someone had encountered and potentially internalized in association with other people or some teachings. The question could be extended to focus on specific areas: What is/was considered wrong by your parents, your significant other, your group(s), within your culture… etc.

The word “wrong” can also be substituted with other appropriate words such as an “overt” (for those indoctrinated into Scientology) or a “sin” (for those indoctrinated into concepts out of the Bible).



What is/was prohibited?

What action/thought/emotion/intention is (or was or has been) prohibited?

Words “blocked” or “suppressed” can also be used.
– example: “What action was blocked?”


Restoration of Responsibility over Forms of Expression

Someone’s inhibition toward some form of action or expression is addressed in order to restore one’s ability to create (freely consider) and confront the action in question. The inhibition could prevent one from occupying a state of power over a given form of expression and so be able to easily confront and duplicate it in others and oneself.



Any given action that a preclear has engaged upon or continues to do can be a form of dramatization linked to engramic content. Engramic content that results in some form of compulsion or inhibition has to be identified and discharged to restore preclear’s self-determinism.

The principle of dramatization of counter-efforts and their address in auditing, as described by Ron Hubbard himself, was already discussed on page Overts and Withholds under EARLIER VIEW and is repeated down below.

Note, the below information is presented as a form of reference to the information that already exists in Scientology in this area, not as a form of advice of how this area should be addressed in auditing. It may not actually be a good idea to ask (especially authoritatively) the preclear to dramatize the action. The focus of auditing should be preclear’s PERCEPTION and EVALUATIONS of the target area as well as identification and discharge of earlier engramic content that may be related to it and that may be causing compulsions or inhibitions.



The words “overt” and “motivator” actually originated in the 1950’s Scientology but had a rather different theory and practice attached to them having to do with a receipt of a COUNTER-EFFORT and the improper use of that counter-effort which was NOT in fact justified and was subject to REGRET. Notice how here Hubbard says that BOTH – the overt act (an instance of inappropriate use) AND the motivator (the receipt of the used counter-effort) need to be accounted for and addressed in auditing on an alternate basis. It is also not ANY use, not any harmful or destructive action but the one that was “misemployed.”

That’s why true confessional should be based on REGRET not on whether someone has done something that could be considered harmful or destructive as Regret was also an instance when one decided he no longer wanted to be responsible for the misemployed counter-effort which could then effect him as a (keyed-in) counter-effort.


[25 JUNE 1952] Technique 88: Overt Acts, Motivators and DEDs (selection)

I want to talk to you about overt acts, motivators and the DED. Although you will find the sequence I describe to you invariable, the conditions resulting from it are quite complex.

There are three circumstances. An individual has something done to him and then he turns around and does it to somebody else or something else. And then he says, “I shouldn’t do that,” so he holds himself from doing it again and he brings the first time it happened to him and the time he did it close together and they wind up in a ball no matter whether they’re ten billion years apart or ten minutes apart. They’ll wind up. One is the motivator, the next is the overt act – the same, similar efforts.

Person receives an effort and he thinks he ought to be able to use any effort he has received. We get this sort of situation here: I showed you the dish and the tennis ball circumstance here. In comes this effort. Now, if it comes in and hits him, he makes a facsimile of it, he feels he should be able to put that facsimile into play at any time.

And so one day he starts to put this into play and we finish the cycle – it gets there and he says, “No!” And when he says no there, he says no there. In other words, he stops the thing coming in and going out if he stops it going out. Why? Because when it was a counter-effort he stopped it and tried to stop it from coming in. So what does he use to stop it from going out? The same force that he used to keep it from going in.

So, this one as it starts in here at the top, it’s coming toward him – this is earlier on the track – this is the motivator and this, of course, is antipathetic to his survival, being a heavy counter-effort. And as it comes in he says, “No, no, no, you must not come in.” And he tries to force it and keep it from coming in, but it comes in anyhow. And he makes facsimiles of it coming in and his stopping it and his being unable to stop it. He makes a facsimile of every sequence of the entrance to him of this counter-effort.

Now, once upon a time – or a little bit later, “then” upon a time – he will say that “This is a similar situation. I’m going to do it to somebody else. I want to put this person in apathy,” he’ll say, “and here’s a facsimile of a good, strong counter-effort. I’ll give him this good, strong counter-effort.” And he’ll start to give him this good strong counter-effort and you’ll get a cogeneration of energy there. And he’ll say all of a sudden, “I don’t want to put him into apathy, really, because he is me and I am him, because here it’s happening to him and it happened to me, so therefore I must be the same as him.” And this is very simple and very sensible.

You’ll find all people who get motivators and try to use them as overt acts come to this conclusion that “I am he,” until they get a cross-identification across the whole human race. They think everybody is them and they pick up everybody’s facsimiles and they pick up all sorts of restimulations. They don’t pick up anybody’s facsimiles; that’s a very special activity. You can grab somebody’s facsimile, but you’re not grabbing his facsimile at all – you’re taking a photograph of his facsimile or you’re pushing him through his own facsimile. You’re not taking his facsimile, it’s different.

Now therefore, people, when they’ve have lots of motivators which they’ve tried to use as overt acts, will eventually come to the conclusion that they and the rest of the human race are the same person. In other words, their own individuation is squashed. Why is it squashed? In comes a counter-effort, they stop the counter-effort from coming in. They make a facsimile of it. They start to use it one day. They want to put somebody into apathy or put somebody out of action or nullify them-something is happening. So they take this thing that happened to them and they say, “Here it goes” and start to use it and they find the other person putting up the same resistance they put up, which identifies them with the other person because of an interchange of energy.

There’s an actual energy flow and this other person says, “No, no, no!” The person who is doing it to them feels “No, no, no!”-as an energy flow, not the words or anything. There’s an actual energy kickback. And the second this kickback hits, it restimulates very mechanically the other side of this motivator. So it makes the person who is doing the overt act the same as the victim. It gives him a confusion of identity. And the second he gets this confusion of identity, he says, “No, no, no. I mustn’t do this to me.” And so he holds it up. And he tries to say, “I didn’t do it,” and he tries to pull it back. He gets regret. Regret is the action of trying to make time run backwards.

And so he holds it up and here it was on the way out. But here is a facsimile now which is holding it up. Who’s he? Is he the person who is holding it up or the person who is putting it out? Well, he must be both people. Well, if he’s both people then he can feel sympathy for the person he was doing it to. But, of course, if he feels sympathy for the person he was doing it to, this makes him the same as the person he was doing it to, because anything you feel sympathy for, you identify with yourself. So it becomes an immediately unsolvable situation unless you have the reduction and erasure techniques of processing – Dianetic processing. If you have these techniques you can resolve this. It couldn’t be resolved before. So there we are.

The overt act here becomes involved with the motivator there. The two of them lock together and make maybe.

A person hangs up, then, on the time track. That’s a standard situation and when you try to take apart a balled-up time track or a balled-up situation or a compulsive thought level or an inhibitive thought level, you’ll find a motivator and an overt act, one way or the other, mixed up at the bottom of this thing. You’ll find them interlocked and you start to run a preclear through one. You start to run him through this, you say, “Ah, now we got a nice bop on the E-Meter and the E-Meter says that he did this and it was at such and such a date.” You’ve gotten all this off the E-Meter. You’ve asked it if it was so many years ago and it was this and that and you’ve got the complexion of this overt act: Who did he do it to? What did he do it to? And you start to run it. And so he goes through the action.

By the way, it’s very amusing to make people go through these overt acts sometimes. Because as they start to go through them, they get just weak. They go into their own apathy level. If they’re a severe overt act – let’s say you’re running an overt act of somebody choking somebody. And you say, “Well, go ahead now, take your hands and choke somebody.” And the fellow will start. At the first moment of it he’ll say, “Well, yeah . . . ” He says, “It’s funny, my arms feel all limp.”

Well, the odd part of it is, is he’s trying to force somebody into apathy if he’s choking somebody and so this person is actually exuding an apathy wave, because he’s trying to force the person into apathy. He’s saying, “Go into apathy, go into apathy. Don’t act, don’t act. Don’t move, be still.” And as he does this, his intention matches the return wave.

See how that is? I mean, he says, “Go into apathy, go into apathy.” So the person goes into apathy and then all of a sudden emanates the wavelength of apathy. Very simple. So the apathy wave hits the person who is doing it and makes him feel weak, because that’s apathy. But the second he feels weak he says, “It must be happening to me.” Because how did he feel when it was done to him in the motivator? Weak, in apathy.

Now, he wanted the answer to this problem: “Here is another being and I w ant to put this other being into apathy. How am I going to put this other being into apathy? I have a very sure method of doing so. I was put into apathy once by being choked. Therefore, the way to put this person into apathy is choke him.” Simple solution. So he chokes him. His intention is to put the person into apathy. The person exudes apathy, apathy comes back at him. He says, “Therefore I must be in the motivator. Oh no, I’m not. I’m in the overt – no, I must be in the motivator.” And that’s the way it acts in auditing.

So you run it through once. You make this fellow choke somebody. T hen he chokes them again. He says, “I feel hands around my throat.” Well, the re’s something else complicates it. It’s an actual fact that as his hands closed around this person’s throat, it made the cells and area of this throat actually exude an area of pain and because they are the cells of the throat they will mirror a wave into the cells of his throat. You know, the victim’s throat starts to emanate pain. What’s the most likely thing to pick it up? The identical cells in the overt act person’s throat.

That’s a very, very mild little manifestation. T hat’s tiny, that isn’t big. T he mechanics of it are the fact that he thinks because he feels this slight impulse – he says, “Oh-oh! It’s happening to me again. I am the victim. No, I’m not. I’m the person who’s doing it. I’m the victim. No, I was the victim. No.” He doesn’t know, because he starts going down Tone Scale. Why doesn’t he know? Because the bottom level of the motivator, w hen it happened to him, was “I don’t know.” So he just says, “I . . He just doesn’t know what’s happening. It’s very confused.

You start to run him through, you make him choke this person’s . . . And you say, “Go through the action of choking somebody.” And he feels all weak and he starts to choke somebody and he goes on and starts to cut off their head with an ax or something. And says, “Oh, I don’t w ant to do that. I wouldn’t – I wouldn’t do that.” And you make him go through it.

And he said – all of a sudden he says, “Gee, my–my neck, I–glug–glug–feels horrible. Got a somatic.”

Well now, you can go on forcing him to choke somebody, but you’re actually, to some degree, defeating your own purpose.

I ran some clinical experiments on this to find out if you could run overt acts through just by running overt acts through. And it’s pretty hard to do. It will happen, but the person insists on running the motivator – running the time it happened to him. So the fastest way to do it and the way to do it now, according to procedure and according to test, is you run him choking somebody and then you run him being choked.

You run him being choked himself until such time as you find it getting very sticky indeed. You know, slows down-starts to be hard to audit. First moment it starts to get hard to audit, make him choke the other person. And he starts choking the other person and make him choke the other person till that gets a little bit hard to audit and then get him choked himself. And you’re reducing them selectively, each one to each one’s level.

And if you run one of these overt act-motivator ballups on the track that way, you will find out that you’ll get a very speedy reduction. They’re very fast to reduce, then, so you don’t have to work on it for hours and hours and hours. . . .


[8 MARCH 1952] Milestone One: Effort and Counter-Effort: Overt Acts (selection-1)

Want, to talk to you tonight about the resolution of effort and counter-effort.

The only reason an engram will not run and the only reason a moment of pain, the only reason a moment of unconsciousness will not reduce properly or erase properly is in the matter of effort and counter-effort. Effort and counter-effort form a heavy-enough block on some engrams they become very difficult to work out.

Of course, you understand there’s another item and that is one’s own intention or one’s own self-determinism with regard to it. It matters much more what the individual says than what is said to him. So one’s own self-determinism can be a large factor in auditing out an engram.

But the effort and counter-effort are actually what hold it down because they sort of wrap up the self-determinism, they sort of lie around it. Self-determinism can get swallowed up by effort and counter-effort. Such a situation as this: An individual comes out of a door and somebody else comes in the door and they collide. Well now, each one has the intention and postulate of progressing forward in the direction he’s going and they collide. And they stop for a moment. And to A, who is coming out of the door, B is a sudden counter-effort. And to B, going in the door, A is a sudden counter-effort. The two of them meet, maybe bump their heads together, both of them would go unconscious. You see, unconsciousness is actually a manifestation of one’s self-determinism being upset by a counter-effort, that is what unconsciousness is.

The equation one works on, actually, is “If I can’t make my self-determinism count, then I must be dead” and he goes down curve rapidly toward death. Unconsciousness is just a – light or deep – is merely a slide in toward death. Now, effort and counter-effort, then, contain a very large part of the answer of auditing out an engram. Your preclear can get so bogged down in some postulate, in some statement he makes himself, underneath this effort and counter-effort-that he’s made when he received it or made just before he received it – that he will concentrate in such a way on this effort and counter-effort that he does not pick it up.

Now, that may seem to you rather odd that you could concentrate on a counter-effort and be, then, unable to contact it. The trick is to concentrate on another point than the point of impact and only then will the counter-effort come in. The reason for this is very simply expressed. One’s own effort is always to some slight degree directed toward the receipt and expulsion of counter-efforts. Now, the receipt and expulsion of counter-efforts requires that one fix his attention upon the counter-effort. And one’s attention, therefore, is fixed on the effort in order to expel it.

What is actually happening is you are no more and no less than a complete bundle of counter-efforts. Thought picked up its first counter-effort way back at the beginning of time, turned it around and used it to overcome the physical universe. And this sequence: picking up a counter-effort and then using it, picking up a counter-effort and then using it, picking up a counter-effort and using it, should demonstrate to you that every effort which you exert has, at one time or another, been a counter-effort.

A physical-force effort then has, at one time or another, always, in every case, has been a counter-effort.

The only reason a counter-effort in a facsimile becomes troublesome is because an individual’s self-determinism depends to a large degree upon his right to use any counter-effort he receives and turn it around and send it the other way. Now, he thinks of himself as having this as an inherent right. Therefore, when he receives a counter-effort and is then inhibited in using it, the counter-effort will eventually come back against him because he will go back to the point where he realizes the counter-effort is dangerous, he’ll start examining it and he’ll throw himself back into the first facsimile of its receipt. This is highly mechanical-very, very mechanical.

Now a counter-effort then, let us say, of being hit hard by a truck, to use a very standardized thing (hitting by a truck is quite ordinary these days, drivers being what they are, particularly in Kansas) – so your counter-effort comes in, bam!

Now actually, in order to use this, the individual would have to hit somebody with a truck. Well, he knows he’d better not hit somebody with a truck because this would be in violation of the dynamics as well as city ordinances. (At least most cities have ordinances against this sort of thing, I’m not sure about this particular city.)

The point is that one has received a counter-effort which he cannot employ and so it’s worrisome. Well, there are two things to do about it: one is not to get hit by a truck and the other one is, if hit, be in a high enough tone so that that facsimile, being in the counter-effort band, won’t ever be contacted by you anymore-or audit it out. Now, these are several courses that you can take. All right.

Here is the matter of receiving a counter-effort and not being able to use it. An individual is killed, let us say. I hope that doesn’t sound particularly amusing to you-he’s killed and later on can’t use the counter-effort, but that’s exactly what happens. The individual is killed, let’s say he’s strangled, and later on somebody does something to him and his response is to take his lily-white hands and strangle the other person.

Now, he may do this several times. He may do it very successfully several times and one day, after he gets through strangling somebody, maybe back in the Stone Age or something of the sort, he takes another look and it’s a girl and that was the wrong use of this counter-effort. Or it was a baby-wrong use of the counter-effort. He’s trying to use this counter-effort and here he’s used it wrongly. What happens to him? Instantaneously and immediately, he gets the somatic of being strangled, because he tries to regret this matter, he tries to figure it out. He says to himself, “My goodness, how could I possibly have strangled this woman?” “How could I possibly have strangled this baby?” (whatever he did). “Well, how could I have done this?”

Well, when he says to himself, “How could I have done this?” he starts picking up the facsimiles which gave him the counter-effort which permitted him to do it. And of course, he hangs up with the first time it was done to him. And we call this first incident, when it was done to him, the motivator.

The motivator is then employed and may be employed relatively successfully. He can go around choking animals, choking horses, choking anything, it doesn’t matter, choking men-they’re all on a parity with him-it just doesn’t matter. He doesn’t regret these fellows. And then, one fine day, he chokes the wrong person, which is to say, he chokes somebody that is not a legitimate target, which is to say, he has no justification for the act. Insufficient justification creates, then, what we call the overt act. An overt act is the misemployment of a counter-effort – the misemployment of a counter-effort. And the counter-effort thus employed against a target that is not a legitimate target, backfires on the individual. He’ll go back down the time track and get into the motivator. He gets into the motivator immediately. He gets the somatics, plainly and simply, that were administered to him. He gets those somatics himself.

Thus you find, on the track, a person begins to accumulate overt acts – many of them. He maybe has one big motivator, one incident that he can’t do anything about. He has received a counter-effort and every time he tries to use this counter-effort, which is his perfect right (he thinks), he finds out that it is such a large offense against the other dynamics that he pulls back and resigns his right and he cannot, then, be self-determined. So his self-determinism sinks because he can’t use this counter-effort.

As a result, the accumulated overt acts can get up to a point where the individual will suffer no matter what he does to anybody. He begins to believe that he cannot use a single counter-effort. This is a condition we know as apathy: all counter-efforts go through and one puts up no effort to resist them. That is apathy. That is also refusing to use one’s right to utilize counter-efforts. That’s the bottom of self-determinism, then. One can’t use a counter-effort, therefore one has no self-determinism, therefore one is in apathy because all efforts go through him-all counter-efforts go through him.

The Tone Scale – the whole Tone Scale can be derived on these emotions to this degree: how much overt action has the individual suffered from? That is to say, how many times has he failed when he tried to employ a counter-effort? The degree to which he is unable to employ counter-efforts is the degree or the band he lies in on the Tone Scale. Should be very simple, very easy to understand.

If a man can’t use any counter-efforts at all, he cannot resent anything that’s said to him, he cannot strike back at anybody that does anything to him, he is incapable, then, of defending himself or the other dynamics and, as a result, more or less ceases to exist. That’s apathy. The bottom of apathy is death. One then won’t even resist the counter-effort of sunlight or anything of the sort.

Now, way up the band, one is so extensional against counter-efforts that they really don’t even arrive. They don’t arrive. He not only is capable of employing all counter-efforts, he doesn’t need to, he’s way up above. Now, when a person, let us say, is well up the band, let us say that he begins to use, for some reason or other, counter-efforts-he uses some old counter-effort against one of the dynamics. He comes down the band a little bit. He uses another counter-effort against one of the dynamics. You see, it’s non-survival to go out against the dynamics – it’s not good sense!

So, he uses these counter-efforts and he uses them and he uses them and he uses these motivators, one after the other, and gradually uses them wrong this time and wrong that time and comes, eventually, down to the bottom of the Tone Scale.

In order to audit him back up again, one could, actually, merely pick up his overt acts. You can locate them on a psychometer. His overt acts. What has he killed and when? When has he misemployed counter-efforts? Against what? Against himself, against children, against women, against groups, against Man, against animals, against the MEST universe and so forth, right straight on up the line.

Particularly interesting is the counter-effort against Seven – theta – the Seventh Dynamic. The overt act against Seven is very interesting because it results in an individual believing he has offended to such a degree that he has to get into the valence of something which is offended. Now, that unsnarls very easily.

Christ bore the burdens of all Man and the world, didn’t he? So, if a person keeps on offending, offending, offending against the Seventh Dynamic, he will eventually offend so wrongly and so widely and broadly that his only solution to it is to wind up as Christ.

Now, as we go up the scale, then, a person commits actually less and less counter-efforts but is capable of committing more and more. The bottom of the scale, in apathy, is when a person has committed so many counter-efforts, so many overt acts, he’s done so much without good justification that he must now do nothing but justify whatever he’s doing. Well, what does he do to justify? He starts wearing the somatics, starts wearing the pains and infirmities of his motivator. It has turned on him, at last, and you’ll have this …

You can run, by the way, a great many people through the Crucifixion. You can actually run them through the Crucifixion. They’ll get it very nicely. They’ll take enough facsimiles and put them together to have one wonderful crucifixion. They’ll get themselves really crucified. Why? Well, any time you find anybody running a crucifixion, you start looking around to find out when they started offending against the Seventh Dynamic and you’ll find plenty of offenses. And instead of running the Crucifixion (which is, after all, merely satisfying this person), find their overt acts against it and run those out and the tone of the individual will come up quite markedly. That’s a symbolical performance in this society, this society being what it is-running the Crucifixion. You’ll find that as an incident in many people. Don’t bother to run it.

Find out when they cut the throat of the priest, when they set fire to the nun and other little pastimes in which they have engaged during a dull day and an idle moment, [laughter] . . .


[8 MARCH 1952] Milestone One: Effort and Counter-Effort: Overt Acts (selection-2)

Now, the only reason anybody is carrying around an aberration or a somatic, by the way, according to theory, is that he has used some counter-effort he received sometime to destroy along one or more of the dynamics. That’s one for you to note in auditing.

The phenomenon of the overt act is very important. You hit Bill, you hit him, and a few days or weeks later, your eye isn’t so good and you can’t find out why. It’s because you hit Bill; you regretted hitting Bill.

Now, if you’ll take an overt act and run it backwards, you’ll get the regret off of it. Because what is a person trying to do with an overt act? He’s trying to get it undone. He doesn’t want to go forward through it again. He wants to undo it, he wants to un-enact it. He hit this fellow – he’s in a terrific tearing rage – and he hit this fellow and the fellow fell down and the second that fellow fell, all of a sudden he said, “I’ve just hit my brother. Huhhh! No, I didn’t do it. That wasn’t I.” He then invalidates it all over the place. “I didn’t do it, I had . . . ” Then he says, “I had ample justification.” He knows he doesn’t have ample justification. He can’t quite untangle this thing, because there that fellow lies on the ground in bad shape-that’s just hitting somebody in the eye.

You’ll find in almost – in any man’s childhood, he has hit another child. And you can find that. And you will find that hitting this other child has been an additive factor, just one of the many factors, which is holding in suspension the somatic which that man in his adulthood is carrying.

Now, that’s just hitting a little child in a childish quarrel. How do you get rid of this? Run through it, identify it. Put him on a psychometer and find it is the best way to do, because you can fish around for a long time on overt acts by just guessing. You can spend a lot of time, but a psychometer will tell you immediately where they are.

Run this incident backwards. Have him withdraw the blow, withdraw the blow, withdraw the blow and all of a sudden he’ll find he’s impossible to keep withdrawing this blow and the film will start to run the other way. And then it’ll run the other way for a few times and then he starts withdrawing it again. And in such a way, you work the time out of the act. Because, you see, the reason it gets into restimulation is very simple – very simple, the reason the overt act gets into restimulation. The person has jammed time on it, he doesn’t want it to happen. So having jammed time on it, time becomes timeless and so the overt act can float with him from there on. He has put himself before the incident happened. Therefore, any time he moves forward, the incident occurs. There, maybe, is one of the reasons he has sinusitis and so forth.

Any time a person has performed an overt act, he has suffered from it to some degree or other. . . .


So this is much closer to the original principles in Dianetics – one receives counter-effort, counter-thought, and counter-emotion and then urges to use or dramatize these under similar circumstances. If a person becomes unwilling to use them, then he or she would ordinarily get the psychosomatic from the time of the receipt of those things in some earlier traumatic incident (i.e. an engram). This is clearly demonstrated in one of the Church’s films about Dianetics:

Here are additional explanations about this phenomena from Book One:

Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health
Chapter III: The Cell and the Organism

Now in the case of the woman beaten by her husband, the engram contains just two valences. Who won? Here is the law of “tooth and claw,” the aspect of survival in engrams. Who won? The husband. Therefore it is the husband who will be dramatized. She didn’t win. She got hurt. Aha! When these restimulators are present, the thing to do is to be the winner, the husband, to talk like him, to say what he did, to do what he did. He survived. “Be like him!” say the cells.

Hence, when the woman is restimulated into this engram by some action, let us say, on the part of her child, she dramatizes the winning valence. She knocks the child down and kicks him, tells him he is a faker, that he is no good, that he is always changing his mind. What would happen if she dramatized herself? She would have to fall down, knocking over a chair, pass out and believe she was a faker, no good and was always changing her mind and she would have to feel the pain of all blows!

“Be yourself” is advice which falls on deaf reactive mind ears. Here is the scheme. Every time the organism gets punished by life, the analytical mind, according to the reactive mind, has erred. The reactive mind then cuts the analytical mind out of circuit in ratio to the amount of restimulation present (danger) and makes the body react as if it were the person who won in the earlier but similar situation where the organism was hurt.

Now what happens if “society” or the husband or some exterior force told this woman, who is dramatizing this engram, that she must face reality? That’s impossible. Reality equals being herself, and herself gets hurt. What if some exterior force breaks the dramatization? That is to say, if society objects to the dramatization and refuses to let her kick and yell and shout! The engram is still soldered-in. The reactive mind is forcing her to be the winning valence. Now she can’t be. As punishment, the reactive mind, the closer she slides in to being herself, approximates the conditions of the other valence in the engram. After all, that valence didn’t die. And the pain of the blows turns on and she thinks she is a faker, that she is no good and that she always changes her mind. In other words, she is in the losing valence. Consistent breaking of dramatization will make a person ill just as certainly as there are gloomy days.



An individual must not only be able to freely evaluate and direct one’s own actions but also be able to observe, evaluate, and direct the actions of others.

Directing the actions of others is practiced with objective processes while auditing can be used to rehabilitate and enhance an ability to freely evaluate the observed (recorded perceptions) actions.

Any form of processing aimed at subverting and inhibiting an individual’s ability to freely evaluate the actions of others is simply unacceptable. The way it has been framed in Scientology by Hubbard is that if someone starts talking about someone else and their actions, it is looked at as “not taking responsibility,” “assigning cause,” “being a victim,” “motivating,” “justifying” or whatever else. This is evaluating for the preclear and invalidating preclear’s data as well potentially getting angry with the preclear (in trying to force the preclear to confess one’s own “overts” instead) – multiple violations of the Auditor’s Code. This is discussed in more detail on page: Overts and Withholds.

Page initially published on October 1, 2016
Moved to August 25, 2020

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