Blame and Responsibility

Blame and Responsibility

Page last updated: Jul 2, 2020 @ 5:17 am

The book Advanced Procedure and Axioms (AP&A) first published in 1951 established a set of standard concepts and principles that became the backbone of Dianetics and Scientology practice moving forward (though some of these concepts became mixed up and perverted with the changes in the 1960’s).

Initially some of the concepts presented in this book may seem profound, groundbreaking, and empowering… that is… until one has to face the reality of major failures with Scientology and discover the causes of these failures to lie at the doorstep of some of the most basic concepts introduced by Hubbard which now must be brought into question.

One such concept is the concept of RESPONSIBILITY that was initially defined by Hubbard in AP&A and later revised, without explicitly stating so, during the introduction of “new technology” in the early 1960’s. The revision is covered on page Overt-Motivator Sequence and Withholds, but on this page we’ll look at the initial definition with some related concepts.

book { Advanced Procedure and Axioms }

The key to the processes outlined in this book lies in the self-determinism of individuals.

. . .

Along each and every dynamic the mind makes a self-determined effort. Self-determinism is positive and strong in its native state.

The only thing which can actually alter self-determinism and reduce it is self-determinism itself. One can determine to be used or worked upon by the environ and its people but until one makes a determination to do so, one is not so affected.

Each and every aberration of the human mind and the human body has an initial postulate to be so aberrated. Engrams are effective only when the individual himself determines that they will be effective.

. . .

Self-determinism is that state of being wherein the individual can or cannot be controlled by his environment according to his own choice. In that state the individual has self-confidence in his control of the material universe and the organisms within it along every dynamic. He is confident about any and all abilities or talents he may possess. He is confident in his interpersonal relationships. He reasons but does not need to react.

. . .

DEFINITION: Responsibility is the ability and willingness to assume the status of full source and cause for all efforts and counter-efforts on all dynamics.

There is no compromise with full responsibility. It lies above 20.0 on the tone scale and is descended from in order to effect randomity but is descended from with the full knowledge of its assumptions. It means responsibility for all acts, all emotions on every dynamic and in every sphere as one’s own. It includes such “disrelated” data as the death of an individual one has never met on a highway on which one has never travelled at the hands of a stranger no matter how culpable. One does not send to find for whom the bell tolls without full willingness to have tolled it and to have caused the cause of its tolling.

There is a scale of responsibility between full responsibility and full other-responsibility where the former is above 20.0 and the latter is at 0.0. Complete negation of responsibility is complete admission of being under the complete control of the environment. Assumption of full responsibility is a statement of control of the environment and persons within it without necessity of control.

There is a cycle of responsibility. One acts and seeks to negate his responsibility for such action by placing the “reason” at another’s door. This works s long as one succeeds in making another accept responsibility for the action. The moment this action fails and another does not accept it, the entire action comes back at one. It is then a matter of fault and fixed (by another) blame and stirs the emotion of guilt. Before this cycle begins, there is no aberration, no matter what has been done, no matter what has happened to anyone. The action occurs but is no cause for discussion or justice until one seeks to shunt cause elsewhere than self.

This starts the cycle and eventually comes back as fault. Full responsibility is not fault; it is recognition of being cause.

Rationalization is wholly an attempt to shunt responsibility. Whatever occurs to one is actually his own responsibility, as the student will realize as soon as he re-evaluates the factors involved and as soon as he sees the enormous effect of this process.

The highest common denominator so far reached on occlusion is the responsibility factor. One is occluded on whatever he has tried not to be responsible for. He refuses responsibility for the incident, thus he has no control or responsibility for the facsimile of the incident. One can control nothing without assuming full responsibility for it.

. . .

Development of rationalization (negation of responsibility establishing conflict for development) establishes randomity; and randomity is apparently vital in order to effect a conquest of MEST (our closest approach to why survival, being a conquest of the material universe by theta).

One is obviously conceived after free choice. One obviously seeks and selects randomity on free choice.

Every individual is possessed of an urge for survival on every one of the eight dynamics. He can exercise free choice for the survival of every one of the eight. Indeed, since he has existed prior to any existing situation, he had the free choice to do something about it and thus had free choice about any existing situation. At least the problem resolves itself in this fashion. Its proof is that pre-clears soar up the tone scale on acceptance of full responsibility and the proposition is thus credited by its workability.

Running back any happenstance before the cycle of blame-failure-guilt is started will discover that the pre-clear had full responsibility for anything done to him or by him or, reaching far back, for anything done to anybody by anything or anybody. Full responsibility as AA’s (attempted abortion) occurs if only in choosing conception. Anyone alive today had responsibility in creating our social order.

A soldier shot on the field of battle may “blame” the sniper, the Selective Service, the stupidity of government, but he nevertheless had full responsibility not only for being there and getting shot but for the sniper, Selective Service and the stupidity of government.

You may locate any rationalization cycle merely by finding any mis-emotion such as antagonism, anger, fear, grief or apathy on the part of the pre-clear for anything or anybody. You will find then a cycle wherein the pre-clear considered himself affected by environment, blamed environment (and environment contains all dynamics including self), failed to make the blame stick and received the consequences, thus losing self-determinism, thus getting controlled by environment, thus getting aberrated, thus getting and using the service facsimile.

The auditor is not seeking the point where the pre-clear accepts the harm which came to him as his fault. The auditor is seeking the point where the pre-clear decided it was not his responsibility and then the earlier point of refusal of responsibility. Get the fault acceptance point and you will find apathy since here is agreement with accusation—wrong point. Get the first instant of rationalization and then the earlier generalization of negated responsibility and you will find the postulates which deny full responsibility. A postulate of illness so as not to attend school is not the primary postulate on the chain. The primary postulate on this chain is refusal of full responsibility for school.

Occlusions are resolved by full responsibility on the subject. This includes occluded persons.

. . .

The pre-clear, understanding all this, may yet wonder when he discovers in his past a person who avowedly had full responsibility, is always right and yet made him unhappy. Let the pre-clear look in this person for the actuality of full responsibility and the person in question will be found to have suspicions, antagonisms and rationalizations and is thus discovered to be lacking in full responsibility after all.

The environment starts to control the individual the moment he rationalizes away his inherent full responsibility. The individual becomes “unable” to handle any facsimile of any incident for which he has not assumed full responsibility, thus he becomes subject to facsimiles “handling” him.

Attempting to invalidate someone is attempting to negate full responsibility for that person. The person who insists it is “your fault” is invalidated on a low-tone level by insisting it is not your fault. Thus, assuming “fault” seems to validate the accusation of the person so claiming. Assumption of full responsibility is also assumption of the accusative person as a responsibility.

For definition, the responsibility scale drops to its next level to “I am responsible and I must do something about it”. This dwindles down through “I won’t be responsible”, “I am afraid of responsibility for it”, “I don’t care, it’s no use being responsible”. The lowest rung is no responsibility for anything.

. . .

An individual is evidently designed to be cause. When one speaks of responsibility he means “the determination of the cause which produced the effect.”

The goal of full responsibility is not attained simply by making a new postulate. It is attained by discovering and reducing the pre-clear’s assignment of cause.

Ordinarily people call the assignment of cause “blame.”

If one assigns cause to something, he delivers to that entity power. This is not mystical. It is a new discovery of hitherto unknown phenomena. By it strange visios and occlusions resolve.

A swift survey of emotions demonstrates that a gradient scale from cause drops down to effect. Cause is the life static itself. Full Effect would be MEST, or a dead body.

An organism seeks to be cause without becoming effect.

Cause is above 20.0; effect is at 0.

. . .

A strange visio on a case will vanish if regret is scanned up from it. Occlusions will turn off if blame is scanned off the occluded object or person including self.

This operates on any of the eight dynamics. That which one blames becomes a power and is occluded as unexaminable including self. That which is in stationary visio is that which one regrets having caused.


Here we have something that sounds profound and almost magical – “a new discovery of hitherto unknown phenomena” – about responsibility, blame, and power, rationalization… but really what does all of this mean in real terms? How or why does someone assume “the status of full source and cause for all efforts and counter-efforts on all dynamics?” It is not very clear… What is clear however is how this ‘profoundary’ can be used to manipulate people within a group.

If someone comes and complains about someone else’s actions, using the abstract rationale above, such a person can be quickly accused of “not taking responsibility” and sent in for “processing” so that the state of responsibility can be “regained.” If someone tries to determine causative factors in a given situation (and situations can be quite complex), such a person could be accused of “rationalizing” and hence negating one’s inherent state of responsibility or “blaming” and hence “assigning cause” and “delivering power.” At the end of the day what this can accomplish is to continue to introvert a person on one’s own “self” as an assumed cause for everything, completely losing sight of the actual realities within a given environment.

If person S (source) commits an action, would it not be sane and correct for person O (observer) to recognize and perceive person S, who committed the action, as having created or caused it? How or why would person O “take responsibility” and assume oneself to be “source and cause” for an action committed by person S? Wouldn’t that deny (recognition of) the fact of causation on the part of person S? Wouldn’t it be correct to assign “ownership” for the action to the person that committed it instead of trying to claim it as one’s own? Would it not be sane and correct for O to “blame” S for the action that S has commited? Shouldn’t a person who created a given action be “assigned responsibility” for having created it? Would it not be a denial of the causative state of another person to try to claim his or her actions as one’s own?

How can the act of “blaming” result in “occlusion” of the thing being blamed if someone needs to PERCEIVE the target of blame in order to blame it in the first place?

If reality was all a product of one’s imagination, so to speak, then there is obviously no one and nothing to blame but oneself. However, if there are self-directed existences (such as other people) or existences otherwise guided by the laws of nature (such as a falling rock), then their causative actions need to be recognized for what they are.

Blaming can be problematic when it is MISDIRECTED (the wrong item being blamed) and/or when there is no handling to correct an identified problem – that is, getting stuck in dramatizing upset over some problem rather than taking actions to solve it. Dramatizing blame as an excuse to avoid taking action in order to reach a desired condition could be a problem – but in this case, it is the lack of action that would be the actual problem, not necessarily “blaming” something in itself.

This assertion by Hubbard is a very good example of how blame can be misdirected:

One can determine to be used or worked upon by the environ and its people but until one makes a determination to do so, one is not so affected.

One person chooses to do something to another, and the person receiving the action is blamed for receiving it instead of the one who actually committed the action being blamed for creating it. This is a classic set-up in almost any abusive relationship where the recipient of abuse is blamed for having caused it somehow, and so the abuse can continue so long as the target’s attention is on oneself as being “cause,” rather than properly recognizing the perpetrator as being cause of abuse. It is usually this point of recognition that leads to a correct view (perception) and an actual handling of the situation.

Who or what is at fault for the resulting situation? could be a very valid question to determine and isolate causative factors and so handle them so that the same situation does not continue to repeat in the future.

Correct assignment of responsibility is NOT “delivering power” – it is proper recognition of a causative action on the part of some existence in reality. HOWEVER, one can and should take “full responsibility” for the creation of PERCEPTION of the reality in question.

Someone’s action in reality is NOT the same as PERCEPTION (or experience) of that action, especially in the form of a memory recording. If someone is struggling with MEMORIES of some form of abuse – recorded actions (as well as thoughts, emotions, and attitude) of another person, it is of course correct to assume oneself to be the creator of PERCEPTION of those actions (in the form of mental image pictures).

In this sense, some of Hubbard’s concepts would work WHEN APPLIED IN AUDITING ADDRESSING MENTAL IMAGE PICTURES, but would make little sense when applied to actual existences or occurrences in reality – yet there is no such differentiation, unfortunately. Hubbard places an actual “environment” and the mental image pictures (facsimiles, recordings of experience) related to it in the same “bucket.” For this reason, this material could and does serve to subvert the process of developing proper perception (perspective) of actual realities in existence.

“Scanning blame” could work in a sense that it would motivate an individual to actively recreate (duplicate, reproduce) the perceptions of whatever it is that they blame and so come to cause over it, but this would apply to any form of perceived (or experienced) reality that one may feel overwhelmed by. In reproducing perception of something, one inevitably comes to cause over the EXPERIENCE of whatever they may be confronting. Confronting and talking about one’s traumatic experiences (engrams) would produce alleviation for the very same reason. At the same time, blocking someone’s communication and hence inhibiting their ability to actively (re)create the perceptions (or experiences) of some given reality could make one feel more stressed or overwhelmed with respect to that reality. This is related to the subject of BLOCKED COMMUNICATION or BLOCKED PERCEPTION [see PROBLEMS AND PERCEPTION]

It also should be noted that “blame” itself is a concept that is used to form a certain perception (conception) of someone’s communication (or a form of attitude with respect to something). As “blame” usually has a negative connotation, it may be better to use a more neutral term such as DETERMINING THE CAUSE OF SOMETHING.

What or who do you think caused this situation (condition)? – could be a better question to ask rather than “What or who should be blamed for this situation?”

The question could be simplified to:

What caused this … [problem, condition, or situation that is being addressed]?


Additional quotes from related lectures:

lecture set { Thought, Emotion and Effort }

lecture: 26 November 1951: An Analysis of Memory and Human Aberration , Part II

Now, I’m going to tell you something horrible. The second that you blame anything, including yourself, you elect a cause. You elect something else to be responsible. You elect a dynamic to be responsible and it becomes the cause and you become the effect at that moment! Do you see how this would be?

You fall downstairs and hurt your knee. And you say to Isabel, “You pushed me!” You suddenly have elected Isabel to be the cause. And just as certainly, you elected yourself to be the effect. And from that moment on, Isabel is going to be more powerful than you. The environment is going to be more powerful than you. That’s all you have to do.


lecture: 3 December 1951: Cause and Effect : Full Responsibility

Cause and Effect. You are cause! But you go along very far and you find out that you want to eat. The moment you eat, you become an effect. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it demonstrates how Cause and Effect interoperate.

It works out, then, that you are cause before you become an effect. And after you have become an effect, it is more difficult for you to be a cause again, unless you start out all over again and decide to be: “Well, I’m cause again. Now I’m going into a chain of effects.” A person does this when he says, “I think I will live life now” He quits his job, he buys a motorcycle and rides off to Puget Sound or something. He’s cause again. See, he’s deserted everything which was going to affect him.
. . .

Now, this Cause and Effect add up to this: A person who says, “I am not cause” – proof of the pudding is in the eating. This isn’t just a metaphysical or a mystical statement, this happens to resolve cases. Person says, “I am not at cause. I didn’t cause that.” [snap] Now he’s really off to the races. He will not blame self but blames others. “I didn’t cause that.” He blames something else. The second that he blames something else, he says, “That thing is cause.” It becomes more powerful than himself. It occludes and it can thereafter affect him forcefully because the memory of it is not handleable by himself anymore.

He said something else was to blame, so the memory of that something else is something beyond his ability to handle. He said, “Cause is over there.” Therefore, cause is there. What else is he saying? He’s saying, “I’m effect.” There must be a Cause and Effect in this situation. “What he did to me was horrible. He’s done these horrible things to me” and so on and so on. A person, all the time he’s saying this, is saying, “He’s cause.” Cause is the big boss. How to make your enemies powerful and yourself weak. “They’re to blame.” You assign them as cause, you can’t handle the facsimiles of them and you are electing to be an effect of them and, in thus fashion, you get occlusion.

Now, the second you start blaming self – “It’s my fault, I am to blame,” so on, so on. By the way, if you get a relatively occluded case that has an occasional fragmentary visio [visual recall], every visio that that person has is where he has blamed himself – blamed himself, followed with regret. So evidently blame and regret are highly aberrative. “Blame” is the artificial or arbitrary election of cause. It’s the introduction of an arbitrary cause.
. . .

Now, any and all rationalization becomes an assignment of cause. And you get somebody with a – here, let’s get practical now. A person has a psychosomatic illness: a person has a set of knees that are very bad. Says, “I can’t walk very far because my knees are bad. And I can’t do this, because my knees are bad.” Cause is a what? A memory. The cause is a memory. The second you blame a memory and say that it is cause, you immediately and automatically negate your responsibility over it and you’re not able to handle it and it will become a psychosomatic illness. It’s just as simple as that!

You say, “And I’m not responsible for this.” Anything for which you are not responsible can really fix you up.


In the first example, telling Isabel that “You pushed me!” is not “electing cause” but is recognizing / acknowledging and communicating the perceived reality of Isabel’s actions toward oneself. If Isabel did in fact push you, wouldn’t it be sane and correct to perceive Isabel’s actions for what they are… and then look into why Isabel may have chosen to create such an action? Isabel chose to create that action. Yes, the person who was pushed may conclude that he has done something to prompt Isabel to respond with a push, but still – the cause of actions by Isabel is… Isabel, not the person being pushed… unless we are talking about a “supernatural” phenomenon of someone taking over Isabel’s body and controlling it into action… but even then this would relate to DETERMINATION OF CAUSE of Isabel’s actions – the action itself was still committed by Isabel, at least in physical form, regardless of what prompted her into it.

What someone would have to take responsibility for is the CREATION OF PERCEPTION (EXPERIENCE) of Isabel’s action – creation of a “vision” of Isabel pushing oneself. One can continue to carry this VISION after the fact of Isabel’s push, and can continue, in some way, to inflict it upon oneself – as a vision, a (re)created experience. A distinction must be made between an ACTUAL SITUATION that took place and a FORMED PERCEPTION (EXPERIENCE) OF THAT SITUATION.

In the second example with respect to eating: “The moment you eat, you become an effect.” Why? What does Hubbard mean by YOU in this example?

“Becoming an effect” is an abstract concept which may have little to do with reality. What does it really mean to “be an effect?” Isn’t it a causative action to procure food and then transform it into nutrients for the body through the process of digestion? Eating, in itself, could be viewed as a causative action. Then there is an issue of differentiating between you as a UNIT OF CONSCIOUSNESS and you as a BODY which you, as a form of consciousness, may occupy. A body is a very intelligent conglomerate of living organisms (such as various cells and microorganisms) working together to maintain a whole and interconnected form of creation we conceive as “our body.” These living organisms need energy and resources to continue to maintain this creation. At the absence of food and water intake, the creation starts to fall apart and disappear. That’s just the reality of the realm of biological forms in which human consciousness also dwells. This is reality that we can observe and that we participate in. Was Hubbard able to offer anything else, in realistic terms? Was HE able to go on in his body without food? So far there has been no evidence that he was able to do that.

And the last point, is simply based on LOGIC – recognizing that someone or something else is cause does not negate the recognition or the beingness of yourself as being cause as well. If you acknowledge and view another person as cause, it does not make you an “effect.” It would actually make you MORE CAUSE – as being more aware of the nature of something also makes you more causative over it. The FACT OF AWARENESS is a sign that you can encompass the target of awareness into yourself as a field (or space) of consciousness. In that way, the target of awareness, such as another person, can become a part of you (your field of consciousness). But if you believe that you, as an individualized entity, is all there is, then there is no recognition of other forms of causative existences which, as a result, you do not end up incorporating or into your consciousness domain. Hence, not recognizing or not being aware of other causative existences would actually reduce “you” to a form of a separate and individualized entity that will actually be less in its causative influence over other forms of causative existences (such as other people or other life forms or other forms of consciousness, or objective existences that operate according to some mechanical principles).


Page initially published on December 23rd, 2016
Moved to June 20, 2020

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