Overts and Withholds

Overts and Withholds

Page last updated: Aug 26, 2020 @ 1:18 am



With the technology described on this page Hubbard effectively instituted targeted suppression (or subversion) of thought about other people, especially when it comes to himself and other Scientology authorities.

Influenced by Hubbard’s false ideas about critical thoughts, Scientologists actually block the development of thought in each other and so inevitably inhibit each others’ ability to perceive, to reason, and to develop real understanding, especially when it comes to Scientology itself.

Actual perception and understanding is substituted with conditioned thought patterns in alignment with Scientology doctrines formulated by Hubbard, especially those starting with 1959 forward.


The subject of Overt-Motivator Sequence and Withholds covers a false (or misleading) notion that individual’s “critical thoughts” are caused by one’s bad / harmful actions (referred to as “overts”) toward the target of criticism – this can be self, another person, some group, an object, a place or anything else that one may have bad thoughts about or criticize, especially(!) when it comes to Scientology or anyone involved in it including its management and Hubbard himself.

Indoctrinated into this false belief, Scientology practitioners then seek to monitor and “handle” each others’ “critical thoughts” through coercive Scientology “confessionals” where an e-meter is used as a lie detector to drill into an individual’s past in search of any deeds that may be construed as bad deeds (overt acts) which in itself is subject to arbitrary evaluations through general norms in society as well as Scientology’s own criteria.

To criticism are then added sudden departures (referred to as “blow-offs”), being upset or complaining about someone else’s actions (referred to as “motivating”), struggling with some psychosomatic condition (sickness, suffering) or even a bad situation – are all considered to be caused by one’s own misdeeds especially when they are then withheld (stay undisclosed). [Note. In other areas of Scientology theory Hubbard also provides other reasons for some of these “manifestations” – as being a result of misunderstood words or being connected to a “suppressive person,” for example. These are not covered on this page.]

This is probably by far the most destructive aspect of Scientology that robs its practitioners of the ability to OBSERVE and EVALUATE (especially when it comes to anything related to Scientology including the actions of its authorities) since suppressing or subverting someone’s “critical thoughts” inevitably leads to suppression of PERCEPTION of the realities to which those thoughts were applied as well as a deliberate destruction of ANALYTICAL ABILITIES in the target area of address which most often happens to be Scientology itself.

Subject’s thinking processes are literally “rewired” to introvert on some wrongs with oneself (whether real or imagined) when an individual happens to think or observe some wrongs with respect to Scientology, or even with respect to other people.

All of this however does not mean that Scientology practitioners lose an ability to express criticism all together. It just falls outside of one’s own volition (self-determination) and becomes a subject of “conditioned response” within the group as influenced by dictates from authorities on one side (such as in declaring people good or bad) and Hubbard’s evaluation criteria (such as those for social and anti-social / suppressive personality) on another.

Perhaps some Scientologists get to a level where they do not evaluate at all but simply execute what is required of them as long as it is packaged within an acceptable framework of “for the good of humanity” or for the good of one’s own spiritual progress. This could probably hold more true for members of the Sea Organization who are under continuous control by the group and its authorities but can also hold true for public Scientologists who readily surrender their life savings into various donation schemes, their children into the Sea Org, and more of their money and time into various Scientology services including the confessionals themselves.

In some form, since the time these new processes were introduced in late 1959, Scientology practice inevitably becomes a struggle between one’s mind trying to maintain its proper function as an intelligence apparatus designed to form adequate perceptions of given realities (oneself, others, the environment, etc.) and make evaluations in order to guide an organism toward optimum survival – which is a key tenet in Dianetics itself – and Scientology’s own highly destructive forms of processing that seek to suppress and control the mind’s function to the detriment of the individual. This in turn keeps Scientology practitioners in a perpetual condition and a sense that there is something wrong with their minds which can draw them deeper into Scientology nightmare that advertises itself as a solution to the very condition that it perpetually creates through the theory and methodology described in detail on this page.



The subject of Overt-Motivator Sequence and Overts and Witholds is covered in numerous places all throughout Scientology materials especially starting with late 1959 through the early 1960’s and is a part of Scientology’s “ethics technology.”

It is presented to the public on the following website covering the basic concepts of overt acts, withholds, justifications, sudden departures (blow-offs), and overt-motivator sequence:
[Click on “Next” at the bottom of each page to go to the next subject.]

Most of that data comes directly from a number of HCO Bulletins.

Moral Codes: adaptation from a lecture “04 October 1961 SHSBC-066 Moral Codes: What is a Withhold?”



The Overt-Motivator Sequence: HCOB 20 MAY 1968 OVERT-MOTIVATOR SEQUENCE


There is also a more recent video from the Church meant for the public demonstrating the theory of overts and withholds:


One of the best summaries of how this “theory” is applied in Scientology auditing practice is a lecture for which I provide selection down below. It is a long lecture that includes areas of more technical material that I wanted to specifically exclude so that I would not have to explain the more technical terminology and what Hubbard could be talking about as it would greatly derail the focus from the underlying substance of his descriptions / assertions on the subject of human psychology and behavior and how to address (or deal with) various -supposed- manifestations of human consciousness during a Scientology auditing session.

[20 FEBRUARY 1962] Saint Hill Special Briefing Course: What is a Withhold? (selection-1)

What is a withhold? A withhold is something that a person believes that if – if it is revealed, it will endanger their self-preservation. In other words, a withhold is something that endangers the self-preservation of the pc. Now, that is a very important definition. It’s taken me a very long time to get that definition. It’s taken me a very long time to get that definition. It gives us a new line for 3D Criss Cross, although this is not about 3D Criss Cross.

And it, worked back and forth, is an absolute killer because this is the reason whole track is occluded. This is where your whole track memory went. And this is the button on which it is sitting.

So this is a very important discovery. Therefore, we would consider that that person who had very little whole track recall would consider themselves in a very dangerous position.

In other words, you’ve got a gradient here. The less whole track recall, the more the person considers they are in danger, and the less likely you are to get a withhold off of them. The more fantastic the whole track recall, the same thing we are dodging here, somehow or another, with that. . . .

*3D Criss Cross is a kind of Scientology processing having to do with addressing goals, problems and problematic persons in one’s life.


[20 FEBRUARY 1962] Saint Hill Special Briefing Course: What is a Withhold? (selection-2)

Now, of course, the more unsafe you make it to get off a withhold, the battier it all becomes until you get a civilization like this one.

Now, the one thing by which the communist profits in [in very broad Australian accent] Australia and Suid-Afrika* are the laws against perversion. The state, of all means, is regulating how you are going to perform the sexual act. I think that’s very interesting. I’ve seldom seen any police officers in my bedroom. And I’m afraid if I did they’d have short shrift. [laughter]

[footnote: Suid-Africa: the name for South Africa, as it is said in Afrikaans, an official language of South Africa which developed from seventeenth-century Dutch.]

Of course, I have – I have had the people the police officers are supposed to restrain trying to crawl into my bedroom windows and a few things like that, you know, but that, of course, they wouldn’t be interested in.

Now, what are they doing? They’re just trying to invent some new withholds, aren’t they? I think that’s fascinating, because the communist uses blackmail of this particular kind as a means of controlling heads of state.

In other words, if the state itself lends its weight to punishment of withholds, see, it has just laid itself out to be crazy. Because now, anybody in the state can be blackmailed so as to overthrow the state, because the state will punish the overthrow of the withhold. Do you understand this, or any part of this?

Audience: Yes.

All right. Now, there it is on the third dynamic. The state makes it unsafe for anybody to confess to anything. So everybody is withholding from the state. What happens if you withhold from the state or the state misses withholds on you? Of course, you begin to hate the state, and that is the downfall of nationalism.

Of course, this may be very fortunate. But nevertheless, they have sown the seeds of their own destruction by the number of great laws which they – arise on how a person shouldn’t get off withholds.

Let’s apply that to an auditing session. The auditor upsets the pc or tries to make the pc guilty every time the pc gets off a withhold. Therefore, the auditor is making it unsafe for the pc to get off a withhold. All right. Then therefore the auditor trains the pc not to get off unsafe withholds. The auditor then trains the pc to get off only safe withholds. And we read on an auditor’s report, “I went out at night and looked at the sky and felt strange.” And that is a withhold. Great day in the morning! That’s a safe withhold, isn’t it?

Well, of course, the funny part of it is, there it is. It’s not a withhold. It’s not a withhold at all.

So you can actually get into a games condition with your pc by punishing the pc for his withholds. You can actually get into a games condition where the pc will only try to get off safe withholds. And there you go.

Now, if a pc isn’t giving me withholds, I’m afraid that I would become persuasive. A withhold is something that, if revealed, would be prejudicial to his survival.

Now, naturally, his individuation comes from his withholds. This hyper-individuation of the pc, this only-oneness, this withdrawal into only self – all of that – and withdrawal out of groups and withdrawal here and there and so forth, all of these things stem exclusively and only and entirely from, of course, withholds which, if gotten off, the person believes would injure their survival.

Now, the funny part of it is, is these – is this is not true. The person gets an aberrated idea of what would injure his survival if he got it off, don’t you see? And it’s this aberrated idea of what they dare get off that brings about the condition of aberration. I think that possibly you’ve got one, two, or three apiece – some kind of an average like that – that if you revealed it in the wrong quarter, your – it’s factual that somebody would be likely to take action. See, if the state of New South Guinea, or something of this sort, found out about this, well, huh, might be a poor show.

You’ve all got some that were factual. There are some factual ones, see? Some real ones. And you get those real buried and they get very encysted. And the other aberrated idea builds up on those and we get a build-up of that.

Now, the punishment of our parents, of course, we feel offhand that – this comes from past life; 3D Criss Cross gets these areas cleaned up – but when we started this life, we already had the idea that if we disclosed certain things to our parents or we did certain things or we were – didn’t withhold mean words and so forth from our father, or something like that, we’d find ourselves suddenly without food, clothing and shelter. In other words, we get this exaggerated idea. Well, it’s built on our past life structure. But that’s a bad enough basis.

Now, we take off from there and we move into areas and then do commit something which, if revealed, would be very upsetting, or would have been very upsetting. And then other little things start piling up on the top of that, and so on. And we get up to a point where we become quite aberrated, quite individuated, and we get so we can’t even communicate with parts of our body.

And the result of all this, naturally, is a feeling of high antisocialness.

And somebody comes close to these withholds and we believe implicitly, you see, that if we got off this withhold, naturally we could just see the police running in, my God, the sirens going in all directions, you see, and police by the squad coming bursting in the front door, probably with battering rams, you know? And they got handcuffs and they’re all ready to put them on you, you know, and drag you off. And naturally the cell they’re going to drag you to is not any of the modern jails, you know, which just dramatize withholds; it’s probably one of the old-time dungeons, you know, where they bury you up to the neck in water and leave you there for forty years or something like this, you see? You get an aberrated idea of the punishment in a jail. And this all of a sudden rekindles, you know? The auditor gets close to one of these things, and this idea, ooooooh! you know. Oooo-oooooo-ooooo-ooo, you know? At any minute this horrible series of circumstances are going to occur, and naturally we consider the auditor dangerous.

No, listen, the auditor is only dangerous if he doesn’t pull the withhold. And that is a recurring phrase that is starting to happen here in this school. There are certain auditors that we designate as dangerous auditors.

Why are they dangerous? Because they will only tick and not pull a withhold. And we call those people dangerous auditors. Why? Their pcs are all going to be mad at them, they are themselves going to goof up and get lots of loses one way or the other and they’re going to always be involved in ARC breaks of some kind or another and they’re going to have people going around gossiping about how bad Central Organizations are and how bad they are and how bad everything else is and so forth. And they are dangerous.

But from the pc’s viewpoint, the person becomes dangerous the moment they might find out whatever this thing is, you see? And the auditor appears for a moment dangerous. The auditor might find out. And the pc gets ARC breaky, however, only when the auditor fails to find out. The auditor has to go the whole way. And an auditor who won’t go the whole way, an auditor who will only get off safe withholds off of a pc is dangerous. And that is today’s adjudication on whether a person can audit or not: Are they a safe auditor or a dangerous auditor?

Oddly enough, it’s a complete reversal. The auditor who gets off safe withholds is dangerous. And the auditor who will get off unsafe withholds is safe. You understand that?

Now, you’ve got to – you’ve got to bust through any feeling you have on this and look at this square in the teeth and follow it through, because your – actually – all of your activities as an auditor are totally, 100 percent, based on this one little fact. It all cones down to this: An auditor who will not pull dangerous withholds from the pc is a dangerous auditor.


[20 FEBRUARY 1962] Saint Hill Special Briefing Course: What is a Withhold? (selection-3)

Now, there’s a rule. There’s a rule about this, about asking What questions. And this isn’t really about What questions but I’ll just show you what this is.

The first rule is: When the pc gives you a motivator, you know you’re on hot ground and so you always ask a What question that’s rather overt. Says, “Well, my mother beat me every day.

My What question, I’m afraid, at the moment is “What have you done to your mother?” I would not even monkey with this motivator, see? I wouldn’t fool with it at all. The next gradient up – that would be – that’d be the most certain ground to mine. Motivator, motivator, motivator – man, that just takes the What question and practically writes it in legible script in front of your face, you see?

Your next one up the line from that is the person is critical. The person is being critical of somebody. Well, the criticalness – you can go on and pull criticism forever without getting anyplace. You want to know what he did, did, did, did, did, done, done, done, done, action, action, action. There must be action back of that criticism. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have it, see? So, criticism is a sure indicator of an overt.

Now let’s take the milder form of it which is explaining why it happened. The pc starts explaining – I don’t let the pc explain very long without giving him a new 1 sub-something or other on the What question. I give him a new What question to clean up.

Pc starts explaining and says, “Well, actually, the truth of the matter was that I was on the ferryboat. I hadn’t – I hadn’t actually meant to be on the ferryboat, you understand, but I was coming down from the taxi rank, and I just saw the ferryboat there.”

I’m liable to cut him off at that moment, on whatever we were talking about, and ask a little more pinched-in-close What. “What were you doing?” you know? Something like this. And he says, “Well, oh-oh. Oh, that!” And it alerts him.

So you have these various indicators. They make a gradient. Pc gives you a motivator; oh well, that’s an absolute certain indicator and you must pull the overt straightaway, just convert the thing into an overt without any slightest…

Person says, “Well, my – just my mother beat me every day, just on and on and on. And beat me every day and so forth.”

It’s just a lead-pipe cinch. “What have you done to your mother?” I mean, it just might as well appear – be printed on the auditor form, you know? I mean, it’d be that inevitable. Your next one is criticism, criticism, criticism. Well, there’s a real overt back of this, and so forth.

Now, we’re not going to dignify getting off other people’s withholds by even classify- ing it. An auditor who would do that, oh, man. That’s very safe, but it’s so safe that they’re not withholds. They’re not his withholds. What are you doing – what are you doing monkeying with somebody else’s withholds? They’re not this pc’s actions. Perfectly safe to reveal other people’s withholds, isn’t it? Or it might be, unless they find out about it.

But – then your area of explanation. And then there is the actual withhold. Now, of course, the actual withhold: the person says, “Well, I – I used to stand down on the Battery and bung paving stones through the windshields of cars,” see? And you’ve got your tailor-made What question standing right in front of your face, because it’s not “What about bung- ing paving stones through windshields of car on the Battery on July 1st, 1962?” or something like this, you see? That’s not the question. The question is, “What about damaging cars?” or something. But there’s your What question. It’s tailor-made because it’s the withhold.

Now let’s drop downstairs a little bit and we find the pc is explaining something so we get the What question out of the bulk of his explanation.

He’s saying, “Well, I actually – I actually would never – never really liked – liked – liked my wife, and I really never liked her, and so forth. And this was easy to understand. I, of course, was – came home late and all that sort of thing, but she never kept herself up and she never really did anything for me around the house. And she never really paid much atten – .” That’s – actually, he hasn’t given a motivator, you know, he hasn’t given an overt. It’s just an explanation of how it was all messy. And you could just cut him short on his explanation, get your new What.

Now, I’ll give you an example out of your session today: we had two or three periods of explanation, when I wasn’t doing Prepchecking. In view of the fact that I wasn’t doing Prepchecking, I of course could never get to the bottom of it. It was just crippled, you see, because I couldn’t slide in the What. See? Because in clearing rudiments, I was avoiding Whats, and I certainly wasn’t Prepchecking, you see, I was sec checking. Doesn’t work.

All right. So next indicator is the pc is being very critical about something or other. He’s being very critical of you, the auditor. That’s a very special case. If he’s being critical of you, the auditor, you have missed a withhold and you better find out what it is. “What should you have found out about?” “When did you think I was a fool?” Anything that you could possibly mention that would throw a missed withhold into view – that would be the stage at which you pulled this particular one. But it’s the criticism. You want to find out what has been done. The missed withhold, underlies all of these things, by the way. But you can find an actual doingness at the point of criticism. He’s saying, “Well, I,” natter, natter, natter, “and actually I always thought, always thought that he wore the wrong color ties. And that was why I didn’t like him,” or something of the sort, and so on. Well, he’s done something to that person or done something to a person like that. So your What question is tailormade out of that.

And then there is your fundamental fundamental – is motivator. Man, red flag! Let’s just find out what he’s done to the source of that motivator or the type of beingness of that motivator. Just overtly find out what he’s done. In other words, you’re getting off overts and so on.

Now, if you look at this as a scale, you will find out that the withhold is measured by the degree of danger – the only reason I’m giving you this scale; I’m not talking about how you ask What questions – the degree of danger the pc conceives to be present on the subject of getting off the withhold.

All right. If the pc doesn’t think it’s very dangerous, they give it to you directly and straight. If the pc thinks it’s a little bit dangerous, they explain around the fringes of where it might lie. If the pc thinks it’s rather confoundedly dangerous, it’s getting just a little bit grim, maybe on the jail borderline on that chain, the pc will criticize. See, criticism enters.

And if it is so dangerous that the pc believes – you understand I’m saying pc “believes”; I’m not saying it’s factual – the pc is right up to the point where, with a jingle jangle the patrol wagon arrives, the officers pick up the battering ram, they knock down the front door, they come crashing in with the handcuffs and leg irons, you see, and drag him screaming off, towed back of the Black Maria, you see? Something like this. And they can see this is going to happen if that withhold is missing; they give you the motivator. They always give you a motivator. Flat, flat, total motivator – a hundred percent.

Now, what – how do you use this? Well, it gives you the gradient scale and indexes of all cases. A case is not as bad off as he is crazy. A case is not as bad off as he is aberrated. A case is not as bad off as anything, except how dangerous he considers it would be if he revealed himself.

And so you have from the top to the bottom, all cases on that gradient. Just like you have the What questions and the degree of the withhold and the safety on those – that gradient, so you have all cases on that gradient. And the person who will die before he will reveal himself is also on that scale. . . .


In addition to providing lengthy explanations in his lectures, Hubbard also “cemented” these principles and their application in HCO Bulletins and Policy Letters. Here are a number of good examples – you can see how the information in these bulletins parallels the lectures:



Here is Ron Hubbard giving an example of how to run Sec Checking on himself as an item (target of address in auditing):

[30 DECEMBER 1961] Clean Hands Congress: Auditing Perfection and Classes of Auditors (selection-1)

Or “Have you ever done anything to Ron? Very good. Have you ever done anything to Ron? Oh, oh, there? What’s that? What’s that? Have you ever done anything to Ron, and so on? Oh, you thought an unkind thought about Ron. Oh, da-da-da, da-da-da, an unkind thought, a critical thought, and so forth. All right. That’s very good. And you thought about this other person that said . . . There. That other person said that they had once heard—well, that’s fine, you have thought this unkind thought. Very good. What have you done to him?” [question asked with great emphasis]

“Oh, well, you needn’t ask me like that. That is pretty mean. That’s pretty mean. I just thought this unkind thought and so forth. And anybody’s entitled to their opinion. It’s a democracy after all, so forth. It’s not some kind of a fascism the way you people think it is, so forth.”

You say, “All right. All right. But what did you do to him? All right. If you’re thinking unkind thoughts about him, you must have done something to him. Now what did you done?”

It’s the only reason the question exists in the Form 3 Joburg. “Have you ever thought any critical thought about____ ?” must always be followed, “Good. You have? Fine! Well, what have you done?” Because he who thinketh critical thoughteth abouteth hath done, brother, hath done.

All of this is very important. You can’t sit there—you know that a person could actually go on seven or eight hours getting off their critical thoughts. Do you know that?

They can go on and on and on and on and on. Critical thoughts, critical thoughts, critical thoughts, critical thoughts and I thought this, and I thought that, and I thought that. You don’t have to listen to any of that. Why not end it up in thirty seconds, not five hours.

Say, “What did you do?”

You’ll find out every time if they had critical thoughts, they’ve done something. It’s interesting, isn’t it?

They’re going around with this terrific load of blame, blame, blame, blame, blame, blame, blame. “This fellow’s no good because I shot at him once.” That’s logic. That’s logic, Earth, 1961. “He’s no good and he’s a rat because I once wrecked his car.” Make sense? No, it doesn’t make sense, but who does? . . .

*Form 3 Joburg is presented in a section below: THEORY APPLICATION.


[30 DECEMBER 1961] Clean Hands Congress: Auditing Perfection and Classes of Auditors (selection-2)

But if there’s anything wrong with you or if there’s anything that you feel upset about, it goes back down just to one thing. Oncet uponet a timet, you had a “withhold it.” And you never spilled it. And it is still withheld. And you is still having a hard time with it.

And now you want an auditor to help you. And it is my responsibility that the auditor who helps you, as fast as this can be done, will be totally competent to do so and who will be able to say, “Oncet uponet a timet, you had a ‘withhold it.’ What is it?!!!” And get it. And not leave you with your sciatica, your lumbosis and your civilosis. And that would be a change, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t that be a change?

Audience: Yes.

Well, it’s elementary and you don’t think it amounts to much because you’ve heard it all before. What I’m trying to tell you is you’ve never heard of it with velocity. Yes, you’ve heard it all before, but not with velocity, not with the statement that it can’t be a halfway job. Please don’t do one.


Here are some selections from the State of Man Congress which was all about “Responsibility” in relationship to Overts and Withholds

[1 JANUARY 1960] State of Man Congress: Overts and Withholds

Now, what is an overt act? An overt act—you could classify it in various ways. You could say an overt act is something that was not for the greatest good on all of the dynamics. Something of this sort. Or something which inhibited the future survival of, or you could say an overt act was giving something an experience which it couldn’t experience. There are various ways of doing this, but there’s no reason to define it, because you know all about it! Now, that’s the trick, that’s what it’s all about.

Now, the thing that was difficult to do was to define responsibility so that it couldn’t miss as a process. See, that was the trick All right. Now, we got that. Now, the other one will come out.

So, there’s no sense in defining what an overt act is and therefore a moral code is just that much wasted lead pencil, stylus or wax tablet or stone or hammer or chisel or whatever it is they write them on. Because everybody knows what an overt act is or they wouldn’t suffer from them. You know, an overt act is what you suffer from, and that’s about as far as you could define the thing, you see?

The thing which you are suppressing and mustn’t tell somebody must have been an overt act! See that? That’s what an overt act is. An overt act is that thing which a person feels he’d better not do again. Simple as that.

Now, wherever you try to define it further than that you get into trouble. Man is basically good. He restrains himself, restrains himself, down to the point where he loses himself. And after that, unfortunately, the only real evil takes place. Having lost himself, there’s nobody there representing him but an automaton which is consciencelessly going through a series of motions, and you get criminality.

So, a basic—a basic overt act could be said to be irresponsibility for identity.


[2 JANUARY 1960] State of Man Congress: Why People Don’t Like You

Well now, now we have a much worse one than full responsibility. I’ll tell you about responsibility. Responsibility isn’t very tough. It’s too easy; it is. But we’ve got one now that’s much worse than that.

We say, Your husband hates you? What did you do to him?

And yet, unfortunately, that’s essentially what I am telling you right this minute. I’m saying there you sit with the engrams this way and that way and—and the machinery going that way, and the somatic in the skull, and I say to you this horribly unsavory fact: I say, “Well, you did it to yourself. Congratulations.” And that doesn’t make you feel any better.

We’ve discovered fast processing—very fast processing!

Now, all you’ve got to do: The fellow’s got a great big engram. There he sits, you know? There he’s been sitting for years. All you’ve got to say to him: “All right. What have you done to the engram? What have you withheld from the engram?” you know, and it’d go phoo!

But to free the pc out of that session, it’s only necessary to find out what he did to and withheld from the auditor. As far as auditing is concerned, it doesn’t matter a bit what was done to the preclear. The more attention you pay to what was done to the preclear, the less auditing and the less clearing you get done!

Now, we’ve known this fact one way or the other. We’ve known something about this. I’ve had the definition of Operating Thetan for a long time. We’ve been trying to operate along this line. And what I’ve done is make the most fundamental applications of the Operating Thetan definition that could be made to direct auditing and found out that it was what blew engrams, track, bank, somatics and all the rest of it. These things blew up. Pc at cause. And you’ve all heard that, haven’t you? Pc at cause. “Well, yeah, just—naturally. That’s it, naturally. That’s what I was saying.”

But you were saying at the same time, “Well, pc at effect, of course, too.” Oh, no! Get off of that Get away from that horse’s head because that goes nowhere!

The only effects you can experience are those which you yourself dream up to experience. That’s fantastic! It gives us a brand-new look at cause-distance-effect. The truth of the matter is more like cause-distance-cause. All is cause. The Buddhist, you know, never got this one wrapped up. And his answer to it was have nothing to do with cause and have nothing to do with effect—leave them both entirely alone—making himself, therefore, totally guilty of the sins of omission of never assuming cause, which was the surest way in the world to spin anybody in.

But he knew something was wrong with this cause-distance-effect and that’s all I wish to call attention to here. He did know something was wrong with this cause-distance-effect.

But what’s wrong with it is effect! Tsk You’re flattering yourself if you think you can cause an effect without the cooperation of the other fellow. All of your ability and slyness must be devoted to getting that cooperation.

Now, where you have—where you have an individual who is obviously the effect of somebody, and you audit him as having been the effect of somebody, nothing happens. Now, that alone has caused us to mark a lot of time in these last ten years. We’ve gotten an awful lot done, an astonishing amount of things done in the absence of this particular datum. But now, boy, all of the time that was wasted on that, totally devoted onto this other thing— wow! Wow! Man, you ought to see cases go to pieces under this one. Zip-bang-thud! Because you’re not paying attention to untruths; there are no lies in auditing.

In other words, you’re not auditing in the direction of a lie that the preclear’s condition is the result of an other-determinism than himself. You see, I could have figured this out ten years ago if I’d been that much smarter. I have to apologize once in a while for having been stupid about all this.

But we could have figured it out this way: If auditing pc A in 1959 can clear up a circumstance which occurred in 1699, and the circumstance clears up without any of the personnel in 1699 being present, then obviously the person we’re auditing in 1959 did it all. If it clears up, he must have done all of it. It’s worth looking at, isn’t it?

All you have to say is, “Every man in the universe is cause of his own participation,” and that’s it.

And where he has participated unworthily, all you have to do is knock it out by knocking out the cause of his own participation, and you’ll free that zone of evil or mishmash or discreditable creation or whatever it is in the universe.

But as long as he holds that in place, it will continue to be an evil. And as long as men hold these things in place—these discreditable participations—as long as they hold wrongdoing in place, as long as all this remains buried and knocked in the head it’s going to continue to be an evil nation, an evil world, an evil universe. You want to free it up, why—“hear ye, hear ye, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” But don’t “repent ye, repent ye” or you will put it a long way in reverse.

Now, man, by holding discreditable participations, by holding his own overt acts in place and covering them up and leaving them there, can actually cause a stimulus-response mechanism of one kind or another throughout the various dynamics, which gives life the appearance of evil. And that’s all the evil there is. Which, alarming truth, will do a lot of monks out of a job because there’s no joss to burn anyplace that will free a man’s evil. You can’t bum joss and let some deity someplace take it all on his back, because you’ve just assigned some more responsibility elsewhere, and made it just that much more difficult to blow anything! Does that appear to be reasonable?

Well, all right. Why don’t people like you? That’s what all this leads up to. They don’t like you because they’ve done things to you, and there’s no other reason. You see? More than one way to prove a point.

Now, you actually perform, to some degree, an overt against a person—looking at this in a very loose, sloppy fashion—by letting a person do an overt to you. And that’s about as close as you can get to performing an overt is to let somebody perform an overt against you without doing something about it. Because he’ll wind up with a mechanism which we will call lessening the overt—the mechanism of lessening the overt.

The individual who performs an overt act against someone or thing, person or being has one basic mechanism for making it less harmful to himself. Remember, it’s his own overt acts that are going to harm him, so he has a mechanism by keeping this from happening and that is he lessens the object, or reduces or makes less important the object he has done the overt to. And if you want to spot an overt act, just find the critic. The critic is always the little tag end that sticks out on an overt act having been done. The person tries to lessen the overt by criticizing or reducing the thing he has done the overt to. Got the idea?

Well, I’ll give you a mechanism. I come over here and I put a scratch on this podium. Now, this is a very crude example here. I put a little scratch on this podium. Actually, all I’ve done is stain it with some tears from year to year. But I put a little scratch on it, and then to make that less of an overt act to the podium or the management or something of that sort, what I do is say it’s just an old podium and isn’t much good anyway. So that doesn’t make my overt act so great, you see?

Now, I can live with that overt act as long as I believe that this podium is old and not much good. But if I find out then, that the management just bought this podium brand-new—imported it from Malaysia, Honduras or something especially for this congress, and actually that it has a piece of the True Cross and the bones of Saint Peter in the thing, then I have to say, “Oh, I’m guilty of an overt act,” and decline accordingly, or recognize that I have performed an overt act and as-is it. Only that never occurred to anybody before Dianetics or Scientology.

The reverse was true. The person said, “An old podium, no good.”

The person says, “True Cross, bones of Saint Peter,” and “Oh, my God, I’ve done it,” you know? That’s the way it’s gone. You get the idea?

Well, all right. No, criticism always tells you where the overt is.

It all comes out of an overt. There is practically no such thing as honest criticism.

Now, there is such a thing as decent conduct and carrying our weight and all that sort of thing, but there is also such a thing as living in the vicinity of a great many people who have committed overt acts against us. And that’s rough! That’s rough. And our overt is letting them do it.

Now, the easy manager—the easy manager who permits himself to be robbed at every hand is a villain, because he’s going to wind up a lot of people in the soup. He makes it too easy to have overt acts committed against himself, and eventually degrades their opinion of themselves and himself. You got the idea?

Now, let’s look at this lessening the overt. When I kick the podium and say the podium is no good that lessens the overt but it also lessens my visibility of the podium. And what we have connected and collided with here, head-on, is the whole mechanism of not-isness. And that’s a discovery worth announcing.

That is not-isness. Those things we have done things to, we must then not-is. And that’s all there is to it. And there goes reality and there goes engram banks and there goes visio and there goes sonic and there goes confusion of identities—one can no longer see an identity clearly and confuses it with other identities because he’s what? Got it not-ised. It means he must have done something to it, and then his second mechanism is to lessen the overt.

Now, people who criticize you are trying to lessen the overt. That’s right. People who criticize you are trying to lessen the overt. People who don’t like you are trying to lessen the overt. People who are stopping you from progressing along some perfectly decent path are lessening the overt. They’re saying you don’t exist.

And if they suddenly found out that you did exist, they would be suddenly and tremendously guilty of a tremendous number of overt acts.

Just a couple of years ago, if it was then, one of the most profound critics of Dianetics and one of the fellows who had—did the most to Dianetics to slow it down and who got paid the highest went up to the Mayo Clinic and kicked the bucket.

Now, that’s the hard way to go out! I’m not holding him up as a horrible example. I’m trying to show you this mechanism of lessening the overt. Because it lessens, it lessens, it lessens, it lessens and then can’t hold it, can’t hold it, boom! And it just goes in reverse.

And the terminal it’s done to goes up, and the person goes down. And we get the exact mechanism of propitiation: Not-isness reversed. See that? It just goes bang! It’s a horrible thing to watch. Now, somebody’s been expecting this to happen someday in Scientology and Dianetics.

No, let’s fool everybody and take it the other way. Let’s just get them all by the scruff of their necks and run out their overts in life and straighten them up and make them walk proud.

And you watch, now. That’s what’s going to happen, that’s what’s going to happen. Therefore, one of the first things we ought to do is to make sure we are a third dynamic which is sufficiently trustworthy, sufficiently straightened up and dedicated and representing what we say and do in ourselves to a degree that it will inspire confidence.

Now, the mechanism is that man is basically good, and when he suddenly discovers that he is guilty of evil, he takes himself off so he can do no more harm. And that’s the mechanism of blowing. That’s the mechanism of sudden departure. That’s the sudden departure from an auditing session. That’s the sudden departure from an auditing session.

So you’re going to see some things that appear to you to be punitive. For heaven’s sakes, don’t interpret them as punitive! All we’re trying to do is get anybody who holds a certificate anyplace to hold it with clean hands. That’s all we want.

Any case who comes to us for processing must be processed by an auditor who has clean hands or that auditor, by the way, will not locate their overts! It’s the darnedest thing you ever saw. That is tacit consent!

And as we know, then, we’ve got this one and that one and the next one all straightened up, we can simply mark them “Clean hands,” “Clean hands,” “Recommended without reservation.” And that way Scientologically, as auditors, we can straighten it up, but also fieldwise. It isn’t that we’ve got to be a clean group; it’s that technically we now recognize that the only way we’re all ever going to get Clear is to be a clean group. Do you get the difference?

Well, it’s a brand-new look. It’s got some jolts in it. But there isn’t anybody under the sun going to be punitive about it. Nobody’s ever a punitive when they can be effective.


And here is a complete lecture from the Success Congress which is one of the best summaries of the subject all in one place, complete with definitions and plenty of examples:

[4 JANUARY 1959] Success Congress: Overt-Motivator Sequence

Download (DOC, Unknown)



Let’s summarize some of Hubbard’s key assertions under this subject:

  • If you criticize someone, it is because you have committed overt acts against them (you have done something bad to them) or because they nearly found out about your past overt acts which you don’t want them to know about (missed withhold phenomena… supposedly).
  • If someone did something bad to you and you are complaining about it (motivator), it is because of your own overt acts of similar nature (you did something similar to that person or someone else).
  • If you are thinking about leaving or have left an area (marriage, job, a town, or especially Scientology), it is because you have committed overt acts against that area.
  • If you are trying to explain why you did something, it is taken as justification of having committed an overt act.
  • If you are suffering somehow, then you are really doing it to yourself because of your overt acts.
  • If you feel sympathy for someone, it is because you have committed overt acts against them or someone who they remind you of.

So apparently, it is complaining, criticizing, explaining, or suffering that establishes the level of someone’s fault or “guilt” in having done something wrong.

Looking at this it’s not hard to imagine what some of the “benefits” of this practice could be:

  • Inability to independently evaluate other people or Scientology itself due to misconception about criticism.
  • Inability to fully confront and take (true) responsibility for the actions of others and so becoming easily overwhelmed by them.
  • Inability to independently evaluate one’s own actions due a negative slant on “justification” and “explanations.”
  • Inability to simply recognize the suffering of others or properly acknowledge that of one’s own.
  • Inability to properly acknowledge and duplicate critical analysis (evaluations) since criticism is viewed as a sign that there is something wrong with the person criticizing as opposed to something wrong with what is being criticized. For this reason, Scientology is closed to any real improvement; and criticism toward it continues to accumulate since it does not get properly acknowledged and addressed.

To add insult to injury, in HCOB 18 FEB 1960: HOW TO RUN O-W AND RESPONSIBILITY Hubbard asserts that overts and withholds are a symptom of already existing irresponsibility, yet looking at the actions of another for which one should be taking responsibility for is considered “being a victim” and one is asked to look at one’s own actions only. This practice then produces further IRRESPONSIBILITY which increases the chance of more actual overts and withholds down the road.


It is not hard to see how this “theory” and processing methodology would serve to inhibit individual’s ability to freely OBSERVE, EVALUATE, and reach CONCLUSIONS as well as to openly COMMUNICATE on those conclusions and evaluations especially with regard to other people and their actions, as well as those of one’s own. An individual is instead forced to accept an auditor’s (now in role of a “handler”) concepts and reasoning as per Hubbard’s instructions – i.e. evaluating preclear’s communication as motivating, justifying, explaining, or criticizing to supposedly cover up one’s “overts” as opposed to making one’s own evaluations and conclusions based on observations and experiences (a view which would be in line with 1950’s Dianetics). This is a form of psychological conditioning to subvert individual’s analytical abilities and produce a compliant subject, as well as a form of interrogation to gather up potentially self-incriminating information.

There are places where Hubbard actually states that the aim is to rehabilitate someone’s ABILITY to withhold, but how can this ability be exercised in Scientology itself is quite unclear. If you think of something and say: “Well… yeah… I don’t want to talk to about this right now.” Bam! This is a potential “missed withhold” if it isn’t “pulled” which is a huge “no no” in Scientology and the said reason for all that can go wrong with one’s auditing session and one’s relationship with the organization. Depending on that person’s position in the organization, the person can literally be restrained in a room until he or she “confesses” – this is especially true when it comes to members of the Sea Organization. Hubbard even instituted PENALTIES for failure to pull “missed withholds”:




THEORY APPLICATION: Mass Sec Checking, Session Rudiments and O/W Write-ups

In line with theory described above, Hubbard and his staff compiled extensive lists of questions to check people for any kind of “wrong” imaginable. Joburg Form was a more general list: HCOPL 7 APRIL 1961 JOHANNESBURG SECURITY CHECK (pdf). [Note: this form was revised in 1975 after Security Checking was cancelled in 1968 and later reintroduced as “Confessional” in the 70’s – the revised form follows the original in the combined PDF file.], but there were also more specific Sec Check lists such as for a STUDENT (pdf), an AUDITOR (pdf), a new APPLICANT FOR AUDITING (pdf), a new APPLICANT FOR A COURSE (pdf), a PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEE (pdf), and even one for CHILDREN (pdf).

There seemed to be no limit to the extent of security checking. Basically, anything – any action, thought or intention – that some authority in the organization wants to check for, they can compile a Security Check with questions in the like manner. There is even a sec check for whole track: HCOB 19 JUNE 1961 SEC CHECK WHOLE TRACK.

HCOB 12 OCTOBER 1961 STUDENT PRACTICE CHECK is also worth noting.

Many of these questions are quite disturbing to say the least, and most people would probably have a legitimate concern over whether there is something wrong with even asking such questions of other people. Hubbard understood this, and this is why it was part of his psychological manipulation to convince his indoctrinees that this was the right thing to do and all for the benefit of the person on the other end. As he stated in “What is a Withhold?” lecture:

The auditor who gets off safe withholds is dangerous. And the auditor who will get off unsafe withholds is safe. . . . An auditor who will not pull dangerous withholds from the pc is a dangerous auditor.

Hubbard also introduced a notion of “clean hands”: HCOB 5 OCTOBER 1961 CLEAN HANDS MAKE A HAPPY LIFE – an idea that subjecting oneself to intrusive interrogations with the use of an e-meter as a “lie-detector” [see HCOB 3 FEBRUARY 1960 SECURITY CHECK] was somehow producing a “noble” condition of “clean hands.”

He also established a link to another “noble” notion of “honesty” – HCOB 8 FEBRUARY 1960 HONEST PEOPLE HAVE RIGHTS TOO – implying that someone who was willing to “tell all” to Hubbard or to any of his followers was “honest” and someone who was not so willing was simply “dishonest” or lacked in honesty.

This is just straight up analytical conditioning and manipulation – telling people HOW THEY SHOULD THINK about what is presented to them. [ concept {SUBVERSIVE LOGIC} ]

It is not uncommon for people so indoctrinated – Scientologists – to start to refer to “honesty” in response to someone’s criticism of Scientology or Scientologists – since criticism is taken as an indicator of “overts and withholds” – and the person so critical is simply viewed being “dishonest” in that they choose to dramatize “criticism” as opposed to submitting oneself to an interrogation by a trained Scientologist. Any problem that someone may have with Scientology is not actually a problem with Scientology at all, but an issue of “honesty” regarding some supposed faults with oneself.

Also notice that in the above reference on honesty, in his manipulative manner, Ron Hubbard is introducing an idea that this technology of intrusive interrogations should become a MANDATORY STANDARD in society at large. Imagine interrogation experts at every level of society: checking children in kinder gardens, students at schools, employers checking prospective and current employees with a lie detector using any kind of questions they could dream up… THIS is what Hubbard imagined for the world of an “ideal society” – a society with no individual liberty, no privacy, and no freedom of thought or speech – a truly frightening and evil proposition skillfully wrapped in manipulative “noble speak.”

What is even more disturbing is that people actually bought this and began actively forwarding this “workable blueprint” of a totalitarian society onto the rest of the world in their efforts to expand “the Scientology religion.”

And even if someone refused to say anything, Hubbard had a “technological” solution for that too described in a reference called just that – interrogation: HCOB 30 MARCH 1960 INTERROGATION.

As if mass sec checking using a “lie-detector” wasn’t enough, Hubbard also introduced the practice of “O/W write-up” – writing down one’s “overts and withholds” and submitting it to the organization. He urged all Scientologists to demands such write-ups of each other: HCOB 3 JANUARY 1960 A THIRD DYNAMIC FOR SCIENTOLOGY [color].


Checking for missed withholds also became a part of auditing RUDIMENTS. This means that an auditor checks for missed withholds before every auditing session:



Later HCOB on rudiments that is more technical:




This methodology was used not only to find out what someone may have done, but to also find out if someone had even CONSIDERED doing anything “unkind” in the direction of Scientology:


Hubbard was so obsessed with trying to prevent anyone from doing or even thinking of anything negative in the direction of Scientology and himself that he even wrote a poem and turned it into policy:

HCOPL 13 SEPTEMBER 1978 An old poem






In many of the sections following below I evaluate this “new” Scientology with earlier Scientology (as well as some later works) to show that this new “technology” that Hubbard introduced violates many of the principles that were established prior – during the 1950’s. In effect, the way I see it, Hubbard ended up subverting his own teachings from an earlier period.



Furthermore, The Overt-Motivator Sequence auditing is a clear violation of the first two most important points of THE AUDITOR’S CODE:


The main difficulty of the preclear is other-knowingness. An auditor auditing a preclear has before him someone whose last stronghold of owned knowingness is his engram bank and various mental phenomena. As much as possible, the preclear should be permitted to discover the answers to this phenomena through the process of auditing. What the auditor is doing is steering. If he tells consistently what is to be found or what will happen, the preclear will not get well. The steering, of course, is a covert but highly acceptable method of inviting the preclear to find out. Giving a process’s commands is an invitation to this discovery. The auditor is working from a body of knowledge as to how all minds and spirits function. The preclear could even be trained in this high generality without harm, and certainly can be audited in such a high generality, but its particularities and peculiarities, the phenomena which occur, must not be “telegraphed” to the preclear before they occur, and when something has occurred to the preclear the auditor should not then come up with its explanation. This was the entire failure of psychoanalysis. The preclear would say something, and the analyst would then tell the preclear what it meant.

The auditor should confine himself to giving the proper auditing commands and engaging in enough “dunnage” (extra and relatively meaningless talk) to maintain a two-way communication line.

After a preclear has informed the auditor of an incident in his life it would be a fatal error, so far as the preclear’s case is concerned, for the auditor, using other data, to inform the preclear that he did not have a proper recall on the incident. This is the main trouble with husband and wife auditing teams, and why they normally do not work. Both have been present under various circumstances, and the husband or the wife doing the auditing on the other may find it impossible to repress his or her own version after the other one has delivered up an incident. Today’s type of auditing enters incidents minimally; therefore opportunities of this kind are not as frequent as in earlier days. Verbal invalidation is, of course, the symbolic manifestation of force. Invalidation, when expressed in emotion and effort, is force. When the preclear is invalidated he feels as though he has been struck by some force. One of the lowest levels on this line of invalidation is criticism. Lacking the effort or energy to hit somebody, a covert person criticizes or otherwise invalidates.


Here are some quotes from Science of Survival on the same subject:

(June 1951) Science of Survival
Book One, CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN, COLUMN Y: Method Used By Subject To Handle Others

…the auditor who becomes interested in his preclear’s motives and makes evaluations of his preclear’s reasoning is not only wasting his time but is trying to perform authoritarian therapy.


(June 1951) Science of Survival
Book Two, CHAPTER TWO: The Auditor’s Code

The auditor never evaluates the case for the preclear. He abstains from this, knowing that to compute for the preclear is to inhibit the preclear’s own computation. He knows that to refresh the preclear’s mind as to what went before is to cause the preclear to depend heavily upon the auditor and so to undermine the self-determinism of the preclear.

The auditor never invalidates any of the data or the personality of the preclear. He knows that in doing so he would seriously enturbulate the preclear. He refrains from criticism and invalidation no matter how much the auditor’s own sense of reality is twisted or shaken by the preclear’s incidents or utterances. The auditor uses only techniques designed to restore the self-determinism of the preclear. He refrains from all authoritarian or dominating conduct, leading always rather than driving. He refrains from the use of hypnotism or sedatives on the preclear no matter how much the preclear may demand them out of aberration. He never abandons the preclear out of faint-heartedness about the ability of techniques to resolve the case, but persists and continues to restore the preclear’s self-determinism. The auditor keeps himself informed of any new skills in the science.


If a preclear expresses criticism toward somebody, criticism being disapproval based on perceived faults, an auditor is instructed to ignore preclear’s data and go digging for a supposed “hidden cause” of his or her criticism in the form of something bad that the preclear must have done. Maybe if someone just walked in the door and have never heard of this “rationale,” that person may not feel invalidated and evaluated for that much when asked “What have you done to __?” after expressing a complain about somebody, but any Scientologist learns about this principle sooner or later and operates in the Church with a continuous invalidation hanging over one’s “bad thoughts” and a sense of introversion on the supposed wrongs within oneself.



It also violates some key Scientology axioms as it forces the PC to look at one’s own actions only and discourages or even prevents the PC from looking more thoroughly at someone else and their actions as well as any target of criticism in general – since one is made to believe that one’s “critical thoughts” arise from one’s misdeeds and not some actual wrong with the target object / area of observation.



It is no wonder then that conflicts in Scientology never actually resolve – they just continue to accumulate – because the criticism of Scientology is not confronted for what it is.



(1955) The Creation of Human Ability: Code of Honor

. . .

6. Never compromise with your own reality.

. . .

8. Do not give or receive communication unless YOU YOURSELF desire it.

. . .

11. Never regret yesterday. Life is in your today, and you make your tomorrow.

Hubbard’s Code of Honor is actually quite impractical in view of operating out in the real world, but this is cited here just to show how he wrote a Code and then developed a practice that was going to force parishioners to break it.

Scientology Confessionals or Security Checks is a form of FORCED (COMPULSORY) COMMUNICATION; after all, with is a WITHHOLD if not a subject’s unwillingness to communicate about something – an unwillingness that must be broken according to Hubbard’s directions. This could be far more damaging than inhibited communication. If you are not allowed to communicate something, at least you can still dwell in your spiritual space within. With a Security Check, the subject’s mind is essentially pried open, coercively, just as Ron Hubbard instructs which, in essence, is a practice of breaking the subject’s will and is destructive of psychological integrity of an individual. And with Scientology it is a double fault since communication is both forced in one area such as with information concerning one’s personal life and inhibited in another such as with respect to expressing criticism toward anything related to Scientology itself.



Then we have a concept of an Aberrative Valence as discussed here:

(15 January 1958) Professional Auditor’s Bulletin No. 128

All of the past psychotherapies are aimed at getting a person to outflow, and what do we find here? We find that intelligence increases and neurotic personality traits get better when we run withhold communication from valences. It is a fantastic reversal. We found this to be the case: that people from whom one felt that one could not withhold anything were the most aberrative valences on the case. We thus have a new definition for aberrative valences, namely the “cannot withhold from” valence, who is the most aberrative valence on the case. As you run it the preclear will say, “Well,” unreality, unreality, “I don’t seem to be able to withhold anything from Aunt Grace at all.” Ask a criminal what he could withhold from jail and he will find that he cannot withhold anything from jail. He will see facsimiles and other electronic phenomena sweeping towards some spot he considers jail since he is unable to withhold anything from jail.

We are looking at the basic anatomy of the track and the basic process by which one would run a track. You could be sitting in the middle of the trap and just dream it up for a while and say, “How did I get in here? I don’t know.” The only way anybody could keep you in a trap would be to give you the idea that you had to surrender to the trap and the way to undo this would simply be to think of something you could withhold from the trap—or track.

It is indeed strange that following this bulletin Hubbard integrated interrogation techniques into the practice of Scientology so a group member would not be allowed to withhold anything from the group effectively making it an “aberrative valance” according to Hubbard’s own terms. And this would apply to ANY Scientology group in or out of the Church.

In fact, every auditing session which is at the core of Scientology practice starts with checking the person for withholds under “rudiments.” If someone has withholds against the auditor or the group at large, this is called OUT-RUDIMENT (out-rud) and the person is considered non-sessionable – i.e. unable to continue with the practice of Scientology until those withholds are cleared.

Under 1960’s processing techniques auditor’s skill is assessed in terms of his or her ability to “pull withholds” since leaving withholds “unpulled” was now considered nothing short of “dangerous” and is covered under the concept of a “missed withhold.”

[30 DECEMBER 1961] Clean Hands Congress: Auditing Perfection and Classes of Auditors

Your first skill is your Security Checking skill. Your second skill is your assessing skill.

. . .

The demand of the technology is that the auditor be absolutely right, he be correct in what he does. Now, he has to do some adjustment of what he does, but it breaks down to these two precise skills. One, the ability to pull withholds and to handle an E-Meter and run this type of processing check on the preclear. That is a skill and it is a precise skill, and that one cannot be done wrong. You leave a withhold unpulled on the pc and you have hell for breakfast thereafter.

All you’ve got to do is miss a withhold. So that Security Checking has to be perfect.

. . .

The reason fellows get upset, the reason people blow, the reason people have ARC breaks, the reason they have bad sessions, the reason for this and this—isn’t really that the auditor’s intention was bad. It was only that the person had withholds and nobody got them. They asked for them and didn’t bother to collect them.



As anything Scientology, it continues to get even worse. In the early 1970’s Hubbard figured out something very important about the mind and issued the infamous INTROSPECTION RUNDOWN [PDF: it is important to look at the initial version of this reference which contained a much simpler and shorter procedure than a later revision – both versions are included in the PDF].

The Introspection RD is one of the key references in understanding what is wrong with Scientology itself. Unfortunately, it has gained a very bad rep due to some heavy negligence that resulted from its application. These are covered at length elsewhere on the Internet. What we are going to focus on here is some of the useful key points in the reference.

The Introspection Rundown illuminated the cause of a Psychotic Break as something that

. . . CAUSED the person to look inward worriedly and wrestle with the mystery of some incorrectly designated error. The result is continual inward looking or self­ auditing without relief or end.

The reference provides lengthy instructions, but the key point is:

In the case of a pc in a psychotic break, the C/S would have to locate the last severe wrong indication, indicate the fact to the pc and get it corrected (as with a wrong item) as the first action.

Def. EXTROVERSION: “ . . . Means nothing more than being able to look out­ward . . . .” “ An extroverted personality is one who is capable of looking around the environment . . . .” “ A person who is capable of looking at the world around him and seeing it quite real and quite bright is of course in a state of extroversion.” (Problems of Work.)

The end phenomena of the Introspection RD is the person extroverted, no longer looking inward worriedly in a continuous self-audit without end.

[C/S stands for Case Supervisor]

Ironically, the Introspection Rundown was released around the time that Security Checking was reintroduced (after being cancelled in 1968) under new names of Confessional or Integrity Processing, and what does Security Checking and processing under the general logic of Overt-Motivator Sequence do? – evaluate for the PC virtually guaranteeing wrong indicators and make the PC introvert “worriedly” looking for his or her own “overt acts” on the track which are said to be the cause of virtually any problem a person may experience in the present. It is indeed not uncommon for people to head toward a psychotic break from this sort of “spiritual exercise” which could then be misleadingly interpreted as dramatizations stemming from a “missed withhold” and so force the person to go through MORE Security Checking as a “solution.”

Also, a Psychotic Break is a complex condition. It doesn’t have to be someone running around like a raving lunatic. A person could be sitting quietly doing nothing and yet be suffering immensely from a deteriorating condition of one’s mind. Though there is a lot of different information covering this condition on the Internet, a Psychotic Break could be best understood as one’s loss of control over one’s mind and a compromised sense of reality. There could be various degrees of this condition and someone could go on coping with it literally for years if it does not completely prevent that person from continuing to engage in regular daily activities. A person who recognizes there is something off with their mind could still maintain enough self-discipline to maintain a normal line of behavior.

Quite coincidentally and maybe not so coincidentally, a person having lost some control of their mind will naturally yearn for a more organized activity and yearn to be “directed.” This is the next step up in dynamics from the state of Entropy into a state of Robotism and unfortunately could be the very state where many Scientologists will find themselves due to the gross errors in its theory and practice as discussed on this page.



Under 1950’s Scientology, the concept of responsibility was quite clear to basically mean assuming ownership for any and all manifestations of perceived realities (to include actions, thoughts, and emotions of other people):

(November 1951) Advanced Procedure and Axioms: Responsibility

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

. . .

It means responsibility for all acts, all emotions on every dynamic and in every sphere as one’s own.
[comment: It seems that Hubbard forgot to include responsibility for “thoughts” in the book, but he discusses Thoughts and Counter-Thoughts in lectures related to this book.]

. . .

Complete negation of responsibility is complete admission of being under the complete control of the environment.


[19 NOVEMBER 1951] Thought, Emotion, and Effort: Cause and Effect

These counter-efforts exist and are effective on you to the exact degree that you don’t take responsibility for them.


(December 1952) Scientology 8-8008: Responsibility

The responsibility level of the preclear depends upon his willingness or unwillingness to handle energy. That preclear who is protesting against energy in any direction is abandoning responsibility in greater or lesser degree.


[03 DECEMBER 1952] PDC: The Track of the Thetan/GE-Space/Time

Now, a fellow is — we’ll cover responsibility very heavily, but when a fellow won’t take responsibility for an energy, he becomes an effect of it.


[11 DECEMBER 1952] The Philadelphia Doctorate Course: Chart of Attitudes: Rising Scale Processing

Now, what then is your level that is an attainable level for freedom? It would have to be a level which is so high that every man could reason and be responsible in his own right for his own acts and also for the acts of others.


Basically, if we had to summarize it, we could say that the early Scientology had to do with assuming a position of creator with respect to whatever reality that someone was looking at or dealing with. The Fundamentals of Thought outlined some application of this principle in its discussion of “The Cycle of Action” and how it applied in processing (or auditing):

(September 1956) The Fundamentals of Thought, Chapter 2 “Basic Principles”:

THE ACTUAL CYCLE OF ACTION is as follows: create, create-create-create, create-counter-create, no creation, nothingness.

CREATE = make, manufacture, construct, postulate, bring into beingness = CREATE.

CREATE-CREATE-CREATE = create again continuously one moment after the next = SURVIVAL.

CREATE-COUNTER-CREATE = to create something against a creation = to create one thing and then create some thing else against it = DESTROY.

NO CREATION = an absence of any creation = no creative activity.

LET US BE PRACTICAL. A science is not a science unless it is practical. A theory is no good unless it works. All the fancy and beautiful theory in the world is useless unless it has a use or a workability. Is this CYCLE OF ACTION THEORY USEFUL? It is. So long as we believe that we have to destroy with force in order to destroy at all, as long as we think in terms of destruction, we have chaos.

There is CREATING AND KNOWING ONE IS CREATING. There is CREATING AND NOT KNOWING ONE IS CREATING. When one drives a car or a cart he does many things (performs many acts) which he is not AWARE OF (conscious of, knows about), and these we call AUTOMATIC ACTIONS. One is doing something and is not aware that he is doing it. One starts to create something, then places this thought still active beyond his own reach and the creation continues to occur.

KNOWINGLY CREATING SOMETHING is always the first condition. One can then purposefully CONTINUE THE CREATION UNKNOWINGLY. Everything one is doing knowingly or unknowingly one is doing here and now, in the present instant, in present time. ONE KNOWINGLY STARTED ANY CREATION in some PAST moment. But the Creation is being done in the present moment.

To stop any creation it can be established that one once knew one was creating it— finding that thought and making it known again—OR ONE CAN SIMPLY CREATE NEWLY AND CONSCIOUSLY WHAT ONE IS ALREADY CREATING UNCONSCIOUSLY (unknowingly). In either case the creation stops. The WRONG WAY is to start a new creation to counter against the old creation; when one does this he gets confusion and chaos.

FOR EXAMPLE, a man has a bad leg. He is trying to “get well”. He seeks then to create a good leg. He goes to doctors and wants to be healed. The treatment is difficult and usually somewhat unsuccessful in the case of a very severely crippled leg. SOMETHING is creating a bad leg. Against this he is creating a good leg. The result is confusion and a bad leg. BUT a THIRD creativeness is present. First something was creating, we hope, a good leg. Then a counter-creation (such as an accident to his leg) counter-created a bad leg. Now he is trying to counter-create again a good leg. The result is to wipe out the ORIGINAL GOOD LEG since THAT IS THE CREATION HE IS TAKING OVER AND EXPOSING WITH HIS EFFORTS TO GET WELL. He wants a good leg. The trouble with him is the counter-creation of a bad leg. The test is factual. Have him create (by a certain Scientology process) bad legs until the counter-creation of bad legs is wiped out and the ORIGINAL CREATION OF A GOOD LEG WILL REAPPEAR. This only fails when there is no original creation of a good leg, when the original creation of a good leg is gone.


In a very strange move in 1960, the concept of responsibility became not about taking ownership over all actions, thoughts, and emotions and not about willingness to handle energy in ANY DIRECTION, use force or make decisions about something, but simply about ADMITTING to what an individual HAS DONE or whether he or she did not communicate about having done something – i.e. having a “withhold.”

The whole attention collapsed on one’s own actions only and only in real terms, without the freedom to consider the possible actions one COULD do – since that fell under the general category of Creative Processing which was now effectively prohibited.

Looking at the actions of others was now considered NOT taking responsibility and framed with various unfavorable labels such as motivating, justifying, being critical or “nattery,” fault-finding, being a victim, being effect, or whatever else. It should also be noted that accusing someone of NOT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY is a form of evaluation for them which would be a break of the Auditor’s Code.

Notice, how in “The Key to All Cases” reference, Hubbard claims to having made a “discovery” about responsibility even though a much better understanding of responsibility already existed for almost a decade.


Responsibility is often misdefined by the pc. The definition for auditing of responsibility is “Admit causing,” “able to withhold.” Usable commands would be “What about a (terminal) could you admit causing?” “What could you withhold from a (terminal)?” “What could you admit causing?”

Responsibility as a word can still be used as itself in an auditing command.



Next, but not next in importance was the discovery of the anatomy of RESPONSIBILITY. Although Responsibility has been known as a case factor since 1951 (just as the overt-motivator sequence has been) it has not been until now that I have been able to get it to run well on cases.

. . .

The discovery of the direct anatomy of RESPONSIBILITY is as follows:
Able to admit causation.
Able to withhold from.



Basically, then, when one is processing a pc, one is seeking to rehabilitate a willingness to do. In order to accomplish this one must rehabilitate the ability to withhold on the pc’s own determinism (not by punishment) further bad actions. Only then will the pc be willing to recover from anything wrong with the pc—since anything wrong with the pc is self-imposed in order to prevent wrongdoing at some past time.

All types of responsibility processes have this as their goal: to rehabilitate the willingness to do and the ability to withhold on one’s own determinism.

. . .

Of all the responsibility processes, the oldest one I developed is still the best one by test and that is:
“What have you done to a (terminal)?”
“What have you withheld from a (terminal)?”


Let’s look at a few earlier examples of how this new principle was to be applied to bring someone up to a state of “responsibility” according to its new definition:

“Your husband hates you? What did you do to him?” [State of Man Congress]

“But to free the pc out of that session, it’s only necessary to find out what he did to and withheld from the auditor. As far as auditing is concerned, it doesn’t matter a bit what was done to the preclear.” [State of Man Congress]

“Well, my mother beat me every day.” – “What have you done to your mother?” [SHSBC: What is a Withhold?]

In every one of these instances it begs to ask – BUT WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER SIDE? What about PC’s observations, thoughts/postulates/considerations about the husband, the auditor, the mother and their actions… etc? What about taking responsibility for “all efforts and counter-efforts?” Well, Ron said it: “…it doesn’t matter a bit what was done to the preclear” placing the act of looking at the actions of others in his “being a victim” or “being effect” framework, yet it is WHEN the actions of other people are not confronted and addressed, one can become MORE at effect with respect to them. This was made very clear in 1950’s D&S materials. In addition, it could also be found that by taking greater responsibility for the actions of others, individual’s responsibility for one’s own actions also comes up.

In effect, using 1950’s definitions, what someone would have to do is take responsibility for (RE)CREATING THE EXPERIENCE or the perception of someone else’s actions, thoughts or emotions that one may be bothered by. And taking responsibility for the creation of an experience (if only in the form of a memory recording) would obviously result in a heightened ability to perceive and handle similar experiences as they unfolded in present time.

How is someone supposed to DUPLICATE the actions of others when they are not even supposed to CONFRONT them in the first place? (Duplication here means a willing re-creation of an experience in one’s mind which is the basic principle behind re-experiencing painful incidents under Dianetics. Once you can willingly re-create a given experience, it can no longer effect you.)

There is this later discovery from Hubbard which cuts into this subject:


In some researches I have been doing recently on the field of study, I have found what appears to be the basic law on complexity.
It is:
Reversing this:

It seems Hubbard attempted to correct this problem in later years with the following bulletin: HCOB 05 AUGUST 1968 CHANGE OF COMMANDS OVERT-MOTIVATOR SEQUENCE, but as the saying goes “it was too little, too late.”



“It was too little, too late” could also be said about another bulletin that many Scientologists probably do not even know exists: HCOB 02 JANUARY 1971 ILLEGAL AUDITING [color]

He also tried to “clarify” that the subject of “O-W” was only a subset of the overall material in this reference: HCOB 22 DECEMBER 1960 O-W A LIMITED THEORY.

Under O/W theory, Hubbard claimed that it did not matter what the auditor did to the pre-clear (which also goes against the very purpose and rationale behind maintaining the Auditor’s Code). Basically, if a pre-clear was upset and critical of the auditor, it must mean that a withhold was missed:

[2 JANUARY 1960] State of Man Congress: Why People Don’t Like You
But to free the pc out of that session, it’s only necessary to find out what he did to and withheld from the auditor. As far as auditing is concerned, it doesn’t matter a bit what was done to the preclear. The more attention you pay to what was done to the preclear, the less auditing and the less clearing you get done!

[30 DECEMBER 1961] Clean Hands Congress: Auditing Perfection and Classes of Auditors
The reason fellows get upset, the reason people blow, the reason people have ARC breaks, the reason they have bad sessions, the reason for this and this—isn’t really that the auditor’s intention was bad. It was only that the person had withholds and nobody got them. They asked for them and didn’t bother to collect them.

But in 1969 Hubbard made a “breakthrough” and advised to simply ASK THE PC WHAT THE AUDITOR DID if there was a failed session: HCOB 16 JULY 1969 URGENT – IMPORTANT.

Isn’t this strange? It took Hubbard 20 years to figure out that you could simply ask a person about what they thought about the session and actions of the auditor? Hubbard spent many years and countless hours working with people, and the idea of simply asking a person is a “breakthrough” after two decades of development?



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.



As was already noted under KEY POINT at the beginning of this page, the most damaging aspect of this new theoretical framework is actually the suppression of thought which begins with subversive definition and evaluation of JUSTIFICATION and CRITICISM as symptoms of having committed overt acts.

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Okay, let’s isolate a few sentences from this reference:

In this light most criticism is justification of having done an overt.

So there are rightnesses and wrongnesses in conduct and society and life at large, but random, carping 1.1 criticism when not borne out in fact is only an effort to reduce the size of the target of the overt so that one can live (he hopes) with the overt.

When you hear scathing and brutal criticism of someone which sounds just a bit strained, know that you have your eye on overts against that criticised person and next chance you get pull the overts and remove just that much evil from the world.

And remember, by and by, that if you make your pc write these overts and withholds down and sign them and send them off to me he’ll be less reluctant to hold on to the shreds of them…

Alright, so here Hubbard appears to say that one’s CRITICISM is caused by something that one did as opposed to something that one observed and evaluated through one’s education and accumulated experience. Yes, he took an effort to “clarify” that it applies to criticism that is “random,” carping,” “scathing and brutal,” and “not borne out in fact,” but it doesn’t really matter. Those are all arbitrary qualifiers that are subject to arbitrary interpretation. Plus, in a State of Man Congress, Ron “clarifies” that

…criticism always tells you where the overt is… It all comes out of an overt. There is practically no such thing as honest criticism.

And we’ve already seen an example of how it is supposed to be used in this new form of “auditing:”

If you’re thinking unkind thoughts about him, you must have done something to him. Now what did you done?
[Clean Hands Congress]


Per standard dictionary definition, JUSTIFICATION means:

1. The action of showing something to be right or reasonable.
1.1 Good reason for something that exists or has been done.

It obviously comes from the word JUST which itself means “right” or “fair,” “appropriate to the circumstances.” From this word we get important words like JUSTICE, JUDGMENT, ADJUDICATION.

CRITICISM is a word that means:

1 The expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes.
2 The analysis and judgement of the merits and faults of a literally or artistic work.

– again a very important mental faculty directly related to the abilities to REASON and to PERCEIVE.

From above definitions, we can draw a clear connection:

Justification = Reason = THOUGHT

Criticism = Judgment = THOUGHT or REASONING connected to PERCEPTION.

Justification and Criticism are both PRODUCTS OF REASONING which are obviously connected to one’s ability to reason as well as one’s ability to perceive.

Justification is NOT the same as Criticism; Criticism is NOT the same as Justification; and both Criticism and Justification are products of REASONING which itself can be based on many different factors especially things like education, cultural or religious indoctrination, parental influence, individual’s own conclusions in analyzing to understand something using one’s own research and observations…

Scientology itself could be viewed as a SYSTEM OF REASONING that includes many different assertions that often come into conflict between each other (such as between the theories and methodologies of the 1950’s and 1960’s).

The notion that someone’s EXPLANATIONS and JUSTIFICATIONS surrounding various actions as well as CRITICISM of someone or something are all simply indicators of “overt” acts – “overt” being a concept or designation that is itself dependent on REASONING or ADJUDICATION of some act as being “wrong” – this notion is yet another form of (suggested and enforced) reasoning in Scientology that is used to effectively invalidate the (undesirable or disagreeable) product of individual’s reasoning and inhibit individual’s ability to reason in a self-determined fashion. So in the end, no matter how it is rationalized, Hubbard’s “logic” in this area serves to accomplish suppression of independent thought and disagreement.

For those outside of Scientology control who’s critical thoughts cannot be uprooted using Scientology methodologies directly, Hubbard wrote an Article – CRITICS OF SCIENTOLOGY – that serves as a propaganda preemptively discrediting anyone with any critical views toward Scientology:

How is it that Dianetics which was said to be the SCIENCE OF THOUGHT transformed into something that frames the process of reasoning itself into something negative – simply an indicator of there being something wrong with the person? Justification, Criticism, Explanation, and even Thinking itself (“Thinkingness”) have all taken on negative connotations with the 1960’s Scientology.

Here are a few quotes to demonstrate the importance THOUGHT was given in pre-1960’s Scientology.

Dianetics itself was said to be a science of THOUGHT.

Theta, which Hubbard claimed was the basis of life, was said to be equivalent to THOUGHT, and under Scientology even the physical universe itself was seen as a product of (agreed upon) CONSIDERATIONS. This can be clearly seen from a slew of quotes at the bottom of page FREEDOM, ABILITY, AND RESPONSIBILITY as well as the few quotes below:

[30 DECEMBER 1957] Ability Congress: Cause and Effect

Where it does not lead to freer thinkingness and enlightenment in the individual, I consider I have failed.


(June 1951) Science of Survival

In Dianetics we are dealing then with theta and MEST. Theta is THOUGHT, life force, elan vital, the spirit, the soul, or any other of the numerous definitions it has had for some thousands of years.

. . .

. . .

So what is happening here with our new “groundbreaking technology?” The THOUGHT is bypassed and invalidated and the auditor (more like a handler or an authoritarian interrogator at this point) now digs for the actions directly. Unable to think freely under Hubbard’s paralyzing, thought-stopping mandates of no creative thought and no criticism, a Scientology practitioner, having lost a grip on his or her thought process, is no longer in good control of one’s actions since one must be free to observe and evaluate in order to be able to decide what to do to in the first place.

It is also worth noting that free emotion is also inhibited in Scientology with concepts such as no HE&R (human emotion and reaction) and is manipulated with concepts like up-tone and down-tone. If you start getting upset and frustrated with something, it will be labeled as HE&R and down-tone or “enturbulation.” Obviously that logic usually applies down the chain of command – senior to junior or a staff member to a parishioner. If a superior does it to a junior (i.e. pumps up emotion) – it’s all-right and being a “good executive” in Scientology’s view.



Then, if someone intuitively realizes there is something wrong with all this contradictory logic in Scientology, they are likely to want to head for the exit, and that’s when they will be presented with yet another reference, on BLOW-OFFS, where Hubbard claims that:


People leave because of their own overts and withholds. That is the factual fact and the hardbound rule. A man with a clean heart can’t be hurt. The man or woman who must must must become a victim and depart is departing because of his or her own overts and withholds. It doesn’t matter whether the person is departing from a town or a job or a session. The cause is the same.

. . .

A recent Secretarial Executive Director to all Central Organizations states that before a person may draw his last pay cheque from an Organization he is leaving of his own volition he must write down all his overts and withholds against the Organization and its related personnel and have these checked out by the HCO Secretary on an E-Meter.

To do less than this is cruelty itself. The person is blowing himself off with his own overts and withholds. If these are not removed then anything the Organization or its people does to him goes in like a javelin and leaves him with a dark area in his life and a rotten taste in his mouth. Further he goes around spouting lies about the Organization and its related personnel and every lie he utters makes him just that much sicker. By permitting a blow-off without clearing it we are degrading people, for I assure you, and with some sorrow, people have not often recovered from overts against Scientology, its Organizations and related persons. They don’t recover because they know in their hearts even while they lie that they are wronging people who have done and are doing enormous amounts of good in the world and who definitely do not deserve libel and slander. Literally, it kills them and if you don’t believe it I can show you the long death list.



You can’t complain, you can’t criticize, and you can’t leave without someone in the organization trying to force you into “confessing your sins” or labeling you as some kind of a “criminal” hiding misdeeds.

And so if you can’t complain, if you can’t criticize, and if you can’t leave – obviously given that you get hooked on Hubbard’s new tech – all you’re left to do is to follow and to virtually agree with anything that comes down to you from Hubbard and his emerging authoritarian command. This is a detailed explanation of the technical change that allowed for the creation of an ultra authoritarian group construct in Scientology.

However, making compliant followers instead of powerful and independent individuals came at a cost, an unintended “side-effect” you might say: if an individual was now in a condition to be better effected by Hubbard and his authoritarian structure, that individual was now also subject to greater effect by persons and forces outside of Scientology as well – the “external influences” as it is called in Scientology. This is where we come to our next section covering another piece of “technology” that followed – the PTS/SP Technology.



Certainty, 1960 Vol. 7, No. 2 Why Some Fight Scientology



“Sec Checking,” “Integrity Processing” and “Confessionals” are all the exact same procedure and any materials on these subjects is interchangeable under these titles.



(This HCOB takes precedence over all other tapes and HCOBs on overts)


[1954, ca. late January] P.A.B. No. 18 OVERT ACTS

Major 4 [1955, ca. early July]


Milestone One Lectures:

[6 MARCH 1952] Milestone One: Effort and Counter-Effort
[8 MARCH 1952] Milestone One: Effort and Counter-Effort: Overt Act
[9 MARCH 1952] Milestone One: Thought, Emotion, Effort and the Overt Act


State of Man Congress (January 1960):

Overts and Withholds
Why People Don’t Like You
Create and Confront
Your Case


Clean Hands Congress (December 1961):

Auditing Perfection and Classes of Auditors


Saint Hill Special Briefing Course:

What is a Withhold?
Overt-Motivator Sequence


6106C06 SHSBC-008 Security Checks
6106C20 SHSBC-018 Sec Check Questions, Mutual Rudiments
6106C29 SHSBC-025 Wrong Target, Sec Check
6107C14 SHSBC-033 Checking Ruds and Withholds
6109C13 SHSBC-057 Sec Check and Withholds.mp3
6109C19 SHSBC-059 Q & A Period_ Prehav, Sec Checks, ARC Break Process
6109C26 SHSBC-062 Teaching the Flied Sec Checks
6110C04 SHSBC-066 Moral Codes_ What is a Withhold
6110C05 SHSBC-067 Sec Checking_ Types of Withholds
6110C26 SHSBC-076 Security Checking_ Auditing Errors
6111C01 SHSBC-078 Formation of Commands
6111C02 SHSBC-079 How to Sec Check
6112C06 SHSBC-093 Sec Checks Necessary
6112C12 SHSBC-095 Sec Checks in Processing
6201C10 SHSBC-102 Sec Checks, Witholds
6201C16 SHSBC-104 Nature of Witholds
6202C06 SHSBC-113 Withholds
6202C07 SHSBC-114 Missed Withholds
6202C20 SHSBC-119 What is a Withhold
6204C03 SHSBC-135 The Overt-Motivator Sequence
6205C22 SHSBC-159 Missed Withholds
6211C01 SHSBC-235 The Missed Missed Withhold
6303C27 SHSBC-281 TV Demo_ Sec Chec – with Comments by LRH
6406C16 SHSBC-386 Communication, Overts and Responsibility
6407C02 SHSBC-389 O-W Modernized and Reviewed
6411C10 SHSBC-410 PTPs, Overts and ARC Breaks


Page initially published on CivilizationUpgrade.com: October 15th, 2014
Enhanced and moved to ScientologyAnalysis.com: June 20, 2020

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