PART III: The AOUK
This is a cold-blooded and factual account of your last sixty trillion years.
L. RON HUBBARD
I rented a room in a quiet neighborhood and went out for a walk around the downtown area. After dinner I bumped into a young man who had completed Solo Course just before I did. He was now an OT IV. From the avenue he pointed out the location of the Advanced Org, in a row of old buildings across a large bridge. I saw the shapes of towers looming over the embankment., silhouetted against the night sky. He noted my hesitation and said, "Come on over. The sooner you start the sooner you'll be OT."
We walked across the bridge, which spanned the Edinburgh railroad yards, stopping briefly to lean on the parapet and watch the switching operations below.
The Advanced Org was two blocks down from the bridge on a main thoroughfare. There was a single white door with a rim of blue painted around the frame and a sign above it: HUBBARD COLLEGE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. We climbed a long, winding staircase and he left me at Reception, an aperture in the wall of the foyer, near the stairs, that had been in former days the registration window of Suttie's Hotel, what must have been a rather seedy lodging situated above some small shops.
All I could see from Reception was a small anterior lobby, a few closed doors, and a corridor. There were clashing odors from a defective gas heater and the white paint newly splashed on every wall.
It was 9 p.m. and the AOUK was quiet. There were a few men sitting in the outer lobby, subdued-looking and motionless. One of them, Jim Fergus, got up to shake my hand and let me know he had made OT II. He looked weary and his eyes had a faraway glint. Another, an OT IV, appeared somewhat wilted. I glanced at the others. Their eyes were glassy, their faces transfixed, as though they were exteriorized from their bodies.
I went to Reception to start lines. The portable nature of the Sea Org was in evidence. The AOUK had been in operation only a week or two, yet all of the Scientology machinery was there: bookstore, offices, and lines. I signed up for the Clearing Course with Registrar, and gave Accounts $760 in pounds. Then I registered with Housing, who took my passport as "security."
AO students were restricted to lodgings that were registered at Housing as a Safe and Secure Environment. This meant that the house had already been a haven for at least one Scientologists, and that one's room included a locking cabinet or closet for the security of the confidential materials. I was the first Scientologist to ever rent a room at Mrs. Blake's, but while unpacking I had noticed a key in the cabinet door, and Housing allowed me to stay there, at least temporarily.
The man who gave me my incoming sec check was, like all Sea Org personnel, dressed in white from head to toe, except for his black boots and thick black belt. He was serious and methodical about his work, taking his time to adjust the E-meter precisely, making me think of a surgeon about to probe a patient's vitals with a delicate instrument. The questions were of the same sort as on previous sec checks. I quaked inwardly throughout the ordeal.
"Is there anything you should tell me that you haven't?" he probed, dropping his eyes to the meter face like a destroyer commander scanning the surface of the water for ripples. "That reads. What do you consider it is?"
"I don't know," I said. There was something wrong with my needle again.
"Look at it," he urged. "There it is -- that!"
"I'm nervous about being here."
"All right. Any more on that?"
"I had a lot of trouble at the Hill while I was on Solo." My eyes watered with this disclosure.
His face softened into a half-smile. "Got you! Is there anything you should tell me that you haven't? That's clean now. Have you tried to keep anyone from being audited? Clean. Has anyone tried to keep you from being audited? That reads. What is it?"
I saw my father's face, the faces of friends in New York. None of them had the suppressive traits listed in the bulletin.
"I can't imagine."
"Fine. Has anyone tried to keep you from being audited? Big read. Better have a look at that."
Suddenly I came to an understanding. "Ann ... Ann didn't want me to come here."
"Thank you. Any more on that?"
"She and her husband Nicholas are friends of mine in London."
"Thank you. Any more on that?"
"Thank you. Anything more?"
"Fleetwood Crescent ... number 53."
Before receiving the Clearing Course instructions, I sat with several others in a small room watching Ron Hubbard on film. Ron demonstrated an actual Clearing Course session, with E-meter and worksheets. In one sequence he showed us how to record reads. We viewed on the screen the face of a meter, with worksheet beside it and a fleshy hand holding a ballpoint pen poised above the paper. Ron explained that since he was not going to divulge the secret items just yet, he would identify them by number only and get his reads simply by thinking of them.
"You'll get big reads on this material," he said. "It's all highly-charged ... there's a fall now" -- as the needle scooted two inches to the right. The pen jotted an "F" next to the item designated "1."
"There's a long fall" -- and "LF" was placed after the "F." Next came a short fall, "sF," and a very long fall, "LLF," covering half the dial. Soon Ron had a column of numbers, each followed by various-sized reads.
Each read was charge blown off the bank, and when we were given the secret materials we would take up each item in proper sequence and get off all reads, all charge, until he had erased the reactive mind.
Ron's face flashed onto the screen to give us a final word. His features were more toad-like than I had remembered them.
"The clearing process is just a matter of routine, good hard work," he advised. "Think of it as digging a ditch."
Leaving the AOUK with a large envelope the Director of Processing had given me, I thought about the film. The conclusion was inescapable: Not only the structure but also the content of the bank were identical in every preclear. In the Clearing Course materials Ron would reveal to us what lay in the depths of our minds and the minds of every other uncleared human being. By erasing these items we would erase our old goals.
The Clearing Course, then, was unlike anything I had been led to believe. In Ron's Never-Never Land one never knew down which passageway one was being led. As I mused on the irony of it, the hours I had spent at the Hill studying data I was never to use, a further implication -- that Ron would soon have the power to replace our old goals with something else -- was lost on me.
In a coffeeshop, I ran into Richie Blackburn, just up from Sussex and in need of a lodging. I took him to Mrs. Blake's, where he rented a room on the ground floor.
Behind the locked door of my room, I found that the large envelope contained a pack of bulletins and a booklet of final instructions.
I gaped at the next bulletin.
I read the next clause over and over, turning back to stare at it several times that night.
Between 8 and 9 the next morning Richie and I met the other three boarders for the first time in the lounge-breakfast room. They were university students, holding night jobs to pay their room and board, and they came to the table one at a time, looking tired and wasted. Richie tried to raise the breakfast-time tone level by proselytizing Scientology. The boarders were indifferent. At that hour I was scarcely in the mood to hear talk of "goals and gains" either, but, wishing to avoid a confrontation with Richie, I prompted him from time to time when he turned to me for support. After breakfast I went to my room to read the final processing instructions.
Theta clearing is about as practical and simple as repairing a shoelace.
The AOUK worked by fast-flow system to churn out new releases. Students no longer had to check each other out; they simply wrote their attestations on forms. Films were viewed and attested to; process instructions were carried home in locked briefcases, studied and attested to; even releases were attested to. Release on the Clearing Course was left solely up to One's Certainty on the Matter.
I attested to the instructions and took the Clearing Course envelope back to my room.
Next to the window was a bureau with a large mirror. Not wishing to see my own image in the glass while spotting the thetan, I pulled the end-folds of the drawn curtain over the mirror, pinning the fabric against the bureau with a chair. Leery of glimpsing the secret material out of proper order, I opened the envelope, removed the lists of items on sheets that Ron called platens, and quickly covered them with the envelope.
At the top of the auditor's report form was printed "Preclear ... Auditor ..." I wrote my initials after both, the date, and the place on the Clearing Course I was starting with, Part 1, Item 1. I turned on the meter, adjusted it, noted the time, picked up the single can and took my first tone-arm reading. Now I could have a look at the first item. I slid the envelope down the platen a fraction of an inch:
Part 1. The 7s: BE
1a. to be nobody
I spoke the item softly, my eyes glued to the needle. Nothing happened. I called the item again, and tried to visualize the thetan at the earliest moment in time. The needle quivered. I called and spotted again and got a half-inch fall to the right. I wrote "1a. sF" -- for "small fall" -- on the worksheet.
Gradually the needle warmed up. I started getting reads both on calls and between them. The reads got larger and more frequent. After a few minutes they covered several lines across the page. When their size dwindled to several consecutive "sFs," I inched the envelope down another fraction:
1b. to be everybody
A series of short falls and tics prompted me to return to "1a." and place a slash there to mark my backtracking. I was greeted with a falling needle on my first call; there was charge left on the item. When the reads tapered off I resumed "1b." and now it read, just as Ron said it would. I got long falls, long long falls, and small blowdowns.
Whenever the needle action slowed I went back and milked "1a." for more reads. Within an hour my notations covered half the worksheet.
I slid the envelope down a fraction:
2a. to be me 2b. to be you
After a few reads on these items I ended session, switching back to the auditor's report form to note my stopping place and the time and tone-arm reading.
Under the printed heading Goals and Gains, I wrote "to finish the 7s," said "That's it!" and turned off the meter. My only remaining tasks were to make out the summary report -- I observed that there was "good needle action" and that "the preclear is doing fine" -- and fill in a green time slip.
I stuffed the reports and platens into the envelope, sealed it and locked it up in the briefcase, which in turn I locked up in the cabinet. Then I went downstairs to find Richie, who had also just completed his first session, watching TV in the lounge.
Next morning I got up at 6 and immediately went into session. Again it took a while for the meter to warm up, but I went backwards and forwards on the platen until items read. After breakfast Richie and I agreed to audit in our rooms until about 11, then take a break together.
That day we each had several sessions, punctuated by short walks to the shopping street in the neighborhood for coffee and snacks. After supper we got in yet another session and took the mile walk to the AO to turn in our green time slips before closing of lines for the night. On our way back Richie and I kept a long stride, to more choruses of "Lay down your head, Tom Doo-oo-ly" than I would have liked.
The rest of the week followed the same pattern. My miseries of Fyfield Manor were forgotten. Each morning at 6 I bounded out of bed, businesslike, to continue "digging the ditch." Richie and I would breakfast at 8, and at 9 put do-not-disturb signs on our doors and go back into session. We generally ended our stints at about the same time, met in the lounge and went out for a snack or meal. Our appetites were insatiable, "because," Richie said, "so much mass is coming off the bank."
Richie was not expecting a protracted stay in Edinburgh. Of course, it was forbidden to "discuss case," but on one of our strolls he gave me to know he was on the verge of going clear. A few blocks later he admitted to wondering how he would know when he had gone clear, then reversed himself again, asserting that he'd know for damn well and sure.
Richie had brought up something I hadn't really wished to think about: Whatever else was included in the Clearing Course Instructions, there was no mention made as to how a preclear would know when he or she was a Clear. The end phenomenon might be the usual floating needle; then again, it might not be -- nothing about a floating needle appeared in the instructions. Moreover, since the AO fast-flow system permitted students to attest unchallenged, there was no examination or checkout to confirm the validity of a release -- or otherwise. Was it possible that there were Clears walking about Edinburgh who were not really clear at all?
I wished to hear no more about Richie's dilemma, preferring to leave release up to my own certainty at some future moment, and I asked to shut up about the Clearing Course. The "ditch" Ron spoke about was a thousand miles long. I marveled at the number of reads I was getting each session. My stack of reports had swollen till rents appeared at the sides of the envelope. I ended one session with surges on the large dial that might have been a floating needle but for the high tone-arm. An enormous amount of charge was blowing off the bank. I constantly craved food.
Richie, still maintaining he was on the brink of going clear, wanted to discuss some further confusion about the process. I was beginning to find these out-on-the-street exchanges distasteful. I sensed the danger. Richie's weakness was leading us into forbidden territory, and a little voice told me to protect myself, not to get involved in his problems. As we neared Mrs. Blake's one afternoon, he confided that the light troubled him. I dutifully referred him to the instruction booklet -- by then I could cite specific pages -- and insisted that it seemed straightforward enough to me. He cajoled me into going with him to his room to point out the particular passage about the light.
Richie had managed to draw me into a discussion. Actually, any "discussing" had been on his part alone -- I had merely referred him to authority in the prescribed manner -- but he had made me a party to his uncertainties, and this sort of thing was contagious! To add to it, Richie disclosed his uneasiness about the Sea Org, with its militaristic uniforms, chain of command, and Ethics. He had heard a chilling tale of punishment aboard Hubbard's ship. A crew member who was declared in Condition of Treason was kept in the chain-locker for three days on bread and water, with the anchor chain whizzing inches away from his head at ninety miles per hour.
Aside from inaccessible persons and psychotics in general, most cases should become MEST-clear in a few weeks of hard auditing.
I was getting impatient to finish the course. Several students who had watched the training film with me had already attested clear, and I was still on Part I. Once the initial excitement wore off, the Clearing Course was plain drudgery. Constant alertness was necessary to keep spotting the thetan while calling an item perhaps for the twentieth time. Each spotting called for a kind of mental contortion to make the needed effort. Reads were innumerable and each one had to be caught and noted on the worksheet. I also did a great deal of backtracking, covering the sheets with slashes next to rerun items. I began to wonder if I was committing technical errors, and reread the instructions several times.
Richie had infected me with doubt. His outpourings had made me aware of my own uncertainties about the Clearing Course. There was the light, for instance. During one session, spotting the light had been painful, producing eyestrain, and with no good reads. Determined to do the net light correctly, I spotted for twenty minutes, and felt the mass building up in my forehead as I stared at a point a few feet in front of me and slightly to the left. Suddenly I had a vision of a flashing bulb -- immediately the needle sheered violently to the right. Then I had to leave off because of pain behind my right eye.
That night I managed to finish the 7s: to be, to do, and to have, seven pairs of items for each. I went quickly through the next part, eighteen Basic End-Words: the now, the past, the future, the time the space...
Richie knew I was auditing late at night, and accused me of violating a rule of the Auditor's Code: Do not process a preclear after ten o'clock at night." He said, "After all, you're the preclear." I argued that the time slips we took to the AO each night were our auditing states; he should know that eight hours of auditing a day was Condition of Normal Operation, six hours Condition of Emergency, and less than six Condition of Danger. Richie suggested auditing 6-8 and 9-11 a.m., and 1-3, 4-6, and 8-10 p.m. "That's enough to raise us to Condition of Affluence, and if we stop spendin' so much time on meal breaks we'll go into bleedin' Condition of Power!"
Part III combined the Basic End-Words with the verbs to create and to destroy in peculiar pairs called Confusion GPMs:
These items read so poorly I returned frequently to Part II, marking my trail of reruns with a welter of slashes. However, the Basic End-Words had also stopped reading. I pounded away at items for minutes at a time, getting only a couple of short falls or less. I went back still farther, finally electing to rerun the entire Part II. Part III still wouldn't read. The material couldn't be flat; the tone-arm was getting higher each session, the needle harder to move. I obsessively searched to instructions for clues.
When nothing read anymore, I decided not to do any more auditing until I found out what was wrong. I went over the thick pile of worksheets for the place I'd stopped getting good reads. The number of possibilities confounded me. Due to my many rerunnings -- hundreds of slashes covered my worksheets -- I couldn't find the original sequence. In order to retrace my path through the materials I would have to start way back, perhaps at the very beginning, and pursue each read on each item in its given order on the sheets. But the task of working through the maze of reads and slashes, the goings-ahead and back, the picking up of threads, would be almost impossible. Although I thought I had followed the instructions faithfully, the worksheets were as tangled looking as piles of knotted twine, and my own notations swam before my eyes.
Trivial things started worrying me. I was afraid I would run out of ink, and rushed out to the avenue to buy four ballpoint pens. I got compulsive about recharging the E-meter and plugged it into the wall socket every few hours whether it needed it or not. The tin can had gotten rusty and my hand bore marks from it that wouldn't wash off. I spent an hour rubbing the can with scouring pads, trying to get it back to its original state. The process was constantly on my mind. Out walking or lying in bed at night, I stewed over my lost location amongst the items.
Maybe I'd done the whole thing wrong! I would have liked to return to the first item of Part I and do the course all over again, but was reluctant to ask the Director of Processing for this special privilege. Perhaps the only solution would be to rewrite the entire batch of worksheets! There might be a way to track the reads with colored pencils. This would take several days, and my poor auditing stats would put me in Liability. I pored over the worksheets far into the night, trying to find the missing thread.
I selected a place on the platens at random and went into session. The strain of conjuring up the thetan and spotting the light, the very act of auditing, filled me with disgust. I had become quite dazed at this point, and somewhat unhinged, with the apprehension that if I continued to audit I would damage my mind. The mind was put together in a precise order, as given on the platens. Mistakes could have horrendous effect.
I would have to take all of the Upper Levels after all. The price was $3,200 and the organization offered a package deal of $2,800 to those who paid in advance. I called my broker across the Atlantic. My stocks hadn't risen, and some were lower, but I directed him to sell every share.
Richie called me into the lounge to watch a science fiction story on television. The black and white images on the screen terrified me, keying in something in the bank which irresistibly pulled me down the Time Track to a loathsome incident. I felt myself sliding and had to leave the room, Richie shouting after me, "Hey, mate, when we go in tonight I'm gonna attest!"
Richie stood near Reception. "I've 'ad it," he rasped in my ear. "They've put me in Liability. They looked over me worksheets and found out I skipped a light. I'm in for it now."
I was petrified at the thought of similarly incurring a long penalty while adrift in the materials, and, back in my room, tackled the worksheets again. I had to find the mistakes lurking among my notations and face up to them, if not to the organization then at least to myself. I took a clean sheet of paper, wrote the heading "Possible "Mistakes," and quickly listed "too much backtracking, too quickly going ahead, too many reads between calls, not enough reads on the light, too many small falls and other poor needle action, possibly getting into a wrong run." Further scrutiny revealed that on an early rerun I had completely missed a light, the same goof that had undone Richie. Then I found an even worse error. Several times when a few item hadn't read, I had jumped to the next one to loosen the needle. I had gone past non-reading items.
This realization made me want all the more to do the whole course over again. If I could get a few reads and make it through The Objects, I could start at the beginning again, this time as the second run, although my location in the materials might still be suspect and punishable because of all the errors.
As I walked through the streets near Mrs. Blake's bed-and-breakfast, I thought of my Scientology friends in New York. Suddenly I flashed on it. I'd reached this state of confusion because of them! I was afraid to go in for review and the help I needed because of the withholds I had against the organization, withholds acquired at the franchise: our late evening discussions, our poking fun at other Scientologists. I'd been covering up for Felicia and Gerald. I knew I could not withstand the compulsion to tell the auditor the very things I wished to conceal; I would betray them as I had betrayed Marilyn the cook and Ann and Nick Dalmas.
They would deserve this. They had spoiled me with their lax instruction, their failure to observe Ethics at the franchise. They had sent me to England ill-prepared, and I had been paying for it ever since. My trust in them had been misplaced. Perhaps they were not real friends after all. Still, I didn't wish to betray them. I would go in for review -- after giving them warning.
I placed my call for 7 a.m. New York time, from the local branch of the Edinburgh Post Office.
"Gerald!" I shouted into the mouthpiece at the drowsy auditor. "I'm in a real mess. I'm going in for review."
There was a pause, then, "So you're going in for review."
"But there's more to it than that. I'm afraid for your sake. I don't want to give away your withholds on the organization."
"I don't have any blinkin' withholds on the organization. You can say anything to them you damn well please."
"Are you sure?"
"Sure I'm sure. In fact I'm positive. I have nothing to hide."
Reception made out a form and took me to Qualifications Office, where the review auditors were given their assignments.
The Examiner at Qual that day was a short, stocky, hazel-eyes young man who kept a Buddha-like composure and smoked miniature cigars. He looked through my worksheets.
"You've done some nice work here," he purred. "I tell you what: I'm going to give you a List L-7 to do on yourself to get off all the by-passed charge." My morale seeped back at the prospect. "You've just raised my tone level ten points," I said.
List L-7 was three pages and eighty questions long. The questions dealt with ARC breaks, withholds and the technical aspects of the Clearing Course, mercilessly pinpointing the dozens of things that could go wrong on the process, for instance, Did you get into the wrong run? Seeing these in boldfaced print made me feel more culpable than ever. I hurriedly went down the list with my E-meter, and wrote up a summary which I took back to the Examiner.
"Look, this is a by-passed charge assessment," he said. "When you get a read on a question you have to get off your considerations. Where are your considerations? I don't see them on your worksheets. Like here, it says, Do you have an ARC break with auditing? You had a read on that, but you didn't do anything to get off the by-passed charge. Go home and run L-7 again. This time get off all your considerations and write them down on your worksheets."
Now all my withholds would have to be pulled. By me. Chains of forbidden thoughts bobbed to the surface. It was agony writing them down. They looked dreadfully awkward and incriminating on the worksheets, and my voice sounded whiny as I repeated them to myself. The most innocuous questions called forth self-reproaching statements. I would appear obsessively guilty in their eyes. My hands started to tremble, making writing almost impossible. I stopped looking for reads and poured out about Felicia and Gerald.
The Examiner took one look at my L-7 worksheets, locked up my confidential materials and sent me to Reception. I gave twenty dollars to Accounts, and settled down in the review waiting room, which served as "ship's mess" during crew dining hours. The room was crowded; review that night was out of the question.
I got back to Mrs. Blake's at eleven o'clock. Richie's door was open. He was lying half on, half off his bed. His clothes were filthy.
"Richie," I shouted. No answer. I smacked him on the face several times, pulled off his boots, hauled him under the covers, closed the window, through which a grim breeze was blowing, and shoved a coin in the electric heater. "Richie, you old bastard, say something, anything -- just say `hello.'" His eyes half opened. "Hallo," he said.
Mid-afternoon the next day, a jovial-faced young woman crooked a finger at me and led me into an auditing cubicle, where she gave out such rays of warmth that my troubles dissolved. She read down L-7, or a similar list. Some of the questions made my stomach sink, but there were only a few embarrassing reads. Halfway down the list she said, "You have a floating needle. That's it!" and, "Has the review been complete?"
"Oh yes!" I replied gratefully, and went to attest that fact at Certs and Awards, my mood considerably lightened. My auditor ran past me to get to the Certs desk; she was handling that post that day also.
That evening Richie informed me that he had just attested clear. He had gotten a good sleep, washed up and changed clothes, and remedied the damage on the course. He told me about the penalty he had received for Out-Tech.
"Those bulletins ain't kiddin' -- I never worked so 'ard in me life. I painted rooms and scrubbed the 'ole fuckin' front staircase. I was so beat when I got through I didn't think I'd be able to make it back. Thanks for puttin' me in bed, mate."
Richie still had an undercurrent of doubt running through his soul. "I just can't believe it. Am I really a Clear, Bob? Is it really true? Do I look any different?"
This annoyed me. I had been going through L-7s and paying extra for review while he was blundering his way to the prize. I repressed the impulse to tell him about my struggles; even if such confessions were not forbidden, I didn't want to mar his beautiful moment. He was just a young punk who didn't know his own luck -- and he did look different; his usual combative expression had softened into the bewildered radiance of a shipwrecked sailor in an old movie cast up on a strange shore. He needed validation now and I gave it to him: "Of course you're a Clear, buddy-boy. Sit back and enjoy it."
"I just can't believe I finally made it. Now I can go back to Austraylia without a reactive mind."
"Right! Dig it, man. Live it up. It's all there, and you know you earned it!"
I felt ambiguous about this exchange. As far as Richie was concerned, our friendship had deepened; he looked to me with puppy-like trust. But I wondered why he couldn't accept his win without the validation of another. I suspected, as I humored him, that I was also condescendingly, even a bit maliciously, "pushing his buttons," as though in pampering and praising him somehow I was covertly getting back at him for the case of the jitters he had caused me.
We were joined at a coffee house by Radcliff Jones, the South African, who had completed his Solo Audit on schedule and just arrived from the Hill. We walked about town, Richie still evincing post-clearing trauma, Rad and I repeatedly assuring him that he "looked beautiful," and stopping every few blocks to slap him on the back and exclaim, "You're clear, baby, really clear.
The Objects were geometric figures, ranging from simple triangles to polyhedrons and coils. The preclear spotted them first as hollow, then as solid, trying towards or away from his head in various directions. I tried a few of them and got only small falls on the dial. Imagining objects around my head moving simultaneously in different directions produced a strange effect, an alternating expansion and contraction of something in my head. I was quite conscious at this point of mass building up in my head. I was sick again. Another review would be humiliating as well as costly, but perhaps unavoidable.
Sea Org posts had rotated once again. The Qual Examiner that afternoon was a bosomy, down-to-earth redhead.
"Let's see ... you've already had one review." She thumbed my worksheets. My mistakes were transparently visible, but she wasn't going to be too rough on me to start with.
"Robert, I don't want you to keep coming in for review. That wouldn't be good for you or for us. Now, what are we going to do?"
I hoped she wouldn't declare me an Ethics case. "I don't know. Everything was fine for a while after the last one."
"All right. This means business. You're going to have a Search and Discovery. Let's get this thing straightened out once and for all."
I stood up to leave for Reception. "Don't worry," she added. "This'll be an Upper Level Search and Discovery. You're going to get some high-power stuff that'll take you way back on the Time Track."
I gave Accounts $100 for a Search and Discovery.
A cuddly-looking brunette beckoned me out of the waiting room. It was Third Mate, the crew member who had put Richie in Liability.
Third Mate was a whiz auditor, toying with her meter and reports like she was playing a game of mah-jongg.
"What are they trying to do to you?" she asked, her warm brown eyes dancing delightfully.
"Make me afraid," I offered, as she began making up a list. "Make me sick, lose sleep ... give me headaches ... make me dislike auditing ... make me dislike Scientology ..."
She nulled down the list, looking for the item.
"Good," she said, after several minutes of x-ing out items. `Make me dislike Scientology' is your remaining item. I'm going on to the next part. Who or what is trying to make you dislike Scientology?"
The item might possibly turn out to be a friend or family member in present-time. I flinched at the threat of having to disconnect from someone close, but names were already erupting in my brain.
"My father," I blurted. "My sister. Anita. Alan. Lynn."
"Good!" Third Mate exclaimed. "Any more on that?"
"Radcliff, Richie, Bruce, Gerald, Felicia, Marty, Olga, Danny, Edward, Max ..." I spewed out names of preclears and Upper Level Scientologists alike.
"Fine. Any more on who or what is trying to make you dislike Scientology?"
I remembered an unpleasant feeling I had once noticed in my chest on hearing some bad news.
"A black lump," I said.
"Thank you. Is the list complete?"
A picture came to mind.
"I see a man walking down a sidewalk on a nice spring day."
"Fine. What date is this?"
"It's ... 1870."
"Thank you. Now tell me everything that happens."
"He's walking along ... there are trees blossoming ... he's about to enter a house and go up the stairs ... there's a porch with a glider, like the place my grandparents used to live."
"Okay. Any more on that?"
"Yes. There's something very sympathetic about him."
"Thank you. Tell me about it."
"That's all I can give you on that. I feel a kind of warmth for this guy walking down the street. He reminds me of a character in an old comic strip -- it's Poppa Jenks in `Gasoline Alley.'"
"Fine. Let's call this item `The Man in the Picture,' okay? Is the list complete?"
"Yes, I think so."
"Good. Then I'll assess it on the meter." She went down the page, x-ing and /-ing the items. My heart jumped when she repeated the names of loved ones, but they all nulled out on second or third calling. Only two items were left, "The Man in the Picture," and "The Black Lump." My feeling was that our quarry might be "The Man in the Picture"; there was something in the incident that I couldn't quite place.
She called that item and decisively placed an "x" next to the row of slashes. "The Man in the Picture" had nulled out!
"There's your item!" whooped Third Mate. "It's `The Black Lump'!"
I gazed at her in stupefaction. A black lump, not a person, had been behind the recent disasters.
"But what is it?" I asked.
"I don't know. I mean, I can't tell you."
"You mean, you have an idea what it is?"
"I can't say one way or the other," she said impishly.
I was totally in the dark, but happy with the results of the Search and Discovery. Surely we had found the correct item, and nobody was suppressive to me, there would be no disconnection. It had been a black lump all along.
I was limp with relief. Third Mate contentedly watched the tension ooze out of me. She smiled at me across the table.
"God, it's fantastic," she mused, "Ron's Tech is so incredible!"
The glow of her eyes warmed me; tears flooded mine.
"You're great!" I squawked blissfully, and headed down the hall to tell the Examiner, "Do you know what it was all along? A black lump!"
The Examiner smiled at me knowingly. A black lump just carry some special import for Upper Level Scientologists. They knew what it was all right. But I would just have to wait for the next level -- or the next after that, if necessary -- to find out for myself.
I told everyone I saw at the AO that day that the Sea Org auditors were sensational, and could be relied upon all the way; one should never hesitate to seek help from Qual Office when they might need it; those Sea Org members would really see one through. Of course, I disclosed to no one the precise nature of the item that was found; only that it was not a person. Richie informed me, "It's nothin' unusual to get a `thing' on a Search and Discovery. Me mother 'ad to 'ave on last year and 'er item turned out to be a giant yewcalyptus!"
The E-meter was jammed again. I just couldn't finish the Clearing Course. Something was wrong with my Ethics Condition. It seemed fated that I work through a Liability penalty before the machine wold function for me again. Indeed, I didn't have to wait for Ethics action; I was already in Liability, having put myself in that Condition. Through one's own foibles one came to a true understanding of Ethics. One placed oneself in a Condition, Higher or Lower, at all times, whether or not he or the organization knew and acted upon it. Certain folks at the AO were extremely conscientious about this and whenever they realized they were in a Lower Condition reported themselves to the Ethics Officer. Then why in Ron's name didn't I go in and take my punishment? Was it a lingering, foolhardy desire to be different, the death-throes of a haughty ego struggling to remain above the rest, that kept me from turning myself in? Or was it simply fear? I didn't think it was the latter; Richie had survived his penalty in fine shape. But something inside me resisted being pigeon-holed under their Conditions. I had done my best to follow instructions, and was doing everything I could to straighten myself out. There had to be a difference between their Conditions and my condition. I would present myself at Qual once more and let my fate be decided there.
I saw Third Mate in the hallway. "How's it going?" she asked, no doubt referring to our incredible session of just two days ago.
"I don't know what's happening anymore. I'm stumped. I was just on my way to see the Examiner."
"I know what to do. Come with me and I'll fix it up."
She peppered me with questions from a green-colored form. auditing at top speed, she soon came to a question I'd never heard before.
"Are you a former release?"
She sat back in her chair watching me. "There was a big read on that," she said. I didn't comprehend. Her enigmatic expression slowly changed into a beatific smile and the meaning of the question and read finally dawned on me.
"A former release ... does that mean ... I'm clear?"
She continued to gaze at me, her smile widening. She couldn't evaluate a read for me. I had to grasp this thing myself. It was up to me to drop my uncertainty that very instant and accept the fact that I was clear.
I hesitated a long moment, not wishing to think, to add anything to the simplicity of my choice.
"Well, I'm not going to fight it," I said feebly, and at this, my acceptance, the currents passing between Third Mate and myself filled me with such warmth that I felt drugged and weak. We rose from the auditing table simultaneously and I collapsed into her embrace.
"You're beautiful," I murmured.
"You're beautiful," she replied.
We stood in the auditing cubicle holding onto each other, my legs barely supporting me.
"Just one second," she said, interrupting the delicious interval. "I want to check one more thing. Sit down a moment and pick up the cans. Now, when did the release occur?"
Something shot into my awareness. It was that session almost two weeks ago when the needle had surged on the dial and I'd felt so on top, and afterwards Richie and I had walked down the street towards the glorious setting sun without a care in the world, in quest of coffee and cakes. The tone-arm at end-of-session had been a trifle high, but where in the instructions had Ron said anything about tone-arm? It was also possible that the tone-arm was out of alignment, my meter in need of adjustment. If so, there had been an authentic floating needle.
Whatever about the needle, at end-of-session I had been clear. In fact, I had been clear for well over a week without realizing it!
"Okay, that's it!" Third Mate warbled. "Let's go over to Qual. Then you'll go and attest."
"Review is complete," Third Mate told the Examiner. "Like WOW!"
"I had a feeling something was going on in that cubicle," said the chesty, redhaired Examiner. I put my arms around her shelteringly, barely touching her, as though she, not myself, were the newborn Clear. A world of tenderness -- strange, these embraces had a new, totally satisfying quality. My skin, my body, felt new, everything felt new.
The Examiner led me to Certs and Awards, where I attested and received a certificate. She marched me into the foyer and cried jubilantly, "Now hear this, now hear this: Robert Kaufman ... CLEAR!"
There was applause from all sides. Several students stuck their heads out of the nearby classroom to see who had been released from the bank. I hadn't recovered from the shock yet. It had all happened so suddenly. Now I was in the Director of Processing Office adding my name in big letters to the rapidly growing list of Upper Level releases.
I wanted to rest for a couple of days, wallow in the state of clear, see more of Edinburgh, take a bus ride to Saint Andrew's to see the historic golf course. But the Director of Processing handed me the OT I Pack. There was to be no time out. Ron wanted the planet cleared son, and the organization needed OTs to help things along.
On the walk home, explanations for the past week came to mind. With the tremendous number of reads I had got for a while, I had taken off enough charge to go clear within a few days. Then, due to that old uncertainty, that universal character flaw, self-invalidation, I had gone right past the moment of release with a floating needle at or near 3 with all Good Indicators In. Of course everything after that had been a maelstrom. Small wonder items stopped reading; there was nothing left to read! For more than one week I had been overrunning myself on the process. Overrun means trying to clean something that has already been cleaned -- in the vernacular, cleaning a clean. The preclear who overruns past a release point recreates the material he has just erased, and the process boomerangs on him. Overrun makes the preclear disgusted with auditing and perhaps physically and mentally ill.
Back in my room I was amazed to find the Clearing Course Instruction booklet in the OT I Pack. Since it was, if anything, over-familiar to me by now, I decided to glance through it just once, have a good dinner, and return to the AO for the OT I materials. I no longer dreaded auditing. OT I will be fun, I thought -- like the words of a jingle. I was only sorry that Richie had already left for Australia so I couldn't fill him in on the tragi-farcical happenings and happy conclusion.
The full glory of the state of clear was beginning to manifest itself. I had my choice of restaurants, and this having-to-choose was wonderful. I took off my glasses and details around me popped into focus. The sidewalk paving -- I had never noticed before -- had a texture, a grain to it. It was beautiful, and I was seeing it for the first time.
I must have a steak to celebrate. I drifted into a restaurant, one I'd never been to before, a comfortable dining room with tablecloths, carpet, and fireplace. The act of seating myself was slow-paced, deliberate, each movement separate and distinct, with no semi-conscious fidgeting. Whenever I wished to move a part of my body the idea transmitted itself with miraculous ease into the desired action. A Clear is At Cause over MEST -- Matter, Energy, Space, Time -- His Own Physical Universe. I asked the waitress for a newspaper. The front-page turmoil struck me as a mildly ludicrous, poorly-played game. Each morsel of my dinner had a separated quality, each cut of the knife was detached from the other. The strands of meat were an attractive mosaic.
I had always wanted to be like this. Now it was here, without effort, thought, desire. My Clear Speech began to take shape. Next Success Night at the AO I would tell an eager audience in the waiting room-cum-chapel about the patterns in the sidewalk, the help of the devoted Sea Org crew, and, above all, the staggering, Heaven-shaking Technology of L. Ron Hubbard.
The OT I materials consisted of the Clearing Course platens. My last batch of worksheets was included in the envelope. An "unnecessary correction" -- my rerun of Part I -- was circled in pencil. This made it obvious why OT I, as rumored, was a necessary follow-up to clearing. It was a way to double check that all charge had been removed. The preclear went over whatever he had missed on the Clearing Course, starting at the right lace, eliminating any doubt that the items were erased. Fantastic! This was what I'd wanted to do anyway! The discrepancy between this repetition and the warnings about the danger of overrunning a process eluded me.
The Confusion Goals-Problems-Mass stared me in the face. I worked quickly through several items, not minding the scarcity of reads, and went to bed to sleep the sweet, untroubled sleep of a Clear.
At 7 a.m. I headed down the hall to take the first Clear leak of my first Clear morning. As a straddled the toilet bowl, the state of clear vanished. Panicky, I looked around at walls and fixtures, but it wasn't like the night before. I was trying again.
I breakfasted with Radcliff Jones, who had taken Richie's old room, acting as light-hearted as I could ("Do I look any different today, Rad?").
The Objects wouldn't read. After two sessions I accepted the non-reads as the end-phenomenon of the process and, leaving OT I with a high tone-arm, went to the AOUK to attest. It was out of my hands now. I shook as I stood in Qual Office. My clear state had evaporated like a dream, and now I was to be impelled on a dizzying climb through the Upper Levels.
The Examiner sent me to Certs and Awards with no questions asked, and I took the OT II Pack home with me.
The envelope contained the familiar Clearing Course Instructions once again, supplemented by two bulletins. One, titled "Whole-Track Implants," delineated the first ten parts of the OT II materials. Included among the fanciful headings were The Electric GPMs and The Tocky Player-Piano. The other bulletin was a warning to the auditor not to run himself on a bombing incident or on the question of his identity. Any injury done himself by violating this order would be patched up by the organization only upon payment of a $2,000 fine.
What does it take to aberrate a thetan? Thousands and thousands of volts ... poured into destructive wave-lengths and thrown straight in his face. What does it take to get him into a position where he can be aberrated? Trickery, treachery, lies.
The OT II materials were as thick as the Edinburgh telephone directory. In removing the platens from their envelope, I inadvertently glimpsed the words rivers, lakes, and islands. These must be some of the items. A single page preceding Part I, The Electric GPMs, provided a further note of instruction: When the word shock appears next to an item the auditor is to think or feel shock.
I turned over the instruction sheet to the first platen, covering the items carefully with the envelope, and pulled the envelope slowly down the page:
1a. creating to destroy (shock)
It was uncanny. A violent shock passed through my upper body, and the needle almost tore itself off its pins as it rocketed across the dial towards the right.
1b. destroying to create (shock).
I reeled with the force of the shock that racked my body.
Ninety minutes later I stopped getting shocks and reads. The tone-arm needle was stuck high on its dial and I felt tingly from the electrical impact, but I could do no more on the process. With a fuck-it-all attitude, I went to the AO to attest to my third Upper Level in as many days -- disappointed at having finished too soon to run the rest of that novel material: the lakes, the rivers, the islands, and that Tocky Player-Piano banging away through the light years of a Whole-Track implant.
I signed the form. Then, smiling her solemn mystical smile, the Director of Processing placed the instruction pack on my upturned palms.
I blinked at the page. The instructions were written in a forceful but clumsy longhand which somehow made me think it was L. Ron Hubbard's. Some of the words were illegible. I locked the instructions in my briefcase and headed for the AO and the Cramming Office.
I must stay in Cramming until I fully understood about body thetans. As things stood, the process was a blur in my mind. It would have been humorous if it were a science fiction tale and not something happening to me in real life.
Cramming was a small room containing several chairs, a selection of Ron's books, and three folding tables covered with oilcloth for clay demos. There was a nominal fee for a day in Cramming -- about eight dollars. I had heard that Cramming was a good place to avoid. One could send a whole day there trying unsuccessfully to get one's questions answered.
I sat in a corner to wait for the Cramming Officer, being careful not to let others in the room spot a stray word of the OT III Instructions. Cramming that day was the jolly young woman who had given me my first review session. She had little time to spend on us, since she was also auditing and wearing the Registrar's hat that day. After lunch break she finally got around to me. There were no offices available in which to discuss highly dangerous data, so we used a bathroom, Cramming perched on the edge of the tub, myself astride the throne.
"What don't you understand about these instructions?" she asked.
"I can't even begin to tell you. For one thing, it says, `First locate a body thetan.' Now, how in hell do you locate a body thetan?"
She told me to do clay demos. I spent the rest of the afternoon at that exercise, using my body as a screen to hide the volatile material from the gaze of others. I rolled out a figure of an auditor, with a lump of clay squashed on his back to represent a body thetan. Comm-lines and labels indicated the running of an engram.
The next morning Cramming took me into the bathroom again. I asked her how I could be sure I was auditing the correct body thetan. The demos hadn't given me a glimmer on what one said to these creatures, or on how to run the process. I began to wear her down with questions.
At last she said, "It's not that difficult. Why don't you go home and tackle it?" She sounded as if it were a challenging game that might be fun to try. In any case, little was being accomplished by our discussions. I signed out of Cramming and went to the Director of Processing for the OT III materials. At least I knew now one thing I hadn't known before. I had managed to find out that body thetans were located while watching the E-meter. I was to mentally scan myself until I got a read. And at that part of my body was a leech-soul...
Few are the preclears whose bodies do not react vigorously to the suggestion that some of these incidents may exist, so violent is the charge.
The two incidents were written out in longhand. One was the bombing incident. I visualized my face, scanning it up and down in my mind's eye while looking for read on the machine. At the area of my right eyebrow I got a read. I wrote on the worksheet "body thetan over right eye," and directed the thing to the beginning of inc I.
I ran the body thetan through the incident several times. The picture on my mental screen kept changing. On one run the chariot careened across a dusty field, on the next a grassy meadow with tapestries of flowers, and on others the horse winged through a cloudy sky, in the dark of night or full sunlight, like Pegasus. The cherub's horn call sounded in various registers, high and low. Once it gave out a Bronx cheer, resembling a fart.
I wrote down everything on my worksheets. Suddenly it occurred to me that I was mocking the whole thing up ... a cognition! The body thetan was free to leave -- had indeed left already. I made a notation to that effect and located another one on my left side between the ribs. After a few inc Is it stopped reading. I hunted about for another but I was uneasy. Suppose the last one were still around? There had been no cognition, no unequivocal sense that it was gone. Was the body thetan playing hide-and-seek with me?
The next body thetan was just above my left eye. I ran it on inc I a number of times. For a moment I suspected that I was imagining the process. However, this thought struck me as abstraction, not vivid, unmistakable cognition. Unconvinced that the creature had departed, I ran the inc repeatedly. Needle action dwindled; the inc must be flat by now.
A list of volcanos was included in the materials, divided up into two columns, one for each hemisphere. I got a read when I called "Eastern Hemisphere," went down the column and got a read on "Java." I addressed the body thetan above my left eye -- "Are you the body thetan I've been auditing?" -- got a read, and reached for the bombing incident.
I directed the body thetan to the beginning of inc II, checked it on the meter to see that it was still there, and told it to go through the incident to the end.
Inc II didn't run well; maybe I shouldn't be on it, having gone on to it prematurely. After a few runs I went back to inc I to make sure it was flat. It was balkier than when I'd left it before. I tried flattening a list of buttons which Ron had supplied with the instructions in case the incs didn't run properly.
"Is there an effort to stop?" I called, reading from the list. "Is there an effort to avoid the incident?"
By now I had run inc I at least thirty times. The tone-arm was getting higher and my head was splitting. Several times as the chariot raced by I caught a glimpse of the driver. As he frenziedly whipped the horses forward his face swiveled towards me in a fiendish, cannibalistic grin. Once I thought I saw the pilot in his cockpit taxi-ing down the airstrip. I was concerned over the body thetan's whereabouts; perhaps it had gone many runs ago and I had summoned it back. I called out buttons in profusion. Music was playing in my head, I noted on my worksheet. I slogged through one run after another until the meter was completely packed.
I had done 63 runs. This was impossible; no engram could require that many. Feeling ill, nauseated with what I'd been doing, I ended the session.
Early the next morning I awoke with the frights. The thought of further auditing was unbearable. Maybe the same thing that had happened on the Clearing Course was happening now, and I had overrun the process. If so, the body thetan that I had freed in the first session was the only one. I would not make the same mistake of continuing on for days past a release-point, overrunning a process and making myself sick to death.
The Examiner, now, by rotation of posts, the hazel-eyed young man again, went to a filing cabinet and got out all my worksheets for clearing, OT I and OT II.
"Hmmm. You know you left I and II with a high tone-arm. Now, what does the tone-arm indicate?"
"The mass of charge supporting the needle?"
"Good. And what does leaving a Level with a high tone-arm mean?"
"That I left it with a lot of charge."
"Fine. Now I'm not going to invalidate your Levels I and II -- you've definitely completed them, you've attested to that -- but I notice here at the end of Level II you also went past some non-reading items. On I also, as a matter of fact. Whatever made you do that?"
"Just stupidity, I guess."
"Okay. But you know that stupidity isn't any kind of reason for misduplicating Ron's instructions, it's not a valid excuse. You're a member of the group and you must Put In Your Postulates. What you do to your preclear affects the group. Your Ethics are Out. I'm going to have to assign you a Condition of Liability for Upper Level Out-Tech."
It was almost a relief of sorts to have the long-dreaded punishment meted out at last. With the premonition this might occur, I had been wearing wash-pants and an old shirt for the past few days. The Examiner wrote out a Liability order and sent me to Ethics, a ravishing blond, who tied a dirty gray rag around my right upper arm and sent me to the scullery.
The Steward, a former British naval officer, handed me the scullery hat-book, a complete coverage of the post. Among the duties set forth were dishwashing and bringing up coal from the cellar bin to stoke the oven fire. The hat-book went into maddening detail, including a diagram of the tiny scullery and a directive about the correct detergent to use.
The AOUK as a unit was in Condition of Normal Operation that day, so my shift was to last only twelve hours. I washed dishes, set the Sea Org table, scoured pots and pans, toted coal, and carried a garbage can labeled "pig food" down to a side exit where it would be picked up in the morning by the "pig man."
The Steward was a kind soul. He carried out his duties quietly and humbly, as though seeking redemption, perhaps, for sins he had committed while in the British Navy. I was wary with him at first, but after I had conscientiously carried out several chores I could feel him warming up to me, and towards the end of the stint he treated me to coffee, sweets and cigarettes.
Starvation was not part of the penalty; a plate of hot food was served on the back stairs leading to the garbage dump. At night I cleaned all the bathrooms and laid bright blue carpets in the new Qual Office upstairs. The only remaining task then was to help the Steward set late tea.
Being assigned the correct Condition was supposed to bring a members Good Indicators In. One came out of a penalty more "beautiful" than when one went in, and the harsher the penalty the deeper the cleansing. One of the top-ranking Sea Org members was known to go through all the Conditions, from Enemy up to Power, mentally, each day before breakfast, as a spiritual exercise. I had heard several people aver that while working through a Condition they experienced cognitions about the Ethics system, the organization and L. Ron Hubbard. I enjoyed no such revelation, but merely relief at being put to some physical activity for a change.
My penalty ended at 1 a.m. I spent the rest of the night stretched out on the floor of the front waiting room, because of the rule prohibiting those in Liability from leaving the premises until they had a petition okayed by Ethics and had then worked through Condition of Danger to Condition of Non-Existence. Sea Org members began leaving their rooms on the upper floors at 7 a.m. I had my petition ready for signing. Having seen and signed several petitions during easier times, hanging around the lobby, I knew how one should look:
One of the first I approached for a signature was the fetching blond, Ethics for that day. "You're not giving people any choice," she said. "Draw a line down the middle of the page and make one side for the `yeses' and the other for the `nos'."
Petition in hand, I hovered in the foyer with a young man who had just come off a three-day Doubt penalty and was practically asleep on this feet. We met students at the top of the stairs with, "May I have your permission to rejoin the group?" Some grabbed the petitions and affixed their names without so much as a glance. Others read the Formula carefully. No one placed their name in the `no' column.
I entered the office of the Commander of AOUK to get his signature. He pointed at the pencilled line and said, "What's this?"
"Ethics wanted me to include a column for possible `nos'."
"That's total invalidation! Scratch that column. Do you wish to Put In Your Postulates for no?"
The consenting vote of every member of the group was required by rule -- the Conditions Board in the main corridor included about 200 crew members and visiting students -- but Ethics accepted my petition at 60 names. She went to the Conditions Board, moved my nametag up to Non-Existence, and sent me to Central Files for four hours to work up to Danger, the next Condition. I passed the Steward standing in the hall, a padlock chained to one of his wrists. The padlock was part of a new Sea Org crew Doubt Penalty Formula tacked up on the bulletin board. I wondered what the Steward had done since I'd last seen him a few hours ago.
After a penalty one hour of review and a day in Cramming were mandatory. I gave Accounts $28 for both, and went to the review waiting room. It was a depressing place. Morose preclears, Clears and OTs studied Ron's Conditions Formulae bulletin or stared into space. Conversation was sparse. Periodically an officious young woman, determined to raise her stats, came by and dropped stacks of envelopes to be stuffed onto our laps. That day the only person in the room with a happy face was the young man who had just worked three days up from Doubt. From time to time I glanced up at him from my envelopes and painfully returned his smile. During a security check he had confessed to false attestation of an Upper Level, as well as an Outness all the way back on his Solo Audit. This meant that he would have to do everything from and including Solo all over again, as cost. Now that he had been found out and had started making reparations to the group with his 72 hours of straight work, his face held a look of dopey contentment. As he put it during one of our exchanges of smiles, "I've never felt better in my life."
Some of the people had been sitting there for days. The only ones showing their impatience were a few chain smokers. We would wait there for as long as we had to for review. The next session might be the one. The auditor would finally ask the question that would resolve everything. And auditing was communication not to be found elsewhere. Pure communication -- question, answer, acknowledgment, controlled gaze -- that spread through body and mind like a candy-sweet narcotic. No matter how lonely and alienated we felt, for the brief time we were being audited, we belonged. For those of us who had known the unspeakable disillusionment that clearing and the Upper Levels brought no gains and Scientology might never work, auditing itself was now the main fix.
Scientology accepts to free. That which one cannot accept chains one. A ruler's motto could be `make them resist' and his people would become enslaved. Resistance and restraint are the barbed wire of this concentration camp. Accept the barbed wire and there is no camp.
The Org Board stretched across the corridor wall near the waiting room door. It was an enormous chart giving the Scientology chain of command. Directly below L. Ron Hubbard, Founder and Commodore, was Hubbard's wife, Mary Sue Hubbard, Guardian Worldwide. Further down was Commander of AOUK, and lines branching down to the various hats, or posts, of the Sea Org crew members -- First, Second and Third Mates, Bosun, Steward, Purser, Cook, and so on.
Ron had designed the Org Board not just for AOUK but for the total population of planet Earth. In volumes of Policy Letters he delineated the structure and functions of this mind-numbing creation.
Changes of post, known as rotation of hats, occurred frequently. Crew members ordered to wear two or three different hats at once had to dash around the AO to cover all of their responsibilities; but the regulations forbade one person from carrying out a task assigned to another, regardless of how minor -- an infraction that Ron termed wearing another's hat, or Dev-T (developed unnecessary traffic). Deviations from proper order in going through lines were also classified Dev-T. Ron claimed to have traced Dev-T to suppressive "outside forces" who had eventually succeeded in infiltrating and destroying every great civilization of the past.
To join the Sea Org one signed a billion year contract with the Scientology organization. No one made these people sign. They chose to be pinned up on the Org Board. Thus they were spared the torment of having to think for themselves, and no longer had any problem filling in the hours, finding companions, making decisions. Their living space was meager. I saw some of their upstairs rooms when I was working out of Liability. The rooms were barely large enough for upper and lower bunks, a change of white uniform and small foot-lockers containing personal effects wedged under the bunks.
There was always plenty of work to do for Ron; no one could ever really do enough. Each morning at 9:30 when I arrived at the AO, Sea Org members were just leaving the Academy classroom, having already put in an hour or two studying tapes and bulletins; and when I left late in the evening they were still busy with paper work, auditing, or fixing up the old hotel.
I felt the threat of danger in the Org Board, sharpened by the disquieting presence of certain crew members. One was the Commander of the AOUK, a tall, broad-shouldered man with a crewcut, who barked orders in military fashion. Another was a cadaverous man who was conducting sec checks that week. With fierce mustache on weaselly face, he was the last person I would want to have interrogating me over an E-meter.
The most frightening crew member, though, was an OT VI who was called Master at Arms. He was at least as tall as the Commander, and heavier, well over 200 pounds, with tiny mustache on deficient upper-lip, pouting, surly lower-lip, jowls, and malignant little brown eyes. His presence smacked of physical peril.
With all my shrinking revulsion at what I had found at the AOUK, I also felt the compelling attraction of a microcosm whose smallest detail and most menial task had a crucial significance often lacking in the wog world, the world outside Scientology.
Wog-like incongruity occasionally obtruded on this rarified atmosphere. One episode stands out in my memory, the appearance of a fat, sleek franchise holder from Chicago, who looked like an ex-professional wrestler, and had just completed OT VI. Following at his heels and acting as his stooge was a diminutive OT IV Britisher. I liked them both on sight. I was in the large front office paying Accounts for review when the pair strode in and looked around the room.
The large OT addressed everyone at once in a loud horsefly voice: "I got a great one for ya. Why do turds pop out in cylinders?"
The little OT who accompanied him giggled deliriously. Sea Org members at their desks and students standing in lines made valiant efforts to hold their TRs; no one wished to invalidate the certainty of an OT. It didn't work. The big man was too much for them. Some vestigial memory of their former wog lives betrayed them by the expressions on their faces. There was silence. The big man looked leisuredly around the room again at each face. Several heads lowered, several mouths uttered "Why? Why do they?"
To the coyote's refrain of his sidekick's lunatic laughter, the big man slammed home his punchline: "Why? So your asshole won't bang shut!"
The Sea Org faces banged shut. There was another stunned pause, then general confused scurrying as the crew got back to its paper work and lines.
After I had waited another day, an auditor put me through the green-form, and Qual Office sent me to Cramming. The task awaited me of sorting out body thetans.
"It's not as difficult as you're making it," said Cramming. It was late in the afternoon, and we had barely scratched the surface of my confusion. I was now most in the dark about the buttons. The working of the instructions seemed ambiguous. Did one make the incs run by flattening one button at a time or by calling all of the ten buttons on the list without interruption? And how could simply calling a button flatten it?
I had no more confidence now in my ability to audit body thetans than when I first saw the instructions. The instructions didn't cover how to talk to a body thetan or how the self-auditor knew which one he or she was talking to. Those sounds and visions: Were they "real"? I might have imagined them. Ron had suggested that the whole thing was a mockup. Did the pre-OT pretend that it was real until he got bored and admitted to himself that he was merely imagining the lethal scene as he'd been told? Or had there really been a bombing incident...?
I didn't ask Cramming such questions, and the ones I did ask she couldn't answer satisfactorily without breaking the rule by adding her two cents to the instructions. The data I needed weren't there and Cramming couldn't help me. The OT III process was dangerous, whether "real" or "mockup." I looked at Cramming imploringly. She had done all she was allowed to do for me, and now her eyes were half-closed with fatigue.
"Do you know what you're doing?" she said. "You're trying to gain from me the certainty you lack. I can't give you that certainty. You'd better go talk to the Examiner."
The Examiner stared at me. "You still don't know how to do the process?"
"Maybe another day in Cramming."
She eyed me ominously. "Robert, you've been in Cramming two solid days now. We can't do your Upper Levels for you. There's one thing you'd better realize about OTs: They're the bravest people in the world. They have guts. Getting to be an OT isn't easy, and if you think it is then you're never going to make it. We're going to teach you to toughen up here. You'll be grateful for it later. NOW GO HOME AND AUDIT!"
I slouched out of Qual and went down to the street. Out in the fresh air my spirits made somewhat of a recovery. How could I have made such a shameful spectacle of myself before the very souls who were trying to help me? I must make my mind up. I would not embarrass myself again before the Examiner, even if I fell into The Wall of Fire.
Hell-bent and out of control, I returned to my room to plunge into the nightmare waiting on OT III.
While getting meter and reports set up, I concentrated on keeping my determination to get through the process, but a new paralyzing confusion assailed me. Not only was it a mystery which body thetans had gone and which still needed auditing. I was no longer sure who the preclear was. Was I the preclear or was it a body thetan? I had written "Preclear: Robert Kaufman" on my auditor's report forms. But how could I still be a preclear after I had attested clear? Then again, if a body thetan, not myself, was the preclear, if I didn't set it free then I was the one who must suffer, not alone from the guilt of leaving the preclear in the middle of an engram but from acute physical and mental pain as well. And if more than one preclear was involved, the pain was compounded.
That body thetan over my left eye: I'd left the preclear stranded. I called to it. There was a faint rustling on the meter -- the thing was still there. I felt compassion for the creature. It had meant me no harm to begin with. Was it suffering as I was?
"Go to the beginning of incident I and go through it to the end," I commanded. Nothing moved. I called one button after another. Still nothing moved. The needle was frozen in the middle of the dial. The tone-arm was stuck fast at 4.5. The meter had packed. I turned it off and wrote up a summary report. The session had lasted ten minutes.
My thoughts raced. I must get away from this, go out for a walk or a movie. But driven by self-destructive madness I went back into session moments later.
The needle tugged laboredly towards the left. The tone-arm climbed to 5 as I felt the pressure building up in my head. After a few minutes I had to stop. I paced up and down the floor.
Darkness. It was late in the evening. I lit a cigarette. Why not smoke while auditing? Whatever happened in session, I would be soothed by tobacco. I whipped into session, the cigarette between my lips.
So I wasn't sure about the body thetans. All right, then I must find one I can be sure of. I will scan my body until I get a definite read which leaves no doubt.
I sat at the meter for twenty minutes, in a trance, smoking and scanning, as my body gradually turned into a field of electric charge and my head bloated with the pressure. The body thetans were there now. I had left several of them restimulated in prior sessions and at last they were rebelling. I was kicking them up all over me, making them crawl around on my skin and inside of me.
I stopped looking at the dial and continued to sit there, clutching a tin can and a ballpoint pen, methodically destroying myself. I keyed in devastation in every area. After a while the leech-souls were swarming in and out of every particle of flesh in my body.
The tone-arm reached 6. The machine had turned despicable. It was persecuting me for the wrongs I had committed. Of course: The loathsome material was housed in the E-meter! From Solo Audit on it had been traveling through the tin can into my hand and thence to my brain. Now it was inside me. The E-meter was the nasty little storage box for all the offal of the galaxy. The implants were locked up in the electric box until the outcome of procedures designed to test the worthiness of a thetan. Only one who had learned of the implants from Ron was infected with the vile material; only one who was pure in his devotion to Ron escaped the havoc. That explained those irremovable rust marks on my hand. Session after session I was being branded. And somewhere in the back of my brain was the echo of a shattering hydrogen bomb blast deep within a volcanic crater billions of years ago...
I was an OT III casualty, as described in the bulletin, in line for complete case-review. The Sea Org must find out what was tearing me apart and patch me up again.
The young man with the hazel eyes and the miniature cigar gazed lovingly at me. "How much sleep have you been getting?"
"About two or three hours."
"That's not quite enough. Before you can have review you must go to where you're staying and get at least four more hours."
I winced. "That's impossible. I couldn't sleep now."
"You know it's in the Auditor's Code that anyone who hasn't had enough sleep can't be audited. It's 10 o'clock now. Go and rest. Even if you can't sleep, lie in bed. Then get something to eat -- that's also in the Auditor's Code. Have yourself a good meal. You can come back late this afternoon."
I took a cab to my room and huddled up in bed trembling, my traveling clock nearby where I could stare at it as the minutes went by. At 1:30 I went to an Italian restaurant downtown. I had been taking most of my meals in cheap, self-service places. Here, a boy in livery brought me bread and butter and water. I was the only customer in the restaurant. The waiter, a warm-eyed little man, seemed pleased about giving a patron special attention during the off-hour. He placed an old 78 on a gramophone next to the expresso machine. The music started up with a scratch. A tenor sang "Martha." It was Caruso. I had never heard anything so beautiful in my life and began to weep.
Third Mate reached for the green-form. I got reads on innocuous questions. None of them gave me that sick sensation in my stomach; I no longer cared what I said, what they found out. We toiled down the form.
"Has a withhold been missed? There's a read on that. What do you consider it could be?"
"I don't know."
"It's reading. That ... that!"
"I'm afraid I'm dying."
"Thank you!" piped Third Mate. "You had a floating needle on `I'm afraid I'm dying.' All right, that's it!" She smiled warmly. "Is the review complete?"
"I'm not sure. I feel very strange."
"Okay. Sit still a moment. I want to have a talk with you. You know, your trouble right along is that you haven't had enough training. You don't know how to audit. Do you realize that the Special Briefing Course used to be a requirement for the Upper Levels? Ron softened that rule to Get Fast-Flow In. He thought students would be able to Duplicate and make it through to the top. You didn't take the course, and it's showing now. You want to be a great auditor, don't you? You want to Get Tech In, Be At Cause Over Your Case and audit yourself through to OT, don't you? Then go and sign up for the Special Briefing Course immediately!"
This would mean leaving the preclear, or preclear, stranded in the Wall of Fire for several months.
"There's no question about it, you've got to learn how to audit to do the Upper Levels," she concluded, wrapping up her argument with a triumphant smile. "Come with me. We'll go see the Examiner."
"It's really the only thing for you," said the Examiner, who in the space of a few hours, due to rotation of hats, had metamorphosed back into the buxom redhead, over whose face incomprehension was now spreading that I hadn't already rushed to sign up for the endless course. I had nothing to say. I wished to sort out the situation, but I needed some time to myself for that. I stood at the desk gawking at her.
She smiled. "Come! I'm taking you to Registrar!"
With that she sprang out of her chair, hooked her arm in mine, and half-pulled me down the corridor.
I stood in the large office that might once have been the hotel main lobby and now accommodated Registrar, Accounts, and Certs and Awards. People congratulated me from all sides of the room. Cramming smiled contentedly at me from her desk at Certs and Awards. Another auditor was in the making.
Now we're going to make you into an expert auditor no matter what happens. We'd rather have you dead than incapable.
The SBC produced Class VI auditors, qualified to process preclears through Grade IV Release. There was a sign over the Academy door, THROUGH THESE PORTALS PASS THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, OUR FUTURE AUDITORS.
I was introduced to the Instructor, a soft-spoken empathetic Australian. Haggard, sunken-chested and slightly hump-backed, he seemed in physical distress, coughing repeatedly in a well-mannered little bark. I though he might be consumptive.
The Instructor informed me of the class hours, 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. seven days a week. I could stay on until 10 each night if I wished -- they didn't play around at the Academy. He pointed out on the wall the Conditions Board, on which I was to place my stats each day, one point for reading a bulletin, five points for a checkout, and so on. Then he sent me on my first task, filling in a sheet of questions about the AOUK premises -- Where is the Galactic Control Room? How many steps are there in the front staircase? -- an inane exercise, I thought.
The Academy was furnished with a few tape machines, dozens of chairs, and the ubiquitous folding card tables. It was hopelessly crowded. Students frequently had to step over other students' legs or make circuitous trips around the room to get to their places. There wasn't always a vacant space at a card table; one would then have to sit on a stool near the Instructor's desk.
Radcliff Jones met me that night after class and took me for a drive in his rented car. Rad was a good-hearted person. He knew I had been going in for review, and always looked for ways to try to cheer me up without "discussing case." He gave me pipe tobacco, which was at a premium in Great Britain, luxury cigarettes from South Africa, and rides home from the AO. Rad also had his perplexed moment and had fallen behind his schedule. That day he had finally gone in for review and attested to OT IV.
"God, man," he said, in his relief his face almost as red as his hair, "when you get to know what this Level is all about you'll have to laugh!"
"It'll be some time before I get to do IV," I said, trying to smile back at him. "I just went on Special Briefing Course." I sketched the events of the day for him as we drove around the city.
"It must be the right thing for you at this stage. Telling me about it brought in your Good Indicators," he said. He pulled in at a fish-and-chips shop in the suburbs where young people of Edinburgh were queuing up after the movies.
After we had ordered, he went on above the racket. "You know, all this ties in closely with Ethics. I just don't buy that Ron ever intended Ethics to be stern and punitive, as some people must think. The other day one of the old-time Sea Org crew showed me a diagram he put together. He had managed to impose the Conditions Formulas over a chart of all the Grades and Levels. And it worked! I don't remember now exactly how he did it, but it lit the whole think up like a neon light!"
For a moment Rad's exuberance came home to me and I imagined that I, too, could understand Ethics. I saw a glimmer of the benign in a world that I had once felt myself drawing closer to. For that few seconds I recaptured what I had once envisioned the true essence of Scientology.
Thus you may find your preclear stuck in incidents of great age and fury.
The first person I befriended at the Academy was an American in his early fifties with a hangdog look, who was also starting the SBC. We grinned at each other several times the first couple of days. Soon it seemed natural to save each other seats in the morning.
He had been in the middle of OT VI when yanked off of auditing and placed in the Academy. This I surmised because his name, William Burgmuller, was registered under the OT Vs on the board in the hallway.
I was bewildered by this man. For an OT V he had little confidence in himself. He appeared beaten-down, despondent. His forehead bore thick worry lines, his eyes peered out at me from deep caverns, hinting that he had been caught in a crushing engram far back on the Time Track.
He had been a railroad engineer in the Midwest for many years, sometimes parting from his family and job to follow Ron on the quest to establish a permanent Dianetics Center. I had taken to the fellow immediately, but under these circumstances wasn't too happy having him for a partner. Being around a down-stat person was not the way to proceed swiftly through the almost endless course to the certainty I needed.
Class knocked off at noon for an hour break. There were dismal lunches with Bill Burgmuller. We were both on a budget and almost invariably had fish, mashed potatoes in gravy, and cabbage, finished off by a coffee or two and chocolate-covered wafers, all of which we wolfed down so we could get at our cigarette butts -- Bill and I both smoked our cigarettes in two or three instalments.
Bill was lonely and wanted to room with me. I kept putting him off. He needed a cheaper lodging and seemed helpless about getting started finding one. I got hold of a map of central Edinburgh and a list of rooming houses from a tourist bureau and tried to help him organize himself by showing him how I might circle the locations of cheap rooms if I were seeking one.
The search of this track began some years ago and was conducted sporadically on many preclears.
Due to the difficulty of getting tape machines, Bill and I sometimes sat at a card table studying bulletins. In the old days of Dianetics, he told me, things were a lot rougher. Preclears were sent back on the Time Track, with no preliminaries, to terrifying engrams that had them bouncing on the couch and clawing at the wall. It was possible, I thought, that people had died or become permanently deranged. Certainly, auditing was much smoother now, although there was also the possibility that in another decade or so Scientologists would refer back to 1968 as "the rough old days." In fact, Ron had stated that a thetan might pass through a state of insanity on his way to the top -- a condition far superior, however, to "the sanity of a human being."
Whenever I got a tape machine I managed to break the earphones. The connection between cord and listening device was so delicate that a turn of one's head could snap it -- and because of the many new releases announced in the foyer, and other interruptions, one was frequently tempted to turn one's head.
There was a rule on the Academy bulletin board: Any MEST Damaged In The Academy Must Be Fixed Or Replaced By The Student Who Damaged It Before He Or She Can Continue On Course. This was a tough regulation for those of us who were sick or caught in the middle of an Upper Level and in a panic to get through. The Instructor was understanding, and gave nervous students all the leeway he could if they broke something. On three occasions I got his permission to leave the classroom and take the equipment to a shop a half a mile away that had a soldering iron.
Most of the Academy students were from the States. Americans, as a rule, were likeliest able to afford extended training on top of the processing. However, once on SBC everybody was together in the same arena. The fight for Certainty was fierce. To an extent this was because there was no live instruction, other than the checkouts. The Instructor did not "instruct"; if he did he would incur a penalty. Students had to glean everything from the tapes and bulletins -- which were a maze. Some bulletins appeared to contradict others, and one had to twist and turn through dozens of them, seeking the path to Certainty. This often involved sifting out the data that bore the latest date. Ron insisted that every word he ever wrote held just as good today as when he wrote it; nothing he ever said needed changing. Veteran Scientologists claimed that if one dug deep enough into the material one would understand the profundity of that remark. It was an unspoken truth, however, that on any question involving apparently conflicting data, the bulletin with the latest date took precedence.
In-Tech and Duplication glistened in the distance like a mirage. There was only one way to be In-Tech, but countless ways one could mis-Duplicate and be guilty of Out-Tech and subject to Ethics punishment. Sometimes innocuous remarks I heard around me in class would make me return obsessively to a bulletin that seemed clear and logical only an hour ago. I would study every clause, trying to figure out how I had been mis-Duplicating. The same bulletin might appear, on successive readings, succinct and straightforward or muddy and labyrinthine.
The SBC was purported to be a fount of revelations, Cognitions popping up at every turn. Such were denied me. It heightened my feeling of deficiency to hear some other student say, "Wow! Did I ever Cognite on such-and-such last night!" I wondered how some of the others were so easily able to digest the data. There was a basic flaw in my makeup, a lack of faith or character that kept me from Duplicating. The SBC was going to take much longer to get through than six months. Perhaps a year, endless time, and an ocean of data on which to drift ...
As I listened to tapes and studied bulletins I kept thinking case. Each scrap of data held a personal taint. I tried to shape Ron's words into a diagnosis. If he were discussing engrams, then I was in an engram; if he mentioned the Time Track, I perceived sections of it bunched up and laden with charge; if he were writing about ARC breaks, present-time problems or overts, then these were the cause of grief.
I read with particular intensity the bulletins on Potential Trouble Sources and Suppressives. I saw in myself characteristics of both. Perhaps I was suppressive to myself. These anxieties made me spend more time on a bulletin than the other students would. I would sit fingering a page for long moments, in a daze. At interludes there would come a shout from what seemed far away, "Now hear this!" as some fortunate one attested to another level.
That every MEST body had a decayed thetan in it was unknown until now.
Something was incurably wrong with my inner being. A new bulletin was tacked up on the board in which Ron lashed out at those who falsely attested to Levels the hadn't rightfully attained. I took this deeply, for I didn't feel like I was a Clear, an OT I or an OT II.
Another new bulletin described a Condition lower than any Ron had previously discovered: Degraded Being. Though I wasn't sure this Condition applied to me, still I would have to remain in the perdition of the SBC until I could return to self-auditing, get the preclear or preclears out of The Wall of Fire, and earn the right to call myself by those Levels I had attested to.
My pattern of a typical morning was to wake up around five and futilely try to get back to sleep. At seven, I would waken Radcliff Jones and wait for him to get shaved and dressed and come to breakfast. Seeing the morning newspaper at the table was a strange experience, and I rarely got past the front page. The events of the world were taking place on another planet -- a lurid and unconfrontable reminder of the extent to which I had lost touch with my former reality.
I had been in Great Britain just a little over two months now.
At the AO, as at Saint Hill, there were many interruptions. One evening each week there was a so-called religious service in the Galactic Control Room -- actually the front waiting room -- which for that one hour was renamed the Chapel. One of the Sea Org crew would read the Scientologists Credo, which espoused tolerance for religions and everyone's right to free speech and individual thinking.
More precious study time was lost one morning when male students were conscripted to move mildewing furniture and mouldy bedding down to strata of the old hotel beneath the basement proper. I pitched in for two hours, hauling the decaying objects down from the upper floors into the dank chambers, our only illumination a single bulb on an extension cord several hundred feet long. Deeper and deeper we went, down black stairways, whistling and joking and cheering each other on with "What's a little dirt to a thetan?" I was worried about the Instructor, who directed the work crew. The dust from the dim rooms sent him into paroxysms of coughing. He was wasting away before our eyes.
Marty Moussorgsky, my old auditor from New York, visited the AO that day. Over lunch he told me of life aboard the Sea Org yacht. Marty had been on the first crew, when none of the members knew the slightest thing about running a ship. Ron decreed that they would best spend their time navigating the vessel up and down the Mediterranean. The Scientology cycle of action was applied on these maneuvers: Start -- Continue -- Complete. This meant that the boat was put in motion, sailed for a few miles, then stopped as abruptly as possible. The procedure was repeated, over and over, every day for several weeks. From time to time mistakes in navigation occurred, such as a near-crash into the docks at Tunisia, a goof that occasioned Ron to place the boat in Condition of Doubt.
Each evening at six I went to dinner with Edward Douglas, who had finally made it up from Sussex for his OT II, and Elisabette, a willowy OT V from Holland. We were often joined by Bill Burgmuller or Radcliff Jones. Elisabette was attending the Academy for a course on needle-reading before chancing the stratosphere of Level VI -- but I suspected she had already started that Level and fallen into trouble, as I guessed was Bill's torment.
We were a close group, though our fondness for each other was tempered with the poignancy of unuttered questions. Oddly, by own situation brought out my affection for others, and Elisabette, Edward, Bill and Rad seemed more lovable than I had ever known people to be. It may simply have been loneliness; our dinners together were the closest thing to companionship I could hope for until I got back to New York. With frustrated yearning to tell someone of my suffering, I imagined a wordless communication among us. "Are they going through this too?" I pondered, as I gazed into their kind faces, smiling, hoping I wasn't looking at them too beseechingly, with eyes as unyielding as a stuck needle and the fever of charge running through my body. Did they see it? Did they know something was Out on my case?
I cut short these times with the others to get back to the tapes and bulletins. The one moment of relative peace I allowed myself was at midnight when, back in my room at Mrs. Blake's, I would lie on my bed studying Hubbard's Axioms. The Axioms reputedly held the innermost kernel of Scientological truth. They dealt with the nature of the thetan, and its relationship to the MEST world. Though I didn't understand these abstractions, they gave an impression of vast, quiet expanses that had a lulling effect on me. I could imagine Ron in his captain's hat, seated at a large desk in a room decorated in nautical motif, working at his charts, calculating the precise interactions of these spiritual properties. When one read the Axioms one might arrive at a Cognition at any moment.
Bill Burgmuller and I checked each other out in class on tapes, bulletins and Axioms. We had both decided to study Dianetics all over again. His knowledge of the subject was far superior to mine, but his general uncertainty was undermining. His faltering, somewhat pathetic manner turned the simplest bulletin into a potential booby-trap. He would look up at me and say, with a sheepish grin, "I'd sure like to be Certain about that, old buddy!" I couldn't help thinking how much I would have enjoyed being with him in a different setting -- he was ingenuous and likable. I didn't want him to know that he depressed me, but whenever he invalidated himself blatantly my irritation slipped out. It didn't seem to make any difference. He was already punishing himself for something.
His most oft-voiced anxiety concerned floating needles. "After all this time," he would sigh wearily, "I'm just not sure about spotting the goddam things." When I had heard this for the fourth or fifth time, I threatened to report him to Ethics for self-invalidation, trying to mask my genuine annoyance by putting it in a joking manner. He brought out all my own uncertainty on that subject. In New York I'd seen needles that drifted lazily about the dial for minutes on end, while in Great Britain floating needles appeared and vanished in seconds, as elusive as eels slithering through the rushes.
At such moments I squelched a wish to shake Bill by the shoulders and tell him that everything was going to be all right anyhow. Instead I contended myself with visualizing what he would be like when he completed OT VI; or how he used to be. I pictured him as he might have looked on his old job, riding the cab of a locomotive as it hurtled down the flat, the wind rushing by, his eyes, unafraid then, scanning the distant reaches of the plains, as he patiently contemplated his next adventure with Ron Hubbard, far from the world of cornfields and semaphore signals.
There was an old, out-of-tune piano in the Galactic Control Room, and nobody objected to its being played. A teenaged South African thumped out a kind of music I had never heard before, some not-really-Spanish paso dobles and un-Germanic waltzes. I was familiar with a wide range of music, and could only conclude that this was "Afrikaner style," if such existed. I never asked.
A young American fellow occasionally beckoned me out of the Academy to hear his improvisations. He would look raptly into my eyes as he played, murmuring about ARC and Flow.
Heinz Migdahl, a recently-attested OT VI, sometimes played the opening measure of the Grieg Concerto. He said he hadn't touched a piano in eighteen years -- he had given it up for abstract painting, which he did well -- but now played better than ever. "On OT VI I discovered that my old keyboard technique was a machine, a part of the reactive mind that puts you on automatic," he said. "Now I'm starting from scratch to learn to play as myself. I've already eliminated all excess motion." A musical illiterate could observe that he swiveled his body and threw his arms around -- a lexicon of excess motion -- but I didn't challenge him. At any rate I'd found out what was causing the music in my head, a marching band that struck up every morning on my walk to the AO: a machine.
Another OT VI pianist also claimed he owed it all to Scientology, but he wasn't referring to lack of excess motion. He told me that he had almost attained a permanent state wherein he no longer felt his MEST body while at the keyboard. "I'm so close to it now I can almost taste it," he told me.
During a coffee break I sat down at the old upright. I could barely play. My arms felt weak and I couldn't remember the pieces I had played at Town Hall last October. I recalled a happier summer many years ago and a variety show at a music camp, where on another beat-up piano I had played, as a stunt, the "Etude on the Black Keys" of Chopin by rotating an orange in my right hand -- a fragmented memory of the power and joy I once felt playing the piano.
Across the aisle from me, a young American named Frank bull-baited a middle-aged lady. He stared at her over his memorably long nose, his mouth fixed in a smirk. The button he was flattening her on was "penises," and he carried on about "a sixteen-inch pecker peeking out at her from some guy's fly." I couldn't concentrate on my bulletins with this going on, and watched the pair for twenty minutes, as at a floorshow.
In another part of the room, one of Frank's roommates was exploiting someone else's Jewish button: "Take 23 -- 'Dish ish Moishe Menehan of Tel Aviv Radio Station K-I-K-E. Ve are bringing you ...' Flunk for laughing. Start! Take 24 -- 'Dish ish Moishe Menehan ...'" Late in the afternoon they had got up to Take 58, the button still unflat, the bull-baiting victim still laughing hysterically.
Frank, now bull-baiting a young lady, was working the button `old.' "You're so old, so o-o-o-old, my dear," he repeated, as she laughed uncontrollably. Just when this button was flattening, the hulking Master at Arms entered the Academy, and, squatting down beside Frank, started in on her in his British accent: "You're aould, me dear, sao aould. I wonder if you've ever considered the fact when you looked in the mirror that there wasn't just the slightest chawnce, the tiniest infinitesimal little possibility that perhaps -- that maybe -- you Put In Your Pawstulaytes that you ... might ... be ..." (here Frank joined in "aould, me dear ... sao-o a-o-o-o-o-ould!"
Paradoxically, some of the most effective bull-baiters employed Scientology terms. Master at Arms was a virtuoso at this. He would go on about a student's "by-passed chawge" and "withhaoulds" until he had them howling with laughter.
I did TR-0 with Frank. We sat at a table looking into each other's eyes. That day TR-0 locked my face in a vise. I was well aware that my features were fixed in pained, angry confusion, opening my inner state of being to detection, and I feared that someone would say, "Why, I see through him. He's sick, he's not showing any gains, he's repudiating Scientology by his failures. He's a suppressive." Nothing of that sort occurred. Frank only observed that my face looked tense. He switched to bull-baiting. To my own amazement, he couldn't draw a chuckle out of me. A young lady tried her hand at it. She, too, failed. Finally Edward Douglas, the old maestro, got into the act. He leaned forward, puckered up and kissed my cheek. When that didn't crack my expression, he jumped around the table like a baboon. By this time there was a ring of onlookers. Most of the Academy were watching to see if anyone could make me laugh, not knowing that I couldn't have laughed if I'd wanted to. As from a distance, I saw myself sitting there like a ghoul. Stuck in the middle of this grotesque scene, I peered across the table at Edward with eyelids like steel sheets and head bound in brass.
I got in review lines at Reception. I had held off for two weeks. While waiting in the Galactic Control Room for the Examiner to see me, I read of copy of the Scientology Wedding Service, a version of the marriage ceremony revamped into Hubbard's jargon. This, the once-a-week Success Service and an occasional clerical collar was the only evidence I saw at the AO to support Scientology's claim that it was a religion.
Heinz Migdahl came in and with excess motion banged A minor chords on the piano. Edward moseyed up with a back copy of The Auditor Magazine, and showed me a photo of Ron standing next to a model of a GPM. There was the "Top secret data" popping out at us from a world-distributed periodical!
"Oy wish Oy'd seen this staring me in the face a few years ago," Edward chortled. "It sure as 'ell would've saved me a lot of torment."
I thought back to the Solo Course, with its data on line-plots, crossovers, and opposition terminals which we were almost certainly never to use. Then I remembered Gerald's story about the inauditable preclear whom he had finally "cured." Was Scientology Ron's joke after all?
Whenever I was in the Galactic Control Room, the young crew members making up their stats charts would ask me for my Success Story. Customarily one submitted a testimonial for each release and always after clearing. I had presented nothing to them as yet -- it would have been an outright lie -- so I would grin ruefully and mumble, "Not just yet. I'm working on it. Please wait a day or so."
The Examiner's eyes widened. "Do you know what you're doing? You're running away from class! Ron has a name for that. You're rabbiting!"
But I'm hardly sleeping and I haven't moved my bowels for two weeks."
"We can't do it for you. You have to work for these Upper Levels. Ron has a new policy, Get Tough! Better Get That In. It'll make up an up-stat person and then you can move your bowels all you like. Now stop rabbiting, stop coming here, and go back to your class."
"It's not that I'm rabbiting," I shot back.
"Don't you dare raise your voice to me!" Then, softening, "I didn't mean you're a coward." She wrote something on a slip. "Here. Take this to Ethics."
Ethics looked at me with good-humored pity. "You're rabbiting? Go back to your class and get through your course. The Way Out Is The Way Through."
"I had to come in for review. where else am I supposed to go for help?"
"We learn to help ourselves. No one else can do it for you." She smiled, her eyes widening, and said in a Tone-40 voice, "Now go back to your class!"
I moved down the hall towards the Academy, stopping on the way at the Galactic Control Room. Among the newsletters and advertisements on the center table was Ron's new Policy Letter, "Get Tough!"
Astonished, I reread the article. On second reading I began to see some truth in it, and on third I thought, "My god! He's right -- and he's speaking directly to me."
The Sea Org knew me. They saw through me as no one had before. All my life I had got through on facile talent. I had never had to show real grit. Soft and spoiled, I'd spent a good part of my time hatching grandiose schemes, never putting in the sweat to finish anything I started. I had to admit that Ethics and the Examiner were right. This was not so terrible to confront once identified. They were offering a chance for redemption, and firm hands to pull me through my resistance, my childish weakness. To be charming, interesting, a "nice guy" meant nothing to them. I was a spirit, a thetan. Here was no escape, no evasion of responsibility. I must finish what I had begun. It was for my own good ... and it was too late to stop.
To graduate SBC, students audited preclears to releases on the Grades. It was getting time for me to scout up a preclear. Since I knew practically nobody in town but Scientologists, I would have to go out on the street and disseminate. I cringed at the prospect. I had seen too much tasteless proselytizing, and I knew how it could turn people off. The AO had not as yet alienated itself from the community. The good citizens of Edinburgh were considered far less suppressive than those of East Grinstead. In fact, the Scientologists thought the Scots as a whole nicer people than the English. But sooner or later suppressive orders would be placed on the bookshops that chose not to carry Ron's writings. The shop owners would react. There would be further ill feeling, perhaps incidents.
Moreover, in disseminating, I would be selling something which hadn't as yet brought me any lasting benefits. Fortunately, I'd only be pushing the Lower Grades, which had produced significant gains in New York. I would have to conquer my humiliation and take the plunge. I got the Instructor's permission to go out on the street, and, fighting my shame, I approached my first raw meat near the blue-rimmed door of the AO.
I soon learned to be selective about whom to buttonhole. A Class VII Auditor, like Gerald, could detect a suppressive walking by on the street. If I were unlucky enough to bring to the AO a suppressive or a Potential Trouble Source, there would be a big flap at Qual Office. Although it went against my grain to label anyone suppressive or PTS, certain individuals acted dimwitted or surly; so I kept my dissemination to alert, cheerful Up-Stat-looking citizens, preferably younger ones -- they tended to be more open-minded. I fell into a routine. I would accost people near the AO, point to the sign above the door, and burble, "Do you know about our college?" I would go on to mention the special process they could have done on them at no cost, and one or two of the other wonderful things that went on upstairs. I made no attempt to "find their ruin," as in the dissemination drill. I simply wanted to get them into the Academy to sign the Preclear Logbook on the Instructor's desk and perhaps buy something at the bookstore.
Within a few days I succeeded in logging in several names. My only unpleasant street encounter was with a confident young man who proclaimed that Scientology was no damn good, Jesus Christ was his Savior.
I didn't ring any doorbells -- though some of the disseminators weren't above doing that -- with one exception. I tried a house down the street from Mrs. Blake's, where I was told several AO students had stayed until recently. I introduced myself to the landlady as a roomer at her neighbor's. Before I could start my patter, she said, "Isn't that where some of them crazy Scientologists are staying? I just asked three of them to move somewhere else. They'd lock themselves in the bathroom for hours on end having their godless sessions."
I enquired about a fictitious lodger, and left.
My dissem at my rooming house was unsuccessful. Mrs. Blake was wary about going downtown and walking through the blue-rimmed AO doorway. One of her boarders, a young math student who worked a full shift as a bus conductor to finance his education, was neither for nor against Scientology. We had several discussions about it at night, when Mrs. Blake set late tea. Ian was a gifted fellow and the questions he asked were pointed and a bit unsettling. I wanted him to try at least one process. He didn't show up for breakfast one morning and Mrs. Blake reported that he had been killed in a highway accident while riding his bicycle home from work, and his parents would be coming from their village to take his possessions. During lunch break at the AO I told Edward Douglas about the tragic accident.
Edward looked at me sagely. "'E knew 'e could 'ave auditing and went ahead and left the body anyway." His eyes saddened. "Well, Oy guess 'e made 'is choice, didn't 'e."
I was spending half my lunch hour approaching people on the street and still hadn't obtained a genuine, living, breathing preclear, only a bunch of names in the log book. I had finished running the Dianetic Levels on a rag doll, making out full mock reports, the final preparatory exercise, and was checked out and ready to audit.
Everything was so much more complicated than at the franchise in New York. Before auditing the preclear on Dianetics we had to fill out a Preclear Assessment Sheet, four pages of questions about the preclear's background, some of an intimidatingly personal nature. Needle action and tone-arm were recorded next to the preclear's responses. Another added step was the Beginning Rudiments, or The RUDS, six questions put to the preclear after the Assessment which were supposed to handle present-time problems and ARC breaks. I had never done such a thing to a preclear in New York. If a preclear seemed unhappy about something (which had been the situation with my very first preclear), Gerald taught us that is was best to get him into a casual conversation in which he might talk himself into feeling comfortable, which would make him auditable. In contrast, The RUDS were blunt and intimidating. I asked the Instructor if we really must subject raw meat to this list of highly-charged questions. He gave me the best answer he could, since apparently there was no bulletin or tape he could cite on the subject.
"Ron put that step there for a reason," he said. Nor was he totally satisfied on this point himself. He went to ask the Director of Training about The RUDS and was nearly placed in Liability for "not knowing what reply to give a
In general you will find the preclear has been subjected ... to enormous invalidation of all his force, power and natural attributes.
I entered a coffee house in search of a preclear. I slid into a booth opposite a tall, slender young man and introduced myself as a trainee at the Hubbard College two blocks away. The young man put down his newspaper and made some remarks about the class struggle and life in general that struck me as perceptive, although it had been so long since I had been exposed to such talk that it also sounded quaint.
This young man was an interesting person. His eyes were tired, defeated, crafty, yet empathetic. His manner was courteous, his mind lively, as he communicated to me a bittersweet regret over the things he had missed and would no doubt always miss in life. He alerted when I broached a foolproof method of self-improvement. In short, Alistair McKenna seemed the ideal preclear.
I led him upstairs, proudly introduced him to the Instructor, and logged him in. On the way out I showed him the bookstore, a niche off the corridor leading to the back offices. He selected two of Ron's slimmer volumes, Fundamentals of Thought and The Problem of Work, and we waited in the line at Accounts. When Alistair reached the desk and was told the price of the books he was put off. I asked him to take only one if that was all he could afford. No change was ever returned at Accounts; one either wrote out a check, had the exact amount in hand, or the excess credited to his accounts. Alistair didn't have the right amount for the book, so I lent him the difference. When we got down on the street he immediately repaid the loan, in paper and change that he had had all along, with the explanation that he trusted me but was leery of the organization.
We had the session at my place. I faced the unpleasant task of putting Alistair through the Preclear Assessment Sheet. He was already nervous from his experience at the AO, when I began with the easy questions about his education and medical history. Then I got to his relationship with his mother. He faltered -- I already knew he was still living at home. "Well, let's just say we don't get along ver-r-a well."
Next came questions to elicit any record of criminality or insanity. Alistair's needle was rising. "I guess you might say I have a criminal record."
"Can you tell me about it?"
"When I was eleven years old I broke into a saloon after closing, stole some empty beer bottles and sold them for a few pence. I got caught."
"Fine," I acked, noting it all down with the tone-arm read.
It suddenly dawned on me that a preclear with a criminal record might be a Potential Trouble Source and I'd be a fool to handle his case. I took another good look at Alistair, trying not to make it too noticeable.
"I'm really sorry, but I have to go back to the college and find out whether I can audit you. Just so you won't be in the dark about this, it's your criminal record. I know this happened years ago, and it's probably okay -- it certainly is with me -- but I don't want to do the wrong thing on my training. I'd better go downtown and ask the Instructor."
"Why don't you telephone him?"
"Hey, you're right, you're one hundred percent right! Why didn't I think of that?"
The Instructor got on the line. "Eleven years old, eh?" he said drily. "That should be all right. Go ahead and audit."
I returned with Alistair to the wobbly table in my room.
"We only have a little more to do on the Assessment. What are your goals in life?"
"That's ver-r-r-ra easy. To have money."
I was stumped. Just a couple hours ago he had spoken of his frustrated hopes for a better world. Now he was coming on PTS again. I was aware that the Assessment had put him in a negative mood. I fished around.
"Would you say, then, that you're interested in improving your life?"
"Oh definitely. And the best way to do that would be to get my hands on some money."
I prompted him with, "Can I put it down that you wish to enhance your ability to do the things you like doing?"
"Yes, I guess that's one way of putting it."
"Anything else? Any other goals?" My mistake; I was slightly ahead and should have dropped it.
"Well, I'd like to get in the position so that other people don't have the upper hand over me."
Pencil poised: "You mean you'd like to advance yourself in the social and business worlds?"
"Good. How about the spiritual world."
"Yeah. Naturally. Whatever that is. Any world."
With apprehension growing that this wasn't the fresh, glowing preclear the AO wanted, I sketched out the auditor's report for the ARC Straightwire Process. Then I remembered with a jolt that I had to do The RUDS. On the way to Mrs. Blake's I had given Alistair a good Reality-Factor on the Dianetic Levels. I had forgotten to prepare him for The dratted RUDS.
"Are you upset by anything?"
"Yeah, I guess I am."
"Fine. What do you consider it could be?"
"Those questions you just asked me were kind of personal."
"Thank you. Any other considerations on that?"
"Okay. Do you have a present-time problem? That reads."
"Money. Also, I'm ver-r-ra nervous."
When we got to overts, the needle tightened up. "What do you mean, `overts'?" he asked.
"Oh I'm sorry. That means something you've done that you consider wrong."
"I see." He thought for a moment. "Well, I'm beginning to regret coming here."
"Thank you. Now we'll start the process I described on the way over."
I cleared the commands with English and Scientology dictionaries, another recent requirement, and sailed into the familiar ARC Straightwire commands.
"Recall a communication."
"Good. What was it?"
"A phone call."
"Fine. Recall an emotion ..."
On went the process, with the tone-arm lurking around 4, an area of tension. For a brief spell Alistair's Good Indicators came In. He recalled pleasant letters, holidays, and emotions such as love and happiness. Had I missed that all-evasive fucking floating needle? Why, the bloody thing could come and go in a split second -- it took Scientologists years to spot one properly. Now the needle was dirtying and Alistair's responses were bogging down. We had been at it a long time. Several columns of worksheet were filled with my notations. Something had gone wrong. Perhaps I never should have audited this preclear in the first place. I had had enough warning signs, but I'd allowed my desire to help both Alistair and myself sway me. I would have to show up at the AO with all the evidence of having audited a PTS. Alistair looked dazed.
"Recall something real."
"Good. What was it?"
"A fight I had when I was sixteen."
I'd been pounding away at the process for an hour. I was killing him. This mustn't continue. The session would have to end unflat.
"Recall an emotion."
"Good. What was it?"
"Thank you. Okay, Alistair, now we have to go back to the College and have my reports looked at. Nothing you've done wrong, I assure you -- it's been good of you to help me train -- but the process I've been running isn't finished yet. It's probably my fault; I'm just a novice at this. My supervisors will tell me what to do next. Can you wait five minutes while I write out a summary?"
While doing that I came about with a start. "Shit! I thought, "I forgot to include in my R-Factor the possibility of review or Ethics action."
On our way to the AO, I explained that my superiors might want him to have an additional session with one of their auditors -- inwardly resolving to make up to him any cash he might spend at the AO.
The Instructor glanced at my report while Alistair waited in the Galactic Control Room. "Hmmm, I see you got in your RUDS. You may've gone past a floating needle. Towards the end there your preclear's responses were pretty low-tone. We better 'ave one of the more advanced students rerun 'im on the ARC."
This was a relief to me, but for the preclear the proceeding had turned into an inquisition. I remembered my first auditing; I'd been well-greased beforehand by friends and then processed by one of them in a cozy apartment.
A young SBC student took Alistair up to the third floor and brought him back twenty minutes later, a Straightwire Release. The preclear's Good Indicators were not In. Before he could go to Certs and Awards he had to see the Examiner. After five minutes in Qual, a red-faced Alistair trotted through the foyer and disappeared down the stairs.
"What's the matter with you anyway, bringing a preclear like that in here!" said the buxom redhead.
"What do you mean? He seemed perfectly fine to me."
"Do you know what he had the gall to say to me? He said he hadn't got any gains from his auditing! He's an ignorant suppressive creep! Don't you ever drag someone like that in here again!"
I left Qual Office. I didn't think the outcome was entirely my fault, and I talked it over with the Instructor.
"Oh, she's all right, that gal," he said. "I've known 'er for years."
"But the guy seemed like a nice person to me."
"She's OT VI. You're got to figure she's probably right about 'im."
Angry and confused, knowing that Alistair thought I had betrayed him, I took out a tape, slammed it on a machine and promptly broke the earplugs. I couldn't let the Examiner get away with invalidating me like that. This time she had gone too far.
She eyed me as I neared her desk. "It's about this afternoon," I began. "I don't feel that we left our talk on a very constructive note."
"What do you mean?"
"I haven't felt at all right about it afterwards. I did the best I could with that preclear."
"Couldn't you see he wasn't the right material?"
"I really thought he was terrific. I had a long chat with him over coffee. He seemed to be reaching out for help."
"It's okay." She regarded me drolly. "Forget about it and go out and audit preclears."
There was a long pause during which we stared deeply into each other's eyes. Suddenly her face glowed, her eyes twinkled. "And ... I shouldn't have yelled at you that way. I apologize!"
We reached for each other over the desk as again the waves of tender compassion bathed me.
"It's beautiful!" I gasped, holding her as gently as if she were a gigantic puff of meringue.
On the way out to fix the earplugs, I made the "everything's all right" circle with my thumb and index finger, and called over to the Instructor, "You were right about her."
Betty Buchanan, a saucy blond divorcee who wore no-nonsense plaid outfits, arrived to do the Upper Levels. She was South African, like Radcliff Jones, and they immediately started a flirtation in the form of a mock "battle of the Levels." The winner would be the first to attest to OT VI. Betty had the advantage. She had the money to take preferential review. Anyone paying double, $40 an hour, could see an auditor with no waiting.
I never saw the friendly opponents, Betty and Rad, touch each other, though there was definitely an attraction there; nor could they say much about their "battle." Instead they discussed such topics as how to run a business using Ron's Ethics system, or Betty's ambition to confront the Prime Minister of South Africa with strong TRs and the Four Steps of Dissemination.
It was from Betty that I first heard of Ethics households. "They have Ethics In at orgs, don't they?" she said. "This is a logical extension. You keep hat-books and Conditions charts on a bulletin board where you live. Children love it too; they always know just where they stand."
She went on to describe Ron's plans for a secret Ethics training camp for Scientology offspring in Rhodesia.
These conversations were help in coffee houses late at night after closing of lines. Betty and Rad took me along, I suspected, as a chaperon. I'd sit with them over tea and shortbread cookies, with my briefcase, now bereft of confidential materials but, through obsession or force of habit, under the table near me and still locked. I always kept one leg pressed against the side with the lock.
One night Elisabette gave Edward and me a lift home from the AO. Edward was staying at a boarding house on a hill overlooking a large park. Elisabette dropped him off, drove up the winding street a few hundred yards and parked. I seemed to be looking not over the treetops to the sparkling lights of Edinburgh but on a hill in my hometown many years ago with my young love.
Elisabette was near the bursting point with her case. Of course she said nothing about it, but I could sense it. I struggled against the urge to take her in my arms and beg her to tell me about her suffering. We turned to face each other and were silent for a moment.
Then I said, "Look, Elisabette, this isn't secret stuff or anything. Maybe you can tell me why Ron put The RUDS after the Assessment Sheet instead of going right into ARC Straightwire."
I had been in Great Britain close to three months and my visa was up for renewal. My passport was to be sent to the British Home Office in London, but the Sea Org had it locked up in a drawer at Housing and I was able to obtain it only in exchange for my return air ticket.
Two days later the British government passed an edict prohibiting foreigners from entering Great Britain to study Scientology, and stories denigrating Hubbard and his ideas appeared in the newspapers. There was a great uproar at the AO. People thronged the lobby and the Galactic Control Room, vilifying the British as suppressive, and comforting each other with predictions of the horrible things that were going to happen to Parliament. Several of the inflammatory news articles were tacked up on walls under signs proclaiming We Have Nothing To Hide. Many of the students were sick with anxiety. We were now classified "undesirable aliens" and measures would soon be taken to get us out of the country. Most worried were those now on crucial Upper Levels who had travelled halfway around the globe and spent almost their last cent.
By evening Ron had come through. Rapture spread throughout the AO as Master at Arms announced to the crowd that a brand new AO had just been opened in Los Angeles, the AOLA. Some of the Americans, including Bill Burgmuller, were glad to be returning home to their families sooner than they had expected. I didn't know what I would do. Air fare from Scotland to L.A. was expensive, and the cost of living in L.A. was rumored to be about twice that of Edinburgh. With all the review I had had, I was running shy of ready cash. And getting out of the stock market at a bad time, I had lost heavily on my investments.
Many of the staff had already departed for L.A. Due to the mass upset and the lack of auditors, review lines were swollen. The waiting line spilled over into the Galactic Control Room, and there was barely enough space, even then, for the overflow. Most of the Qual people I'd been dealing with had left. I would make one last attempt to get review.
Master of Arms was the Examiner that day. He eyed me balefully. "Why are you here" Why aren't you in class?"
"I can't work properly. I'm sick."
"Get back to your class," he growled. "Stop rabbiting and get back to your class."
I melted under the intense heat of his stare. Something inside me gave way again. I grimaced approvingly. "Thank you -- oh thank you for that." Wincing with gratitude, I grasped his beefy hands. He didn't move or speak, just continued to stare at me with a quizzical look on his face.
Edward and I stood near the curb after dinner discussing the recent crisis. He was worried and depressed.
"This could be another Austraylia all over again," he mumbled wretchedly. In the mid-60s Scientology had been outlawed in Edward's province and he had had to save money for three years for the trip to England. "Oy just don't know if Oy can go through the 'ole thing again."
I felt sorry for him. Why couldn't Ron let a loyal follower like Edward take the Upper Levels on credit? This time it was my turn to bolster him. Shaping my mouth into a grin, I said, "It'll be okay, Edward, just wait and see. Everything's going to work out beautifully for you."
"Oy suspect as you're right. Oy 'ope so."
"And Ron's bound to do something for people in your predicament," I added, as we exchanged meaningful looks as we used to at Fyfield Manor. "He'll make Parliament revoke the law, or he'll arrange some way to get you to L.A. Don't worry, Edward" -- I mustered up as close to a Tone-40 voice as I could -- "RON KNOWS!"
When Mrs. Pattycake comes to us to be taught, turn that wandering doubt in her eye into a fixed, dedicated glare and she'll win and we'll all win. Humor her and we all die a little.
A mousy little gray-haired lady from Iowa, who was taking a short course on self-auditing between her Clearing Course sessions, asked me to coach her on the TRs. During a lull she confided that there were certain aspects of the Clearing Course she didn't understand. I told her it was all there in the instructions.
"But I've been over that instruction booklet a hundred times and I just don't get it," she whimpered. She leaned forward and lowered her voice. "It's that spotting. How in the world do you spot?"
"Look in your instructions," I replied. "Everything you need to know is there."
"But do you actually look at something? Are you supposed to keep your TRs In when you spot?"
I'd never thought of that. Now I began to get concerned. Perhaps having my TRs In on the Clearing Course would have made the difference. But how would I have done that?
"Look, when you spot something, say that wall over there, you don't mull over it, do you? You just say, `There it is.' Nothing more to it than that."
"But with the wall, at least you know it's there."
There was something pitiful about the woman. Suddenly my stomach did a dive as I saw the trap. I'd let this sweet old lady draw me into a forbidden discussion! But how bad had it really been? I tried to reconstruct it in my mind, not listening to her bewildered prattling. Finally, not sure of what I'd done, I snapped, "Excuse me. I have to handle something," and left the Academy.
"I'm putting myself in Liability," I told the gorgeous blond Ethics Officer, "for listening to somebody's questions about the confidential materials."
"Where is this person?"
"She's in the Academy."
"Good. What's her name?"
Lucille was brought to the office in tears. She came over to me. "I'm so sorry. I never dreamed of what I was doing. Oh look," she turned to Ethics, "it was all my fault, not his."
Ethics sent her out to don a gray arm rag and start her work penalty. Ethics smiled warmly at me. "Do you really feel you're in Liability? You did report the matter. Aren't you perhaps only in Non-Existence?"
"I'm in Liability. I listened to her."
"Okay, then. I'll have to give you the same punishment. After all, no one knows better than you what Condition you're in."
A young student staying in my neighborhood had been borrowing my room during daytime hours for her self-auditing; her place wasn't secure, she said. I returned after my penalty the next night to find my window open and the room freezing. The OT I materials were lying on the dresser. The front page looked different from what I had seen, the one with the Clearing Course materials repeated. Here, there was something about "auditing outdoors." Afraid of seeing more of this version, I threw a coat over the pack, grabbed a cab for the AO, and reported the incident to Ethics just before the closing of lines, in the nick of time to keep from incurring my third Liability penalty.
I could no longer apply myself to a bulletin or tape. I had given up hope of finding another preclear; people on the street were now evasive or hostile. I left the Academy every few minutes to loiter in the hallway and smoke half a cigarette.
I stared at the bulletin board in disbelief.
During coffee break, Dennis McClain, a quiet, courteous veteran Sea Org member, discussed music with me. I told him of my New York piano debut and the less-than-pleasing critique in the newspaper.
Dennis said, "The next time you give a concert find out in advance who the critic will be."
"Critics probably aren't assigned until the day of the concert."
"Nonetheless, if you really want this information you'll get it. Once you know who the critic will be you can find a way to sabotage him."
"Why?" I asked, dreading where this might be leading.
"You know he's out to get you before you've even started. He's a critic -- he's out for your blood. A critic damaged you before and he'll do it again if you let him. Get to his car and screw up the motor so he can't drive to the hall."
Dennis was talking to me as calm and friendly as usual. I sensed the danger. I couldn't let him suspect I thought anything was wrong with what he was saying.
"How would I find out where the guy lives? Besides, we're talking about New York. He probably takes a cab to the hall."
"There's a way if you just Get the Data In and Apply It. Yes. Have a friend of yours phone the hall just before concert time and have them page the critic, who's to be told that his wife has just been murdered in cold blood or had a heart attack or the like. If he doesn't have a heart attack himself, he'll certainly leave forthwith, and then no one can harm you. You can play away to your heart's content in a Safe, Secure Environment."
"But Dennis, how do we know he's got a wife?"
I was starting to wonder if one could take a music critic out of action so easily in New York City.
"You'll have to work the details out yourself, of course. Just remember what Ron says: When you know in advance that someone is out for you, don't be a fool and sit on it. Attack, man, attack!"
I wanted to rush to the Instructor and ask him how Richard Stiles had died. With a wrenching effort I pulled my mind away from this. It wouldn't help a dead man to put the Instructor on the spot and give myself away as well.
Later that afternoon, Richard Stile's widow, having just attested OT II, victoriously received the applause of AO members in the foyer.
All of Mrs. Blake's rooms were now occupied by Scientologists. One of them, a middle-aged South African gentleman, was in the custom of knocking on our doors at five in the morning to bring us tea. No one complained; Releases were not supposed to need a lot of sleep.
On a Sunday morning, Mrs. Blake's visiting aunt and uncle were having their breakfast in the lounge. A young lady with heavy TRs began giving them a zealous dissemination. The aunt, an elderly lady whose wrinkled face had undoubtedly seen a lot, looked up from her plate and said, "Why do you have such unnecessary notions when life can be so simple and good as it is?"
These words called forth within me a shattered image of my former self. With a sense of self-loathing, I swallowed the rest of my coffee and left the room.
Frank told me there was an opening at his flat. His roommates were on Special Briefing Course also, and Ethics was really In at their place. It sounded like an economical arrangement, so I agreed to join them.
I was to share a room with a young man H had never liked, Nash Rabinowitz, whose scraggly beard and phlegmatic eyes made him resemble a Barbary goat. I scuffed about to find space for my clothes and books.
The flat at 20 Argyle Street maintained rotating hats, hat books (instructions) for cooking, dishwashing, laundering, etc., and a Conditions Board for the household in toto. My first hat was cook's. When I changed to another hat at the end of the week, I would be expected to write a few comments in a special book, not the hat book itself but a separate collection of added instructions the boys thought up, along with nostalgic reminiscences of their stay.
Heinz Migdahl, pianist and painter, was the senior member of the household. He gave unreservedly of his knowledge and experience as an instructor at the New York Org. When I had finished unpacking I watched him coach two of the younger students on a drill in which the auditor gently but with Strong Intention took a preclear who had "become disturbed during auditing" by the shoulders and led hi back to the chair he had just bolted from. They plodded slowly up and down the hallway as though run by machine, far into the night, covering miles of maroon carpet.
I placed a bowl of oranges and apples on the kitchen table and prepared a breakfast of sausages and eggs. Heinz had his own special breakfast, consisting of toast, which he doctored with sugar in an eccentric manner, and Nescafe, which he spooned in meticulous measure into a cup into which he directed me to pour boiling water up to a specific mark.
A strange atmosphere prevailed at the table. Each of the roommates had his individual joy or sorrow -- though not a word was said about the "sorrow" end of it. Two of the young men, the ones doing the midnight drills, were training twins, worked well together and romped through the course. Nash was preoccupied. He had had trouble running Straightwire on one of the locals, I'd overheard him telling the Instructor, and wasn't too certain about E-meter reads, especially the mercurial floating needle. Frank had completed OT III. His dead seriousness at all times, even when bull-baiting, impressed on me that he was going through his own private hell. Heinz, the benevolent authority, sat at the head of the table keeping close watch over the household.
At nine o'clock Frank, Nash and I set out on foot for the AO. It was a twenty minute walk through a lovely park and an interesting part of the downtown area. We were silent for a while. Then Frank addressed Nash: "Do you know the folding table was left out in the living room last night?"
"That's not my hat," replied Nash defensively.
"Fine. Are you wearing the Ethics hat this week?"
"Good. What are the duties of Ethics as defined in our hat book?"
"To Check the House for Cleanliness and Order, Write Out Chits for Violations, and Keep the Living Room Neat."
"Thank you. Then is it your duty to fold the table and move it over against the wall?"
"Somebody must've left it out after I went to bed."
"Okay. Did you notice it out this morning?"
"That's not my hat." Nash was sulky, beaten down.
I wanted to scream, "Will you cut the fucking nonsense? Can't you enjoy the scenery?" I lurched ahead so I wouldn't have to hear any more of this.
Hold on, I told myself, Think it through. I liked Frank and thought Nash obnoxious. Now I found myself sympathizing with Nash. Whom should I like or dislike?
You're missing the point, man, You're forgetting what this is all about, I told myself, now nearly one of them. Ron says Ethics must be for the betterment of the Group. Open your mind to it. Can you confront it? Can you rise above your petty likes and dislikes and help get Ethics In on this planet?
Over lunch Heinz Migdahl and I compared great pianists. Our conversation turned to Ferruccio Busoni, one of the immortals, whom I had heard one of the other AO musicians praise for the luminous, "exteriorized" quality of his playing on old records. The description had stayed with me.
"Busoni surely could have been an OT," I said lightly.
Heinz stared at me, the whites of his eyes prominent. "You mean he had qualities that might remind one of an OT ... don't you?"
By the way he was looking at me he could see the taint, the corruption, the lack of true faith. I had finally done it. Heinz now knew the truth about me.
As I entered the AO, two of the Qual girls were chatting in the foyer, and I lit their cigarettes for them. As I headed for the Academy I heard them snickering behind me. When had they first viewed me as an object of contempt -- and as dispensable as Richard Stiles?
A public couldn't stomach what really went on before Earth. Your preclear isn't able to stomach it -- that's why he's forgotten it.
When I left the AO at ten p.m. a girl was handing out dissem leaflets for distribution. I didn't relish the activity at that hour, but when she thrust them towards me with a determined smile, I didn't refuse.
I walked in the direction of Argyle Street, chucking the adds into mailboxes along the way. Arriving at the flat, I slumped down in a chair in the living room. There was a selection of Hubbard's books on a nearby shelf. I picked up The History of Man. The book contained a depiction of incidents Ron claimed to have discovered in research on preclears' Time Tracks, many of which involved thetan traps, devices by which thetans were jerked, bounced, spun, hit from every angle, packed in ice cubes, stuck in gummy material, and reeducated to be a type of thinking file card system. One of the incidents was fac one, a machine called the "Coffee Grinder," which laid in baps on the pineal gland and other areas.
I came to a passage on the many forms through which the thetan had evolved on the way to its present meat-body. The room, the book I was holding, were in a haze. I seemed to be reading about the death of giant clams with hinges that couldn't shut.
I could no longer deny to myself that I was PTS. As an Ethics case I could by-pass the Examiner.
Ethics that night was a young Englishman, dressed in white and neatly groomed. His wistful blue eyes and dreamy expression made him appear to be in a trance. I proceeded with my plan to get review. "The thing I wish to tell you is I've been roller-coastering."
"Pick up the cans, please. Are you connected to a suppressive?"
"Thank you. I'll check it on the meter. Are you connected to a suppressive? That's clean. Are you connected to a suppressive group?"
"Thank you. I'll check it on the meter. Are you connected to a suppressive group? That reads. What are your considerations on that?"
"I don't know what group it could be. The only group I'm in is Scientology."
"All right. I'll check it on the meter. Are you connected to a suppressive group? There's a read on that. I'd like to indicate that you are connected to a suppressive group and are PTS. Please go to Reception with this slip of paper."
I read the slip on the way. My reads were on it, along with instructions that I be put in lines for a Search and Discovery.
The Galactic Control Room was still crowded. Some of the Upper Level students who had got sick when the government edict was announced had been waiting for review for over a week. The AO was short on staff and had sent to Saint Hill for extra auditors to handle the overflow. We were told to keep our vigil even after the closing of lines.
I waited all that day and into the next night. Elisabette sat next to me -- she had been there for three days. I wished we could talk to each other. Still, it was comforting to be near her. I snuck into the scullery and cadged two cups of coffee. We waited together side by side, sipping coffee, rarely speaking.
A young lady motioned me upstairs. Before I could have the Search and Discovery, I had to be put through another green-form. In response to one of the questions I mentioned OT III. Her expression flickered.
"Aren't you at least a III?" I asked her.
"No, I'm only a II. If you're going to go into that, you'll have to go through lines again and wait for another auditor."
Late in the evening I lay collapsed on my bed. My roommate strummed on his guitar and sang to himself, almost inaudibly. He hadn't been well lately either. As the music tolled on through the lonely room, I felt it tugging at me. "Oh play it, Nash, it's beautiful, so beautiful," I heard myself whisper. "Sweet sounds, wind softly around us thetans and bring us peace."
I awoke the next morning with the thought that I would have to kill myself. Dim light outside the window told me it was dawn in Edinburgh. I pondered the matter of my death carefully as Nash lay snoring a few feet away. Where had the thought come from? I'd never had it before. But I had damaged myself beyond repair on OT III, and even the Sea Org with their Search and Discoveries couldn't help me. The next step was suicide. I could jump off the bridge into the Edinburgh railroad yards. But by so doing I would invalidate Scientology. My name would go up on the bulletin board. I couldn't bear the shame of knowing what would happen after my death.
Nash began to stir in his bed. I got dressed and went to the kitchen to wear the cook's hat.
That night, after another day of waiting for review, as I left the AO and was crossing a street an inner voice whispered to me that I had an alternative to dying. I could leave the AO for good and return to New York. It wasn't until I'd come here that I had ever thought of taking my own life. Scientology had done this to me. I would finish my review and fly home again to stay.
A surge of joy overcame me at the thought of returning to my crazy, blessed old life in New York.
Sitting by Elisabette in the Galactic Control Room, I continued my musings. Once I got back to New York I would do what I should have done from the beginning: stick to playing the piano. Scientology was not my goal in life, no, nor had it ever been. My goal was to make music. Goal? I felt the GPMs, the Goals-Problems-Mass, churning in the depths of the bank. Was I Creating piano playing to Destroy it or Destroying it to Create it? The phrase "piano playing is my goal" was a dense, heavy glob that stuck in my chest. Perhaps I had never really wanted to be a pianist; that was my GPM. The materials h ad clotted; they were choking me, coating my insides with something warm and disgusting I couldn't vomit up.
Then it hit me that conjecture about my life was meaningless. What ever made think they would let me leave? For a moment I was paralyzed. Then adrenalin flooded my body and I had the urge to hurl myself down the stairs and out onto the street, appealing to the nearest passerby for help. I shook with the immediacy of the danger. How hopelessly stupid I had been to think they would let me walk out of there with their innermost secrets!
Paranoia. I must stop this, pull myself together. If I had to brave it out with Master at Arms and his pair of brass-knuckles, I'd do it.
At 10:30 p.m., well after the closing of lines, an auditor approached and asked, "Would you like to be audited?" A few moment later I was in his tiny bedroom on the third floor being worked through a green-form. "Has a withhold been missed?"
"Yes. I've been thinking about killing myself."
"All right. I'll check that on the meter."
I was nattering, talking from the bank, that much I knew from my training, and I admired the auditor's TRs as he handled my responses. Moreover, he was dead tired, having been auditing several days and nights straight, and was yawning and bleary-eyed.
"I'm trying to make it was interesting for you as I can," I said, as he failed to smother a formidable yawn.
He slumped back in his chair with an exhausted grin. "Gotcha! I dig ya, man!"
He continued down the list. "Is there something that somebody nearly found out about you?"
"Yes. I want to leave this place and to back to New York."
"All right. That's it. You had a floating needle on `I want to leave this place and go back to New York.'"
I smiled at him wryly.
He said, "There's one other process I could do on you if you wish. I was thinking I might give you a Purpose Search and Discovery -- that's to find out what you really want to do."
What did I have to lose? I'd already paid for a Search and Discovery. I asked him if he could just do it immediately.
"I guess I could, but first I must show the Examiner my report and get his consent," he said.
He left the room and returned a moment later. "The Examiner wants to see you."
Don't invalidate somebody as a theta clear just because he doesn't act like a saint -- he might even be more devilish than ever!
Master at Arms' little eyes scanned my face spitefully. "Why are you in review?"
"You know why I'm here."
"Well, if you daon't gao back to your class tomorrow you can forget the whaole thing."
This was what I'd been hoping for. "All right. Then I'm leaving."
"What? You'd give up Taotal Freedom? You're a fool!"
I stared at the ultramarine carpet I'd tacked to the floor while working through Liability.
"This life isn't for me. I just want to go back to New York to the way things were before."
"Gao back?! You're fooling yourself! You'll never make it in the wog world!"
"I'm leaving," I repeated numbly.
He wrote something on a slip, and dropping it on the desk as if he were shaking a gob of mucous off his fleshy hand, said in a colorless tone, "Here, take this to Ethics and when you're through with that gao back to your class."
Ethics read the note and looked into my eyes. "Is this something you'd talk to me about? Why do you wish to leave?"
I told him of my morbid thoughts of the past few days and went back to how it had all started at the Hill. "I have to leave," I concluded. "I'm going to die if I stay here."
He looked at me searchingly, as though just awakened from a strange dream. Perhaps he had been told to use the gentle approach.
"Please. This is too good a thing to give up like that. We all have to go through our ups and downs. I've been through all the Conditions myself -- more than once. Don't leave, man. Don't fuck yourself out of this."
I was slowly being drawn into his hypnotic stare. I struggled to keep my resolve. " It's no use. I have to go. Maybe this is too good a thing for me now. I don't have any business being here. I want to go back to New York."
"Man," he muttered sadly, "don't blow it. Don't fuck yourself out of this."
His eyes never left mine for an instant. I could feel myself wavering again -- should I give them another chance? I dug my fingertips into my palms.
"You're speaking from the reactive mind. You've got to understand that." Having attained clear, I was no longer supposed to have a reactive mind. "I tell you what. Go across the hall and make me a clay demo of your whole situation. Make a good one with labels and everything -- you know how to do it. I'll come and see it in a little while."
Detaining me at Ethics and assigning me a clay demo was a stalling maneuver to keep me at the AO until other arrangements could be made: a revolver, a club or a hypodermic needle, then chaining me in one of the rooms below the first basement. I bristled as terror seized me again. I might have to jump out a window onto Southbridge Street. It was a good three stories down and I would break my legs, even if the fall didn't kill me. At this late hour there were few people on the street to save me before the Sea Org reached the bottom of the stairs ... and they had my airplane ticket. I'd have to chance the clay demo. I knew the kind of demo he wanted. It would show me fighting the evil that was plaguing me, thetan versus the bank. Then, by the use of the Solutions to Preclear Problems from Ron's Case Book of Remedies, he would audit me out-of-session to the inescapable conclusion that I could resolve my inner conflict only at the AO. He might then try to tempt me with the offer of more review. I must stay alert to these traps; I must not make the kind of demo he was anticipating.
Ethics would be upstairs now with Master at Arms plotting the best way to get me under control without making too much noise. With a quick glance out the window to gauge the drop, I turned to the desk and rolled out a pitifully awkward demo. It was a series of human figures, the first on its belly, the second crawling, the third kneeling, and the fourth upright with arms outstretched towards the sun. There were no labels; I didn't know what call it.
Minutes ticked by. Surely the Sea Org was coming for me. I peeked out into the corridor. There was a short lineup outside the Ethics Office, and Ethics was back at his desk. I motioned to him that my demo was ready for inspection.
"But I don't understand this. What is it supposed to be?"
"There's a man lying down, crawling, kneeling -- "
"I know. But how does this demonstrate your case?"
I fumbled for an acceptable explanation. "It represents the human spirit struggling up from the darkness into the light."
I was getting impatient with Ethics now. The procedure was leading nowhere. And Ethics was still looking at me. In the depths of his eyes were vistas of a world of outer space slowly receding into a boundless, timeless heliotrope. Again I felt myself being slowly overcome by that unearthly zombieish stare.
"I've made up my mind," I said. "I'm leaving."
"I simply don't understand it," he said. "I don't even know what Condition you're in. If you blow the AOUK I'll have to place you in Doubt. Then anytime you wish to return all you'll have to do is work your way out of that Condition and the others, up through Non-Existence ... but I just don't understand. Are you in Doubt?"
"No, I'm not in any doubt," I replied, playing on his words.
His voice was chilly. "I wonder if perhaps you're not in a lower Condition than Doubt." I shivered. Enemy. The Fair Game Law.
"Well, I'll put you in Doubt, then. When you wish to come back you'll be welcome here. You know you're a very beautiful being."
We looked into each other's eyes for a long moment. "Michael, I said, calling him by his name from his former life, "will you still like me when I'm a wog?"
My question put him at a complete loss. It wouldn't do to answer yes, but neither did he wish to say no. The situation was preposterous; I had managed, with no premeditation, to embarrass him. This business with me was weighing him down. I could sense his brain bogging. At last, having no other way out, he nodded.
I gripped his shoulders. "Can I really come back whenever I want to?"
"The AO door will always be open to you, remember that."
"Maybe if I go home, rest up for a while, give a piano recital, I'll come back and work up from Doubt."
"That's be great, man. Come back soon. We'll be waiting for you." He began writing up an Ethics order placing me in Doubt.
"Would you do me one more favor ... Michael? Would you give me a copy of the Conditions of Ethics Bulletin to take home with me?"
"Sure, man, I was going to do that anyway. Now tack up this order on the Conditions Board, get your stuff out of the AO, don't hang around the place and don't speak to any Scientologists."
Cramming was ready to close Housing for the night. "I'm leaving, old pal, and my return flight is here."
"You're leaving?" She rummaged in a drawer for my ticket. I opened the sealed envelope, peered inside to make sure there was no slip-up.
"So long ... Hester."
"See you around, Bob."
I passed the weary Instructor in the corridor; he was finally getting to bed. "I'm leaving ... Neil. You've been great," I said, extending my hand.
He took it in his and gave me his pained little smile. "I'll see you again," he said.
As for Elisabette, Edward, Rad and Bill, they wouldn't know I'd gone until they saw my name on the Conditions Board. They might never know what had really happened. I would probably never see any of them again. I went down the long winding staircase to the street.
I still had to get out of Edinburgh. I'd been lucky. Michael had doubtless put himself in trouble by letting me go. It was one a.m. I needed sleep and headed for Argyle Street.
Frank was in the living room studying. "I'm in Doubt and I have to leave you fellows. Is it okay if I grab a few hours sleep before I go?" I asked, ready to spend the night in the railway station if need be.
"Sure. Get some sleep and leave in the morning."
Rather than linger in bed when I awoke at five, I packed immediately. I would take the E-meter and most of my books; perhaps I could sell these articles in New York.
Nash rolled over and opened his eyes. "What are you doing?"
"I'm packing. I'm in Doubt and I can't stay here. Do you want these blank auditor's report forms?"
"Then how about some unused preclear assessment sheets?"
"You're in Doubt. I can't talk to you."
As I was leaving the flat, Nash yelled, "Hey, wait! You owe us advance payment on next week's rent." That was one of their rules. I was also breaking another rule by leaving without having found a replacement boarder. I heard Nash waking up Heinz and consulting with him in the other bedroom. Frank mumbled sleepily, "It's all right, Bob. Take care."
I went out into the Edinburgh early morning.
I still had a few pounds on deposit at a local bank. I took a cab to the railway station, checked my bags and had breakfast. The bank opened at nine, and as I had plenty of time, I took a long way there via the bridge. I paused halfway across to look down at the steaming locomotives and say to myself, "There! If I'd really wanted to jump I would have done it just now."
At ten o'clock I boarded the fast train to London.