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Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (often abbreviated as DMSMH) is a book by L. Ron Hubbard which sets out self-improvement techniques he had devised, called Dianetics, now part of the wider subject of Scientology.

In the book, first published in 1950, Hubbard claims to have isolated the "dynamic principle of existence", which he states as "Survive", and presents his description of the human mind. He identifies the source of "human aberration" as the "reactive mind", a normally hidden area of the mind, and memory traces or "engrams" stored in it. Dianetics describes counseling (or "auditing") techniques which Hubbard claimed would get rid of engrams and bring major therapeutic benefits. (See the main article on Dianetics for a fuller description of its conceptual basis).

The book proved a major commercial success on its publication but also aroused considerable controversy over Hubbard's claims.

Publication historyEdit

Dianetics was first published May 9 1950 by Hermitage House, a New York-based publisher of psychiatric textbooks whose head, Arthur Ceppos, was also on the Board of Directors of the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation.[1]Hubbard claimed to have taken only six weeks to write the book [2] (though according to another Scientology source he wrote all 180,000 words in only three weeks [3]).

The book caught the public imagination and became a nationwide bestseller, selling over 150,000 copies within a year. Due to the interest generated, a multitude of "Dianetics clubs" and similar organizations were formed for the purpose of applying Dianetics techniques. Hubbard himself established a nationwide network of Dianetic Research Foundations, offering Dianetics training and processing for a fee.

Although it received a positive public response, Dianetics was strongly criticized by scientists and medical professionals for its scientific deficiencies. In response, Hubbard's Dianetic Research Foundation issued a survey of "patients" to support his claims that Dianetics could achieve remarkable health benefits. See scientific evaluations of Dianetics for more on the scientific debate.

The original edition of the book included an introduction by J.A. Winter, M.D., an appendix on "The Philosophic Method" by Will Durant (reprinted from The Story of Philosophy, 1926), and two other appendices by John W. Campbell and Donald H. Rogers. These contributions are omitted from editions of Dianetics published since about the start of the 1980s. It is unclear how many editions there have been, but at least 60 printings are said to have been issued by 1988, almost all having been printed by the Church of Scientology and its related organisations.[4]

Current editions are published by Bridge Publications, 4751 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Over twenty million copies have been sold, according to the cover of the latest paperback books. The following statement is included on the copyright page of all editions: "This book is part of the works of L. Ron Hubbard, who developed Dianetics spiritual healing technology and Scientology applied religious philosophy. It is presented to the reader as a record of observations and research into the nature of mind and spirit, and not a statement of claims made by the author...."

Dianetics todayEdit

Scientologists regard the publication Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health as a key historical event for their movement and the world, and refer to the book as "Book One". Hubbard himself regarded its publication as such an important event that he created his own calendar based on the publication date of Dianetics, dating his Scientology writings from that time. For instance, Hubbard uses "A.D. 13" to mean 1963 – literally "year 13 After Dianetics".

Dianetics is still heavily promoted today by the Church of Scientology and has been advertised widely on television and in print. Indeed, it has been alleged that the Church has asked its members to purchase large quantities of the book with their own money, or with money supplied by the Church, for the sole purpose of keeping the book on the New York Times Best Seller list. [5] Hubbard described the book as a key asset in recruiting people to Scientology:

People who had read Book One and wanted Dianetics, when delivered enough Book One auditing, training or co-auditing, then started to reach for Scn [Scientology] services. Given sufficient quantity and quality of Book One, these people naturally started to WANT and reach for Scn services! [6]

The Dianetics volcanoEdit


Current paperback cover of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.

Newspaper reports and critics of Scientology have claimed that the volcano on post-1967 editions of Dianetics refers to the story of Xenu, who is said by Hubbard to have placed billions of his people around Earth's volcanoes and killed them there by blowing them up with hydrogen bombs. [7], [8] A representative of the Church of Scientology has confirmed in court that the Dianetics volcano is indeed linked with the "catastrophe" wrought by Xenu. [9]

According to former Scientologist Bent Corydon, the purpose of including the volcano on the cover of the book was to "restimulate" memories of Xenu's genocide and make Dianetics irresistible to purchasers. A variety of other symbols associated with Xenu were added to other Scientology book covers. Corydon writes:

A special "Book Mission" was sent out to promote these books, now empowered and made irresistible by the addition of these supposedly overwhelming symbols or images. Organization staff were assured that if they simply held up one of the books, revealing its cover, that any bookstore owner would immediately order crateloads of them. A customs officer, seeing any of the book covers in one's luggage, would immediately pass one on through. [10]

The volcano has also featured on billboards advertising Dianetics; in Australia, the Church of Scientology had built a giant billboard in Sydney depicting an erupting volcano with "non-toxic smoke", measuring 33m (100 ft) wide and 10 m (30 ft) high. [11]


  1. Atack, Jon (1990). A Piece of Blue Sky, New York, NY: Carol Publishing Group. ISBN 081840499X.
  2. "L.R.H. Biography", Sea Org Flag Information Letter 67, October 31, 1977
  3. Hubbard, Child Dianetics, p. 178. Publications Organization Worldwide, Edinburgh (1968 edition)
  4. Frontispiece of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, 1988 edition (New Era Publications, Copenhagen)
  5. "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power", Time, May 6, 1991
  6. Hubbard, "The Ridge on the Bridge", LRH ED 344R INT of March 10, 1982, revised October 21, 1982
  7. "Travolta's Religious Battlefield Critics say movie bolsters Scientology", San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 2000
  8. "Weird Scientology", New Haven Advocate, September 22, 2005
  9. Cross-examination of Warren McShane, Religious Technology Center vs Factnet et al, September 12, 1995
  10. Corydon, Bent. L. Ron Hubbard: Madman or Messiah?, p. 361. Lyle Stuart, Inc. (1987)
  11. "Scientologists' message goes up in hi-tech smoke", Sydney Morning Herald, May 4, 1996


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