What is the Mind?

By L. Ron Hubbard

What is the purpose of the mind in regards to the individual?

The purpose of the mind is to pose and resolve problems relating to survival and to direct the effort of the organism according to these solutions.

The human mind is an observer, postulate maker, creator and storage place of knowledge.

The mind is a self-protecting mechanism and will not permit itself to be seriously overloaded so long as it can retain partial awareness of itself.

The individual man is divisible into three parts: The first of these is the spirit, called in Scientology the Thetan. The second of these parts is the Mind. The third is the Body.

How does the mind function?

The mind is a communication and control system between the Thetan and his environment. The mind is a network of communications and pictures, energies and masses, which are brought into being by the activities of the thetan versus the physical universe or other thetans.

A thetan establishes various systems of control so that he can continue to operate a body and through the body operate things in the physical universe, as well as other bodies.

What are mental image pictures?

The most obvious portion of the mind is recognizable by anyone not in serious condition. This is the “mental image picture”.

We call this mental image picture a facsimile when it is a “photograph” of the physical universe sometime in the past.

We call this mental image picture a “mock-up” when it is created by the thetan or for the thetan and does not consist of a photograph of the physical universe.

We call a mental image picture a “hallucination”, or more properly an automaticity (something uncontrolled) when it is created by another and seen by self.

Various phenomena connect themselves with this entity called the mind.

Some people closing their eyes see only blackness, some people see pictures. Some people see pictures made by body reactions. Some people see only black screens. Others see golden lines. Others see spaces.

But the keynote of the entirety of the system called the mind is postulate and perception. Easily ten thousand new, separate mental phenomena, not hitherto seen by earlier observers, have been classified in Scientology and Dianetics.

How does the mind interact with the thetan?

The thetan receives, by the communication system called the mind, various impressions, including direct views of the physical universe. In addition to this he receives impressions from past activities and, most important, he himself, being close to a total knowingness, conceives things about the past and future which are independent of immediately present stimuli.

The mind is not in its entirety a stimulus-response mechanism as once taught in universities.

The Analytical mind

The analytical mind combines perceptions of the immediate environment, of the past (via pictures) and estimations of the future into conclusions which are based upon the realities of situations. The analytical mind combines the potential knowingness of the thetan with the conditions of his surroundings and brings him to independent conclusions. This mind could be said to consist of visual pictures either of the past or of the physical universe, monitored by, and presided over by, the knowingness of a thetan. The keynote of the analytical mind is awareness.

One can say that this mind consists of perceptual images of the past or the physical universe, which are controlled and supervised by the knowledge of the thetan. The characteristic feature of the analytical mind is consciousness. One knows what one is concluding and knows what one is doing.

The Reactive mind

The reactive mind is possessed by everyone. No human being examined anywhere was discovered to be without one or without aberrative content in his engram bank, the reservoir of data which serves the reactive mind.

The reactive mind is a stimulus-response mechanism, ruggedly built, and operable in trying circumstances. The reactive mind never stops operating. Pictures of the environment, of a very low order, are taken by this mind even in deep states of unconsciousness. The reactive mind acts below the level of consciousness. It is the literal stimulus-response mind.

Even in a state of deep unconsciousness, all processes are recorded by this reactive mind in the form of images – albeit of a very primitive nature. The reactive mind works below the level of consciousness. It works literal on a stimulus-reaction basis.

Given a certain stimulus it gives a certain response. Dianetics concerned itself mainly with this one mind.

While it is an order of thinkingness, the ability of the reactive mind to conclude rationally is so poor that we find in the reactive mind those various aberrated impulses which are gazed upon as oddities of personality, eccentricities, neuroses and psychoses.

It is this reactive mind which stores up all the bad things that have happened to one and throws them back to him again in moments of emergency or danger so as to dictate his actions along lines which have been considered “safe” before. As there is little thinkingness involved in this, the courses of action dictated by the reactive mind are often not safe, but highly dangerous.

The reactive mind is entirely literal in its interpretation of words and actions. As it takes pictures and receives impressions during moments of unconsciousness, a phrase uttered when a blow is struck is likely to be literally interpreted by the reactive mind and becomes active upon the body and analytical mind at later times. The mildest stage of this would be arduous training, wherein a pattern is laid into the mind for later use under certain given stimuli.

A harsh and less workable level is the hypnotic trance condition to which the mind is susceptible. Made impressionable by fixed attention, words can be immediately implanted into the reactive mind which become operable under restimulation at later times.

Blows, drugs, illnesses, pains and other unconscious situations

An even lower level in the reactive mind is that one associated with blows, drugs, illness, pain and other conditions of unconsciousness. Phrases spoken over an anaesthetized person can have a later effect upon that person. It is not necessarily true that each and every portion of an operation is painstakingly “photographed” by the reactive mind of the unconscious patient, but it is true that a great many of these stimuli are registered.

Complete silence, in the vicinity of a person under anaesthetic or a person who is unconscious or in deep pain, is mandatory if one would preserve the mental health of that person or patient afterwards.

Probably the most therapeutic action which could occur to an individual would be, under Scientology auditing, the separation of the thetan from the mind so that the thetan, under no duress and with total knowingness, could view himself and his mind and act accordingly.

However, there is a type of exteriorization which is the most aberrative of all traumatic (mentally injurious) actions. This is the condition when an individual is brought, through injury or surgery or shock, very close to death so that he exteriorizes from body and mind. This exteriorization under duress is sudden, and to the patient inexplicable, and is in itself very shocking. When this has occurred to an individual, it is certain that he will suffer mentally from the experience afterwards.

It could be said that when the reactive mind contains these sudden shocks of exteriorization under duress, attempts to exteriorize the individual later by Scientology are more difficult. However, modern auditing processing has overcome this. The phenomenon of exteriorization under duress is accompanied at times by energy explosions in the various facsimiles of the mind, and these cross-associate in the reactive mind. Therefore, people become afraid of exteriorization, and at times people are made ill simply by discussing the phenomenon, due to the fact that they have exteriorized under duress, during some operation, or during some accident.

How can a psychosomatic illness be created?

In that the thetan is seldom aware of the reactive mind, it is possible then for the reactive mind, with its stimulus-response content, to impinge itself directly, and without further recourse or advice, upon the neurons, muscles and glandular system of the body.

In that the reactive mind can hold a fixed command in place, causing a derangement in the mind, it is possible then for illness to exist, for bizarre pains to be felt, for actual physical twists and aberrations to occur, without any conscious knowledge on the part of the thetan.

This we call physical illness caused by the mind. In brief, such illness is caused by perceptions received in the reactive mind during moments of pain and unconsciousness.

The mental image pictures are capable of reacting upon the physical environment, and the physical environment is capable of reacting on mental image pictures.

Finally, what is the body?

The third part of man is the physical body. This can best be studied in anatomical texts. This is the province of the medical doctor. The body is a purely structural study, and the actions and reactions amongst its various structures are complex and intensely interesting.