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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Scientology: Study Technology

With recent news stories about Will Smith opening up his own school, there has been a bit of mention of Hubbard's "Study Technology".

This often gets into an analysis and critique of the several remedies in this package of tools, "Is this valid? Does that work?" That is, in my opinion, missing the point.

There is a significant problem with Hubbard's Study Technology. Carefully analyzing parts of the package is like carefully studying a few trees in a forest. You may understand one tree better, but you won't understand the forest.

Let me tell you what the problem is. It's a big one.

First, a better name for Hubbard's Study Technology is "Indoctrination Technology". That may sound like I'm making some snarky comment and taking a dig at Scientology, but I'm perfectly serious. Hubbard's study technology is very specifically designed by Hubbard as a tool for indoctrinating his students into his Scientology writings.

Hubbard assumed, and his "Study Tech" assumes, that the material being studied is 100% perfect and 100% complete. After all, they were studying Scientology.

This is very, very significant as a basis for approaching study. When these are your assumptions, that the material is perfect and complete, then any difficulty the student has must be the fault of the student. And this is, indeed the basis for all the "remedies" of the Study Tech. Every study remedy assumes that it is the student who is wrong.

Hubbard's Study Tech does not allow for the material being studied to be incomplete, wrong, poorly written, confusing, or at fault in any way. (Yes, that is ironic.)

Hubbard's Study Tech does not allow for any fault in the environment or the teacher. The fault is always with the student.

The job of the student, as inculcated by Hubbard's Study Tech, is to duplicate and agree with the materials being studied. Period. Indeed, "disagrees with the material" in Hubbard's Study Tech is an indication of a student study error.

Figure out a better way? Nope. Research and find all the problems with the official material? Nope. Think for yourself? Not a chance. Just read, duplicate and agree.

If the student believes they've found an error in the material, the student must have a misunderstood word. If the student wants to do something differently than the way specified in the material, the student needs to apply Study Tech, find where the student was at fault, and then do it the authorized way.

This is what Hubbard required of his students, and that's what his Study Tech is all about.

Hubbard's Study Tech is a small number of tools which are ideal for indoctrination, but they are woefully inadequate for a robust education.

Students indoctrinated on a subject using Hubbard's Study Tech would definitely not be inclined to "think outside the box". Nor would they be likely to question authority.

Now, maybe that's really great for hard-core religions and government schools, but is it the way you'd want your children taught?


  1. Mindless rich movie stars are a Scientologists wet dream. Mindless rich movie star Scientologists who think they know whats best for our children. That's our worst nightmare.

    Having taken a few Scientology courses, I can honestly say that I could learn the information on my own, for a hell of a lot cheaper. Every class is about preparing you for the next "level" which is always better, and necessary for that matter. Or so they say.

    I consider myself to be very lucky to have a father, who despite being a ex-Scientologist, taught me to question all organized religion every step of the way. I was encouraged to take courses, but never forced. I was taught to think for myself which inherently made me unsuitable for indoctrination into the Church of Scientology. Thanks dad.



  2. Good for your dad! I think "question everything" is, perhaps, the most fundamental lesson people can learn. From that, real learning can take place.

  3. Take a look at This explains some of the study technology. Also, in Scientology: A New Slant On Life, there is a significant discussion on how to study Scientology. While this goes on for several pages I'll quote a couple of significant paragraphs:
    [The student]should make up his own mind about each thing that is taught - the procedure, techniques, mechanics and theory. He should ask himself these questions: Does this piece of data exist? Is it true? Does it work? Will it produce the best possible results in the shortest time?"

    "Look at Scientology, study, it, question it and use it and you will have discovered something for yourself. And in so doing, you might well discover a lot more. The techniques and the theories are highly workable, but they are not highly workable just because we say so!"

    The purpose of Hubbard's study technology is to enable a student to understand a subject, not to force him/her to agree with it.

    Elsewhere (in a policy dated Feb 9, 1979) Hubbard explains what to do with material that doesn't make sense after attampting to clarify it. He instructs that one should clear any misunderstood words (this ensures the best chance of understanding what was written), try to get clarificaition from the author, and make sure the material hasn't been altered from the original. If it still makes no sense it is false.

  4. Merrill,

    Thanks for your input.

    The link you provide does not support your position, it supports mine more than anything. It does, in an idealistic way, explain Hubbard's "study tech" but it explains that the problem with study is student error, just as I said.

    In addition, the technology, even on your web site, is all about student duplicating, exactly the material studied. There is nothing about independent thought, creative learning, or what to do if the material is flawed or just plain wrong.

    You quote from several separate sources, which are not included in the "study tech" to desperately find something from Hubbard that allows for possible disagreement. Sorry, those bits of data are not part study tech. We're discussing Hubbard's study tech. Your inclusion of these quotes is misdirection and false.

    You say "The purpose of Hubbard's study technology is to enable a student to understand a subject, not to force him/her to agree with it."

    But that is only your opinion, not borne out by the facts on your own site. Hubbard's "study tech" is, and always has been, an "indoctrination tech".

    I have no objections to people looking at Hubbard's study tech, look at how it addresses creativity, flawed material, independent thought, questioning authority, thinking outside the box. Look at how it (doesn't) address these vital aspects of study and education.

    Compare it with other educational technologies. See how the students do after being educated with these different technologies. Look at results, not PR-with-an-agenda.

  5. Merrill,

    As an aside, since you brought up studying Scientology and included magnanimous quotes from Hubbard about studying Scientology, may I ask:

    If the primary policy in studying/applying Scientology is "Keeping Scientology Working" and if that policy very, very emphatically says that Hubbard is always right and those who disagree are always wrong and must be stopped, how can you pretend that anyone in Scientology would tolerate, for one second, any disagreement or a student finding Hubbard's material "wrong"?

    You quote Hubbard as if he tolerated Scientologists finding that his tech was wrong. You know that is totally false. You know that Scientology would never tolerate that! Never!

    Come on!


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