Martin Luther

Commenting on Scientology, Inside and Outside the Church

Archive for the month “November, 2014”

Teaching Advice

I just ran across an article in the Tech Volumes from 1951. It appears right after Dianetic Auditors Bulletin Volume 2 No. 1 July 1951 Education and the Auditor and right before Dianetic Auditors Bulletin Volume 2 No. 2 August 1951 An Essay on Management. It’s on page 131 of volume 1 my 1976 red volumes. This issue is so good, that I’ve taken the time to transcribe it here, in full. My commentary follows.

Teaching

If one wishes a subject to be taught with maximal effectiveness, he should

1, Present it in its most interesting form.

(a) Demonstrate its general use in life.
(b) Demonstrate it specific use to the student in life.

2. Present it in its simplest form (but not necessarily its most elementary).

(a) Gauge its terms to the understanding of the student.
(b) Use terms of greater complexity only as understanding progresses.

3. Teach it with minimal altitude (prestige).

(a) Do not assume importance merely because of a knowledge of the subject.
(b) Do not diminish the stature of the student or his own prestige because he does not know the subject.
(c) Stress that importance resides only in individual skill in using the subject and, as to the instructor, assume prestige only by the ability to use it and by no artificial caste system.

4. Present each step of the subject in its most fundamental form with minimal material derived therefrom by the instructor.

(a) Insist only upon definite knowledge of axioms and theories.
(b) Coax into action the student’s mind to derive and establish all data which can be derived or established from the axioms or theories.
(c) Apply the derivations as action insofar as the class facilities permit, coordinating data with reality.

5. Stress the values of data.

(a) Inculcate the individual necessity to evaluate axioms and theories in relative importance to each other and to question the validity of every axiom or theory.
(b) Stress the necessity of individual evaluation of every datum in its relationship to other data.

6. Form patterns of computation in the individual with regard only to their usefulness.

7. Teach where data can be found or how it can be derived, not the recording of data.

8. Be prepared, as an instructor, to learn from the students.

9. Treat subjects as variables of expanding use which may be altered at individual will. Teach the stability of knowledge as resident only in the student’s ability to apply knowledge or alter what he knows for new application.

10. Stress the right of the individual to select only what he desires to know, to use any knowledge as he wishes, that he himself owns what he has learned.


This is advice from the Master himself, someone who has taught all kinds of subjects in all kinds of environments across this planet. Listen to his lectures, and you will hear these principles in action. I can echo the above, as I’ve been called upon to teach a variety of subjects over the years, and the above advice is as solid as it gets. I’ve also, like everyone else, been a student of many subjects down through the decades. My favorite subject in school, mathematics, when taught under these dictums, was a joy to learn. Conversely, my least favorite subject in school, history, was never taught with the above in mind, and was agony to sit through.

Several points stick out and appear repeatedly throughout the above.

  1. Don’t assume altitude simply because you know more about the subject than the student does. This is a chronic failing of university professors. It is also, apparently, the source of professors’ need for teaching assistants. They simply can’t be bothered with the confusions of actual students.
  2. Teach from basic principles in such a way that the student can derive subsidiary data. The result of failure to do this is a student who can perhaps follow memorized instructions, but can’t think with the data. He also cannot adapt what he knows to suit new or changing conditions. He’s a robot or automaton on the subject, and never the master of it.
  3. Stress that the student owns what he knows. In our case, the data, once conveyed, doesn’t belong to LRH. It belongs to the student. It is his to use freely in life. LRH may be the Source of the data, but it belongs to the student.

If you ever wonder about my approach to this blog, or other places where you see my contributions, know that the above is what I try to do. I am in the process of teaching, particularly here. And the above is how I go about it.

When Technology != Technology

(For those not familiar with the terminology, the expression “!=” means “is not equal to”. It’s programmer code.)

Technology has proceeded at a phenomenal rate in the last 100 years. In my lifetime alone, I can recall when microwave ovens and cell phones didn’t exist. When television was not in color. When there weren’t such things as iPads, iPods and personal computers. When integrated circuits hadn’t been invented. When asbestos was used virtually everywhere to insulate things. When Man had not yet landed on the moon. I could go on.

The pace of innovation in the last century has been staggering. Our lives have been endlessly improved (and sometimes become far more complicated) by technology. And there always seems to be a drive to “improve” and “refine” the technology of any given thing.

By way of example, consider the vacuum tube. At one time in the not-too-distant past, before transistors were invented (1947), vacuum tubes were in virtually every piece of reasonably complex electronics. They were the workhorses of most electronic circuits. But like the light bulbs to which they were kin, they were prone to burning out and needed to be periodically replaced. Thus there was a whole sector of industry devoted to manufacturing tubes, the sockets they fit in, etc. Then transistors were invented. Eventually, they replaced almost all applications where tubes had been in use before. They were more reliable, ran cooler, and didn’t require periodic replacement. But it still took a while before manufacturers changed their assembly lines to replace tubes with transistors.

Then came the integrated circuit (1958). Suddenly you could replace many transistors, resistors and other components with a single semiconductor package which would do the same job. And as time went on, it was found that you could make the individual components on an integrated circuit smaller and smaller, allowing for greater functionality in smaller and smaller packages. This made possible things like electronic calculators (1967), and personal computers (about 1977).

Some may recall the first cell phones, which were of enormous size by today’s standards. These were made possible by a variety of innovations, one of what was the integrated circuit. But how did manufacturers manage to squeeze all that functionality (the first cell phones made phone calls and that’s all) and more into the cell phones of today (true multi-purpose devices in a package that fits easily in your pocket)? The answer is “surface mount” technology. Prior to this invention, components like transistors and integrated circuits were built with wires sticking out of them. The circuit boards they fit on had holes in them. The wires on the components fit through the holes and were soldered to the boards underneath, then the excess wire was cut. That was referred to has “through hole” construction. Surface mount technology (1960), by contrast, required only “pads” on circuit boards, where very small components could be soldered on in seconds, with no excess wire to cut and no holes needed in circuit boards. This technology gained wide use in the 1980s and eventually was adopted universally for almost every application using electronics. Electronic components could be further downsized. Cell phones and other electronic gear could now be sized to fit on your wrist or in your pocket.

Think about that. In the span of about 40 years, electronics changed radically, in massive jumps about every ten years or so. Now you can make phone calls, surf the Internet, play games, and a do a wide variety of other things on one device that fits in your pocket. And contains more computing power than was used to get a man to the moon. The motto here seems to be, “How can we make this faster, smaller, cooler and better?”

As with electronics, so have gone many other areas of technology. The automotive manufacturing industry, for example, has seen the influx of a tremendous about of automation in the last 60 or 70 years. But interestingly enough, some aspects of automobiles have not changed. For example, steering wheels haven’t changed much in over a 100 years. If you think about it, we could use controls like joysticks to steer our cars. But we don’t. The steering wheel is quite “intuitive”, and the general population is quite used to using them to steer things. It would take a bit of engineering to retrofit automobiles to use joysticks, and it’s not certain that the general public would buy joystick automobiles if you offered them. By contrast, consider motorcycles and similar conveyances, which instead carry forward the roots of their predecessors, bicycles. Instead of steering wheels, they have handlebars. But these are cases where technology stopped because it wasn’t clear that changing them would provide any benefits, and could profoundly impact sales in a negative way.

In any case, as I mentioned before, the tendency in technology is to always move forward. To “improve”, whatever that means in a given industry. And as a people, we’ve gotten used to this and consider it a normal thing. A few years from now, there will be children born who have never seen anything but a flat panel display. They will wonder what those boxy things (CRT or cathode ray tubes) were for. That’s technology as we normally define it.

In Scientology, we have another thing we call “technology”. It describes and defines the form of and interaction of people in an organization. It lays out practices and routines which, when followed, lead to improved intelligence and markedly clearer states of awareness. This technology (more precisely, these technologies) was developed and/or codified by L. Ron Hubbard and constitutes the main body of his life’s work. While he was alive, he continually improved it and made it so that it could be applied, to great benefit, to anyone by anyone. Note that it was not developed by a committee or an organization or a group. Ron had a lot of help, but the main development and codification was his.

As Ron researched these technologies, he worked toward one thing: “workability”. Notice, not “perfection”. But “workability”. This is an extremely key factor to keep in mind. Whatever it was, it had to work invariably to improve specified conditions of the thing or person it applied to, usually to some specified end result. It didn’t have to be the “best” or “perfect”. One could chase his tail forever trying to attain perfection, only to have someone else come along and do it better. No, “workable” was sufficient. If Scientology was the ability to improve conditions, workable technology was how you got there.

Unfortunately, there are those in the Field who make too close an association between technology (e.g. smart phones, the Internet, etc.) and Technology (e.g. ethics, tech and admin). They believe that, because technology continues to march on and continually “improve”, Technology must do the same. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The Technology we have is more than adequate in the hands of an expert to handle what it’s designed to handle, without any “improvements”, thank you.

Our Technology was developed almost exclusively by LRH.

Our technology has not been discovered by a group. … [I]f in its formative stages it was not discovered by a group, then group efforts, one can safely assume, will not add to it or successfully alter it in the future.

HCOPL 7 February 1965 Keeping Scientology Working

In fifty thousand years of history on this planet alone, Man never evolved a workable system [of Technology]. It is doubtful if, in some foreseeable history, he will ever evolve another.

HCOPL 14 February 1965 Safeguarding Technology

In the above two issues, Ron made it abundantly clear what he thought of “helpful suggestions” and “improvements” to our Technology.

Getting the correct technology applied consists of:

Seven: Hammering out of existence incorrect technology.
Eight: Knocking out incorrect applications.
Nine: Closing the door on any possibility of incorrect technology.
Ten: Closing the door on incorrect application.

Seven is done by a few but is a weak point.
Eight is not worked on hard enough.
Nine is impeded by the “reasonable” attitude of the not quite bright.
Ten is seldom done with enough ferocity.
Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten are the only places Scientology can bog down in any area.

The reasons for this are not hard to find. (a) A weak certainty that it works in Three above can lead to weakness in Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten. (b) Further, the not-too-bright have a bad point on the button Self-Importance. (c) The lower the IQ, the more the individual is shut off from the fruits of observation. (d) The service facs of people make them defend themselves against anything they confront good or bad and seek to make it wrong. (e) The bank seeks to knock out the good and perpetuate the bad.

HCOPL Keeping Scientology Working

So when you see somebody having a ball getting everyone to take peyote because it restimulates prenatals, know he is pulling people off the route. Realize he is squirreling. He isn’t following the route.

HCOPL Safeguarding Technology

And that is where we sit today, except for this: Ron is no longer around to be the last bastion of sanity in protecting our Technology from alteration and “better ideas”. And so it falls to us.

Our Technology is workable. It doesn’t need “improvements” or “better ideas”. It needs us to hold the line on Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten above. And when we see someone trying to pull people off the route, we need to take appropriate action to ensure they don’t infect our group with their bank-originated alterations.

It’s up to us. Please, for all our sakes, do your part.

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