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The numerous problems in Scientology connected to the subject of “overt act” are covered on page: Overt-Motivator Sequence and Withholds. In this section we are going to talk about solutions.
The PURPOSE of addressing actions (or any form of expression) in auditing should be to restore and empower preclear’s self-determinism (causative ability) with respect to any form of action or expression and its evaluation – freedom to form perception and to evaluate (reason) as well as to have the power to create different forms expression.
The actual, valid and problematic phenomenon that people observe and so may feel it validates Hubbard’s claims does not have to do with justification per say, but with a FIXED THOUGHT CONSTRUCT that justifies something regardless of the circumstances involved. There are plenty of such constructs in Scientology itself. For example, regardless of the way someone criticizes Scientology and what arguments they may offer, the FIXED THOUGHT CONSTRUCT among Scientologists is to label/perceive such a person in a negative way and attack or “disconnect.” This is but one example.
When someone is STUCK in a FIXED THOUGHT CONSTRUCT, they are in fact UNABLE TO REASON and so actually unable to form a more realistic perception and freely reason about a given situation and persons involved, instead, continuously responding with the same, programmed perception and the same, programmed course of actions.
The problem is NOT with REASONING; the problem is in being so STUCK that one is UNABLE TO REASON in a self-determined fashion. So it is an AUTOMATICITY of sorts (a concept Hubbard himself talked about), and perhaps the best way to produce these “automaticities” is to inhibit individual’s ability to reason in a self-determined fashion – ability to form one’s own perception and a line of reasoning, INCLUDING, about reasoning and perception themselves (of self and others) – a form of SELF-REFLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE that is the central theme behind meditation and many other forms of spiritual enhancement – ability to self-reflect on one’s own THOUGHT PATTERS AND CONSTRUCTS in order to liberate oneself as a form of consciousness.
Justification can also form and become fixed in response to being made wrong for something. Someone was or is making an individual wrong – (s)he develops reasoning in response as a form of protest or disagreement. In that way, it can become fixed or stuck as being a part of the “argument” with another source (person, group, some form of teaching). This can be unfixed by asking a person:
– Is there anyone who was trying to make (or making) you wrong for something? or
– Is there anyone who made you wrong for this? (if it is evident that one is stuck on insisting some reasoning as a form of protest).
Justification can also be a form of SELF-DEFENSE TO AVOID PUNISHMENT, and so can also get stuck on this note since maintaining this (fixed) justification becomes a factor of survival. In this way it can even form in response to ANTICIPATED JUDGMENT by others.
A given form of reasoning should not be invalidated – it should be unfixed if it has become fixed (by addressing underlying reasons why it has become fixed) so an individual can regain self-determinism over formulating one’s reasoning and perception.
There is also a REALITY-BREAK angle to this. An individual holds certain concept(s) of oneself, then finds oneself being involved in something that is in conflict with the idea of self and so is unable to reconcile that reality or exercise full control over the conflicting reality (such as some activity or situation that one may be or have been involved in). In this case, concepts of self need to be addressed along with the reasons why someone may be holding on to some concept of oneself and so may become unable to entertain and assume responsibility (a state of power, control, ownership) over conflicting realities.
There are multiple angles to this problem that have never been explored or discussed in Scientology.
Since Justification is a product of reasoning and perception, it also directly cuts into the subject of how perception and reasoning are formed to begin with which cuts into the page on SANITY AND INSANITY.
With respect to reasoning, there may be cases where auditing is simply not enough, for a person may actually need some kind of education to enhance one’s ability to reason and to form perception more effectively. The issue can also cut into the “reactive mind” phenomena when someone’s reasoning and/or perceptions may be inhibited and/or fixed due to accumulated trauma or some form of suppression.
Hubbard narrowed everything down to “commission of overts” as some ultimate cause in the decline of perception-ability (awareness) and what could be considered as “bad reasoning,” but there are actually so many factors to consider when trying to understand how both PERCEPTION and REASONING are formed throughout one’s experiences and education.
A Major Technical Difference between an ENGRAM and an OVERT ACT
There is a major technical difference between engrams (recorded traumatic experiences) and “overt” acts. A traumatic incident is a moment of LOSS OF CONTROL especially of one’s mental functions where the neural network of the mind is overwhelmed with shock and is unable to make sense of the experience and organize all the factors involved into a meaningful and accessible “perception construct.” Going over a traumatic experience is an act of “pushing through” and regaining control over an overwhelming experience. Trying to recall specific details is regaining control of PERCEPTION of the details surrounding an incident of overwhelm. Once a traumatic experience can be fully reconstructed, it “discharges” – the mind has now regained full control of all the “forces” involved in the incident. The effect of “discharging,” at least in part, comes about from liberated flow of energy through now reconstructed neural circuitry which before was blocked and inhibited (hence rising resistance to the flow of electrical current as measured by an e-meter when attention is placed on the incident before it is “discharged”). The previously unavailable neural circuitry also gets connected to the overall neural circuitry of the mind resulting in heightened intelligence and new insights as new data and new forms of computation become available.
The nature of an “overt act” situation is inherently different. Commission of an act considered to be an overt is an issue of a COURSE OF ACTION that someone performed in a given situation and EVALUATIONS that surround it. It does not, ordinarily, have to do with being overwhelmed with forces that knock one’s “neural circuitry” into oblivion which then needs to be remastered with an auditing procedure. Unlike with an engramic memory recording, recalling exact details surrounding an overt act can be irrelevant and even counter-productive. What is actually being audited is preclear’s PERCEPTION of the TARGET of one’s action as well as preclear’s PERCEPTION or EVALUATION of the ACTION taken. There is also a factor of INTENTION and the REASONING behind the SELECTED COURSE OF ACTION. These are the important factors:
– PERCEPTION OF THE TARGET of one’s action
– The INTENTION behind the action(s) taken [what the pre-clear intended to accomplish by engaging in a given course of action]
– The REASONING or logic that the preclear relied upon in choosing a given course of action.
– Preclear’s EVALUATIONS OF THE ACTION before and after the fact and the source(s) of these evaluations [it could be Scientology, Biblical rules (sins), societal norms or laws, parents or one’s own conclusions based on some reasoning].
Perception or evaluation of some action as being wrong can often be linked to actual engramic content such as:
1) a LOSS and/or
2) incidents or threat of PUNISHMENT
A committed act in itself may be found to be a dramatization of engramic content.
If a chosen course of action resulted in a loss, it will then be usually subject to REGRET.
A performed action for which one was punished before or knows (s)he can be punished will usually serve as a KEY-IN and a RESTIMULATOR of traumatic incidents of punishments associated with the action in one way or another.
All of these factors must be taken into account in choosing an appropriate form of processing. In fact, it would be best to drop the term “overt” all together and come up with a number of descriptive designations to describe different forms of action and methods of addressing them:
REGRETTED ACT: something a preclear has done or withheld oneself from doing that (s)he regrets. This is having caused something (s)he wishes s(he) didn’t cause or did not cause something (s)he wishes s(he) did cause.
– having withheld oneself from doing something a preclear believes (s)he should have done could also be understood as FAILED CAUSE.
PUNISHABLE ACT: an act that a preclear associates with some form of (potential) punishment either based on past experience or anticipated outcome or both.
WRONG ACT: an act that a preclear believes to be wrong for one reason or another.
PROHIBITED is another key term that could be used to identify problematic actions or forms of expression.
Note, these are temporary designations for the purpose of auditing and refer to PRECLEAR’S PERCEPTION or EVALUATION of some actions, not to some supposedly objective criteria. And these designations are not mutually exclusive: an act could be regretted, punishable and wrong all at the same time in the mind of a preclear, or it may feel punishable and be regretted but not considered wrong by the preclear; it may be considered wrong and punishable, but not regretted – any combination is possible.
PUNISHABLE ACT as a KEY-IN and a RESTIMULATOR
A PUNISHABLE ACT is an ACT that one believes (feels, senses) (s)he will be punished for, and it acts as a KEY-IN and a RESTIMULATOR of engramic incidents of PUNISHMENT.
Any act can become a punishable act in the mind of a preclear. If one has been punished or somehow attacked (including verbally with degrading labels) for, say, expressing disagreement, then expressing disagreement can become a punishable act. If one has been punished for expressing criticism or negative thoughts then even entertaining a critical or negative thought can become a punishable act.
And it doesn’t have to be “engramic” necessarily – a person having committed a crime, for example, will analytically understand that if it is discovered, he can be judged and punished with deprivation of liberty or worse.
From this mechanism we can get the sudden and unexplained departure phenomenon (known as a “blow-off” in Scientology) – someone getting an urge to leave in order to AVOID A CONTRA-SURVIVAL SITUATION (i.e. some form of punishment). GETTING SICK, getting “psychosomatics,” is another phenomenon (due to restimulation of engramic content) or urging to FIGHT a source of perceived danger. “Scathing criticism” could be a form of aggression, but it is not “criticism” itself which is the underlying factor – it is a person’s aggressive response to a perceived SENSE OF DANGER.
In 2010 “How to Use Dianetics” there is a scene demonstrating the mechanism of an engram which validates the logic above:
“The pain is her reactive mind’s stupid attempt to warn her that she is in a dangerous place, that she should leave.”
So the logic above is in line with the basic tenets of Dianetics, and explains WHY going over one’s “overts” (as related to punishable act specifically) CAN actually be beneficial as it can KEY-OUT ENGRAMS that came into restimulation, BUT it must be done in a non-judgmental atmosphere; otherwise, simply disclosing one’s punishable acts without addressing the underlying engrams in an atmosphere filled with judgmental can RESTIMULATE the person even more.
From this we can also get a “missed withhold phenomena” – someone “nearly found out” – it means they RESTIMULATED some engramic area, but did not address it and so we can get a (reactive) FLIGHT OR FIGHT response.
Commission of a punishable act by itself may not at all be an issue; the ENGRAMS – past traumatic experiences related to PUNISHMENT that are in turn connected to JUDGMENT – are. That’s why JUDGMENT in itself is RESTIMULATIVE, and that’s why an atmosphere filled with JUDGMENT and THREAT OF PUNISHMENT creates a sense of a DANGEROUS ENVIRONMENT and is counter-productive to DIANETIC PRACTICE.
JUDGMENT and PUNISHMENT are two key areas that can have any form of expression tied to them depending on someone’s upbringing, cultural settings, personal convictions, etc. The following are sample questions that can be used to effectively address these areas and liberate a causative position with respect to forms of expression that have become associated with judgment and punishment:
What could you be judged for?
What could you be punished for?
Who could judge you? Who could punish you?
Who judged you? Who punished you? Could you recall a time when you were judged / punished?
Who / what have you judged / punished?
Who / what would you like to punish?
Who / what could you punish?
Is there anyone that you wanted to punish?
Could you recall a time when someone else judged / punished another?
The theme of Judgment and Punishment is directly connected to the subject of SUPPRESSION, both – as possible means of suppression (using judgement and punishment to suppress some form of expression) and as a possible target of suppression (such as suppressing someone’s judgement of someone or something).
Within this context Punishment and Judgment can be defined as:
Punishment: a destructive or suppressive act in response to some (unwanted or disapproved) form of expression (or a perceived offense).
Judgment: harsh disapproval of something usually accompanied by a desire to stop or end it.
A preclear will not be able to evaluate an act that is tangled up with a lot of engramic content; hence, the engramic content must be discharged to bring a preclear up to a point where (s)he can view and evaluate a given action in a self-determined fashion.
Heavy loss is a form an engramic content, so it must be resolved before any action(s) associated with it may be addressed. An act that resulted in a loss will commonly be accompanied with regret and usually some form of self-blame.
Regretted acts can be located with simple questions:
1) Have you done anything that you regret?
2) Have you withheld (or prevented or stopped) yourself from doing something that you feel you should have done?
It can be directed toward specific areas across the dynamics by adding: …toward self, intimate partner, children, family, groups, mankind (or some other civilization one may have been a part of on the track), life forms, physical universe, and consciousness itself.
The overall question could be simplified with:
Is there anything that you regret?
If the preclear says “Yes” but seems unwilling to share the event, suspect a punishable act and ask:
Do you feel you can punished for what you have done?
If the answer is “Yes” then associated incidents (or anticipation) of punishment and judgment must be discharged before proceeding any further.
A more detailed description of how to handle a “withhold” phenomena can be found on this page: Handling Efforts to Withhold.
Have you done anything you believe was wrong?
– could be a question to bring to view actions that a preclear considers to be wrong.
Why do you believe this was wrong?
– could prompt a preclear to reflect on one’s own evaluations and the source of those evaluations.
What is (or would be or could be) considered wrong?
– could even be a better question to pick up all the different evaluations that someone had encountered and potentially internalized in association with other people or some teachings. The question could be extended to focus on specific areas: What is/was considered wrong by your parents, your significant other, your group(s), within your culture… etc.
The word “wrong” can also be substituted with other appropriate words such as an “overt” (for those indoctrinated into Scientology) or a “sin” (for those indoctrinated into concepts out of the Bible).
What is/was prohibited?
What action/thought/emotion/intention is (or was or has been) prohibited?
Words “blocked” or “suppressed” can also be used.
– example: “What action was blocked?”
Restoration of Responsibility over Forms of Expression
Someone’s inhibition toward some form of action or expression is addressed in order to restore one’s ability to create (freely consider) and confront the action in question. The inhibition could prevent one from occupying a state of power over a given form of expression and so be able to easily confront and duplicate it in others and oneself.
ACTION AS A FORM OF DRAMATIZATION
Any given action that a preclear has engaged upon or continues to do can be a form of dramatization linked to engramic content. Engramic content that results in some form of compulsion or inhibition has to be identified and discharged to restore preclear’s self-determinism.
The principle of dramatization of counter-efforts and their address in auditing, as described by Ron Hubbard himself, was already discussed on page Overt-Motivator Sequence and Withholds under EARLIER VIEW and is repeated down below.
Note, the below information is presented as a form of reference to the information that already exists in Scientology in this area, not as a form of advice of how this area should be addressed in auditing. It may not actually be a good idea to ask (especially authoritatively) the preclear to dramatize the action. The focus of auditing should be preclear’s PERCEPTION and EVALUATIONS of the target area as well as identification and discharge of earlier engramic content that may be related to it and that may be causing compulsions or inhibitions.
EARLIER VIEW: DRAMATIZATION OF COUNTER-EFFORT
The words “overt” and “motivator” actually originated in the 1950’s Scientology but had a rather different theory and practice attached to them having to do with a receipt of a COUNTER-EFFORT and the improper use of that counter-effort which was NOT in fact justified and was subject to REGRET. Notice how here Hubbard says that BOTH – the overt act (an instance of inappropriate use) AND the motivator (the receipt of the used counter-effort) need to be accounted for and addressed in auditing on an alternate basis. It is also not ANY use, not any harmful or destructive action but the one that was “misemployed.”
That’s why true confessional should be based on REGRET not on whether someone has done something that could be considered harmful or destructive as Regret was also an instance when one decided he no longer wanted to be responsible for the misemployed counter-effort which could then effect him as a (keyed-in) counter-effort.
[25 JUNE 1952] Technique 88: Overt Acts, Motivators and DEDs (selection) [Download]
[8 MARCH 1952] Milestone One: Effort and Counter-Effort: Overt Acts (selection) [Download]
So this view is very much in line with the original principles in Dianetics – one receives counter-effort, counter-thought, and counter-emotion and then urges to use or dramatize these under similar circumstances. If a person becomes UNWILLING to use them, then he or she would ordinarily get the psychosomatic from the time of the receipt of those things in some earlier incident (i.e. an engram). This is clearly demonstrated in that same clip about and engram:
Here are additional explanations about this phenomena from Book One:
ACTIONS OF OTHERS
An individual must not only be able to freely evaluate and direct one’s own actions but also be able to observe, evaluate, and direct the actions of others.
Directing the actions of others is practiced with objective processes while auditing can be used to rehabilitate and enhance an ability to freely evaluate the observed (recorded perceptions) actions.
Any form of processing aimed at subverting and inhibiting an individual’s ability to freely evaluate the actions of others is simply unacceptable. The way it has been framed in Scientology by Hubbard is that if someone starts talking about someone else and their actions, it is looked at as “not taking responsibility,” “assigning cause,” “being a victim,” “motivating,” “justifying” or whatever else. This is evaluating for the preclear and invalidating preclear’s data as well potentially getting angry with the preclear (in trying to force the preclear to confess one’s own “overts” instead) – multiple violations of the Auditor’s Code. This is discussed in more detail on page: Overt-Motivator Sequence and Withholds.