Researching in the Humanities
Written in January 1969, “A Summary on Scientology for Scientists” provides an overview
of not only the difficulties in scientific research as applied to the humanities, but how
L. Ron Hubbard overcame these to develop Scientology.
For about thirty-eight years at this writing (1969), I have been engaged upon basic research into life and the humanities. This is basic or pure research and has the same genus as the effort of the early philosophers—to attempt to establish the identity of life as independent from matter and as associated with the material world and forms, which subjects are embraced by basic and developed sciences. The difference is that the research has been done from the viewpoint of scientific methodology in which I am trained.
The subject was, in fact, sufficiently unknown and insufficiently nomenclatured to have a clear-cut name. I say it was unknown because it has so markedly failed to keep pace with the natural or physical sciences and is in fact threatened by physical science. For example, we find physical scientist protests are based on life violations or the misuse or abuse of life by incautious physical applications (Science and Survival by Barry Commoner).
To protect something one has to know what it is. Scientifically know what it is. The DNA biological theories apply to life plus matter and all efforts to cause matter to produce life have, so far, failed.
Not having any real name embracing the study itself, it was of course impossible to take courses in it. It could not have its answers in known fields, since it itself was unknown in not only its identity, but its characteristics.
I took whatever mathematics and physics were offered at a university. But then was stopped largely by lack of further academic subjects to study. I recall that my mind crystallized on the project when I found that the psychology and philosophy courses taught were inadequate to the research task I had in mind, as in neither one could I find any students or professors who had studied modern mathematics or physics or who used what I had been trained to regard as scientific methodology and who, as far as I could find, would admit to the errors in logic (mathematics) I found in them. In his own orderly world, the physical scientist would not credit the confusion which existed in the humanities.
So I went off on an expedition and began to study Life. Primitive Cultures seemed to be a place to start.
Never was any modern researcher confronted with so many conflicting data or subjects and so little result among them.
Yet obviously the past century of sprint by the physical sciences, which was even then speeding up, would overreach what were known as the humanities and even overwhelm them. And so it has proven.
Burdened by researching during the prewar period’s utter lack of research grants and funds, I had to solve the economics of it all. I did so mainly by writing and movies and did very well at it, at least enough to finance what else I was doing.
I wrote a book in the late 1930s after a breakthrough on the subject, but the book was never published.
Eventually I had gone back through all the mirror mazes and plain fog of the humanities and worked with cytology. I had to study the subject in the fleeting moments left in a life overworked and overstressed. I found some clues to cellular memory and retention of patterns and originated and abandoned as impossible a theory you still see around about memory storage in molecules.
Rumors of the book and some papers brought me to the attention of Russia (via Amtorg), which made me a research offer. As it unfortunately was conditional upon going to Russia (which was still fashionable) and required of me a system of measuring the work potential of workers there, I had to decline. This was fortunate, as the date was 1939.
Ideological considerations and requirements of better control or subservience of people was not on my work schedule.