Kai gave me this lovely piece of old Scientology propaganda. The 1968 book Scientology: A History of Man is a re-titled edition of something L.R. Hubbard completed in 1951-52 and disseminated under the title What To Audit. After the formerly secret teachings about Xenu the evil space emperor etc., this is probably the most widely ridiculed text of Scientology. But with the fine cover image (apparently painted by Hubbard himself) and the new title, the book clearly aims to say something about humanity’s ancient past – which is my job.
In the foreword Hubbard assures the reader that “This is a cold-blooded and factual account of your last sixty trillion years” and explains that he “began to search into the back track of Mankind some years ago”. Now, of course, we know that the Big Bang occurred only about 13.75 billion years ago, and talk about time before the beginning of time is meaningless. But to one with Hubbard’s science fiction background, sixty trillion must have sounded awesome.
Moving on into the text however, it turns out that true to its original title, the whole thing is mainly about reincarnation, memories of past lives, “auditing”, the “E-meter”, evil “theta beings” possessing people, and how to become “clear” from these malicious spirits. We’re not dealing with named palaeontological or archaeological finds or sites. Instead Hubbard envisions people carrying memories of being various pre-human animals along an imagined Chain of Being, then the Piltdown Man (debunked by radiocarbon in 1953) and the Caveman on the book’s cover. This is the “history of man”. But Hubbard never explains the basis for his assertions, never refers to other writers or excavations or labwork other than in general nameless terms. He’s delivering Revealed Truth. The voice in this confused tirade of a book is authoritarian yet clearly slightly mad. (Insiders have reported that some of the material was actually dictated by Hubbard’s 17-y-o son after the father dosed him liberally with amphetamines.)
On the back cover is the blurb “Discover how to create sanity for future generations”. Flipping through the book I get the definite impression that the problem L.R. Hubbard was really struggling with was that of creating sanity for himself.