Jon Atack: The best thing ever written about the language traps in Scientology's Bible, 'Dianetics' - 2016-01-08
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and for more than a year on Saturdays he helped us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. He was kind enough to send us a new post.
In the 1950s, before he decided that no one had contributed anything of significance to his subject, L. Ron Hubbard would list those from whom his ideas derived. Count Alfred Korzybski is among these luminaries. At the beginning of Science of Survival, Hubbard says "Acknowledgement is made to fifty-thousand years of thinking men without whose speculations and observations the creation and construction of Dianetics would not have been possible." Korzybski made the list (alongside psychiatrist William Alanson White). Korzybski is also celebrated in the foreword to Scientology 8-8008.
Korzybski was a remarkable polymath and the founder of General Semantics, a subject popular among American intellectuals in the late 1940s. Several of Hubbard's confederates during the formulation of Dianetics were avid supporters of Korzybski's work – including Robert Heinlein, A.E. van Vogt, and the woman who became Hubbard's second wife, Sara Northrup.