Scientology believes man to be basically good, not evil. It is his experiences that have led him to commit evil deeds, not his nature. Often, he mistakenly solves his problems by considering only his own interests, which then causes trouble for both himself and others. Scientology believes that man advances to the degree he preserves his spiritual integrity and values, and remains honest and decent. Indeed, he deteriorates to the degree he abandons these qualities.
But because man is basically good he is capable of spiritual betterment, and it is the goal of Scientology to bring him to a point where he is capable of sorting out the factors in his own life and solving his own problems. Other efforts to help man often try to solve his problems for him and in this respect Scientology is different. Scientology believes that an individual placed in a position where he has higher intelligence, where he can confront life better, where he can identify the factors in his life more easily, is also in a position to solve his own problems and so better his own life.
Life has tended to force the individual into certain values. The stresses of existence have tended to fixate his attention to a point where his awareness of himself and his environment has been greatly diminished. Attendant to this lowered awareness are problems, difficulties with others, illness and unhappiness. The goal of Scientology is to reverse this diminishing awareness and, in that sense, wake the individual up. As one becomes more and more alert, his intelligence rises and he is capable of greater understanding and thus better able to handle his life. Scientology, then, contains solutions to the problems of living. Its end result is increased awareness and freedom for the individual and rehabilitation of his basic decency, power and ability. It can and does accomplish these ends routinely, daily, all over the world.
The word Scientology is taken from the Latin scio, which means knowing in the fullest sense of the word, and the Greek word logos, meaning study of. Scientology means literally knowing how to know.
The source and founder of the Scientology religion is L. Ron Hubbard, who devoted his life to finding answers to questions that have troubled mankind for millennia. Mr. Hubbards curiosity and boundless spirit of adventure inspired his search, even as a boy. However, the first fruits of his research did not result in Scientology but another subject, Dianetics. The word Dianetics comes from the Greek words dia, meaning through and nous, meaning soul.
Dianetics constituted L. Ron Hubbards first breakthrough, and it was these initial discoveries which led to further researches and the exact isolation of the source of life itself. Man does not have a spirit. He is a spirit. Dianetics addresses and handles the effects of the spirit on the body and thus helps provide relief from unwanted sensations and emotions, accidents, injuries and psychosomatic illnesses (ailments caused or aggravated by mental stress). Scientology, on the other hand, addresses man directly, as a spirit, with the goal of increased awareness and ability as a spiritual being and the full realization of his immortal nature.
In over half a century of investigation, Mr. Hubbard isolated many, many fundamental truths about life, leading to his development of the Scientology philosophy and the subsequent growth of the Scientology religion.
A testament to the truths contained in Scientology lies in the fact that in less than two generations, the movement now flourishes on every continent with thousands of churches, missions and groups touching millions of lives daily. Part of every facet of society, Scientologists are businessmen, housewives, students, artists, celebrities, working people, scholars, soldiers, doctors, policemen and on and on.
Ever involved in the world around them, Scientologists naturally share with others that which they have learned in Scientology. Seeing that it could have relevance in their lives too, these people also become interested in what Scientology can offer them. And so Scientology grows, much the same as every great religion in history has grown, from individual to individual, bringing knowledge, wisdom and hope for a better life.
With Scientology, millions know life can be a worthwhile proposition, that men can live fulfilling lives in harmony with others and that the world can be a happier place. Scientologists work to create such a world every day, constantly joined by others who share this dream. The undeniable relevance of Scientology to the lives of these millions assures its permanence in our society. And that millions upon millions more will follow in this quest to create a better world.
The dream of making the world a better place has long been embraced by every religious movement in history. Indeed, religion has served as the primary civilizing influence on the planet.
The knowledge that man is a spirit is as old as man himself. Only recently, with the advent of Western psychology, have notions cropped up that man is merely another animal, a stimulus-response mechanism. Such espousals stand at odds to every religious tradition, which variously speak of the soul, the spirit or the life force"to encompass a belief held by all civilized men.
The Scientology religion follows just this tradition of mans search for his spiritual identity. In Scientology, the individual himself is considered to be the spiritual beinga thetan (pronounced thay´-tn). The term is taken from the Greek symbol or letter theta which has long served as a symbol for thought or spirit. Thus, although a new movement, Scientology is heir to the understanding of thinking men since the beginning of human history that man is a spiritual being who aspires to understand and improve life. The search was long, but it has been successful and answers now exist in Scientology for anyone who wishes to reach for them.
Further chapters from the encyclopedic reference book What is Scientology? will appear in the next editions. We welcome your letters with any questions you may have.