The reactive mind is a concept in the Dianetics and Scientology systems of L. Ron Hubbard, referring to that portion of the human mind that is unconscious and stimulus-response, which Hubbard blamed for most mental and physical ailments. These ailments are regarded by Scientologists as psychosomatic ones:
"What can it do? It can give a man arthritis, bursitis, asthma, allergies, sinusitis, coronary trouble, high blood pressure and so on, down the whole catalog of psychosomatic ills, adding a few more which were never specifically classified as psychosomatic, such as the common cold." - L. Ron Hubbard (Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, 1999 paperback edition, pg.69)
Despite the lack of scientific basis for his claims, Hubbard's book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health claimed that the Reactive Mind stores impressions (which he called engrams) of past events, which occurred while the person was unconscious or otherwise not completely aware.
Scientology and Dianetics use a galvanic skin response detector called an E-meter originally designed by Volney Mathison that is basically a Wheatstone bridge designed to help the work of erasing one's own "engrams" According to Dianetics, erasing one's own reactive mind altogether can be facilitated by measuring the changes in resistance experienced by a living organism. Scientology promotes such treatments as a means of "spiritual rehabilitation" called auditing.
From the end of the 1950s until the early 1970s, author William S. Burroughs used Hubbard's reactive mind theory as the basis of his Cut-up Method, which was applied to novels such as The Soft Machine.
University of Oxford biology professor Richard Dawkins states that Scientology purports to use scientific tools such as its controversial E-Meter to augment the "gullibility" of this already "gullible age".
- L. Ron Hubbard Science of Survival, p. 418, Bridge Publications Inc., 2007 (1st ed. 1951) ISBN 978-1-4031-4485-0
- Martin Gardner Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, ch. 22, Dover Publications Inc., I957 ISBN 0-486-20394-8
- The Biofeedback Monitor
- Bent Corydon L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman?, p. 439, Barricade Books Inc., 1992 ISBN 0-942837-57-7: E-meter could be used as a Thought Police interrogation device.
- Wills, David S., Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult'
- The E-Meter Papers
- The Gullible Age
- "Dianetics: understanding the mind "The part of the mind"". A description of the workings of the Reactive Mind. Church of Scientology.
- "Dianetics: “Two Minds, Not One”". How the Reactive Mind affects an individual and what Dianetics can do about it. Church of Scientology.
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