By our regular guest contributor Terra Cognita.
Scientology and The Bank
One of L. Ron Hubbard’s more intriguing —some would say revolutionary—concepts was compartmentalizing the mind into two separate units: the analytical; and the reactive.
He defined the reactive mind as, “a portion of a person’s mind which works on a totally stimulus-response basis, which is not under his volitional control, and which exerts force and power of command over his awareness, purposes, thoughts, body and actions. Stored in the reactive mind are engrams, and here we find the single source of aberrations and psychosomatic ills.” (Scientology 0-8)
Engrams are recorded incidents of pain and unconsciousness in a person’s mind. The unconsciousness can be anything from losing a bit of awareness from stubbing a toe, to comas lasting months due to severe accidents. Birth and death are considered engramic experiences, too. And since LRH believed we’d lived for quadrillions of years, the number of accumulated engrams is staggering.
As an example, let’s say Sam gets in a car accident, breaks his leg, and goes unconscious for ten minutes. According to LRH, this entire incident is recorded in the bank and from then on for all of eternity, Sam will react every time he is exposed to things in his environment approximating those things in the car accident. For instance, every time he sees a red sedan (like the one that hit him and caused him pain), his reactive mind kicks into action “warning him to be careful.” Sam only knows he doesn’t feel so good all of a sudden. That feeling is the Bank telling him to go somewhere else; red cars are dangerous; red cars must be avoided.
Not only did Sam’s reactive mind record the original red car, it recorded every image, every sound, every smell, emotion, everything imaginable associated with the car accident. The bummer is that everyone of these can act as a trigger for re-stimulating Sam and causing him to react in a manner not conducive to his best interests.
LRH wrote extensively on engrams and how to “erase” them but that isn’t the purpose of this essay. My purpose is to explore whether or not the LRH’s reactive mind is truly responsible for so many of our daily decisions. What got me to thinking about this was the common Scientology phrase, “That’s the Bank talking.”
That’s the Bank Talking
It’s almost second nature for Scientologists to blame the Bank on every thought, consideration, and decision that isn’t fully in agreement with the needs and wants, and goals and aims of the church. Anyone who’s been a member for any length of time has heard this reasoning a thousand times.
Joe isn’t sure about ponying up for his next level. That’s his Bank talking.
Sally needs to devote more time to her daughter’s needs instead of putting in more time on course. That’s her Bank talking.
Antonio needs to take time off to handle his business before he can start his OT levels. That’s the Bank talking.
Doris can’t come up with the money for Level 2. That’s the Bank talking.
Ted agrees with Leah Remini. That’s the Bank talking.
Boris questions David Miscavige. That’s the Bank talking.
Staff member Alex can’t function on post anymore on only two hours of sleep. That’s the bank talking.
And of course, the ultimate “that’s the Bank talking” is deciding to drift away from the church.
Virtually anything counter to the objectives of Scientology is considered the Bank talking. The examples are endless. But is this really the Bank talking? Is my decision to pay for my son’s education instead of writing a check to the registrar “my Bank talking?” How about supporting a friend by attending the theater instead of going on course one evening? How about putting off OT 3 so I can buy a new car to get to work on time? Reading a book on yoga?
Is there really some incident in my reactive mind that is being re-stimulated to cause me to not buy my next Scientology service? To read a “banned” book? And if so, what is this mechanism? Is there some component in some specific, re-stimulated engram that is causing these decisions?
The Common Denominator
In Keeping Scientology Working, LRH said that, “The common denominator of a group is the reactive mind.” And, “They only have their banks in common.” I disagree.
Groups can have common purposes, common goals, and common interests. Groups can have lots of common denominators. What they have in common doesn’t always have to be negative.
The common denominator of my basketball team is not everyone’s reactive mind. The common denominator of the Audubon Society is not the Bank.
But if the common denominator of every group was indeed the reactive mind, would it not make sense that the number one priority for Scientology would be to clear every new staff member as soon as possible? And yet, staff are often the last to receive processing. I’ve witnessed the staff at my local org serve for decades without having achieved the state of Clear. As for them going OT? Dream on.
LRH goes on to write in KSW, “It’s the bank that says the group is all and the individual nothing. It’s the bank that says we must fail.” Help me out readers. Why would the bank say this? Isn’t the bank just there to help me avoid what it “thinks” are harmful things in my environment?
In light of the “fact” that we’ve lived for quadrillions of years and therefore have accumulated thousands of quadrillions of engrams, I should think there wouldn’t be anything left that wasn’t “restimulative.”
Now I’m really confused. Which I’m sure many of you would agree is nothing new.
Still not Declared,