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L. Ron Hubbard


In his attempt to handle this problem of comprehension among Scientology students and staff, Mr. Hubbard embarked upon a process to which he was no stranger – addressing the problem with a series of undercuts. He had done this over and over again with other aspects of the spiritual technology of Scientology, on the premise that while virtually anything can be made too complicated to understand there is little liability in simplifying something down to its basics. And time and time again he had demonstrated a very special genius for finding the very basics of a subject, thus making it comprehensible to anyone.

In addressing this problem of illiteracy, however, he found himself facing a unique and problematic situation. Keep in mind that what he was attempting to do was no small task. It was to first discover the impediments to comprehension and then to provide the tools to overcome them and thus allow communication. In other words, first he had to discover why so many people were illiterate, and then he had to come up with a remedy. He had already discovered why Scientology students and, indeed, most people could not learn, the primary villain being the misunderstood word, accompanied by the other barriers to study mentioned in the previous chapter. But obviously this was not enough of a solution and needed to be further undercut.

And here we come to the conundrum he found facing him: How do you convey the meaning of a word to a student who does not even understand the meaning of the words you are using in attempting to convey the meaning?

His research had taken him to the heart of this problem – the dismaying reality that this phenomenon of misunderstood words extended to the very core of language – its simplest words. And by this we mean words such as but, and, or, were, their, so, on, at, and so on. The words we use most often. What he called “the small common words.” The words that educators have assumed “everyone knows.”


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