By Lana M.
In a recent article by WR he referred to the LRH lecture E-Meter Instant Reads (Part 1), and not having studied that for some time, I pulled it out and reread it.
In the lecture, LRH is discussing how auditors are somehow not seeing reads, not observing what is occurring on the meter, invalidating the meter and what it is showing. And as part of this, LRH details what observation is:
“Observation – observation. That’s the whole thing – the ability to look. I have always been trying to teach you how to look. Here is a direction to look; here is an instrument with which to look. And if I ever will just teach you just to look and to see what you are looking at without any interference or interpretation or anything else, well, I probably would have made a greater philosophic splash than any philosopher we’ve had on this planet, don’t you see?
“So this is the toughest one to get anybody to do, is just to observe. That’s the tough one, see? Don’t feel too bad. Just work on it. Get practiced up. All of a sudden you’ll be right in there pitching. Okay?” LRH Lecture E-METER INSTANT READS PART 1
Now when I first got into Scientology, one of the first things I did was the drill in HCOB 26 October 1970 OBNOSIS AND THE TONE SCALE. This was my first experience with learning how to look and see what is in front of my face. It sounds too simple, but I certainly was not doing it, before the drill.
“The title of this article starts with an odd word: obnosis. It’s been put together from the phrase, “observing the obvious”. The art of observing the obvious is strenuously neglected in our society at this time. Pity. It’s the only way you ever see anything; you observe the obvious. You look at the isness of something, at what is actually there. Fortunately for us, the ability to obnose is not in any sense “inborn” or mystical. But it is being taught that way by people outside of Scientology.
“How do you teach somebody to see what is there? Well, you put up something for him to look at, and have him tell you what he sees. That is what is done in an ACC class, the earlier in the course, the better. A student is asked to stand up in the front of the classroom and be looked at by the rest of the students. An instructor stands by, and keeps asking, “What do you see?” The first responses run about like this: “Well, I can see he’s had a lot of experience.” “Oh, can you? Can you really see his experience? What do you see there?” “Well, I can tell from the wrinkles around his eyes and mouth that he’s had lots of experience.” “All right, but what do you see?” “Oh, I get you. I see wrinkles around his eyes and mouth.” “Good!” The instructor accepts nothing that isn’t plainly visible. A student starts to catch on and says, “Well, I can really see he’s got ears.” “All right, but from where you’re sitting can you see both ears right now as you’re looking at him?” “Well, no.” “Okay. What do you see’?” “I see he’s got a left ear.” “Fine!” No conjectures, no tacit assumptions will do. Nor are the students permitted to wander in the bank. For example, “He’s got good posture.” “Good posture by comparison with what?” “Well, he’s standing straighter than most people I’ve seen.” “Are they here now?” “Well, no, but I’ve got pictures of them.” “Come on. Good posture in relation to what, that you can see right now.” “Well, he’s standing straighter than you are. You’re a little slouched.” “Right this minute?” “Yes.” “Very good.” You see what the goal of this is? It is to get a student to the point where he can look at another person, or an object, and see exactly what is there. Not a deduction of what might be there from what he does see there. Not something the bank says ought to go in company with what is there. Just what is there, visible and plain to the eye. It’s so simple, it hurts.
“Along with this practice in observing the obvious about people, the students receive a lot of information about particular physical and verbal indications of tone level. Things very easy to see and hear, by looking at a person’s body and listening to his words. “Thetan-watching” has no part in obnosis. Look at the terminal, the body, and listen to what’s coming out of it. You don’t want to get mystical about this, and start relying on “intuition”. Just look at what’s there.”
I remember being handed the bulletin, made to read it, and then sent out to a local market place to survey people and simply observe.
Being more than a little apprehensive, I initially just stopped little old ladies, kindly looking men, and women of my own age. And then as I became more accustomed to actually spotting a person’s tone, I got better and better at it. Without question, it changed my life, as the drill gave me an ability and skill to really look at people and spot their tone level.
Here is what LRH says about the actual drill:
“Equipped with data of this sort, and having gained some proficiency in looking at the isness of people, the ACC students are sent out into the public to talk to strangers and to spot them on the tone scale. Usually, but only as a slight crutch in approaching people, they are given a series of questions to ask each person, and a clipboard for. jotting down the answers, notes, etc. They are public-opinion poll-takers from the Hubbard Research Foundation. The real purpose of their talking to people at all is to spot them on the tone scale, chronic tone and social tone. They are given questions calculated to produce lags and break through social machinery, so that the chronic tone juts out. Here are some sample questions, actually used: “What’s the most obvious thing about me’?” “When was the last time you had your hair cut?” “Do you think people do as much work now as they did fifty years ago?” At first, the students merely spot the tone of the person they are interviewing-and many and various are the adventures they have while doing this! Later, as they gain some assurance about stopping strangers and plying them with questions, these instructions are added: “Interview at least 15 people. With the first five, match their tone, as soon as you’ve spotted it. The next five, you drop below their chronic tone, and see what happens. For the last five, put on a higher tone than theirs.
“What does an ACC student gain from these exercises? A willingness to communicate with anyone, for one thing. To begin with, students are highly selective about the sort of people they stop. Only old ladies. No one who looks angry. Or only people who look clean. Finally, they just stop the next person who comes along, even though he looks leprous and armed to the teeth. Confrontingness has come ‘way up, and he’s just somebody else to talk to. They become willing to pinpoint a person on the scale, without shilly-shallying. They say, “He’s a chronic 1.1. Social tone 3.5, but real phony.” That’s the way it is, and they can see it. They also become quite gifted and flexible at assuming tones at will, and putting them across convincingly. Very useful in many situations, and lots of fun to do. They grow adept at punching through a comm lag in an informal situation. At sorting out apparencies from realities. The rise in certainty of communication, and in ease and relaxation of manner while handling people, in the students who have been run through this mill, is something which must be. seen or experienced to be believed. The one most often repeated request in every ACC Unit is: “Can’t we please have some more obnosis this week? We haven’t had enough of it yet.” (This statement is very funny to the ACC instructors, because these same students said at the beginning, “If you make me go out there, I’ll walk out on the course.”) Obnosis is quite important, and should be learned as thoroughly as possible by all Scientologists.”
Now it has been more than 30 years since I first did that drill — and I can say that over time, particularly when I was in the Sea Org, my application of obnosis slipped. Even though I was made to Chinese School the definition of obnosis, over and over when I was an RTC staff member, I did not observe the obvious about what was occurring in the org, the enturbulation and the source of that enturbulation.
I came to see that my own position on the Bridge (I used to be a stalled Dianetic Clear) had me in a precarious position of not being trained enough to be able to keep my gains. I would roller coaster and get restimulated, and then in a fog, would try to fight my way through it.
Obnosis got lost somewhere in that circumstance — yet if I had really drilled it and continued to use it and apply it, I think my last 15 years would have been drastically very different.
With no regrets at this time, I use and apply this drill all the time now. My favorite time for this is at the local shopping mall, just doing the weekly shop or running errands. I make sure to really look at the people around me and I go out of my way to talk to people and use this to spot and then change their tone level.
It is a very simple technology, but there is real power if you just look.
“So “obnosis” – observing the obvious: -gnosis means “know;” and ob- means “out.” Observe the obvious.” LRH Lecture OBNOSIS, 9 January 1957.