Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Chapter 4: The Four Dynamics

Hubbard discusses the four motivations for mankind's survival: "self, sex, group, and mankind". He explores the history of the search for these factors, expounds their details, and tries to defend his assertions with talk of the "equations" governing these dynamics.

Hubbard begins this chapter with a reference to the "original equations of Dianetics" which sought to explain man's survival in terms of only a man's consideration of himself. However, this theory was found to be unable to account for all of man's actions towards survival, and since "a theory is only as good as it works" [This is arguably the smartest sentence Hubbard has ever written. It's a shame he did not apply it more rigorously.], Hubbard decided to revise his hypothesis. This next quote gives insight into Hubbard's reasoning.

Survival in personal terms was computed until the whole activity of man could be theoretically explained in terms of self alone. The logic looked fairly valid. But then it was applied to the world. Something was wrong: it did not solve problems. In fact, the theory of survival in personal terms alone was so unworkable that it left a majority of behavior phenomena unexplained. But it could be computed and it still looked good.
What is Hubbard actually computing? From what he says, I gather that what he is doing is more of a thought experiment. For example, if man's instinct is only for his personal survival, then why would he help someone who is homeless? This is not a computation but it might be the kind of example Hubbard is talking about. Also, what does it mean to saw that "the logic looked valid" in the case of Dianetics. We, as the ones being sold Dianetics, need to know to see what the logical steps were in leading to these claims. Without being able to follow Hubbard's steps, the reader can only trust that Hubbard is neither lying nor deluded, a bad position in which to be.

Hubbard then looked a survival in terms of man's desire to preserve the group (tribe, family, etc.). Again, "it looked good but it left a majority of observed phenomena unexplained". And again, Hubbard provides no examples of these phenomena. Then Hubbard considered the species where he found
it could be computed that man lived alone for the survival of mankind. But when addressed to the laboratory--the world--it did not work.
Needless to say, there are again no examples. Note the increase in the amount of scientific sounding language as Hubbard provides less and less evidence. We should not worry about the lack of evidence because it was all "computed" with "equations" and then "tested" in a "laboratory", but we are not allowed to see the results or the methods of testing.

The fourth dynamic Hubbard tested on its own was sex which was also found to be inadequate to explain all of human behavior. However, when combined with the other three dynamics, all of man's actions could be explained.
A new computation was made on the survival dynamic. Exactly for what was man surviving? All four of these factors--self, sex, group and mankind--were entered into a new equation. And now it was found, a theory was in hand which worked. It explained all observed phenomena and it predicted new phenomena which were discovered to exist. It was a scientific equation, therefore!
Hubbard seems to have an astute understanding of what a scientific equation should do. It much explain all observed phenomena to which it pertains and should be able to make predictions. However, these equations also need to be demonstrated to do that, not just asserted. Supposedly, Hubbard has a mathematical equation which depends on only four parameters which explains all human activity as well as makes predictions about it. If we put aside the questions about how to quantify self, sex, group and mankind, there is still the question of what the equation would actually output. As amazing as this claim is, it is still baseless and therefore meaningless.

After repeating the four dynamics (not for the last time), Hubbard asserts "that these four dynamics are actually a spectrum without sharp division lines." That is sex, self, group and mankind are all the same thing like x-rays, gamma-rays, infrared, ultraviolet and microwaves are all parts of the optical spectrum. In that case, Hubbard's equation from above really old depends on one variable. So which is it? Are they four distinct variables or one variable with arbitrary designations along a spectrum? It really cannot be both. Also, if these four dynamics are on a spectrum, how do they bleed into each other. Examples are desperately needed in this case.

Even though the dynamics are all part of the same spectrum, Hubbard assets they are in competition with one another. It is the balance between these dynamics that is important in individuals.
The equation of the optimum solution would be that a problem has been well resolved which portends the maximum good for the maximum number of dynamics...[Hubbard repeats this sentence in different words three times.]...The survival conduct pattern is built upon this equation of optimum solution. It is the basic equation of all rational behavior and is the equation on which a clear functions. In is inherent in man.
Apparently we, the aberrated, are not working with "the equation of optimum solution" (a phrase I will now use instead of the phrase firing on all cylinders). Honestly, I don't know what the phrase "equation of optimum solution means". Shouldn't we be solving the equation to find the optimum solution instead of guessing the optimum solution and building an equation around it? It seems to me that Hubbard is doing the equivalent of fitting a polynomial function to a curve he sketched. A high enough order polynomial will fit any equation to any desired accuracy. In the same way, adding more dynamics would allow more freedom to fit whatever "equation" he has. However, I think this is giving Hubbard too much credit. By this point, I believe there are no "equations". Hubbard is merely pondering how he things the world works and his jotting it down on papers. Afterwards, he is adding his "proof". Also, I think Hubbard states that the "equation", which is inherent in man, is different between the aberrated and the clear which contracts it being inherent in man. This is the kind sentence that will break a robot's brain.

The last page and a half of this chapter is little more than gibberish insisting that these dynamics are in some sort of balance and that the aberrated individual has irrationalities which muddle the "equations". I will quote a representative passage in closing:
This is entirely a matter of: does it work? Even on an unaberrated basis there are times when one or another of these dynamics have to be dropped from the computation of some activity or other and indeed, few problems are so entirely intense that they must take into account all the dynamics. But when a problem achieves such intensity, and time is not an important factor [I don't know what time has to do with anything here.], serious errors can follow the omission of one or another of the dynamics from the factors considered.
In other words, sometimes we include all four dynamics. Sometimes we don't. Sometimes when we don't, we really wish we had done so. Also, clears function on the equation of optimum solution unless some dynamics are dropped. Then they don't, but when they don't, we wish they hadn't dropped them.

I hope I was able to unmuddle (I can invent words too!) this chapter. Underneath the chapter title, I have the word infuriating written to remind me of how confusing this chapter was to decipher. The more I read of this book, the more claims Hubbard makes with less and less reasoning. It's enough to fry a neuron.

Words Defined: gregarious, altruistic, sylvan, Jean Jacques Rousseau [I would like to point out that when Hubbard cites a person, he does not tell the reader anything that would enlighten them as to the point of the reference. For example, Rousseau is merely defined to be a "French political philosopher and author".] , The Dianetic meaning of symbiote ["any or all life or energy forms which are mutually dependent for survival. The atom depends on the universe, the universe on the atom."], portend,

Next: Chapter 5: Summary [Don't get too excited. this is only the summary of book 1 of 3. I'm only about 1/9 of the way through Dianetics by number of pages, 1/5 by chapter, 1/3 by book number, but 8/11 by patience/interest.]

Note: All quotes are from
Hubbard, L. Ron. Dianetics. Los Angeles, CA: Bridge Publications, Inc, 1986, unless noted otherwise.


Prazzie said...

This is the kind sentence that will break a robot's brain.


Very bad chapter. I kept wanting the point to be condensed. What was he actually trying to say? Pointless drivel, laced with buzzwords.

Ben said...

His point was, there are four dynamics: sex, self, group, and mankind. These dynamics are needed in some magic equation that explains all of man's actions.

I guess his point get lost in all the repetition and "proof" (assertion).