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L. Ron Hubbard

The Race Against Man’s Savage Instincts

     Man’s search for answers has led to many achievements: interplanetary exploration, instant worldwide communication via the Internet, life-saving medical technologies and a myriad of other advances — any one of which, in any earlier age, would be viewed as nothing less than miraculous.

     But for all of these accomplishments, he had still not come to grips with one of the answers he needed most: the answer to himself and his own savage conduct. Hence, in this decade alone, Earth has been wracked by ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, a major war involving millions of troops in the Persian Gulf, and countless lesser conflicts in other nations — not to mention a rising global tide of drug abuse, violence and crime.

     This article, first published in the book, Scientology: A New Slant on Life, describes man’s long and often frustrating quest for the solution to his own riddle.

     As the author states, the answer is here, today.

Picture of L. Ron Hubbard

By L. Ron Hubbard

 F or fifty thousand years man has been faced with the enigma1 of himself and his fellows. Man has been victimized by brutal instincts and impulses which have caused him to erect, in self-protection, prisons, legal codes and complex social systems. Man has not felt safe from man, and indeed, the conduct of man down the ages has not much justified belief or faith: wars, murder, arson, treachery and betrayals, cynicism2 and destruction have marred3 his progress, until history itself is a long montage4 of battles, murders and running blood.

      When you teach a child history, what are you teaching him? You are teaching him how this town killed that town, how this king was murdered by that woman, how this war changed the boundaries here and there. It is a pretty strange picture for a civilized being. Not even the apes are indulging in this sort of thing.

      Confronted with this aspect in himself and his fellows, man has long searched for an answer to the riddle of his own behavior, for ways to remedy that behavior. Long before Diogenes,5 man was searching for such answers to his questions. In Babylon,6 Chaldea,7 India, and even in the distant primitive times, those men who could think found concern in the antisocial and unreasonable conduct of their fellows.

      Man’s search for the answer to his own riddle was quickened8 during the last century by two things: the first was the energy and curiosity of Sigmund Freud, and the second was the mathematics of James Clerk Maxwell9 and his studies of energy in the physical universe. These two things came up almost simultaneously.

      Freud worked without knowledge of the physical universe, which was developed in the years which followed his initial efforts. Freud was not a physical scientist. If anything, he was a mystic.10

      According to Freud, man had buried within him certain brutal and sometimes overmastering11 instincts which caused him to act as he did. Freud said that man’s trouble stemmed from these instincts and the effort of man to repressl2 them. I wish you to mark that theory very well. It was given without proof or the phenomena of observation necessary to prove it. It was given as a lucky guess, maybe, but it was given. Freud never handled or measured one of these instincts. He said they were there. That is all he said. That theory was added to the bulk of data already accumulated about the human mind.

      Suppose I were to tell you that the basic savage instincts of man – the instincts which make him kill and murder and engage in war – existed in such a state that they could be handled, measured, experienced, with a clarity and precision never before attained in this field. That would be a good science, wouldn’t it?

      Techniques of application exist very adequate to handle these basic and savage instincts, because that is what they are.

      Living with the beasts of the jungle and caught at every hand13 by death and terror, early man couldn’t do anything else but develop a brutal reaction. Maybe he might have been good before he started to hit the physical universe, but by the time he hit that, he hit tooth and claw, and murder and war were commonplace. He had to kill to live, and he kept on killing.

      Now he has a civilization all laid out that should run according to plan and everybody ought to be free and happy and we shouldn’t have any laws, and the prisons ought to be empty and there shouldn’t be any insanity and there ought to be plenty to eat. This would be a real control of the environment and man, and we don’t have that.

      What is standing in the road? These brutal and savage instincts, maybe? Something man picked up when he was swinging from trees or hiding in caves or even earlier. Kill, tooth and claw — these instincts, perhaps, he has carried forward with him into his modern, civilized world, until you can actually get a man to consent to go out and be trained to have a rifle put in his hand and shoot another man in the name of something or other.

      Man hasn’t been able to escape his heritage.14 We found that out. He is grasping wildly today for some method of restraining the brutality of his fellows or even himself. He looks toward government — community government; state government, city, national and even an international government — to restrain the brutality of his fellows and maybe even himself.

      Perhaps he is motivated in all that brutality by all the crimes which lie back in the yesterdays, which remain, somehow, as built-in instincts.

Man is basically good, and between him and this goodness lies a savage and twisted past.
      Freud said brutal instincts exist. He said that man had to fight them down and repress them, that this conflict caused human and social illness. Well, what are the instincts? Where are they? How brutal are they? How does one go about getting rid of them? For, logically, if something exists, one can certainly do something about it.

      Further, how would man react if he did get rid of these instincts? Would all of his ambitions, his freedom, his forces, his imagination be gone? Or would they be better? Would he have more imagination and more freedom and more power and strength and better health if these instincts were gone? That question has to be answered too.

      Further, how would man react if he did get rid of these instincts? Would all of his ambitions, his freedom, his forces, his imagination be gone? Or would they be better? Would he have more imagination and more freedom and more power and strength and better health if these instincts were gone? That question has to be answered too.

      It is all very well to have a lot of theories. Theories are wonderful things. As long as you don’t have phenomena, you can have all the theories you want to. That is a rule in engineering. You get a theory and then you try to apply the thing, and if it doesn’t apply to the physical universe you throw it out and get another theory.

      Unfortunately, the field of the mind has been able to accumulate a terrific number of theories without running into any phenomena to prove or disprove them.

      If we have a theory about this brutal instinct, we had certainly better find out if it is a good theory or a bad theory; if it is provable, if the phenomena is there.

      Unless you have phenomena to back this up, unless you can weigh and measure these things – and measure them accurately – they still remain in a big state of “up in the air.”15 Who has any authority to say what theory is valid? Nobody has any authority to say what theory is valid.

      If man were found to be good and free when the instinct was lifted, and if he could reach inside of himself and lift this instinct to kill and to be brutal and savage, then you could solve the problem.

      I hate such words as instincts because they are a big indefiniteness. Can you measure an instinct with amperes16 and watts?17 Can you feel one and see one? Yes, you can. We can now measure them in amperes and watts, look at them, sort them, tell you how long they are and how wide they are and how thick they are. Can we eradicate them from the mind? Yes, just like you would burn up a piece of cloth.

“For fifty thousand years man has been faced with the enigma of himself and his fellows.”
      Is man healthier and better with them gone? Is he then able to cope with the universe better? Is he able to act better? Is he able to handle himself better? Is he more social? Is he happier? Is he freer? Is he more individualistic? Because you would lose if he weren’t those things. You don’t want prefrontal-lobotomied18 slaves — not in man. You want man to be as free as you can possibly make him.

      Fortunately – no credit to anybody – when you pick up these instincts he becomes free and he becomes social and he is able to cope with his environment, and he no longer wants to go around and steal, murder, burn or engage in war. Fortunately.

      Man is basically good, and between him and this goodness lies a savage and twisted past. He inherited it from centuries of being, centuries of savageness, and the instincts he had to wear as a primitive and as a savage. He has still got them, and they are there and they are fully and wholly on record.

      Oddly enough, his basic instinct is to protect and help his fellows, himself. He is not a single, all-out-for-number-one character. But he gets these instincts, and they get in his road and they make him act like he is all out for himself. There isn’t a person who hasn’t tried very, very hard to help their fellow man – not one. Also, there isn’t one who hasn’t been cuffed19 for doing it.

      That is a funny thing. Here we have a creature who wants to help, who wants to be unified with his fellows, who wants to be loved, who wants to be secure and at the same time adventurous, who wants to be a unified civilization. We have him all torn apart inside himself and amongst his groups so that all he does about it, really, is nag and rave and commit war.

      You take the savage, antisocial impulse of man – any man, woman or child – away and he is freer to act, because now he can act. Before, every time he acted he said, “Well – gulp! Maybe this is the time I killed Ug.” Here is this impulse that he developed somewhere back on the track:20 It is some kind of an instinct that he has carried along his protoplasm line21 or genetic line.22 You take these instincts up – you can find them – and a man’s intelligence sometimes as much as doubles.

      He can’t even let himself think as clearly as he could, because think what he might think about. There is something there that he shouldn’t think about and so he limits his own thinking capacity.

      We have found the instincts and the lid on the unconscious mind23 – the subconscious24 or whatever you want to call it and the content of that subconscious mind. That is interesting, but it is even more interesting that when one takes away the force and power of a brutal self, the individual’s nature is changed so that he is much more successful than he was before. He is the same person he always was, but he is the person who is no longer repressed, held down, unsuccessful, unhappy. He is safe to trust something to. You could go out and give such a man an atom bomb and you could say, “Here.” He would say, “My golly, somebody is liable to do something with this. I’d better take awful good care that this thing doesn’t get loose anyplace.”

      Perhaps, now, it may be possible in an overwrought25 world to do something about the criminals, the insane, about war, the antisocial hatred man feels for man. But it is something of a race, too. It is a race with something my classmates invented – a something called an atom bomb.

      The way to make man reasonable should have preceded atomic fission.26 It has come up concurrently27 with it. Thus it is a vital race. One does not know who will win. Can we do something for the savage in civilized garb28 before he ruins this world and all man? That is a question which the future must answer. I cannot do more than the work I have done and to publish and make available what has been done.

      Every facility which we have and all the knowledge which we have gained is at your disposal. It is at your disposal to treat your crippled, your ill, your infirm, to improve you, to make crime a thing of yesterday, to banish war forever. But it is up to you.

LRH's Signature
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