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"It is unfair to consider a child—or any person, for that matter—stupid when he's merely absent mentally. The trick is to unfix that person from whatever he is focused on that has nothing to do with the realities at hand."
This is the basis for scientology, which is defined by Irving Garfield as "the science of knowing how to know." The study of scientology, he adds, "involves the anatomy of the methods of communication."
Scientologist Garfield is associated with the L. Ron Hubbard Association of Scientologists International, Ltd. (H.A.S.I.) based in London, England. There is a Founding Church of Scientology in New York, Washington, D C., Los Angeles, Calif., as well as branches in France, West Germany, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. There is talk of establishing a branch in Puerto Rico.
Scientology is both "a method for increasing your alertness" and a "philosophy of the spirit," Garfield states. "But it is not a religion." Followers of Hubbard (an estimated 20 million people around the world) are members of just about every known and established religion.
Scientology focuses on understanding the emotions that deflect our attention and ability to concentrate "or the misemotion connected with life," according to Hubbard, who in 1950 devised the mental health system of "Dianetics" underlying scientology.
Garfield, who says he has been an instructor and practitioner of scientology for 14 years, is currently staying at Hotel Da Vinci. He lives in Camden, N. J., and has made two trips here every year for the past eight years to lecture and meet with "the numerous followers of scientology in Puerto Rico."
"To put it plainly," says Garfield, "this is a system for increasing one's ability to confront, look at and respect a problem—so that one can eventually handle it more easily. It applies to the smallest task or the ability to earn a living.
"The more attention you can place on doing a certain task, the less effort required to do it," he continues. "But the trouble is, the subconscious is often full of thoughts or 'pictures' that are so disturbing they do not let you concentrate on a specific job at hand.
How is increased concentration achieved?
"Well, first of all, you must learn to be more aware. You must learn the techniques for focusing and sustaining your attention on the person you are communicating with or job you have to do. You might say this is a process of hypnotizing yourself so that less of your mind is wandering, and more of your attention is on the business at hand. The next phases deal with exercises for increasing your ability to look, to listen and such areas of verbal communication."
While scientology is neither a branch of medicine or psychiatry, Garfield states, he has been able to help people come to terms with "what they want to do, and don't want to do," so they were able to stop smoking and or "control their drinking."
He also points out that U. S. psychiatric associations have been "antagonistic" toward the aims and tenets of scientology, despite the fact that scientology "does not indulge in analysis... does not advise or evaluate."
Scientology came into being, he states, "because so many people live in quiet desperation. They are not confronting their environment. They block out the things they find to be mentally painful, and thereby live in a sort of partial amnesia."
How does one avoid living in a partial amnesia?
Garfield offers this capsulized solution: "Do not associate the person or thing you are looking at with the memory of a person or thing that once repelled you. Differentiate between people and things in the past and people and things in the present. Don't let yourself merely respond negatively to a person you just met because of some adverse mental association."
And how do you prevent yourself from responding negatively?
"The answer to that one is the sum and substance of the science of scientology," he states. "That cannot be capsulized."