L. Ron Hubbard – his early life

To understand a person sometimes one also needs top look at his early life. Then one can see how he came to be where he arrived.

“I have lived no cloistered life and hold in contempt the wise man who has not lived and the scholar who will not share.  

“There have been many wiser men than I, but few have traveled as much road.

“I have seen life from the top down and the bottom up. I know how it looks both ways. And I know there is wisdom and there is hope.”   L. Ron Hubbard

Photograph of L. Ron Hubbard when a young man.

There are only two tests of a life well lived L. Ron Hubbard once remarked: Did one do as one intended? And were people glad one lived?

In testament to the first stands the full body of L. Ron Hubbard life’s work, including more than 5,000 writings and 3,000 tape-recorded lectures on Dianetics and Scientology.

In evidence of the second are the tens of millions of individuals whose lives have been demonstrably bettered because L. Ron Hubbard  lived.

Son of naval commander Harry Ross Hubbard and Ledora May Hubbard, L. Ron Hubbard was born on March 13, 1911 in Tilden Nebraska. At the age of two, he and his brother took up residence on a ranch outside Kalispell, Montana, and from there they moved to the state’s capital, Helena.L. Ron Hubbard’s mother was a thoroughly educated woman and attended teacher’s college prior to her marriage. Ron was reading and writing at an early age.

Due to his father’s naval career the family moved from Montana for a series of cross-country journeys.

It was through these early years that Ron first encountered another culture, that of the Blackfoot Indians, then still living in isolated settlements on the outskirts of Helena. His particular friend was known as “Old Tom.” Ron was initiated into the various secrets of the tribe and soon a blood brother.

  In 1923 at the age of twelve Ron’s family moved to Seattle, Washington. There he joined the Boy Scouts, whereupon he became an Eagle Scout. At the end of that year he traveled to Washington DC, via the Panama Canal, and met Commander Joseph C. Thompson, who was the first officer sent by the US Navy to study under Sigmund Freud. Thompson passed onto Ron essentials of Freudian theory.

In 1927, at the age of sixteen, Ron took the first of his several voyages across the pacific. There he studied Far Eastern culture. There he met a Beijing magician who represented the last of the line of Chinese magicians from the court of Kublai Khan. Although renowned mostly as an entertainer, Old Mayo was well versed in China’s ancient wisdom. Ron passed many evenings in the company of such wise men, absorbing their words.

During these travels Ron also gained access to the much talked-about lamaseries in the Western Hills of China – temples usually off-limits to both local peasants and visiting foreigners. 

Beyond the lamasery walls he closely examined the surrounding culture. In addition to the local Tarter tribes he also spent time with nomadic bandits originally from Mongolia. He further traveled up and down the Chinese coast exploring villages and cities.

Everywhere he went there was one question on his mind: “Why?” Why was there so much suffering and misery? Why was man, with all his ancient wisdom and knowledge accumulated in learned texts and temples, unable to solve such basic problems as war, insanity and unhappiness.

By the age of nineteen Ron had traveled a quarter million miles, to China, India, Philippines, Japan, Guam and other points in the Orient.

In the Pacific islands, Ron continued his search by venturing deep in the jungles of Guam where he located an ancient Polynesian burial ground.

Returning to the United States in 1929, Ron resumed his formal education, enroling at George Washington University. Upon the insistence of his father he studied mathematics and engineering, which later served to give him a scientific approach to solving the riddles of the mind and spirit.

“To be very blunt,” he put it, “it was very obvious that I was dealing with and living in a culture which knew less about the mind than the lowest primitive tribe I had ever come into contact with. Knowing also that people in the east were not able to reach as deeply and predictably into the riddles of the mind as I had been led to expect, I knew I would have to do a lot of research.”

Ron directed two expeditions: the Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition, and the West Indies Mineralogical Expedition.

But while all the above was going on, L. Ron Hubbard was researching man. Organizing the tremendous body of data he had acquired – from his travels, research and experiments – he embarked upon a new experimental path, to determine how cells functioned. In early 1938 Mr. Hubbard made a breakthrough. he found that the common denominator of existence was SURVIVE.

“I suddenly realized that survival was the pin on which you could hang the rest of this with adequate and ample proof. It’s a very simple problem. Idiotically simple! That’s why it never got solved. Nobody has ever looked at anything being so simple to do so much. So what do we find as the simplicities of solution? The simplicities of solution lie in this: that life, all life, is trying to survive. And life is composed of two things: the material universe and an X-factor. And this X-factor is something that can evidently mobilize the material universe.”

His findings were compiled into a philosophic manuscript, Excalibur, written during the first weeks of 1938.

At the outbreak of World War II, Mr. Hubbard was commissioned as a lieutenant (junior grade) of the US Navy and served as commander of corvettes. He saw action in the Atlantic and Pacific.

Mr. Hubbard concluded the war in Oak Knoll Naval Hospital through war injuries. Here he continued his experiments of returned prisoners of war, and began to administer his theories of the mind, helping patients remedying the mind.

In 1948 Mr. Hubbard wrote a paper on the mind called The Original Thesis. The first published article on Dianetics was entitled Terra Incognita: The Mind, appearing in the Winter/Spring 1949-50 issue of the Explorers club Journal.

“There is something new coming up in April called Dianetics.” wrote national columnist Walter Winchell on January 31, 1950. “A new science which works with the invariability of physical science in the field of the mind. From all indications, it will prove to be as revolutionary for humanity as the first caveman’s discovery and utilization of fire.”

Winchell’s prediction proved correct.

Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health was published May 9, 1950. The response was instantaneous and overwhelming. Almost overnight the book became an international bestseller, with 25,000 letters and telegrams of congratulation. The book hit the New York Times best seller list where it stayed week after week and month after month, forever changing L. Ron Hubbard’s life and, the life of millions.

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