...he wanted them to understand how literacy held the key to participation in the world.
mong other items of interest in a later summary of educational experience, L. Ron Hubbard would cite: his very early examination of semantics; his instruction of Chamorro children on the island of Guam; his headlong collision with academic repression at George Washington University and his eventual return to that institution for lectures on popular literature. He would further speak of training some fifteen thousand military personnel through the course of the Second World War, his training of many thousand more students of Dianetics and Scientology and, quite conservatively, his several hundred thousand hours of research into the process of learning as a whole. His obvious point: “It has been a long road.”
In proper sequence, however, the story is this: As the son of a United States naval officer, Ron’s early education was somewhat irregular. Between 1916 and 1928, for example, he had attended no less than ten separate schools, “and this one, in the fifth grade, had had long division (which I had not had yet) and that one in the sixth had had advanced multiplication (but no real long division yet),” he lamented, “and so I was snarled beyond belief by school.” As the saving grace, however, his mother had previously attended a Nebraska teacher’s college and was otherwise amply qualified to serve as tutor. Then, too, he was an extraordinarily bright young man, reading at the age of three-and-a-half and soon devouring shelves of classics, including much of Western philosophy, the pillars of English literature and, of note, the essays of Sigmund Freud.
In later lectures on the development of Dianetics, Ron would have much to say on psychoanalysis: his introduction to the subject (through one of Freud’s own students, no less), his experimentation with psychoanalytic technique and his eventual dismissal of the theory whole cloth. There was, however, one aspect of the subject with particular relevance here: Freudian emphasis on word association. For the moment, Ron would only pose the question, “What could be wrong with a word?” In time, however, he would examine the matter from several angles, and most especially from what he described as “the influence of a mislearned word on a life.” Yet as regards his greater progress through the 1920s, the next significant milestone involved the teaching of those Chamorro children on the island of Guam.
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