While much scholarship has been devoted to the origin and function of words, as L. Ron Hubbard quite correctly points out, the ways in which words affect us has largely been ignored. That is the province of Word Clearing – how the misunderstood impacts upon learning and thus the quality of our lives, and how the problem is resolved. As noted, Word Clearing is part of the greater body of LRH Study Technology. Yet given the misunderstood can effectively block comprehension of whole subjects – mathematics, foreign languages, history – the clearing of troublesome words becomes enormously important. Moreover, it is the misunderstood that breeds individuation from a subject and, by turns, hostility. Hence, the much talked about correlation between ignorance and crime, and hence those former Los Angeles gang members literally turning from weapons to books with the implementation of LRH study methods.
Finally, and bearing in mind how the misunderstood affects our command of language in general, there is all Word Clearing means as a tool for broad cultural revitalization. In the simplest terms, Ron speaks of the misunderstood word leaving us uncomfortable with words, inarticulate and taciturn – as in that grim specter of the dull and monosyllabic late twentieth-century student. Yet even the seemingly erudite reader may suffer from what he described as small “misalignments” in comprehension and thus an inability to appreciate meanings conceptually – which is to say, one can read words as such, but cannot even begin to appreciate the breadth of meaning. As but one consequence, whole sectors of the population can no longer appreciate quality literature – underscored by the fact Charles Dickens was once read in every English public house to rapt and enthusiastic listeners, while the late twentieth-century bar now offers wrestling matches on wide-screen television.
All this and more is the subject of L. Ron Hubbard’s 1980 essay, “Word Clearing: Education and Understanding.” It is reprinted here for the first time; and although, as Ron himself once remarked, the miracle of Word Clearing must be experienced to be appreciated, he does much here to explain both the phenomena of the misunderstood and the startling revelation of his solution.
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