Understanding the Introspection Rundown Theory and Practice

Moderator: doubleVee


James McGuigan

User avatar

Ghost in the Machine

Posts: 396

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:42 am

Location: Between Reality Tunnels

Post Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:35 pm

Understanding the Introspection Rundown Theory and Practice

I started replying to a post in another thread, but ended up going into essay mode (only 3 and a bit pages), so I thought it deserves its own thread so it doesn't get missed.
http://exscientologykids.com/eskforums/ ... php?t=5088

The theory behind the introspection rundown does have some logic to it. A person has just had a nervous breakdown and their subconscious is overwhelming their ability to function in the normal world.

The idea is to put a person in a totally non-restimulative environment where they feel totally safe, relaxed and in control of their environment, by removing all the external stimuli, stress and chaos possible from the outside world. In theory this should allow their minds to calm down, break the cycle of constant restimulation from external sources, and hopefully give them the time and space to regain cause over their minds, and work through whatever mental processes are overwhelming them until they are no longer overwhelmed.

The role of a baby-watcher should be comparable to a psychedelic trip sitter, to ensure the basic safety of the individual, ensure that the set and setting remain positive, and to be their superego in terms of taking responsibility for their needs which they are unable to provide for themselves (such as acquire food, water etc).

Well that’s the theory, or at least my own idealized interpretation of the underlying principals of the introspection rundown, in non-scientology terms. I suspect the introspection rundown is the result of a thought experiment, rather than a practical one refined with use. I can imagine Hubbard asking himself how a totally overwhelmed theatan would bring himself back to sanity in a perfect world. The biggest problem is that this idealized solution is almost impossible to properly implement given the practical realities of the available resources. I even have some disagreements regarding how well Hubbard’s theoretical implementation of the rundown aligns with the underlying theory of what he is aiming to achieve. Also it should be noted that Hubbard’s policies on the introspection rundown doesn't contain a field-manual or hat write-up on the day to day realities of baby-sitting.

The ethical justification is that the person is no longer sane or able to make rational choices regarding their own treatment, if they are even aware of their own insanity. It’s the same basic argument made by the state in order to commit a person to a mental institution. The Church of Scientology considers it should have the same responsibilities and powers over its "members" as a sovereign state has over its "citizens". The CoS considers the state to be incompetent and misguided and thus should be bypassed where required. Much WTF-ness regarding the CoS stems from comparing their actions to what is acceptable for a company vis-à-vis comparing their actions to what is considered acceptable for a sovereign state. This is not a justification, but rather a point of understanding and comprehension.

One of the major problems is that to a person in an overwhelmed state, any external form of control is likely to be considered a negative experience, cause further restimulation and counter productive to the purpose of regaining self-determination. Thus as a baby-watcher, any form of control should be kept to absolute minimum, such as gently guiding a person and suggesting direction. Physically dragging or restraining the person is anathema to the goal of creating a safe and relaxed environment.

Scientology training gets in the way here. TR6 involves controlling a person physically, with commands such a "touch that wall" and physically ensuring compliance. Additionally auditors are trained to not allow a PC to dramatize his or her reactive bank, often through verbal control. While these may be appropriate in certain processes dealing with non-overwhelmed people to confront that which that cannot confront themselves, this training is totally inappropriate when dealing with an overwhelmed person, for whom all control is likely to be restimulative.

Another Scientology based issue, is that standard tech urges that policy be followed to the letter, often resulting in baby-sitters over-focusing on minor details, such as worrying about accidently replying to a question rather than always focusing on the high level goals of providing a safe and secure space.

The introspection rundown is a fairly expensive and exhausting process for those trying to implement it. It is church policy not to fund the implementation of the introspection rundown (though Lisa McPherson may have been given a free room at the Fort Harrison if she had nowhere else to go). It’s a very ad-hoc and necessity based situation, rather than an institutionalized process. The cost of food, vitamins, auditing and accommodation is borne by the friends, family and babysitters of the overwhelmed person on the introspection rundown. As most Scientologists do not have huge quantities of disposable income or savings, this can sometimes result in basic problems such as running out of money for food. Baby sitters are often acquired on an volunteer(ed) basis, and it requires the manpower to provide a 24/7 baby-watch, with at least 1 or 2 baby watchers on duty at all times, possibly on a rota system. Any Staff or Sea Org members on baby watch, would likely not be taken off post, but rather expected to remain upstat on their posts while taking on this additional responsibility.

Any stress, tiredness, irritability or present time problems on the part of the baby-watcher are likely to interfere with the baby-watchers ability to provide a safe and non-restimulative environment. A baby watcher is required to have a Zen like calmness, with infinite time, patience and compassion for the person they are watching. When the overwhelmed person doesn't want to eat, doesn't want to return to their room, or stared to become violent, it is still the duty of the baby watcher to only exercise minimalist control and guidance and then only for their protection; and to be as non-restimulative as humanly possible. However when the baby watcher is running out of patience, and they don't want to spend all day attempting to get their ward to eat a single piece of fruit, when they want their ward to return to their room so that they can shut the door and do something else; there is a very strong temptation to apply additional control to ensure compliance, which can create a negative feedback loop, where control sparks resistance and enturbulation, resulting in additional control being applied. This again is counter to the end goal of non-restimulation and non-overwealmed-ness. It is the result of the baby-watcher putting their own needs above that of the overwhelmed person, a violation of their role to be a superego.

Accommodation for the introspection rundown is often fairly basic in the form of a smallish and lockable room, rather than the idealized empty castle on an island in the middle of nowhere. It can be tricky to keep a room completely clean and tidy, when you have an uncooperative and messy person within the room, especially if have very few opportunities to remove the person from the room in order to properly clean it. Also issues such a bug-infested mattress may be non-obvious to somebody not sleeping in the bed and unable to talk to the person sleeping in it. While

It should also be noted that the internal reality and thought processes of the overwhelmed person may be completely different from the external reality as it appears to the baby watcher. Thus leading to unexpected responses or behavior which may seem perfectly sane or logical on the other side. Without full acceptance of this fact, and a willingness to accept this pattern of thinking in the spirit of play, it is very easy to create a break in affinity, reality and communication with the overwhelmed person.

If the overwhelmed person, does not fully understand and accept what is going on, the environment of the introspection rundown itself may seem restimulative and non-safe. Paranoia may very well be one of their symptoms at the time. Paranoia can feed on itself, especially if the logical mind doesn't have the awareness to realize its being paranoid and try to short circuit the feedback loop. From their point of view, they may perceive that have been taken against their will and locked in a room, surrounded by strangers (friends/family are considered potentially restimulative per policy), and possibly sedated without their knowledge. Vitamins may appear to be drugs and instinctively rejected, resulting in vitamins and drugs being dissolved within food that may now taste strange (would you eat food if you thought it was drugged?). For an overwhelmed person, being drugged without a full understanding of what they are taking is just going to lead to further confusion and a further feeling that they are not in control of their environment (a key objective of the rundown).

Now combine this with the Scientology scare stories about the soul-destroying psychiatric drugs and the evil psychiatrists who are trying to take over the world with them. They would be happy to enslave you within a mental institution under the mental straight jacket of drugs. As covertly-hostile suppressives they will lie to you and trick you, and they have no intension of helping you. It doesn't take much of a paranoid mind to link those scare stories with the Sea Org uniforms and the fact that nobody will talk to you, in order to realize that the psychiatrists and implanters have secretly infiltrated over the Church of Scientology, thus leading an already overwhelmed person to suddenly question the one their one ray of hope for spiritual salvation and the only hope for mankind. The baby sitters will ensure that resistance and escape is futile.

But as I said at the beginning, the idea is to put a person in a totally non-restimulative environment where they feel totally safe, relaxed and in control of their environment, by removing all the external stimuli, stress and chaos possible from the outside world.
Freedom is a choice. Choose to be yourself, choose to speak your truth and do so with compassion. And above all else, choose to be not afraid. If I can't dance, its not my revolution.


Suppressive Person

Posts: 913

Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:13 am

Post Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:23 am

I agree that the basic idea isn't a bad one.
But if someone wont eat, and drugs makes them eat, you give them drugs.
But it should be done in the right enviroment. With Doctors there.
"Everybody has a right to believe what they want to believe. But I don't believe that anybody has a right to trick anybody, to hurt anybody, to harm some body, for their own purposes." - Jason Beghe

Holden Caulfield

User avatar


Posts: 419

Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 9:44 pm

Location: A Central Park Bench

Post Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:49 am

I agree. A person in that state will be better off without the pejorative scientology attitude of being "down-tone" and needs professional care by people who are objective and medically trained.
"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth."


User avatar

Suppressive Person

Posts: 1282

Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:36 pm

Location: West Coast USA

Post Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:51 pm

James McGuigan wrote:Any Staff or Sea Org members on baby watch, would likely not be taken off post, but rather expected to remain upstat on their posts while taking on this additional responsibility.

I'm pretty sure James is right about this. This just seems like another in a long list of "unreasonable" expectations in Scn. Setting people up to fail is one of the things that Scn does best.
Enjoy your life today,
For time is fleeting.

Return to Tech Debates & Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group.
Designed by ST Software