(Section 7 of Part 3 – Why I Left the Church)
If you have done any meter training since the Golden Age of Tech, you know that if you want to pass a drill on spotting F/Ns or a session video, the needle has to swing three times before you can call it a floating needle. Otherwise you will get a flunk.
Yes, I know that nobody actually says that the needle has to swing three times. “That would be verbal tech” so you can’t actually say that. But “we all know” that the needle has to swing three times. If you call a floating needle when there are only two swings you will get a flunk. You do not need to wait until a fourth swing to call it an F/N. That’s the way it is. You can’t actually say “the needle has to swing three times” but that is the silent agreement. If you don’t see it that way, you have to word clear it until you do see it that way, because if you don’t see it that way, you can never move on with your training.
I challenge anyone to take an honest look at how they came to the conclusion that they had to get three swings to call it an F/N and tell me that they figured it out for themselves just by reading LRH’s definition of an F/N, with absolutely no verbal clues from anyone else, including the very common clue of being flunked for calling an F/N that has less than three swings.
As a Supervisor, I have never seen any student figure this out just by reading the definition. I always had to do something to “get them to see it that way”. When I was learning it, I had to be flunked for calling an F/N with less than three swings before it even occurred to me that that could be a requirement for a legitimate F/N.
You can tell me all you want about how your definition of “rhythmic” (a word in LRH’s definition of a floating needle) explains how the needle would have to swing three times to really be an F/N. But, to work out how “rhythmic” translates to “three swings of the needle” after having someone’s verbal interpretation of “three swings” foisted on you is an altered sequence.
You could take almost any verbal interpretation of anything and then work out how the definitions of the words that define it justify that interpretation, even if the logic is batty. If you enforce that interpretation hard enough, you can get a lot of people to buy it. That is what has happened in the church with the definition of an F/N.
Another piece of the reference used to justify this is that part that says “back and forth, back and forth” to describe what an F/N looks like. It was interpreted that it could not be an F/N unless the needle went back, then forth, then back, then forth. There are many outpoints with this.
The most obvious outpoint with using those words is that it was only enforced that the needle had to swing three times for it to be an F/N, and the words “back and forth, back and forth”, if taken literally, would mean four swings, not three. So why is it that someone is using “back and forth, back and forth” to mean only three swings? It doesn’t add up.
The second outpoint is that I was told by someone no longer in the church who worked in LRH Technical Research and Compilations that the part of the “definition” that contained those words were just LRH describing an F/N to one single person and it was never meant to be part of the definition in an HCOB or E-Meter Essentials. Yet it was illegally put into these references and then interpreted that it meant that the needle had to swing a certain number of times.
And the third outpoint about this “back and forth, back and forth” thing is that it takes very literal thinking to interpret these words as meaning that it can’t be an F/N until it literally made that exact number of motions. When I originally read that so-called definition, I didn’t actually think that LRH said those words with the intention of giving a minimal amount of times the needle has to swing before it would be called an F/N. In my opinion that is very literal reading and it does not pick up the conceptual understanding of the message that was being given. I doubt that most people would ever conclude that it was that literal unless they had been given some verbal data first.
So, one of the most important technical points in all of Scientology is being altered because of someone’s verbal interpretation.
And I’m told that that someone is in fact David Miscavige. I was told this not only when doing my internet research but I had also been told this years earlier, while still very much in the church, by people who were training at Flag at the time.
The story behind this, from what I remember being told, was that COB one day announced to all the Flag tech terminals that he had been checking out videos and that they had been “miscalling F/Ns all over the place” or some such. A huge evolution then ensued where everyone had to be handled on having not interpreted the definition of an F/N the way he interpreted it. Many people were assigned harsh ethics for just “miscalling” one F/N. I got the impression from the stories I’ve heard that goldenrod paper was being plastered all over the place.
Eventually it all evolved to where everyone “knew” that in order for it to be an F/N, the needle had to swing three times and that verbal data has carried forward to this day. I’m sure there’s much more to the story than that but my point is that the stories I have heard or read say that COB himself has enforced his interpretation of the definition of a floating needle on every meter trainee since about 1995.
Perhaps you or someone you know has been affected by this in the form of overruns. I have read stories and I have some experience with this myself (especially on metered Word Clearing) and it is not my idea of a good time. I can still recall sitting across from many different word clearers in many separate occasions, making 2000 sentences to try to get a word to “F/N”!