Clearbird, The Real Story!
Clearbird's "The Road to Clear" has been out for nearly two years in electronic form. Recently the originators took the next step and opened a bookstore on the web where auditing materials can be gotten as printed course packs.
Clearbird Publishing was started in November 2002. Contrary to popular beliefs the prime reason for Clearbird was not to "rewrite the tech" in order to put it outside the Church of Scientology's copyright domain and immediate control. The real reason was to write all the tech up in textbook form where you have the luxury of putting all in the right context and weighted according to relative importance as it had been established over years and years of research, trial and error, testing and retesting. It was to give an alternative record to the issue line on how to apply the tech and make auditing occur in the field. Although this original issue line, the HCOB by HCOB published chronologically, obviously was the record to consult when one needed to know exactly what Ron meant about something, it also made the subject more difficult than needed. What was needed, according to Clearbird, for Free Scientology to blossom was a textbook rendition of the tech that took "barriers to study" into account in the writing and editing phase.
Having experience with teaching new students we had seen time and again that the original issue line was not a good entry point for such students, including many willing academy students. Especially when dealing with foreign language students you saw the "barriers to study" phenomena in a magnified way: all the indicators of misunderstood words, too steep a gradient and lack of mass. The materials themselves didn't lend themselves to such students.
Vocabulary and organization was based entirely on the original research and context in which pieces of tech were discovered and validated and communicated to a group of advanced students that was totally up to speed. A textbook version should have all the pertinent materials in context and not leave the student wondering about if there were other data in other HCOBs that modified or contradicted that. In other words, the ideal scene was that it was an accurate, complete and easy to study text, that would teach students to audit.
Since we didn't operate on any kind of budget the obvious first step of publishing was to put it on the web. Freezone-America, that already had a library of Freezone publications, was here very hospitable and hosted the early versions. The very first thing put up was an E-meter course; something that existed in several versions already. This was in December 2002. We used the numbering in Ron's "E-meter Drills", but split up some of the drills and added one drill. We added a drill for metabolism test. It clearly is a small piece of tech that has its own drill. Since a metabolism test is supposed to be done before each session, and if pc fails it no session will take place, it belongs with the rest of the E-meter drills; this was the line of thought.
This is a good example of, that important data discovered later tended to be presented out of context and students often had to find such data on his own. Another and maybe better example of what we wanted to overcome would be "the history of F/Ns and EP's". You will find early on processes were run until flat, measured as minimal TA over a 20 minutes period (moving in a range less than 0.25 on TA dial). Then, around 1966 it became a "crime" to run any process beyond the first signs of an F/N ("A free needle, if a process is overrun, vanishes with just one extra command" HCOPL 10 Feb 66). Only one process per grade was allowed. This style was later named "Quickie Grades" and made a "crime" of its own. Also, for an F/N to be valid the TA had to be between 2.0 and 3.0 or you should just carry on.
Then, with Expanded Grades 1971, you had to carry a process to End Phenomena, F/N, VGIs and cognition. Still, the TA had to be between 2.0 and 3.0 for it to be a valid F/N. There was a period around 1971 where the tech and trick was to "talk the TA down". It had some workability but didn't really handle what was "wrong" with the pc, such as false TA and Out Int. Another piece of tech introduced late in this period was footplates as a way to handle false TA. PC would place her bare feet on metal plates (usually printing plates) and it would provide better contact than the hands did on some PCs and result in a lower TA position; but the reads this set-up provided were smaller and less accurate so this was abandoned a couple of years later. But there was a period where it took bare feet before you stepped onto the Bridge.
The final Bulletin Ron Hubbard issued on all this was HCOB 2 December 1980, 'F/N and TA Position Modified'. It states "a floating needle is a floating needle regardless of where the Tone Arm position may be. It should be called, indicated and written as an F/N, with the TA noted." And "Tone arm positions register the relative mass of the case and nothing in this finding changes that. There are low TA cases and high TA cases and the state of the TA remains important and all data regarding TA positions are valid." Obviously all this has interest to historians and to advanced students; but it becomes very confusing to anyone who hasn't read it all before and just takes the data on face value, issue by issue. You will find a number of issues written around 1978 that sums up things and subjects (Service Fac handling and Date/Locate Tech are examples). We don't think any of them were written by Ron himself, however, but approved by him. So he clearly saw a need for it.
Another point that underlies the Clearbird project is our dedication to conceptual understanding. This may be somewhat controversial to some hardliners. But the fact is, that an understanding of a piece of tech isn't complete until it transcends words and is understood as an action that is taken to accomplish a positive effect in a pc. A technical datum has to be understood as an idea in the theta universe and as a potential action. Once this is accomplished it can be expressed in any language and in many different ways as far as use of words is concerned. Pictures help tremendously in communicating the underlying ideas. We therefore decided to use lots of pictures to illustrate basic concepts. We have 'recycled' about 400 pictures used throughout; the philosophy was, that they serve the reader to add mass to the text in a similar fashion that a demo kit does; and in a demo kit you use the same small items over and over.
Writing the tech up in textbook form did pose mainly two legal issues as far as copyright and trademarked words were concerned. We could legally have used trademarked words throughout, but decided not to for a couple of reasons. First, although it could be presented as 'fair use' of trademarked words, which is entirely legal in textbook context, it could still be challenged in court in a somewhat frivolous lawsuit; something we wanted to avoid. Clearbird is not meant to be a confrontational publication, but simply to open the door for a wider application of the tech. Therefore, we decided once more to use 'Conceptual Understanding' and name things accordingly. Thus we named 'Dianetics' as 'Engram Clearing'. The lower 'Scientology' grades were under one named 'Ability Clearing' since ability and ability gained are stressed again and again as the end result of any such processing.
In Engram Clearing you erase things (Engrams). In Ability Clearing you do not go for the underlying Engrams but stop the moment you have the EP of "Ability Gained". Obviously each major process has to be run to at least the EP of F/N, VGIs and cognition. But the overall goal of a Grade or Rundown is consistently "Ability Gained", thus Ability Clearing is actually very precise. It could of course as well be called Ability Processing, but since Clearing Technology has become the name most agreed upon in the Freezone, we use Ability Clearing. To extend use of 'Ability' up the grade chart the upper levels have been named "Advanced Ability Levels" in Clearbird. This was, as far as we know, also used by Mayo and Gerbode in their 'Advanced Ability Centers' that delivered the whole Bridge. In the 2004 edition we named all of the technology 'Standard Clearing Technology', but have in the 2005 print edition gone back to simply 'Clearing Technology', as this has been the long standing name for Ron's tech in the Freezone. The idea was not to be "creative" in naming or renaming things, but to be intuitive and find names that made sense to old-timers that long ago had achieved this conceptual understanding we keep talking about.
Other names we have introduced in 'Road to Clear' are: Word Clearing Intensive, Ethics Integrity RD (for auditing based on Way to Happiness booklet) and Fixated Purpose RD as being the underlying meaning of the abbreviation 'FPRD'. The other main reason for finding non-trademarked names, where trademarks existed, was to suggest a nomenclature that could be used freely in promotional literature, etc. Our second legal problem was bringing the exact processes, correction lists, axioms, etc. This, however, only took reading the copyright law and understanding it correctly. The law specifically excludes processes and basic facts or truths as something that can be copyrighted. It is quite clear, that the law exists to protect the rights of authors; but not to a point where they can keep new discoveries or technology for themselves as 'private property'. The law is thus clearly on our side when it comes to Ron's technology or any other discoveries or tech. Obviously the sprit of this body of laws is to protect the authors financial interests up to a point. But on the other hand also make it clear that new discoveries belong to mankind as soon as they are made (unless patented if possible). So recordings in all kinds of formats: print, taped lectures, music, video, etc. can be copyrighted. But any ideas, discoveries, processes and procedures contained therein cannot, or have not in this case, been protected.
What is in a Name?
The name 'Clearbird' was inspired by Richard Bach's story, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The seagull, Jonathan, is tired of a life consisting of eating, sleeping and mating; and fighting over food and mates and wants to dedicate his life to expert flying. He learns from the best in the business and they form a brother and sisterhood where they pick up new candidates and teach them the skills and joys of expert flying. Thus there develops a teacher/pupil society where seagulls with higher goals can practice their craft and art. This was a very popular story in the 1970s and many Scientologists took it to mean the brother and sisterhood around Ron's technology. It was actually first called Clear Bird (in two words) but after using it in a test search on the web it became clear that 'Clear Bird' would turn up tens of thousands of irrelevant links. On the other hand, we had hit jackpot when it came to spelling it 'Clearbird'. No one had thought of that name, except some private person in Japan in a totally unrelated context. In other words, in a time where each name you practically can think of instantly will lead to fights over rights or become so far fetched that they are deprived of any meaning, we had by accident found a name that actually had a meaningful explanation, contained a good picture for logo and characterized the whole project exactly the way it was intended. If you use 'Clearbird' as search word in any search engine on the web now, you will find many, many links. But all related to this very Clearbird project.
This was an unexpected bonus. Starting out, we had given up on getting any high visibility on the web. 'Meta tags' and all kinds of advice was wasted on us. Getting a fancy web address or submitting an URL to hundreds of search engines was considered waste of time without the right expertise. After submitting the initial website only to two directories other search engines and directories started to copy 'from there'. The two we submitted to was Netscape's DMOZ directory for the Freezone and Google's main search engine. We did however make one little 'discovery'. The title you give a page is crucial. What is meant here is the line that becomes visible in the very top part of the browser frame, highlighted in blue. This page title is what is used in listings as headline and the words contained therein are what many search engines use in categorizing your pages. This may be a low tech approach, but it has great workability compared to the little effort it takes.
KSW and Clearbird
One of the main objections you hear against a textbook version of the tech, such as Clearbird, is obviously the Keeping Scientology Working issues. We think the whole subject of KSW has truth to it when it comes to any technology, "if it works, don't try to 'fix' it". We respect Ron's tech for what it is, a complete system that has been tested and adjusted, retested and adjusted again and now existed more or less in its final form for over 30 years. That said, the whole KSW argument as you hear it seems often a bit silly and service facsimile (See Glossary). The fact is it is being used as an important piece in the whole strategy of only making the tech available to less than one percent of the populations in the richest countries of the world. It has become a way not to having the technology but to run a can't have on people who want it, but don't have tens of thousands of dollars handy for that purpose. The first point of KSW is after all "having the technology". Administering it to create a monopoly and run a "can't have" on anyone not financially and otherwise qualified is not going to clear the planet or any little part thereof. Putting the tech out there in an easy to understand form can only support clearing and auditing on a larger scale. We see this happening around the world, where people have started to apply the Clearbird materials in co-auditing and as pilot materials for academy training. RONS org international recently approved it for co-auditing courses. To become a certified auditor under RONS Orgs you still have to study LRH's materials as well. When it comes to IFA's stated purpose of preserve, protect and promote the tech there is no real conflict either. We see Clearbird's role to create interest for the tech and help auditing occurring. Once that is under way, there will be plenty of students of LRH's original writings and a keen interest to get it exactly right. But unless auditing is occurring and new people are being attracted to the tech the whole body of work may end up on a shelf somewhere or in some safe of a die-hard organization. The tech just deserves a better destiny. The tech only makes good sense when applied and it only comes to life and to its full rights when understood and applied broadly. It is obviously "a suppressive act", according to the 1960s justice codes, to rewrite the tech in textbook form. Even more so, when you call trademarked services for something else. Our only comment to that is, that it has always been top crimes in this universe to be there and to communicate. You can only imagine the list of "High Crimes" it takes to deliver a session in the field. You have to be a freedom fighter and partisan to keep it up.
To us Ron the Tech Developer and Ron the Justice Code Writer are two completely different persons. Anyone is entitled to his opinions. History will probably find Ron the Tech Developer right and Ron the Justice Code Writer a despotic boss and ruler that completely set aside his earlier perspective of inalienable rights of Man. So with Clearbird, you could say, we do as Ron did and not as he says. We try to repeat the first successful action of Book One and put the tech out there despite the hostility of this. and that establishment, be it academia or C of S.
A concise and comprehensive book by Clearbird on the technology can be obtained from Gold Century Press.