Panther Mechanism Demystified
An old Mechanism explained by more recent discoveries
In a celebrated allegory about dealing with a hypothetical Black Panther, Hubbard, explained how there were 5 ways to deal with dangerous and threatening situations in life.
Called the "Black Panther Mechanism", it is repeatedly described in 1950 in the original book: "Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health".
Hubbard goes on to say: "Let us suppose that a particularly black-tempered Black Panther is sitting on the stairs and that a man named Gus is sitting in the living room. Gus wants to go to bed. But there is the Black Panther. The problem is to get upstairs. There
are five things that Gus can do." The five alternates are described as (1) ATTACK, (2) FLEE, (3) AVOID, (4) NEGLECT and (5) SUCCUMB.
While it was commented on and even criticized in the very first issue of IVY, it has never been analyzed adequately in the view of the vast sum of Scientological knowledge that has accumulated since. This is almost surprising, as the answers are in plain sight, just waiting to be extracted.
While the mechanism is primitive and even simplistic it has nevertheless remained a useful workhorse in many Scientology applications.
It is the hope of the author that the explanations given hereto will satisfy both and apologists and dissenters of the original mechanism, by pointing out the fundamental principles on which it is actually based
The simple truth of the matter is that there are two and only two fundamental principles in this Universe: Positive and Negative or Cause and Effect. Each one of these can in turn be divided into two, three or sometimes an infinity of alternates or vectors.
Facing any choice, a Being can adopt the fundamental Viewpoint of CAUSE or the Fundamental Viewpoint of EFFECT.
CAUSE may be divided in Balanced/Controlled Cause, Unbalanced/Uncontrolled Cause and Inverted Cause.
The same can be said for EFFECT: there can be Balanced/Controlled Effect, Unbalanced/Uncontrolled Effect and Inverted Effect.
One of the Corollaries of the Axioms is that the Viewpoints taken by a Being can manifest themselves in many different ways:
For example, in the realm of Communication, Cause manifests itself through Reaching and Effect manifest itself through Withdrawing. It is the principle underlying a great many Scientology processes and procedures.
When dealing with Problems (the presence of a Black Panther in one's stairwell would for most people qualify as a Problem), Cause would manifest itself by Facing (or in Scientologese "Confront"). Effect would be the exact opposite of confronting, that is, withdrawing, avoiding, eluding, or "preferring not to confront". Many processes are based on this principle.
As far as Actions and Transgressions (including what is known in Scientologese as Overts) go, Cause would manifest itself by the commission of an action (an overt act, a confession, or most anything that one can do). Effect manifest itself by withholding and is the fundamental characteristic of a withhold.
To summarize: when one deals with problems, using the Cause to Effect Scale, the possible alternates are:
1: BALANCED AND CONTROLLED CAUSE: This means that the exact amount of force required is applied in the correct amount and in the most constructive way in order to effectively deal with a problem.
In the case of a panther, probably the most controlled approach would be to HANDLE it through the use of the skills of an Wild Animal Trainer. Failing that, weapons to subdue (APPROPRIATELY ATTACK), or even kill the animal would have to be used. Balanced and Controlled cause is main attribute of the Analytical Mind: it bases the actions it will dictate on impartial and intelligent calculations uninfluenced by emotions or reactive impulses. It seeks to deal head on with the problem and to unconditionally handle it to a satisfactory and permanent conclusion. The most satisfactory conclusion of all would be off course one which enhances the well-being (survival) of all, panther included, and allow oneself to go about his daily routines and duties, unfettered by the panther. The Keynote of this Level is Creativity.
2: UNBALANCED OR UNCONTROLLED CAUSE: In the case of a Black Panther, this attitude would be mostly observable in states of frenzy. Although mainly observable under more casual and far less threatening circumstances, it is yet a theoretical approach toward a Panther. Possibly because anyone harboring such an attitude toward a wild animal would endure a prompt and painful demise, it may have been originally omitted as a possible alternate. In the case of extreme Dangers such as the presence of a Panther in one's stairwell, it is unlikely to manifest itself except where the circumstances surrounding the presence of the Panther have compounded a pre-existing condition of case overwhelm therefore have triggered the revivification (an actual reliving of something that occurred in the past) of a past incident. In more mundane examples, unbalanced or uncontrolled cause includes inappropriately antagonizing, attacking imaginary enemies or even friends as if they were real foes, the
Use of Overwhelming or unwarranted deadly force, the unjustified destruction of property and the use of Sadism and Revenge to subdue an enemy. It runs through the entire gamut of Paranoia and is also the primary cause of violent crime. It is also the basic philosophy underlying Extremism and it is where Scientology, when used in unscrupulous hands, becomes entirely subverted and degenerates into a form of advanced Psychosis. The Keynote of this level is Destruction (Inverted Creativity)
3: INVERTED CAUSE: In this case Cause itself has become inverted. The individual still faces the threat but seeks being cause by dramatizing being effect. The person still views the problem and its danger in its entirety, but withholds all action and denies self truly being cause. While the preceding level dealt mainly with Evil Purposes and Postulates, this level manifest itself mainly with SUCCUMB.
4 BALANCED AND CONTROLLED EFFECT: If someone considers the Black Panther to be an obstacle that is deemed to be too overwhelming to face or impossible to overcome, the most controlled approach is to AVOID it. In other words, one will seek to circumvent it and try to function in spite of it, without truly dealing with the issue. In many cases, it may be workable, at least temporarily. It tends to be the most expedient solution.
5: UNBALANCED OR UNCONTROLLED EFFECT: Fleeing can simply be defined as an uncontrolled avoidance. The fears and phobias within the Reactive Mind cause the individual to strongly recoil (FLEE) and to seek safety by being so far that the Panther is no longer being perceived. The mechanisms behind being the adverse effect of things or people (PTS) are found at this level.
6- INVERTED EFFECT: IGNORE: Ignoring a problem is the paramount of NOT-IS-NESS. The individual has become so much effect that he believes he has actually become cause and therefore feel he can ignores the problem altogether, as it no longer truly exist.
Drug addiction and the adoption of "Safe Solutions" are some of the most common manifestations found at this level.
The preferred choice of action by an individual (in circumstances where a number of alternates are possible) will denote the Actual Case Level of the individual and his.her position on the Chart of Human Evaluation.
Obviously, circumstances may dictate that a particular course of action is preferable over others, so determining accurately the chronic tone level of an individual, while using the Black Panther Mechanism as a yardstick can only be accurate through a statistical analysis (examining a significant number of responses by the person and making the determination accordingly). The use of any one of the six responses described above toward a single situation may turn out to be the most appropriate, depending on the circumstances.
Individuals who chronically use “Balanced and Controlled Cause” are those closest to Higher Spiritual Development or “OT”.
Anyone advanced on the Higher OT Levels who does not instinctively use “Balanced and Controlled Cause” in dealing with situations and life, is in serious need of Repair and Advanced Programs to get him/her to an awareness Level and chronic Tone commensurate with his/her professed grade.
“Unbalanced and Uncontrolled Cause” is the Main characteristic of the Fear to Antagonism Band (1.0-2.0), but is present to a lesser degree both above and below that band. Expanded Dianetics was developed mainly to address cases stuck at that level and the one below (Inverted Cause) as the later cases are on a chronic Succumb.
Balanced and Controlled Effect is mainly an attribute found above the Antagonism Band (2.0), though it is also present to a degree in the Propitiation – Fear band (0.8 to 1.0)
Unbalanced and Uncontrolled Effect is the keynote of a
heavily charge case and of People who are labeled as PTS. Destimulative
auditing and also the “New Vitality Rundown” developed by Hubbard in
For cases that are at “Inverted Effect”, many will be found to be utterly un-desirous to change their condition. (Change and increased awareness is something frightening to them, because their entire approach to life is based on carefully selected Safe Solutions used as a substitute for them when choices have to be made). Such cases best respond to Objective and Havingness type processes.
Translated into the conditions of existence:
“Balanced and Controlled Cause” is the only attitude that shows a potential for a full
All other attitudes, contains increasing amounts of
The last Level of Inverted Effect is nearing a complete degree of
So here we have an old mechanism, fully explained and clarified by more modern developments.
Copyright 2007 by
Copyright © 2006-2007 by Pierre Ethier.
NO PART OF THE TEXT ABOVE MAY BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT DIRECT PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT OWNER