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Emotional tone scale

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In Scientology, the tone scale or emotional tone scale is a characterization of human behavior. It is based on the idea that some people appear to be more lively and alive than other people and this increased liveliness is orderly. Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard spelled the idea out saying, "just draw a horizontal line on the page. Put the people who are less alive on the bottom and the people who are more alive on the top."

In his 1951 book Science of Survival, Hubbard expanded the idea into many increments. The idea states that a "tone" has many manifestations including appearance, chronic emotion, the way the person handles other people, how well the person can pass on a communication given to them, and other characteristics.


The tone scale is as follows:[1]
40.0 Serenity of beingness
30.0 Postulates
22.0 Games
20.0 Action
8.0 Exhilaration
6.0 Aesthetic
4.0 Enthusiasm
3.5 Cheerfulness
3.3 Strong interest
3.0 Conservatism
2.9 Mild interest
2.8 Contented
2.6 Disinterested
2.5 Boredom
2.4 Monotony
2.0 Antagonism
1.9 Hostility
1.8 Pain
1.5 Anger
1.4 Hate
1.3 Resentment
1.2 No sympathy
1.15 Unexpressed resentment
1.1 Covert hostility
1.02 Anxiety
1.0 Fear
0.98 Despair
0.96 Terror
0.94 Numb
0.9 Sympathy
0.8 Propitiation
0.5 Grief
0.375 Making amends
0.3 Undeserving
0.2 Self-abasement
0.1 Victim
0.07 Hopeless
0.05 Apathy
0.03 Useless
0.01 Dying
0.0 Body death
−0.01 Failure
−0.1 Pity
−0.2 Shame
−0.7 Accountable
−1.0 Blame
−1.3 Regret
−1.5 Controlling bodies
−2.2 Protecting bodies
−3.0 Owning bodies
−3.5 Approval from bodies
−4.0 Needing bodies
−5.0 Worshipping bodies
−6.0 Sacrifice
−8.0 Hiding
−10.0 Being objects
−20.0 Being nothing
−30.0 Can't hide
−40.0 Total failure

Details of the scale[edit]

Hubbard devised the "Tone Scale" in 1951 as a tool for auditors in Scientology. Scientologists believe it intends to classify people in a range or scale according to how spiritually alive and how dead a person is, both personally and in their relationships with others. It prescribes auditing procedures to use with a person depending where they are on the scale.

Hubbard expanded on the idea and created 59 increments which he numbered from −40 (total failure) to +40 (serenity of beingness). Hubbard's full scale appears on the right. According to Scientologists, a person chronically focused on death and destruction is at the low end of the tone scale, while a person focused on creativity is at the high end of the scale.

A noteworthy mechanism of the scale involves a person as they approach and react to pain. As a person approaches pain, they allegedly become more antagonistic and less cheerful. It is purported by Hubbard that after receiving pain, they will be angry about it, and then, if the pain persists, can become more overwhelmed by it, progressing down through fear, grief, apathy, into failure, etc. Auditing allegedly reverses this path. Scientologists aim to be at the higher levels of the tone scale and believe that Scientology auditing will move them to a higher average level on the tone scale.

While a person can rationally be any place on the tone scale due to circumstances, Scientologists argue that one should not, under normal circumstances, be stuck any particular place on the scale. Also, in Scientology one can be at various places on the tone scale in different areas of life, such as being chronically "high on" oneself and chronically "down on" people or one's partner. Such discrepancy is allegedly an indication of a problem.

The ultimate goal of Scientology is claimed to be "a free being". By Scientology's definition, a free being can be, but does not have to be, any place on the scale. A free being does not have to avoid certain areas of the scale, although one could as a matter of choice or taste.

Allegedly, the lower a person is on the scale, the more complex and solid their problems are and the more effort it takes to make even a little positive and real long-term gain for that person. Thus, spotting a person low on the scale allows one to make a decision regarding how careful or involved one should become in dealing with that person.

According to author Lawrence Wright, Scientology's theory on the highest levels of the tone scale is “characterized by monogamy, constancy, a pleasurable attitude toward sex, and an intense interest in children.” Hubbard claims however, that sexual desire is sublimed into “pure creative thought,” superseding the desire to procreate.[2]


In addition to the original Tone Scale and the later, expanded one, there is also an "Emotional Tone Scale" and a "Reality Spotting by E-Meter" scale that lists expected E-meter reactions when encountering each portion of the Tone Scale. These, and other related scales and charts, are found in Hubbard's book Scientology 0-8: The Book of Basics.[citation needed]


  1. "The Tone Scale". Church of Scientology International. Retrieved 2014-08-30.
  2. Wright, Lawrence (2013). Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 9780385350273. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Other articles of the topic Scientology : Master Shake
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