Floating Needles

This is a study of the definition of a “Floating Needle.” It is merely a compilation of all of the key references on the subject. There is no attempt to enforce any particular opinion regarding this subject. One is free to read through these references and simply decide for himself.  However, after doing so, I believe one would be very hard-pressed to justify waiting for “three swings” before calling an F/N.

Key words:

float: v. to drift on or through or as on or through a fluid. [Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary.]

drift: v. to move or float smoothly and effortlessly. [Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary.]

free: adj. not obstructed, restricted or impeded; not hampered or restricted in its normal operation. [Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary.]

idle: adj. not filled with activity; v. to move slowly or aimlessly. [Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition.]

rhythmic: adj. of or having a movement or variation characterized by the regular recurrence or alternation of different quantities or conditions. [The American Heritage Dictionary]

Definition of a “Floating Needle”:

“An idle needle, one which is drifting slightly to the right and slightly to the left very easily and gently, denotes a comfortable status of mind on the part of the patient, and tells the practitioner that he is nowhere near any subject that distresses him, or, if it follows an emotional outburst, tells him that the outburst itself is spent, and that the subject now can be abandoned for the moment.” [JOURNAL OF SCIENTOLOGY, Issue 1-G (Aug. 1952), ELECTRONICS GIVES LIFE TO FREUD’S THEORY]

“It means an idle, uninfluenced motion, no matter what you say about the goal or terminal. It isn’t just null, it’s uninfluenced by anything (except body reactions). Man it’s really free. You’ll know when you see one.  They’re really pretty startling. The needle just idles around and yawns at your questions on the subject.” [E-meter Essentials (1961)]

“Floating needle, free needle are the same thing. What does one look like? Once you’ve seen one you’ll never make a mistake on one again. For it floats. It ceases to register on the pc’s bank. It just idly floats about or won’t stand up even at low sensitivity.” [HCOB 2 Aug. 65, RELEASE GOOFS]

“It is the idle uninfluenced movement of the needle on the dial without any patterns or reactions in it. It can be as small as 1” or as large as dial wide. It does not fall or drop to the right of the dial. It moves to the left at the same speed as it moves to the right.” [HCOB 21 Oct. 68, FLOATING NEEDLE]

“Pcs and pre-OTs OFTEN signal an F/N with a ‘POP’ to the left and the needle can actually even describe a pattern much like a rock slam. Meters with lighter movements do ‘pop’ to the left.” [HCOB 7 May 69R, Issue V, FLOATING NEEDLE]

“A floating needle is a rhythmic sweep of the dial at a slow, even pace of the needle. That’s what an F/N is. No other definition is correct.” [HCOB 21 Jul. 78, WHAT IS A FLOATING NEEDLE?]

Re-definition of the F/N:

“Free Needle: It means the same as a floating needle (F/N), which is a rhythmic sweep of the dial at a slow, even pace of the needle, back and forth, back and forth, without change in the width of the swing except perhaps to widen as the pc gets off the last small bits of charge. Note that it can get so wide that you have to shift the Tone Arm back and forth, back and forth, to keep the needle on the dial in which case you have a Floating Tone Arm.” [E-Meter Essentials (1996)]

The reason for an F/N:

“The reason a clear’s needle is so free (and you’ve seen, certainly, how an E-Meter needle gets sticky, then freer and freer) is that his thought is separated from a matter, energy, space, time consequence.” [HCOB 17 Mar. 60, STANDARDIZED SESSIONS]

“Free Needle: A needle which shows none of the reactions described above. It floats back and forth easily, registering only the body, its breathing, heartbeats, etc. While needle free, no facsimiles are being impinged on the body.” [HCOB 30 Apr. 60, ACC TRs]

“A real F/N means the pc is out the top, an ARC Br needle means he’s out the bottom. He ceases to mock up, through grief.” [HCOB 5 Oct. 68, ARC BREAK NEEDLES]

Invalidation of the F/N:

Pcs who have routinely had meter reads missed on them become so unconfident of the meter that they are perpetually ARC broke. Only ARC breaks stop a meter from reacting. Therefore this unconfidence in the meter can cancel meter reads!” [HCOB 23 May 62, E-METER READS PREPCHECKING, HOW METERS GET INVALIDATED]

“In checking a free needle, finding it doesn’t respond at all, one has to know by looking at the PC whether the PC is keyed-out or ARC broken.” [HCOB 6 Aug. 65, QUALIFICATIONS TECHNICAL ACTIONS]

 “Invalidation of the appearance of a free needle and invalidating any auditor who ‘thought he saw one.’ This wiped out all release attainments and made for total overrun of all pcs of all grades. This error existed for 15 years so it is not surprising that it got back in again.” [HCO PL 10 Feb. 66, Issue II, TECH RECOVERY]

“One does not sit and study and be sure of an ‘F/N.’ It swings or pops, he lets the pc cognite and then indicates the F/N to the pc preventing overrun.” [HCOB 7 May 69R, Issue V, FLOATING NEEDLE]


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