Scientology was based on many of the old teachings and its creator admits to this in his own writing. He just sought to refine it. Make it more intelligible and accessible.
Atomism was metaphysics before it was ever incorporated into what we call science now. It grew out of lines of thinking about the ultimate substance of reality, and took many forms in both western and eastern culture.
There were two basic schools of atomism. One group being those that favoured a materialist and deterministic world view, and the other that favoured atomism as an incarnation of principles that transcend the material world as we experience it.
Everyone familiar with the notion of platonic solids? That geometry. It was based on right triangles. He saw all physical matter as being an expression of mathematical balance which would take the concrete form of various polygons like we still model virtual environments with today. So that was one example of principle based atomism.
The core notion of atomism is that everything that exists is composed of very small units moving in a void. Though in fact these indivisible atoms had different shapes and even sizes, they each were unique. Some models tried to reduce the range of atoms down, others said that there were as many types of atoms as there were things we could identify. The Jains even saw various forces that we now consider to be strictly spiritual in an atomic context. To Jain atomists, you could acquire charges of karma.
As strange as some of the atomist models might seem to today’s thinking, they intuitively hit upon a lot of the patterns and notions we still use today. The Jains arrived at the notion that their atoms would either fly in straight lines or in curved orbits if another atom was exerting a pull on it. Buddhist atomists came to the notion that atoms were just points of energy without duration which could be connected to the modern view of every particle, being also, and perhaps primarily, a point on a wave field of energy. The schools of natural philosophy that we would called atomists all held to a metaphysics that atoms were indivisible. You couldn’t break them down into any smaller parts.
So like pixels on a computer screen? That would be one example, yes.
One of the principle based schools of atomism in ancient India saw atoms as being words. Even though we might not understand the words that come together to make matter in that school of thought, they would still continue to maintain their proper context, their rules of speech as they say. But there was a parallel school to atomism, called corpuscularianism. A big word that ultimately meant that everything in the end blends with everything else, and that you could share any qualities between objects through merger or association by one method or another. This was a key element in the thinking of the alchemists as they saw all matter really being one indistinct substance, undifferentiated until forces began acting on it. The alchemist wasn’t really taking anything apart, they were putting it back together.
I have bounced back and forth a bit, but hopefully it all makes sense.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.