Scientology is an encyclopaedia for life. It's non-denominational, it doesn't judge, it's a lot about self-discovery, and it helped me so much for one reason: it works. It helped me through my drugs, and it helps me still. It's my main anchor in life.
The worn soles of Daffy's boots skidded on the icy stones. He'd been saving up for a new pair for Christmas, but then he'd come across an encyclopaedia in ten volumes, going cheap. Boots might last ten years, at best, but knowledge was eternal.
When we are young, we spend much time and pains in filling our note-books with all definitions of Religion, Love, Poetry, Politics, Art, in the hope that, in the course of a few years, we shall have condensed into our encyclopaedia the net value of all the theories at which the world has yet arrived. But year after year our tables get no completeness, and at last we discover that our curve is a parabola, whose arcs will never meet.
Not only is it a wholly remarkable book, it is also a highly successful one - more popular than the Celestial Home Care Omnibus, better selling than Fifty-three More Things to do in Zero Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes and Who is this God Person Anyway? In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch-Hiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.
Fast reading of a great novel will get us the plot. It will get us names, a shadowy idea of characters, a sketch of settings. It will not get us subtleties, small differentiations, depth of emotion and observation, multilayered human experience, the appreciation of simile and metaphor, any sense of context, any comparison with other novels, other writers. Fast reading will not get us cadence and complexities of style and language. It will not get us anything that enters not just the conscious mind but the unconscious. It will not allow the book to burrow down into our memory and become part of ourselves, the accumulation of knowledge and wisdom and vicarious experience which helps to form us as complete human beings. It will not develop our awareness or add to the sum of our knowledge and intelligence. Read parts of a newspaper quickly or an encyclopaedia entry, or a fast-food thriller, but do not insult yourself or a book which has been created with its author's painstakingly acquired skill and effort, by seeing how fast you can dispose of it.
A selection of quotes from The Night of Harrison Monk's Death (Jane Hetherington's Adventures in Detection: 1) "Is this one of the more unusual cases of safe-breaking you've been asked to investigate, Mrs Hetherington?" "Remember your private detective wants to be able to sleep soundly at night and in their own bed, not one supplied as her Majesty's pleasure." "It seems to be an open and shut case doesn't it? But it's not you know? How do you know if anything is what it seems?" "But where is Cheung kin?" "When I first set eyes on your father, he was spying on a man from between two volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica." "I don't think I need say more." "On the contrary, if you want me to have any idea what you're talking about, I think you do." "Why don't you report it to the police?" "Because I stole it in the first place didn't I?" "It's something of a mystery, I admit." "Vanished into thin air!" "You sound so sensible Mrs Hetherington. Please help us get to the bottom of this." Ah, thought Jane - the old story. "No body was found?" "Shall I put the kettle on?" "Only if you fill it with whiskey." "The course of true love didn't run smoothly for me either, you know." "Life has its tragedies for sure." "... What do I want? I want money that's what I want. I want money." She was even more horrified by the words she heard next. Callum MacCallum knew what it was like to be an outsider.
And that discovery would betray the closely guarded secret of modern culture to the laughter of the world. For we moderns have nothing of our own. We only become worth notice by filling ourselves to overflowing with foreign customs, arts, philosophies, religions and sciences: we are wandering encyclopaedias, as an ancient Greek who had strayed into our time would probably call us. But the only value of an encyclopaedia lies in the inside, in the contents, not in what is written outside, in the binding or the wrapper. And so the whole of modern culture is essentially internal; the bookbinder prints something like this on the cover: 'Manual of internal culture for external barbarians.' The opposition of inner and outer makes the outer side still more barbarous, as it would naturally be, when the outward growth of a rude people merely developed its primitive inner needs. For what means has nature of repressing too great a luxuriance from without? Only one, -to be affected by it as little as possible, to set it aside and stamp it out at the first opportunity. And so we have the custom of no longer taking real things seriously, we get the feeble personality on which the real and the permanent make so little impression. Men become at last more careless and accommodating in external matters, and the [Pg 34] considerable cleft between substance and form is widened; until they have no longer any feeling for barbarism, if only their memories be kept continually titillated, and there flow a constant stream of new things to be known, that can be neatly packed up in the cupboards of their memory.
In the eighteenth century, the Scottish Enlightenment focused attention on Glasgow and Edinburgh as centres of intellectual activity. The Scottish Enlightenment was an intellectual movement which originated in Glasgow in the early eighteenth century, and flourished in Edinburgh in the second half of the century. Its thinking was based on philosophical enquiry and its practical applications for the benefit of society ('improvement' was a favoured term). The Enlightenment encompassed literature, philosophy, science, education, and even geology. One of its lasting results was the founding of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1768-71). The effects of the Scottish Enlightenment, especially in the second half of the century, were far-reaching in Britain and Europe. The philosophical trends ranged from the 'common-sense' approach of Thomas Reid to the immensely influential works of David Hume, notably his Treatise of Human Nature, published in 1739. Here, his arguments on God, and the cause and effect of man's relationship with God, are far ahead of their time in the philosophical debate in Britain:... Adam Smith's book The Wealth of Nations (1776) was probably the most important work on economics of the century, revolutionising concepts of trade and prophesying the growing importance of America as 'one of the foremost nations of the world'. By a remarkable coincidence, the book was published in the very same year as the American Declaration of Independence.