Thanks to scientific and technical advances over the last hundred years, most people are today materially wealthier than their forebears. Yet, by their own accounts, the quality of their lives has not kept step. In fact, it may be argued that people were once happier and more fulfilled. For some, materials affluence breeds anxiety, a gnawing fear that if someone doesn’t take away their hard-earned acquisitions, the end of their days will prematurely arrive to finish the job. Others find death easier to face than a lifetime of assembly-line slavery, while most, in a less dramatic fashion, simply buckle down to lives of quiet desperation.
As the twenty-first century dawns, most have no real grasp of those factors governing their existence. And yet, simply stated, had they a greater understanding of themselves and their fellows they would be able to improve conditions and thus live happier lives. This, then, is the function of Scientology: to enable man to improve his lot through understanding.
Before Scientology, the tremendous scientific advances of this era were not matched by similar advances in the humanities. Man’s knowledge of the physical universe had far outdistanced his knowledge of himself. The resulting pressures from such an imbalance account for much that has unsettled society and threatens the future. In parting, therefore, what Scientology represented to many when it appeared in the early 1950s was a restoration of the balance.
Despite its many successes, science has not provided answers to questions man has been asking himself since time immemorial: Who are we? What do we consist of? Where do we come from? Where are we going? What are we doing? Indeed, these questions have always been the province of philosophy and religion, but traditional answers seemed immensely inadequate in the face of the H-bomb. Scientology, however, drawing on the same advances in knowledge that led to nuclear physics, supplied modern answers to these questions. And it supplied workable methods of application which made it possible for man to reach the ancient goal he has been striving toward for thousands of years: to know himself and, in knowing himself, to know and understand other people and, ultimately, all life.
Scientology is an applied religious philosophy. It holds in common many of the beliefs of other religions and philosophies, and considers man to be a spiritual being, with more to him than flesh and blood. This, of course, is a very different view to that espoused by prevailing scientific thought which views man as but a material object, a complex combination of chemical compounds and stimulus-response mechanisms.
Scientology believes man to be basically good, not evil. It is his experiences that have led him to commit evil deeds, not his nature. Often, he mistakenly solves his problems by considering only his own interests, which then causes trouble for both himself and others. Scientology believes that man advances to the degree he preserves his spiritual integrity and values, and remains honest and decent. Indeed, he deteriorates to the degree he abandons these qualities.