A question about a book:
First of all, Grahame, nice work on the site. There is a lot of useful information here. (Also, I read your profile, and we have similar interests in music. I only recently discovered Symphony X!)
I am not a Scientologist, and can't actually see myself ever becoming one, but I have been researching it lately, just to try to get an idea what it's all about.
Here's my question for you: what is your opinion on Hubbard's book, Scientology: A History of Man? Frankly, it seems (to the non-Scientologist, at least) a little farfetched, e.g. Piltdown Man, clams, etc. I only recently acquired a copy myself, and have only glossed through it so far.
I would just be interested in whatever light you can shed on this interesting book would be appreciated.
I'm glad you like the site. Thanks for your question. I'm always ready to answer questions from a fellow music lover :)
First let me say that if you want to get an idea of what Scientology is all about then the Scientology Handbook site is a good place to start. It contains down-to-earth, practical applications of Scientology to everyday life. I'd suggest that as a starting point and then, if you are still interested, go for the Dianetics and Scientology Basic Books.
A History of Man is not going to tell you what Scientology is because that was not its purpose when it was written.
Here is what I know of the book "A History of Man": In the late 1940's Ron Hubbard developed methods to help people remember. He used these methods to alleviate problems caused by past traumas (birth, operations, injuries, etc.). He published the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health so he could share his discoveries with others.
As more and more people received Dianetics counseling some began to recall things that had not occurred in their current life. At first these were called "imaginary incidents" and were thought to be false memories caused by the traumas, but it was found that if these incidents were addressed as if they were real and the trauma removed from them, the person got better. When they were treated as imagination and ignored, the person did not get better. So Ron decided to treat them as real and researched further to find out what was really going on.
After a great deal of research with a large number of people Ron found that many people recalled the same or very similar things. The people recalling these same or similar incidents had never met and had never heard of these things before, yet they recalled them from their own viewpoint.
Ron's eventual conclusion was that these were incidents that people were recalling from past-lives. He published his initial findings in the book "History of Man".
The book was meant for experienced Dianetics and Scientology practitioners who had encountered past-lives while counseling others. It was aimed at helping them understand what they were encountering and at helping them help others. It is not a beginning or introductory book.
The couple of things you mention from the book in your question are actually very unimportant and got put in merely so practitioners would know what they were encountering if they came across them. They get a very brief mention in the book and were not deeply researched.
For someone who has never encountered past-lives, the book might appear pretty wild in places, but if you have experience with past-lives, either with your own or with those of people you have counseled, then it doesn't seem that wild at all.
I hope that answers your question. Feel free to ask any more that you may have.