I just finished reading “All Clear” by Connie Willis, which is some brilliant science fiction. It’s about some time travelers stuck in London during the Blitz (1940-41) and unable to return to their own time.
Toward the end of the book, she has a lovely paragraph about people doing the thing that they want to do, despite the cost to them for doing it:
“To do something for someone or something you loved–England or Shakespeare or a dog or the Hodbins or history–wasn’t a sacrifice at all. Even if it cost you your freedom, your life, your youth.”
I spent nearly ten years as a staff member of the Church of Scientology, the whole decade of my 20′s. During that time, I sometimes wondered if it were the best way to spend my youth — shouldn’t I be out making a fortune, or writing books, or just sailing around the world or something? But in fact, I did love what I was doing. Some of it was drudgery (endless hours filing and typing) and some of it was wonderful (the day the FDA gave us back our e-Meters and books from their raid of the 60′s). It was an awesome game with many barriers and many purposes, worthy opponents (the IRS then, and psychiatry always) and a complex set of rules (church policy).
Connie’s quote above sums up my feelings about it very nicely. I’m adding it to my “quotes” page.
When I see people like Marty Rathbun attacking the religion (Scientology) to which they used to belong, I realize that they really haven’t “got” this point, or the integrity to stand by their convictions. They “regret” what they did, the time they spent doing it, to help Scientology prosper and succeed. Regret is an awful thing — it is the effort to turn back time, which just won’t turn back.
One of my favorite quotes from the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, is this one from The Code of Honor:
“Never regret yesterday. Life is in you today and you make your tomorrow…..
Be true to your own goals.”
As a side note, I received a Kindle a few days ago as a birthday present from my gal — and All Clear may be the last paper book I read for a while. Books are cheaper when you buy them through Kindle, for one thing, and it’s just so handy to be able to stick it in my coat pocket when I go somewhere. Can’t do that with most of the books I read because they are just too big! And I like being able to listen to music on it, too — and surf the internet, if I need to, while reading, to research something. It has a couple of great dictionaries on it, complete with derivations, and instant access to them so you can look up any word you don’t recognize or understand the meaning of, as soon as you come across it in the text. The Kindle is a brilliant little machine — and I find it easy to actually read on it.