Immersed as I often was during schooldays in the Far East in the scholarship of scholars such as Richard C. Jebb, I find it mildly amusing how the works of certain authors, be they academics or otherwise, are often taken to be reliable or authoritative sources of information about a subject or about a person which such authors do not have a profound knowledge of gained by a detailed study lasting several years.
For scholarship means not only learning, erudition, but also the sphere of polite, of cultured, learning. There is therefore, or there developes in the scholar, a particular attitude towards, if not indeed a love of, learning.
Hence why, for me at least, scholarship means a rather pedantic approach, to both texts and other sources; the use, when available, of primary sources; extended research over a period of a year, or many years, leading to an intimate acquaintance with and an in-depth knowledge of one’s subject; an interior pleasure in revealing hitherto unknown minutiae; and a somewhat gentle usually unvoiced belief that one can, or has the ability, the skill, to suggest a new interpretation or to discover something new or some-thing that others have overlooked, however small – or to others how seemingly pedantic – that discovery might be. There is also, in some, a somewhat gentle desire to find flaws in – and a pleasure in finding such flaws in – the works of others, especially if those works do not in one’s view meet the criteria of scholarship, such as – and for instance – relying not on one’s own research using primary sources but on or extensively quoting what others have written or said, or (more relevant, these days) have (i) used material from anonymous individuals corresponded with via ‘electronic mail’ and/or (ii) used material accessed via the medium of the ‘world wide web’ and written by persons that have not been personally interviewed, and/or (iii) used conversations that were not recorded, and/or (iv) used conversations that if recorded have not been made fully available in some form or other in order that others can verify exactly what was – or was not – said.
As the perspicacious no doubt surmised given my mention above of ‘more relevant, these days’, I have personal experience – extending over some thirty years – of not only the rather unscholarly approach of some published academics, but also of the lamentable approach of some journalists and others. For I have been mentioned in various published books, by academics and others; formed part of what was, supposedly, a ‘documentary’ television programme; have been the subject of or written about in quite a few journalistic articles; have been mentioned at various NATO conferences; and – somewhat more recently – been the subject of an academic paper read at some University conference or other, and which paper, so I am informed, will form a chapter in a book to be published by a well-established academic press.
Suffice therefore to write that, to date, and possibly because of a lack of notability on my part, no one – academic, journalist, biographer, or otherwise – has written anything scholarly about me or about some apparently ‘occult’ group which, it has been alleged, I have been associated with, and which (according to some people) I founded in the early 1970’s. However, such a lack of such scholarly research into both (i) my life and diverse peregrinations and my recently developed weltanschauung based on my own pathei-mathos, and into (ii) that apparently ‘occult’ group, will probably not prevent some individuals from using already available (and future) unreliable sources as the basis for their judgement.