If the goal is to wake up from limiting illusions in order to be able to make self-determined choices about current and future relationships with and within this Universe, there seems to be no other way than to gain an understanding of at least some of the basic principles on which this particular Universe appears to be built.
The amount of phenomena in this Universe, however, is so vast that there is an 'infinity problem': it cannot be decided whether the number of phenomena is finite or not.
Where, then, could be a starting point that would avoid getting lost in the multitude of phenomena?
Gotamo likened this problem to the situation of someone who is suddenly waking up in the middle of the night and finds himself in a house on fire. Without doubt, this would not be a good time to start doing or thinking about things which were not vital in getting out of the house alive.
On the other hand, it is helpful to know the floorplan of the house and to be aware of the kind of material that is stored in there in order to find the safest way out.
Should a person in such a situation try to remember how the house was built in the first place? Or, starting from scratch, investigate it's basic construction? Should it be attempted to fight the fire immediately or should personal safety come first and care of the house later? What about loved ones who may be in a similar situation?
The approach followed in this notebook, is to take a moment to look around in past and present, assessing the actual damage and the available tools for recovery. There are no assumptions made which issue is the most 'burning' or which route is the safest way out. However, the emphasis is put on 'safest' rather than fastest. (The 'fastest way out' is most often straight through the window. Who knows exactly how tall the building is and what exactly is waiting down there in the darkness?)
Very often, an initial assessment of a situation already points the way to a solution but certainty about the correctness of the solution may take a much longer time. Sometimes, a solution is hiding behind piles of less relevant data and it may take a considerable clean-up effort to eventually unveil it.
Is there is a good place to start? Is there a sequence that is more successful than others? How many solutions are there?
One of the few generalities that appear to be valid is:
'Everything in the Universe is connected to everything'.
If this is true, it does not matter where one starts. In the course of the investigation, every critical issue will come up, sooner or later. It also means that there is an unlimited number of ways to get from one point to any other.
In our example of the 'burning house, one place to start could be to look where it 'hurts' the most in order to initiate first-aid actions immediately. However, the goal in the example is to leave the house alive. The only fix-ups for now would be done in order to enable the person to walk out of the burning house in one piece.
In a second step, a path of safe recovery could be researched under special consideration of the invididual abilities of the person.
Everybody is likely to find him/herself waking up in a different house and with different wounds. It would not help to prescribe tools that are not suited for the task at hand. This would be like using a saw to slam a nail into a wall.
The presentation of both tools and assessment utilities in this notebook occurs in a truly random order. Every presented piece is put in its own context and as such can be studied independently before connecting it up with the other pieces.
It is up to the reader to examine the pieces in the sequence of his/her own personal evaluation of importances.
It is also entirely up to the reader to 'put it all together'.
This is true in any case, no matter how careful and comprehensive and with whatever other approach this subject would be presented to the reader.
Recognizing the content of a picture in a puzzle is a threshold process and not a linear, predictable process.
The linear approach, the traditional way of writing a book, imposes the rating of importances of issues onto the reader. The creator of a traditional book expects the reader to follow the same exact sequence of insights as the author, regardless how different the situation of the reader may be. Such an approach also presumes the 'knowledge' of previous chapters when presenting the current one. But the 'knowledge' of the reader and that of the author is always different, no matter how well the book was written.
Through their linear structure, most 'traditional' books implicitly suggest that the subject at hand would be presented comprehensively. Because there are no limits for neither phenomena nor for viewpoints observing the same, this suggestion can never hold true.
The Little Purple Notebook is therefore explicitly an 'open' book; a book without a beginning and without an end; a book that is never complete.
Words are mere pointers to a reality behind appearances. In its details this reality will look different for every observer. The themes are similar, however, and in order to escape the 'house on fire', they must be confronted one way or another. Or, to use Hubbard's famous words:
Interestingly, Gotamo, nowadays called the 'Buddha', accepted just one rather abstract label for himself other than his birth name, and even that one only very reluctantly. This label was: Tathâgato, literally 'someone who went such a path'.
Words, concepts, ideas, wishes, and individual insights are great. But going this path also requires action. Without action this book would be utterly worthless.
In short, the path must be 'gone' and not just talked about.