This title was taken from Aldous Huxley's book Island, which is his fictional vision of a utopian society. In this utopian society a handbook with the above title was available to all members to provide a source of direction and inspiration. This was Huxley's last novel and his response to his dystopian novel, Brave New World. He used this handbook to put forth the principles underlying the more perfect society that he envisioned.
A discussion of this can be found on the web (Thoughts on Aldous Huxley's Island)and includes quotes from the handbook that cover categories of Awareness, Society, Eating, Economics, Work, Education, Living and Dying etc.
This concept of a handbook (a bible?) to provide inspiration and direction fits nicely with Joseph Campbell's deep understanding of mythology and how myths have transformed over the millenia. Many of the social problems we are encountering are related to the collapse of mythologies (such as organized religion) leading to gang behaviors and drug usage. Atheism is a logical outcome of emerging scientific realities that conflict with organized religions. Unfortunately atheism does not provide a mythological structure to fill the void.
Mythologies come from archetypes of the unconscious and are part of the human condition. They are shaped by local conditions but serve the main functions of:
1. Metaphysical- the monstrous mystery that is existence
2. Cosmological- an image of the universe
3. Psychological- to carry the individual through the stages of life
4. Sociological - shared right and wrongs, ethics
For example, there is the Goddess Myth, that dates to Neolithic times and continually emerges into our modern consciousness.
As describe by Anne Bering and Jules Cashford in The Myth of the Goddess, Evolution of an Image:
How can we then finally distinguish conscious from unconscious, mind from matter, spirit from nature, except as a linguistic definition of a range of experience, whose purpose is to interrupt the continuum at certain points for particular reasons that have nothing to do with the things in themselves?
Yet a myth does not simply vanish from the world of the collective psyche any more than a great event of the past is irrevocably lost to the individual psyche; and especially not a myth that existed for at least 20,000 years before the myth that superceded it. Rather, it changes its aspect, disguises its mode of operation and reappears in another form. But, like any less than fully conscious attitude, it cannot simply be summoned at will; it has to be sought, elicited, tracked in the shadowy underworld of subliminal image and symbolic implication; discerned in innuendo, pause, juxtaposition, contradiction; and persuaded to re-emerge in the gaps between what we call rational thinking.
A handbook of the type envisioned by Huxley could be an open source type of document that would evolve over time as new information and ideas become available. From this a personal mythology may emerge that is compatible with each individual.
As Carl Jung said,
The great events of world history are, at bottom, profoundly unimportant. In the last analysis, the essential thing is the life of the individual. This alone makes history, here alone do the great transformations first take place, and the whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately spring as a gigantic summation from these hidden sources in individuals. In our most private and subjective lives we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and its sufferers, but also its makers. We make our own epoch. C.G. Jung, 1934