Below is an excerpt from, "Franz Anton Mesmer: Between God and Devil," by James Wyckoff. 1975. Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Pg. 20-23.
"One of the tragedies of man is that he continually makes it necessary to discover again what was already known for many years past. In keeping with the peculiar notion that "if science doesn't know it, then it doesn't exist," the diligent archaeologist dredges up the information that the Indian of the Western hemisphere was "in fact" a fine engineer, artist, mathematician; while the professor of medical science is now telling us that Indians and other "primitives" did "in fact" practice a "practical" medical therapy. These discoveries, however, are only discoveries to cultured man; the primitive knew them already.
What is this gross assumption that the cultured intelligentsia---the writers and artists, the scientific establishment---are alone the arbiters and beacons of man's achievement? Just who do they think they are, these solons who rule upon what is "reality," what is "truth" and what is not? Who are they to demand from others a "license" to think, refusing ideas or data from sources outside the Academy of Boldface Initials?
It is fashionable to label certain historical periods, to speak of the Medieval Age, the Age of Reason, the Modern Age. And so, ours in particular may be termed the "Age of Explanation." Everything must be explained, otherwise it does not exist. But we are apt to forget that life is given, it is never really "explained." And the effort to bring everything into the realm of the "known"---which is so manifest in our time---is the death knell to true knowledge. As Charles Fort maintained: ". . . every stout and determined materialist, arguing his rejection of the unseeable and the untouchable, lives in a phantom-existence, from which he would fade away were it not for his support by invisibles. . . the heat of his body . . . his own unseeable thoughts, by which he argues against the existence of the invisible."
For an open mind, or at least partially honest, a reading of history must evoke if not a sense of awe at man's arrant criminality, then at least a feeling of despair for those rare beings who attempted to let the air of reality into the aseptic chambers of historical-scientific sleep.
Great teachers and religious leaders have appeared throughout history to reassert what has already been known, to begin again the effort to help man raise himself out of his hypnotic sleep to a more real reality.
At the same time there have been secular persons who---through art, letters, medicine, science---have made a similar attempt. Lacking---at least overtly---the support of the divine, these individuals often brought rich contributions to mankind, but as a rule at a fearful price. Often their payment was in the form of the stake, the cell, banishment or the courts of man's law, or worse, at least psychologically, acceptance of what was inessential at the expense of the essential. For it is acceptable to be in the vanguard of man and his story, as long as one stays in sight of the main body. Woe to him who goes too far ahead of the parade. It is all very well to have "a great mind" (according to whom?), to think better and more than one's fellows---one in fact becomes the recipient of honors---but to think differently, in a different way, to see, really to see in a wholly new, not better way, is not only lonely, it is perilous. History, even accepted history written by the victors, is punctuated with the names of those who were refused membership in the human race because of "heresy." In this respect, Mesmer was certainly not alone."