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Haunted by Our Amnesia: The Forgotten Mainstream Impact of the Occult/Esoteric “Fringe”

It’s amazing what you don’t learn in school. Even more so, it’s amazing how much “common knowledge” has absolutely nothing to do with the actual facts. I’m not talking about folk wisdom here but the  assumptions that the majority of supposed experts cling to when discussing the reality that underlies our common lives.

Mitch Horowitz, Editor in Chief of Tarcher/Penguin, has been working for several years to mitigate some of the amnesia that has arisen around our collective history. In his book Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation, he exposes a few of the forgotten influences that have shaped the American consciousness, from former Vice President Henry Wallace’s engagement with the Russian mystic Nicholas Roerich to the fact that the very materially minded Mohandas Gandhi’s engagement with the Bhagavad Gita was influenced by his relationship to the Theosophical Society in the U.K.

In an article for The Wall Street Journal on filmmaker Vikram Gandhi’s recent documentary Kumaré, Horowitz outlines the process that slowly softens these facts until they become part of the culture: Read the rest of this entry