Monday, September 8, 2008

This "New Age" Is Very, Very, Old Indeed

"[Ben Franklin],...lent his shoulder to the wheel of medical progress, allowing a royal commission to use his Passy residence for the blind experiments that disproved the theory of [hypnotism] and so proved its inventor and proponent, Franz Mesmer, to whom huge sums were paid by rich patients, a quack. In a letter to the physician La Sablière de la Condamine, Franklin ascribed Mesmer’s success to 'there being so many disorders which cure themselves and such a disposition in mankind to deceive themselves and one another on these occasions.' Which wasn’t to say that such quackery might not have its uses, Franklin said, for in every rich city there are a lot of hypochondriacs. If they stopped gulping medicines for the sake of being cured by the doctor’s finger or an iron rod, 'they may possibly find good effects though they mistake the cause.'"

-- Jerry Weinberger, giving us good reason to think idiots may be the only group capable of reincarnating, in New York's City Journal.