Dr. Bob’s Book Reviews
Mesmer Eyes: Let There Be Light
The Life and Healing Magic of Anton Mesmer
by Robert McNary,
TPS Press, 2019.
“There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is magic.
The other is as though everything is magic.”
after Albert Einstein
In Doctor Mesmer’s lifetime (1734-1815), Europe was emerging from the darkness of the Middle Ages. The last witchcraft trial occurred a score of years before Mesmer’s birth. The Inquisition would persist for another hundred years.
Science was developing as a third force in distinction to philosophy and religion. Many beliefs of clergy and nobility, leaders and peasants were based on all manner of forces which were ill explained or deemed godly, sorcery, or superstition. Still, there was really another force which could potentially bridge the darkness and gaps amongst the three. It was, in fact, magic.
But, it was a magic which Mesmer called animal magnetism. An innate quality comparable to mineral magnetism which all beings exhibit, however unknowingly. And, one which has yet to be properly studied by institutions in a manner comparable to that which Mesmer followed.
Dr. Mesmer was a “scientist” at heart, wanted to be seen as a physicist, and had no taste for witchcraft, exorcism, astrology, or the like. He probably laughed or screamed when his antagonists in Paris called him a Magician. Mesmer might have preferred being considered a charlatan.
Anton Mesmer appeared in his day on a mission with the goals of raising the bar of practice for physicians and of turning medicine from the use of crude drugs to the subtle influences which stand behind the healing power of nature – vis medicatrix naturae. He also intended to show that all his human fellows were capable of healing and that a medical degree was not necessary for a person to come to the aid of another in need.
Mesmer was chosen along with the Count St. Germain and Alessandro Cagliostro to bring forth major teachings released into the outer world in the 18th century for the benefit of humanity. All were successful to one degree or another. That although their persisting influences were quickly lost to public vision. It takes some investigation to uncover the effects of their work.
Anton Mesmer was the most visible of the three and his footsteps most easily traced. Eliphas Levi pronounced, “It was the glory of Mesmer to have recovered, without an initiator and without occult knowledge, this universal agent of life and its prodigies; his ‘Aphorisms,’ which the scientists of his time could only look on as paradoxes, will become one day the basis of the physical synthesis. He recognised the existence of a primitive, fiuidic, universal matter, capable of stability and motion, which, by becoming fixed, determines the constitution of substances, and by continual motion modifies and renews all forms.”
Mesmer Eyes is the author-reviewer’s attempt to point broader and fuller light at the Good Doctor’s discovery and teachings, healing and magical works. [“Magic is in the eye of the beholder,” Einstein might say.]
That said, Doctor Mesmer’s place in history is secure while his teachings continue to have lasting effects. While the whole truth will never be known, there is no dispute that Mesmer influences us in many ways into the 21st century. If only we could count all the ways. Here are a few:
• Mesmer is one of a very few humans whose name has become part of the standard dictionary – as in the verb mesmerize and in the noun mesmerism. This, albeit the true meanings of the words have been bowlderized. [Look that one up.] Mesmerize is a word much in public parlance in the present time. We might wonder why.
• While finding his way into dictionaries, Anton Mesmer also helped shape the works of generations of writers [and other artists] across Europe and America. From Balzac and Hugo to Dickens and Thackeray and to Poe and Hawthorne – to name just a few of the many. Those great authors have surely passed on their mesmeric sense to writers of the present century. They have spawned characters in the likes of Captain Ahab and Svengali whose names have also become part of modern tongue. Balzac, Tennyson and Dickens were glad to call themselves mesmerists and share their magnetic force with friends in need.
• Mesmer had such a close bond with Wolfgang Mozart that the latter made the Doctor a character in his opera Cosi fan Tutte. Bastien und Bastienne, one of his very first, was commissioned and performed in Mesmer’s garden theater at 261 Landstrasse in Vienna when Mozart was just twelve. The musical interests of the two men were also reflected in Mozart’s timeless opera, Die Zauberflote [The Magic Flute] and in his pieces written for the glass harmonica.
• When discussing theories comparable to those of Mesmer, critics as well as partisans have used his name in the same breath with renowned physicians and scientists of previous times. Those include Paracelsus, Van Helmont, Robert Fludd, Cornelius Agrippa, Athanasius Kircher, Isaac Newton, and René Descartes. He remains in good company.
• The essentials of Mesmer’s teachings were accepted and studied by many of the greatest thinkers of his own day and since. His influence flows down the generations through the philosophers Novalis, Hoffmann, Goethe, Fichte, and others. Arnold Schopenhauer wrote, “From the philosophical standpoint [mesmerism was] the most pregnant of all discoveries.”
• Practically all of Mesmer’s biographers – whether believers or disbelievers – credit the Austrian Doctor for having spurred the development of diverse modern disciplines. Mesmer is widely considered the Godfather of hypnosis and suggestive therapy, psychology and psychoanalysis, New Thought and Christian Science. Modern authors Stefan Zweig and Frank Podmore made large statements when they placed his name in their book titles along with Mary Baker Eddy and Sigmund Freud.
• Even as mesmerism-magnetism was denigrated and shunned for personal, political, medical and monetary interests in his day, it raised its head time and again over the decades. Notables of the 19th century considered Mesmer’s discovery to stand along with those of Galileo, Columbus, and Harvey. The English surgeon, James Esdaile, believed it to be, “Of infinitely greater direct practical importance than the admission of the truth of the circulation of the blood.” Others proclaimed it, “one of nature’s secrets,” “nature’s mysterious motive energies,” as well as “a key to the mystery of man’s inner nature” and “a touchstone of TRUTH.”
Mesmeromania reigned in Paris during the nearly ten years the Doctor worked in Paris before the French Revolution took over the stage. Mesmer was a far greater attraction than the Montgolfier balloons or the American statesmen Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Dr. Mesmer had thousands of patients, followers and students. Among them were grandees of all kind, magistrates and potentates, priests and physicians, scholars and savants.
Thanks to a number of committed and energetic enthusiasts, Mesmer’s teaching expanded through Societies of Harmony which flourished in Paris, the Provinces and the American colonies. Eventually, his discovery spread into Germany, Spain, and Russia, even with the onset of Revolution and Wars.
Literally thousands of books, articles, and pamphlets were written during his decade in Paris. Even in the present day, the French National Library alone holds fourteen volumes of 1000 pages each in its mesmerist collection completed before the Revolution. Just as a wide swath of Parisians wanted to experience Mesmer and his work, all manner of people took to pamphleteering to say their piece in regard to his magnétisme animal.
Jacques de Horne, a physician detractor, wrote an anonymous pamphlet to discredit him. Even so, he interestingly called him “Thaumaturge, Magician, Operator.” A number of other physicians and similar “discreditors” wrote diatribes to stigmatize his theories and downplay his successes. The modern reader of such polemics might think that many of these efforts actually backfired and raised Mesmer and magnetism into brighter relief.
At the same time Mesmer was promoting his discovery and healing the sick and injured, his doctrine inevitably had a much wider effect on the French public. Numbers of adherents became key figures in the political movements of the day seeking more than “Liberté et Santé.” Eventually, their desire was forged into another which founded the Republic based on “Liberté Egalité Fraternité.”
Again, the influences which moved forth from Mesmer, the Great Magnetizer, are quite beyond enumerating. For those who dare to look more deeply at the facts – those stubborn things – which surround his life and teachings, it might yet be possible for them to experience the whole world in a brighter light. Numbers of respected thinkers, scholars and writers over the intervening years have concluded Mesmer to be a forerunner of truths only now slowly being revealed.
Mesmer Eyes: Let There Be Light invites you to make your own observations and conclusions based on the facts of the case as far as our researches have managed to go. [The wonder of digitization of world libraries has added much to the writing of this book.] The whole truth is still beyond us. But, a significant portion of it can be found in Mesmer Eyes.
“Much will rise again that has long been buried,
and much will become submerged that is held in honor today.”
This book is ready for print publication. It can be viewed in toto at peoplemedicine.info
Comments may be emailed to theportableschool at gmail dot com. We will respond to them.
A Frugal Physician Prescribes Common Sense & Enthusiasm
by Robert McNary
TPS Press, 2014.
The People Medicine book took shape rather unexpectedly in 2010 as the result of casual conversation. The writing had a life of its own. Its reading life is waiting to manifest.
In the meantime, People Medicine is more vital for the writer today than even while it was being composed. That is because of my subsequent studies and the upcoming books I am presently researching. And because of the interest of People Medicine Librarian and Webmaster Curt Perkins. Visit our book and info site at PeopleMedicine.info.
Since the book was written, I have come to understand more and more that real “People Medicine” has been active in many times and many places over the generations. These have been happy and fortuitous findings for me. Hopefully, they will be so for others as we endeavor to share them.
Medical people, by and large, try to look out as best they know with regard to their patients. Unfortunately, the systems of “care” we have developed have to a very large degree diverged from people, care, compassion, and healing. Now, we have all too often the opposite.
Once the reader goes over People Medicine a time or two, he or she will have a broader perspective of the present system. The reader will also be better able to comprehend the coming new pattern of real care and healing. This paradigm will offer wonderful opportunities for physicians and nurses as well as friends and neighbors to cooperate and share, give and receive of their vital selves. People Medicine and True Healing are not just processes and pills manufactured for general consumption.
The coming paradigm is hardly new as it has been previewed over the centuries. “There is (really, after all) nothing new under the Sun.”
The best is yet to come when the real People Medicine, drawing from history, reappears in our midst. We can learn from those who have passed before us to resurrect methods directed for universal healing, preservation of health, and transformation of life.
Mesmer’s vital fluid, Van Helmont’s archeus, Paracelsus’s mumia, the Hawaiian mana, the Chinese chi, and the Indian prana, and plain old human energy will be released in grand ways for the betterment of anyone and everyone.
Get ready to participate, share and heal.
People Medicine can be purchased at the usual online outlets or from the author direct.
Send comments to theportableschool at gmail dot com. We will respond to them ASAP.
Old Soul Returns to Earth
by Dr Bob
TPS Press, 1999.
Let the reader note the publication date for Baby Doctor. While the hero of the book will always remain youthful, the book itself is approaching twenty years of age.
I tell people, who might understand, that I consider the Baby Doctor story futuristic fiction. Yet, non-fiction in potential – a later life for the author. And in some ways, it may be like one of your own.
A commentator in the book speaks of the Baby Doctor in this manner: “Every seemingly impossible thing that Mr. Borden has demonstrated to date has been previously documented somewhere in the medical literature. This fellow has just managed to thread quite a few phenomenal things together on the same string.”
Since Baby Doctor is a unique novel, the author prefers to leave the title, the book cover and the above comment to hint at what may be ahead for any reader. Rather than explain or outline the book, let us delve into stories which surround its writing and publication.
Prior to composing this book, I was negotiating a contract to write a Holistic Physiology Book based on the Edgar Cayce Readings. When the deal fell through, the idea of writing Baby Doctor re-surfaced. I had told myself a few times, “Next lifetime.”
But since authorship was stirring in my blood, I proceeded based on a vignette found in Madame Blavatsky’s book called Isis Unveiled. [Volume I, p. 437] The story in Isis as in Baby Doctor concerns a very young person doing extraordinary things. In some sense like the “greater things” that we are all supposedly capable of doing.
I wrote this little book – or maybe it wrote itself – during the winter of 1998. It was complete when I celebrated my 50th birthday and thereafter went off for a six-month excursion of New York City. I was invited there by Ginger Arnold, to whom I was introduced long-distance by a mutual friend made on a workshop-leading trip I did years previously in northern Arizona.
Sharing of friends became a theme during that time period as Ginger introduced me to another friend named Michael Cardacino. Michael is a professional photographer and visiting his home, we found the photo which would become the cover for Baby Doctor. One of his popular photographs from that time period was a picture called Special Delivery. This photo imprint resulted from an accident which occurred while making a print using a slide scanner. The image was accidentally stretched and had the appearance of an infant falling from the heavens. Amused by this, Cardacino immediately dubbed the print “Old Soul Returns to Earth” and placed it on his refrigerator door.
Within days, Ginger and I visited him for the first time at his home and studio. The connection between Baby Doctor and the Old Soul was obvious. Michael graciously agreed to having his “baby” appear on the cover of Baby Doctor.
Encountering major difficulties getting the book agented, we set about publishing on our own. With Ginger’s generous help, we got a thousand copies printed.
Then, marketing became a problem. The distributor wanted 55 percent of the list price, to pay no shipping including returns, and solicited advertising in its publication.
Thus, we went out looking to consign books in shop around the City. At an early stop, we left a copy in Port Washington. Returning a few days later, we were told, “We can’t put this up for sale in our shop. The cover photo looks phallic.”
Well, Ginger and I had some laughs at the comment when had lunch at a Chinese restaurant and ate a meal with those “phallic-looking” mushrooms spread on top of rice. In the midst of it all, Ginger realized, “Well, I should have known. The owners are lesbians.”
Most of our marketing attempts were stillborn. And, many copies of Baby Doctor remain unfortunately unsold and unread. But along the way, I have found that situation puts me in good company.
H. D. Thoreau [1817-1862], author of Walden and several other titles, told the story generations ago of a conversation with a new friend. Talk eventually turned to books and libraries. In those days, personal libraries were unusual and small.
Thoreau had to admit to his new friend, “I have a library of 500 books. And I have written 400 of them.” I know quite what he was trying to communicate.
Nonetheless, Baby Doctor persists.
The book can be purchased from the author via the address below.
Comments may be sent to theportableschool at gmail dot com. We will respond