Boing Boing guestblogger Mitch Horowitz is author of Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation and editor-in-chief of Tarcher/Penguin publishers.Friends, It has been a pleasure to be a part of the Boing Boing nation as a guest blogger these past two weeks. I hope to stay in contact online and to meet some of you at various gigs around the country, including at the Esalen Institute, where Erik Davis and I will be delivering a weekend workshop on February 19-21 titled "The Occult in America: An Adventure in Arcane History." You can also see me next Friday at 9 p.m. EST on a Dateline NBC special about Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol.
While I was writing Occult America, the figure I came to most admire was Henry A. Wallace (1888-1965), Franklin Roosevelt's secretary of agriculture and second vice president. Wallace was not only a successful businessman (founder of Pioneer Hi-Bred) and an innovative politician (his policies saved thousands of family farms during the Great Depression), but he was also a genuine searcher into cosmic realms, freely exploring Theosophy, Tibetan Buddhism, astrology, Native American shamanism, and various strands of mysticism. His name may be largely forgotten, but he was a model of how to live with purpose.
I wish you farewell with two of Wallace's statements:
Religion is a method whereby man reaches out toward God in an effort to find the spiritual power to express here on earth in a practical way the divine potentialities in himself and his fellow beings.Selected Works of Henry A. Wallace
Karma means that while things may not balance out in a given lifetime, they balance out in the long run in terms of justice between individuals, between man and whole. It seems to me one of the most profound of all religious concepts.
Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center
Vice president and editor in chief at Tarcher/Penguin, Mitch Horowitz is the author of Occult America (Bantam) and One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life (Crown). He appears in recent mini-documentaries on the history of positive thinking; Ouija Boards; and occult New York.